Friday, October 31, 2014

Anyone Can Play A Fighter

If you were going to suggest a class for a first-time player of DDO, which class would it be?

In my book, the best first-timer class is the fighter*.  Forget the various build possibilities (like Two-Handed Fighting [THF], Two Weapon Fighting [TWF], 'Sword & Board' [S&B], tank, etc.).  Forget all the extra feats.  Forget the limited number of skills.  Forget all of that.  At its core, the fighter is easy to play.  I mean, what's easier than jumping into the middle of a, um, mob of mobs and just swinging?

And when you're first learning the mechanics of any game, "easier is better".

I remember back in the day when video games did not have "tutorial" sessions - you read the manual and then you tried to remember what you read.  Of course, if you didn't read the manual, more often than not you would be completely lost and frustrated - assuming the game had any complexity whatsoever.  Thankfully, most games now have playable tutorials where they lead you through the mechanics.  Slowly, starting with simple movement, and then building to the more complex controls.  Imagine jumping into, say, Tomb Raider III if you've never played the previous games or bothered with the tutorial session.  I dare say you wouldn't last very long.  Oh sure, you might eventually figure it out, but if you had just run the tutorial...

Now, don't get me wrong - I'm not saying that fighters are only a tutorial class.  Not at all**.  But unlike clerics, wizards, and bards, there's no spells to hot-bar, and no spell points to manage.  Yes, fighters have "tactics" (like trip, cleave, sunder, etc.), but you don't *have* to use them (and frankly, I usually don't).  All classes share the same basic controls:  movement, melee combat, blocking, jumping, tumbling - all the same; fighters have the advantage of being able to wear any type of armor and wield any non-exotic weapon.  Want to wield a greataxe (after all, it is a great axe), go ahead.  Find a scimitar?  Use it.  Long bow?  Short bow? Crossbow?  Yep, yep, and yep.

And what about traps?  Well, any class can detect a trap, even though it does take a rogue or an artificer to disable one.  But - learning how to avoid and/or survive traps is an underrated skill.  Fighters may not have evasion, but then, few classes do; they do have AC and HP, though, which can be the difference between surviving and trap and, well, not.

I have always seen myself as a "fighter" player.  Perhaps it has something to do with my very first PnP AD&D character being a fighter.  Maybe not.  Regardless, I like fighters and I usually play some form of fighter for my first character in most new games.  And I find it the best way to learn the basic controls (but I could be biased).

Of course, once you have the basics down, you'll probably want to try some of the more advanced controls.  And fighters have plenty of advanced controls.  But that is a topic for a different post.

And maybe even a different blogger.

* Historically, Barbarians, Paladins, and Rangers are all sub-classes of "Fighter".  I would not recommend Paladins or Rangers because of their 'multi-stat' dependencies and spell abilities.  Barbarians?  Maybe.  Rogues?  Possibly, but they are considered "specialists", which is probably not the best in terms of starting cold.

** I've said repeatedly that fighters are (arguably) *the* most varied class in the game.  At least, potentially so.  With all the numerous feats and fighting style choices, how could it not?  You can build a stereotypical strength-based fighter; you can build a less common (but still popular) dexterity-based fighter; you can build a THF, TWF, Single-Weapon Fighter (SWF), or even ranged-based fighter.  Sadly, the biggest limitations to the class are the "pigeon-holing" enhancement lines.  But that is (also) a topic for a different post.


  1. Yeah! Everything you said! But I said it! So, your blog is my blog! Also, Grimorde is cheese!

  2. Fighters are definitely a good starting class to just understand the mechanics.