Nov 272011

A very light analysis of an Artificer’s place in the DDO game world. The detail of analysis is less ponderous than usual only because it seemed apparent, right away, that the numbers were completely and totally backing up my original assumptions.

Which is boring. I like surprises!

My original thesis is best stated in this thread: at endgame, Artificers are best suited to be buffbots and WF clerics.

Is it true? The thread did not come to a conclusion; 43 replies later, the most common reply was “no, my artificer is awesome!”. Nice to know, but not really advancing the discussion.*

* There was some conversation about Artificers and their ranged DPS capability. We’ve already examined whether an Artificer is a better crossbowman than a Mechanic (the answer was “maybe slightly”). Which ranged build is “best”, and for that matter whether any ranged build is “good enough” are topics for another day.

Today’s analysis looks at the two most basic capabilities in DDO: melee fighting and spellcasting, and ranks each class in terms of raw capability in an attempt to find the Artificer’s natural place.

Melee Capability

“But wait”, I hear the cries already, “melee is a deeper topic than simply hit points and BAB”. I do not agree. This chart states the obvious but it states it accurately. Meleeing with Warforged wizards is popular right now, but not because they make better meleers. They do not.

Note that our friend the Artificer is way down on the wrong end of the graph, tied with rogues (who get massive sneak attack mods to compensate for poor raw melee capability) and bards (who are empirically proven to be lame meleers).

Whatever an Artificer is, they are not built to be meleers.

Spellcasting Capability

Another opportunity to compare Artificer capabilities, and another view where they come up short. Bard is the only primary casting class that fares worse . Although they are light on spell points, of particular note is the tiny spell list; there just aren’t very many Artificer spells.

But maybe they are very good spells? Breaking down spellcasting capability by type of spell:

Whoa! An actual surprise! Not only are Artificers designed to be buffers, they dedicate a higher percentage of their total spell list to buffing than anyone else dedicates to anything. By a mile!

Artificers are not awesome casters, but they are really strongly focused on buffing.

None of this is news. Analysis is only confirming what seemed fairly obvious at first glance. Yet there are many Artificers, it is a very popular class. I have theories for that too:

  • A new class will always be the most popular
  • Ranged DPS is very effective while leveling (even if not so at end game)
  • Their spell list is tiny but is well-suited for soloing.

Where does this leave the Artificer? Not in the front line. Not contributing much from the back line either, except between fights when applying buffs.

My personal belief is that Turbine designed them to be soloists. I wish I could ask the designer. Do you want one in your group? Yes, definitely, but maybe only one, if you are contesting the very hardest quests.

I remain very curious about the ranged capability. I need to find a quantifiable way to compare effectiveness between ranged and melee. Or instead, I could find a life.

🙂 😀 🙂

  7 Responses to “Doing the math: Artificer capabilities vs. other classes”

Comments (7)
  1. Thank you for the awesome charts that are really easy to read. I was wondering how the artificer stacked up.

  2. Having/finding a life is over-rated…

  3. The thing I like most about Artis is their ability to provide me with a Silver LitII. I don’t really care what other buffs they give, that one is tops on my list 😀

  4. Artificers can also serve as the primary healer in any content that doesn’t have massive incoming spike damage. Leaning on Heal scrolls and the occasional Max/Emp admixture can be very effective at keeping a group topped off when you’re primarily doing cc in an epic. They can also take that ability to be the best scroll healer in the game period given that only they and rogues have access to the 75% enhancement and artificers also get buffs to the caster level on their scrolls.

  5. you forgot to compare skills, they are the only other class that can disable traps/open doors, besides the rogue, plus they have concentration so they are a Buffer/ranged combat/trapspringer

  6. Please bear in mind this is not an attempt to slam Artificers as a playable class, but rather is an attempt to determine _how_ to play them.

    This topic raised a lot of angst on the forums.

  7. the fact the gain all x-bows at level one and they get action boosts to use x-bows means they should be where the mechanic rogue is but instead of extra damage they are a buffer. high Dex & Int

What do you think?

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