Sunday, January 10, 2010

Core Solo Skills For EQ2 Melee

I did a rundown of core skills for caster characters a while back, after checking out some of the various casters in EQ2. I finally dug up the time to do a similar rundown of the melee classes I haven't tried (Fighters and non-bard Scouts). Though this collectively spanned ten different classes, it seemed like most characters did some combination of the following three things.

DPS Race
Several character types basically engage in a DPS race with the mob/mobs. They don't heal, crowd control, or sneak, the two just meet and pummel each other and whomever runs out of health first wins. I was looking at both tanking classes and DPS classes, and the two differ slightly in approach - the tanks have more health and mitigation, while the scouts rely more on dodging. Even so, this seems to be the baseline, I guess for obvious reasons.

Positional Attacks
All of the scout classes have at least one flank attack, one stealth attack, and sometimes some combination of rear attacks, rear stealth attacks, etc. Two of the scouts really seem to be built around this sort of mechanism though - Assassins specialize in backstabbing, while Rangers specialize in melee/ranged hybrid attacks, hoping to root/immobilize foes and then dart out of range to pepper the foe with arrows. Though each class has some limited tools for attempting to position unruly foes accordingly, I had a lot of trouble making either class work solo. I'm sure they're incredible with a tank.

Self-Healing and other Utility
Intellectually, I realize that utility can be deceptive. Generally, classes that get to heal themselves and/or increase their own DPS have less baseline DPS to compensate for this advantage. Even so, there's something that feels elegant about giving yourself a leg up in the DPS race by healing yourself AND doing damage at the same time.

Is Variety Better Than Power?
Interestingly, my Dirge actually blends some of each - moderate DPS and lots of evasion for standing and fighting one on one, medium self-healing abilities, and a few ranged and positional attacks (along with lots and lots of speed to help use them). I didn't feel like any of the classes I took for a test drive offered quite as much variety. To sum up my top three potential alts:

- The Brigand offered a good balance of positional abilities I could actually use and raw DPS, but felt like it was missing a dimension for lack of heals and speed.
- The monk was a bit of fun - decent damage, avoidance, and a self-heal - but it lacks the positional part of combat and didn't have a ton of combat arts. I felt like I would end up just standing there trading blows.
- The Shadow Knight... well, that guy just felt overpowered, with high DPS, more self-healing than the Dirge, heavy armor mitigation, and even a broad selection of AOE abilities (one area where the Dirge is decidedly lacking).

Are any, or even all of these objectively more powerful than my Dirge? Quite possibly. Still, it didn't feel like any of them were quite as well rounded. It's quite possible that I semi-accidentally blundered into the single class in EQ2 that best fits my playstyle and keeps my interest. With 24 options to choose from (well, minus a few that I didn't consider seriously for being more group-focused than I would prefer), the odds of my having gotten it "right" on my first serious character weren't that great (though I did try out about half a dozen classes before settling on the Dirge).

As an aside, as I mentioned previously, if there's anywhere in the EQ2 experience that could seriously use some help, I'd say that it's pointing newbies to the correct subclass in a reasonable amount of time.


Stabs said...


I've always considered the Dirge an underpowered solo class highly desired for raids.

I've taken one up to about 20 a couple of times but I found the positional requirements very frustrating. On a different character I could just nuke, on the Dirge I had to stealth, get around, check I won't wake up anything I shouldn't, then start.

I found it fun in small doses but I really really would not want to level to 80 taking that special care over every single mob pull.

Personally I settled on a Warden. And the main reason was so I can group with other people without feeling like an idiot plus I like the melee with heals playstyle.

If someone says lf1m WC, it might take me fifteen minutes to get there on another character as I don't know my way around very well and my characters move slow - but the druid moves fast and has the druid rings to teleport to.

Anonymous said...

SK is rather overpowered, flavor of the month, ok at getting groups but you would need to be dedicated to gearing up to get in any raids, much less running shard instances. It takes a lot of work to get any tank geared to run end game instances.

Best bet is a DPS or healing class. You can get groups for instances easily without nearly the gear problems. Dirge is pretty high demand for any group of all the scout classes. Raids need both dirges and troubs in about equal number. I haven't decided which of the two I like better yet ...

I have fun with ranger but have hit a soloing wall at 63 as he is not tough enough to solo, but can be harder to get groups as there are a lot of bad rangers so people won't take them. May just betray to assassin to get groups easier. They a real dps machines, ranger too but it is harder to do.

Green Armadillo said...

@Stabs: The other scout classes have even more positional attacks than the Dirge, though Swashies and Brigands have an additional tool (an early AA called "walk the plank" that forces enemies to turn their backs on you for a few seconds) to make using theirs easier. You have to learn to strafe around the foe while it's stunned with Cheap Shot (which actually looks kind of cool on a flying, high speed Fae Dirge).

And yes, I like the Warden too, it's probably my second favorite, with the Necromancer in third and whichever of these new guys makes the final cut bringing up the rear in my pack of alts.

@Anon: Dirges are easier to solo because A) lifedrains and B) their melee buffs help them more than a Trouby's caster buffs. And perhaps I'm doing it wrong, but the two Predator subclasses feel like the least effective soloers of the melee classes (with the caveat that I haven't tried Guardians).

Yeebo said...

Good read. The last time I played EQ II I recall thinking that Shadow Knights were a bit insanely least at solo work.

Jayedub said...

I agree, this is a great read. I will have to revisit this if at some point I renew my EQ2 account.