Bow Builds Worth a Second Look
after Module 3?

By Ralsu

When the href="">Sands
of Menechturin (DDO Module 3) launches in early October, Dungeons
& Dragons Online players will get a score of updates to existing
systems to go along with the increase in level cap and the hordes of
new monsters, items, and spells. Turbine Executive Producer James Jones
and DDO Lead Designer David Eckelberry spoke about some of the changes
in Module 3 in our href="">September
DDO Interview. One question I didn't have to ask was about href="">Turbine's
plans to fix ranged combat, an issue Darkgolem rightly listed as
one of the href="">Top
10 Things Turbine Should Fix. When Samera announced that ranged
combat would be getting a fix in Module 3 on 9/14/06, I said to anybody
who'd listen: "Here come the rangers. And the archer fighters. And
bards and rogues with bows. And sorcerers with crossbows." Just how
will the changes to ranged combat affect the builds we see in

The Case for Rangers

Rangers are not simple archers in DDO; they can kill in a lot of ways
thanks to the many combat Feats they get for free. But rangers are the
only class that get the Bow Strength Feat, which allows them to apply
their STR modifier to damage on all successful bow attacks. Until
Module 3, the way ranged firing worked made it too inefficient to take
advantage of the Bow Strength Feat. With that changed, I expect to see
several more drow and elf rangers running all about Stormreach. The DEX
bonuses to drow and elves make them solid choices for a build that will
rely on DEX to hit but STR to do damage.

The Case for Archer Fighters

Getting an extra Feat at Level 1 and each even level thereafter allows
fighters to build very specifically for a type of weapon. Archer
fighters are a semi-popular build in the table top Dungeons &
Dragons (D&D) experience. Not so in DDO because of the unreliable
method of ranged combat. With that fixed, I expect to see a few
fighters who eschew the standards of "meat shield" and "gladiator" for
the beauty of archery. Though drow and elf would again make good
choices, I suspect the extra Feat that comes from being a human will
make that the race of choice for archer fighters.

The Case for Bow Bards

Bards must prioritize Charisma to be effective casters since control
spells are their strongest weapon. With lighter armor and fewer hit
points than most other melees, bards are great back row warriors with a
handy bow. The bow would work well into the bard build scheme because
players could bulk up on DEX for extra armor and a better hit rate
without having to focus on STR for damage. Fewer Ability scores to
concentrate on would make for more optimized characters. I can see a
lot of bards going this way. The elf proficiency with longbows and
bonus to DEX make them a solid choice. The extra Feat of a Human would
allow for a bow-related Feat without taking away much from the casting
Feats a bard might select. But best of all for the bow bard, I believe,
is the drow. With bonuses to DEX and CHA plus the same proficiency with
longbows that elves get, drow bow bards would have a great setup from
Level 1.

The Case for Bow Rogues

Rogues gets a lot of mileage from several Ability scores. Intelligence
helps  rogues Disable Traps. Strength allows them to hit more
often and for more damage. DEX helps them Pick Locks and boost their AC
to compensate for low hit points. They need that AC, too, since their
Sneak Attacks can often draw the ire of monsters. With ranged fighting
a more viable option, rogues could get in a few melee Sneak Attacks
before switching to a bow for some damage from the safety of the rear
of the party. This would also allow rogues to devote fewer points to
STR. Since they already need a high DEX pool to pick locks, bow rogues
would be accurate. Just as with the bow bard, I feel that drow would
work best in this situation. The drow bonus to CHA could let rogues
land a few more Bluffs for Sneak Attack damage and would afford them a
higher degree of success with Diplomacy when things get out of hand.

I've had my say. What do you
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Which bow build appeals to you most?

  • Ranger for sure!
  • The archer fighter would rule.
  • Bow bards are great.
  • Bow rogues own!

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Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016