A Newbie’s Guide to DDO: Part 3 – Skills, Feats, and Enhancements

Updated Wed, Apr 20, 2011 by jeffprime

dungeons and dragons online

Newbie's Guide to DDO
Part 1 - The Basics
Part 2 - Classes & Races
Part 3 - Skills, Feats, & Enhancements
Ah, welcome back, my friend! Sorry for not being here earlier, but last night’s adventure at Madame Rissa’s House of Unearthly Delights took a greater toll on me that I had expected. I, Prelixin, the greatest loremaster in the realm, am not quite as young as I used to be. Well, let us continue delving deeper into the world of Eberron, the setting for Dungeons and Dragons Online, and I will further illuminate your mind with knowledge of how and why things work they do.

In our first meeting, we discussed the method that the gods chose to see if you succeed or not in your endeavors (die rolls), the ability scores, and saving throws. Our second talk revolved around the various classes and races that you can choose to play in DDO. Now let us turn our attention to those vital abilities that will, if chosen and used correctly, make you an even greater hero that will live in legends: skills, feats, and enhancements.


There at 20 skills that a player has to choose from in DDO. Which skills are best for you? That really depends upon your class and the role you intend taking within a group. As stated in our last discussion, you gain a number of skill points every level based upon your class and your Intelligence modifier. Certain skills are Class Skills depending upon your class. All other skills are Cross-Class Skills. With Class Skills, every point that you spend in a skill gives you one rank in that skill.

Let us say that you are playing a Rogue, and Rogues have Search as a Class Skill. If you spend 2 skill points in Search, you will gain 2 ranks. However, if you are playing a Fighter, Search is not a Class Skill, but a Cross-Class Skill. If you spend points into a Cross-Class Skill, you only gain half a rank per skill point spent. So, if you spend 1 point into Search (let us say you already have 2 ranks in Search), then your Search would be 2.5, which really counts as 2. You would have to spend 2 points to get a full rank in Search.

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The difference between a class skill and a cross-class skill when spending skill points.

A skill being a Class Skill or a Cross-Class Skill also affects the maximum ranks you can have in that skill. A Class Skill can have a maximum rank of (3 + character level). So, a 10th level Rogue can have a max Search of 13 (3 + character level of 10). The max rank of a Cross-Class Skill is (3 + character level)/2. Thus, a 10th level Fighter’s max Search would be 6 [(3 + character level of 10)/2 = 6.5 = 6 ranks]. What if I take a level of Rogue and I’m a Fighter, you ask? That’s a good question, my friend, and here it the answer. If you take a level in a different class such as Rogue, you can get a maximum number of ranks in the new class’ Class Skills as if you were a pure Rogue. Thus, if you were a 9th level Fighter/1st level Rogue, your max ranks in Search would be 13 (3 + character level of 10).

The one caveat is that when you level up, your Class Skills and Cross-Class Skills depend upon what class you are using to level up at that time. Let us say that our hypothetical 10th level Fighter/1st level Rogue gains enough experience to hit level 11, and they choose to take another level of Fighter. If they spend skill points in Search, they only gain a half-rank per point spent as that Search is still a Cross-Class Skill for Fighters. Their max ranks possible for Search would still be 14 (3 + character level of 11) because they took a level of Rogue, but it would cost more skill points to increase ranks in Search as opposed to leveling as a Rogue.

Every skill has an ability that modifies it. Let us continue to use Search as an example. Search is modified by Intelligence. Let us say that our Fighter/Rogue has an Intelligence of 14, which gives us a modifier of +2. If we have 10 ranks in Search, then our total bonus for the Search skill would be +12 (10 for the ranks + 2 for the Intelligence modifier). In addition to ability modifiers, skills can also be modified by gear, spells, enhancements, and feats. The higher the overall bonus, the better you are with a skill.

We will now look at the skills and I will explain what the skills do, what ability score modifies it, and whether the skill is passive (it is always working) or active (you have to click on the skill in your hotbar to activate it). In addition, I will use my considerable expertise from my many travels to tell you whether a skill is useful or not.

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An example of some Rogue skills. Probably way too much Diplomacy.

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