The Art of Multiclassing
Making a multi-class character requires careful planning. The reasons
for this are two- fold. First, certain classes are more effective in
combination than others because their primary ability scores are
complementary, and it's a good idea to pick a class combination that
has abilities that blend well together. Second, skill points
gained for classes, class features, and saving throws increase
differently for various classes. You'll want to take this into
consideration and plan for it appropriately.
There are basic guidelines for multi-classing one's character. There
are times where breaking these guidelines are okay, but generally they
will hold true from build to build. Breaking the guidelines
merits a close look at the benefits gained.
First, look at the primary ability scores of each class. For
example, fighters, barbarians and rangers all share strength,
constitution and dexterity as important ability scores for their
classes. Bards, paladins and sorcerers all use charisma as
important abilities scores for their class features and skills.
Therefore, if you made, for example, a sorcerer/paladin multi-class,
points in charisma would be more efficient.
By the same token, wisdom is not a primary ability of fighting classes,
so a cleric and fighter combination would be less wise regarding the
blend of their ability scores. This doesn't necessarily rule out
cleric/fighter multi-classes, but it is will make them less efficient
than a better class combination in this regard.
Second, look at the class features of each class. Fighters gain a
bonus feat at level one, and then every even level after that. So
the best time to change from fighter to another class is after an even
Another time to look at class features is when they are diluted by
lower levels. A multi-classed cleric loses a lot of effectiveness
in his turning ability in comparison to the hit dice of the undead he
meets as he gains in levels. After a couple levels of
multi-classing in another class, a cleric will no longer be able to
turn undead, and effectively loses turning ability. However, a
ranger's bow strength ability, gained at level 1, is not diluted by
multi-classing into another class.
A class feature that needs a closer look is
spell-casting ability. Because higher level spells are so much
more powerful, the benefits of multi-classing from a spell-casting
class into another class need to be examined very closely. For
example, a wizard gains fifth level spells at level 9. So, with
the present 10 level limit in Dungeons and Dragons Online (DDO), 2
levels of another class will be at the cost of the most powerful spells
a wizard can cast. This benefit is sometimes worth it, but only
in rare circumstances.
It should be noted that a few levels of a spell-casting class can be
worth it when the benefit of being able to use that class's magical
devices, such as wands and so on, is taken into account. If level
limits in magic items prevent this from happening--for example, a
person with 3 levels of wizard not being able to use wands of third
level spells--then this will be less of a benefit. An example of
when this is still useful is a fighter with a single level of cleric.
Wands of cure light wounds are not particularly expensive, but provide
a lot of healing when in a pinch.
Third on one's list of items to look at are base attack bonuses and
saving throws. There are certain levels when taking a level of a
class is less useful because one does not get a save or base attack
bonus. A rogue does not gain a base attack bonus at levels 1, 5, and 9,
so the best time to switch out of a rogue class is before or after
levels 5 or 9. A wizard does not gain saving throws at levels 5
or 7, so it is better to switch class from wizard at levels 1-4, 6 or
after 7, when considering saving throws.
Fourth, it is best to take the class with the highest skill bonus as
one's first class. This is because you receive four times the number of
skill points at level 1 than at other levels. So a rogue/wizard
receives 32 skill points (before bonuses) if rogue is taken at
character level 1, while if wizard was taken at character level 1, the
character would receive 8 skill points (before bonuses).
Fifth, and finally, make sure that the purpose of a character design is
not better met with a different multi-class combination or simply a
By examining all these factors when making a class, you can better
design a multi-class combination that is not only effective, but can
fulfill a unique roll in DDO. In addition, multi-classing can
allow one to role-play a character better, since your class combination
can better fit the background that you envision for you character.