Priests and Magi
Expert Spell Casting in DDO
Using good tactics may be more
important for spell casters than any other classes. This is
because spell casters can affect the largest amount of targets at
once. A badly placed spell can turn an easy fight into a struggle
for survival for your whole party. However, a skillful spell
caster, backed by a party of adventurers who work well together, can
handle combat much more dangerous than normal.
Working with your Party
There is nothing more important than planning with your party and
explaining how your magic works. A good example of a spell that
requires careful planning between the caster and his party members is
Hypnotic Pattern. Hypnotic Pattern causes an effect to appear and stay
over an area for 15 seconds per
level. Whenever an enemy enters the
effect area, they must save or be hypnotized. Furthermore, if led
out of the area of effect, then back in, the enemy must save again. The
hypnotism lasts until it is broken by a player's attack.
Now, there are two ways this spell can be used. If not explained, then
it can be cast, your party can charge into it, they can attack all the
foes inside the effect at once, and it can provide no real benefit for
your party. If explained, then it can be cast, your party can attack
one foe at a time, if a person who is not a combatant is attacked, they
can lead foes out of and back into the affect, and so on. This
can reduce the risk to your party enormously.
Make sure to keep things as simple as possible, and try to use the same
tactics, as long as they are effective, when working with your
party. Even when using voice chat, when trying new ways of doing
things, complications and chaos can result in inefficient efforts.
Know how your Spells Work
There are many intricacies to spells in Dungeons and Dragons Online
(DDO). A good example is Hypnotism (and Hypnotic Pattern).
First and foremost, enchantments do not work on undead. Hypnotic
affects use will saves, so are less effective against spell casters and
in turn more effective against melee types. Furthermore, while under
the affect of hypnotism, as long as no damage is done to a target, one
can place other spells upon an enemy. For example, one can bestow
curse, use touch of idiocy, use ray of enfeeblement or anything that
does not cause damage upon a target without fear of them breaking out
of the hypnotism affect.
There are many spells that have unique qualities that a spell caster
should know. I suggest going into a lower level adventure once
you have leveled and testing your spells upon different types of
creatures (humanoids, giant kind (such as ogres), giant vermin, undead
and oozes) to test the limits of your spells in (relative)
safety. If you do choose to do this, make sure to bring spells
that are useful as backups, just in case. You don't want to incur
debt because you didn't use your defensive spells and have a web spell
or similar to hold off your opponents in case a spell doesn't work out
as you would want.
Plan your Spell Placement
Take a moment to consider spell placement before casting spells.
If placed properly, your spells will have the maximum affect on your
enemies. If placed poorly, you can actually increase the danger
to your party.
When looking into a room with a narrow entrance, does one place a web
on the far or near side of the
archway? The best place to place the
spell in this case is near to you, not on the far side of the
door. This is because you want your enemies to run out of the far
room and get stuck just outside the door of the room. This way
your fellow party members can stand out of sight from those in the far
room (so enemy archers and spell casters cannot target them), and
attack from the side of the held opponent, gaining flanking bonuses in
the process. Also, since enemies cannot run through each other,
this causes a traffic jam, preventing those enemies who are not
affected by your spells from running into the room until you have dealt
with your enemy's immobile friends.
If you place the web spell on the far side of the doorway, then
immobile enemies do not prevent access to where you are from the side,
and your party cannot attack them unless they enter the room.
This actually puts your party at greater risk than they should be.
With a little practice and consideration, you can place your spells
most effectively, and make your spell points go much further.
Again, understand the effects, limits and other factors in your spells
to best decide how to place your spells.
Spell Point Conservation
Spells that buff your party are very useful, but should be use with
care. For example, there is no need to use Cat's Grace on every
member of your party. You should think about how you want to apply your
spells with an eye toward providing the benefits to those who can use
them most, as well as to provide the greatest benefit overall to your
If you can reduce the chance of your party members getting hit in melee
you save spell point costs that would otherwise be expended on
healing. If you have a party member who repeatedly takes damage
because their armor class is low, consider putting Cat's Grace or
Shield of Faith upon them. Remember that your party members have limits
to how well dexterity can affect them, based upon the items and armor
Are your spells (or a fellow party member's) of the “save or die” type,
such as Hold Person? Or are they spells that cause half damage if saved
against? With the latter, it might not be necessary to have a
buff to your intelligence (or charisma, or wisdom) to increase the DCs
of your spells. After all, even if you do cause only half damage,
you're still causing damage.
When you rest at a shrine, first have your cleric heal everyone to full
hit points, except for those who are going to use the rest
shrine. Then have the clerics and casters wait until everyone
else has finished resting (if they are going to--you might want to save
the shrine for later), then use all the buffs that you want to on your
fellow party members. Finally, rest yourself. Now the party
members already have buffs on them, and you have a full spell point bar.
By using these techniques, your spells will be much more
effective. You will save spell points, your spells will work
better, and your party will be more survivable. By educating
yourself and your party, you will not only benefit your party and
yourself, but you will bring these lessons to other members of the DDO
community, and make the game better overall.