Who Favored My What Now?
A Ranger's Guide to Favored Enemy
Favored Enemy is arguably one of the best benefits of the
class in Dungeons & Dragons Online, but it can become worthless
with the wrong choices. Until the level cap reaches 15, the Favored
Enemy choice is made even more important by the fact that you will only
be able to choose three different enemy types.
In this guide, I will examine each of the Favored Enemy choices, how
they fit into your DDO
Build, their versatility, usefulness, as well as the viability of a
ranger designed to “hunt” a particular enemy in DDO. I will also
examine the Favored Enemy Enhancements and how all of those things fit
in with the many types of rangers.
Choosing Your Favored Enemies
When choosing your Favored Enemies, there are many things to consider.
First of all, remember that the first Favored Enemy that you choose
will begin as a +2 damage bonus against that enemy and rise to a +4
when you choose your second--and rise further to a +6 when you choose
your third! The second Favored Enemy you choose will rise to a +4 when
you choose your third. Some may find it worthwhile to choose a
difficult enemy first, even if that monster is rarely encountered at
low levels, simply to maximize their effectiveness against this
opponent in higher levels.
The second point to consider is the commonality of the monster type you
select in the DDO world. A ranger who chooses Plant as a Favored Enemy
will find this ability never comes in handy due to the lack of plants
as enemies, whereas one who chooses Giant or Undead will never find a
shortage of nemeses throughout their career.
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The third point to consider is the level curve of encountering a chosen
creature type. A ranger who chooses creature types that are popular
throughout the level curve will be much happier with their choices than
one whose first chosen enemy becomes valueless after Level four. One
example of the choice that starts good only to wane is Goblinoid. While
this enemy choice will serve you well for the first few levels, it will
become outdated by the time you’ve selected your second enemy. Your
Goblinoid bonuses will rise but rarely get used. This will become even
more outdated by the time your bonus reaches +6. Selections such as
Giant or Elemental will serve you well from Level one all the way to
Level ten and beyond.
This all might seem a little overwhelming. Heck, it was overwhelming to
form my thoughts on the issue into a readable guide! In the interest of
making things a little easier to read, I have included a breakdown of
each offered Favored Enemy category, its pros and cons, and a 1-5
rating of its usefulness--1 being the crap of the crop, and 5 being the
crème of the crop.
Breaking It Down
Pen and Paper (PnP) Creature List: Aboleth, Athach, Beholder, Carrion
Crawler, Choker, Chull, Cloaker, Delver, Destrachan, Drider, Ethereal
Filcher, Ettercap, Gibbering Mouther, Grick, Mimic, Mind Flayer, Nagas,
Otyugh, Rust Monster, Skum, Umber Hulk, Will-O’-Wisp
DDO Creature List: Drow Scorpion, Rust Monster, Beholder, Mind Flayer
Comments: This one’s got some of the toughest and most feared monsters.
It favors the higher curve so a Level 10 choice would be best, and
level 5 a bit proactive. This is a must have.
PnP Creature List: Animal type creatures without any magical
properties, and Dire Animals
DDO Creature List: Dog, Wolf
Comments: At this stage of the game there are very few animals in DDO.
It can be deceiving because many creatures that would appear to be
animals may in fact be Magical Beasts, such as many of the wolf types,
worgs, winter (frost) wolves etc. A choice of animal basically leaves
you with Dogs and not much more unless they add more in Module 3.
PnP Creature List: Animated Objects, Golems, Homunculus, Retriever,
DDO Creature List: Iron Defender, Iron Golem, Flesh Golem, The Guardian
of STK, Marut Inevitable
Comments: In PnP, rangers are denied the damage bonus portion of their
favored enemy to creatures that are immune to critical hits. In DDO
it’s all about the damage bonus so Turbine has wisely chosen to bypass
this ruling, making this one a viable option. Although constructs are
not entirely common, they are some of the tougher opponents in the
game, and the list includes at least two formidable boss monsters. This
is certainly not the best choice in early levels unless you want a
higher bonus later, but I’d say it’s justifiable to take as a level 5
or 10 choice.
**BREAKING NEWS** While
writing this guide, I have learned that Module 3 considers warforged
opponents to be of the Construct family! This has huge implications for
many enemies and player-vs-player combat.
PnP Creature List: Dragons, Dragon Turtle, Half Dragon,
DDO Creature List: Velah, the Ancient Red Dragon
Comments: At this time, the infamous Velah is the only Dragon type in
the game. Unless Wyverns are added soon, I don’t see this changing for
a while. If you want to pick a Favored Enemy just for the dragon raid,
that’s your business, but I recommend against it.
PnP Creature List: Belker, Air Elementals, Invisible Stalker, Earth
Elementals, Thoqqua, Fire Elementals, Magmin, Water Elementals
DDO Creature List: Anything with Elemental in the name. Quite a few
named exist, both as optional and bosses.
Comments: These are quite common in adventures level 4 and up, and in
the later levels they can be quite powerful. Earth Elementals appear to
be most common, but Fire Elementals can be the most dangerous. This
covers a great range of the level scale from 4 up.
PnP Creature List: Ettin, Giant, Ogre, Troll
DDO Creature List: Giant, Ogre, Troll
Comments: This is one of my must-haves, even a great Level one
choice. When are you not fighting these guys? This one has the best of
the level curves, keeping you knee deep in Favored Enemies to fight
from the time you sprout up from the ground, until you are old and gray
and just LOOK like you have Barkskin on. Commonality of creatures is
high, including optional and boss named monsters. With this one you
can’t go wrong at all.
PnP Creature List: Humans, Elves, Halflings, Dwarves
DDO Creature List: Humans, Elves (Including Drow), Dwarves (Including
Duergar), Halflings, Anything with these included in the name belong to
its respective category.
Comments: Although common as a whole, having to choose only one at each
Favored Enemy selection cheapens their usefulness. If you really want
one or two of these for PvP reasons, I’d suggest Elf, or Dwarf due to
the fact that they cover Drow and Duergar as well. Another good point
for these is that you will encounter these types of Humanoids through
all of the level curve.
PnP Creature List: Bugbear, Gnoll, Hobgoblin, Locanthah, Merfolk,
DDO Creature List: Bugbear, Goblin, Gnoll (in Module 3), Hobgoblin
Comments: Very common in the lower end of the level curve, not so much
later on. This selection will degrade in its value very quickly after
level six or so. It has recently been announced that Gnolls will not
fall into this category as they will have their own Favored Enemy
choice added with Module 3.
PnP Creature List: Basilisk, Kobold, Lizardfolk, Troglodyte
DDO Creature List: Kobold, Troglodyte
Comments: Although common in low levels, their fast drop off and low
difficulty even with outrageous CRs makes this one pretty worthless.
It might be tempting to take for first level but resist!
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PnP Creature List: Abyssal Dire Rat, Basilisk, Blink Dog,
Celestial Lion, Chimera, Cockatrice, Darkmantle, Digester, Displacer
Beast, Dragonne, Ethereal Marauder, Frost Worm, Giant Eagle, Giant Owl,
Gorgon, Kraken, Krenshar, Lamia, Lammasu, Manticore, Pegasus, Phase
Spider, Remorhaz, Roper, Shocker Lizard, Sphinx, Spider Eater,
Tarrasque, Unicorn, Winter Wolf, Worg, Yrthak
DDO Creature List: Winter (Frost) Wolf, Worg
Comments: There aren’t many of these and the ones there are seem
focused on the middle of the level curve. Not such a good choice unless
you are hoping that Turbine starts expanding the list towards the
rather wide PnP selection.
PnP Creature List: Centaur, Grimlock, Hag, Harpy, Kuo-Toa,
Medusa, Minotaur, Yuan-ti
DDO Creature List: Minotaur, Gargoyle
Comments: It’s not worth it to take this one just for Minotaurs
and Gargoyles, however common they are. I would hope that eventually
the classic Medusa and Yuan-ti will be added into the game, but who
knows when--or more importantly, if--this
PnP Creature List: Black Pudding, Gelatinous Cube, Gray Ooze,
DDO Creature List: Black Pudding, Gray Ooze, Ochre Jelly, Violet Slime
Comments: Well, there is certainly no shortage of these guys, but
have to ask yourself if it’s worth it to take something that is so
PnP Creature List:
- Chaotic: Chaos Beast, Demons, Ghaele, Half
Celestial, Djinni, Howler, Lillend, Slaadi, Titan
- Lawful: Achaierai,
Archon, Azer, Barghest, Couatl, Devil, Formians, Efreeti, Half Fiend,
Hell Hound, Rakshasa, Xill
DDO Creature List: See Comments
Comments: There is a lot of contention on what belongs to what
alignment here. Mephits appear to be tagged as either/or, depending on
type. Efreeti and Djinni are coming in Mod 3, and it is unknown how
will be tagged. Renders/Reavers/Flensers seem to take no damage from
the Chaos/Law axis weapons. Basically, anything in here is most likely
Evil, so that will not only blanket almost every outsider, but anything
that would fall under both of these. Take Outsider (Evil) long before
you even blink at this one.
PnP Creature List: Achaierai, Barghes, Demon, Devil, Efreeti,
Half-Fiend, Hell Hound, Howler, Night Hag, Nightmare, Rakshasa, Shadow
Mastiff, Vargouille, Xill, Yeth Hound
DDO Creature List: Flesh Render, Ice Flenser, Fire Reaver, Hell Hound,
Thaarak Hound. It is possible that Mephits fall under this category as
well, or at least some of them. I am unable to collect sufficient data
on this at this time.
Comments: Another of my staples. These are toward the high end of the
level curve, so even taking it at level 5 would be proactive, but it’s
not one to ignore. This group also includes some of the most difficult
in the game to date. Renders on Elite? *SHIVER*
PnP Creature List: Assassin Vine, Fungus, Phantom Fungus,
Shambling Mound, Tendriculos, Treant
DDO Creature List: NOTHING!
Comments: That’s as far as I’m taking this one. I don’t even know
why it was included in the game.
PnP Creature List: Allip, Bodak, Devourer, Ghast, Ghost, Ghoul,
Mohrg, Mummy, Nightshade, Shadow, Skeleton, Spectre, Vampire, Vampire
Spawn, Wight, Wraith, Zombie
DDO Creature List: Ghast, Ghoul, Mummy, Skeleton (including Blackbones,
Arcanes and plenty others), Spectre, Vampire, Wight (again, several
types), Wraith, Zombie (more subtypes here)
Comments: Absolutely a must have. They are everywhere at all
and likely always will be. Not only that, but they can be hard as all
get out! Blackbones have outrageous amounts of hit points, and some of
the named undead out there are just nuts. Every bit of extra damage
counts against the Vampire Boss of The Church and the Cult.
PnP Creature List: Basically any insect, bug, creepy-crawly and
DDO Creature List: Spiders of all types, Scorpions of all types
Comments: These guys are wide spread and you are likely to see them
through most of the level curve. The problem comes at higher
difficulties when they have a hugely elevated armor class. Unless you
are using the Favored Attack enhancement, Fighter Action Boost or other
attack bonus enhancing options, you may never get to hit one often
enough to notice your extra damage.
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Your Favored Enemy
Many people believe that Ranger Action Boost does not hold up compared
to the version available to fighters or rogues. The Energy Resist is
nominal, the Speed Boost can be made up for with items, and the Skill
Boost is not as useful without href="http://ddo.tentonhammer.com/index.php?module=ContentExpress&func=display&ceid=144">rogue
levels. Unless you are using several ability Enhancements or racial
enhancements, the Favored Enemy options are a great way to make up for
any shortcomings. Also, some gamers believe an extra +1 to damage, to
hit, or to armor class is insignificant. While that argument may have
some merit, the fact is that as these Enhancements rise, so does their
usefulness. Also, if one of your Favored Enemies regularly has
spell caster types or powerful abilities that require saves, Favored
Resistance can save your life.
My level 8 Ranger uses Ranger's Dexterity III, Energy of the Wild IV,
Favored Defense III, and Favored Attack II. These Enhancements can also
help in the way they stack. An 8th level dwarf ranger with Favored
Enemy: Giant, Giant Dodger, and Favored Defense III will have a
whopping +11 to armor class against Giants. These Enhancements are a
no-brainer in the case of a full ranger. Multi-classes will have to
think a bit harder on the choice of Enhancements. Fighter's Action
Boost is certainly more versatile than the Favored Enemy Enhancements,
and Rogue's Action Boost is essential to someone with rogue levels who
wants to keep up with disabling traps. Spell casters have far superior
selections as well. For a multi-class, Favored Defense, and Favored
Attack are worth a look.
What About My Build?
All this information is great for someone who plays an all out ranger,
but most people seem to use it as a multi-class. How does all this fit
in with a rogue/ranger, a fighter/ranger, or even a wizard/ranger? Most
importantly, you will have less Favored Enemies, making your choices
all the more critical. In this case, it may also be best to focus on a
choice that will serve the entire level curve, and the future of higher
level caps. Someone who focuses in melee or archery combat may still
find the advantages offered by increased damage or attack bonus
Enhancements fit in for them. However, spell casters might want to
leave these behind and be better served by Favored Defense or Favored
A popular choice of ranger type in PnP has always been the "Hunter,"
someone who focuses on combat with specific types of creatures and
their kin. Although this is very possible in DDO, Turbine has made it
difficult by mingling creature types sporadically at best. At times
there seems to be no rhyme or reason to the veritable menagerie of
monsters tossed into a quest or adventure area.
The solution to the weird mix of creatures in DDO is research,
research, research! Decide what your favorite quests or adventure areas
are and work from there. Pick a Favored Enemy to focus on that you will
fight a lot. Your best bet is to go with something that will have a
wide level curve. Giant or Undead come to mind. Select that Enemy
first, (so it gets your highest bonuses) and then try and branch out to
creatures commonly seen in their company for your other choices. Some
common pairings that I have seen are Aberration and Outsider, Undead
and Vermin, or Goblinoid and Reptilian. Hunting a single creature type
probably isn’t as feasible as hunting groups that chum around together.
Things to Remember
Choose wisely. Character re-specs are coming, but it appears from
testing that they will be costly. You don’t want to reach Level 10 or
12 and suddenly find that you shouldn’t have taken Goblinoid, Human and
Lawful Outsider. Your first chosen enemy will always be the one you
will be most effective against. It might be worth it to sacrifice it
and choose something that will be more common later on. Someone who
picks Evil Outsider at level one will have Flesh Renders running in
terror by the time they are level 10. Enhancements have a bad rap. Some
of them sound a lot better than they are. It took me weeks to persuade
one of my guild mates that there are much better choices than Critical
Accuracy. To prove it, I had to explain how the mechanic worked. He
dumped it as soon as he understood. The Favored Enemy Enhancements give
direct bonuses to Damage, Armor Class, Attacks, and Saves and that is
NOT something to shake a wand at. Rangers can kick some proverbial
butt, but it’s easy to mess them up. Be smart and you’ll enjoy your
ranger for a long time to come.
Favored Enemies do you select?
Tell us in our forums!
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