Equipment basics

If you’ve played DDO for more than an hour, you have probably already figured out most of the equipment slots and a lot of possibilities for what benefits you might get from equipping various items. But even if you’ve played for days, weeks or months, you might still be asking yourself and/or others, “Considering I have limited inventory and bank space, is this item worth keeping?”. So I thought I’d cover equipment as thoroughly as possible so that you can figure out such things for yourself as much as possible, and maybe mention some things long time players might not even know. But in case you are really new, we’ll start with the basics.

(Note : There are mentions of the loading screen tips. A list of them is available on the DDO Wiki at
http://ddowiki.com/page/Loading_screen_tips)

BASIC INVENTORY

inventory

The right side of your inventory has a picture of what you are currently wearing/have equipped. There is also a tab on the far right edge of a standing person. Below that is a tab of a scroll/list. Clicking on it allows you to see a list view of your inventory that can be searched, sorted, shown by category and filtered. (Items can be locked and unlocked as well as marked as trash. This is what can be filtered for). Equipped items will have a green check mark next to them. The standard double click will equip an item if it isn’t equipped, and invoke it (if possible) if it is already equipped, just like on the standard view of inventory.

The standard view (the tab with a person standing) has the 12 items you can wear positioned in a circle around an oval with a picture of a person standing. Clicking on this picture in the right spot will toggle whether your hat, goggles, or neither are shown on your avatar. If you have applied a cosmetic armor kit to the currently equipped armor, its appearance too can be toggled on and off.

Below what you are wearing are the four equipment boxes. From left to right they are Primary Weapon, Secondary Weapon or Shield, Quiver and Ammo (called Ammunition in the Auction House). If you are capable of using scrolls and wands, these have to be equipped to the primary weapon slot. Wands can be used by the standard attack method (mouse button or key), but scrolls have to be double clicked while equipped or from the shortcut bar. (Attacking with a scroll is just a standard unarmed attack). Two handed weapons (such as Quarterstaffs, Falchions, Great Axes, Great Clubs, Great Swords and Mauls) must be equipped to the primary weapon slot (called the main hand in the weapon description) and will clear the secondary weapon slot. This also applies for handwraps, bows and crossbows (even though the description just says main hand). A toon with at least two levels of Artificer can also have a runearm equipped in the “Off Hand” slot (i.e. Secondary Weapon slot) when they have a crossbow in their main one. Both runearms and shields can only be equipped in the off hand (whereas single handed weapons can be equipped in either hand).

If you are new to DDO, have finished the tutorial area on Korthos Island, and have made it to the Harbor in Stormreach, you can head to the north west area (upper right on the map) to the Hammer and Chain, to purchase your first quiver. Quivers work like special bags for ammunition (arrows or bolts). When a quiver is equipped it will automatically fill the Ammo slot with whatever type of ammo is in its top slot. When the currently equipped ammo runs out, the equipped quiver will auto-eject and equip a stack of ammo from its top slot, provided there is one (i.e. the quiver is not empty). You can rearrange the order of the ammo in the quiver by selecting a type and clicking on the up or down arrow on the right. The right arrow (located on the left side of an open quiver) is for taking selected ammo in inventory and placing it in the quiver if there is room. The left arrow will eject a stack of the selected ammo in the quiver out into the main inventory. If there is no ammo in the equipped quiver, loose ammo in inventory (but not in non-equipped quivers) will be automatically used as described in loading screen tip #159. Loose ammo may also be equipped via double click or shortcut bar (placing the previously equipped ammo into main inventory). Even if you do no have a bow or crossbow, you might consider buying a quiver, equipping it and checking the Auto Gather box so you can use it to save main inventory space when you loot arrows from chests.

In the lower left area of the main inventory view is the Weapons Sets area. You can use the Keymaping sub-menu in the Options menu to set up a way to cycle thru these. Otherwise you can drag a weapon set to a shortcut bar to allow you to switch your main hand and off hand all at once. The first weapon dragged into an empty set box will be for the main hand and the second will be the off hand. Dragging a set to most areas of the screen will clear it. Double clicking it will equip it and set the position for weapon set cycling (as will using a shortcut). When cycling, a contiguous sequence of empty boxes will be counted as just one empty box. If you select an empty box via shortcut or cycling, you will be empty handed (i.e. have nothing equipped in either hand).

CLICKIES
Items you can equip might be imbued with a few charges of a certain spell. If so, no matter what class your toon is, you can use the spell. Double clicking an equipped item or invoking it from the shortcut bar, will cast the spell on your current target. All normal considerations for a spell are taken into account, including who you can target (self, friend, enemy) and the level of the caster (which is listed in the item description and takes precedence even if your toon could cast the spell at a higher level). Remember that if you are using a shortcut and the item is not equipped, the shortcut will equip the item the first time you use it and you will have to use it again to invoke the spell (provided there are charges left on the item).

Almost all clickies are rechargeable. Looking at the description of an item with a clickie will reveal three numbers. They are the number of charges left, the maximum number of charges the item can hold, and the number of charges that will be recharged every “day”. It turns out that this day passes every time you rest at a rest shrine or every minute you are inside a tavern. While most items will fully recharge in one “day”, a few like Mantle of the Worldshaper, will only regain one charge per “day”.

EQUIPMENT MAGIC
With the introduction of Cannith Crafting in Update 9, it is now possible to make your own equipment. But even if you never do, a lot of the equipment you will acquire will follow some basic rules, that despite a few discrepancies, are the same ones used in Cannith Crafting. Named items can break some or all of these rules.

Every item has a Minimum Level (usually abbreviated ML) that your toon has to be in order to be able to use it. For most items, this is based on the amount of magic which is imbued in the item. When looking at an item’s description, a number with a plus sign (‘+’) will show up in the upper right hand corner. This is the amount of enchantment that is on the item. If the item is armor, a shield or a weapon, the standard formula is to subtract one from this number and multiply the result by two to get the ML for the item. Thus every even level of your toon’s progression, you will be able to use slightly more powerful armor, shields and weapons if you can find them. For accessories (things you wear, i.e. clothing and jewelry), it happens on odd number levels. The formula is to multiply by two first and then subtract one to get an accessory’s ML.

There are exceptions to this rule aside from named items (which will not show the enchantment plus in the upper right of the description). Occasionally an item is poorly made and may have a higher ML than the standard formula would set it at. An item might also be specially attuned to a particular race or races. This restriction might be bypassed if you have a high enough Use Magic Device skill, unless the item description lists the UMD as zero. Such an attunement often lowers the ML of the item by 2. Cannith Crafting is also an exception when it comes to armor, shields and weapons. (There is only one ML formula for all Cannith crafted items, the accessory one, and thus everything has an odd level ML. Cannith Crafting also has a non-racial Masterful Craftsmanship that lowers the ML of crafted items by 2).

There are different kinds of magic that can be imbued into items, and an item maybe imbued with more than one kind. Armor, shields and weapons can have a plus enhancement which add to the basic defensive or offensive capability of it.

Note : Masterwork is not magic and only adds a +1 to the attack capability of weapons, but not damage. For armor it only reduces the Armor Check Penalty by 1 without increasing your Armor Class.

IMBUED MAGICS AND DESIRABILITY

Other than the occasional clickie spell, most items will have either one or two other enchantments placed on them. For armor, shields and weapons these are usually an enhancement to provide defensive or offensive capabilities,  including  how powerful a spell you cast is. Accessory magic will mainly focus around boosting your stats (STR, DEX, CON, INT, WIS, CHA) or skills (Concentration, Jump, etc.). For Cannith Crafting and most randomly generated items, these magics are broken down into prefix and suffix magics, where only one of each can be imbued in an item. The terms prefix and suffix come from the fact that the magic will show in the item’s name before or after the item type. So you get Dextrous +1 Boots, Boots of Springing +3 (Jump), or a combination of both, Dextrous +2 Boots of Springing +7. If you have both a prefix and a suffix magic on an item, they both add to the ML. So items that only have a prefix or a suffix, but not both, are often more desirable as they will give your toon a greater boost at a lower level. The plus enhancement that increases the basic defensive or offensive capability of armor, shields or weapons, also adds to the ML. (Note : Thaumaturgy Quarterstaffs for spell casters appear to be a rule breaker for ML and prefix/suffix magic. But since they are two handed, they use up both main and off hand slots and thus can have twice the magic of a single handed weapon).

Skill modifiers for abilities only happen on even numbers from your stats, as do Hit points, Spell points and saves. So a +3 CON item that increases your total CON to 17, is not as good as a +2 CON item that has additonal magic that increases a desirable skill. Both will increase your Hit points the same amount since there’s no difference between a 16 CON and a 17 CON. Likewise a 17 DEX will not increase your Reflex Save anymore than a 16 DEX, and a 19 INT will yield no more Spell Points for a Wizard, or a better search skill for anyone, than an 18 INT. This is of course your total stat after all buffs are applied. Some guild ships may have +1 stat shrines, so a 17 CON before buffing becomes an 18 CON after buffing. (Note that an additional, odd point of STR will increase your carrying capacity, which may be an issue with low STR toons).

As with all things in DDO, if two things buff the same thing then they must be of a different type, or only the highest takes precedence, i.e. they do not stack (add up). Buffing is something, be it equipment, spell or whatever, that increases something desirable like attack, defense, spell power, hit points, stats, skills, elemental resistances, etc. Most equipment bonuses do NOT stack. Loading screen tip #153 warns that other armor bonuses don’t stack with the armor worn on your torso. Tip #157 describes how arrows/bolts interact with bows/crossbows. Tip #179 describes the general bonus stacking rule. An FAQ about stacking can be found in the Turbine Knowledgebase at http://support.turbine.com/link/portal/24001/24001/Article/469/How-do-effects-stack-in-DDO

As for weapons and armor, there is more complicated math involved in figuring out the trade offs between plus enhancements and other kinds of imbued magics, that is best left to a separate post, and can also be researched on the official DDO forums at http://www.ddo.com/en/community.

GENERALLY DESIRABLE

Depending on the class of toon you are playing and the build you are going for, there will be different stats, skills, etc. that you will give priority to when choosing equipment. But regardless of what class you play, certain types of magic are usually desirable if not essential to completing some quests.

Feather Fall : On Korthos Island, as end reward for the quest Redemption, where you find Lars Heyton and defend him from attack, you can select a cloak clickie with one charge of feather fall. There are some quests where the only way to get to the end is to fall straight down so far that no amount of Hit points or Tumble skill (to mitigate falling damage), will allow you to survive the landing. Bards, Wizards and Sorcerers can cast this spell on themselves and others. There are also clickies with more than one charge. But it is generally desirable to have an item that has Feather Fall as a permanent effect as long as you are wearing it. The most common occurrence of item is an ML 3 pair of boots, although by the enchantment rules it should be ML 1. (Note : Monks will improve their Slow Fall ability as they level until they perfect it at level 20, which prevents all falling damage).

Underwater Action : Unless you made a toon with veteran status 1 or 2 (i.e. started out as a level 4 or 7 toon), you ran through the Grotto and acquired a water breathing clickie ring. The spell is available to Clerics, Favored Souls, Druids, Wizards and Sorcerers to cast on themselves and others. Potions that give you this ability temporarily can be acquired in House Jorasco’s Feather’s Fall shop and can be consumed while you are underwater. (Also available at the Portable Hole which is reachable only by the Teleport and Greater Teleport spell). An equipped item with underwater action bestows this ability for as long as it is worn. There are quests with mandatory swims that are long enough you will run out of air no matter how high a swim skill you have, so you will have to be able to magically breathe water.

Constitution, False Life and Toughness : Having more hit points means you can survive in combat longer and take more punishment before dying. The speed at which you can be healed (or repaired if you are a Warforged) is limited. A powerful spell or critical hit could kill you in one shot with no chance to be healed/repaired. Every two points of Constitution you have will increase your hit points based on various factors which I won’t go into. False Life magic can give you 5, 10, 20, 30 or even 40 extra Hit points by wearing an item that has it permanently imbued in it. The first available one is the Rugged Belt, an end reward choice for The Storehouse’s Secret quest in Korthos Village. At level 13 and beyond, items may come available that have Toughness magic on them. This stacks with the other kinds of magic and gives you an additional 20 Hit points.

Fortification : Almost anything you can do, the enemy can do also. This includes critical hits, which causes the damage done to be multiplied  two to four times normal. Fortification gives you a chance to avoid taking the extra damage. Light fortification gives you a 25% that you will take the normal amount of damage instead of the critically multiplied value. Medium affords you a 75% chance, and heavy a 100% chance. However, just like you, enemies might have an ability to temporarily reduce or bypass a certain amount of your fortification and thus re-introduce the possibility of doing critical damage. At higher levels, there are items that will afford you an additional 10% or 25% fortification.

Deathblock : Some spells may result in instant death if you fail your savings throw. An item with deathblock will prevent instant death from these spells. You will however take damage from the spell. Deathward can be cast by level 7 Clerics, level 8 Favored Souls, and level 9 Druids. The spell not only blocks these death effects, but also prevents negative energy (but not untyped) damage completely. There are however beholders who not only have death effect spells, but anti-magic cones spewing from one of their eyes that can remove deathward. For encountering a beholder, deathblock is a must.

Striding : Both monks and barbarians get a 10% bonus to their basic movement speed. Not only can they get to an enemy caster before they have time to get another spell off, but they can stay ahead of some monster’s melee attacks when making a “strategic withdrawl”. There are even monsters in wilderness areas and some quests that when they get too far from their spawn point for more than a few seconds, snap back to it. So movement speed has lots of advantages besides getting from point A to point B a little faster. Striding magic will get you a 5% to 30% boost to your movement speed (available in 5% increments as you level up and can use higher level enchantment items). It is first available as an end reward for rescuing the mayor’s daughter on Korthos Island in the Sacrifices quest, in the form of Pathfinder’s Boots. Also available from that end reward list is a clickie for the Expeditious Retreat spell, on Anger’s Step, for a temporary 25% striding effect. This spell is castable on self only for Bards, Wizards and Sorcerers. Rangers and Druids have access to Longstrider spells that increase movement by 15%. Haste potions and spells also provide, among other things, a movement bonus. The second tier of favor from House Phiarlan will get you a Phiarlan Pendant of Time, which will “Warp Time” in public areas only, increasing movement by 50%. And sprint (at multiple levels of efficacy) is available as an enhancement action boost to the Barbarian and Ranger classes for an additional, temporary, stacking boost to movement speed anywhere.

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