Essentials or O-Ranger?

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So, I've been told that Essentials classes are "simplified" in order to be easy to pick up and play. I've played a few sessions as a ranger, and a few as a scout, and they both seem pretty spiffy to me. Granted, I chose basically the same Utilities (Invigorating Stride, Death Threat, etc.) but I dunno. It may have been variations in the enemies or the campaigns that skewed my perception of how much dpr I was putting out, but I was pretty much downing an enemy every round.

So my question is, assuming I am constrained to a race with only a Dexterity bonus, which class would be surperior in terms of damage and survivability: Scout, or Ranger? If it helps your input at all, the campaign is from levels 1-10.

Is it worth a feat grabbing a spiked chain double-weapon this early in an adventuring career, btw? Or would rapier+shortsword (for Scout) or a pair of nice versatiles for a Ranger be more effective?
I'm certainly no char-op master, but I would be inclined to believe that Scout is a hair better in the long run, especially if you've got a leader that can grant tons of MBAs. Plus they're a bit easier to optimize. (Does this make my MBA better? If yes, then its good. If not, then no. Of course there's more to it then that, but you get the idea.) I mean neither are slouches, and they're both terrifying in their own right, but ya know.

/2cp 
If you are just playing from 1-10 a Scout is fine. Anything past that and the ranger easily overshadows it. Also from my experience I would say the spiked chain is a bit better for scout. Ranger it losses a bit of luster (IMO) over dual rapiers.
Neither the ranger nor the scout really cares at all about wisdom as a secondary score, so really the question is whether you plan on going melee or ranged as a regular ranger.  And even then, a melee o-ranger doesn't care much about dex either (beyond AC/init purposes), so while not having a racial str bump is sub-optimal, it isn't catastrophic.  

The scout or a ranged ranger can (and should) start with a post-racial 20 dex, because it brings them everything they need - defenses, accuracy, damage, and initiative.  

both, built properly, will do similar amounts of damage.  neither is particularly hard to build - the o-ranger just takes multiattacks and off-action attacks, while the scout has no real choice in the matter.  if you don't want to spend any significant time optimizing, the scout is certainly easier.

at high levels, weapon dice are pretty meaningless, but at low heroic, they're more important than they will ever be again.  spiked chain as a double-weapon light blade/flail gets a tremendous amount of feat support and is hugely accurate, but you of course suffer simulaneously from not having access to fighter feats (and utility poaching!) if you spend your MC feat that way.  Even at low heroic, you should treat +1 to attack as roughly +2-3 to damage in terms of importance, and weigh weapon/feat options accordingly. 
@Nirafelos: I should have clarified, I meant Two-Blade ranger, no bows unless I need to put the ranged hurt on something...but even then, wouldn't I get more mileage out of a thrown weapon (based on whether I go with light blade or axe expertise)?

But I'm still lost here :I

Would a two-blade o-ranger without a strength bump be able to compete with a scout in Heroic? Would dual-wielding two full-sized weapons and legit twin-strike match up to a dex-boosted scout round for round? Would having dex bumps make me more defensive if I chose o-ranger? Would it be better to go for accuraccy in swords or damage in axes, should I go o-ranger?

That's the kind of stuff I'd like to know xD which of the two is going to allow me to completely smash something every round.

@Erachima: Is the difference between scout and ranger in Heroic really that noticeable o.o? Also, gods above, that avitar is creepy.
The dex bump and heroic tier setting make me think scout would be the best fit here.  The only real downside is that you're pretty much on rails for your career - not a lot of choices to make.  If that doesn't bother you, go Scout.

I'd only hesitate to go spiked chain due to it taking your MC slot.  Try building your character out to 10 with a fighter MC (or another that you think might be good) and see what you get out of it.  If you're not impressed, go with the chain.
Nothing will let you smash standard mobs every round, at least nothing that works in heroic and isn't ludicrously cheesy.

The answer to your questions really rely on a lot of other factors, and (no offense!) the fact that you don't understand those factors means you'd probably have better results with a scout.

The scout will offer you +2 to hit, +1 to damage (assuming 18 STR vs 20 DEX to start), and at least +2 to AC (assuming the same).

Try and focus as much as you can on charging. Aspect of the Charging Ram is +2 damage, prones, and prevents you from provoking OAs. A horned helm (level 6, uncommon) adds 1d6 damage to all charges. The Vanguard Weapon enchant (level 3+, uncommon) adds 1d8 damage to all charges. There's some feats that add small bits as well, but they're all pretty marginal. Two-handed weapon expertise adds +1 damage to charges, whereas light blade expertise adds +1 damage if you have CA. Each is guaranteed to apply to one half of a charge+dual attack, since you prone on a successful charge, so Light Blade Expertise probably wins since you will often have CA for other reasons (such as allies or the Cunning Stalker feat). Nimble Blade gets you an additional +1 to attack when you have CA.

So, if you went scout, get these items:
Vanguard Spiked Chain
Horned Helm
Iron Armbands of Power
Gauntlets of Blood

And this would be my feat order:
Spiked Blade Training
Light Blade Expertise
Weapon Focus
Cunning Stalker
Superior Will
Nimble Blade

Take whichever other aspects appeal to you (dancing serpent, lurking spider, pack wolf, and regal lion are all fantastic), but take charging ram at 1.

Your standard MO should probably be to charge/DWA a new target every round, and let the rest of your party finish targets off. If you AP, charge a different target.

At level 10, assuming a +2 weapon, your charge attack would end up at +18 (+21 with CA) vs AC, 2d4+1d8+1d6+12 damage (+1 with CA, +2 vs bloodied), and DWA would be +20 vs AC, 2d4+13 (15 vs bloodied).
Yes it's definitely possible at level one, he just shouldn't expect it, and shouldn't be disappointed when things don't fall over instantly. Going the axe/headsman's chop route is perfectly viable through heroic.
Nothing will let you smash standard mobs every round, at least nothing that works in heroic and isn't ludicrously cheesy.



Headsman's Chop says hello. Charge for 1d10+1d8+DEX+3, followup for 1d8+DEX+8, roll above average, and --oh look!-- it's dead. 32-40 average HP vs. a 24-47 damage range means you can indeed drop a standard a round if you roll well. And that's picking an EXTREMELY low boundary for "cheesy". Do a fully tweaked build and you should be able to kill or almost kill a standard each round from about level 1 to level 4, after which things finally start normalizing.

If everything hit's, yes.


OP: I think scout would be best for you, and for levels 1-10.  A human one, 20 Dex, and heroic effort.

guides
List of no-action attacks.
Dynamic vs Static Bonuses
Phalanx tactics and builds
Crivens! A Pictsies Guide Good
Power
s to intentionally miss with
Mr. Cellophane: How to be unnoticed
Way's to fire around corners
Crits: what their really worth
Retroactive bonus vs Static bonus.
Runepriest handbook & discussion thread
Holy Symbols to hang around your neck
Ways to Gain or Downgrade Actions
List of bonuses to saving throws
The Ghost with the Most (revenant handbook)
my builds
F-111 Interdictor Long (200+ squares) distance ally teleporter. With some warlord stuff. Broken in a plot way, not a power way.

Thought Switch Higher level build that grants upto 14 attacks on turn 1. If your allies play along, it's broken.

Elven Critters Crit op with crit generation. 5 of these will end anything. Broken.

King Fisher Optimized net user.  Moderate.

Boominator Fun catch-22 booming blade build with either strong or completely broken damage depending on your reading.

Very Distracting Warlock Lot's of dazing and major penalties to hit. Overpowered.

Pocket Protector Pixie Stealth Knight. Maximizing the defender's aura by being in an ally's/enemy's square.

Yakuza NinjIntimiAdin: Perma-stealth Striker that offers a little protection for ally's, and can intimidate bloodied enemies. Very Strong.

Chargeburgler with cheese Ranged attacks at the end of a charge along with perma-stealth. Solid, could be overpowered if tweaked.

Void Defender Defends giving a penalty to hit anyone but him, then removing himself from play. Can get somewhat broken in epic.

Scry and Die Attacking from around corners, while staying hidden. Moderate to broken, depending on the situation.

Skimisher Fly in, attack, and fly away. Also prevents enemies from coming close. Moderate to Broken depending on the enemy, but shouldn't make the game un-fun, as the rest of your team is at risk, and you have enough weaknesses.

Indestructible Simply won't die, even if you sleep though combat.  One of THE most abusive character in 4e.

Sir Robin (Bravely Charge Away) He automatically slows and pushes an enemy (5 squares), while charging away. Hard to rate it's power level, since it's terrain dependent.

Death's Gatekeeper A fun twist on a healic, making your party "unkillable". Overpowered to Broken, but shouldn't actually make the game un-fun, just TPK proof.

Death's Gatekeeper mk2, (Stealth Edition) Make your party "unkillable", and you hidden, while doing solid damage. Stronger then the above, but also easier for a DM to shut down. Broken, until your DM get's enough of it.

Domination and Death Dominate everything then kill them quickly. Only works @ 30, but is broken multiple ways.

Battlemind Mc Prone-Daze Protecting your allies by keeping enemies away. Quite powerful.

The Retaliator Getting hit deals more damage to the enemy then you receive yourself, and you can take plenty of hits. Heavy item dependency, Broken.

Dead Kobold Transit Teleports 98 squares a turn, and can bring someone along for the ride. Not fully built, so i can't judge the power.

Psilent Guardian Protect your allies, while being invisible. Overpowered, possibly broken.

Rune of Vengance Do lot's of damage while boosting your teams. Strong to slightly overpowered.

Charedent BarrageA charging ardent. Fine in a normal team, overpowered if there are 2 together, and easily broken in teams of 5.

Super Knight A tough, sticky, high damage knight. Strong.

Super Duper Knight Basically the same as super knight with items, making it far more broken.

Mora, the unkillable avenger Solid damage, while being neigh indestuctable. Overpowered, but not broken.

Swordburst Maximus At-Will Close Burst 3 that slide and prones. Protects allies with off actions. Strong, possibly over powered with the right party.

I had a ton of fun in a one shot with a human scout (headman's chop) who took throw and stab and used a dwarven double axe. Every turn choose to charge or throw or stab, tremendous mobility (why yes, I can attack that stuff 19 squares away), and if something is already prone is kinda blenders a bit. 

Anyhow, I agree with the above posters: Scout in heroic is a solid decision, particularly on the low range of the levels. Rangers are more paragon and epic damage beasts.
Keith Richmond Living Forgotten Realms Epic Writing Director
Whoa, whoa, um. Guys xD when I said "smash", I just meant great striker-level damage per round. Although dropping mobs is awesome, I don't really expect to do that all on my own 100% of the time. But this is all great stuff!

One more question on this topic: What would a Hunter Ranger (not going paragon so no Battlefield Archer :c) bring to the table in comparison to my Headsmans Chop Scout?
You'll need to clarify.  In their infinite wisdom, WotC published an Essentials Hunter build that's basically a controller version of the Ranger, not to be confused with the Hunter build of the original Ranger.

I assume you mean the ranged o-Ranger, in which case you can do like scout and dump 20 into dex.  These guys still hit hard, but not as hard as the scout would.  The biggest difference is playstyle really.  In some cases, you may never move the whole encounter, although selective quarrying and prime shot still motivate you to be mobile.  But in a lot of cases it consists of standing where you are and twin striking, round after round.  Not the most exciting build to play IMO.
Ah, yeah, sorry 'bout that. Yes, I meant the O-Ranger Hunter-Style bow user...but sitting in one square spamming is not my idea of fun.

Is there any way to give a Scout ranger at-wills, by the way? 
So, I've been told that Essentials classes are "simplified" in order to be easy to pick up and play. I've played a few sessions as a ranger, and a few as a scout, and they both seem pretty spiffy to me. Granted, I chose basically the same Utilities (Invigorating Stride, Death Threat, etc.) but I dunno. It may have been variations in the enemies or the campaigns that skewed my perception of how much dpr I was putting out, but I was pretty much downing an enemy every round.

I've read a lot about how Essentials martial classes are supposed to be easier to pick up and play, but having been alongside several of them now I quite frankly don't see it.

They are easier to BUILD. No argument there.

But if the intent was to save newbies from the strain of character-building, they could have just released a collection of prebuilt characters. And that wouldn't have created some of the absurd synergies.

(Human Scout, racial option for an extra at-will power, use that option to grab "Throw and Stab". Combine that with "Aspect of the Cunning Fox" or "Boots of the Fencing master", and be sure one of your two weapons is a magical thrown weapon... make a thrown attack against one enemy, move up and do an MBA against another, if that hits do another MBA, pile on Power Strike if you like, and shift away - and all that is just your standard action!)
"The world does not work the way you have been taught it does. We are not real as such; we exist within The Story. Unfortunately for you, you have inherited a condition from your mother known as Primary Protagonist Syndrome, which means The Story is interested in you. It will find you, and if you are not ready for the narrative strands it will throw at you..." - from Footloose
if the intent was to save newbies from the strain of character-building, they could have just released a collection of prebuilt characters. And that wouldn't have created some of the absurd synergies.



The essentials characters are a collection of prebuilt characters.

They were not designed with any of said absurd synergies in mind.

True, said things are the only reason the essentials classes can compete with non-E classes post-heroic, but even the most contrived, complicated build using an essentials character will be easier both to create and play than an equally optimized O-class. The martial E-classes often have many "options" in combat, in terms of their stances, but only one or two get much play in my experience, given that the correct answer is nearly always to charge.

For most classes, the choice between at-wills/encounters/dailies is a matter of "what would be most tactically relevant - forced movement? a status effect? an aoe? buffs/debuffs?" while for E-classes, the choice is more binary.  Am I charging? Ram Stance. Is the target isolated? Serpent Stance. Is the target bloodied? Spider Stance. Is the target surrounded by my allies? Pack Wolf. Is the target Large? Lion. Is there a minion next to my target? Cleaving Anger. Do I have World Serpent's Grasp? Defend the Line. Am I a slayer? Battle Wrath.

It's cool that there are choices to be made, beyond "Melee Basic Attack!", but there's a (really obvious) option for each scenario, so it almost feels like it's penalizing you if you forget to switch, rather than rewarding you for picking correctly. Meanwhile, O-classes have multiple, often equally powerful choices, rather than an extremely clear better option at all times.
(Human Scout, racial option for an extra at-will power, use that option to grab "Throw and Stab". Combine that with "Aspect of the Cunning Fox" or "Boots of the Fencing master", and be sure one of your two weapons is a magical thrown weapon... make a thrown attack against one enemy, move up and do an MBA against another, if that hits do another MBA, pile on Power Strike if you like, and shift away - and all that is just your standard action!)

That's not as broken as it may appear at first blush. As in, at all.

It really only works for rich light blade Scouts who can afford to maintain two Frost weapons and go Wintertouched/Lasting Frost. It's usually better DPR and easier on the budget to go Vanguard and optimize for charge, which means you give up more charge damage than you inflict with that extra RBA (which will have no item bonus, maybe no expertise bonus, etc). Inflicting +2d8+1d6+2 and prone to your primary target easily trumps 1d4+12 to some bystander ...

(Human Scout, racial option for an extra at-will power, use that option to grab "Throw and Stab". Combine that with "Aspect of the Cunning Fox" or "Boots of the Fencing master", and be sure one of your two weapons is a magical thrown weapon... make a thrown attack against one enemy, move up and do an MBA against another, if that hits do another MBA, pile on Power Strike if you like, and shift away - and all that is just your standard action!)

That's not as broken as it may appear at first blush. As in, at all.

It really only works for rich light blade Scouts who can afford to maintain two Frost weapons and go Wintertouched/Lasting Frost. It's usually better DPR and easier on the budget to go Vanguard and optimize for charge, which means you give up more charge damage than you inflict with that extra RBA (which will have no item bonus, maybe no expertise bonus, etc). Inflicting +2d8+1d6+2 and prone to your primary target easily trumps 1d4+12 to some bystander ...




And by this you mean 'cheap Scouts who get a double sword and maintain a single weapon and go Wintertouched/Lasting Frost', yes?
Mountain Cleave Rule: You can have any sort of fun, including broken, silly fun, so long as I get to have that fun too (e. g., if you can warp reality with your spells, I can cleave mountains with my blade).
I assumed he was still referring to Throw and Stab, in which case how are you throwing the double sword?
I assumed he was still referring to Throw and Stab, in which case how are you throwing the double sword?



If you're going to Throw and Stab you might as well try for Bracers of Infinite Blades and save yourself $$$$ that way. Or use Ki Foci, if you're really direly pressed for multiweapon money.
Mountain Cleave Rule: You can have any sort of fun, including broken, silly fun, so long as I get to have that fun too (e. g., if you can warp reality with your spells, I can cleave mountains with my blade).
Yeah, Throw and Stab isn't optimal for enchantment selection - it's just a bunch of fun, primarily good for mobility.
Keith Richmond Living Forgotten Realms Epic Writing Director
I don't see how throw and stab differs from charging when it comes to mobility. Particularly since scouts don't provoke when they charge.
Well charging ends your turn, so there's that.
Well charging ends your turn, so there's that.



you can still use Dual-weapon attack after charging, and it's not like scouts (natively) have anything to do with their other actions. 
I was more referring to using a move action, possibly with a new stance, since we're talking about mobility.
I was more referring to using a move action, possibly with a new stance, since we're talking about mobility.



Ah.  Throw-and-stab does have more flexibility in when during a turn it's mobile, sure, but both can cover identical distances over the course of a turn, which is generally how I'd measure mobility. 

It really only works for rich light blade Scouts who can afford to maintain two Frost weapons and go Wintertouched/Lasting Frost.


You just need one magic dagger in your off-hand.
throw the dagger
move
melee attack with same dagger
melee attack with off hand weapon.

obvously some other weapons will do more damge, but it can be done on the cheap
T&S makes you differently mobile, to be honest.  You can move-attack-move, which you can';t when charging, and you're not limited by the requirements of moving closer with each step as you are with charging, but conversely, you provoke, which most characters who charge a lot don't when charging, and you don't get any charging bonuses (half-orcs, for instance, lose out on the speed boost) - you also can't apply the charge kit bonuses.
Harrying your Prey, the Easy Way: A Hunter's Handbook - the first of what will hopefully be many CharOp efforts on my part. The Blinker - teleport everywhere. An Eladrin Knight/Eldritch Knight. CB != rules source.
Which is why you still charge. You just also throw and stab, when the situation warrants it.   
Keith Richmond Living Forgotten Realms Epic Writing Director