DDO Class Guide: Sorcerer

Introduction – Sorcerer vs Wizard

So, you want to be a spell caster. You want to bend the physical laws of the universe to your bidding, to send destructive rays of pure power flying in all directions, to make monsters weep and infuse your very mind and body with ultimate mystic power. Good for you!

But you’ve come to a crucial decision: do you want to be a wizened wizard, or a snazzy sorcerer? Both classes have access to exactly identical spell lists, but wizards have an immediate advantage by being able to eventually scribe every arcane spell in the game into their spellbook. Wizards also get to learn extra magical feats, and get higher level magic slightly sooner. What, then, does the sorcerer offer to make it compare?

The answer is pure, raw casting power and speed. Sorcerers may not be as flexible as wizards in how many spells they know, but what spells a sorcerer DOES know he can perform better than any other class in the game. He can cast his spells more often, more quickly, and using metamagic feats even more powerfully than any wizard attempting to do the same. He is a specialist, weak in some places but the best at what he does.

Therefore when you decide whether you should make a sorcerer versus make a wizard, it comes down to whether you prefer to be a generalist, capable of adjusting your magic to fit the mission at hand, or be a specialist who has a much more limited selection but can do those selected things better than any comparable wizard.

The philosophy of building and playing sorcerers thus should take into account both their strength in their primary focus, and their weakness of being unable to do very much outside that focus. This guide attempts to demonstrate ways to be a successful sorcerer, as a specialist within your party that can supremely perform some key role in the mission.

Ability Scores

The first step in character creation is always ability selection, and the primary, most fundamental ability for all sorcerers is charisma. Having a high charisma not only enlarges your spellpoint reserve, but also makes your spells more difficult for monsters to resist. It allows you to cast that much more often between rest points, and makes your spells fail less frequently when monsters can possibly save against them. Also note that high Charisma improves your Use Magic Device skill, which is important because that skill allows your sorcerer to use wands and scrolls to supplement weak points his spell list. So I strongly recommend starting with a 16 or higher Charisma, and personally I lean in my own characters toward always having an 18.

Intelligence is a good secondary ability because it increases the number of skill points you get per level, and having a 14+ Intelligence helps you use magical runes to open doors and disarm traps in certain missions. My own sorcerers normally therefore have 18 Charisma and 14 Intelligence, with the rest of the ability points spread out however I like. This assumes I am playing a single-class sorcerer. A multi-class sorcerer might want to shift a few points from Charisma and Intelligence into other abilities that help his secondary class, such as a sorcerer/fighter raising his Strength instead of having very high Charisma and somewhat high Intelligence.


With most races, you’ll only get one feat at first level and an additional feat at levels 3, 6, 9, etc. So when you’re selecting your feats it’s important that you take ones you are very confident you’ll actually find useful for your play style throughout your character’s career. Therefore, I’d recommend selecting feats that deal specifically with what sorcerers do the most: cast spells.

Mental Toughness is an excellent choice for your first feat. It gives you additional spellpoints and increases in effect every time you level. There’s an old adage that you should play to your strengths, and a sorcerers primary strength is the size of his spellpoint pool. So enhancing that pool can only help enhance your character overall.

Another possibility, if you are planning on specializing in a specific type of school like evocation or necromancy, is to take the Spell Focus feat for that school. This will make all spells in that school more difficult to resist, which can be particularly useful if most of your spells require saving throws. For example, if you make a sorcerer who uses Charm Person a lot, then picking Spell Focus: Enchantment would make that spell a bit harder for monsters to break. Of course, if you are mainly using spells that don’t have a saving throw, like Magic Missile, then taking Spell Focus would be a waste of a feat. So if you find your spells are both within the same school AND require saving throws, consider Spell Focus as your first or third level feat. Otherwise, you can take something else.

There’s also metamagic feats to consider, such as Empower Spell and Extend Spell. These feats are toggles that you switch on or off. While on, they make all the spells you cast more powerful, but also cost more spellpoints. Since sorcerers have many more spellpoints than any other class, they therefore can afford use these metamagic feats more often during a mission. Where a wizard might only be able to afford empowering a spell here and there, a sorcerer might be able to afford empowering 1/3 or ½ of his spell throughout a mission without tiring.

So I would definitely recommend considering a metamagic feat at 3rd or 6th level. (At first level, you probably still don’t quite have enough spellpoints to really get the full benefit from the feat. You’ll usually want your spellpoints at level 1 and 2 to allow you to cast spells more often without resting, and have less surplus points to spare for metamagic.) Which feat you take, though, is partly a matter of taste and partly a question of which spells you have. If you have a lot of spells that have durations, and you’d like those spells to last longer, Extend Spell might be the feat to take. Extend spell can make buffs last longer, summoned monsters stick around longer, and keep monsters held or paralyzed or debuffed longer.

On the other hand, if your spells have random numerical effects, then Empower or Maximize are good choices. For example, if you cast a lot of spells that do direct damage, like Chill Touch or Burning Hands or Magic Missile, then Empower and Maximize will significantly increase your damage per spell at the expense of some of your surplus spellpoints. These feats also work with some spells like Ray of Enfeeblement, increasing the amount of strength drained by the ray. They even increase beneficial spells with random numeric effects, like Repair or (if you multi-class as a cleric or bard) Cure Light Wounds. Where these feats won’t work is if your spell is an all-or-nothing non-random effect, such as Blindness or Sleep. So if your spells are all-or-nothing, don’t bother with Empower and Maximize. Maximize costs a lot more spellpoints than Empower, but is likewise slightly more powerful. So which you want is probably a matter of taste. I prefer Empower, since I can use it more frequently without worrying about overspending.


Sorcerers have Bluff and Concentration as class skills. As of this writing, Bluff really isn’t a very good skill, frankly, unless perhaps you multiclass as a sorcerer/rogue or you are in a party with a couple of rogues (in which case you’d be able to use Bluff to set up sneak attacks). Concentration, on the other hand, is vital. You should always max out your Concentration skill, because that is the skill that keeps your spells from being interrupted when you take damage. When a monster breaks loose and starts swinging at you, Concentration is what will allow you to actually continue casting spells instead of being continually interrupted.

The rest of your skills are cross-class skills, meaning they cost double the number of points to raise. In my opinion, out of all of the cross class skills the one that really stands out for the Sorcerer is Use Magic Device (UMD). Because you almost certainly have a very high Charisma, you start out with a nice +3 or +4 stat bonus in that skill. By further pumping skill points into UMD, you’ll quickly be able to use just about ANY magic item, including clerical wands and scrolls. In fact, sorcerers are one of the few classes that can easily use second level clerical wands by level 2, and one of the few classes able to easily use level 3+ clerical wands at all. Being able to use clerical wands greatly enhances your potential magical repertoire in a pinch, which helps cover what is otherwise a weakpoint for the sorcerer. So I almost always max out the UMD skill.

The rest of the skills are really a matter of taste. You can either try to shore up some weak points, like increasing your otherwise minimal Swimming or Balance for example, or you can really go all out on your Charisma based skills so that when you DO use charisma skills you’re really, really good at them. Diplomacy can be useful on occasion for getting monsters to leave you alone, for example, and high Haggle can over time add up to a lot of extra accumulated cash. Intimidate is an exception because it’s doubtful you’ll ever want to lure monsters into attacking your sorcerer.


And so we finally come to the true core of the class: spell selection. Which spells you take will define how your character plays and performs, which missions he’ll excel at or be weaker in, what feats you’ll be inclined to take and what your role in the party will be. Because your spell selection is so limited, it’s really important that you identify what types of spells you want to cast most of the time. You will be stuck with the spells you pick and only the spells you pick for a long, long time, so it’s vital to pick spells you will be happy with for a long time to come.

There are multiple viable strategies for spell selection. Some sorcerers go pure offense, some defensive and support, and some in between. The main thing is that you decide what sort of playstyle or casting style you like and go with spells that fit that style. You’ll have a lot more fun and be more productive using spells you’re comfortable with and you think are “cool”.

One possible strategy is to be a school specialist. For example, I play a sorcerer who is a necromancy specialist. His spells are almost exclusively in the necromancy school, including Chill Touch, Ray of Enfeeblement, Cause Fear, Blindness and Command Undead. By keeping my spells within a single school, I am able to maximize the effect of the Spell Focus: Necromancy feat, making every single spell I cast harder to resist. Because of that feat and my high charisma, monster have a very hard time avoiding fear and blindness, and my Command Undead is extremely reliable and long lasting. At lower levels, Chill Touch likewise was a common way for me to make undead creatures panic, to prevent them from counter attacking while my party hacked them to bits. Offensively, my character can thoroughly destroy and debuff any living creature, and can command undead to do his bidding. He’s weaker against constructs, but can still use Enfeeblement to significantly reduce their damage and chance to hit. Variations on this build could substitute False Life and/or Scare for Blindness and Command Undead, or maybe drop Cause Fear initially in favor of a non-necromancy spell to take Scare later.

Another school build I play is the “pet-master”, a summoner who is an enchantment specialist with Summon Monster spells, Charm spells and other enchantment spells. His strategy is to maintain two summoned monsters all or almost all the time, and use Charm spells to further increase the number of pets under his control. Since Charms are enchantment based, he further specializes in the enchantment school, taking Spell Focus: Enchantment and spells like Hypnosis or Sleep. He does little direct damage, instead acting as a crowd control specialist, keeping monsters charmed or dazed and ineffective. Typically when fighting humanoids, he will use Charm Person on all but one creature in a group, allowing his party and his pets to completely swamp that lone hostile enemy. Afterward, the charms break one at a time on their own, and as each individual creatures breaks the charm it is in turn ripped apart by the party and remaining pets. His weakness is primarily against mindless creatures like spiders immune to mental enchantment, but even against those he will always at least have a pair of pets available to help support the party. Note that because of the sorcerer’s increased casting speed and his extra spellpoints, he is able to much more easily keep two summoned pets going simultanteously, even summoning them while being attacked in combat.

A more typical build would be the nuker, a sorcerer who takes offensive direct damage spells like Burning Hands or Shocking Grasp, and at higher level Lightning Bolt or Fireball, and goes all out damage. This sort of build can also do well by emphasizing a specific damage type, like fire, and selecting the appropriate action point enhancement to increase that type of spell damage, such as taking Greater Combustion enhancements along with Burning Hands and Fireball. Merchants also sell potions that can increase specific damage types, like Combustion potions for fire damage and Nihil potions for negative energy damage, and a nuker with a lot of cash might consider grabbing some of these to further increase his already impressive damage. And finally the Empower or Maximize feat can be the capstone to make a nuker’s spells do truly terrifying damage. An empowered, potion using Fire enhanced sorcerer wielding his starting Staff of Power can probably get 60 or 70 more damage per Burning Hands spell at level 4 or 5, for example. Combined with the sorcerer’s increased casting speed, such a character is almost always going to be the leader in any mission’s kill list.

Finally, another possible build would be a defensive support specialist. Someone who takes spells like Mage Armor, Protection from Evil, Shield, Invisibility, Bull’s Strength/Bear’s Endurance/Cat’s Grace, etc. This sorcerer would have a long string of party buffs and beneficial spells he can use continually throughout every mission. He would be fairly limited offensively, but in a party could enhance every party member’s ability to deal out and take damage, sneak around invisibly, open locked rooms, disable traps, and perform other skills and abilities. Such a character would benefit a great deal from the Extend feat, since most of these spells are buffs with a duration. Using Extend increases your spell’s duration at the cost of some extra spellpoints, meaning less recasts necessary to keep everyone fully buffed throughout the mission. He’d have almost 40-50% more spellpoints than a typical cleric his level, but be able to perform a number of the same sorts of buffs clerics frequently use. Teamed with a cleric, that would likewise allow the cleric to shift his focus more toward healing or other spells unique to clerics.

Play Tips

The best tip for a sorcerer, no matter what your build, is to play to your strengths and let the party play to your weaknesses. A nuker should do his best to do as much damage as possible every mission, and let the party keep the monsters distracted and play defense. A support specialist with little to no damaging spells should allow the party to do all or almost all of the damage, and do his part by keeping the monsters constantly befuddled and busy.

Also, make sure you know the situations your character is weak in. All sorcerers will be weaker in some specific types of encounters, so you need to be prepared. For example, if you’re a necromancy specialist, you will have a little trouble fighting constructs who are immune to a lot of necromancy spells. One piece of advice that works for all sorcerers is to carry a healthy supply of wands. Wands will allow you to do something effective, even when your main spells won’t work. Constructs might be immune to a necromancer’s Chill Touch, for example, but they aren’t immune to wands of magic missile or wands of acid arrow. And since almost all sorcerers will have a fairly high Use Magic Device skill, you’ll have access to wands that other characters probably can’t use. Personally, in fact, after level 1 or 2 I basically forgo weapon use entirely, using wands instead of weapons in those uncommon situations where my spells can’t do much. Moreover, since Sorcerers have a very poor base attack bonus, by higher levels their weapons simply aren’t going to hit very reliably, whereas a magic missile wand never misses. So know and take full advantage of your sorcerer’s strengths and specialty, and when faced with your weakness have some wands to back you up.

Finally, there’s the question of solo play. DDO is, by far, best played in a party. Your character will gain more experience and loot, die less often, and probably have more fun when you are in a party with other players. That’s not to say it’s IMPOSSIBLE to solo, but playing solo is a more difficult road.

A sorcerer works best in a party. The reason is that, as a specialist caster, he tends to rely on his allies to do things he can’t. A nuker can do a ton of damage, but is going to be fairly weak defensively and vulnerable to attack. So a solo nuker will run into problems when all the creatures in a mission are attacking only him. With a party, though, a nuker can allow the tougher party members to go in first to distract the monsters, then quickly follow in with devastating magic. By the time the monsters realize that the nuker is the main threat, it’s usually too late.

Likewise, a solo support caster or defensive specialist can keep monsters busy, but will do very little damage. He’ll have a hard time actually killing things on his own, and even if he can stand toe-to-toe with a monster for a while it will take a while to finish them off. In a party, though, he will have hard hitting allies to do the bulk of the damage, allowing him to do his job keeping the party from taking any counter-damage.

If you do want to try a solo sorcerer, though, your best bet would be to select a mix of offensive and defensive magic. At first level, for example, you might consider taking Mage Armor for defense and one of the damaging first level spells (which you prefer would be a matter of taste). Then fill out your repertoire at later levels with spells that further beef up either your offense or defense, depending on your play style and what you seem to be having trouble with, or that perform another important function like Invisibility to allow you to avoid a lot of potential fights. Select missions that are typically two levels lower than you, if possible, since they will be missions you can generally one-shot or two-shot the creatures but that your exp penalty will still be somewhat modest (-20% for a two level difference). And avoid missions that have a lot of creatures you have trouble killing.

Make no mistake, though, sorcerers in a party will always do better overall than solo sorcerers. And sorcerers who aren’t specifically built for solo play will have the most trouble soloing. So keep that in mind if you want to play that way.

So if you’re looking to be the best at what you do, the ultimate specialist in your chosen field, the sorcerer is probably for you. Whatever spells you pick, whatever feats you select, you can feel confident that no other class can do the things you do so well.

“If one is master of one thing and understands one thing well, one has at the same time, insight into and understanding of many things.” – Vincent Van Gogh

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