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- Fighter Essentials
More support for martial characters, this time in the form of a tutorial that goes over the (currently) four fighter builds that you can choose from between Player's Handbook and Martial Power. The article really tries to pimp the Martial Power builds, barely giving the great-weapon build an honorable mention (but recommends that you check out War College: Secrets of the Great Weapons, whenever the fuck that comes out).
Basically, if you dont play tempest or battlerager then this article wont do much for you with the exception of the "Basics" opener, which goes over stuff like Combat Challenge, when to mark, and Combat Superiority.
Is the information presented useful? That depends on if you've played fighters before. I'm sure most of the people out there touring the battlefield drenched in blood and guts already have a pretty damned good mastery of evisceration.
For example of what to expect, in the section on Battlerager Vigor it makes sure to emphasize the new rulings on the class feature (link included), and goes over the damage boost and "hidden cost" of the class feature. It then recommends mixing up your exploit selection with powers that have and do-not-have the Invigorating keyword (since most of the ones that do deal dick damage but impose conditions). On the surface its sound logic: the Invigorating powers that I've seen basically impose conditions-and-thats-it.
Well...they also inflict a paltry amount of damage, and I've seen players unload their entire suite of encounter attacks that while great for crippling the enemy for a round, really dont have any lasting effect except for a few points of damage. To me they were always more of a way to push a fighter into controller territory than anything else (which isnt necessarily bad, so long as their is another striker or three that can pick up the extra damage output).
There's a page with a table that has sample ability score spreads for each class feature, and a table listing races with their ideal build. Not much for me, since I prefer my fighters to use big-ass weapons in preference t--ooh! Feats! Exploits! Cruuunch! *nom nom*
This is more like it: you get almost a dozen Heroic feats and four Paragon feats. Heroic tier has a some nice options that let you use Dex instead of Wis for Combat Superiority, add Con to opportunity attack damage, let Small characters act like they are using heavy shields when they wield a versatile weapon in both hands, and add your shield's bonus to your Fort defense as well. Remember, this isnt even half of the Heroic tier.
There a slew of new daily exploits to boot, ranging from level 1 to 29, and all of them focus on two-weapon fighters. Finally, there's a pair of paragon paths suited for the (you guessed it) tempest (bladestorm duelist) and battlerager (wrathbearer) builds. Well...shit, I guess I'll have to roll up a battlerager warforged fighter. Or, maybe a valenar elf tempest fighter...or a halfling dagger fighter...or, well, you get it. -.-;
All things said, its a great article for beginning fighters, but even veteran fighters might learn a thing or two. Experience always help, but it does a good job of explaining in detail the basic functions of all fighters. Also? I think it will encourage people who havent tried out the new fighter class features (or purchased Martial Power). Finally, it also succeeds on giving the people already using the content even more to chew on.