Greetings my fellow Neverwinter gamers! I am EoG Ariovistus with my second MMOMinds character build. This time, it’s the second character class I enjoyed playing the most, the Great Weapon Fighter. I found this class to be incredibly effective in its simplicity. The class is designed to destroy everything it comes across which makes it perfect for those whose play styles is just pure, undeniable carnage. Unlike my first build, this build is modified from several different builds I have used over the past two years.
The purpose of this build is what I often refer to as the “Raging Berserker” designed to outright annihilate entire hoards of enemies and decimate bosses, provide buffs to your party, and debuff the enemy. In essence, you’re going to become Death incarnate by killing everything you see. You’re going to finish near the top of the damage charts while still surviving taking a beating. However, as with many of my builds, this build has limited PVP performance, but it can be done.
Unlike other classes, there are some races that stand out more and work much better for the Great Weapon Fighter than others. Particularly, you’re going to want to look for races that offer bonuses to both damage and defense since this build specifically generates damage based from defense. Any of these three races are the most ideal for making an effective Great Weapon Fighter. I have seen players choose Dwarf, Tiefling, and even Hafling, but they aren’t near as effective as a Great Weapon Fighter and I do not recommend anything beyond what I have listed below.
- +2 to any two Ability Scores
- +3% Power and Critical Strike
- +5% Increased Healing
This is a very strong and viable race selection for the Great Weapon Fighter. Like Humans, Dragonborns give a bonus to Ability Scores. Dragonborns offer bonuses to Power and Critical Strike which both increase your damage potential, and the bonus to increased healing make it easier for Clerics and Paladin healers to keep you alive. If you choose this race, put the +2 scores into STR and DEX.
- +2 to any one Ability Score
- +3% increased Defense
- +3 bonus Heroic Feats
Humans are an equally strong option as the Dragonborn race for a Great Weapon Fighter. They too gain bonuses to a single Ability Score, but it is their Defense bonus that make them an excellent choice. With this build, their increase Defense equates into increased Power and damage. Furthermore, Humans have the potential to raise their damage caps more than any other race with the Heroic Feat bonus points. If you choose this race, put the +2 into either STR or DEX.
- +2 DEX
- +2 CON or STR
- +5% increased Critical Severity
- +10% increased movement when entering combat
Half-orcs are a very strong contender when making a Great Weapon Fighter. Half-orcs have a natural bonus to DEX, and a secondary bonus to either CON or STR. For this build, choose STR as the second bonus. Furthermore, they have another natural bonus to Critical Severity which is just icing on the cake for pumping out higher levels of damage.
You’re going to want STR and DEX to be your two highest stats when starting out. Every point of Strength gives 1% damage bonus, 1% damage over time resistance, and 1% stamina regeneration. Every point of Dexterity gives 1% critical chance, 1% area of effect damage resistance, and a 0.5% Deflection bonus. These two stats will greatly increase your character’s damage potential. Constitution, the other secondary stat for Great Weapon Fighters, gives 1% resistance ignored and 2% maximum health bonuses. These are nice, but they aren’t necessary for investing points. You’ll be able to meet the resistance ignored cap and manage a respectable health pool from your equipment and boons alone.
Paragon Path and Feats
For this build you’re going to want to choose the Swordmaster paragon. This is the paragon path that is going to offer the powers that will maximize your damage potential.
- Toughness (3/3) – Increased maximum health
- Disciple of Strength (3/3) – Increased bonus given by Strength
- Unstoppable Action (1/5) – Increased bonus Action Points while Unstoppable
- Armor Specialization (3/3) – Increases effectiveness of Armor Class and Defense
- Steely Defense (5/5) – Grants Power equal to Defense
- Weapon Mastery (2/3) – Increased Critical Chance
- Devastating Critical (3/3) – Increased Critical Severity
***For human characters, increase Unstoppable Action by 2 points and Weapon Mastery by 1 point.
- Great Weapon Focus (5/5) – Increases damage of At-Will powers
- Disciple of War (5/5) – Grants Power equal to Recovery and Armor Penetration
- Mighty Blade (5/5) – Increased AoE damage
- Executioner’s Style (5/5) – Indomitable Battle Strike and Sure Strike deal bonus damage
- Focused Destroyer (5/5) – Destroyer has a chance to grant a stack when hitting any number of targets. Also grants bonus damage per stack.
- Battle Awareness (5/5) – Savage Advance grants shorter cooldowns and Slam grants more power while active.
- Destroyer’s Purpose (1/1) – Grants bonus damage when dealing damage. Unstoppable also increases Encounter power damage. Dealing damage while Unstoppable also grants additional stacks of Destroyer with increased damage.
- Unstoppable Recovery (5/5) – Restores health when activating Unstoppable
- Powerful Challenge (5/5) – Bonus damage to Marked targets
Since the purpose of this build is to deal as much damage as possible as fast as possible, only a small handful of skills need to be used whether in solo content or end-game content.
- Sure Strike (4/4) – Although the description states damage decreases slightly after the first hit, the decrease isn’t enough to really notice considering the speed of this attack when used during Unstoppable.
- Wicked Strike (4/4) – Although the description states damage decreases slightly for every target hit beyond the first target, the decrease isn’t enough to really notice after buffs and feats take effect. This is an excellent power to clear out crowds of enemies quickly.
- Daring Shout (4/4) – This power places a Mark on all enemies within 20′. Each target hit builds Determination and increases damage resistance. Marked enemies have decreased damage resistance.
- Battle Fury (4/4) – This power increases your At-Will and Encounter power damage and Action Point gain. When activated, stamina is refilled.
- Indomitable Battle Strike (4/4) – This power attacks a target with significant damage, generating additional Action Points and placing a Mark on nearby enemies.
- Hidden Daggers (4/4) – This power throws a fan of daggers that pierce through enemies which also generates a melee damage bonus.
- Slam (4/4) – This power creates an earthquake that can Stun nearby enemies and cause decent AoE damage. While active, additional Power is generated with Battle Awareness.
- Crescendo (4/4) – This power stuns the target with a flurry of attacks that also leaves the target Prone. It also grants immunity to control effects while active. This power is decent to use against bosses where there aren’t any crowds of enemies.
- Weapon Master (4/4) – Gain increased chances of a Critical Strike for each stack. This passive works excellent in conjunction with the speed of Sure Strike.
- Wrathful Determination (4/4) – Gain increased melee damage as the Determination meter fills. Bonus is doubled when the meter is full. This passive is excellent as it’s pretty much a permanent damage bonus.
- Destroyer (4/4) – Gain increased damage for each time you strike three or more targets at once. This passive works well in areas where there are several enemies grouped together, increasing your damage potential.
Unlike most classes, the Great Weapon Fighter doesn’t have to change power sets between different types of content as much. Whether playing solo or in groups, your power sets are going to be almost identical. Just so people have an idea of what I do, I’ll go ahead and list it here.
- Wicked Strike // Sure Strike
- Indomitable Battle Strike // Hidden Daggers // Daring Shout
- Slam // Crescendo
- Weapon Master // Wrathful Determination
- Wicked Strike // Sure Strike
- Indomitable Battle Strike // Battle Fury // Daring Shout
- Slam // Crescendo
- Weapon Master // Wrathful Determination
Boons are rewards acquired from playing through the various campaign chapters. These rewards are bonus stats and other powers that augment your character’s combat strength and survivability. Following is a list of each campaign and the boons I felt were most effective for the build. These are also subjective depending on your stat needs. If you see something that works better, choose the boon that will provide the most benefit.
- Dark Fey Warden – +400 Defense
- Fey Precision – +400 Critical Strike
- Elven Haste – +3% Action Point gain
- Elven Ferocity – Chance to deal 20,000 Arcane damage when striking an enemy
- Elvish Fury – Gain 135 Power when killing a foe. Stacks up to 30 times for 45 seconds.
- Reliquary Keeper’s Strength – +250 Power and +250 Movement
- Evoker’s Thirst – +400 Life Steal
- Forbidden Piercing – 3% resistance ignored
- Enraged Regrowth – Chance to heal 20,000 health over 4 seconds when taking damage. After this effect ends you have 4000 more Defense for 10 seconds.
- Rampaging Madness – When dealing damage gain a stack of “Madness”. At 50 stacks gain 4000 Power, 4000 Life Steal, and 4000 Regeneration.
- Encroaching Tactics – +400 Combat Advantage
- Refreshing Chill – +400 Stamina/Guard Gain
- Sleet Skills – +2% Critical Severity
- Cool Resolve – +2000 Power based on amount of missing Stamina
- Rousing Warmth – Chance when healed to gain up to 3000 bonus damage on next attack
Tyranny of Dragons
- Dragon’s Claws – +400 Power
- Dragon’s Gaze – +400 Critical Strike
- Dragon’s Defense – +400 Defense
- Dragon’s Greed – +400 Life Steal
- Dragon’s Fury (3/3) – +15% increased Critical Severity
- Unassailable Tide – +300 Defense and +2000 health
- Earth’s Renewal – +400 Regeneration and +2000 health
- Blazing Resilience – +400 Recovery and +2000 health
- Gale of Retribution – Chance to heal for 24,000 health when taking damage. After this effect ends Critial Strike is increased by 1000 for 10 seconds.
- Primordial Vitality – +400 Defense and +1600 health
- Primordial Focus – +400 Critical Strike and +1600 health
- Drow Ambush Tactics – +10% Combat Advantage
- Dwarven Footing – Control effects have a 5% shorter duration
- Abyssal Strikes – +10% damage versus Demons
- Abyssal Regeneration – +400 incoming healing bonus
- Demonic Influence – +400 Combat Advantage
- Demonic Swiftness – +3% Action Point gain
- Baphomet’s Might – +2000 Critical Strike bonus when striking an enemy
Storm King’s Thunder
- Frosty Demeanor – +2% Control Resistance and +1000 health
- Survival Instincts – +400 Incoming Healing bonus and +2% Everfrost Damage Resistance
- Icy Wrath – Chance when taking damage to gain up to 2000 bonus damage on next attack
- Vengeful Heat – Chance when killing an enemy to deal 2000 Fire damage to all nearby enemies and +2% Everfrost Damage Resistance
- Chill of Winter (3/3) – Chance to gain a stack of Icy Chill when striking. 10 stacks clears to do 14,000 damage to nearby enemies
The Cloaked Ascendancy
- Aura of Hope – When killing an enemy, chance to emit an Aura that increases AP gain for all allies within 25’ for 10 seconds
- Fiery Frenzy – +2% Critical Severity and +1000 maximum health
- Soothing Zephyr – +500 Recovery and +2000 maximum health
- Aberrant Power – When taking damage, chance to gain a stack of Aberrant Power. 10 stacks clears and deals up to 10,000 damage to nearby enemies. Aberrant creatures take double damage.
Player versus Player (PVP)
As I mentioned in my introduction, this build has very poor PVP performance. However, if you work with a team in PVP, this build has some limited viability as a damage dealer and support. Although I currently have no active PVP Boons, here is what I would choose.
- Legion’s Valor – +250 Power and +250 Critical Strike
- Vanguard’s Resolve – Players who strike you grant you 400 Power up to 2000 Power for 8 seconds
- Unbroken Line – +400 Defense for each teammate with 20’ of you
- Glory Seeker – +5 Glory when killing a player on a Domination map
Stronghold boons are very special bonuses acquired through a guild. As guilds become stronger and increase the rank of their guildhall, four additional types of boons become available. These are Offense, Defense, Utility, and PVP bonuses. The Offense boons offer offensive bonuses such as Power, Critical Severity, and Armor Penetration. The Defense boons offer defensive bonuses to Defense, Life Steal, and Maximum Health. The Utility boons offer supplementary bonuses such as increased experience, increased gold, and mount speed. The PVP boons offer overload bonuses that give special abilities during PVP content.
For these boons, choose whichever boons help increase stats your character may be lacking. If you are lacking in Armor Penetration, choose that boon. If you want to increase your Defense instead of Max Health, choose that boon. This gives you more flexibility to increase any of your weaker stats
Equipment is going to be as difficult as you make it out to be as some pieces are more difficult than others to obtain. This makes the Great Weapon Fighter one of the more difficult classes to equip.
Here is the recommended equipment sets to use until you’re able to get the Headsman’s Relic set from the Storm King’s Thunder campaign. For some of the slots, I have multiple items listed since some items are great to use until better replacements can be acquired. For example, the Ensorcelled Mulhorand weapon and offhand set is great to use until you’re able to farm the Twisted Ichors necessary to purchase the Twisted Set. Also, the Personalized Adamant Rings are great until you’re able to get the Underdark Rings and Fang Breaker Island Rings. When it comes to your enchantment slots, use the highest quality for the recommended type you can afford and continue refining from there.
- Head – Elemental Drowcraft Assault Sallet // Dusk Assault Sallet
- Body – Elemental Dragonflight Raid Scalemail
- Arms – Elemental Dragonflight Raid Vambraces
- Main Hand – Ensorcelled Mulhorand Greatsword // Twisted Labrys
- Off Hand – Ensorcelled Mulhorand Sword Knot // Twisted Sword Knot
- Feet – Elemental Drowcraft Assault Greaves // Dusk Assault Greaves
- Neck – Lostmauth’s Hoard Necklace (Lostmauth set) // Baphomet’s Infernal Talisman (Orcus set)
- Ring – Personalized Adamant Ring of Piercing // Ring of Sudden Defense +5
- Ring – Personalized Adamant Ring of Piercing // Ring of Sudden Brutality +5
- Waist – Golden Belt of Puissance (Lostmauth set) // Demogorgon’s Girdle of Might (Orcus set)
- Shirt – Drowcraft Chaincoat
- Pants – Drowcraft Chausses
- Weapon Enchantment – Dread // Terror // Feytouched // Lightning // Plague Fire
- Armor Enchantment – Negation // Shadowclad
- Offense Enchantment – Brutal // Gigantic
- Defense Enchantment – Azure
- Utility Enchantment – Dragon’s Hoard // Dark
For the purpose of this build, you’re going to want to focus primarily on Power, Defense, Recovery, and Critical Strike. You’re also going to want to somehow include some Armor Penetration and Life Steal. For my Great Weapon Fighter, I use my guild’s Armor Penetration boon to reach the 60% resistance ignored cap which allows me to stack other stats with my equipment. This allows me personally to use full Raid gear instead of mixing Raid and Assault gear. If you’re able to do this, by all means do it as it increases your Critical Strike more with pure Raid gear. If you’re not, mix in Assault gear for the Armor Penetration as needed.
Artifacts are going to be costly, especially for the really good ones. This is going to be true for any character regardless of the class and build. Why are Artifacts so expensive? Because they’re so awesome! Not only do Artifacts give you really good equipped stats, but they also offer a wide variety of usable powers to better customize your character! You’re going to want to pick Artifacts that strengthen your primary stats (Power, Defense, Critical Strike, and Recovery). You may also want to use Artifacts that help increase the secondary stats (Armor Penetration and Life Steal) you may be lacking. Here are a few suggested Artifacts.
- Tome of Ascendance
- Eye of the Giant
- Horn of Valhalla
- Symbol of Fire
- Tiamat’s Orb of Majesty
- Lostmauth’s Horn of Blasting (needed to complete Lostmauth set)
- Shard of Orcus’ Wand (needed to complete Orcus set)
- Heart of the Red Dragon
- Heart of the Blue Dragon
- Heart of the Black Dragon
- Thayan Book of the Dead
- Sigil of the Controller
- Sigil of the Devoted
- Sigil of the Great Weapon
- Lantern of Revelation
Companions will vary slightly depending on finances. Fortunately, Companions can be fairly easy and not quite as expensive as Artifacts or Mounts, but this greatly depends on the quality of Companion. Any Companion of epic quality is going to cost an arm and a leg (and maybe your firstborn child) at the Auction House. The Companions that increase damage are going to be what you want. When choosing a Companion, pay very close attention to their abilities to trigger Companion’s Gift, an effect granted from Bonding Runestones which imparts a percentage of the Companion’s stats to the Player. These percentages can become formidable at Rank 12 with associated Companion equipment. Here is a short list of recommended Companions.
- Fire Archon – Increases your damage against targets with less than 50% health by 7%
- Earth Archon – Increases your damage against targets by 6% when you are at full health. Each additional active Archon increases this bonus by 0.5%
- Air Archon – Increases your damage against targets not at full health by 5%. Each additional active Archon increases this bonus by 0.5%
- Water Archon – Increases your damage at full health by 6%. Each additional active Archon increases this bonus by 0.5%
- Dancing Blade – +3% Critical Severity
- Remorhaz – When you attack, your opponent has a 5% chance to combust, doing fire damage each second for 5 seconds.
Mounts will vary slightly depending on finances. Like Artifacts, the really good mounts are going to cost…a lot. Currently the Guard Drake and Winter Wolf is free to all players on the Zen Market. Both offer excellent Insignia Bonuses, and the Guard Drake gives the player a 110% increased movement speed plus a 2000 Power equip bonus. For your mounts, you’re going to want to pick those whose Insignia Bonuses synergize with the effects that you want the most. Every mount has different Insignia combinations so look through the list provided in-game to figure out which ones you want the most.
WHEW! After reading all of this I sure hope you have a better idea of where to take your Great Weapon Fighter and perhaps evolve this build further. Again, I acknowledge there may be mistakes and if so please do not be too harsh with your critique. Thank you for reading this and good gaming to you!