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Old February 14, 2016, 12:11   #4
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 265
Infinitum is on a distinguished road
The above build pretty much. In general, the question isn't "what ability should I take" but rather "is this ability better than another point in evasion/melee"? Also remember that the "true" cost of any ability is the cost of the last ability you take in that paticular tree. For a point-by-point guide, my preferred build is:

*3353 Fingolfin
*5 Melee, 5 Evasion, 4 Smithing + Jewelsmith
*Make +1 Evasion/Accuracy rings and a Lesser Jewel (opens up inventory space) at the first forge. Additional forges are used to id "useless" jewelry for xp and eventually a pair Feanorian Lamps once you find mithril to melt.
*Only buff melee/accuracy until you have 8 or so of each.
*Then get up to 6 stealth, Assassination and Opportunist. This is a great quality-of-life ability in general and makes dealing with Archers less of a chore. Even this modest stealth investment will also make it easier to avoid stuff at a distance and sometimes stab unwary critters (eg Dragons) later on.
*Then go back to buffing melee and evasion for pretty much the entire game. Once you start encountering Wights you might want to buff Will up to hardiness (for the "free" ability and avoiding stat drain), once you encounter Sulraukar buff perception up to Keen Senses and eventually Rauko-Bane (this is enough to spot all invisibles enough of the time). I usually end up buffing will to the con point, but this is a low priority compared to more raw attack/dodge numbers.
*Dodge/Flanking once you have 10-12 melee/evasion (fighting in corridors will trap you as you enter cat/kemenrukar territory). Either Power or Finesse/Subtlety once you find an artifact weapon you like enough to build around (look for sharp weapons in general). Eventually get Follow-Through, Momentum and Strength if your weapon supports it (most do).
*Get Song of Slaying shortly before entering the throne room. It's situational, but the endgame has a few of those situations guaranteed. Rapid Attack sometimes shine here as well but pretty much needs you to use strength potions in order to penetrate armor consistently.

There are a few variations on the goodstuff builds; eg you can get Opportunist by way of Follow-Through rather than Assassination to save (but the occasional +10 stab is worth 1000 xp imo).

Smithing is wholly optional but pays for itself early on (the +1 rings usually hold up down to 5-600' or so), makes inventory management more bearable since you can ditch torches and ID junk jewelry early (and wearing a hunger ring allows you to start id'ing herbs earlier as well), and easier access to Lamps gets important later on. Well worth 1500 xp imo.

Archery is a good alternative to stealth/opportunist for killing flitterers and fleeing enemies. Usually I only get Flaming Arrows and eventually the Dexterity point for moar accuracy/evasion.

Songs are too situational to be of use, sadly. Song of the Trees is a good alternative to the smithing splash in order to guarantee some light midgame, Lorien is useful for stealthy characters and Slaying gets good in the endgame. Mastery is for the most part a trap option for "optimal" smiths.
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