Strength or Agility?
Here are our answers, as well as some of our Forum.
Robin Valentine, Print Editor: I’ve always liked the idea of using dexterity in RPGs. I like dodging more than blocking, and there’s something cool about being an agile duelist rather than a lumbering beast. In addition, light armor always looks cooler than heavy armor.
But in practice, Dex builds are often a more awkward, complicated approach, requiring clever minimaxing to work and more penalty for errors. Halfway through, you may find that ranged damage just doesn’t help in the late game. And if you’re playing melee, you’ll end up having to use some shabby weapon like a dagger or a rapier.
So most of the time I take the path of least resistance and make myself a big, strong, tough guy with a sword and a shield. This is definitely the easiest way to get through the Dark Souls games. I kind of got through the first one like a walking tank that could spend as much time as it needed to learn enemy attack patterns.
However, in reality, the guy’s cool response is to say “Fuck them both” and do magic instead
Lauren Morton, Associate Editor: Wait, Robin, what? DEX weapons are cool and cool. DEKS completely. I like to walk around with a whip or something like that soldering iron from the Irithyll Dungeon or literally from any rapier. Ooh, or claws. In addition, I can solve all my problems with the help of evasion.
Fraser Brown, online editor: i prefer to be slow as well as weak. Keep your DEX and STR, I’m an INT boy.
Chris Livingston, Feature Film Producer: Can I vote for the Constitution? No matter how strong or agile I am in the game, my biggest concern is health, because most likely my enemies will hit me more often and harder than I do them. Fill up my health first, because I’ll need all my last hit points. (I’ve never played Souls, but I assume they have something like CON, right?)
But if I can’t choose CON, I will choose DEX because I like to be stealthy (they can’t hit you if they can’t see you) and I like ranged weapons (they can’t see you if you can’t see you). re on a hill fifty feet away), and I feel Agility is more useful when you need to quickly break out of combat and go heal up on a hill fifty feet away.
Tyler Wilde, Managing Editor: I used to always pick Rogues and Rangers, but like Robin, I never found them satisfying. Being fast can be great in a combat system designed for it. In Sifu (a brawler that doesn’t have stats like Strength and Agility), dodging and rolling under hits is brilliant, but I feel disappointed with most agility-based RPG classes. Of course, I’m not a Souls person. I think more about MMOs. It always seems cool to be a sneaky rogue until you run into enemies you can’t backstab, or who only lose a drop of health with every rapier you hit. These days I walk bored and balanced.
Andy Chalk, NA News Anchor: I usually aim for balanced builds in RPGs – min-max is so tiring – but unless it’s completely unsustainable, I will always prioritize Dexterity over Strength. I love the thief/assassin style gameplay, ranged weapons, dual wielding, and gangsters who don’t even know I’m there. Agility is much more fun and interesting than pure strength.
From our forum
Brian Boru: Fast, sneaky, long-range no question, I don’t enjoy close combat, it’s just a pass to go through before getting back to the fun stuff.
This is due to the fact that I prefer role-playing games – what would I do if it was real? If there are a dozen enemy troops or one huge big man, engaging in close-quarter combat doesn’t make sense in the short term, let alone a permanent strategy. I’m interested in finding ways to neutralize such enemies without resorting to repeated suicide mission
Stewarlock: Agility. I’d rather dodge completely than soften the hit, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll always dodge them.
However, there was a build in Lords of the Fallen where you could use your healing cooldown to heal more damage than the enemy could deal, making you invincible in heavy armor (with the exception of one boss if you didn’t find cover. Anyone who has played LotF knows who it is.) So the Force definitely helped here, especially when the nimble play was a lot harder due to the limited time to attack heavily armored bosses.
In CRPGs, I mostly play nimble characters because it can determine stealth skills, including lock picking, pickpocketing, trap detection, and disarming. Strength is rarely used to test skills and is mostly limited to combat… something that every class can do and is usually good in modern games.
DXCHASE: For Elden Ring/Dark Souls games? Agility in everything. It’s easier to learn the patterns of bosses and adds and dodge and hit a bunch of times than suck up damage from a hit and hope that when it’s your turn to hit them you’ll do enough to kill them or risk getting attacked because you’re kind of standing there without stamina.
Now for other RPGs, let’s say Diablo, Grim Dawn, Lost Ark, I would choose Strength because it’s a different game when it comes to fighting mobs/bosses in those types of RPGs.
basic: Agility at least 90-95% of the time in any RPG I play. I love long-range combat, be it bows, crossbows, or firearms. I love to kill from a distance. Dexterity also (usually) allows for better stealth, better sneaking, detecting and disarming traps, and picking locks. Sometimes I create a character with high agility and focus on two-handed ranged weapons, as well as backstabs and dodges in combat. I also like to scout ahead using stealth to check on the potential battlefield or enemy positions.
How you build really depends on the game, as many RPGs now have different methods, not just the standard attributes (STR-DEX-CON-INT-WIS-CHR) that we grew up with. Take Skyrim for example I can create an archer or a thief with high dexterity, but I create it by leveling up skills, not attributes, although this is tantamount to the same.
In older CRPGs like Baldur’s Gate and Pillars of Eternity, I’ve always built an archer with high agility, usually the Ranger class. In ARPGs like Diablo 2 and Grim Dawn, I still prioritize agility, Amazon for D2, and Inquisitor for GD (two-handed pistols are so cute). It should be noted that the attributes in Grim Dawn are called Constitution, Cunning, Spirit, which are basically Strength, Dexterity, and Intelligence; just different terminology.
Lots of games with lots of different ways to create a character, but I’ll take a high agility character any day, no matter how I get there.
Zlot: I tend to play wizards, so I will most likely be pathetic in both cases. As a rule, I take agility, not strength. Maybe I’ll get lucky and dodge an attack or two. Strength is good for carrying things, but we’ll just let the mule… I mean the fighter holding all these things.
Kaamos_Llama: There’s nothing more satisfying in Souls than smashing things into the ground with your Greatsword in PvE. Ultra is too big and slow and feels too wobbly, too much latency. With GS, you can more easily time your hit after spinning and still have the fun of shooting a lot of things once after dodging. A single GS arm with a shield is also more flexible, as it also gives you the ability to parry.
At the same time, a thick or even medium roll is terrible, so by default, I swing in the strongest armor, which allows me to still roll quickly with the Greatsword. I think it’s leather armor or hard leather in DS, can’t remember exactly, and also changes based on the type of damage you’re facing if things get difficult.
In non-action RPGs, I default to using strength on the first playthrough because usually, the heavily armored fighter protagonist is the most survivable. This is probably a legacy of games like Baldurs Gate where low-level wizards (my second favorite class) were almost useless and could get shot by rats.
Pyfandzhr: Definitely Agility. I really like the ranger archetype and I like being stealthy so I will always do an agility build if it’s viable.
Wooden saucer: I don’t know what to say here, because I oscillate between stealth and flight and shooting.
I keep mentioning Skyrim but I can’t help it because it’s my favorite game. Every time I play it, I think I’ll try something new, but I always end up doing the same thing. I start with Thieves’ Quest and make the most of my stealth, pickpocketing and archery skills. But then after I hit that max, I’ll develop my one-handed and blacksmithing until I can make myself some dragon weapons and armor, and build up enchantments so I can enchant the weapons I make. Then I can just enter the place and destroy everyone. Dragons are nothing in this regard.
For those of you who are Skyrim fans, the first time I played I was trying to complete the Missing in Action quest, where you rescue a guy from Northwatch Keep, which is heavily guarded by the Thalmor. I tried to do it at the beginning of the game and got beat up. Then I came back later after I upgraded things and got the Dragon gear and I went through there like it was nothing. It was pretty funny.
So I really don’t know what to choose because I really like both ways of playing.
Jonway: Depends on the RPG. For fantasy RPGs, I prefer strength. My MC is the leader and cornerstone for most if not all attacks. Also, if I want to brew better weapons and armor, it’s usually about strength. There are exceptions; Magic users and rogues are the main targets, but for the main fight, I choose strength. As for agility, it’s not attractive, as archery is bullshit, and thieves/robbers are more of a support role that someone else can fill.
For modern/sci-fi RPGs, I prefer dexterity/dexterity, especially if it affects accuracy, as the strength of the game means just charging and hoping for the best. Usually, in these RPGs, I prefer to be a flexible jack-of-all-trades if possible or go back to the fighter mentality, and in modern/sci-fi RPGs that means weapons.
However, for ARPGs, I opt for agility (or intelligence) builds for ranged attacks. Too often getting close to mobs or bosses is a death sentence as they are usually more powerful than you. With dex, I can at least kite them. boring, but I have a breather, and I survive longer.