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The weapon special ability precise (Magic Item Compendium 40) (+1 bonus; 0 lbs.) grants the wielder the feat Precise Shot for that specific magic weapon. The problem comes when you realize that…

  • if you wanted to be a dedicated archer you would probably just take the Precise Shot feat; and…
  • if you didn't want to be a dedicated archer then there are better ways—like with the 2nd-level Sor/Wiz spell seeking ray [evoc] (Player's Handbook II 124)—to damage foes with increased accuracy.

It's common knowledge that using magic items instead of taking feats is awesome, but this seems redundant. Is there something I'm missing? Is there any reason to pick the weapon special ability instead of taking the feat?

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  1. In theory, it could work kind of well for a back-up ranged weapon for an otherwise-melee character. This tends to work poorly, since you need so many feats to be effective at ranged combat, but here’s a (relatively) cheap way to get one of the ones you need. Not everyone is going to have seeking ray available, plus using it means wasting a turn dealing only 4d6 damage instead of what you could deal with your archery (potentially higher).

  2. Feats from items do count for prerequisites. At many levels, a feat is way, way more valuable than a +1-equivalent. Getting to “skip” Precise Shot could be valuable. This only works if starting at high enough level, though, since you wouldn’t want to actually play an archer without Precise Shot.

  3. Not everything in the game actually has any good reason to choose it, particularly compared to other options from other sourcebooks. The authors of Magic Item Compendium may well have been unaware of or forgotten about seeking ray. Player’s Handbook II isn’t exactly an obscure sourcebook, but it’s certainly still possible. I think there may be decent reasons to use precise despite that, but in general there certainly are options in the game, many of them in fact, that just have no good reason to ever get used.

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