Now that i've had some time to collect thoughts and reread the guide a few times I can share.
Firstly, I'm not a numbers guy. Not a min/maxer or any such thing. I play for theme, style and fun. I also like playing power combos that noone else is playing. I never really cared to do what everyone else is doing and I guess it carries over to this. It's fun to play combos that noone is rolling up and see how to adjust playstyle and such to make them work. Many folks don't like to do that, but I do. That said, I do like to pimp my builds out to make them more effective and more fun to play. While I will try to get the max bonuses out of a build, it has usually been relegated to pumping up Acc, Rech, Recovery rate/End management. And while I've played for years on live and have played a ton since it came back, it's only recently that I started taking a harder look at how certain builds can give you something more in terms of survivability , utility, and fun. Maybe it was my old thinking from back in the early live days dying hard(trying to max out Dam,Acc,End,Rech), or just being so/too resistant to 'the numbers' of it all, that I never looked at how I could, really, effectively do a build out combing the best of the numbers with the best of what I like: just playing a cool character with a cool theme, and having fun. Now I have.
This is a killer guide. Really hooked me as it's about a set that I love, that I think is great and fun.
My history with Poison/Dual Pistols is such: I played a Thugs/Poison MM when they released those originally as I just thought It was a cool couple of powersets and wanted to see dhow it was. I also reeeeeally liked the 3 pistol powers baked in with the MM Thugs set. I took that toon all the way to 50... pretty sure. I might have made a Dual Pistols toon back on live, but I had so many characters and it was a few years back and I just don't remember. That said, When HC came around, I jumped right back in, and shortly thereafter rolled up a P/DP Def as I wanted to make an Homage to that MM but do something different.
I started HC with a Pistols/Rad Sentinel(at 34) first, then Rolled up Poison Pete, said Poison Defender(at 50), then a Pistols/Nin Blaster(at 31). I have a Corrupter in the pipe, but haven't landed on anything solid yet. I just like the guns. I wish there were more, better looking gun options, but hey...
I also like the utility of switching between the 3 ammo types. I many don't like it, or think they do anything. I disagree/don't care.
All that said, I have some experience playing DP.
Here's how I am currently rolling...
Let me share some more:
While someone like yourself may cringe at this build, It's actually pretty damn effective. You said above that you had gone through many respecs. I have as well with this toon. My original build as I was taking him up to 50 had no Dual Wield or Piercing Rounds because as you said, and I totally agree, Poison is in your face, down and dirty, and there really is no other way to play it. I just discovered that looking at the powers and playing them as they were. I had no travel power other than Ninja Run for thematic reasons and Recall for utility and to use slots elsewhere. As I got up toward 50 an into the Epics, chose Psychic Mastery and had what I have now plus World of Confusion. I thought it would be a great synergy but ultimately got impatient with it and 'speccd it out before I gave it a chance to really get slots, sets, and procs and really see what it was capable of.
I then respecd into Sorcery, took Spirit Ward, Mystic Flight and Rune of Protection. I dropped WoC. I still had Antidote through this. I wanted a proper travel power and the convenience of flight is just so great, the teleport was nice too at times. With Rune and Clarion incarnate power, I had status protection most of the time. This build was great, with good mitigation and damage but I found I was really just trying jto do too much- debuff all the bad guys, heal people, status protect them and add Absorbs with Spirit Ward on Tanks and such when I could- It was a lot of work and I was also noodling with procs and sets and bonuses and the like the whole time. I wanted to change it again. I also had a bunch of FF +recharge procs in there as many Pistol powers have a KB component to them when not having a typed ammo equipped. I had to sacrifice those in the current build and will figure a way to get them back in there.
When I saw Experimentation in the pipe, I knew I wanted to spec into it for a number of reasons. Travel that more fit my theme and primary, Toxic Dart with nice Poisony damage and Corrosive and Adrenal as nice additional buffs to have. And that brings us to the build above.
Adrenal Boost is great, uptime is alright, not awesome.
Corrosive Vial I find to be wonderful. For my character, it fits thematically, it has great debuff action going for it. Again, not a numbers guy, so I cant comment on that, but what I see is jumping into a group, Weaken first, then Envenom, Poison Trap followed by Corrosive Vial and many are dead before Hail of Bullets is finished animating. Cleanup the scraps and move on. I would absolutely make room for it on any Poison, and really many other debuff type builds and proc it out.
Paralytic Poison with the + Mag 2 Proc in it is a monster. The recharge slow proc in it is also real nice. I am now going to do the same in Dominate. I put a Chance to Hold proc in Dual Wield and it goes off all the time. Counting that, Suppressive Fire, Paralytic and Dominate gives me 4 ST Holds. If I count PT, its 5. It's great. I can hold all kinds of enemies and that makes for great mitigation. I have a lot of Damage procs in PT, but will likely put another -Res proc in and another hold proc in it.
Dual Pistols thoughts:
Swap Ammo & Suppresive Fire. Chem ammo is great is it only adds to the debuffs you are already laying down. Even if it's small, more is usually better, and a different damage type. Fire ammo gives you another dam type and a chokey Hold from Suppresive Fire. You get a chokey hold on Chem ammo on Suppresive Fire as well. You get Slows and an Ice Block hold on Cryo ammo in Suppresive Fire. Get it? I love the Ammo with Suppresive Fire, plus while the 2 Psionic procs may seem overkill, I want that power to deal damage as I use it constantly.
Dual Wield. Originally I had AOE heavy build and then put Dual Wield back in. It's going again. Why? Because what you said above is right: Poison is down and dirty, in yo face. I'm trying to debuff everyone all the time and Pistols and ES are great for runners and cleanup randoms.
Pistols. Why Pistols? I know many hate the T1's and they're skipable and blah, blah, blah i've read all those things for years. Here's the thing... Damage isn't your main bag on a Def, so load it with slots and procs and you get some great secondary effects plus decent to as good as T2 damage. The above is not the best example, I know. But next respec im going to try more procs with utility; like holds and exotic dam; like psionic. It also recharges fast and has a low endurance cost. It's always there and ready for you. Multiple animations that rotate is also cool for theme/play reasons. There.
Piercing Rounds. I have it on my Sentinel and Blaster, and not here. Yes, it's a suuuuuper narrow cone, but it's too narrow. Animation is way too bloody long. I usually don't care about shit like that if it looks cool, and it looks cool. But here I care. Doesn't work for me. I have it on my Blaster and it is still, unslotted. I have it slotted up on my Sentinel.
Bullet Rain. Bullet Rain has a bit of a gonky animation but it works great at distance OR in melee, which you are often in with Poison, so I love it.
Empty Clips. It's an AOE. Love it, can't go wrong.
Executioner's Shot: Looks cool as hell. Great damage. Need to explore procs in it. Nothing to not like.
Hail o' Bullets. Wicked cool animation. Yea, it's a tad long. But it looks sooo cool. And does good dam. AND it's another AOE. Like all these, you can switch up the ammo effectively changing what it does; slow/cold dam, fire dam, or debuff/toxic dam. I like that it's not a bloody nuke and it serves our purpose of #beinginmeleepoison well.
Thinking back now, as I write this, one of the reasons I took DP with Poison was because of the potential stacking of Chem Ammo's debuff with Poison. I think the synergy is great. Someone who is better with numbers than I might tell me different and I'd be interested to hear that. But, at the end of the day, I still like playing sets other people aren't, so I still dig it and now I dig it even more after reading this guide and will be adding a lot of ideas from here to my build and encourage people to try Poison with DP.
This guide and your extensive testing and knowledge, have convinced me to crunch it down once again, lean up the build whilst still keeping it thematic, add more procs and different and better bonuses. I'll share that when I land on it. I really like your 'not being there to heal you' and 'if i'm getting mezzed, so are you' philosolphy. You can see I started going in that direction with this build and will likely drop Alkaloid altogether in the next iteration. Antidote was already gone even though it was a nice place for some uniques. I'll edit if I have any more thoughts but I think that's all for now. Again, thanks for the great guide and flying the flag of Poison.