You're a G** D*** PB!
The MF'ing Warshade by Dechs Kaison was a cornerstone in Warshade play and revolutionized the mindset of the AT by putting into clear view that, as a Warshade, you're a freaking rockstar. It was not your build, set IO's, or ability to shift forms that made you a MF'ing Warshade but a mentality: Must. Find. Bodies. With this mentality in place, the Warshade became a purple cloud of death that few, if any, other ATs could emulate as you capped your resists, spit out fluffy pets of doom, and murdered hordes of enemies faster than whole teams.
Peacebringers, on the other hand, have never had quite the same reputation. In the eyes of the general population, they're something of anomaly: not quite a Scrapper, not quite a Tank, not quite a Blaster, and definitely not a Controller or Defender. They're a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none AT that could be replaced by any other bona fide AT.
This is where they're wrong.
A well-built Peacebringer is not a poor facsimile of a Tank, Scrapper, or Blaster: it's 80% of all three at once. What you give up in pure specialization, you gain in not having a single true weakness (at least none that can't be addressed) and being able to do just about anything at the drop of a hat. You're completely self-contained. You don’t need bodies, you don’t need buffs, you don’t need Defender heals. You can solo 8/+4 content or work great on a team. You can dish it out in melee or sit back and fire AoE at range. You have permanent Build Up (Inner Light). Permanent Dull Pain (Essence Boost). You have two Nukes, 3 heals, permanent 85% resistance to everything, no Endurance problems, and can get back up if you get killed every 90 seconds.
Does this pique your interest yet?
You're a GD PB!
To further emphasize the above, here are some comparisons:
Average IO'd Invulnerability Tank -
15% Psi (from set IO bonuses, otherwise 0)
Average IO'd Peacebringer:
75% Psi (from set IO bonuses, otherwise 0)
An Invuln Brute/Scrapper is even less than the Tank without outside buffs. PBs can out-tank a Tanker or Brute against the more exotic damage types and plugging the Psi hole isn’t that hard. They don't get Punchvoke, true, but Dwarf form has Taunt that auto-hits enemies (not in PvP). Yes, Light Form has a 50% health/endurance crash but it is easily mitigated with the 1 of 3(!) heals a PB has access to and Conserve Energy which cuts endurance costs in half and has a 50% up-time with just one slot.
What the Tanks/Brutes don't have is the myriad of AoE/Ranged attacks you do. If an enemy begins to flee, they have to run after it: you don't. You can hit them with one of your 5 ranged attacks, nuke the whole crowd of enemies, or send one of your little death balls (Photon Seekers) after them. In short, you’re not just a tank, you’re also a very sturdy AoE platform.
No one will mistake a Human Form PB for a Blaster in raw damage output...but they might mistake the Nova form for one. Human Form PBs have a .8 modifier to ranged attacks (versus the 1.125 that Blasters get). So, for a hypothetical attack of 100 damage, the Blaster does 112.5 while the Human PB does 80. However, Nova form has a 1.2 modifier, higher than Blasters, and will do 120. Nova Form can be further boosted by Inner Light, which can easily be made Perma, which offers an additional 72% damage. It's not as high as Build Up, but it lasts 30 seconds and is essentially permanent. Coupled with global recharge, a Nova Form PB can regularly sit at ~+180% damage with a 1.2 ranged attack modifier and spam its two AoE attacks nearly non-stop.
If you want to do the same in Human Form, nothing is stopping you, but the results are less impressive. What you gain by staying in Human Form is the ability to keep toggles on that improve your survivability and/or boost your damage/accuracy. Personally, not switching forms kind of defeats the purpose of this unique AT so jumping to Nova to really lay down the hurt is kind of the point.
All the while, you're coasting with mez protection and 85% resists, which a Blaster would kill for. You won't do the same damage, but you won't get killed if the enemy stares at you aggressively.
Then there's going into melee. PBs have been described as something of a Blapper (Blaster that gets into melee) but the reality is that you're melee prowess is as good, if not better, than your ranged. Since you're not afraid to get into the thick of it due to your superior resistances, you've got options: you can single-target chain your two great melee attacks and good PBAoE, you can double-nuke a tightly grouped cluster of mobs, or you can knock out a particularly offensive enemy (sapper, quantum, etc.) and then move back and AoE them at range. If you're really feeling perky, jump in, Nuke them, use your Human PBAoE, switch to Dwarf Form, and use your Dwarf PBAoE to clean out the rest. If anything is left standing, maul them with your single-targets.
Not only do you have have across-the-board better defenses than a Scrapper but your ability to AoE is superior as well. You won't hit as hard as a well-built Scrapper but you'll hit more than a well-built Scrapper more often than not. Likewise, as mentioned in the Tanking section, you aren’t obligated to melee like they are. You can totally blast things from afar with nearly equal success.
Again, you'll never do anything quite as well as a Tanker/Blaster/Scrapper but you'll do everything about 80% as well, all at once. To put it another way, you'll never win Gold in any one event but you will get Silver in every event. You'll never be *bad* at any of these things, there will just be ATs that do them better.
Whereas the MF’ing Warshade is a different, flexible, flowing, thing altogether, PBs are tank-mages. They’re equally capable of taking damage and dishing it out while simultaneously directing the focus of the team. The GD PB is a natural leader: don’t wait for anyone. If a team complains about you knocking every enemy over all of creation, you don’t even need them anyway!.
...does your team need a tank? You.
...does your team need AoE? You.
...does your team need to aggro an AV? You.
...does your team have accuracy problems? You.
...do you just want to solo everything at x8/+4? You can.
Why? 'cuz you're a GD PB!
Playing as a GD PB - The Blank
Playing a PB is not the dance of death on a razor’s edge that the MF’ing Warshade is known for. You don’t get more powerful the faster you kill or the more surrounded you are by enemies. You begin at an absurd level and can maintain that absurd level for an absurd length of time. Your priority in any given engagement is to manage all the various long-duration click powers that are keeping you alive while also getting yourself into position to Nuke a group, I-Strike that Quantum, Solar Flare the rest, and then back off to Nova Blast the stragglers.
You’re also going to have to get to used to the Light Form crash. It’s not nearly as bad as other T9s that drain your endurance and most of your HP. You have two heals (in Human Form) and potentially one in Dwarf form that can erase the HP hit almost instantly. Conserve Energy can turn that 50% endurance into 100% with the press of a button and is up most of the time. Or, you can just pop a blue inspiration and call it a day. Light Form crashes are just a way of life and yes, it can drop at inopportune times but it will never directly kill you.
Since you have such a variety of Ranged, Single-Target, AoE, and PBAoE powers, you will have to be alert as to how you can best deal damage. Clustered groups are ripe for AoE/PBAoEs but sometimes the best play is to use your single-targets on an annoying enemy like a CoT Succubus, Malta Sapper, or Arachnos Widow/Mu. Getting a feel for the range of your cones and targeted AoE will pay huge dividends on your overall damage potential. You won’t reach the numbers of the more specialized classes but you’ll be equally deadly up close as you are from afar.
“Where am I most effective?” is the GD PB’s biggest question while grouped. Depending on team composition, you may find yourself needing to be the primary tank, the ranged blaster, the supporting melee scrapper, or whatever but don’t pigeon-hole yourself into any one role. This leads many to think you’re a Blapper but really, you’re more of a Blank (Blaster-Tank). The term has a double-meaning, though: your role is not set in stone. Tabula rasa (clean slate), my friends. You are what you need to be, when you need to be it. Write your own role! MF’ing Warshades are going to go off and be their own thing but GD PBs are tactical chameleons that have the flexibility and dynamism to change gears instantly and rock any role they choose to play.
At the end of the day, the GD PB gives you the choice to be just about any of the pure-offense/defense classes at a moment’s notice. None of the other ATs give you that option. Revel in it and use it to your advantage in every encounter.
When it comes to Kheldians, you'll hear terms as to how they play: "Human-only" "Tri-Form" "Bi-Form," etc. Shifting into forms is something only Kheldians can do and with those shifts come pros and cons. I'll say more about this later but in the end, it ultimately boils down to this question: are toggle powers in Human form going to be more advantageous than the perks of Nova/Dwarf form? If, for example, you want to maximize or soft cap your Smashing/Lethal defense to be more survivable, you will want to run toggles like Maneuvers, Combat Jumping, Weave, etc. Shifting forms drops these toggles so a.) you will won't recieve their benefits while in a Form anyway and b.) you'll have to re-activate them upon going back to Human. For these reasons, if you choose to use Nova/Dwarf often, toggles will become a nuisance to maintain and potentially slow you down because some (like Leadership toggles) have animations. This is also the primary reason that the Human shields that are available are much less attractive than they should be. Depending on your overall goals, you'll have to decide if if you'll opt for Tri-Form, Bi-Form, or Human-Only. There are also reasons to pick up Nova/Dwarf and only use them as IO Set "mules."
I say all this because, in my experience, changing forms has tremendous upside. That is not to discount Human-Only builds (which I ran for most of my time as PB) or their viability but rather after weighing the evidence, the benefits of form switching more closely match my priorities in building my PB. To put it more explicitly, here are the things I, as a player, am looking to do with my PB:
1a.) Achieve Perma-Hasten (which leads to Perma-Light Form/Inner Light, etc.)
1b.) Maximize Damage, especially AoE
2.) Maximize Resists, especially Psi Resist (as PB's inherently have none)
3.) Address the Knockback issue
4.) Add Utility/Quality of Life/Protection against Debuffs
5.) Grab Defense when available
With those in mind, I write this guide. Your priorities may be different so take my advice with a grain of salt if you have fundamental disagreements with my M.O.
Peacebringers have a lot of powers (so do Warshades). What’s worse is that you’ll have way more powers than you have enhancement slots. If it were possible to slot up all 3 forms to their utmost, PBs/WSs would be ridiculous. Not all of a PB’s powers are created equal and some are downright bad, allowing us to skip them but the real silver lining is that there are quite a few that only need the default slot to be very useful. This saves enhancement slots for other things.
I go on a 5-Star Rating, 5 being the best (like my old “D3” Dark/Dark Defender guide when I was Blackest Night many moons ago) and will talk about each power and how I utilize it (or don’t). Some ratings have an asterisk (*) next to them because of edge cases that increase/decrease their utility. I try to explain my rationale in these instances.
A General Word of Advice…
Most, but not all, PB builds lean heavily on Perma-Light Form. Light Form is a T9, level 38 click-power that gives an initial 52.5% resist to all but Psi. Its uptime is 90 seconds with a 300 second recharge. Closing the gap between 300 and 90 is the #1 priority of most builds. Therefore, slotting, set IOs, and power selection are being driven by “how can I get more global recharge?” If the MF’ing Warshade’s mantra was “Must find more bodies” than the GD PB is all about “Must find more recharge.” Eventually, you may get to the point where everything that can be made perma is and recharge begins to take a backseat to other goals, but while building a PB, recharge is typically your #1 priority.
The happy side effect in all of this is that the same IO sets that give global recharge bonuses also tend to fill the one gaping whole in a PB’s defenses: Psi. But we’ll talk about that later.
A Peacebringer’s inherent ability is Cosmic Balance, an auto power that kicks in when teamed (and within range). When PBs were created they were meant to be “The Ultimate Team Player” and Cosmic Balance reflects this: you naturally fill holes in the team make-up. Lower damage ATs (Tanks, Masterminds, Corrupters and Defenders) buff your damage by 20% each. Squishier characters (Blasters, Stalkers, Scrappers, and Brutes(?)) increase your Resistance by 10% each (including Psi). Controllers and Dominators give you Mez resistance of 1 Mag each, which is pretty useless. Interestingly, teaming with other EATs/VATs grant 10% Recharge Slow Resistance, which means the slows that plague you will hurt a little less. In previous versions, Cosmic Balance did not apply to Forms but it does currently. For the GD PB, you’re going to cap your own resists pretty easily so teaming with Blasters (etc.) doesn’t really have much of an effect beyond plugging the inherent Psi hole you have. However, teaming with Tanks, Defenders, etc. can have a noticeable impact on your damage.
Energy Flight and Combat Flight
Epic ATs (EATs) get free, Level 1 and Level 10, travel powers that don’t cost a power slot. Sometimes this is overlooked when choosing an AT and I don’t want to fail in mentioning it at the beginning. Flying is the most convenient travel power, though it is the slowest. There are power choices later on in a PB’s career that give various speed boosts or intangible effects to your flying but those are power picks and not automatic. Energy Flight is a great place to put in a Winter's Gift: Slow Resistance IO because being slowed is the bane of your existence.
Combat Flight is the same as Hover, with the same slower speed but better control and minor defense buff. This will come in handy later because it is a potential slot for Luck of the Gambler: +Recharge. Even if you don’t use Combat Flight, that slot can give you 7.5% global recharge.
Luminous Blast is a bit all over the place: it’s 3 single-target (ST) ranged attacks, 2 ranged AOE, 2 single-target melee attacks and 1 PBAoEs, 1 nuke, 1 suicidal pet, 1 crowd control power, and 1 single-ally heal. At level 6, you get Bright Nova, the Blaster-esque flying squid with the fabled “better than Blaster” damage modifier.
Gleaming Bolt (Level 1)
Star Rating: 2*
Gleaming Bolt is a reskin of Radiation Blast’s Neutrino Bolt, or to put it another way, a very fast, low-damage ranged attack. At the very earliest levels, it can keep an attack chain going but it never will be much more than a filler attack. It also debuffs defense by 9%, which allows the next hit to be more accurate. As all your attacks will debuff defense to some degree, you will be an asset to teams that are having a hard time hitting.
*Homecoming added a new wrinkle to this power so that the Dwarf Form can use it, albeit at essentially 0 range. It gains a bit of a damage buff and fills out the Dwarf attack chain. If you use Dwarf form a lot, it is worth getting. I have not personally experimented to see what the damage buff on it is and whether or not it is competitive with Dwarf Strke/Smite. With so much global recharge on the GD PB, the Dwarf attack chain is fine without this power. Personally, of the two starting blasts, I skip this one despite what I consider to be a better aesthetic on my character. The attack animation is very fast as opposed to Glinting Eye.
Slotting: If you take it, recharge is a non-issue. Maximize its damage/accuracy/endurance and call it a day. Decimation is a great IO to set to slot in it for the +recharge and the build-up proc.
Glinting Eye (Level 1)
Star Rating: 3*
Glinting Eye lets you shoot frickin’ laser beams so there’s that, but it has superior damage to Gleaming Bolt. Its animation time is longer, though, and if it weren’t for this, I’d bump it to 4 stars. Outside of being a basic Energy damage attack, Glinting Eye doesn’t have much else going for it beyond the defense debuff of 18% (double that of Bolt). Use it to chase down runners or even as part of a single-target attack chain.
*Like Gleaming Bolt, Glinting Eye is usable in another form, this time Nova. When used in Nova Form, it gets a hefty damage and range increase, so much so that it out-damages Nova Blast (the strongest single-target Nova attack). Because of its dual-purpose nature, and the fact that Nova can use it to its fullest, I go with Eye over Bolt every time.
Slotting: The animation time will exceed the time it takes to recharge as you gain global recharge. For this reason, every time its used, I feel like I could have used another attack in the interim. Like Bolt, recharge isn’t the issue in the end but damage/accuracy/endurance. Decimation is, again, the premier set to slot here and the Build-Up proc could theoretically be used in either Human or Nova forms.
Gleaming Blast (Level 2)
Star Rating: 3
Gleaming Blast is the strongest single-target ranged attack you’ll get but it still feels a bit lackluster due to the Human Form’s anemic ranged damage modifier. It does have the added effect of Knockback, which is a blessing or curse depending on your opinion of KB. Personally, I find the KB to be welcome if I’m trying to get a foe off of me or to stop a runner. I used this for a long time on my Human-Only PB build and got good mileage from it. Even maxed out, it never feels as powerful as it should and Nova Form has a similar power that is simply better in every respect. If you choose to go Human-Only, you can make this your go-to single-target ranged attack and leave Bolt and Eye completely out of your tray. It will recharge fast enough and hit hard enough that it makes the other two obsolete.
Slotting: Standard slotting for a damage power applies: 1 Accuracy, 2-3 Damage, 1 Endurance, and a 1 Recharge. Decimation, as always, is the best set for it but if you go Human Only, this would be the place to put in a Purple set like Apocalypse or one of the Kheldian ATO sets. I wouldn’t go overboard slotting this unless you plan on using an IO set. There are other powers more deserving of slots if slots are tight.
Bright Nova (Level 6)
Star Rating: 4*
Nova Form, as has been mentioned repeatedly, is where you’re going to pick up some raw damage in addition to some real AoE potential. When you switch into this form, you gain a 45% damage increase, a 9% ToHit buff (which is a multiplier of your Accuracy, so this is a big deal), permanent Flight, and additional Energy/Negative resistance on the order of 15%. Also, the form gives you a small Endurance boost to cover the cost of the form itself (bringing you to neutral).
When in Nova Form you gain Nova Bolt and Blast, two single-target attacks virtually identical with the Human versions, and Nova Scatter (cone AoE) and Nova Detonation (Targeted AoE), which are superior versions to the Human versions found later down the Luminous Blast powerset.
I rate this a 4-star power, with an asterisk, because switching in and out of Nova form has its pros and cons. On the pro-side, you gain access to ranged attacks that are basically 50% stronger than any equivalent blast you can muster in Human form. Since you can fly, your ability to go vertical and get good positioning is also enhanced in everything but tight maps like caves. Going vertical also mitigates the Knockback in Detonation to a fair degree since it is directional. Gleaming Blast, and Glinting Eye for that matter, will out DPS your best ST melee attack (Radiant Strike) so you don’t lose ST damage, really. Since you’re a GD PB and will use Perma-Light form, you will not lose your defenses when you switch forms, nor will you lose Inner Light which boosts your damage. This means you’re a Blaster with Tank resists. There is a lot of upside of Nova form when it comes to pure damage and cycling the AoEs will feel really powerful.
What you will not have access to is any click power, like heals, Hasten, Conserve Energy, or the ability to re-click Light Form. Switching forms constantly also denies your Human form the ability to run any kind of toggle without setting up a series of binds and Leadership-type powers that have animations will really cramp your ability to be dynamic. If you want to run Leadership, Combat Jumping, Weave, etc. for Defense bonuses, I’d suggest you drop Nova as you finalize your build. I’ve gone Human Only for stretches and it is more than viable: I just find the damage capability of Nova too good to pass up.
Slotting: For the form itself, it doesn’t need anything beyond the default slot. I’d suggest a Performance Shifter Endurance Proc or a ToHit Buff. Guassian’s Build Up could go here too but its activation would be unreliable.
If you use Nova to any degree, do yourself a favor and get Glinting Eye. This will allow you to skip Nova Bolt entirely with slots and in your attack tray. As your global recharge mounts, Eye and Nova Blast will be enough to fill a ST attack chain. Not only so but Eye will actually be the superior of the two.
For all Nova attacks, Accuracy is a little less paramount. The ToHit Buff helps initially but definitely slot Endurance Reduction in the AoE attacks. For Set IOs, Decimation goes in the single-target and Positron’s Blast goes in the AoEs. If you are going for high-end builds with Purples, I would highly recommend Ragnarok in Nova Scatter and with all 6-slots. The chance for Knockdown, in addition to Detonation’s KB (into the ground!) will give you a great measure of control as you cycle the two AoEs.
Radiant Strike (level 6)
Star Rating: 5
Up until this point, you’ve been exclusively a ranged damage-dealer but with the addition of Radiant Strike, you’ll start feeling a bit braver. This is the best single-target attack in the set, bar-none. It hits hard, recharges fast, has the ability to knockback/knockdown flyers, and has a very quick and punchy animation. Radiant Strike is frequently your highest DPS attack. About half of its damage is Smashing, so this portion of it may be resisted more than the Energy portion. Even so, I frequently hit for over 300 damage every 3 seconds with Whitest Light.
Slotting: Standard slotting applies: Accuracy, 2-3 damage, 1 Endurance Reduction, and 1 Recharge. It’s worth 6-slotting, even early. For Set IOs, Crushing Impact is the one you’ll want, at least 5-slotted, for the global recharge, 6-slotted if you want some Psi resist. If you’re going to skimp, skimp on anything, go with Accuracy because Inner Light will boost it.
Proton Scatter (Level 8)
Star Rating: 2
Well, we’ve come to our first dud. Proton Scatter isn’t bad, per se, it just feels really, really weak compared to the Nova version. Adding insult to injury, its range is poor, which means the cone is relatively shallow. The Nova version’s range is 50% greater and can hit drastically more at higher damage output. It also has a long-ish animation time to boot. It can be used in a Human-Only build to add some AoE to it but it will never be strong. (Fully-slotted it was doing like 85 damage at level 50 compared to Nova’s 220+).
Slotting: If you do take this power, it’s a good set for Positron’s Blast, which adds global recharge and a little bit of range. Positron’s does have poor recharge stats though so the up-time won’t be as high as standard slotting.
Inner Light (Level 12)
Star Rating: 5
This is the PBs version of Build Up. It has two phases: a 10-second phase where you get +~101% damage and ~25% ToHit buff followed by 20 seconds of a ~30% Damage Buff and +7% ToHit Buff. Inner Light can be made permanent pretty easily with only a single Recharge Reduction. The nicest part of Inner Light is that will carry over to the other forms. Nova and Dwarf can’t re-activate it but they can benefit from its buffs. Activating it as often as possible means you get the +100% damage more often and with it hovering around 30 second downtime (you can get as low as about 25 seconds), you'll have +100% damage about 1/3rd of the time.
Slotting: This is a great 1-slot power that doesn’t need a lot to function at a high level. When you first get it, and don’t have as much global recharge, its worth maxing out recharge on it. You can still get it to 45 seconds without global recharge, which means it’s up 67% of the time. Once global recharge starts getting higher and higher, you can drop slots out of it. At the highest levels of global, it’s seconds away from being perma even without Recharge Reduction. For some that will be “good enough” but remember our mantra “Must Have More Recharge.” Enemies that have slowing attacks will affect Inner Light’s perma nature.
I’ve two-slotted it and put both the Guassian ToHit/Recharge IO and Chance for Build Up proc in Inner Light. If the proc doesn’t fire 100% of the time I hit Inner Light, it’s darn close which means for the first 5 seconds of activating, I have a +173% damage and +60% ToHit Buff(!). That makes using any attack very close to the damage cap (~373% of 400%). Obviously, using Dawn Strike would be fitting.
Luminous Detonation (Level 12)
Star Rating: 2
Here’s the next lackluster power, simply by virtue of being a poor-man’s version of the Nova power. Like Proton Scatter, it doesn’t have the same range, damage, or impact when in Human Form and the knockback it causes can cause more harm than good, depending on if you want enemies clustered or not. You can use it as a poor-man’s Solar Flare (i.e. use it at point blank range) but the damage is nothing like Flare’s and is actually even worse than Proton Scatter’s. It can be made to work, and is a great mule for Positron’s but overall this is a weak power that’s worth skipping unless you’re Human Only and need the Set IO bonuses.
Slotting: Basically 5/6-slot or bust on this (for Positron’s). I really wanted to like this power when I went Human-only but it pales in comparison to Solar Flare in almost every respect.
Incandescent Strike (Level 18)
Star Rating: 5
Here’s where things get interesting. I-Strike is basically Total Focus from Energy Melee, including the Mag 3 Hold. It hits almost twice as hard as Radiant Strike (which is already a heavy-hitter) and on my toon, recharges in just over 5 seconds. It has a long animation, though, which hurts it long-term in regards to DPS. The Smashing:Energy damage ratio is roughly 2:3 so if an enemy resists the Smashing portion, you’re losing less of the total damage than Radiant Strike (which is about 1:1). The Hold is nice but you'll need multiple applications on a Boss for it to hold them. I wouldn't slot for the control aspect, as this is primarily a damage dealer. Think of it as the cherry on top of a sundae of pain.
I-Strike will one-shot most minions and almost kill many Lts. It’s perfect against high-hp or annoying targets like Sappers or Quantums/Voids. It has a low mag Knockback into it, causing most enemies to get knocked down and also a -Fly component if you’re facing an annoying hovering foe. It's also a prime candidate to use the first phase (+100%) damage buff of Inner Light on.
Slotting: This is a premier power that you want to use as much as possible. Standard attack power slotting (1 Acc, 2/3 Damage, Recharge, Endurance) with 5/6 slots and/or with Crushing Impact, Kheldian’s Grace/Essence Transfer, or Hecatomb. If you can manage to get your global recharge up without the above, Kinetic Combat (for the S/L, Melee defense) would help round out your overall defense.
Pulsar (Level 18)
Star Rating: 1
Every powerset has “The Worst” and this, unfortunately, is it. Whereas Warshades get a ton of control powers, Peacebringers have but one and it is deplorable. Pulsar is an AoE, Mag 2 (minion-only) stun that has a chance (50%) to do a Mag 3 stun. I has a long recharge and short duration. It also has an agonizingly long animation time and lower-than-average chance to hit. Everything is going against it from the start.
In all honesty, even if slotted fully with a great Stun Set (Stupefy) and a ton of global recharge, it’s still not particularly attractive because it is unreliable for anything but a minion. If it was a guaranteed Mag 3 Stun with a 50% chance for a Mag 4, it'd be pretty good but as it is, it's not worth it.
Slotting: 5-slot for Stupefy (which has global recharge) if you really want to skip an AoE blast power and still get global recharge. I guess if you continually spam Pulsar it could lock down a group but you’ll be killing too fast to do that. Minions aren't your concern by late game and that's all this power is currently good for.
Glowing Touch (Level 26)
Star Rating: 2
Interestingly enough, Glowing Touch may be what some PBs want since the jack-of-all-trades nature lends itself to being in a support role, too. I’m not against this power whatsoever but I personally couldn’t fit it into my build because of all the various set mules I need. As far as a healing power goes, it’s not great: it’s ~18% heal on a single-target. The upside is that its base recharge is only 4 seconds, so you can spam it with just a little recharge in it (or a ton of global recharge, which you will have). Even with just one slot with a Heal IO in it, it’s a little over 25% of an ally’s health in one go. Not overwhelming but it helps.
Slotting: Honestly, the base slot is enough unless you want to try to be a team healer. At its best, it’s only going to heal a little over a 1/3rd of an ally’s health so I would hate for a team to rely on you as its primary healer. I consider this to be an accessory power, at best. It has a long-ish animation time as well so I think you’d be better served using your time to kill an enemy rather than mitigate its damage.
Solar Flare (Level 26)
Star Rating: 5
With Solar Flare, your melee tendencies will begin to overtake your ranged ones. Solar Flare looks awesome and due to the knockback, everyone will know you did it. Oddly enough, It’s what Pulsar dreams it could be in terms of crowd control. Solar Flare is just a re-skinned Foot Stomp, and would be just as good if it weren’t for that pesky knockback. Thankfully, there is such a thing as Sudden Acceleration: Knockback to Knockdown, which does exactly what it says on the tin. Like Foot Stomp, this will make your melee times much more enjoyable because everything will be on its back and the damage isn’t actually a hair higher than an equivalent Tanker because a PB’s melee damage modifier is .85 (a hair ahead of Tankers at .8 and Brutes at .75 before Fury). Since you’re a GD PB, you’ll also have permanent Inner Light which means that it’s going to be on par with Rage + Foot Stomp, but with no crash!
Slotting: This is a 5/6 slot power at minimum with standard damage slotting as you level. Obliteration is the go-to IO set, not just because it maximizes damage and recharge (which you’ll want for maximum up-time) but also because it gives global recharge. If you’re going for a high-end Purple build, this is one of the best places to put Armageddon because, overall, it will do more damage than your Nuke. If you have an extra slot, consider putting in Sudden Acceleration to reduce the knockback (see below) or an Achilles Heel -Resist proc to shave 20% resists off of everything. This can give extra damage to the whole team.
As for that knockback, it will be one of the things you have to consider overall as a PB. There are groups out there that will absolutely refuse to play with you because you scatter mobs. There are other groups that couldn’t care less. Personally, I think Knockback is a mixed bag and after playing with and without Knockback reduction, I have to admit that not throwing mobs around is “cleaner,” but not for the reasons you might think. Time-to-kill and all that with teams is important to some but not a deal-breaker for me but the real rub is that if I Nuke or Solar Flare and knock enemies out of my next AoE, I’m only hurting myself. Whether grouped or solo, I find myself being more effective when I have KB-to-KD slotted. This sucks because that’s numerous slots “wasted” just to keep enemies from flying all over and it also diminishes some set IO possibilities. If all PB powers just did Knockdown, I would gain 2-3 slots for something else but as it is, it doesn’t kill my builds. Choose for yourself whether or not you’ll want to mitigate your KB.
Dawn Strike (Level 32)
Star Rating: 5
Honestly, this is my favorite power in the set and what sets you apart from the pure Melee classes and even the Ranged classes. What other AT lets you Nuke every 40 seconds, near the damage cap, with tanker-like survivability? Dawn Strike is a re-skinned Energy Blast Nova (with the Knockback) so just to give you an idea of what a PB brings in terms of base (enhanced + Aim/Inner Light) damage (at level 50):
Blaster: 250 (655)
PB/WS: 178 (534)
Corrupter: 167 (403)
Defender: 145 (404)
Obviously, this doesn’t include all the Set IO bonuses that could potentially factor in or outside buffs but you get the idea. PB/WS are no laughing matter and will out-damage any other major AoE outside of a Blaster Nuke.
It’s up surprisingly often: in my current build (which has room for improvement), it’s about 40 seconds, or about every group. Since you’re not afraid of taking the alpha strike, hit Inner Light, run in, Dawn Strike, hit the remainder with Solar Flare, and then take out the bosses left standing with ST melee or switch to Nova Form and blast away. Rinse and repeat!
Slotting: I’m not sure if all Nukes lost the whole “drains all your endurance” but Dawn Strike definitely does not do this so don’t worry about Endurance. It has innate Accuracy (plus you’ll have Inner light by this point) so Accuracy is not a priority. I’d go with Damage first followed by recharge. As for IO Sets, Obliteration is the preferred, barring Armageddon. Also consider the KB-to-KD enhancement from Sudden Acceleration.
Photon Seekers (Level 32)
Star Rating: 4
Want another Nuke? This is the mentality you have to have with Photon Seekers a.k.a. Idiot Suicide Balls. Don’t consider them pets: consider them a tiny PBAoE attack that has the potential to out-damage Dawn Strike if all 3 hit. Their damage radius is pretty small (7 units, I believe) but you would be surprised how many enemies that can hit if you summon them point-blank into a large group. They also cause knockback and can’t accept normal enhancements but rather pet enhancements, namely the Recharge Intensive Pets.
If you use them as a point-blank attack, they’re pretty good but any other use is a waste. They scatter too much, attack random targets, get aggro’d, etc. If used properly, this is a “good-not-great” power. They’re available about once per minute with high global recharge, which is “ok” but still quite a bit longer than even Dawn Strike (at 40 seconds). They also do the dreaded KB, so you might need to invest a slot into a KB-to-KD IO.
Slotting: This is kind of an all-or-none power. If you take it, invest 4-5 slots. You only need 4 for Expedient Reinforcements global recharge bonus. Maximize damage and recharge as much as possible but even then, the Recharge Intensive Pet sets aren’t great for doing this. If you can’t commit at least 4 slots to it, don’t take it. I’d recommend you do simply because the extra Nuke, even if it is much more limited than Dawn Strike, is part of what makes you a GD PB.
Incandescence (Level 1)
Star Rating: 2
What can I say? This is an auto-power that gives you some Energy/Negative resists that you have to take. However, while this power will never really do much on its own, it is an excellent mule for a bunch of Resist IO enhancements.
Slotting: You’ll never actually need to enhance the primary purpose of the power so all these slots are used for unique Set IOs such as:
Steadfast Protection: +3% Defense
Steadfast Protection: Knockback Protection (unnecessary after Light Form)
Impervium Armor: +6% Psi Resist
Unbreakable Guard: +7.5% Max HP
Aegis: Psi Resist/Status Resistance
Gladiator’s Armor: +3% Defense/Teleport Resist
Personally, I have all but the KB protection 5 slotted into Incandescence but you can take your pick. There may be more efficient uses for the slots but these things are always on and cost no endurance.
Shining/Thermal/Quantum Shields (Levels 2, 10, and 14, respectively)
Star Rating: 1
I’m lumping all the Human Form shields into one category because they’re categorically useless, even while leveling. The problem is that they’re a toggle and toggles don’t stay up as you switch forms. If you’re going Human-Only, there is almost no reason to not try for Perma Light Form as not only will it cap your resists by itself but it also provides Mez Protection, which none of the shields do.
All that being said, their one redeeming feature is that you can slot Resist Set IOs in them and there is one in particular that you want if you want to start plugging that Psi hole big enough for Hamidon to fit comfortably in: it’s Impervium Armor: +6% Psi Resist. You can sprinkle up to 5 of these in your various shields and forms, which can bump your Psi Resist to 30% right off the bat. In my build, I have one in every resist power I have and took White Dwarf and Thermal Shield exclusively for this reason.
Slotting: As mentioned, use these Shields as mules. Going Human-Only as you level, beyond RP or thematic reasons, is seriously gimping yourself. Tri-Form all the way to Light Form.
Essence Boost (Level 4)
Star Rating: 5
Essence Boost is a re-skinned Dull Pain that initially heals you for 40% of your health and adds 40% to your maximum HP. This lasts for 2 minutes with a 4 minute cooldown. Half of the Max HP bonus can be enhanced, meaning you can add up to +60% HP with an 80% Heal on-click. It’s a huge heal and a huge survivability booster. It also tacks on a 15% Toxic resist, too, but don’t ever slot for resistance.
Because you’re a GD PB and your mantra is “Need More Recharge,” you’re going to find that Perma Essence Boost is easily obtained. So what does this really do for you, besides give you big glowie green numbers…?
It raises your effective HP dramatically.
Assuming you have 1000 HP and 85% resists, an attack of 100 damage will be reduced to 15. Disregarding HP regeneration, it would take 67 of those attacks to drop you. If you activate Essence Boost at the beginning of the battle, your HP would get raised to 1600, while still maintaining 85% resists. That same enemy would require 107 attacks now (the expected 60% increase). Now the real kicker is if you wait to use Essence Boost until you’re down to 20% health (53 attacks), get healed for 80% and then need another 107 attacks (assuming it’s not ready to go again by the time that happens!). If you use Essence Boost strategically, you’ve increased your effective HP not by 60% but by 140%. Now, if you really want to get complicated, throw HP Regen back in and you're actually regening more per tick because its based on your overall health pool. So, your total effective HP is even higher.
The other advantage Essence Boost provides is simply giving you more HP against targets you do happen to have low resists to (namely Psi). They may still hit like a truck but you’ll have the HP pool to take a shot or two, rather than getting insta-gibbed. It may be your only defense against Psi as you level.
You can approach Essence Boost as really big heal on a long cooldown, an always-active HP booster, or a “you thought you could take me before, try now!” low-HP pendulum swing in your favor. The choice is yours because you’re a GD PB!
Slotting: Making Essence Boost perma is not that difficult but before you get all the global recharge, I personally advocate a quantity over quality approach. I’d slot Recharge in it before Heal because the more it’s up, the more times it can heal you in a scrape and the more often you have greater effective HP. It really deserves at least 5 slots but I could argue for 6: 3 recharge/2-3 heal. Once IO Sets come into play, you’ll want Panacea or Doctored Wounds for the global recharge (5 slots) or Preventative Medicine (6-slots). Doctored Wounds will give a Psi Resist buff at 6-slots but Panacea and Preventative Medicine will give bigger global recharge bonuses along with their respective procs.
Group Energy Flight (Level 14)
Star Rating: 1
We have a contender for worst power. I can’t think of a single reason to take this outside of maybe traversing the Shard content with a team (albeit ridiculously slowly). The caster flies faster than the group so you’ll have to follow a teammate in order for it to work! Anyway, it looks cool, sure, but it has no practical use. Skip it.
White Dwarf (Level 20)
Star Rating: 3-5
White Dwarf is your second Form power and it gives you the ability to tank in a way the Human Form with shields only can dream about it. Out of the box, it comes with 37.5% resists to all but Psi, huge mez protection, a HP boost, and the ability to Teleport. It’s also Endurance neutral due to a small endurance boost, like Nova. It has two single-target melee attacks (Dwarf Strike and Smite) and a PBAoE (Dwarf Flare) that is a faster-recharging, but lower damage, Solar Flare from the Human side. Every Dwarf attack will Taunt that particular enemy but it doesn’t have AoE Punchvoke like a true Tank. Dwarf does have a true Taunt though that is auto-hit against up to 5 enemies. If you took Gleaming Bolt, it will be usable in Dwarf form, albeit at point-blank range, though with greater damage. Looking at all that, it’s potentially the most “all that for one power?” in the game.
Dwarf Form really is a mini-Tank and can operate as one pretty well, you’ll just never have all the bells and whistles of a true tank nor the attack chain to rival their damage output. Unfortunately, outside of the taunting effect that Dwarf form has and the increased Mez protection, Light Form is better in just about every way.
While leveling, this is your go-to form for extra HP, resists, and the heal and you’ll find that the base attacks hit at a reasonable strength because of Dwarf Form’s inherent 1.0 damage modifier (compared to Human’s .85). Even fully slotted, Dwarf’s damage isn’t stellar but it keeps enemies aggro’d, so they’re doing their job.
After perma Light Form, Dwarf’s necessity is greatly diminished. You already have capped resists and switching forms keeps you from activating click powers. It does give tremendous Mez protection and acts as a Breakfree itself (you can activate while mezzed) so it’s good to have on standby if you get mezzed in Light Form. The extra heal is also welcome but its days as the primary damage mitigation tool are over.
A few notes on the powers:
Dwarf Strike: A quick, but strong, single target attack that has a chance to knockdown. Unlike Human Form attacks, Dwarf attacks do KD not KB. Does about the same damage as Glinting Eye but has a faster cooldown and lower endurance cost.
Dwarf Smite: A stronger melee hit that also has a greater chance to KD, apply a mag 2 stun, has higher base accuracy, and can knock down flyers. It’s a tiny version of Incandescent Strike. The damage is nowhere near that, though, on par with Gleaming Blast. Recharge is low, though (6 seconds). Again, not a bad attack but it’s the strongest you get in Dwarf form.
Dwarf Flare: Dwarf Flare does 75% of the damage of Solar Flare but has 80% of the recharge, making it slightly less efficient vs. its Human-form counterpart. It does Knockdown though, which is a huge plus. It’s possible to double-Flare and get good mileage out of the AoE but that would involve slotting Dwarf attacks post-Light Form (which is far less efficient than slotting Nova blasts).
Dwarf Antagonize: There are few Taunt Set IOs that have global recharge in them (Perfect Zinger at 4 for 5% and Mocking Beratement at 6 for 6.25%) and Perfect Zinger has a proc that can cause Psi Damage, if you want a pseudo-attack added.
Dwarf Sublimation: Identical to Reform Essence, save for the fact it’s base heal is 43.75%! Even a single Lvl 50 Heal IO will boost it to a 65%: higher than Reform Essence at 3-slotted Heal. Taking Dwarf Form past perma Light Form just for this heal alone is worth it. You can pop into Dwarf, hit the heal, and go back. Having 3 heals, all over 50% is huge. If you slot it completely, you’re sitting at a 85-90% heal and with global recharge and enhancements, it can be available almost every 15 seconds. Obviously, this is a huge heal, it just takes swapping forms to utilize properly. But, I prefer having Reform Essence for its convenience, and Sublimation as an emergency backup. With a single Heal IO and global recharge, it’s still up every 22 seconds to Reform Essence’s 16 and still heals more. To me, that’s “good enough” for a heal that I have to switch forms for.
Slotting: Here’s where things get interesting. Because Light Form carries over, there’s no reason to slot actual resistance into Dwarf. The form itself doesn’t need any enhancement, which leaves a slot open for one of the Resist Set IOs (I put Impervium Armor: Psi Resist in it).
If you’re looking for single-target melee attacks for Kinetic Combat (gives 3.75% S/L Defense at 4 slots), two open up with Dwarf. Whether you use the attacks or not, they can be mules for a permanent defense buff.
Dwarf Antagonize has the potential for more S/L Defense with Mocking Beratement (2.5% for 4 slots) and as mentioned previously, two Taunt Set IOs have global recharge depending on how much you want to slot. As a set mule, both Mocking Beratement and Perfect Zinger have universally helpful bonuses all the way through 6 slots. The question will be whether you can spare that many over the course of your build.
If you plan on using Dwarf often, slot the attacks with standard attack slotting and look for Crushing Impact at 5 slots for the global recharge.
Reform Essence (Level 22)
Star Rating: 5
Where Essence Boost can be used before a battle to make you tougher, Reform Essence is a fairly basic heal that keeps you on your feet. It becomes invaluable once you get Light Form and lose 50% of your health every 90 seconds. Fortunately, when slotted up, it restores a little over 50% of your health so…no problem!
Initially it has a 60 second recharge but of course, you’re a GD PB and have global recharge leaking from every orifice of your body! You’ll actually have this 50% heal available every 15 seconds or so which means you don’t have to last very long for this to cycle back through. You’ll also have Essence Boost potentially at the ready so if you’re crashing hard and one is down, the other might be just around the corner. Few ATs have 2 heals of over 50% constantly ready (and don’t have an Accuracy check or require a body).
Slotting: Like Essence Boost, I’m in the camp that being able to use it more is better than getting a better heal less often. I would slot Recharge before Heal. This is a 5-slot power, at least, with the 6th if your chasing Set IO bonuses. Also like Essence Boost, Doctored Wounds/Panacea/Preventative Medicine has global recharge at 5/6 slots, with perks if you 6-slot for all three.
Conserve Energy (Level 24)
Star Rating: 4
This is the first of many “one-slot wonders” that the GD PB has. Conserve Energy is a 90 second click power that halves your endurance use while active with a 10 minute(!) recharge. It cannot be made perma but it can be helped along considerably and without spending slots on it. Mine currently sits at 190 seconds downtime with 90 seconds up, or just under 50% up-time, and that’s just with one Recharge IO in it. You could get it down to 150-160 seconds recharge with slotting, global recharge, and Incarnate buffs, though. Even if I could make it perma, I don’t think it would be necessary under most circumstances.
Some guides advocate not taking it at all and if you get Incarnate buffs or heavily slot Light Form/Stamina/Forms with Endurance Modification so that they don’t need it. Slots are at more of a premium than power picks in my build though and the reality of Light Form crashes are real so I see this as more valuable than spending slots on something else. However, you can easily get away with not having it all if you need the power slots.
I use it after every other Light Form crash, or if facing endurance draining enemies, like the Carnival or Malta. I don’t have endurance problems under most circumstances but this ensures that any deficit I do have gets mitigated immediately.
Slots: Like I said, this is a great 1-slot power and doesn’t need any more. You can’t enhance the endurance side of it, just the recharge. While leveling and without global recharge, 3-slots to have it up every 300 or so seconds would be fine but respec out of the slots as you gain global recharge.
Quantum Acceleration (Level 24)
Star Rating: 2
The only thing this really does for you is increase your fly speed and control. I do use it to travel but that’s not its primary purpose in this build: it accepts Defense enhancements. You’ll want to find as many of these as you can for the Luck of the Gambler: Recharge proc. 5 of them will net you 37.5% global recharge so don’t pass up any opportunity to find accessory powers that’ll fit one of these babies. Note that this power will have a “Only affecting Self” modifier and you won’t be able to attack, lay down an Ouroboros portal, or anything like that.
Slotting: LotG Recharge or bust.
Quantum Flight (Level 28)
Star Rating: 3
Like Acceleration above, this is a Fly-affecting power but this phases you out instantly. It’s a useful “oh crap” button if you get in over your head. It costs loads of endurance, though, so be warned. The intangible nature will phase in and out so get out before it wears off. I personally have it in my build don’t find myself using it much. It’s a “nice to have” power that doesn’t require extra slotting.
Slotting: Endurance Reduction is all I can think of. Don’t slot anything else in it.
Restore Essence (Level 35)
Star Power: 4
Ah yes, the self-rez. Even with 85% resists, you will faceplant from time to time and this ensures that you’re never down for long. Another “one-slot wonder,” Restore Essence doesn’t need slots to be a really useful power. It inherently brings you back with 75% of your HP and 50% of your Endurance, along with a 15 second “untouchable” phase: plenty of time to get out of a bad situation, pop Light Form or a heal, or switch to a form and get into position. With a 5-minute cooldown initially, global recharge and a single Recharge IO gets it down to ~95 seconds in my build. It’s rare that it’s not available when I need it.
Slotting: Just a single Recharge is fine.
Light Form (Level 38)
Star Power: All of them
Sweet, sweet Light Form: how I love thee. As said at the beginning, it has 52.5% resist to all but Psi and you’re trying to get that 300 second recharge to below 90. It also boasts a 30% Recovery boost which means it’s technically more efficient to slot Light Form with Endurance Modification than Stamina, which only has 25% recovery.
Light Form needs two things: Recharge and Resists. In order to make it Perma, you need a total of 234% recharge. You can get 100% of that from enhancing the power itself, Hasten can take care of another 70%, leaving the last 64% to Set IO bonuses. Seems daunting but it’s not so bad. Here’s the kicker, though, to make Hasten perma, you need 275% total recharge so that’s the number you’re shooting for. In the process, you’ll make Light Form perma. (In reality, though, being off a few seconds isn’t going to kill you. I’m currently sitting at 173.75% global recharge and Hasten is off from perma by less than a second. I’ve never noticed it being a hindrance).
What makes Light Form arguably the best T9 defensive power in the game is a huge defensive boost with a manageable crash. Yes, it’s 50% of your life and stamina but you’ll have access to up to 3 heals that can immediately mitigate the health crash. The endurance crash is not usually an issue because you a.) the 30% recovery boost means you’re topped off prior to the crash b.) have Conserve Energy that halves endurance costs and turns that 50% back to 100% and c.) can pop a blue inspiration or two and not miss a beat.
Light Form confers some Mez protection (Mag 3.11 to Holds, Stuns, Sleep, and Immobilize and super protection against Knockback and Repel). That doesn’t seem like a lot compared the 30+ Mag protection that Dwarf Form or other Status Effect protecting powers give but it’s surprisingly enough to keep you from being mezzed 95% of the time. In practice, I don’t get held that often and because of various other miscellaneous buffs, most status effects wear off in half the time anyway. Also, because Light Form is a click power and not a toggle, getting Held isn’t the end of the world: your resistances aren’t diminished.
Where you will get into trouble is Slows. Since you’re extremely dependent on your recharge powers being on-time, slows from Cold and Psi attacks can cripple you. If possible, build some cushion into Light Form so that it’s available when you need it. If you shoot for 175% global recharge for Hasten, Light Form will have a 10-second “grace period” where it’s available before the last iteration drops. That also means if you’re hit with a Slow, it’s less likely to force you to back off and wait for the next Light Form.
Slotting: If you’ve geared yourself for Perma-Hasten, you can surprisingly get away with just 3 slots in Light Form by Franken-slotting any of the Level 50 Recharge/Resist Set IOs from Aegis, Gladiator’s Armor, Titanium Coating and/or Unbreakable Guard. If your global recharge isn’t quite there, add a 4th. On the resistance side of things, max slotting gets you to ~82% resist all but Psi, but because of Incandescence your Energy/Negative will be capped and due to minor set bonuses you’ve used along the way, everything but Psi will also be capped. If you really want to be sure, put Shield Wall: +5% Resist all in a Defense power. Since I have built my PB with max Psi resist in mind, I put an Impervium Armor: Psi resist in there.
Also, like I said previously, Light Form’s Recovery bonus (30%) is greater than Stamina’s (25%) so you could theoretically get more bang for your buck slotting Light Form directly with Endurance Modification. Of course, you may not have Light Form up all the time (traveling, etc.) so Stamina’s “always on” nature might give it an edge.
Peacebringers/Warshades don’t have access to Epic/Ancillary/Patron Pools so you’re not going to be able to dip outside of the standard Pool Powers. That’s really not that big of a deal though since the EATs have a ton of utility powers built-in and not enough enhancement slots as-is. Note that you can’t even choose Teleportation or Flight Pools as a PB.
As far as Pool Powers go, only one is absolutely mandatory: Hasten. You need the recharge it provides and making it permanent is positively the right choice. Put 3 slots into it at first and if you can drop down to 2 with +5 Enhancement Boosters, that will save a precious slot.
When do you take it? Personally, I took it at Level 10. It was a sweet spot after Radiant Strike and before any powers I wanted to take (Proton Scatter or Thermal Shield). You could pick it at 4 and not miss anything, though.
Defense Set powers
From there, you’ll want to look into Pool Powers that take Defense set enhancements. You’ll want places to put all 5 Luck of the Gambler +recharge enhancements. Within your Primary and Secondary power sets, there are only 2 powers that take Defense Sets: Combat Flight and Quantum Acceleration. You’ll need to pick up another 3 from the Pool Powers.
The prime candidates include:
*Any Concealment power - Stealth, Grant Invisibility, and Invisibility all take Defense sets. I have Stealth and Super Speed for “effective” Invisibility.
*Combat Jumping - Has the added benefit of not having an animation time and costs virtually nothing to run.
*Maneuvers - If you switch forms a lot, leaving this up and running will be difficult: the animation time is a deal-breaker. If you stay in Human Form mostly, though, it’s a nice defense buff. No matter what, it used as a set mule.
*Weave - The caveat here is you'll have to take Boxing/Kick and Tough first. Boxing is a good mule for Kinetic Combat if you go the Defense route and Weave has no animation frame (as opposed to Maneuvers) so it can be toggled on relatively easily even if you shift forms.
When should you take these? The prime opportunities are at Levels 10, 14, 16, and 30. No powers open up that are mandatory or highly encouraged. It’s a bunch of Human AoE blasts, Shields, and gadget powers like Group Energy Flight. Everything past level 41 is also free game.
You’ll find that all the power choices in your 40s are powers that won’t require a lot of slotting and are “nice” rather than mandatory. For example, I grabbed Super Speed. You could pick up Glowing Touch, other Leadership powers, any of the gimmick powers like Pulsar or Group Energy Flight (lol), or whatever. Just don’t invest a lot of slots in these powers because, believe me, they’re already taken!
This will really come down to a matter of taste. So take my opinion with a grain of salt.
Despite always wanting more recharge, Musculature is the way to go, in my opinion. It buffs your damage (which will always feel a bit lacking comparatively), your Endurance (which Light Form also boosts), and your Defense Debuffs (on every attack you do). It checks off all the boxes except for +Recharge.
Spiritual is also an option. If you don’t want to invest a ton of slots into sets for bonuses, you could get T3/T4 Spiritual and greatly boost all your recharge. It has the added benefit of also boosting your self-heals. The problem is that high global recharge, an additional 30% recharge isn’t that big of a deal. It’s taking a few seconds off even long-duration timers. However, if you don’t have super-high global recharge, this can supplement it.
I like Ion for thematic and practical reasons but go hog wild. It’s already Energy so you’re just doing more of the same.
I really like Diagmagnetic. It does two things: it gives a ToHit Debuff and a -Regen effect. These are two things that you absolutely do not have a PB. You woefully lack any Defense outside of set bonuses and a few pool powers and you have no ability to cancel regen on a hard target like an AV. This makes you both more survivable and more damaging. If I have to choose a preference, I’m going with the ToHit Debuff because it is universally good while the -Regen won’t come into effect against weaker enemies. I’d go with a Diagmagnetic Core Flawless with the 100% chance for ToHit Debuff and 50% chance to -Regen.
I also like Reactive for the standard reasons: more damage. Either through the -Resist debuff or through the fire DoT, you can boost your own damage.
Finally, there’s Degenerative. This also boosts your damage in a round-about way by lowering enemy max HP. The minor Toxic DoT is not important but if it triggers, it’s icing on the cake.
Again, do what fits your theme or your preferences. Polar Lights fit thematically as they use Nova blasts and they're among the more powerful AoE lore pets.
Another real decision here. Boost your Recharge with Ageless? Shore up your Mez Protection with Clarion? Increase your Defenses with Barrier? Of course, get all three!
Honestly, you can’t go wrong with any of them. I like Barrier for the fact that Defense is so lacking that any I can get will prevent an enemy from hitting me with a Slow to begin with but I could be convinced of better alternatives. On the other hand, Radial Ageless provides Debuff Resistance so if you're hit, it doesn't hurt as much.
I haven’t tested a lot of this personally but the Assault Double-Hit ignores the damage cap. Since with a little fooling around we GD PB’s can to about 370% out of 400% in short bursts, the double hit would end up being more useful for Nukes and such. Under general circumstances where we’re nowhere near the cap, however, the +Damage is more valuable. I’d have to do more testing to see which is better.
Melee is also a thing but you won’t always be in melee. The +Resist portion is useless but the +Defense could be good, though it only adds up to 13.5% defense and only when surrounded. But it also boosts status protection and regeneration so you would be tougher to take down. Perhaps the most intriguing part is that the power has a taunt effect, which is something you lack in Human form. If you're at/around 30% defense, this could get you the rest of the way to the defense cap and would make you very hard to kill.
Control and Support just don’t look attractive/competitive to me compared to the other two.
There’s basically three phases when it comes to leveling a GD PB: Tri-Form til 38, Transition into Perma Light Form, Maximize Potential.
Leveling 1-20 in Homecoming is a breeze with Double XP, DFB, and AE Farms. As it only takes a little over an hour to get to somewhere in the level 15-18 range, going into exhaustive detail about that is a bit of a waste of time.
Levels 20-38, though, are important levels to learn your build and capabilities. It’s during this time you need to set your binds up so that they're second nature. I do suggest Tri-Forming during this time because Dwarf will be your primary damage mitigation tool and Nova will be your primary AoE. Human Form will have your Single-Target but you’ll have to be careful because you’ll be very squishy at this point. Team up for Cosmic Balance bonuses and you’ll be fine. Run content, get Merits, do all that.
At Level 27 up until about 35, look into slotting everything with IO Common Enhancements. At 30, really 35, they overtake SOs in terms of power and you’ll only ever have to buy them once. You’ll definitely respec after level 40 to accommodate the Light Form Age of your development but in the meantime, make sure you’re putting Accuracy, Endurance, Recharge and 1-2 Damage in all your primary attack powers. Get Resists in Dwarf Form. Don’t forget to add slots to Nova/Dwarf form powers and make sure Stamina is slotted with Endurance Mods. If you can afford to grab a few of the Unique Set IOs like Luck of the Gambler, +Recovery Health sets (Numina, Miracle, Panacea, etc.), and whatnot, go for it.
The Transition to Perma Light Form
This phase has some growing pains. You won’t have enough global recharge to keep Hasten going but you can get Light Form to near Perma right away. 6-slot it with Recharge and Resists exclusively. With what Hasten you have and full recharge, it will be up the majority of the time and offer high resistances to about everything, even if you’re not capped.
What you’ll have to do from this point on is get slots in your attacks and heals and then start putting in a little piece-by-piece. If you’re loaded and can buy everything at once, the metamorphosis is incredible.
Here are the sets that you’ll need to start chipping away at that global recharge bonus:
*Crushing Impact (x2) for Radiant Strike and I-Strike: 5% Recharge each
*Doctored Wounds (x2) for Essence Boost and Reform Essence: 5% Recharge each (substitute Panacea for 7.5% recharge or one Preventative Medicine for 8.5%)
*Obliteration (x1) for Solar Flare and/or Dawn Strike: 5% Recharge (you’ll cap the 5% bonus at this point, get a second set if you plan on putting in a Kheldian ATO in an attack)
*Decimation (x2) for Gleaming Bolt/Glinting Eye/Gleaming Blast and potentially one of the Nova Blasts: 6.25% each
*Positron’s Blast (x2) for Proton/Nova Scatter and Luminous/Nova Detonation: 6.25% each
*Luck of the Gambler: Recharge (x5): 7.5% each
Very Rare Sets (Purple) and Kheldian ATOs are also going to impart large chunks of global recharge (+8.75/10% for Superior), if you can afford them.
The number you shooting for (without Hasten) is 105% to get Perma Hasten but you’ll get Perma Light Form at around 90% global recharge if you slot for maximum recharge in Light Form itself.
Maximizing Your GD PB
Once Light Form is perma and you’re rocking ridiculous full-time resists, now you have to what your final build will look like. There are a few options:
*Patching the Psi Hole
*Soft-capping Smash/Lethal Defense
*Filling out Form powers
Patching the Psi Hole
I’ve found this to be more easily achieved and overall better than the others. Here’s the deal: most of the sets I’ve recommended (Crushing Impact, Doctored Wounds, Positron’s Blast, and Decimation) all have Psi Resist built in to their 6th Set bonus. You’re already at 5 to get the Recharge from any of them so one more slot isn’t huge. Decimation has a unique in it so you’ll only get its bonus once but the rest you’re getting 2x each. That’s +28.5 Psi Resist from these alone.
If you put in a 6-slotted Superior Kheldian’s Grace to replace say, Crushing Impact, you can get 11% Psi from one power while in Human Form and 6% otherwise. Regular Kheldian’s Grace will net you 8.75 while in Human and 3.75 otherwise.
Second, you have numerous Resist powers and each one can take an Impervium Armor: Psi Resist which adds 6% resist each. That’s another 30%.
Aegis: Psi Resist gives +3.75% and also fits in any of the many Resist powers you have.
The many Defense powers that are taking Luck of the Gambler? They can also slot Shield Wall: +5% Resist (All) and Reactive Defenses: Scaling Resist (+3% to all and gain 1% for each 10% life you lose up to 10%). That’s 8% (more as you lose life) in two slots.
So, at bare minimum, you could be running around with 66.5% Psi Resist with little commitment otherwise. With Kheldian’s Grace, you’re at 77.5 and as you lose health, you’ll actually hit the 85% cap. Even better, you’re not losing damage because all your attack powers are only benefiting form increased slotting.
(Also note that Very Rares (Purples) almost all impart 6% Psi Resist so a few of those babies will put you up to 85% without the scaling resist at all.)
I’m at 80.25% Psi Resist with Whitest Light currently. I can inch closer with a few 6-slotted Very Rare sets but because of the scaling mechanic, the overall effect would be minimal. It’s a long-term goal, though. Very Rares would bump by global recharge by a little bit, as well.
Here’s my current and Max Psi build:
| Copy & Paste this data into Mids' Hero Designer to view the build |
Soft Cap S/L Defense
This this took some doing but it is possible.
The biggest issue with getting this to work is a.) you’re gimping your damage to get all those Kinetic Combats and b.) you’ll really need to be Human Only in order to run Maneuvers, Combat Jumping, and Weave. This is despite heavily slotting Nova and even Dwarf attacks. Without those going, you’ll be at ~35% Defense.
You’ll also still have a Psi hole but that will be partially mitigated by the S/L Defense and over 40% Melee defense overall.
Finally, your overall global Recharge will be low relative to the build above, sitting at around 92% if you don’t invest into Very Rares. Speaking of, Superior Essence Transfer (Kheldian ATO) was needed to get me over the 45% hump so at least one Very Rare set will be necessary.
You’d definitely want a Spiritual or Agility in your Alpha slot to boost recharge. Agility would have the added bonus of improving the defense buffs you have (though this would be minimal because most of your defense comes from set bonuses).
Here’s the Max Defense build:
| Copy & Paste this data into Mids' Hero Designer to view the build |
Tips and Tricks
*You’ll need binds.
Which button you use will be a matter of personal preference but at minimum, you’ll want binds that get you in and out of forms.
I have G bound for Nova and and Shift+G bound for Dwarf. I tend to use Nova a lot more. V brings me to Human form from either. At the button press I also re-bind F for my heal in Human or Dwarf Form.
/bind g “powexectoggleon Bright Nova$$gototray 4”
/bind shift+g “powexectoggleon White Dwarf$$gototray 5$$bind f powexecname White Dwarf Sublimation”
/bind v “powexectoggleoff Bright Nova$$powexectoggleoff White Dwarf$$gototray 1$$bind f powexecname Reform Essence”
Then I have Shift+V for Inner Light so I can drop to human and hit the same key to re-up Inner Light.
If F is for healing, than Shift+F is my bigger heal in Essence Boost.
I use E for Light Form and B for Conserve Energy.
Basically, most click powers are bound to keys that are easily accessible.
Also, if you want to bind a toggle power to a movement button (so that it's automatic) try:
/bind w "+forward$$powexectoggleon [powername]"
/bind s "+backward$$powexectoggleon [powername]"
/bind a "+left$$...
/bind d "+right$$...
Powers like Combat Jumping, Weave, even the Human shields don't have animation times so they'll kick on as soon as you hit the button. This partially gets around the toggle and form shift problem but if you're going to run a lot of toggles, especially Leadership, it will affect how dynamic you can be.
*Defense Inspirations are your friend
Always carry a boatload because it’s always death by a thousand papercuts. You’ll have supreme longevity with both capped resist and defense.
*Lead the way
As said toward the beginning, you can handle about anything the game can throw at you damage-wise. Only at the very end of Incarnate content will a well-built Tank do things you can’t. While a Tank or Brute can aggro better than you, if you’re the first one in, you’ll draw most of the attention and because you have superior AoE Damage, you can Nuke and AoE most everything down to minimal health or one-shot weak enemies entirely.
If you really want to get tricky, Teleport in with Dwarf, Taunt a Boss or use Dwarf Flare (which has a Taunt component and can hit more than 5 enemies) and then drop to Human to Nuke/AoE and still have the Taunt effect applied to the remaining enemies. While you might be Human/Nova primarily, Dwarf still has its uses.
Even though I tend to get into the thick of things and like the great single-target hits, I have to remind myself sometimes that Nova Form is ridiculous. Nova Scatter + Detonation does over half the damage of Dawn Strike and is available every 5 seconds…!. Nova can put out some extreme damage, at range, and with full resists so after cycling a few AoEs (and the single-target is very good, as well) I can fly back in and drop to Human without a second-thought.
*You have an emergency escape button
It’s called Quantum Flight and I forget that I have it all the time. Most Tanks, Brutes, and Scrappers simply fall when their defense get overwhelmed but you can actually phase out at a moment’s notice instead of dying. Yes, you can always self-rez but doing so will slow down the recharge of all those click powers because Hasten is no longer active. It’s better to escape and regroup than die and wait to get back to full strength.
Yes, you can do a Comic Con farm at x8/+4 but it’s not fun. They can’t kill you but it takes a real long time to kill them. You just don’t have the AoE to kill hard targets quickly. What I’ve found to be helpful is to turn off Bosses because killing them en masse just isn’t your forte. With T4 Incarnate powers, sure, you’ll be able to run a farm relatively well but never as well as a well-built Fire Brute (I should know, my TW/Fire Brute is the guy funding my PB!) If you have Nova, you can hover above and blast and just drop down to use click powers. It's doable but not particularly enjoyable to me.
I’ve developed an idea for the Photon Seekers/Dawn Strike combo and like to think of them as the Inner/Outer Nuke. Everything in the inner circle will get hit by “total destruction” while enemies on the outer circle will “only” take the Dawn Strike (major destruction). I have Sudden Acceleration in all of my PBAoEs, including Photon Seekers, so everything stays put when hit. This also lets me use Solar Flare and still hit the Outer Circle once more. It’s three consecutive hits that usually knocks most of the group out, especially if Guassian’s Proc goes off when I hit Inner Light.
Don’t get so caught up in the numbers or focused on the end goal that you don’t have fun along the way. Some of the best times I had were in the 40’s when everyone was strong but not too strong and some of the pieces were falling into place in my build. When you realize you’re actually the strongest member of the team but they don’t know that, you’ll really start to feel the power of the GD PB. After one session, I got /tell from a group leader that said after I left the whole team struggled and disbanded. PBs are often the “glue” that can hold a team together and acts a force multiplier.
I hope you found this guide helpful and potentially motivating to go out and build a GD PB of your own. Despite having alt-itis and playing a ton of different ATs, I naturally come back to my PB because I can't scratch that itch anywhere else. It's fun, powerful, fun to look at and fun to build. I'm still not done filling out my GD PB and he's already insane so I look forward to seeing more GD PBs on Live.
Catch me on Indomitable @Whitest Light
Feedback and suggestions always welcome!