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  1. Silencing/Modifying specific game sounds | Pt. I Revived from the archived forums: "How to silence specific game sounds" - By Impkin I pulled these posts from the archived forums. Impkin's instructions are largely intact and I cleaned and dredged through the thread down to the files identified up to the last post. If you returning to the thread and just want to jump straight to the sounds: Sounds Location and file names | Pt. I - Bases and Emotes Sounds Location and file names | Pt. II - Enviro and UI Sounds Location and file names | Pt. III - Powers: Air Superiority - Hasten Sounds Location and file names | Pt. IV - Powers: Havoc - Psionics Sounds Location and file names | Pt. V - Powers: Radiation - Willpower Sounds Location and file names | Pt. VI - Systems User-Created Sound Mods The Philotic Knight's Short Visual Guide OK, OK! I get it. So how do I silence a sound? These instructions are meant for anyone with minimal Windows knowledge. I want to provide enough information so that every CoH player can improve their personal game play experience. Do not be daunted by the post's length. If you can play CoH you can do this. The way to kill any game sound is to put another sound file in the correct directory with the name of the sound file used to make that noise. This replacement file must be in the Ogg Vorbis format and it can not be of zero length. In other words, to kill a sound you replace it with one second of silence. Where do I get one second of silence in the *.ogg format? However you want to. How I did it was to use a free program called Audacity. I got it here: http://audacity.sourceforge.net/ Run Audacity. Click on the "Generate" menu. Choose "Silence". It should have created 30 seconds of silence. Use your mouse and highlight about one second. This doesn't have to be exact. Click on the "Edit" menu. Choose "Trim". There is also a button following the "Cut", "Copy", "Paste" buttons called "Trim outside selection" that does the same thing. Click on the "File" menu. Choose "Export As Ogg Vorbis..." Call the file whatever you want and save it anyplace you want. I recommend calling it "silence.ogg" and saving it to the Desktop. You will be copying this file to folders you create and renaming it so keep that in mind when deciding what to call it and where to save it. Exit Audacity. You won't need to use Audacity again (for this) unless there is something wrong with that "silence.ogg" you just made. I have attached two files to this post: '_silence.ogg' and 'bloop.ogg'. I use the 'bloop' file to verify the sound I'm replacing is the one I'm looking for, since it's a lot easier to notice than silence. OK, now that I have a silent sound what do I do with it? You need to know where to copy it and what to rename it as so the game will use your silent sound file instead of the default sound file. The base location for all your silenced sound files is: C:\Program Files\City of Heroes\data\sound\ogg\ This assumes that you installed the game to its default directory. If you installed it someplace else then you should know enough to adapt these instructions to fit your custom installation. *You are not making any changes to any files owned/installed by CoH*. Simply put: if any of the following folders already exist then you or a 3rd party put them there. If you do not see the folders, you or the 3rd party would need to create them as follows: Open the "City of Heroes" folder and create a new folder called "data". Open the "data" folder you just created and add a new folder called "sound". Open the "sound" folder you just created and add a new folder called "ogg". You now have your base file location set. The sounds will be grouped in sub-folders inside the "ogg" folder. Each sound you wish to silence will go in a sub-folder. The name of the sub-folder depends on the sound. The information provided for a specific sound assumes you have already created the above base folder. The "Folder name:" provided here is located in the "C:\Program Files\City of Heroes\data\sound\ogg\" folder. The name of the folder is where you copy your "silence.ogg" file to. The "File name:" provided here is what you need to rename that copy of your "silence.ogg" file to. That is all there is to it. The next time you launch CoH that sound will not be made. If CoH is running while you do this (not recommended), exit completely (quit to desktop, not the log-in screen) first. Example: Description: Targeting Drone loop Folder name: weapons File name: targetdrone_loop.ogg To silence this sound you copy your "silence.ogg" file to a folder called "weapons". If you have never silenced a sound that goes in the "weapons" folder then you will need to make a "weapons" folder first. Once you copy your "silence.ogg" into the "weapons" folder you then rename it to "targetdrone_loop.ogg". Just to give you an idea of what you should see, here is my data\ogg folder\sub-folders: Specific how-to: If you hold down the "Ctrl" key you can click on and drag the "silence.ogg" file to the "weapons" folder you created. It will make a copy. You can also right-click on "silence.ogg" and pick "Copy". You then right-click on an empty spot in the open "weapons" folder/window and pick "Paste". To rename the "silence.ogg" file you copied into the "weapons" folder right-click on the file and choose "Rename" (or highlight it and press the "F2" key). Type "targetdrone_loop.ogg". I did what you said, but now CoH doesn't work right! How do I undo this? If you followed instructions then it will work. If something isn't working as you expect then something was not done right. Try again. Go slower. Follow the instructions more carefully. If the sound you expected to be silenced is still making noise then either the description was misunderstood or the wrong folder/file name has been posted. The quickest and easiest way to undo this customization is to rename the "data" folder you made. I use "_data". Or just delete it. If you suspect that your customizations are causing problems playing CoH then undo them. What happens the next time there is an update or a patch? One of the great things about CoH is it keeps improving. Should the name of a folder or file change in a future patch the game would default back to playing the intended sound. If just the sound was changed (the folder and file name remain the same) a customized client would still play the silenced sound. If one wished to hear the changed sound they could either disable the "data" folder or the specific sound file by renaming it. A comment about courtesy. If you found the sound bothersome then most likely so do other people. This customization *only* affects your client. Other players will still hear the sound(s) unless they also customized their clients. Be courteous to your fellow players. Just because you aren't bothered by keeping a power running all the time now because you silenced it doesn't mean you should keep it running when you don't need it. You obviously didn't like hearing that noise. Why inflict it on others when there is no reason to? Turn off your powers when you are just standing around chatting, training, buying, etc. Giving credit where credit is due. This isn't my brain-child. Someone explained the concept to me over a year ago. I am sorry that I do not remember who they are. All I've done is come up with the format to present this information and the how-to steps for enabling all players to benefit from it should they wish to. A special THANK YOU! to the sound designers. A big concern of mine is that this thread might be taken wrong. What I hope y'all take from this is that setting the volume low or muting the sound entirely simply isn't an option. Different people are sensitive to different things. That's all there is to this thread. Half of the game experience is auditory. You have the most wonderful toy box. Thank you for sharing your toys with us! _silence.ogg Bloop.ogg Silence-Bloop_test.zip
  2. The Mean Missions Guide or A villainous journey to 50 without powerleveling The Story is Actually Good - even if you're not! Yeah, yeah, I know. It’s easier to powerlevel up to 50, buy IOs and go back through Ouroboros in Flashback missions, but this creates a jumbled storytelling mess. Also, it creates a feeling of character development and your "oh, it's X again" moments become "hey, I remember this! I helped X do Y in Z!" as characters appear and reappear later, giving the whole story a sense of continuity and progression. The story is in the Rogue Isles less tied to geography than in Paragon City and more about themes and recurring enemy groups. I think that's pretty fitting for a villain. You're not there to make the world a better place for the greater good - you're there to make it a better place for you. You're playing the long game, here. Some storylines that start off in the single-digits don't really come to fruition until endgame. Some themes are also a bit inconsistent - the Destined One storyline sort of drifts in and out and it's counter-intuitively easy to miss it altogether if you're not directed to one particular contact. I’ve tried to cherry pick story arcs that meet the following criteria: Interesting missions (variety of objectives). Missions with unique maps or mechanics. Story flow - introducing characters and ideas that’ll show up again later. Rewards and unlocks, missions with temporary powers. Things I just think are cool. One important thing to note is that in the Rogue Isles and in Arachnos, in order to succeed you must show that you deserve success. Your contacts are rarely nice people and you are rarely doing nice jobs. Several missions give you a choice between mercy and murder, but that’s about as selfless as you’re going to get. Contacts aren't trustworthy and you need to start off small before you make a name for yourself. You have to prove your worth, repeatedly, and be prepared to defend your status. Notable omissions are anything I think is too much of a faff to unlock and some out of the way contacts - I couldn't realistically fit everything in and redside contacts often have requirements before you can talk to them. Also not touched upon are tip missions, although I would say it's worth working through them to unlock your character as a rogue for a bit more variety (you can cheat with Null the Gull, but the tip missions are all fairly good and so are the alignment shift ones and remember that this is a story guide). As with my blueside guide, I'll periodically add to this to flesh it out as I go. Any feedback is really welcome! Contacts and Brokers One of the key difference between blue and redside mission gameplay is the fact that you have to unlock several contacts in a zone by first doing newspaper missions then a bank heist then unlock the contact. I’ll mark these where I can, but be aware that if you can’t see a contact you might need to go through a broker first. Remember - a theme redside is that you're nobody until you've earnt the right to be somebody, so why would contacts talk to someone so beneath them as you? You're just this fool who stumbled out of the Zig (or Galaxy City) with some help from Arachnos? Another key difference is how story arcs are linked - blueside and neutral/goldside zones tend to have a chain sequential contacts that move you along a narrative while redside quite often has two-contact chains with themes that are returned to in later zones. Included below are the names of the contacts, in order, with level bands taken from the wiki. A Warning about XP It is very easy to outlevel certain zones and for that reason I recommend you do not use any exp boosts. Other times, you'll get halfway through a zone and not be able to speak to the next contact. Over the course of the game, there was a (near) global XP buff and a reduction in experience debt, so the levelling process is now noticeably quicker than a couple of the early zones were designed for. You’re deliberately taking the scenic route here. The following macro will create a button that will pause and unpause XP gain, allowing you to more easily control your levelling pace. I've indicated in this guide the points at which you should pause your experience gain to get the most from the story - a general rule of thumb is at levels ending in 4 or 9. /macro_image "DayJob_XPBoost" "XP Toggle" "option_toggle noxp" Travel Redside zones are harder to navigate in places. The Arachnos map designers must have got a special deal on dangerous walkways and improbably large walls. I suggest grabbing one of the flight powers from the P2W vendor if you’re not a flier for those times when ground navigation is too difficult. A Note for Soldiers and Widows The Villain Epic Archetypes have their own contacts and missions and I recommend doing them when they pop up. They explore Arachnos lore and show why you’re not just another grunt and I think they're worth doing. Do be cautious about not overshooting your levels, though. Suggested Path Some of these, particularly in the late game, have a lot of crossover with my blueside missions guide. Redside never really had a high enough population to support addition of new red-only content so at a certain point you’ll have to dip into more neutral territory. Occasionally, things will deviate a bit but this is broadly the direction we'll be heading in. Redside has a lot more overlap than blueside and the zone level distribution is a bit... odd. Tutorial > Mercy Island > Port Oakes> Cap Au Diable > First Ward & Sharkhead Isle > Night Ward & Nerva Archipelago > St Martial > Grandville, Cimerora & Ritki War Zone Levels 1-2: The Tutorials Okay, there really isn’t much here but you do get a couple of enhancements and inspirations for free and a run through of the basics of mission objectives. Breakout runs you through the basics of your standard door and explains how you, well, break out of the Zig. I recommend doing it at least once. Galaxy City is, in my opinion, less good as a tutorial and not really connected to the early redside story arcs. If you're concerned about character concept, Galaxy City has your fall to villainy happen on-screen, which you could either explain as an act of desperation in dire circumstances leading you down a path of selfishness in the name of self-preservation (useful for future rogues?) or you could be more vague about how you ended up in the Zig in the first place. Your call, really. When you’re finished, you’ll end up in... Mercy Island The temptation here is to skip the early levels by running Death From Below. Do not do this! Believe it or not, the zone actually has a fun little story arc that acts as a giant lore dump. You'll get your levels. Don't fret. There is a good variety to the missions and it really does show you a little bit of everything. Pause your XP at level 7. Operative Kuzmin > Fire Wire or Doctor Weber > Lt Harris I enjoyed Fire Wire’s mission a bit more, but there’s not too much in it. Lt Harris’ last is quite distasteful and you may want to skip it if abusive relationships or stalking are a specific trigger. This mission is unusually dark if you actually follow the dialogue, which is unusual as the rest of the redside content is more akin to cartoon supervillainy. Whatever you choose, talk to Dr Graves for an introduction to some of the further aspects of the game. It’s basically a glorified tour of the introductory areas, but it's not done enormously well. Don't worry - it gets better. Kallinda is a worthy contact to visit as she provides some insight into your status as a Destined One, which is a recurrent theme throughout the redside story. Matthew Burke > Doctor Creed provides some general background stuff about the snakes and foreshadows something that'll turn up waaaaay later. Port Oakes After the very busy Mercy Island, Port Oakes feels a bit desolate but the few arcs that are here are very good. Make sure you do Mr Bocor’s mission to retrieve the Loa Bone – it’s a nice little temporary power. Angelo Vendetti (5-9) > Mr Bocor (5-9) > The Radio (10-14) I'd recommend then going back and finishing Dr Graves' next two story arcs - it's more tutorial stuff and the writing is wildly inconsistent, but it has a pretty satisfying ending that has a crossover to the blueside equivalent and has some foreshadowing for one of the Patrons. Pause your XP at 10 until you’ve started The Radio then pause it again at 14. Cap au Diable You'll want to hit the brokers for this one. Dr Aeon seems to be the recurring lore point - he turns up much later. I'd start with Dr Shelley Percey - her arc and the one that she introduces are by far the more interesting ones here. Sadly, this is the point where you'll have to start grinding newspaper missions to get bank heists to unlock contacts from brokers. I highly recommend getting a form of stealth if you're running them solo to just save time. Dr Shelley Percey (10-14) > Marshal Brass (15-19) Dr Percey has a good mission after her story arc about the Council and nictus, which is a lore point that'll turn up later in Cimerora and beyond, but it also drops some good temporary powers. Martial Brass has a lot of stuff about Dr Aeon. Martial Brass also awards you the Entrusted with the Secret badge, which allow you to access Ouroborous, which is your go-to locale for time-travel and avoiding the ferry. Peter Themari (10-14) > Willy Wheeler (15-19) has bit of lore about about Longbow and Legacy Chain, both of whom are recurring enemies. Dmitri Krylov (10-14) > The Golden Roller (15-19) has a bit of lore about Facemaker and some fairly disparate missions. Bane Spider Reuben (15-24) has an enjoyable story arc and I also recommend Brother Hammond's (15-24) arc for some Luddite fun. Neither of them require brokers. Before You Move On Now would be a good time to do Death From Below and Drowning in Blood if you haven’t already done them as well as Virgil Tarikoss’ strike force. Seer Marino in Mercy Island should now be available as a contact that I recommend doing as has a good amount of Ghost Widow lore as is generally just quite well done. Your goal is to get to level 20, when you can swing over to Face and speak to the Facemaker herself to earn an additional costume slot. The University Now would be a good time to learn to craft some IOs. If you've been careful, you should have a bit of influence saved up by now. Head to the university in Cap au Diable and do the short tutorial there by speaking to Dean John Yu. Ashley McKnight (14-50) just outside the university can provide you access to the exclusive Midnighter Club, which you'll need to be part of much later on. Now would also be a good time to do the Silver Mantis strike force that starts in Sharkhead Isle. It's nothing special, but getting to level 22 will is helpful for IO purposes. Next, there are actually several very good, very overlapping zones that I suggest you kind of do in tandem if you're careful. Be aware that First Ward and Night Ward move into Praetorian lore, which is much less relevant for villains than heroes. I think they're too well make to not do at least once, though. Sharkhead Isle This is the point, in my opinion, where redside missions start to come into their own and you move from lackey to a more arcive player in the wider Rogue Isles story. Remember to run some newspaper missions to get the brokers on your side if you need to. Vince Dubrovsky (20-24) > Cage Crash (20-24) > Diviner Maros (25-29) is one of the standouts here, in my opinion as it introduces the first real Captain Mako lore. Dean Macarthur (20-29) is the first contact I'd head for as he doesn't need a broker's introduction and his whole story arc is just really fun and he introduced Leonard (20-29) who continues the same story. This is such a Saturday Morning Cartoon storyline that you really shouldn't miss it. Vincent Ross has the other story arc I'd really recommend doing as it has a decenty story and doesn't need a broker. More Legacy Chain hijinks. You should also have the Bling badge by now, so I'd recommend seeking out Doc Buzzsaw (25-29) for her set of missions, which tie into the general lore of the zone and the Freakshow group. Lock your XP gain at level 29 and keep it there throughout First Ward if you go there. First Ward - optional First Ward is a continuation of the Praetorian Going Rogue storyline to some extent, but it's so well done that I genuinely think it would be a shame to miss out. It has memorable characters, cool story interactions and an element of choice that hasn't really been seen up to this point. All contacts for this zone are 20-29 and it starts off by talking to Carter Mortesen in Cap au Diable. Carter Mortesen > The Doorman > Nadia > Palatine > Noble Savage > Katie Douglas > Blind Makwa > Cerulean > Master Midnight > Vanessa DeVore There's the Seed of Hamidon raid boss pootling about in the middle of the zone - you can take it down in a team of eight quite easily and it's worth doing. It's done so rarely that getting a team together on the LFG isn't hard. It's a somewhat anticlimactic battle, but you get some badges from it. Nerva Archipelago There is a lot of lore here that turns up at end game so all three story chains are surprisingly relevant if you want to know what's going on. Keep your XP locked to 29 until you've unlocked the initial contacts - yes, this will mean churning through a lot of newspaper missions. I hate the broker system. Due to the slightly dense level ranges here, you may find it easier to unlock the 25-29 contacts, level up elsewhere and then come back at level 34 for the next wave. Darla Mavis (24-29) > Psimon Omega (30-34) > Technician Naylor (35-39) introduces Nemesis, who is a big player blueside and is part of the excellent Signature Story Arc Pandora's Box. Shadowy Figure (24-29) > Timothy Raymond (30-34) > Kelly Uqua (35-39) is your first real introduction to Ritki redside, and you'll see them later in the Ritki War Zone. Lt Demitrovich (24-29) > Operative Rutger (30-34) > Magu Mu'Drakhan (35-39) has a number of heroes if you want a challenge but it the least lore focussed of the three in this levelling journey - it has a lot relating to the Circle of Thorns and the Mu. Bobby Curtin (25-29) is an exellent contact if you're a rogue, with some excellent morally ambiguous choices. Night Ward - Optional Carrying on the story from First Ward, we've got the fairly unique zone of Night Ward, full of gaslamp fantasy world-of-the-dead mystery, knights and magic. Start off by talking to Mistress Maria in First Ward for the introduction. All contacts are 30-39 but lock your XP to 34 if you're zone hopping alternatively you can go up to 34, head to St Martial and do some missions there and then head back. Mistress Maria > Montague Castanella > Ward > Sir Bedwyr > The Magician My only real complaint with Night Ward is that it just sort of stops. A few characters do turn up in later story arcs, though. The last Ward mission can be quite tricky because the 'hospital' where you respawn at if you're defeated is much, much too near enemy spawns so you can easily end up trapped in a cycle of defeat. Before You Move On Now would be a good time to visit Mr Rodney in Cap au Diable for the old cape and aura unlock missions, then swing round to Face and speak to Gorgeous Glenda to unlock and additional costume slot. I'd also recommend using your Ouroborous portal and speaking to Mender Tesseract (25-34) and Mender Lazarus (30-39) for some time-travel shenanigans. Pause your XP at 34. St Martial Hardcase is a very worthwhile contact here as he has four story arcs with two at 30-34 and two at 34-39. Johnny Sonata (35-39) has a set of missions that link to Hardcase's set, but you need the Obsessed badge (which isn't hard to get). Of the broker-unlock missions, Voracious Virandi (30-34) > Jezebel Jones (35-39) is the one I'd recommend for story reason. There are a few other contacts here that are unlocked via badges, but I'll leave those to your discretion. Before you leave St Martial, you can visit Lovely Linda (40-50) in Face to open up your level 40 costume slot. Lock your XP gain at 44. Grandville The final redside zone and home of the four Patrons, all of whom have had at least some foreshadowing by now. You'l be first sent to Arbiter Rein to choose your patron. I'd argue that Ghost Widow and Scirocco have the most relevance in terms of lore, with Captain Mako and Black Scorpion having interesting but less important roles from a player perspective. All four of them have four story arcs (two starting at 40, two at 45) and all four of those are pretty good. They also all have (roughly) the same end-goal, which is also the end of you Destined One storyline. Aside from the patrons, there are a lot of worthwhile contacts in this zone. Westin Phipps (40-44) shows a much darker side of Arachnos than you've been hitherto been allowed to see. Terence Dobbs (40-44) deals with the Arachnoids, which you may remember from waaaaay back in Mercy Island. His follow up contact is Dr Forrester. Television (45-50) is a follow up to the Radio's earlier storyline. Vernon von Grun (45-50) has an excellent arc fighting the Devouring Earth. Cimerora This zone is notable for just being so stylistically unique and making good use of time travel as a plot device, as well as harking back to some Kheldian lore. As you go in, talk to the Midnighter standing in front of you for further instruction. Personally, I think the story progression is a bit messy, but it's still worth doing if only because the task force is so good. All contacts are L35-50. Midnighter > Senator Decimus Aquila > Marcus Valerius Additionally, there is a villain-specific contact named Sister Airlia (40-50) with some missions that send you back to Rogue Isles and this zone ends with the glorious Imperius task force. Ritki War Zone I really like the storytelling in this zone. There's a good sense of progression and you meet up with a few characters we met earlier. Levantera (35-50) > Serpent Drummer (40-50) > Gaussian (45-50) > The Dark Watcher (45-50) There are a few task forces here, but for now give the Lady Grey task force a try as it most closely follows the storyline. Your glory lap here is unquestionably the Ritki Mothership Raid. Look for it on the LFG, head on over and join a league. Range and AoE attacks will help you, but if you don't know what you're doing then watch for instructions, follow the crowd and keep spamming those AoE attacks. What's next? Well, it's time for some incarnate-level content, but that's outside of the remit of this guide. I know it's a bit short for now, but I'll add to it over time. Any comments, let me know! I'm a big fan of missions and story arcs and think there's a lot of really great content there that goes almost unplayed due to the "must get moar levelz" mentality, which is fine but not for me. Thanks!
  3. I am of the opinion that Radiation Armor is the best set in the game when IO sets are added to it. Stone Armor has more mitigation potential, but the usability of the set is diminished by the penalties and lack of mobility in Granite armor. Plus, your costume is ugly in Granite form. Dark and Electric come close to Radiation in terms of mitigation, but lack the utilities and QOL benefits provided by Radiation Armor. For the sake of comparison, all powers are assumed to be slotted with 3 standard level 50 IOs, except inherent fitness only receiving 1 IO. Skip to the first reply if you just want to look at the example builds. Key Powers - Particle Shielding: This is Radiation Armor's best power. It provides an unenhanceable 50% recovery bonus for 1 minute, an enhanceable regeneration bonus, and a fairly large (1100+) absorb shield. The only downside is the absorb bonus is not enhanced by healing bonuses from your Alpha slot. With enough recharge bonus, the cooldown can be brought down close to 30 seconds, making the regeneration buff practically permanent. If the shielding is counted as healing for the sake of comparison, combined healing so far (inherent Health + Particle Shielding) is around 60 HP/s before IO set bonuses, Willpower needs about 3 targets in range to achieve the same HP/s. If the shielding is counted as temporary health, it is about the same amount as Invulnerability and Stone Armor's bonuses of ~1120 HP. - Gamma Boost: When at full health and unenhanced, this power provides about a 36% bonus to recovery. For comparison, Willpower provides 30% base. Combining Particle Shielding with Gamma Boost results in the highest recovery available on Tankers. Endurance should not be a problem for you once you get Particle Shielding down to around 60 seconds recharge. - Beta Decay: An auto-hit aura that gives you recharge bonus and debuffs defense so you can hit things easier. Auto-hit means it will keep enemies around you taunted, when other sets often have an accuracy check on their taunt auras. - Radiation Therapy: At first glance, this may look like Soul Drain. However, it should be noted it heals for a large chunk and small amount of health with no targets hit, plus it heals for the same small amount for each target hit. In addition, it performs a regeneration debuff on all targets hit. Radiation Therapy can potentially heal for around 400 + 80 + 80/target, and have about a 16 second cooldown. Combined with the healing from above, that puts Radiation Armor around 90 HP/s effective healing with no targets hit, which is equivalent to Willpower with 8 enemies in range. - Ground Zero: The damage on this isn't important. The fact it hits up to 30 targets makes this power stand out. Effectively, you get a PBAoE taunt that puts you on the threat table of more than the target cap. This is extremely useful in situations where your team is swarmed, like ITF or LGTF. As enemies targeting you die off, the enemies you hit with Ground Zero start attacking you instead of allies. - Meltdown: This is a great emergency click power in the game if you choose to use it. The crash only takes 10% of your endurance instead of 100%, unlike most other crashes. Personally, I skip it, but you may want it. Brute builds sometimes take it and rotate between Meltdown and Rune of Protection for a constant +~20% resistance to all damage. TL;DR: Radiation Armor has the potential to get more endurance recovery than any other Tanker, rivals Willpower's healing, and has effectively the same health pool as Invulnerability and Willpower, before Incarnate powers. It has amazing aggro management and an emergency power that won't kill you. IO Slotting and Builds - Defense or Resistance? If you can't afford very rare sets or ATOs, go for S/L defense and recharge bonus. Use Rune of Protection and/or Meltdown to shore up your resists when needed. An example build is below. If you can afford very rare sets and ATOs, get as much resistance as you can while using pool powers and global IOs to fill in your defense. Rely on teammates to soft-cap, or don't worry about defense because you don't really need it with all of your effective healing and 90% resists to the most important damage types. A build with 90% S/L/F/E/T and 75% C/N/P is provided below. - Slotting Toggles: Don't worry about endurance reduction. Your recovery is so high that only TW can come close to pushing the limits of what Radiation Armor's recovery provides. - Suggested Secondaries: Anything can work with Radiation Armor. You can go for damage or control, though I prefer the latter on my Tanker so I'm filling the role better. Knockdowns provide a great way to control groups and keep them from attacking you and your teammates. Converting a knockback to a knockdown is also an option to make sets like Energy Melee tolerable. Notable sets with AoE knockdowns include Battle Axe, Electrical, Ice, Kinetic, Psionic, Super Strength, and War Mace. Super Strength and Electrical Melee both have AoE disorients and AoE knockdowns they can use frequently to keep enemies under control effects. Ice Melee has additional control in the form of slow effects and a sleep effect. Defense debuff sets help your teammates hit more often, but are is rarely needed at 50 due to IO sets and the vast amount of defense debuffs others on your team may have. Any of the "bladed" weapon sets debuff defense, plus several other sets, including Radiation Melee. Don't forget you already have a defense debuff in the form of Beta Decay. Dark Melee debuffs to-hit, which is equivalent to adding defense to yourself. Super Strength and Titan Weapons are go-to sets for dealing damage. If you want to make a DPS Tanker, they should be more viable after the upcoming buff. - Suggested Epic Pools: Your Epic pool choice may depend on your secondary and how many power selections you have free. Adding an extra AoE or control effect can help round out your build or provide some usefulness outside of just tanking things. Take fewer attacks from your secondary if you want more options at 50. You don't need every attack to be a tank. Earth Mastery gives you an AoE sleep, which is useful if your group pulls more than they can handle. Hit a cluster of enemies with this, then tank another cluster to lighten the pressure on your squishies. Mu Mastery gives you two targeted AoE abilities, which can act as a ranged AoE taunt, while dealing some damage or immobilizing a group. Pyre Mastery has a great AoE resistance debuff, as well as a targeted AoE power. Anything with a hold effect can be useful for shutting down an Immunes Surgeon from range, or stacking holds on Hamidon encounters. This also gives you access to IO sets with some great bonuses that are hard to otherwise obtain.
  4. A COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO THE INCARNATE SYSTEM or “WHY ARE INCARNATES SUCH SNAPPY DRESSERS?” The Incarnate endgame power system is one of the more confusing systems that the Homecoming version of City of Heroes has to offer—and while there are a number of great guides for it out there (most notably "Incarnates Made Easy" by @jimjimjimmeh) it seems to me that none of them do much more than scratch the surface. A number of times in-game, I’ve had to explain the system to new Incarnates in depth, and my experiences there showed me that the newly Incarnated often have a lot of questions where the answers aren’t usually all in one place. So I’m going to try to change that. This guide will go over how to use the Incarnate powers window, and offer suggestions for how to proceed once you hit level 50. If any other experienced players disagree with my advice (and I’m sure some will), I invite them to offer alternatives in follow-up comments. And yes, I recognize this guide is very, very long. (It came to 48 pages when I typed the draft in Google Docs, albeit at 18 point font size.) But the Incarnate system is very, very complicated, and I figured it was best to put down everything I knew about it because I can't tell what bit of information might be crucial to someone else. If you want a shorter, basic overview, that guide I linked a couple paragraphs back is a very good one—but this guide is meant to be comprehensive. (Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the answer to the question posed in the alternate title is, “Because they have so many awesome Threads!”) WHAT ARE INCARNATES AND WHY DO YOU WANT THEM? In deference to @TheSwamper, who asked those questions in another Incarnate guide thread, here’s a brief explanation of what Incarnates are all about. The Incarnate system, explained in-game as a way to become a god-like being yourself, is the post-level-50 endgame power and content system that NCSoft implemented in the final days of the live version of City of Heroes. In the lore of the game, you’re assumed to go right on leveling up to outright genuine godhood, in the years or decades after the time period covered by the game ends (you see a “flash-forward” memory of yourself as a god, who the game’s various archvillains are completely unable to damage, as part of the Incarnate introductory arc in Ouroboros), but the game just follows you a smidgen of the way there—but as far as these powers are concerned, a smidgen is quite enough. As for why you “want” them, well, you’re going to be given them whether you want them or not. You can always ignore these new powers, of course, but I find that they add a little extra zest to playing my level 50s through 45+ content, and are a great way to make an old character seem suddenly fresh and new again in some ways. And if nothing else, being able to be effectively level 50+1 in regular content is a great reward for the effort you put into getting all the way to 50. So, why not go for it? The answer to that rhetorical question seems be largely, “Because I don’t understand what the hell it even is.” And that’s what this guide is intended to explain, in detail—as well as the answer to TheSwamper’s third question, “How do I get started earning them?” WHY IS THE INCARNATE SYSTEM SO CONFUSING? To understand why the Incarnate system is such a god-awful (Incarnate-awful?) mess, you have to know a little of the system’s history. I think that there are two main reasons the Incarnate system is the way it is. The first is that the system was introduced very late in the life cycle of the live version of the game, just a few issues before it was closed down for good. City of Heroes has had a history of introducing clunky and overly complex systems early on, then gradually streamlining and simplifying them over time. (Case in point: sidekicking. Ask anyone who was around in the early days about the amount of fiddling around it took to organize the right quantities of people at the right levels to sidekick or exemplar people when sidekicks and exemplars needed one mentor per sidekick. But now, it's all entirely automatic.) The Incarnate system simply didn’t get enough time for the developers to be able to do those sorts of revisions. The other reason has to do with how the Incarnate system was engineered in the first place. If you look at the write-up for the Incarnate system in live on ParagonWiki, you’ll see that there were some key differences from how the system now works. In particular, back then Incarnate XP and threads could only be ground out via Trials, and there were a number of more grindy ways to unlock slots. The Incarnate system was largely locked behind NCSoft’s "VIP" paywall, as yet another way to try to pry money out of its free-to-play playerbase. When SCORE made the game completely free to play and made free-by-default most of the things that had required grinding to unlock, it left some holes and rough edges in the Incarnate system—for example, the Empyrean and Astral Merit Vendors who had once resided on Ouroboros had pretty much their entire inventory of unlockable costume parts and other oddments incorporated into the costume designer’s free selection or otherwise made free. With nothing left to sell, those vendors disappeared, replaced by a new one whose main function is to convert between Empyreans and Astrals—and there's nearly nothing else you can actually do with Empyreans and Astrals anymore. SCORE is a small group of volunteers who have a limited amount of time to devote to working on the game, and don’t have the resources that a commercial game developer like NCSoft had. When it came to removing the paywall, my surmise is that that they saw that redesigning the system from the ground up would take many more man-hours than they had, so they settled for patching over things as best they could. This is why we still have two separate systems of largely incompatible Incarnate crafting components, and two sets of Incarnate merits that actually can’t be used for very much. (More on that later.) Given the level of manpower SCORE had, and all the other things they had to fix and update, I think that going this route was absolutely the right decision at the time. It’s not exactly the only clunky thing about the revival, after all—just look at the entirely empty Kallisti Wharf, for example. Perhaps someday, after enough other issues are ironed out, the SCORE and Homecoming developers will be able to take another look at Incarnates. But for now, we have what we have, and I’m going to try to help you make some sense of it. UNDERSTANDING THE INCARNATE POWERS WINDOW For this next section, you might want to have the game open and the Incarnate window available so you can follow along with me as I describe what you’re going to see. I would suggest beginning by pasting this macro into your game: /macro INC "windowtoggle Incarnate" This will create a button that will open the Incarnate window with one click, instead of having to open the Powers window and click the “Incarnate” link on top of that. It’s a lot more convenient if you’re going in and out of that window all the time—as you will be, once you start working with it. The Incarnate window has three main tabs: Equip, Create, and Convert. EQUIP This window shows all of your Incarnate power slots, which if any you’ve unlocked, and what percentage you’ve unlocked of any that haven’t been yet. Clicking on each power slot shows you a list on the right-hand side of any currently-available powers you might have in that category. After you create a new Incarnate power, you do have to come here and slot the new version of it before you have access to it. There’s a 5-minute cooldown on slotting new powers. Display Name notes below that this cooldown applies to any member of your team being attacked or activating powers. In my experience, that timer may reset after you change zones; I have been able to craft and slot new powers immediately after exiting completed Incarnate trials. CREATE This tab is one of the least intuitive parts of the whole City of Heroes user interface. On the left side are a list of categories for the different Incarnate powers. If you click on one, it expands to a list of the different types of that power. If you click on one of those types, in the middle you’ll see what looks like a stylized tree diagram with various Christmas tree ornaments on it—one at the bottom, two on the second row up, four on the third row up, and two on the top row again. On the right, you’ll see one or more “recipes”—lists of components that you need to create that particular power. Drag the bottom of this screen down to make it taller so you have room for more recipes to fit, and click on “Alpha”. Select one of the Alpha powers, and click on the single orb at the bottom of the tree. On the right-hand side, you should see two recipes—one using Shard-based components, the other using Thread-based components. I’ll go into more detail on that in the section on crafting Alphas, later. Whether you’re talking about Shards or Threads, there are four different rarity levels of Incarnate components: Common, Uncommon, Rare, and Very Rare. Each recipe uses two Common components, then one more component that is a different rarity depending on how high up the tree it is. The one at the very bottom uses three Common components, the two on the next level use two Common and one Uncommon, and so on. Also, each level above the first uses the power below it as a component. If you’re crafting a Tier 2 Incarnate ability, the Tier 1 ability you already have is one of the ingredients. The Tier 3 ability uses the Tier 2 below it as an ingredient. (So, if you’re planning on a specific Tier 3, you need to craft the Tier 2 on the same side of the tree as it is.) The Tier 4 ability uses any two Tier 3 abilities—so to craft a Tier 4, you actually have to craft your way up to possessing two separate Tier 3s. It doesn’t matter which two; there are six separate Tier 4 recipes representing each possible combination of two Tier 3s. The recipes are also crafted from this window—when you have all the ingredients, the recipe lights up, and there's a button you can click to create the power. If there are multiple recipes, as for Tier 4 powers, you just scroll down until you see the one that's lit up. CONVERT This screen allows you to create Incarnate components out of Shards, Threads, or Empyrean Merits, as well as “sidegrade” components to other components. I’ll go over what each section lets you do. INCARNATE SHARD This is the section for conversion of Incarnate Shards into other items. Common components cost 4 Shards, and Uncommon components cost a Common component plus 8 Shards for a total of 12 Shards. The only Rare component is a Notice of the Well, and it costs 4 Uncommon components, plus 40 Shards, for a total of 88 Shards—and 12.5 million Inf to boot. And the only Very Rare component, Favor of the Well, requires 2 Notices plus 32 Shards—a whopping 208 Incarnate Shards if you actually bothered to craft one from scratch—but you’ll probably almost never need to do that. Notices of the Well are given out one per week as rewards for the Weekly Strike Target Task or Strike Force (see the section below about building your Alpha), so there’s no point in spending 88 shards and 12.5 million Inf on one. And while it’s possible that you might want to craft a Favor of the Well, you’ll probably do it with two Notices you got from previous weeks’ WSTs so only have to pay 32 Shards. And maybe by the time you have two Notices, you’d have that many Shards to spend on it. Or you could skip the question entirely by using Thread-based components to make your Tier 4 Alpha. The next section, “Breakdown,” lets you turn a Shard-based component back into Shards, but you’ll only get a quarter or less of the Shards used to build it, so it doesn’t really seem like the wisest possible choice. Finally, “Upgrade” lets you convert 10 Shards to 10 Threads once every 20 hours, 10 Shards to 5 Threads at any time, a Notice of the Well to 40 Incarnate Threads, or a Favor of the Well into 100 Incarnate Threads. (I’m not really sure how that qualifies as an “Upgrade,” but whatever.) INCARNATE THREAD Just like the Shard section, the next section of the menu deals with converting Incarnate Threads into Thread-based components. I’ll go into more detail about these in the section discussing crafting powers from them. For now, it’s enough to know that these are the components you get from specifically Incarnate content—Incarnate Trials, the Apex and Tin Mage task forces, Dark Astoria missions, and so on. Also, from Vet Levels 1 to 11, you will get 8 installments of 120 Threads each time you level up (skipping the times you get Empyrean Merits for leveling; see below). The Common, Uncommon, Rare, and Very Rare sections work about the same as in Shards. Common components cost 20 Threads, Uncommon cost 60, Rare cost 4 Uncommon, 100 Threads (so 340 Threads in all) plus 25 million Inf, and Very Rare cost 4 Rare components (1360 Threads) plus 100 million Inf. But once again, you’re unlikely ever to craft a Rare or Very Rare component from other components. This is partly because you have a decent chance of getting some of these components as rewards for doing Incarnate content, but mainly because there’s a simpler way to make them—and I’ll be covering that in the next section. The final option under Incarnate Thread is “Incarnate XP,” which will let you exchange a single Thread for 50,000 Physical or Psychic Incarnate XP, used for unlocking your slots. This might have been a good deal back in Live, where you couldn’t easily get Incarnate XP outside of Trials, but Homecoming lets you get it along with regular XP once you hit 50. And 50,000 Incarnate XP is about what you’d get from just three or four good-sized mob spawns. So, it really doesn’t seem worth it now. Save your Threads and grind out the levels; it really won’t take all that long. ASTRAL MERITS, EMPYREAN MERITS These two sections deal with the same thing: converting Astral and Empyrean Merits into other things. Astral Merits are the Merits awarded for completing individual segments of Incarnate Trials, and each one can be converted to 4 Threads. (Also, 5 Astral Merits can be converted to 1 Empyrean Merit, but that’s done through the vendor Luna on Ouroboros, not through this control panel.) Empyrean Merits have more conversion options, though. You can convert one of them to 20 Threads—or you can convert 8 of them to a Rare component or 30 to a Very Rare component. Note that the game will actually give you Empyrean Merits as you level up, every 3 Vet levels, at the same time as it awards you one of the old Veteran Rewards badges from back in the day. Every 3 levels, from Vet level 3 to 24, you’ll get 20 Empyrean Merits when you level up. From 27 to 48, it’s 15 Merits, 51 to 69 is 10 Merits, and 72 to 99 is 5 Merits every three levels. So, by the time you hit Vet Level 9, you’d have enough Empyreans to craft two Very Rare components, or one Very Rare and three Rare with a little left over. You can also get 4 Empyrean Merits for a successful Hamidon Raid, or obtain them from various other Incarnate content. As I mentioned above, Astral and Empyrean Merits used to have merit vendors on Ouroboros, where you could trade Astrals and Empyreans for costume parts, auras, unlocks, Inspirations, and other rewards. (The complete list is here, if you’re curious. How many of those costume parts and auras do you recognize from the costume creator now?) But all the costume stuff was rolled into the freely unlocked stuff from the costume creator, and the Inspirations were changed to sell for Threads rather than Merits. (And the unlocks you could buy were largely unlocked for free with Homecoming!) In the end, there’s now only one Empyrean/Astral vendor left on Ouroboros—Luna, just to the right of the big building with the shards in it. She’ll convert Astral and Empyrean Merits back and forth, and sell super Inspirations at 10 Threads each and up. You can also convert Astral and Empyrean Merits to Reward Merits at any Reward Merit Vendor, or convert 50 Empyreans to 1 Transcendent Merit and back to make it easier to email them to your other characters. I’d strongly not recommend converting Empyreans to Reward Merits, by the way. Reward Merits are easy to come by, but Empyreans are much rarer, and you can’t convert Reward merits back into Empyreans. If you reach the point where you don’t need any more Empyreans on that character, you can always change them to Transcendents and give your other characters an Incarnate head start with them. COMMON, UNCOMMON, RARE, VERY RARE The final four sections are named for the rarity levels of the Incarnate components, and they include options to Sidegrade, Downgrade, or Breakdown Thread-based components of those rarities. Sidegrading costs a number of Threads to change a component into another component of the same rarity—useful if you have an extra of something but need something else to make your chosen recipe. Downgrading turns a component in one of the next rarity level down—but you don’t get any Threads back for it. As with the Shard option, Breakdown dismantles a component into a number of Threads—but you only get a fraction of the cost to create that component back. THE INCARNATE PROCESS The process of building Incarnate powers is pretty simple once you understand it, but a little hard to understand at first when the user interface is so confusing. You get Shards and Threads from mob drops, Threads and Empyreans from Vet level-ups, Astrals, Empyreans, and components from events, and you use all this stuff to build your way up each power tree, twice—you make your first Tier 3 to use, then your second Tier 3 to convert into a Tier 4. It just takes a while to grind out enough components to make everything—which process I’ll go over in a later section. It’s worth noting that, unlike the powers you get when you level up, you aren’t locked into the first Incarnate power you build. In fact, by the time you reach Vet level 99 and stop getting any further Empyrean Merits from leveling, you’ll have gotten enough drops to have built several powers for each slot if you wanted. For example, my Tanker and Brute have both Resilient and Spiritual Alphas at Tier 4, and can swap them out depending on whether they want to be tougher or recharge faster in the mission they’re doing. And all my characters have Incandescence Destiny because I find its fast-recharge Assemble-the-Team effect really useful, but some also have one of the other Destinies for times when they might want to buff people rather than teleport them. So, don’t be afraid to experiment with multiple powers, especially if you might need to use more than one in different situations. THE INCARNATE POWERS I’m going to run down the various slots and powers now, with commentary and recommendation on each. I’m going to cheat a little, and instead of giving the statistics for each one, I’ll just point you at the Paragonwiki pages which have nicely organized charts. As far as I know, even though a lot of stuff about the Incarnate system has changed from live, the abilities of the Incarnate powers should still be mostly identical. There’s no need for me to waste time and effort reinventing the wheel. The thing you should consider in picking a particular option for any of the Incarnate powers is not simply what the Tier 1 version of the power provides—look at both Tier 4 versions of it, too. It’s possible that even if the Tier 1 isn’t useful to you, the Tier 4 might just include the specific other things that you need. In addition to reading the wiki pages, you can also see what any given power does by mousing over it in the Incarnate powers window. ALPHA SLOT ABILITIES The Alpha slot is the only Incarnate slot that you can build from either Shards or Threads, because it was intended to be the one slot freely available to people who didn't pay to unlock the full Thread-based Incarnate system. As I'll explain later, I recommend building it from Shards as much as possible and saving the Threads for other slots. The Alpha slot is an always-on power that functions, essentially, as an extra Enhancement tacked onto to all of your powers that can use that particular category of Enhancement, and partly ignoring the effects of Enhancement Diversification that cap Enhancement of your powers at set limits. Any and all of your powers that can slot that category of Enhancement benefit from this extra Enhancement, while powers that can’t do not. An Alpha that boosts Range doesn’t just make your blasts shoot farther, it also lets you teleport farther if you have Teleport, and recall friends from farther away with Recall Friend. (Maybe even from all the way across Independence Port!) But it doesn’t do anything for your melee attacks, unless they can also be slotted with Range for some reason. Also, it will not affect powers that do not take Enhancements, such as temp powers, prestige powers, other Incarnate powers, etc. These powers each enhance one attribute at Tier 1—Damage, Endurance Modification, Healing, etc.—but at Tier 4, they can either enhance three attributes extremely well, or six attributes moderately well. Any given attribute only seems to show up in two powers—one as the Tier 1 ability, and another as a secondary ability from later Tiers. For example, Agility boosts Endurance Modification at Tier 1, and Recharge Rate in later Tiers. Spiritual boosts Recharge Rate in Tier 1. Musculature boosts Endurance Modification in later tiers. And so on. A Controller who is considering taking the Intuition Alpha because of its boost to Hold Duration might also want to look at Nerve, which primarily boosts Accuracy but also boosts Hold Duration and Confusion later on. If you’re picking an Alpha, try to find the Alpha that enhances the most things you do use, and the fewest things you don’t. My Tanker took Resilient Radial Paragon, because it boosted Damage Resistance and Taunt. It also boosted a few other things, which I don't much use, but it was worth having for the two things that it did. The Alpha Slot also offers a Level Shift with Tier 3 and 4 versions of the power, which makes you effectively one level higher than your “current” level. This Level Shift applies to any City of Heroes content when exemplared to level 45 or higher. I’ll have more to say about that in the section on advice for new Incarnates. JUDGEMENT SLOT ABILITIES Judgement is, not to put too fine a point on it, a nuke. It’s a high-damage, high-number-of-targets attack that can go off every couple of minutes. It can provide a nifty complement to the rest of your powers, particularly in regard to softening up huge crowds of adversaries. But which one do you want? There are a number of elements to consider. For one thing, there’s thematic appropriateness. My Fire/Fire Tanker and Brute both took Pyronic, because shooting a fireball was perfectly in keeping with their other talents for fire. Ditto my Dark/Dark Controller with Void, and my Empathy/Electric Defender with Ion. On the other hand, there are other things to look at as well. For example, there’s the type of damage. Do you want a most-often-resisted Smashing or Lethal damage, like Mighty or Vorpal have? Or one of the less commonly resisted elemental attacks, like all the rest? And then there’s the pattern of the attacks. Mighty and Void are both PBAoE attacks, Cryonic and Vorpal are cones, Pyronic is a ranged AoE, and Ion is a chained lightning attack that jumps from target to nearby target until it runs out or hits its target limit. So, if your target is a melee class and often surrounded by mobs, you might prefer to consider one of the PBAoEs rather than a cone. My Fire/Kinetic Controller, who often has to run into the middle of enemies to Fulcrum Shift them, went with Mighty, which not only does some decent damage but can be taken with a knock-up effect that makes it harder for the enemies to damage him before he can get out of range. Or, if you’re a min-maxer, Ion is probably the one you want regardless. It’s got high damage, hits an extremely high number of targets at the higher tiers, and you don’t particularly need to worry about where you aim it as long as you shoot it at any mob who’s near any other mobs—it chain-jumps from one to the next until it hits its max number of targets or runs out of nearby mobs. A lot of people complain that it’s overpowered; it’s certainly by far the most common Judgement you see in use. (If you see the words “Ion Judgement Jump” appearing over a lot of enemies’ heads at once, someone just used it.) Judgement is a click power. When you equip it on the Incarnate Equip tab, it creates a new power in your Powers window, which you can then drag to your preferred spot on your control panel. INTERFACE SLOT ABILITIES The Interface power adds an inherent proc to all damaging attacks, for debuffs, extra damage, or other effects. Most Interface power trees have two potential effects you can choose to concentrate on, and the two Tier 4 power options each do a lot of one effect and a little of the other. The debuffs can stack on a single mob up to 4 times, whether from one or multiple characters with the same Interface. My Fire/Fire Tanker and Brute went with Reactive, because a little extra fire damage and damage resistance debuffing was in keeping with their theme—they burn stuff. But see what works better for you. Note that a lot of the debuff effects you get are fairly small—for example, Reactive only offers a 2.5% Damage Resistance debuff for ten seconds, which even stacked the maximum of 4 times only amounts to 10%—so going with Radial Flawless Interface that has the higher chance for the damage-over-time proc might be more effective at helping to kill things all in all. I've heard reports that this slot may be bugged, and the 75% proc is the only one that actually goes off. I'm not sure of the truth of those, however. LORE SLOT ABILITIES Lore powers are Mastermind-style summonable pets that will stay around for 3 to 5 minutes, and have a 15-minute recharge time (meaning it’ll be at least 10 minutes after they go away that you can summon them again). There is a wide variety of pets available, encompassing all kinds of damage and all kinds of secondary effects. Unlike temp power pets, Lore pets will change zones with you. Lore pets use the same control panel as Mastermind pets, meaning you can set them to Aggressive, Defensive, or Passive modes, and order them to attack your target. Unlike Mastermind pets, you can't drag Inspirations onto them, though. In practical use, Lore pets are handy companions for adventuring, especially if you solo a lot. They can make clearing "defeat all" missions a little easier, as well as giving a boost against archvillains and monsters. They also figure into Hamidon raids; as soon as all the mitos are down, the raid leader will call for everyone to pop Lores and set them to Aggressive. And there is a specific time within the BAF Trial they should be saved for. The left (Core) side of the Lore power tree focuses on damage, with Minion, Lieutenant, and Boss pets that have primarily damaging powers. The right (Radial) side of the tree features a support pet. The right-side tier 4 power’s support Lieutenant has no damaging attacks, but is also intangible so it can’t be attacked by enemies. I will usually take the Core (damage) side on support characters like Controllers or Defenders, and those (like Tankers) who are tough enough not to need any extra support but could benefit from damaging things faster. But my characters who are chiefly damaging and a little squishier, like Brutes, Blasters, etc. will go with the Radial (support) side for a little extra healing and buffing power. As for just which Lore pet to get, much like with Judgement it comes down to a question of what’s more thematically appropriate vs. what’s more powerful. If you’re a Demons Mastermind and want to take the Demons Lore set to match, then go right ahead. If you’re looking for the most useful abilities, you might want to check out this list that @CR Miss on the Guides forums has been working on. Cimerorans have a reputation for having the highest single-target damage attacks, though they use the most-commonly-resisted Lethal damage type. The Immunes Surgeon from the support side of the tree has some nice healing abilities that can be helpful if you’re a Fire Brute doing an AE farm. Storms and Polar Lights have some decent AoE. Longbow has a giant robot with some good AoE and a -regen attack. (Also, Longbow has a giant frigging robot.) I’ve heard good things about Banished Pantheon, too. As with any other Incarnate power, you need not limit yourself to only one. You’ll get enough components, Threads, and Merits over time that you can experiment with multiple different Lore sets, or you can pick different ones for different characters and see how you like them all. At Tier 3 and 4, Lore applies an Incarnate Level Shift—a +1 to your level that only applies when doing Incarnate content, such as the Trials or Dark Astoria missions (though oddly enough, not Apex/Tin Mage for some reason). I’ll have more to say about in the section on advice for new Incarnates. DESTINY SLOT ABILITIES Destiny powers are click-to-cast AoE buff auras that mostly emanate from the caster to cover a wide radius. They have a variety of useful effects that are at their strongest in the first thirty seconds after being cast, then gradually fade over time. Higher levels of these buffs may increase radius or buff duration, or add additional buffs or other effects. Most of these are pretty straightforward buffs. Ageless boosts Recharge Rate and Endurance Reduction, sort of like a wide-area Speed Boost but without the bump to running speeds. Barrier gives everyone bubbles that boost Defense and Damage Resistance, and a couple of the higher-tier abilities are noteworthy for rezzing either one or two fallen allies—pretty handy for a power that’s up every couple of minutes. Clarion provides hugely powerful mez protection, and is often useful in cases where powerful mezzes are things to worry about—avoiding getting stunned by Romulus’s Nictus self-rez in the Imperious Task Force, for example, or in Rikti Mothership raids to protect against Rikti Mages, or in Hamidon raids to guard against mito-mezzes. Rebirth is a wide-area mega-heal. But I think one of the most generally useful Destiny powers, both as an Incarnate power and in the game in general, is Incandescence. Not to be confused with the Incandescent Strike Kheldian ability, the Incandescence Destiny is a whole-league version of Assemble the Team that fires off instantaneously and is available every two minutes. In addition to teleporting everyone to the target location, it also knocks back and stuns nearby foes, improves the effectiveness of heal powers, and has various other buffs at higher levels. This power is particularly useful in certain Incarnate Trials (such as in pulling the whole league out of the green disentigration beam in the Keyes Reactor Trial), but it’s extremely handy in general in pretty much any teaming or league situation. In Hamidon raids it’s useful for transporting everyone to the giant monster “walls” to take them down until Hamidon spawns, and gathering them all at the “safety rock” afterward to prepare to go in. In Rikti Mothership raids it can be useful in the event of the league taking significant casualties—instead of rezzing everyone one by one, have them all go to the hospital and fire off Incandescence a few seconds later. In the Justin Augustine Task Force, huge amounts of travel time can be saved by one team member with Incandescence going on ahead to where the next hunt will be while everyone else works on the current one, then porting them there when it’s done. And, of course, it’s even better than Assemble the Team for stealthing to the end of missions and porting everyone else there—there’s no excessively long casting time during which enemies can interrupt you, and you don’t have to wait a half hour for it to recharge. And since it’s up so often, you can use it in any circumstance (for example, fixing team splits, or porting everyone else to the mission door if you get there first) rather than saving it for when you might really need it. For these reasons, I suggest that everyone should craft at least the 60-Thread Tier 1 version of Incandescence even if they mainly use some other Destiny—it’s just super-useful having that on-demand Assemble the Team effect. Plus, thanks to its knockback and stuns, Incandescence can also be used offensively. You just pick up your entire team and throw it into a group of enemies, and the enemies get knocked back and stunned while your team gets buffed. You want to be careful how you do this, though—since Incandescence can’t be slotted, there’s no way to turn its Knockback into Knockdown. So you want to try to position the teleport target to knock enemies into a corner if possible, or against a wall—don’t scatter them every which way and make it harder for your Tanker to get aggro control. If you’re going to do this on a team, you should definitely let people know at the start that you’re inclined to use Incandescence offensively, and if they don’t want to be yanked around (and particularly if they're squishy) they should make sure that “prompt team teleport” is turned on. It might also be useful to warn them that an Incandescence is incoming before you cast it. And, of course, if people react badly to the idea, just don’t do it. At Tier 3 and 4, Destiny applies an Incarnate Level Shift—a +1 to your level that only applies when doing Incarnate content, such as the Trials or Dark Astoria missions (though oddly enough, not Apex/Tin Mage for some reason). I’ll have more to say about in the section on advice for new Incarnates. HYBRID SLOT ABILITIES Finally, Hybrid powers are two-in-one—they include an inherent ability from being slotted, as well as 0-Endurance timed toggles that don’t shut off if you get mezzed. The toggles will run for up to two minutes, then take two minutes to recharge. They can buff damage, regeneration, control, or the rest of the team, with various differentiated abilities as you climb the Tier tree. The Hybrid abilities that offer extra damage to controlled enemies include some interesting pop-ups over affected enemies. If you’re wondering why you saw “WAYLAY!” over an enemy’s head, that’s why. Again, take whichever one of these has good synergy with the other powers you already have. For my Tanker and Brute that was Melee, given its buffs to regeneration, Resist Damage, and Defense, and the taunt aura effect of the Radial branch of the tree. My controllers took the Control power, and my Defender took Support. Now that I’ve gone over the Incarnate control panel and slots, the next section of this guide will cover my advice to new players just getting into Incarnate abilities. Again, if you experienced Incarnates disagree with any of this, please discuss it in the comments—having different points of view available will help those new to the system decide for themselves. FIRST STEPS FOR NEW INCARNATES Welcome to level 50! You’re about to take your first steps into a much larger world. Here’s my advice on the best way to go about building up your Incarnate powers. You may choose to go about it some other way, of course; there are plenty of good ways to do it—but understanding the way I recommend should help you to work out for yourself which other way you might prefer. STEP ONE: CHECK YOUR BUILD Your Incarnate powers, when you have them, will sit on top of your normal build and make an already good build even better—so to start, make sure you already have a good build. If you leveled to 50 without any goals in mind, this is a good time to look back at your character, decide what you want your build to do, and respec into it. The best way to plan out a respec, in my opinion, is with the new Mids' Reborn: Hero Designer utility. The most recent version includes the new Sentinel class, new Enhancement sets, and all the new and newly-proliferated power sets for all the character classes. It will let you play with builds, and see what slotting particular Enhancement sets into them can do for you. I personally like to spec out my builds with it beforehand and build my character into them on the way up, but not everyone does it that way. So, go ahead—make a good build and respec into it. (Remember to take a screenshot of your power trays before you do the respec, for reference when you’re rebuilding your trays afterward.) Slot ATOs or Winter Super Pack Enhancements and catalyze them; slot purples; slot Overwhelming Force into a damage aura or other AoE power…go wild! You’re level 50, you deserve it. If you don’t quite have the money for that yet, you can still spec out your planned build and slot cheaper sets or common IOs until you can afford the more expensive ones. But you’re level 50 now, you make the most Inf per mob defeat of any level in the game, and you can no longer disable earning Influence for double XP—so you will have it sooner or later. (And that’s leaving aside methods of specifically grinding for loot, such as AE farming or Enhancement conversion.) And thanks to the way the Homecoming market works now, even the most expensive purples are still much more affordable than they ever were under Live. So, you’ve got options, if you care to use them. STEP TWO: BUILD YOUR ALPHA If you looked at that Paragonwiki page I recommended earlier, you will have noticed several ways of unlocking the Incarnate system, including doing Mender Ramiel’s arc, buying Incarnate XP with Threads, or outright buying the unlock from a vendor with Astral Merits. Which of those would I recommend? Well…none of them, actually. One of the changes Homecoming implemented was automatically unlocking the Incarnate system once you train up to level 50—no Mender Ramiel arc completion required. Once you train, you’ll immediately start earning Incarnate XP—and not just from special Incarnate content, either, but from ordinary adventuring. (Note that the Mender Ramiel arc will unlock your Alpha slot instantly upon completion, as well as awarding you an Incarnate Shard. If you want to unlock the slot right away, working through the arc would probably be faster than grinding out the XP. However, one of the missions involves a pair of elite bosses who can be tough to solo if your character isn't from a good damage-dealing class. You may want to stock up on Shivans and P2W store pet summons beforehand, or invite a friend or two to tag along—or if there's no other option, use your autocomplete to clear the mission.) The first batch of Incarnate XP will go toward unlocking your Alpha slot, and it unlocks pretty quickly—do a Task Force of any reasonable length, or even just get in a Rikti Mothership raid, and you’ll almost certainly have it unlocked by the time you’re done. And the other slots will follow that—a little more slowly, but keep adventuring and they’ll be done before you know it. The vendor who sold Alpha unlocks with Astral Merits no longer exists. You can still buy Incarnate XP with Threads (as I discussed in the description of the Incarnate power panel options), but really, I don’t recommend it. Unlocking all the slots doesn’t take long at all, so just grind a little more, and keep more Threads to spend on your power picks. SHARD-BASED COMPONENTS: HOW TO GET THEM While you’re unlocking your Alpha, you should also be thinking about building it. As a reminder, Alpha Slot powers can be built with either Shards or Threads. This is one of the more confusing aspects of the Incarnate power window, because the default window size is just small enough to show only one recipe and the scrollbar on the right indicating there are more recipes below can be very hard to notice. But both sets of recipes are there; you just have to scroll down to get to the Thread-based ones. You can, if you choose, apply the methods of gaining Thread-based stuff that I’ll cover in a later section for the other Incarnate power slots, and build the Alpha out of them, too. But I would tend to recommend using Shards as much as possible for the Alpha. You’re going to get Shard drops anyway, and they’re honestly not good for much other than the Alpha. You can convert 10 of them at a time into 10 Threads once a day, and 10 of them into 5 Threads at any time, but there’s not a lot else they’re really good for. So you might as well build as much of your Alpha with them as possible, and save your Threads for the other six slots. If you want to build out all your slots as fast as possible, that would be the best use of your resources. As for how you get Shards, you’ll get one if you do Mender Ramiel’s arc—it’s still available even if you no longer need to do it to unlock Incarnate abilities—and you’ll get them as occasional random drops during your other adventuring—along with Incarnate Threads. So, the main thing you need to do is any content you want to, and the drops will come. (Since you have a small chance of a drop with each enemy you defeat, things where you defeat large numbers of enemies quickly are particularly good for getting large quantities of Shards and Threads quickly: AE farms, Mothership Raids, etc. Also, monsters and AVs seem to have a higher than average chance of dropping Shards and Threads, so if you get in on the nightly triple Hamidon raids where everything you fight is classed as a monster, you'll probably end up with a handful of each in a very short time. Note that enemies must con at least white (that is, be the same level as you) to have a chance of dropping Incarnate stuff. So, doing missions at -1 or +0 (once you've gotten your first Level Shift) full of blues and greens won't be all that helpful for building out your Incarnate powers.) You might specifically want to do Rikti Mothership Raids to buy the Gr’ai Matter component at the Vanguard crafting table, and also do the Level 50 Task/Strike Forces—Imperious, Lady Grey, Miss Liberty, Lord Recluse—because these Task Forces give you the choice of a Shard-based Incarnate component on completion. Every component you get means that you are spending 4 fewer dropped Shards on what you need to craft the power—and you’ll have the chance of getting Shards from drops while doing them. You can only choose the component reward once every 18 hours, but you could certainly do the Task Forces once a day, and a single MSR could buy you several days’ worth of Gr’ai Matter. Apart from that, you can grind for Shard (and Thread) drops the same way you’d grind for XP and Inf, if you do or have a friend who does AE fire farms. LEVEL SHIFTING AND YOU Your first big goal should be to get your Alpha to at least Tier 3, because Tier 3 Alpha is where you get your first Incarnate Level Shift. The Level Shift is an odd little benefit of the Incarnate system, and it effectively makes your character one level higher than the game treats them. When you’re level “50+1,” level 50 mobs will be blue to you—but if you’re at +0 notoriety, the game will still give you those blue level 50 mobs in your missions, not white level 51s. You’ll keep this Level Shift as long as you aren’t exemplared below level 45, and this first one from the Alpha will apply to all content in the game that you can play at those levels. The Level Shifts from Lore and Destiny will apply to special Incarnate content only, such as the Incarnate Trials and Dark Astoria zone and missions (though oddly enough, not the Apex and Tin Mage Task Forces for some reason). I’ll touch on those again in the section on Thread-based powers. WEEKLY STRIKE TARGET And then there’s the Weekly Strike Target TF or SF, a rotating selection of Task and Strike forces which grants double Reward Merits but also awards a huge XP bonus if you’re not an Incarnate yet, or a Notice of the Well Shard component if you are level fifty with your Alpha slot unlocked. You have to have your Alpha unlocked to receive a Notice. You can only get one Strike Target reward per week, across any of the targets, so if you know you’re just about to hit 50, you might want to hold off on doing it until you can get your Alpha slot unlocked before you start it. The Notice of the Well that the WST awards you is a crucial component to crafting your Tier 3 Alpha—and it’s expensive enough to craft that you really want to make sure you get all the free ones you can. And another reason I suggest being sure to craft the Alpha with Shards is that you’re going to get that Notice of the Well anyway if you do the Weekly for the double Merit reward, so why not be able to use it? (You can break the Notice of the Well down into 40 Threads, and you probably should do that for future Notices once you’re finished building all the Alphas you want. But it’ll be a lot more efficient to build your T3 Alphas with them first.) THE TIER 4 ALPHA: SHARDS VS THREADS When I recommended using Shards to build your Alpha, I did make an exception for Tier 4. That’s because for Tier 4 you need a Favor of the Well, which takes two Notices and 32 Shards to make. Now, if you’ve been playing at level 50 for a while before getting into this Incarnate thing, you might very well have multiple Notices of the Well and bunches of Shards sitting around, but if you haven’t, you’re only going to be able to get one Notice per week going forward—so do you really want to wait two more weeks to craft your Tier 4? I don’t think so. Fortunately, crafting a Tier 4 Alpha with Thread-based components is just as easy for the Alpha as it is for the other powers I’ll discuss. So you can just do that and call it good. (By the same token, if you’re ready to craft the second Tier 3 you’ll need for that Tier 4 before you’re eligible to get another Notice from a WST, you may want to do that with Threads, too.) STEP THREE: BUILD LORE, DESTINY, AND THE OTHER THREAD-BASED SLOTS You don’t actually have to wait until you’ve built your Alpha to start on your Thread-based slots; you can work on both at the same time if and as you get enough Shards and Threads for them. But using Shards to build the Alpha means you can devote more Threads to the other slots, and you should certainly do so if you can. If you like, you can actually get started before you’ve even got the slots unlocked. You can craft Incarnate powers as soon as you have the components for them; you just can’t slot them until the slots are unlocked. So if you’re doing a lot of Incarnate Trials early on while you’re still unlocking the slots, you might want to make note of what components you’re going to need, so you can pick them from the reward rolls at the end of the Trials and work toward having the right ones to make the powers you want. And if you want to build them early so you're ready to drop them in as soon as they open up, that will be just fine. I would recommend that, apart from the Alpha, the first two Incarnate slots you should work on are Lore and Destiny. The reason is, those slots provide the Incarnate Level Shifts at Tier 3, making you that much more effective in Incarnate Trials (which I’ll discuss in a moment). Once you have all three, you’ll be at level 53, which means you’ll be on a more even footing with the level 54 mobs in most Incarnate Trials and other Incarnate content. That means you’ll be a more effective fighter in those trials, and those trials will be more likely to be successful. After you get those Level Shifts, you can build out the remaining powers in whatever order you like. You’ll probably want to get them all to Tier 3 before you start moving any up to Tier 4, though. THREAD-BASED COMPONENTS: HOW TO GET THEM There are three major sources of Thread-based components: Incarnate missions, such as those in Dark Astoria; Incarnate Task Forces, like Apex or Tin Mage; and Incarnate Trials, like Behavioral Adjustment Facility or Lambda Complex. INCARNATE MISSIONS Incarnate Missions are probably the simplest way for solo players to get their hands on Shard-based components. They are awarded at the end of Incarnate story arcs, including when the arcs are replayed via Ouroboros. As this guide by @ElPuerco indicates , the Dark Astoria introductory arc can be soloed at the lowest difficulty in about fifteen minutes, thus providing several components over the course of one hour of play. If you don’t enjoy having to depend on a large team of people not to screw things up for everybody else, and are of a class that solos easily, this might be the best course for you—especially after you’ve gotten your Incarnate level shifts and are at +3 and can do these missions at a Notoriety of -1, so you’ll be 3 or 4 levels higher than all the enemies. If you haven’t done this arc yet, and can gather a team of other people who also haven’t done it, you’ll be able to simultaneously complete the first few missions in the arc, then do the final mission once for each team member so each of you on the team gets as many components as there are team members who have the arc available. In Ouroboros, it runs Task Force style so there’s only one chance to run the final mission for everyone. INCARNATE TASK FORCES The next step up from those missions is doing the Incarnate Task Forces, of which there are only two—Apex and Tin Mage. These run similarly to all the other Task Forces, being primarily missions where you go places, click glowies, and defeat things. At the end of each of them, you’re awarded a choice of Incarnate Thread-based component. Also, if you earn the optional objective badges and “Master Of” badge for each, those should come with extra components, too. Unlike previous Task Forces, these do have specific Incarnate requirements—you have to have your Alpha unlocked and slotted in order to be able to participate meaningfully. If you don’t, you’re penalized 4 levels, meaning you’re going to be effectively level 46 while doing a 50+ Task Force, and will probably be dead weight at best. So if you don’t have your Alpha yet, you might want to focus on those Shard-based components I discuss above until you have at least the first Tier of it. INCARNATE TRIALS The main way of getting Incarnate components for most will be the series of Incarnate Trials that players get together and run. These trials usually call for leagues of 16 to 24 players, and take place over the course of a single mission in which players must complete several sets of challenges successfully in order to finish and win a Thread-based component. While going into great detail about these is beyond the scope of this guide, I can at least cover the basics of getting started in them. Incarnate Trials disable most of your temp or Day Job powers, though they don’t disable Accolade Powers. Interestingly enough, they also don’t disable many of the temp powers you get from Super Packs. You might lose your Resuscitator or Revive Ally powers, but any charge of the Super Pack “Restore” power you get will be right there for you to use at need. (So you may want to save those along and not use them in regular content.) Incarnate Trials usually form up in places where both Heroes and Villains can mingle, since both are eligible to participate in said trials. The most popular spot seems to be Pocket D, though you’ll also see some form up in Ouroboros. If you want to get in on such a trial, you might want to hang out in one of those places while you wait, and also watch the LFG channel just in case a trial starts forming up in another instance of the zone you’re in. Most pre-Incarnate Task Forces and Trials offer few challenges more stringent than going places, defeating bunches of enemies, and clicking on glowies. (You don’t even have to click on them simultaneously anymore, since Homecoming did away with that requirement.) However, most Incarnate Trials are considerably more nuanced—and more challenging. Goals vary by the individual Trial, but can include things like killing more than one archvillain simultaneously, killing enemies next to an archvillain to render it vulnerable, dragging an archvillain to a particular spot so other players can use temp powers on something there, and so on. At the simplest end of the trial spectrum are the Lambda Complex (LAM), Behavioral Adjustment Facility (BAF), and the (slightly more complicated) Keyes Reactor Trial. These are also the trials you see run the most often (to the chagrin of those who prefer some of the other, more complex ones). LAM is pretty basic—you just collect two sets of temp powers, then use them in a fight against the AV Marauder. It’s basic enough that a lot of people are bored of it, which is probably why it doesn’t get run as often as some of the other simple ones. (I would advise to stay away from “speed LAMs,” which is where you only bother collecting one set of the temp powers and disregard the other. It can be faster, but it can also be chancier because without the time boost from getting the second temps, you can run out of time to get enough of the first—and without using the second temp power, you can be overwhelmed by adds if you don’t kill Marauder fast enough. Maybe you’ll want to do things that way when you’re more experienced, but it’s just too easy for those to fail when inexperienced people are involved, resulting in a lot of frustration for all concerned.) BAF is probably the one that gets run more than any other, because it’s simple and short but also has some nice challenges (including defeating two different AVs twice each). It’s generally pretty hard to fail a BAF. If you’re just getting into Incarnate Trials, you should probably get your feet wet with these. Keyes is more complex, and has more of a requirement that its leaders know what they’re doing. There are a few aspects of the trial that are counterintuitive and require explanation (like the need not to damage the AV, Antimatter, until a certain point), and a few people who don’t know what they’re doing during the final AV fight can easily torpedo the trial for everybody. It’s worth noting that the Praetorian AVs from these trials do count toward the Dimensional Warder badge. If you do Maria Jenkins’s arc and then a BAF and a Keyes to get Siege and Antimatter, you will have that badge without having to do Tina McIntyre’s arc as well. Before doing these or any other Incarnate Trial, I would recommend that you review the write-up on ParagonWiki about the trial in question—but also pay attention to the trial leader. Are they willing to explain to newbies how this particular trial works (preferably while the team is forming up ahead of the event itself)? Do they seem to have a plan in mind for how to handle it? If not, you might be best off to bow out, at least until you have more experience with the trial yourself. My first Homecoming experience with the Keyes came from a so-called leader who had basically no instructions or guidance for the rest of the league, and just trusted everyone to know what to do already and work it out for themselves. It was such a disaster that it put me off trying another one for weeks. But if the leader does have it together, and is issuing orders, and the more experienced players don't seem to have any problem with them, you should follow those orders to the best of your abilities even if they don't seem to make any sense. There may be things they just haven't had time to explain yet. And once in a very great while, you might just run across a leader who has it so together that they make even the most complex trials seem simple without even trying. If you run across any amazing Incarnate Trial leaders like that, I recommend that you friend them, global-friend them if they’ll let you, and see if they have a global channel where they organize their trials. Good leaders are so rare, you definitely shouldn’t let them get away. You’ll get a choice of Thread-based component on successful completion of a trial—hopefully a Very Rare, possibly a Rare, more likely an Uncommon, or probably a Common. When you’re given the choice, you may want to pop up your Incarnate powers window and see which components you need to make the next power you want so you’ll know which one you should choose. (Unless it’s a Common, in which case you can pick pretty much any at random because you’ll probably need it sooner or later.) You can exit the trial and the window will stay open if you haven't yet made your choice. You will also get Astral Merits from completing specific challenges within Incarnate Trials, and an Empyrean merit at the end. You can also convert 5 Astral Merits into 1 Empyrean Merit at Luna on Ouroboros (which is really about the only useful thing you can do with Astral Merits). Earning the optional badges and Master Of from Incarnate Trials will earn you additional components and Astral Merits, which is nice if you're just starting out. Also, you shouldn't just limit yourself to those three. The other Incarnate Trials do get run from time to time, and are often very interesting—especially if you have one of those aforementioned amazingly good leaders at the helm. So, if you see one being announced on LFG, don't be afraid to jump in. The final Trial, Magisterium, does require that your character has their Lore and Destiny slots unlocked, but also offers a higher-than-usual chance of Rare or Very Rare components at the end. FURTHER INCARNATE PROGRESSION However you get components—be it missions, Task Forces, or Trials—the more of them you get, the more quickly you’re going to level up your Incarnate powers. I would strongly recommend saving the Threads and Empyrean Merits you get for leveling against the proverbial rainy day, and scooping as many components as you can from game content instead. Every Rare component you get saves you 8 Empyreans, and every Very Rare saves you 30. And as rarely as those two drop, you’ll have to do a lot of stuff to earn any. After you stop getting Threads as level-up rewards at Vet Level 11, you’re hardly ever going to get so many Threads at once again (save for converting Notices of the Well, at least), and those Empyreans slack off into a trickle as you near Vet Level 99. The farther you can stretch those threads and Merits, the more quickly you can build up all the Incarnate powers you need. Remember, you’re going to have to build Tier 1 through Tier 3 twice for each power before you can build its Tier 4. Another reason to save Empyreans is that, after you finish getting everything you could want to Tier 4, you can convert 50 of them into one Transcendent Merit for easier emailing to your other characters, to give them a head-start on building up their own Incarnate powers. But you have to have at least 50 to make the conversion—otherwise, you’re going to have to compose and send one email for each and every Empyrean you have. CLOSING THOUGHTS I hope that this guide has helped fill in some of the gaps in your Incarnate knowledge, and given you some ideas about how to use this system going forward. If there's anything that's still unclear, please let me know in the comments. If I didn't do a good enough job explaining something, I'll be happy to go back and expand the section to cover it better. Likewise, if I made any factual errors or mistakes, please tell me about those and I'll fix them. And, as previously stated, if you disagree with my opinions about anything, I'd love to have a discussion for the further elucidation of the people who come to read this later. Thanks for reading, and I'll see you in the City of Heroes!
  5. This will be pretty thrown together as I need to do other things tonight, but I felt we could use it right away. Basically, the ideal situation for first time Beta Testing is to backup your existing installation, point the installer at a different location, and cleanup as needed. Backup Tequila: Download New Launcher: Install New Launcher: Alternate Install Location: Launcher Main Screen (Initial Install): Launcher Main Screen (General): Login Management via Browser: Settings Basics: Basics of the File Structure: And that's it basically. Just a down and dirty thing I did, but if I had time I'd probably made it more magical (someone else please do!).
  6. The Good Missions Guide or A heroic journey to 50 without powerleveling The Story is Actually Good Yeah, yeah, I know. It’s easier to powerlevel up to 50, buy IOs and go back through Ouroboros in Flashback missions, but this creates a jumbled storytelling mess. Also, it creates a feeling of character development and your "oh, it's X again" moments become "hey, I remember this! I helped X do Y in Z!" as characters appear and reappear later, giving the whole story a sense of continuity and progression. If you want to experience a version of the story organically and fluidly, here’s a guide to levelling. I’ve tried to cherry pick story arcs that meet the following criteria: Interesting missions (variety of objectives). Missions with unique maps or mechanics. Story flow - introducing characters and ideas that’ll show up again later. Rewards and unlocks, missions with temporary powers (you'll unlock three summons and a very useful resistance buff if you follow along). Things I just think are cool. I do plan on adding to this a bit as there are some points I want to go back to but as it is this will get you to 50 and show you a good time while you get there. Notable omissions are several of the really old story arcs that lack the flair of later arrivals and some "not a story arc BUT" missions (the origin contacts) - I couldn't realistically fit everything in. Also not touched upon are tip or radio missions, although I would say it's worth working through them to unlock your character as a vigilante for a bit more variety (you can cheat with Null the Gull, but the tip missions are all fairly good and so are the alignment shift ones and remember that this is a story guide). I fully admit I've gone for Rule of Cool in a few places, rather than exploring deep lore told only by easily missed contacts. You can still explore that yourself - I encourage it! But that's not what this guide is about. Included below are the names of the contacts, in order, with level bands taken from Paragon Wiki. Suggested Path Tutorial > Atlas Park > The Hollows > Kings Row > Faultline > First Ward & Striga > Night Ward & Croatoa > Peregrine Island > Cimerora & Ritki War Zone There are a few story arcs and task forces along the way that I also suggest, either because they contribute to the overall story or just because I think they're good. A Warning about XP It is very easy to outlevel certain zones and for that reason I recommend you do not use any exp boosts. Other times, you'll get halfway through a zone and not be able to speak to the next contact. Over the course of the game, there was a (near) global XP buff and a reduction in experience debt, so the levelling process is now noticeably quicker than a couple of the early zones were designed for. You’re deliberately taking the scenic route here. The following macro will create a button that will pause and unpause XP gain, allowing you to more easily control your levelling pace. I've indicated in this guide the points at which you should pause your experience gain to get the most from the story - a general rule of thumb is at levels ending in 4 or 9. /macro_image "DayJob_XPBoost" "XP Toggle" "option_toggle noxp" A Note for Kheldian Archetypes Both Peacebringers and Warshades have their own contacts in Sunstorm and Shadowstar respectively, each giving you a unique archetype storyline every five levels, starting at level 5. Each storyline is pretty decent, although they suffer from the slightly monotonous missions that many early game story arcs do. If you pick a Kheldian archetype, follow the story along when it comes up, but be really careful about not outlevelling other contacts while you do it. Levels 1-2: The Tutorials Okay, there really isn’t much here but you do get a couple of enhancements and inspirations for free and a run through of the basics of mission objectives. Outbreak runs you through the basics of your standard door missions. Galaxy City is, in my opinion, less good as a tutorial but more connected to the early story arcs. Your call, really. When you’re finished, you’ll end up in... Atlas Park The temptation here is to skip the early levels by running Death From Below. Do not do this! Believe it or not, the zone actually has a nice little story arc that foreshadows later zones and comes to a decent conclusion. You'll get your levels. Don't fret. There is a good variety to the missions and it really does show you a little bit of everything. All contacts are L1-7. Matthew Habershy > Officer Fields or Sondra Castel > Aaron Thiery Thanks to Roderick and PatientZero for pointing out you can only do one of the middle contacts - both arcs are actually pretty decent, so pick either. They both introduce Aaron Thiery. Next, talk to Twinshot for an *ahem* endearing and light-hearted introduction to some of the further aspects of the game. It’s basically a glorified tour of the introductory areas, but it's not done enormously well. Don't worry - it gets better. The game suggests you go to Kings Row next, and but first I suggest you stop over in a hazard zone. The Hollows A hazard zone is an area that generally has larger spawns, and they generally reflects the game in its very early state where the missions were a bit less distinct and there was a bit more of a focus on the grind, but I think it’d be a shame to miss the Hollows as it has a decent story and unlocks the Cavern of Transcendence trial. Pause your XP gain at level 9 until you have started Flux's arc. David Wincott (5-9) > Flux (5-9) > (see note) >Julius the Troll (10-14) > Talshak the Mystik (12-14) Meg Mason has repeatable non-story missions if you feel like running those. Be careful with the Frostfire mission - you might want help with this one. The level bands are fairly slim, so be very careful about out-levelling them, particularly at the end. Use the no-XP clicky with style and panache. Note: Due to the non-overlapping levels, if you find yourself finished with Flux but not ready for Julius the Troll, now would be a time to go for the Death from Below trial in the sewers with a full team or head over to Kings Row (and come back again). Pause your XP gain at 14 until you have started Talshak the Mystik's arc and Twinshot's arc. Kings Row Start off with the next part of Twinshot’s next Shining Stars story arc as it introduces a few characters and concepts you’ll see again later as well as having a nice little crossover to a the City of Villains equivalent tutorial. It introduces more than a few characters you see later in tip missions and other content, so it's worth doing for the story element - the final chapter is surprisingly good. You won’t stay here long, but it’s certainly worth paying it a visit. Sadly, it looks like this story chain was cut short on a cliffhanger when the game went under, but it’s still well done and worth doing. Shauna Stockwell > Eagle Eye (both 7-20) It’s a short pair of neat arcs ending in a solo mission. Before You Move On Now would be a good time to do Positron 1 and Positron 2, as well as Death From Below, Drowning in Blood and The Cavern of Transcendence if you haven’t already done them. Your goal is to get to to about level 17 or 18 and have a good time doing it. The Positron task forces are very good storytelling and set up the next zone you’ll go to. The trials are all pretty short and sweet with experienced teammates. If you’re still not there, try out the Synapse Task Force. Save your jetpack from the Positron task force if you can - you'll need it much later in the Shadow Shard. Montague Castanella (10-50) in the university in Steel Canyon can provide you access to the exclusive Midnighter Club, which you'll need to be part of much later on. When you're ready, it's time to go to one of my favourite zones. Pause your XP at level 19 until you've started Penelope Yin's Faultline arc. Faultline This zone is, in my opinion, where the "modern" game really begins and we see a clear move from "old" style content. It introduces a number of very important characters to the game's plot, has an interesting and unique map and has a huge variety in the missions it gives you. They are almost all stealthable, which is worth noting. A couple of them are defeat-all missions, but when I did it there were only a handful of enemies so it really won't take long. This zone is excellent. Jim Temblor (15-19) > Penelope Yin (15-19) > Doc Delilah (20-24) > Agent G (20-24) The last mission of this chain will grant you the Ouroboros Portal, which is a handy tool for time-travel and avoiding public transport. Pause your XP at level 24. Before you move on or if you want a break from Fautline, go and speak to Laura Lockheart and then Graham Easton (both 15-24) in Steel Canyon for a couple of memorable story arcs. Graham's arc introduces some enemies who you'll see in L50 content and Laura's arc is just very well written with some unusual moments. The University Now would be a good time to learn to craft some IOs. If you've been careful, you should have a bit of influence saved up by now. Head to the university in the southern end of Steel Canyon and do the short tutorial there by speaking to Admissions Officer Lenk. Now would also be a good time to do the Admiral Sutter Task Force that starts in Independence Port. It's a very story-focussed task force, linking Faultline, Praetoria, RWZ and Incarnate content. Keep your XP paused - 20-24 is busy. Next, there are actually several very good, slightly overlapping zones that I suggest you kind of do in tandem if you're careful. Striga has a storyline that starts off a little slow and ends in one of the cooler early game task forces and is definitely worth doing. First Ward has a very strong story that links to a lot of the later Praetorian content. Because of the contact level ranges, I'd start in Striga, do the first two contacts then head over to First Ward and work through there before finishing off in Striga. Keep your XP gain paused at 24 until you've completed the first two Striga arcs, then pause your XP gain again at level 29 until you've started Skipper LeGrange's arc in Croatoa - levels 20-29 have a lot of good content. First Ward Striga First Ward is a continuation of the Praetorian Going Rogue storyline to some extent, but it's so well done that I genuinely think it would be a shame to miss out. It has memorable characters, cool story interactions and an element of choice that hasn't really been seen up to this point. All contacts for this zone are 20-29 and it starts off by talking to Mistress Eva in Talos. Mistress Eva > The Doorman > Nadia > Palatine > Noble Savage > Katie Douglas > Blind Makwa > Cerulean > Master Midnight > Vanessa DeVore There's the Seed of Hamidon raid boss pootling about in the middle of the zone - you can take it down with eight capable heroes quite easily and it's worth doing. It's done so rarely that getting a team together on the LFG isn't hard. It's a somewhat anticlimactic battle, but you get some badges from it. I think this zone is often overlooked, which is a shame because it ends in a very cool sequence of missions and unlocks a pretty fun task force, as well as giving you a couple of very good temporary powers. The first story arc is arguably a bit boring and generic, but it builds up into something much better. Be very careful with your levels, as always. Stephenie Peebles (20-24) > Long Jack (20-24) > Tobias Hansen (25-29) > Lars Hansen (25-29) You can then do the Ernesto Hess task force as a bit of a glory lap. It's nothing super special, but it has unique maps and is well-paced and enjoyable. There is also the Moonfire task force here, which is part of the Kheldian storyline. Before You Move On If you're a vigilante you should speak to Shauna Braun in Independence Port to check out her new i26 story arc - it really helps progress the idea of your character as operating in shades of grey. Martin Weintraub in Talos Island has the Freaklympics early game story arc, which is pretty neat. It's also work heading over to Ouroboros and speaking to Twilight's Son for his Smoke and Mirrors arc, which was formerly a short task force. It's worth doing just to see the unique scenery, but the story isn't bad either. Then, we can continue on in Praetoria's otherworldly Night Ward and visit the nightmarish magical land of Croatoa. Because of level restrictions, I suggest you start in Croatoa being careful of the level bands, then head over to Night Ward. Pause your XP gain at 34 until you've started Buck Salinger's arc, then pause it at 39. Night Ward Croatoa Carrying on the story from First Ward, we've got the fairly unique zone of Night Ward, full of gaslamp fantasy world-of-the-dead mystery, knights and magic. Start off by talking to Mistress Maria in First Ward for the introduction. All contacts are 30-39. Mistress Maria > Montague Castanella > Ward > Sir Bedwyr > The Magician My only real complaint with Night Ward is that it just sort of stops. A few characters do turn up in later story arcs, though. This somewhat unique zone is, in many ways, similar to Striga. It has a few clunky missions at the start and then when it gets going becomes something fairly memorable with a decent task force unlock and some neat temporary powers. The storyline is good enough and there are some unique maps along the way. Gordon Bower (25-29) > Skipper LeGrange (25-29) > Kelly Nemmers (30>34) > Buck Salinger (30-34). At the end, you'll unlock the Katie Hannon task force, which was historically the quickest task force in the game and has a unique, if slightly unrelenting, first mission. It also has a few giant monsters around, two of which go into battle, which is worth seeing. Before You Move On Now would be an excellent time to stop by Ouroboros and speak to The Pilgrim (25-50) and then Mender Lazarus (30-39) for your introduction to the joys of time-travel and then a short mission chain that has thematic links to Striga and Cimerora. If you're a vigilante you could speak to The Major (35-40) in Brickstown. This mission is unique because it's one of the very, very few where you explicitly don't just "arrest" your enemies. It has some unusual steps and is worth doing, even if I think the whole thing is slightly bad taste. Peregrine Island This is very much the centre of the "old" end game and I consider it something of a right of passage to do the following, as it introduces a lot of archvillains that you'll see again later. Most of this was designed as team content, so now would be a good time to open things up on the LFG if you haven't already been doing so. You can relax on the levelling here, as apart from Tina Macintyre, there's nothing in this guide that you can outlevel any more. Tina Macintyre (40-44) The Anti-Matter Collision / The Instant Army Unai Kemen (45-50) To Save a Thousand Worlds Maria Jenkins (45-50) A Hero's Epic They'll help you get closer to the Portal Jockey accolade, which gives you a very nice permanent boost to health and endurance. Before You Move On Quickly head back to Croatoa and speak to Percy Winkley (30-50) at the University there for a small series of missions that give you some background lore about the world you're in. Now would also be a good time to head over to Atlas Park and talk to the City Representative (20/30-50) in city hall. She has two story arcs that were originally tied to costume unlocks, but they also have some background to later storylines. The Last Stretch Still with me? Glad to hear it. Next up, I'm sending you to two more very well-crafted zones, both with the very relaxed level range. Cimerora is accessed by going through the back door of the Midnighter Mansion accessed through Steel Canyon, Croatoa, or Founders' Falls and touching the crystal in the centre of the hallway. The Ritki War Zone can be accessed by going into one of the Vanguard bases and taking the portal. At this point, you can safely remove the XP pause button entirely; it has served its purpose and we thank it for its service. Most lower level content can still be accessed through the Flashback system in Ouroboros, and the small amount that can't can be got at through teaming with a lowbie. Cimerora Ritki War Zone This zone is notable for just being so stylistically unique and making good use of time travel as a plot device, as well as harking back to some Kheldian lore. As you go in, talk to the Midnighter standing in front of you for further instruction. Personally, I think the story progression is a bit messy, but it's still worth doing if only because the task force is so good. All contacts are L35-50. Midnighter > Senator Decimus Aquila > Marcus Valerius Additionally, there is a Hero-specific contact named Daedelus (40-50) with some missions that send you back to Paragon City and this zone ends with the glorious Imperius task force. I really like the storytelling in this zone. There's a good sense of progression and you meet up with a few characters we met earlier. Levantera (35-50) > Serpent Drummer (40-50) > Gaussian (45-50) > The Dark Watcher (45-50) There are a few task forces here, but for now give the Lady Grey task force a try as it most closely follows the storyline. Your glory lap here is unquestionably the Ritki Mothership Raid. Look for it on the LFG, head on over and join a league. Range and AoE attacks will help you, but if you don't know what you're doing then watch for instructions, follow the crowd and keep spamming those AoE attacks. Nearly there Either the Imperious task force or the Mothership raid should help you get the last few levels out as you approach 50 and they basically hold you down and breathe XP in your face, and are both absolutely worth doing at least once. Now would be a good time to revisit missed task forces and trials and follow up any contacts you might have missed. The Signature Story Arc Who Will Die? is worth doing now, if you want some story-centric content. It happens chronologically before some of the in-game stuff we've covered, so I've sort of left it out for that reason until now. Use Paragon Wiki to help you do them in the right order as it's not very obvious in-game if you're not using the Flashback system, but it's run like a series of solo-friendly story task forces so you might as well do it through Ouroboros as it requires time-travel to make sense if you're being a purist. Task Forces and Trials At this stage, you can access all non-incarnate task forces and trials. Most are pretty popular, although one or two are avoided for being too much of a slog. They're all worth doing, though. The Freedom Phalanx Task Forces Completing these will give you the Task Force Commander accolade. They vary between old-skool grindfests and newly refurbished storytelling episodes. Positron 1 & 2 (10/11-15/16) Rule of Three & Dam Hero - good storytelling with a free jetpack Synapse (15-20) Fall of the Clockwork King - a bit repetitive with a stronger ending Penelope Yin (20-25) A Clamor for the People - short and sweet Citadel (25-30) Citadel's Children - a bit grindy and repetitive Manticore (30-35) Following Countess Crey - a bit travel-heavy but there's a memorable battle at the end Numina (35-40) Soul of the Woodsman - use a guide for this one as there are 16 (fairly easy) hunt missions in a row that work best when your whole team is spread out over the relevant zones The Shadow Shard The four Shadow Shard task forces are, to put it mildly, a thankless grind through repetitive missions with enemies that debuff defence hard and often resist control effects, ending in a moderately cool final battle after hours and hours and hours and I think they're great. For crying out loud, don't do them more that once, but they're a true right of passage for any high level character. They involve a huge amount of travel, which is nightmarish for non-fliers or teleporters. If you can, grab the mission teleporters from the P2W vendor and coordinate who uses them, as well as the Ouroborous portal and maybe a jetpack temporary power. The scenery, however, is amazing. They sort of form one giant task force, and they suffer "a little bit" from pacing issues. Find a friendly group you can have a laugh with, put on some music and just surrender yourself to the grind. Dr. Quarterfield (40-44) > Sara Moore (40-50) > Justin Augustine (44-50) > Faathim the Kind (44-50) The Best of the Rest I'm not going to list all of them - use Paragon Wiki or the LFG for that, but here are the ones I think are especially worth doing: Moonfire (23-28) The Kheldian War - nothing too special about this one, but it links to later content in Dark Astoria, Ouroboros and Cimerora meaning the lore in those areas won't entirely drop on you out of nowhere. Katie Hannon (30-24) A Tangled Plot - Croatoa is a strange zone with unique enemies and a unique task force. The first mission is a bossfight marathon and the rest are a short tour of unique and unusual maps. Imperius (35-50) Time's Arrow - excellently paced and fairly varied in its objectives, this task force is a cathartic end to the Cimerora arc with some awesome set pieces and basically the best task force for hitting 50 quickly. Dr Khan (45-50) Return of the Reichsman - a decent task force with an interesting final battle with unique mechanics. Lady Grey (45-50) - the final chapter of the excellent Ritki War Zone arcs and worth doing for the lore and the gameplay. Ms Liberty (45-50) - often considered the most difficult task force in the game due to the final mission - started in Independence Port, not Atlas Park! Trials Trials are kind of short task forces and all are worth doing at least once. They vary between "that was it?" and genuine challenge, even for end-game built players. Death From Below is infamous for helping new characters get a few levels done nice and quickly at the start and therefore not realising that Atlas Park even has story arcs. Drowning in Blood is mechanically a bit more interesting and has a nice change of scenery if you're used to Paragon City. The three Terra Volta trials are the old blueside respec trials and are worth doing. The Abandoned Sewers Trial is surprisingly difficult with a unique vertical map, requiring more team coordination than you might expect at first glance. Eden is unique in its layout and the Cavern of Transcendence was, in my opinion, slightly ruined by the decision to make it soloable meaning one of the most challenging elements has been trivialised. What's next? Well, it's time for some incarnate-level content, but that's outside of the remit of this guide. Any comments, let me know! I'm a big fan of missions and story arcs and think there's a lot of really great content there that goes almost unplayed due to the "must get moar levelz" mentality, which is fine but not for me. Thanks!
  7. More than just a Ninja - A Guide to Stalkers Index Introduction AT Powers inherent to Stalkers Primaries Secondaries Basic slotting Combat, Tricks Beginer Nin/Nin Build The ATO Synergy Advanced slotting Incarnates Advanced Nin/Nin Build Introduction Hello all, i have played a Stalker back in the day and was thrilled to play one here on homecoming. I mostly played on redside only before the ATs and alingnments allowed everyone to switch side and go rogue. Stalkers used to be good in PvP and bad on allmost everything else. After the introduction of the Bane i felt like the Stalkers are obsolete now. Maybe a lot of people think the same. because i have the impression that scrappers and blasters are regarded as the Damage gods and no one speaks about Stalkers anymore. Well i can asure you, that Stalkers are the real Damage gods and that is thanks to the Stalker revamp in issue 22. A lot of people have missed it like me. I was really surprised by the new System off Assassin's Focus. It is amazing how well a Stalker is doing in issue 25. Now what made me sit down and write this guide was the fact, that a lot of people in this forum seem to ask the same questions or just go on to create a Ninja/Ninja Stalker, don't get the AT and just quit like: “A Stalker? Yeah i made me a Ninja, too.“ But Stalkers can be so much more... Before we go into real stuff now let me clarify that i am writing this guide on my personel experience and this is my opinion. If you don't agree with me, that is totally fine. If i did something fundamentally wrong i will be glad to learn something new. Also i used Paragon Wiki for a lot of the informations, it was and still is one of the best sources of information for this game.
  8. A REWARD MERIT VENDOR PRIMER or HOW TO WIN ON THE MERITS Sometimes it looks like an ATM; sometimes it looks like a person. But either way, the Reward Merit Vendor always sells the same things. A few of them are good deals, or are necessary for transferring large amounts of particular kinds of merits from one character to another. But the vast majority of things that the Reward Merit Vendor sells (Recipes, Enhancements, etc.) are actually not good deals, and you should definitely leave alone. In this guide, I will tell you what everything is, and why you usually shouldn't buy it. You see, most things on the Reward Merit vendor actually aren't intended to be good deals. They're intended to provide a price ceiling on sales of those things in the Auction House. If the prices in the Auction House should ever become ridiculously high, the Reward Merit Vendor provides an alternate way people can get those items. But the AH prices would have to be ridiculously high for the Reward Merit Vendor listing to be a good deal. DISCLAIMER: As with any guide that quotes current market prices, the accuracy of this guide is subject to change should market conditions dramatically change. Always verify current prices on the market before you follow any advice from a marketing guide. CONVERTING MERITS TO INF WITH ENHANCEMENT CONVERTERS OR BOOSTERS As I'll explain shortly, you can convert Inf(luence/amy/ormation) to Reward Merits just by turning in a million Inf to get one Reward Merit. (Or you can do it 10 at a time.) But the only way to turn Reward Merits into cash is by buying something with Reward Merits that you can sell in the Auction House. Exactly what will get you the most Inf for Merits can vary depending on current going rates, but it's nearly always going to be Enhancement Converters or Enhancement Boosters. (Other potential candidates can include Enhancement Catalysts or Unslotters, so you might want to check the current AH prices for those as well and do a little bit of division to work out what the most Inf per merit is. But you won't usually go wrong with Converters or Boosters.) Converters are nearly always in high demand (because they're crucial to a particular method of earning Inf quickly), so you can list them for 1 Inf each to take the current high bid, and usually get a good chunk of money fast. Likewise, Enhancement Boosters are in high demand because it takes 25 to 30 of them to boost a single Enhancement set out to +5, and some people will boost every Enhancement they slot rather than Attuning. Converters can get as cheap as 70,000 Inf or as high as 100,000 Inf (or more) each, but they're usually going to go for 80,000 to 90,000 (at least as of the time this guide was written). Enhancement Boosters fluctuate more widely, between 1 and 2 million many times. So, let's do a little math. Say that you bought 3 Converters for 1 Merit, listed them on the market for 1 Inf to make an instant sale, and they sold for 80,000 Inf each. That works out to 240,000 Inf, or 216,000 Inf after the market takes its 10% cut. If they sold for 90,000, that would be 270,000 Inf, or 243,000 after fees. Multiply that by 100 (as most Recipes and Enhancements cost 100 Reward Merits each), and you get 21.6 to 24.3 million. Say that you bought an Enhancement Booster for 5 Merits and placed it on the Auction House for 1 Inf to make an instant sale, and it sold for 1,000,000 Inf. That works out to 200,000 Inf per Merit, or 180,000 after the market's 10% cut. I just tried selling a few Boosters for 1 Inf myself and they sold for about 1.25 million Inf each—225,000 Inf per Merit, or 22.5 million per 100 Merits. It seems unlikely that you'd get as high as 2 million Inf unless you set your asking price higher and waited for demand to go up—which you could certainly do if you weren't in a hurry for the money. But if you are in a hurry, 1 to 1.25 million per Booster listed for 1 Inf is still a decent rate of return considering that you only have to sell 1/15 as many items as if you were doing Converters. (Now, you could list the Converters or Boosters for a higher price than 1 Inf, to make sure you get at least 90,000 Inf per Converter, or at least 1.5 million Inf per Booster, for example—but due to the way the Auction House works, everyone who priced theirs lower than you will get to sell theirs first. The price probably will rise high enough that yours will sell eventually, but if you're in a hurry you might not want to wait that long. And that's another reason I suggest going with high-volume items like Converters or Boosters—so many people want them that you're still going to get a quite decent rate of return on a listed-for-1-Inf instant sale, rather than encountering a lowball bid that gives you much less than you'd expect. That being said, if you do have plenty of time—you're going to be spending all day at work or school, or will be away for the weekend, or whatever—it might not hurt to try placing a few higher-priced sale listings and see how many of them move by the time you get back.) UPDATE: In a comment below, @seebs points out that there's actually another lucrative Merits-to-Inf conversion option, at least in certain circumstances: certain Uncommon recipes. If you spend 20 Merits on a level 10 Steadfast Protection Resistance/Defense IO and craft it for a few thousand Inf, it could sell for around 6 million Inf (5,400,000 Inf after the auctionhouse fee). That works out to 270,000 Inf per Merit, which beats out Converters and Boosters—though you may need to wait a while for the Enhancements to sell, whereas with Converters or Boosters you can get the money immediately. So, as a rule of thumb, you should only pay 100 Reward Merits for a Recipe or Enhancement from the Reward Merit Vendor if the price for that particular Recipe or Enhancement is over 22 million on the Auction House. (Which it nearly never is. Most ATO Enhancements tend to go for 7 to 10 million Inf each, for example. But there are a few exceptions, which I'll cover as we get to them.) If the thing is significantly cheaper than 22 million, then it would be a better deal to turn Reward Merits into Inf by selling Converters or Boosters, and buy the thing with the Inf you get instead. (Unless, of course, that thing isn't actually available on the Auction House, in which case getting it for Merits is going to be the only way to get it quickly at all.) ADDRESSING OBJECTIONS Now, some people may complain that they don't want to have to go through the inconvenience of selling 100 Merits' worth of Converters—but honestly, it's not really all that hard, or time-consuming. You just drag the Converters from your Salvage window into the Auction House, choose "10" when it asks how many you want—then the "10" will be autofilled from then on, so you just need to drag, drop, and click 29 more times. Then you can go to the first stored batch of Converters, fill in "1" for the amount, and then just click on "Post" on the top row repeatedly until all the rows are gone. It's a little repetitive, maybe, but I bet it won't even take you one whole minute to do. And they should sell instantly at that price, so then it's just a matter of clicking "Get All Inf" to pull down the cash. Plus, if you're just buying one ATO, you don't even have to sell all 100 Merits' worth. Maybe you just sell 40 or 50 Merits' worth, that should get you more than enough cash for a single ATO. And, of course, Boosters represent another comparable Merits-to-Inf conversion mechanism that will land you about the same amount of Inf per Merit but with considerably less clicking and dragging involved. My one caveat is that Booster prices may be a little more prone to fluctuation than those of Converters, just because they don't move at quite the same volume of sales. Thus, I still recommend Converters as the most consistently reliable way to get a good Inf return for your Merit investment. You see, Converters are in such high supply (from folks converting Merits to Inf, or selling off Super Pack contents for profit) and high demand (from folks converting Uncommon Enhancements into Rare Enhancements to turn a profit, as explained in the guide linked above) that their prices are generally stable. They tend to fluctuate within a 20,000-Inf range, but rarely go below that range. (I have standing bids for Enhancement Converters at 70,000 Inf on some of my characters, and they go days or even weeks between any of them coming in. The price just doesn't fall that far that often.) This means that you can list your Enhancement Converters at 1 Inf each for a quick sale and still be practically certain you'll get about the same amount of Inf as the previous listings in the sale history, without falling victim to a lowball bid. (There are no 100% certainties in the market, but this one's pretty close.) Enhancement Boosters are more likely to have lowball bids, but even their lowball bids are generally still a decent amount of Inf per Merit. In the interest of full disclosure, I'll admit that I don't usually actually sell most of the Converters that I buy for Merits, because I make enough money through using them to convert Enhancements that I don't have to. (Though given how many clicks it can take to get a profitable conversion, I may not be that much better off than Converter sellers in that respect.) But apart from Converters and Boosters, the other types of special salvage just aren't in as high a demand, and you can't be as sure there isn't a lowball bid lurking out there that would give you a lot less Inf per Merit than you expect if you list low for a quick sale—and if you list at a higher price for a better profit, who knows how long it will take before that sale comes in? As I already said, it would be a good idea to check the current market going rates for the various different types of special salvage and do the division to see which option is likely to offer a better deal at any given time. You might even try listing one of each type of Salvage at 1 Inf to see how much the current highest low bid is, and work your math on those figures, before you decide which one to start buying and selling in bulk at any given time. As I point out in the disclaimer above, the accuracy of this information is subject to change if market conditions change, so always verify current prices on the Auction House before you risk any Inf or Merits. REWARD MERIT VENDOR CATEGORIES Now I'm going to list off all the categories you'll find in the Reward Merit Vendor, and what's under each one. Note that what categories you see in the store depends on your level; level 1 characters only get the Conversion and Salvage lists. Note that above the categories, there is a slider that goes from level 1 to level 50. Some options aren't available above or below certain levels, so if there's a particular level of item you need, you'll have to slide the slider to the right place for it. INF. TO REWARD MERITS As mentioned above, you can turn 1 million Inf into 1 Reward Merit, or 10 million into 10 Reward Merits. However, this is a bad deal, because the most you could get for turning that Merit back into Inf is around 250,000 Inf. So you're losing 75% of your Inf's value right there. There's nothing you can get with Reward Merits that you couldn't get more cheaply with Inf instead, particularly at that exchange rate—so it's better to let your Inf stay Inf. If you're about to hit the 2 billion per character Inf cap, then just email some of it to an alt, or stick it in Auction House bids for items that will never come in, like level 53 Hami-Os. Converting it to Merits is a losing proposition. VANGUARD TO REWARD MERITS This is used for converting the Vanguard Merits you get from Rikti Mothership Raids (and, less frequently, defeating individual Rikti) into Reward Merits. The conversion rate is 30 Vanguard Merits to 1 Reward Merit (or you can do 300 Vanguard to 10 Reward, also). The conversion rate used to be 10:1, but that was a relic of the days when the codebase was used to run a private, much lower-population server, where it wasn't as easy to get Mothership Raids together. Even at 30:1, a MSR is still a better Reward Merit per minute return than many Task or Strike Forces–the 900 to 1200 Vanguard Merits you'll get from a just-over-half-hour Mothership Raid will convert into 30 to 40 Reward Merits. So this conversion isn't actually a bad deal. That being said, there are a lot of nifty things you can buy with plain old Vanguard Merits at the special Vanguard crafting tables, such as the Gr'ai Matter Shard-based component if you're working on your Incarnate Alpha. And you can convert them to Reward Merits any time you need to, but you can't convert Reward Merits back to Vanguard Merits again. So, unless you're in an immediate Reward Merit crunch, you might as well let them stay Vanguard Merits until you need to change them (unless you're approaching the 10,000 Vanguard Merit cap, of course). ASTRAL/EMPYREAN TO REWARD MERITS This option will let you change the Astral or Empyrean Merits you get from doing Incarnate content into Reward Merits, at a rate of 2 Reward Merits per Astral or 10 per Empyrean. (Since you can convert 5 Astral Merits to 1 Empyrean Merit via Luna on Ouroboros, this means the exchange rate stays consistent between the two.) The thing is, that's not necessarily a good idea. There's no way to convert Reward merits back to Astral or Empyrean Merits. Also, while Reward Merits are easy to come by, Astrals and Empyreans are considerably harder. Once you convert those Incarnate Merits away, you can't get them back again—but if you've already bought all your Incarnate powers, you can email the unneeded Empyrean Merits to your other characters, with the help of another conversion option a little further down this menu. That's a much better use for leftover Astral or Empyrean Merits that you no longer need. REWARD TO HERO/VILLAIN MERITS, AND VICE VERSA The email system City of Heroes uses has the annoying limitation that if you want to email items to different characters or people, you have to do it one at a time. Which includes Reward Merits. Emailing dozens of Reward Merits one Merit at a time could drive you nuts, but fortunately you don't have to. You can convert 50 Reward Merits into 1 Hero or Villain Merit, then email that Hero or Villain Merit to your global so you can claim it from an alt. You'll still have to send multiple emails if you're wanting to move hundreds of Merits—but at least you won't have to send hundreds of emails. (If you want to move fewer than 50 Merits, and earning enough to hit 50 isn't an option, you can always convert them into Inf by selling Converters or Boosters, and then email that instead.) Incidentally, it doesn't matter whether you use Hero or Villain Merits. Anyone of any alignment can claim and convert either kind back. However, you can only send them to your own global, not to anyone else's. (On the live version of the game, Hero and Villain Merits used to be the rewards for doing Alignment Missions, and had their own Merit Vendors. But that all went by the wayside when SCORE simplified everything down.) EMPYREAN TO TRANSCENDENT MERITS, AND VICE VERSA This is that option I was mentioning for sending your spare Empyrean Merits to other characters a couple of sections back. Just as with the Reward to Hero/Villain Merits conversion, you can convert 50 Empyrean Merits to 1 Transcendent Merit, which you can then mail to your global for another alt to claim and convert back. (As with Hero/Villain Merits, you can only send them to your own global.) ENHANCEMENTS The next category of purchases from the Merit Vendor is Enhancements. ARCHETYPE ORIGIN ENHANCEMENTS These are the Enhancements that come in the Heroes and Villains or Vigilantes and Rogues Super Packs available for 10 million Inf each under Special Salvage in the Auction House. They're all available for 100 Reward Merits each. As noted above, that's usually a terrible deal, because their going rate on the Auction House is less than half the Inf you'd get from selling 100 Merits' worth of Enhancement Converters. The only time I'd buy an ATO for Merits would be if I needed a specific one to complete a set and there weren't many for sale—and even then, it would be cheaper to buy another of the set that was more common and use Converters to convert in-set until I got the one I wanted. (Or even buy a random Super Pack and convert the Enhancement in that across archetypes then archetype sets until i got the one I wanted.) Of course, that only tells half the story. Many times, the ATO you want simply can't be had on the market at all, even to the point of no Enhancements in the entire set being available. That's one circumstance where it wouldn't be such a bad idea to buy it with Reward Merits if you need to—but if you don't mind a little tedium, you can still get those ATOs more cheaply in Inf than the equivalent cost in Merits. If you have the money (or can convert Reward Merits into the money), take 10 Million Inf and buy a Heroes and Villains or Vigilantes and Rogues Super Pack, from the Salvage -> Special category of the Auction House. You'll probably get at least 1 random ATO in it. (Or you might get two, or you might get none. If you get none, you'll just have to try again.) If the ATO is of the set you want, you got lucky. If not, use Enhancement Converters to convert by Rarity: Archetype Enhancement, until you get one of the two sets of the Archetype you want. (You've got 1 in 12.5 odds.) If the one you get is in the set you want, great. If not, convert one more time by Type: (whatever the Archetype you're going for is), and it will automatically turn into an Enhancement from the other ATO set for that Archetype. Then you can convert within the set until you get the exact one you want. (If you happen to hit upon one of the two Brute ATO sets along the way, though, you'd be better served to sell that and start over with a new Super Pack. The Brute sets tend to sell for so much that it would practically be throwing money away not to cash them in.) As long as you didn't have to spend more than 150 Converters all in all, you still saved money over the Merit cost. Yes, that could be tedious and fiddly. But on the other hand, if you enjoy pumping quarters into a slot machine and pulling the lever until you get a good result, you might discover this is that very same kind of fun—and doesn't cost you any quarters. EVENT ENHANCEMENTS This is where you can get the Hold, Melee, PBAoE, Ranged, and Targeted AoE sets that come out of the 25 million Inf Lords of Winter Super Pack, as well as the Overwhelming Force Universal Damage set from Summer Blockbuster. They're all priced at the same 100 Merits each. Overwhelming Force is another terrible deal, as it generally goes for 6 to 8 million Inf per Enhancement on the AH, but the Winter sets are a rare case where buying them for Reward Merits actually might not be a bad deal. Most of the Winter set IOs are priced above 20 million Inf on the Auction House, since the Super Packs they come from are too. So, if you're slotting something out with a Winter IO set, it might be less hassle to buy them for Reward Merits than to try to get them for cash. (Especially if there aren't many of them even available on the Auction House at the time.) You might lose a little value, but probably not enough to worry about. That said, you might still be better off to convert those Reward Merits to Inf, or use any Inf you already have on hand, to buy Winter Super Packs instead. Buy as many Super Packs as you need Winter Enhancements, then Convert any Winter Enhancement that isn't the set you want until it is the set you want. There are so few Winter Enhancement sets that it won't take too many conversions to get there, plus you'll get all the other stuff that came in those Super Packs for "free". SINGLE ORIGIN ENHANCEMENTS This option will let you buy any regular Single Origin Enhancement for 1 Reward Merit each. They're only available starting from level 20; if you move the slider below that, the option disappears. I suppose if you want to get your hands on them fast, without having to travel to a store, the convenience is worth something—but in a store, individual SOs are a lot cheaper than the 200,000+ Inf you'd get from selling one Merit's worth of Converters. And, of course, level 20 is 5 levels earlier than SOs are available in stores—so if you're level 17 and want to tide yourself over until you can start using IOs, that might be worth 1 Merit per SO to you. RECIPE Here you can buy Recipes for various types of craftable Enhancements for Reward Merits (though, generally, you shouldn't). Whether you buy them with Merits or not, remember that these are just the recipes, not the finished Enhancements. You're going to have additional costs of salvage and crafting to to take into account to get an Enhancement out of them. In the case of purple recipes, that could run to 2 million Inf per IO. IO SET These are the standard yellow and orange Invention Set Recipes that drop from adventuring or can be found in the Auction House. They are available only within the level ranges of the set in question—so if you want to buy a Kinetic Combat Recipe, for example, you'll need to move the level slider back down to 40. Orange Recipes are 50 Merits each; yellow Recipes are 20 Merits each. At first glance, it seems the price has to be ridiculously high on the Auction House for it to be a better bargain to buy for Merits. How many yellow Recipes regularly sell for 5 million Inf, and how many orange sell for 12 million Inf? But then again, as I noted above, certain yellow Recipes actually might be worth buying, if the crafted Enhancement sells for over 5 million Inf. For example, level 10 Steadfast Protection Resistance/Defense IOs cost very little to build, but were selling for around 6 million Inf as of the time I updated this guide with that suggestion. So, take a look at the auction house and see if any other Uncommon IOs are selling for enough to make snagging them worthwhile. (If any crafted orange Enhancements are going for over 12 million, they could also be a good deal—but this seems unlikely, given that the most expensive ordinary Rares tend to top out at around 7 to 8 million. Plus, they'll cost a lot more to craft, requiring Rare salvage as they do.) PVP IO SET These are the sets that used to drop only during PVP but can now be found in PVE content as well. Weirdly, these sets are orange on the Auction House, but show up as purple in the Merit Vendor. But whatever the reason for the color change, these are available at whatever level you can move the slider to, starting at level 10. Remember that PVP set bonuses will apply through the entire level range they're available without needing to be Attuned—so if you buy them at 50, don't Attune them. If you slot them when you're lower than 50 and Attune them so they will level up with you, when you get to 50 you'll want to unslot and sell them, then re-buy un-Attuned ones you can plus up. And I'm probably sounding like a broken record here, but again, these are way overpriced in Merits compared to their Inf cost on the Auction House. PVP recipes might get as high as 12 to 15 million Inf, but they don't usually reach the 22 million required for 100 merits to be a better deal. STANDARD INVENTION ENHANCEMENTS These are the very same recipes you can buy from your workbench, if you haven't memorized them yet. No matter what level you buy, 10 to 50, each recipe always costs 5 Reward Merits. And, again: buying these is not a good value for the Merits. From a workbench, a level 50 Common Damage IO recipe costs 464,000 Inf. 5 Reward Merits' worth of Converters would net you over 1 million Inf, even after AH fees. And the lower level and cheaper a recipe is, the worse the deal it is. Would you pay 5 Merits for a level 10 Damage IO recipe that you could buy for 1,700 Inf? I don't think so. And the recipes are usually even cheaper on the Auction House. VERY RARE IO SET These are your purple sets, only available at level 50. Like the PVP sets, these keep their set bonuses all the way down without having to be Attuned, so be sure to Boost the Enhancements after you craft them instead. Like the Winter Enhancements, these might be worth buying for Merits. Some of the more popular ones, like Hecatomb, do have Recipe prices 20 million Inf and up on the Auction House, which means that any extra amount you'd be paying in Merits probably isn't enough to worry over. But others, like Coercive Persuasion, only cost half that. Sometimes you might even be able to buy the crafted Enhancement for less in Inf than the Recipe would cost in equivalent Merits. However, bear in mind that the Auction House sale history can be deceptive in items with that low a sales volume. Often, it will only show the times someone popped a recipe up with a low asking price and the highest lowball bid got it, and you'll find out if you place your own bids and creep up by millions that there are not currently any recipes available near those prices. (If you know well before level 50 that you're going to slot a particular purple set, and you have the cash on hand, you'd be best served to place a few high lowball bids of your own and see how many of them you can win by the time you're 50 and able to slot them.) Remember the rule of thumb: if something costs very much less than 22 million Inf, it's a better deal to buy it with Inf instead. So, check the prices on the Auction House—and even try placing a few test bids, if you have the cash on hand—before you decide to spend your Merits this way. If the particular purple Recipe or Enhancement that you want can't be had for love or Influence, you might think that buying the recipe with Reward Merits is not a bad deal. 100 Merits is cheaper than not being able to get it at all. And that is true. However, there's one more thing you should try first: find some purple Recipe or Enhancement that is still available. It doesn't matter what set it's in. Buy and craft that Recipe or Enhancement, then stock up on Enhancement converters and convert it until it becomes the specific purple set and Enhancement you want. (For more details on how conversion works, see this other guide of mine.) There are few enough purple sets that it won't take very long to get to the right set, and you'll probably still end up spending less in Inf for the recipe and converters than 100 Reward Merits would convert to. REWARD ROLLS In this section, you can spend Merits to roll random items. For 1 Merit, you can get a random large Inspiration. (Bearing in mind that you're spending 250,000 Inf worth of Merits on that random Inspiration, and you can probably buy the specific one you want from the Auction House for much less than that.) For 5 Merits, you can get a random rare Salvage of various types or level ranges (spending over 1 million Inf worth of Merits on something that will only sell for around 450,000 to 600,000 Inf in the market). Or for 10 Merits, you can get a random rare Recipe at various level ranges—bearing in mind that you're spending 2.5 million Inf worth of Merits on something that will probably only be worth a few hundred or thousand Inf on the Auction House. Seriously, what is the point of this? SALVAGE In this section, you can buy Enhancement Boosters, Enhancement Catalysts, Enhancement Converters, and Enhancement Unslotters. Given that all of these items are so inexpensive individually, prices fluctuate; they may or may not be a good deal at any given moment, but they're so cheap that it's usually not worth worrying about it. If you need a bunch of Enhancement Boosters, and you have the Merits to spare, you might as well go for it. (Also, remember that the only thing you should be buying Catalysts for in any case is turning ATOs into their Superior versions; using them to Attune ordinary Enhancements is a waste of money when you could simply sell the un-Attuned Enhancement and buy the Attuned version from the Auction House for the same price.) Enhancement Converters and Enhancement Boosters are, as I've noted, usually the thing that selling gives you the most Inf per Merit. That being the case, they're the only two items in the store that I can unreservedly recommend purchasing with Merits. Since they're what you would use to turn Merits into Inf, then by definition you can't get a better Merit-to-Inf deal. BUT WHY CAN'T I WASTE MY MONEY? Actually, you can. If you have a compelling need for some item, and don't want to mess with selling Converters or Boosters or waiting for an AH bid to come in, you are certainly free to ignore my advice and spend the Merits. They're your Merits; you earned them. Do whatever you want with them. There are some times when convenience may outweigh wanting to fiddle around for several minutes in the name of saving a little value here and there—especially if what you're after can't be had on the Auction House right now. But if you're going to do that, you should do it in full awareness that this isn't the cheapest way to get the stuff you want, and you're consciously making the decision to spend more than if you bought in Inf—not just doing it because you didn't know any better. I hope you'll find this guide helpful in navigating the various options available in the Reward Merit Vendor stores, and in deciding exactly how those Merits can be best spent. If you have any questions or comments, please let me know in the replies below!
  9. Remember the glory days? You know..... Pre-aggro cap burn, no diminishing returns, original Energy Transfer (RIP... D:) What if I told you they never left? What if I told you that you can RE-LIVE those glorious times RIGHT NOW! All you have to do is believe a madman like me. Now, lets dive into why you should stop EVERYTHING you are doing, read this super informative and fact based thread, and then make a Fire/Energy Tank. Energy Melee & You® Why? - BECAUSE IT'S F*%$@ng Energy Melee! That's why! What about that cRuNcH you all KNOW you love? What about being able to file your taxes, meditate AND make your coffee in between attacks? Energy Melee offers all that and more! All silliness aside, let's dive into why Fire/Energy might be the most fun you've ever had as a Tank and why this classic deserves to be taken out for a ride. Let's go over the powers quick. Barrage - Standard T1 here except this T1 deals respectable damage and has a slower recharge for better proc rates if you're into that kinky stuff. Has the one-two punch and cRuNcH animation that feels great and overall a better pick than Energy Punch. Energy Punch - Nope. Don't take this power. You don't need it even for low level TFs and that is the only reason you would want it. Save the power pick for something more beneficial. Bone Smasher - What's not to like about smashing bones? More of that cRuNcH we all NEED and added job security for all the real heroes out there (shout out to all the medical personnel out there saving lives in RL!) You will frequently use this power at all levels and stages of your build, sort of a Swiss Army Knife power, take it and slot it. Proc it out? Just make sure you're smashing bones. Taunt - Even someone as delusional and mad as me laughs at any 'tAnKeR' who doesn't take Taunt! People tend to overlook this, but this power is useful for pulling villains off an ally who find themselves in over their head. The power description says to use this power cautiously but f*%# that. TAUNT THEM, TAUNT THEM ALL. Whirling Hands - Okay, can we all agree that the name of this power is the only thing that really needs to be looked at in Energy Melee? I'm going to say two things and it's going to confuse you. This power sucks and is a must have. Low level this power is incredible. I was running Posi 1 all the way to Numina's during a TF Commander Marathon and had a lot of success with this power. Build Up + Gauss BU Proc + Fiery Embrace make Burn + Whirling Hands (or any PBAoE lets be honest lol) do tremendous damage. Just take it. Stop asking questions. NEXT POWER. Stun - I'm not here to argue semantics, okay? Leave me alone. Don't take this power. NEXT. Build Up - This power is great and I'll explain in great detail why. Do more damage. Energy Transfer - The Holy Grail of Tanker attacks. Laugh maniacally as bullets and Infernos glance off you and enemies scream in terror as they see you charging up your attack. Demoralize them as they fail to damage you only to realize that YOUR attacks do more damage to YOU than they do. Maximum cRuNcH and insane damage when fully buffed by Build Up and Fiery Embrace. Total Focus - Total. Focus. TOTAL. I actually finished this thread about halfway through it's animation! That's the really great thing about Energy Melee, it gives you time to really do what YOU want to do. This things hits like a truck and you look hella fly while doing it! This rounds out your cRuNcH attack chain. Some of you may have noticed I haven't talked about the stunning aspect of Energy Melee. So let's talk about that. Energy Melee stuns. The end. It's all about the cRuNcH. Fiery Aura& You® Why? - Channel your inner pyromaniac, BURN ALL THE BABIES, ANARCHY! You are cloaked in FIRE. The visuals are stunning, the damage is amazing and the knock back infuriating. You want to be a part of this club, you WILL be a part of this club. Let's look at the powers. Blazing Aura - Name a better way to social distance. I'll wait. You literally radiate flames and burn everything around you, constantly. Free damage and a great place to put the +res proc from the Tanker ATO set. Also a great place to put the Winter ATO set too for added melee defense and a chance to knock down your enemies. Fire Shield - They say the best offense is a great defense. That's why you want to be on FIRE. Fire Shield grants you decent resistance to Smash/Lethal/Fire and slight resistance to Cold damage, as well as protection from disorient effects. Healing Flames - You can concentrate for a few moments to heal yourself, and since you are Totally Focused all the time this power will heal even more. Temperature Protection - Some people skip this and I think they are silly. Great place to put Psi resist IOs, +def IOs, KB IOs and grants you slow resistance. I normally take this at level 49. Consume - If you can find the slots to give this power love, do it. Consume really helps with endurance while leveling and even in some instances where you get drained. Plasma Shield - Not really much to say here, Plasma Shield gives you some solid resistance to Energy/Negative Energy and protection from Holds and Sleep. Take it and marvel in the beauty that is You. Burn - The moment we have all been waiting for.... We are nearing the end of this abomination of a guide. This power is amazing and absolutely essential in BURNING ALL THE BABIES. Take it and unleash your inner pyromaniac. Fiery Embrace - Fiery Embrace... old buddy old pal. I love this power, especially on Energy Melee. Total Focus and Energy Transfer have such huge base damage, and since the bonus fire damage is directly related to your base damage... Oh yeah. Wrap your fists in Energy and embrace them in Fire and watch your foes melt away before you! Rise of the Phoenix - Not a bad power, if dying as a Tank is your thing (and it shouldn't be... this is the ONE kink we should not allow) Whew... I'm not sure if that was more painful for you... or for me. Halfway through this I regretted what I had begun. All jokes aside, this is currently some of the most fun I've had in the game. I've heard Energy Melee is getting a look next issue, so I wanted to share my Fire/Energy Tank build. I was under the impression that Fiery Aura wasn't too great outside of farming and this build changed my mind entirely. So... If anyone wants to try it out, or use this as a very simple Energy Melee or Fiery Aura guide I'll be posting some of my other Fiery Aura or Energy Melee Tank builds. Here's the build! Quick stats at a glance: 2,586 HP 113.6 Endurance 258% Regen (27.8 HP/s) 197% Recovery (3.73 End/s) 0.93/s End Drain (including Super Speed + Sprint) +337 HP (18%) +57.5% Recharge +39% Accuracy +12 KB Protection No stacks/buffs (+Res ATO, Barrier) 46.8% Melee Defense 33.3% Smash/Lethal Defense 19.9% Defense to everything else 90% Smash/Lethal/Fire Resistance 73.8% Energy/Negative Resistance 56.5% Cold Resistance 49% Psionic Resistance 20% Toxic Resistance With stacks/buffs 51.8%+ Melee Defense 38.3% Smash/Lethal Defense 24.9% Defense to everything else 90% Smash/Lethal/Fire/Energy/Negative/Toxic Resistance 74.9% Cold Resistance 67.4% Psionic Resistance Toxic can be easily capped by preemptively using Healing Flames for the +Toxic resist. Melee Core has been overkill in terms of survivability for me, so Assault is something to consider here if you had to choose between one. Hero Plan by Mids' Reborn : Hero Designer 2.6.0.7 https://github.com/ImaginaryDevelopment/imaginary-hero-designer Click this DataLink to open the build! Level 50 Magic Tanker Primary Power Set: Fiery Aura Secondary Power Set: Energy Melee Power Pool: Speed Power Pool: Leaping Power Pool: Fighting Power Pool: zc_Leadership Ancillary Pool: Energy Mastery Hero Profile: Level 1: Fire Shield -- UnbGrd-ResDam(A), UnbGrd-ResDam/EndRdx(3), UnbGrd-ResDam/EndRdx/Rchg(3), UnbGrd-Rchg/ResDam(5), ImpArm-ResPsi(43) Level 1: Barrage -- SprGntFis-Acc/Dmg(A), SprGntFis-Acc/Dmg/Rchg(5), SprGntFis-Dmg/EndRdx/Rchg(7), SprGntFis-Acc/Dmg/EndRdx/Rchg(7), SprGntFis-Rchg/+Absorb(9) Level 2: Blazing Aura -- SprAvl-Acc/Dmg(A), SprAvl-Dmg/EndRdx(9), SprAvl-Acc/Dmg/EndRdx(11), SprAvl-Acc/Dmg/EndRdx/Rchg(11), SprAvl-Rchg/KDProc(13), SprMghoft-Rchg/Res%(13) Level 4: Bone Smasher -- TchofDth-Acc/Dmg(A), TchofDth-Dmg/EndRdx(15), TchofDth-Dmg/Rchg(21), TchofDth-Acc/Dmg/EndRdx(23), TchofDth-Dmg/EndRdx/Rchg(23), TchofDth-Dam%(25) Level 6: Healing Flames -- NmnCnv-Heal(A), NmnCnv-Heal/Rchg(37), NmnCnv-Heal/EndRdx/Rchg(40) Level 8: Consume -- PrfShf-EndMod/Acc/Rchg(A) Level 10: Taunt -- PrfZng-Taunt/Rchg/Rng(A) Level 12: Plasma Shield -- UnbGrd-ResDam(A), UnbGrd-ResDam/EndRdx(36), UnbGrd-ResDam/EndRdx/Rchg(37), UnbGrd-Rchg/ResDam(37), ImpArm-ResPsi(43) Level 14: Hasten -- RechRdx-I(A), RechRdx-I(15) Level 16: Whirling Hands -- Obl-Dmg(A), Obl-Acc/Rchg(17), Obl-Dmg/Rchg(17), Obl-Acc/Dmg/Rchg(19), Obl-Acc/Dmg/EndRdx/Rchg(19), Obl-%Dam(21) Level 18: Burn -- Arm-Dmg/Rchg(A), Arm-Acc/Dmg/Rchg(27), Arm-Acc/Rchg(29), Arm-Dmg/EndRdx(29), Arm-Dam%(31), FuroftheG-ResDeb%(33) Level 20: Combat Jumping -- LucoftheG-Def/Rchg+(A), ShlWal-ResDam/Re TP(25), Rct-ResDam%(27), Krm-ResKB(43) Level 22: Boxing -- Empty(A) Level 24: Tough -- UnbGrd-ResDam(A), UnbGrd-ResDam/EndRdx(34), UnbGrd-ResDam/EndRdx/Rchg(34), UnbGrd-Max HP%(34), ImpArm-ResPsi(46) Level 26: Fiery Embrace -- RechRdx-I(A), RechRdx-I(36) Level 28: Build Up -- GssSynFr--Build%(A), RechRdx-I(36) Level 30: Weave -- LucoftheG-Def/Rchg+(A), LucoftheG-Def(31), LucoftheG-Def/EndRdx(31) Level 32: Temperature Protection -- StdPrt-ResKB(A), StdPrt-ResDam/Def+(33), GldArm-3defTpProc(33), Ags-Psi/Status(45), ImpArm-ResPsi(45) Level 35: Energy Transfer -- SprMghoft-Acc/Dmg(A), SprMghoft-Dmg/Rchg(45), SprMghoft-Acc/Dmg/Rchg(48), SprMghoft-Dmg/EndRdx/Rchg(48), SprMghoft-Acc/Dmg/EndRdx/Rchg(48) Level 38: Total Focus -- Hct-Dmg(A), Hct-Dmg/Rchg(39), Hct-Acc/Dmg/Rchg(39), Hct-Acc/Rchg(39), Hct-Dmg/EndRdx(40), Hct-Dam%(46) Level 41: Maneuvers -- LucoftheG-Def/Rchg+(A), LucoftheG-Def/EndRdx(50), LucoftheG-Def/EndRdx/Rchg(50) Level 44: Conserve Power -- RechRdx-I(A) Level 47: Physical Perfection -- PrfShf-End%(A) Level 49: Super Speed -- BlsoftheZ-ResKB(A), WntGif-ResSlow(50) Level 1: Brawl -- Empty(A) Level 1: Gauntlet Level 1: Prestige Power Dash -- Empty(A) Level 1: Prestige Power Slide -- Qck-EndRdx/RunSpd(A) Level 1: Prestige Power Quick -- Empty(A) Level 1: Prestige Power Rush -- Empty(A) Level 1: Prestige Power Surge -- Empty(A) Level 1: Sprint -- Empty(A) Level 2: Rest -- Empty(A) Level 4: Ninja Run Level 2: Swift -- Run-I(A) Level 2: Health -- Pnc-Heal/+End(A), NmnCnv-Regen/Rcvry+(42), Mrc-Rcvry+(42), Prv-Absorb%(46) Level 2: Hurdle -- Jump-I(A) Level 2: Stamina -- PrfShf-EndMod(A), PrfShf-EndMod/Rchg(40), PrfShf-End%(42) Level 0: Freedom Phalanx Reserve Level 0: Portal Jockey Level 0: Task Force Commander Level 0: The Atlas Medallion Level 50: Cardiac Core Paragon Level 50: Ion Core Final Judgement Level 50: Reactive Radial Flawless Interface Level 50: Barrier Core Epiphany Level 50: Melee Radial Embodiment ------------
  10. Mr. Simpson – we have reason to believe that you have consumed - POISON! Poison is the most aggressive debuff set in the game. It is the kinetics of debuffing. If you attempt to play poison passively the results are always underwhelming. The set requires melee range to achieve maximum potential as the capstone power is a pbaoe aura that is several powers rolled into one. Poison doesn’t compromise, it doesn’t give you false hope through a weak self heal, or encourage you to sneak around. You either poison the enemy so they are weaker than you, or you die. People that have enjoyed melee oriented blasters and dominators usually pick up the set and run with it. Others that have played alternate debuff sets like radiation and go in thinking it will offer a similar play experience, often struggle. In this guide I will detail some of the intricacies of poison that make it a great set for those that take the time and investment into making it work. No, the set is not easy to use, and probably was never intended to be solo’d. We can’t change the ease of use, but we can build it so it can solo just about anything. This is a long guide so refer to the sections for ease of use Section 1 - Brief overview of poison for each AT 1.1 Corruptors 1.2 Masterminds 1.3 Controllers 1.4 Defenders Section 2 - Brief overview of each poison power 2.1 Alkaloid 2.2 Envenom 2.3 Weaken 2.4 Neurotoxic breath 2.5 Elixir of Life 2.6 Antidote 2.7 Paralytic Poison 2.8 Poison Trap 2.9 Venomous Gas Section 3 - In depth analysis of key poison mechanics 3.1 Envenom 3.2 Weaken 3.3 Poison Trap Section 4 - build synergies 4.1 The importance of mez protection 4.2 Cones…..grrr 4.3 What about healing? 4.4 Power pools 4.5 Epics 4.6 Incarnates Section 5 - My build 5.1 Why fireblast 5.2 Current build Section 6 - Fun stuff 6.1 The PYLONS 6.2 TF’s 6.3 GM’s Section 7 - the future ... Section 1 - Maleficent was a corruptor, but what should you be? Poison Is available to 4 AT’s. Two of them excel with it, two of them leave a bit to be desired. *I strongly recommend poison on controllers and defenders – though for very different reasons that I will touch on later. *I don’t recommend poison on corruptors, or masterminds, but that isn’t to say you can’t enjoy one. 1.1 Corrs – relative to defenders their debuffs are just too weak to make effective use of this set. Proc damage is significantly lower and personal protection through power pools and epic armors is too low in conjunction with the weaker debuffs. As far as I can tell nearly everything in poison is subject to AT scaling and everything scales properly between corrs and defs. The result is that defs are noticeably more potent with poison. The Corr ATO’s work reasonably well with this set though as health/endurance is always welcome and another purple damage proc is great. 1.2 MM’s – the debuff values are ok for what MM’s need to do, but the aoes are too small. As a result many of your pets take direct undebuffed damage from enemies and quickly become overwhelmed. The t9 has terrible uptime, otherwise the set would be salvageable. If MM’s had the t9 found in the other AT’s you could make a poison trap tanker-mind that could work reasonably well due to the synergy of PT and venomous gas . But they don’t. 1.3 Trollers – trollers offer a lot of mitigation. This degree of mitigation can more easily compensate for the fact that with poison you either weaken them until you overpower them, or you don’t. Their superior mitigation makes things like mez protection and personal defenses far less important. The set also offers good aoe damage and quick aoe containment, and lots of stackable holds to pair with your primary. You also get very high -res against bosses, which trollers often struggle to take down quickly. Finally, trollers get by far the best modifier on the -special aspect of weaken. It is really strong. In fact it is almost twice as strong as what corruptors get even though it is both a secondary set. 1.4 Defenders - Just about every debuff is strong and they are all scaled up to defender values correctly. For this reason if you want to have the quintessential poison experience it is best played on a defender. Additionally, the defender ATO procs work very well with this set providing consistent absorption and spot heals if placed correctly in your attacks This guide is primarily about defenders, so lets get into what makes poison tick. Section 2 - Pick your poison Short and sweet: *Weaknesses – no mez protection, no sustain powers, requires melee range *Strengths – unparalleled speed of swinging the battle by drastically weakening foes so they do little harm and take considerably more harm. 2.1 Alkaloid – slow projectile, single target ally heal. It’s not my job to keep you alive, so be glad we can skip this on defenders. I’d take this if I had a dedicated duo/trio, but on a full team there had better be someone else equipped to patch you up because I just view you as vengeance bait. (see elixir of life) Slotting: one of the heal sets. Preventative medicine proc if you are leaving it unslotted. 2.2 Envenom – second best power in the set. Available at lvl 1. Pretty fast cast time of 1.33 sec, 12 sec recharge Main target: -40% res, -37.5% def, some other stuff that usually doesn’t matter, but sometimes does (-regen, -heal) 8ft aoe: -20% res, -18.75% def, half of the other stuff that usually doesn’t matter I’d recommend putting accuracy in this power because it doesn’t do anything if it misses. Then achilies, then 2 damage procs. 2.3 Weaken – this is an extremely unique power. There is only one other power in the game that functions like weaken and it is single target and extremely difficult to perma. Weaken however, is spammable and has an aoe mechanic similar to envenom (half strength debuff). Sadly, the benefits of this power are often overlooked for sheer brute force, but where this power shines, it is blinding. Main target: -37.5% damage, -18.75% tohit, -74.5% special (reverse powerboost) 8ft AoE: -18.75% damage, -9.38% tohit, -37.25% special Slotting: Cloud senses goes well in this power. 2.4 Neurotoxic Breath – This is like a poor man’s shiver. Don’t get me wrong the -rech/speed value is fantastic and really cuts incoming damage over the duration. The issue is the cone is pretty narrow so you need to be max range of the power for it to hit most of the group. However, poison plays best in melee range and you want your t9 aura applied immediately. If this had the wide cone of shiver you would be able to use both venomous gas and still hit large numbers with neuro breath. Pretty good while leveling, but once you have venomous gas this will sit in your tray collecting dust. Maybe throw a chance for smashing proc in there. That lets you clearly see who you hit over the whole spawn. 2.5 Elixir of Life – hilarious in conjunction with vengeance. You rez them and they run off buffed to the gills from elixir. Elixer provides 100% rech boost, 50% damage boost and unlimited endurance…at a price. A short 90 seconds later the buffs expire and get replaced with a mag 1000 hold (ie toggle drop) puking and strong debuffs. Everyone else’s veng is still going strong so other buffers get lax. If you get lucky this happens in a spawn and they die again so you can refresh the teams’ veng. Lather, rinse, repeat. Of course they accept the rez, cause who wouldn’t? 10/10 power w/ veng on PUGs. Best used on scrappers as their swords tend to be sharper than they are. 2.6 Antidote – single target, ally mez protection. Good slow/-rech protection and a bit of cold/toxic resistance. Look, if I have to deal with mez, then so do you. That said, it is a good spot for unique Res IO’s if you aren’t taking fighting. And if you are in a duo/trio it is pretty good. It can also be the third leg of the elixir+veng strategy of killing your teammates if you instead want to use a blaster over a scrapper. Elixer buffs the blaster and you throw antidote on him for mez protection. That is now an overconfident blaster. When elixir drops, he splats. Not as much fun as a scrapper though as blasters are used to getting mezzed and dying. When elixir causes toggle drop/suppression on a scrapper they are genuinely confused. 2.7 Paralytic Poison – A not terribly fast single target hold. This allows you to fairly quickly hold a boss in conjunction with poison trap. It doesn’t last long, but maybe long enough to not die? This rolls procs super well and can actually do decent damage give the abundance of -res at your disposal. Definitely use this while leveling, maybe use it in your final build. It works reasonably well. 2.8 Poison Trap – not to be confused with Poison Trap. This poison trap doesn’t work the same as that poison trap. Confused? Ya me too. There are two powers in the game named Poison Trap, they are similar in some ways, but not in others. The one everyone talks about is Traps – poison trap (TPT). TPT has so much -regen that if you split it between all the defender primaries it would still be better at -regen than many sets. So what does PPT (poison - poison trap) do? A bunch of stuff, none of it really worth writing home about. However, doing a bunch of stuff, means it takes a bunch of procs. This power simultaneously rolls procs far better and far worse than you might expect. Slotting: as many procs as your build can support. See section 3.3 for more details. 2.9 Venomous Gas – This power takes just about everything poison does and then does it again in an auto hit pbaoe aura. I’m not sure if this power was supposed to “fix” poison when it was ported over to corrs, defs and trollers, but it sure seems like that was the intent. You’ll either love this power, or get mezzed repeatedly in the middle of spawns until you delete the character. Poison has no defense, no stealth, no resistances, no self heals, basically nothing that would support the need to be in the centre of a mob to utilize venomous gas. But that’s what makes it SO REWARDING. I’m not kidding. Once you get to a point where you can leverage venomous gas you start to feel really powerful and you start to witness a dramatic increase in team efficiency. 25% -res, 12.5% tohit debuff, 18.75% -dam, 12.5% -def Maybe that sounds great to you, maybe it doesn't. But even at a glance you should be able to see that it promotes the virtues of poison - negatively impact the enemy so they do less and you do more. Slotting: achilies, tohit debuff/end. Section 3 - Tetradotoxin, Amatoxin, Botulinum 3.1 Envenom Envenom is the most powerful single application -res power in the game. *Protip – alternate targets when recasting. The main debuff can stack with the aoe debuff giving -60% res. Fantastic if a minion is near an AV. The resistance debuffing is the main aspect of this power, but it also does a large defense debuff, a small amount of -regen and -heal. The aoe is admittedly small. I wish it was at least 12ft, or incorporated some delayed chaining mechanics to help it spread. Oh well, this is your targeted debuff, venomous gas is your group debuff. This power would still be worthwhile if it were single target (like it once was). The -regen is only 50% which isn’t fantastic, but it DOES stack when recast. It isn’t anything to celebrate, but it can help you get a handle on a GM’s regen if you keep it stacked 3-4x. You can see the impact it has on regen in the GM section (6.3) I personally think most -regen powers are too strong, or too weak. The sweet spot to me is 150-200%. That lets you have an impact, but still leaves room for another regen debuffer to have a role. The -heal is interesting, but rarely comes in to play. The target hit with the main debuff will receive 20% less healing. That can be helpful at times. If you envenom your target and cast weaken on the healer the results can be a near shut down of healing. 3.2 Weaken *Protip – alternate targets when recasting. The main debuff can stack with the aoe debuff giving -56.25% damage debuff, -28% tohit, and capping -special at 90% debuff. The nuts and bolts of debuffing damage: An often overlooked debuff. It works like it says on the tin. A 37.5% debuff will lower damage by 37.5%. However, this debuff has several interesting mechanics that make it incredible in some situations and not so hot in others. What makes it incredible? It is boosted by -res. A 37.5% -dam boosted by 65% -res (envenom+venomous gas) becomes 60% -dam. Poison can easily apply 56.25 to 75% -dam and debuff resistances by 65 to 85%. The result is often flooring an enemy’s damage at -90%. (look at the -damage on Jurassik) What else? -damage works independently from resistance. So if you do -90% damage debuff and have 50% resistance you end up taking 5% total damage. If you have 75% resistance you end up taking 2.5% damage. It can make some seemingly dangerous enemies a cake walk. An attack that would normally do 1000 damage can be reduced down to 25 damage. All by your lonesome. Poisoned! What makes it not so hot? The purple patch and enemy resistances. The purple patch is fairly straight forward, basically every level of difference between you and your enemy makes your debuffs less effective. +1 = 0.9, +2 = 0.8, +3 = 0.65, +4 = 0.48 When you hit +3 the potency of debuffs taper off hard. Probably too hard relative to other effects in the game on my opinion, but what can you do? Enemy resistances are a different matter. Resistance resists damage debuffs. Sometimes this matters a lot, sometimes it makes no difference. It matters when your target has resistances to the same type of damage that they deal. An example is Dra’Gon in the lady grey TF. He has 60% fire resistance and deals primarily fire damage. Also resistance resists resistance debuffs. Hahaha say what?. So previously where you can amplify your damage debuffs by applying -resistance, that is now also severely impacted. Examples using Dra'gon (60% fire resistance) while applying debuffing via envenom, weaken and venomous gas: +0 lvl: (56.25% dam debuff resisted by 60%) * ( 65% res debuff resisted by 60%) = 31.85% damage debuff +0 lvl: normal enemy = 92.81% damage debuff (capped at 90%) +3 lvl: (purple patch 36.65% dam debuff resisted by 60%) * (purple patch 42.25% res debuff resisted by 60%) = 19.37% damage debuff. +3 lvl: normal enemy = 52.13% damage debuff As you can see, you need to be very aware of what your enemy is capable of. An AV fight can be going super well and they are hitting like a wet noodle until they activate unstoppable. Suddenly they start hitting like a mack truck. Situational awareness is key. Lots of sets have -damage debuffs so that isn’t unique to poison. However, poison is also a good resistance debuffer so it ends up being very good overall at debuffing damage in most situations. (look at all that lovely -resistance that will boost your -damage) Weaken isn’t only useful for the -damage though. It also has an inverse powerboost. You ever see a scapper get one shot held by ghost widow’s ridiculous mag 100 hold and squirm helplessly until they die from the dot? Well you won’t see that if you hit her with weaken first. The hold will expire very quickly. Weaken drastically reduces the strength of many enemy abilities. Things like hold duration, defense debuffs, and heals are rendered almost useless. No one has any particular resistance to -special beyond the purple patch. So you hit silver mantis with it and suddenly her defense debuffs are a lot less impactful to the point that sets other than Super reflexes can shrug off some of her attacks. (Originally at 30% def, 2 of her attacks would normally drop me to -30% def, but I'm still at 0%) This aspect of the power doesn’t come in to play very often, or at least isn’t noticeable in most encounters. But it can spell the difference between victory and defeat like in the ghost widow example. 2/10 or 10/10 depending on the situation. 3.3 Poison Trap First off, it has a super fast cast time (which Traps -PT does not). And then it detonates when touched by an enemy into a big aoe hold. The hold only lasts like 7 or so seconds, but it can shut down most of the spawn for a short time. It gives you a nice little window to get some debuffs down. In addition to the hold it does a little bit of toxic dot damage. This could be useful for interrupting casters in some cases. What matters though is that it does an aoe hold and aoe damage. So it can take hold and pbaoe IO’s. The initial hold and damage procs roll at approx. 40-50% rate for 3.5ppm procs, which seems a bit lower than it probably should. However, after detonation the PPT releases a cloud that continues to do dot damage and periodically hold foes. So at 10 seconds it rolls its procs again at a lower probability than the initial detonation. (Ka-POW) PPT has some issues I’ll detail below. It is probably bugged and not working as well as it should. That said, it is still one of the most efficient powers in the game to place procs as it can frequently get over a 100% proc rate over the life of the power. The outcome is that while you focus on the bosses this power can often defeat most of the minions on its own. PPT with procs + a bit of aoe will finish off most spawns pretty quickly and safely. *issues with poison trap (and many other drop powers). - It only uses acc slotted into the power (so slots+alpha). Global acc, tohit buffs and even yellow insp have no impact on its accuracy. At least venomous gas helps it hit. People that think the power isn’t proccing well are probably just missing with it. -Secondly - the 3rd and 4th roll of procs are set up to automatically fail. It doesn’t matter what you do the chance to hit will always roll above 95 and miss. -Thirdly - The power can “critical” and double hit with procs instantly. I need to test this more, but I’ve only seen it happen with the pbaoe IO’s, which admittedly doesn’t make a ton of sense as you might expect the hold IO’s to do that given how the power works. -Fourth(ly) - The -recovery of the power hardly ever works. When it does work, it only lasts maybe 1 second. That said, it remains a very good proc power and very useful to helping poison do its job. If/when procs get overhauled my hope is this power gets a deep dive because it likely isn’t working as intended in all of its functions. Section 4 - When carrying poison, be sure to have an antidote on hand 4.1 Mez protection - I think the biggest weakness of poison is that if you get mezzed you will probably die. The set needs to be standing in the middle of a pack and you need to be actively applying debuffs and attacking to succeed. Even with weaken causing mez to last a fraction of the normal duration the toggle drop of venomous gas is often enough to get you killed. Solutions: Teaming - yah, but that’s not the point of this guide. Inspirations - yep, but there isn’t much you can’t do with enough inspirations. Some even rapidly port to their base to refill. I do my honest best to never use inspirations and certainly not as a key part of my build. P2W defense amplifier - you’d be silly not to pick this. 7.5% res all, 5% def all, 4 mag mez protection. 2.5 mil inf/hr at lvl 50. This is the best solution while leveling. Well worth the cash. I don’t use temp powers on final builds because I don’t see the difference between a power like this and a shivian against an AV. Defense - you can’t mez what you can’t hit. But poison has no innate defense and while s/l def is very easy to cap for defenders (scorpion shield) that only protects us from a moderate amount of mez attacks. Softcapping ranged defense and getting enough melee def that venomous gas’ tohit debuff gets you the rest of the way is no small endeavour. Rune of protection - awesome power. Great resistances and mez protection to most things including knockback. Unfortunately it is up only about 50% of the time and it requires you to go three powers deep in a pool. It can function as a break free too. Melee Hybrid - another awesome power. Good resistances and mez protection to most things excluding knockback. Also has really solid regen. Only up 50% of the time though and precludes that you don’t get a different hybrid like assault 😞 Clarion - probably the most obvious choice to cure the mez hole. Means you can’t use barrier or ageless though… 4.2 Cones - There are a lot of great cone powers out there. The issue for poison is that it needs pbaoe or taoe powers. You need to be in the middle of the spawn maximizing venomous gas, so cones conflict with the playstyle of poison. That means a set like dark blast, which would otherwise be a dream pairing, loses much of its prowess. You can still make an excellent poison/dark build, but imo ta/dark or storm/dark have more synergy. 4.3 Healing - poison does a lot to mitigate damage. It isn’t the best at it though to be sure. Damage will get through, sometimes lots of it. Relying on the regen from health will quickly let you down. Solutions: healing procs in health and stamina. These are great on just about any build, but they are essential for poison. Pancea and Power transfer can go a long way to repair chip damage. aid self - a strong heal that can help a fair amount with endurance too if you add field medic. I find aid self counter to the aggressive playstyle that poison espouses. dark blast/life drain - reliable, decent damage with procs. Life drain is a boon to sets like poison, ta and storm. However, as indicated in the discussion on cones in 4.1 dark blast has some issues playing nicely with poison. In addition to that the lack of aim can be significant when you really need to land a debuff, or just want to nuke at damage cap. water blast/dehydrate - reliable, decent damage with procs. Water has some great taoe powers and only one cone. The set takes quite a few procs. Honestly this is one of the best pairings you can make with poison. However, the single target damage leaves much to be desired. The attacks are a tad slow and it has no really heavy attack. The water jet instant recharge gimmick is sort of neat though. A team based poison would do well picking water. Melee hybrid - a great hybrid for poison. I already touched on it in the mez protection section, but melee hybrid provides strong regen as well. Rebirth destiny - yep, good heal with good regen. Means not taking clarion, ageless, or barrier though. All of which may be better for you. Defender ATO procs - one does a pbaoe heal, the other does a pbaoe absorb. If you put these in two heavy hitters (10 second recharge powers) they fire off a lot. An aggressive poison can make great use of these Entomb proc - put this in either paralytic poison or dominate/char. It gives you nearly 200pts of absorb every cast. It makes a tremendous difference. 4.4 Power Pools The reality is, you don’t “need” a lot of powers from poison to get the job done. Maybe that’s a good thing? Having skippable powers is a sign of weakness, but it sure helps out with build flexibility. Skip these for another build: Concealment - nah. Poison is best played in your face. Although phase shift would occasionally present value. Flight - if you enjoy it. But I feel mystic flight is a better option if this is your prefered path. Medicine - if you are really desperate for a self heal, but there are better, more synergistic ways to heal. Presence - don’t worry you’ll pull plenty of aggro haha. Conversely, many things will try to run. Teleport - only if you have a concept? poisoning people through space and time? Take a good look at these: Hasten - of course Leadership - you probably should. Defender values are very attractive. Tactics+kismet can all but let you skip out on acc slotting. Seeing through stealth/blindness isn’t frequently needed, but it sure is annoying. Fighting - just about everyone does these days… I personally skipped it on my poison defender. We all know how effective the pool is though. Leaping -- combat jump is a great power Force of Will - mighty leap is great, weaken resolve is pretty good if a bit slow. It is a surefire way to trigger achilies proc. Unleash potential is a very strong power. Not so great uptime though. Experimentation - Jaunt is really good for getting in to a spawn fast and affecting them with venomous gas. I haven't tried out corrosive vial, it "could" be a good addition. Adrenal boost is a nice offensive power. Not great uptime though. Sorcery - spirit ward is a good spot for preventative medicine, mystic flight is useful at times to chase fliers or avoid extremely dangerous melee attacks. I almost always fight on the ground personally. Rune of protection is awesome. Full mez protection, great damage resists and an achievable 50% uptime. I chose: leadership, combat jump, hasten, sorcery 4.5 Epics Defenders/corrs have some nice epic choices at the disposal. Controllers have very good epics. I'm going to discuss them from the point of view of a defender. Leviathan- good resistance shield (s/l/cold). hibernate can turn the battle around. The pet can add a lot of dps with the huge -res poison adds. Scorpion - only defensive shield (s/l), it makes softcapping s/l very easy for defenders. Focused accuracy can free up a lot of slotting options. Pet can add good dps Mu - great resistance shield (s/l/energy), powersink and conserve power make endurance management a non issue. Pet can add good dps and attacks from range which can be good sometimes. Soul - Double recharge soul drain is meh, powerboost used to boost - special but no longer does. As such it doesnt do a lot for poison. Ok resistance shield (s/l/negative). Mistress can do a lot of dps. Dark - Oppressive gloom works very well with venomous gas and can mitigate considerable damage. Dark consumption recharges too slow to rely on much. Ok resistance shield (s/l/negative), Awesome soul drain. One of the best epic powers in the game. Self rez can be useful. Electric- great resistance shield (s/l/energy), power sink and shocking bolt can all compliment poison very well. Unfortunately you need either electric fence or thunder strike to unlock the good powers. Power - conserve power is good. ok resistance shield (high s/L). Force of nature gives you 120 seconds of god mode resistances and strong recovery. Full end crash though. Powerbuildup is build up+ powerboost. recharge is too slow though. Fire - char. it is reason enough to take fire app. Decent resistance shield (s/l/fire), consume recharges too slow but has a fast cast and bigger aoe than dark consumption at least. Self rez has uses sometimes. Greater firesword isnt very good unfortunately. Psychic- dominate. as good or better than char. Great resistance shield (s/l/psi). Mass hypnosis has uses, but they are rare. Telekinesis costs too much and has no synergy with poison. World of confusion is fantastic w/confuse proc. Poison enhances confuse powers really well. Overall: Psychic is my favorite. It gives you another heavy hitter (proc'd dominate), A very useful shield and a confuse aura that works really well with venomous gas to provide meaningful mitigation and improve spawn clearing. Dark is my second favorite. Perma soul drain can give you really good damage output. Mu is my third choice. It makes endurance a non issue and the shield is great 4.6 Incarnates This is a huge category. I'm just going to highlight a few choices that go particularly well with poison. Alpha: musculature radial - improves damage, tohit debuffs, defense debuffs and gives you a bit of recovery. Everything poison likes. Cardiac core - solves endurance,boost resistances a bit. Nerve - really helps poison trap (see issues section 3.3) Interface: Reactive radial - good dot damage, a bit more -res which helps your -damage powers a little. Degen - probably the best for big game hunting. Lore: I dont use lore, but poison can make them do crazy damage Hybrid: Melee core- good resistances, good regen, mez protection Assault radial - proc damage is poison's forte. Destiny: honestly this will depend on the rest of your build options. Each destiny power has great potential for poison. If you can solve mez protection and endurance then barrier is incredible. Section 5 - I am Poison! I have created and played a lot of poison characters. I chose poison/fire for a variety of reasons. I dont think it is the most synergistic pairing, but it is extremely fun and effective. The set offers virtually no mitigation so everything I do is based on poison as the backbone. 5.1 Why fire? I mean, why not? Even in the world of procs fire is still the damage king. The thing about fire is it doesn’t “need” procs to do well, so you are free to enhance the recharge of blasts without drastically altering overall performance due to decreased proc damage. Some sets can hit harder than fire when heavily proc’d (ie radiation), but fire still does quite a bit more dps in the long run. In the end I enjoy playing fireblast, so that was my main motivation. 5.2 Current Build Ok, I’ve done a lot of respecs now and what I’ve discovered for poison is that I like it a lot more when I focus on solid resistances and coming back from the brink than opposed to softcapped defense followed by immediate occasional defeat. I think resistances and -damage debuffing go very well together and fit really well with the regen of melee hybrid as well as the small absorbs/heals of the defender procs. the result is that my failures are predictable and avoidable if I so choose. I very rarely go from hero to zero in the blink of an eye, which my defense based squishies can not replicate. However, if you plan on being hit that takes a lot more behind the scenes preparation than simply avoiding most damage/mez. Namely you require mez protection. That isn’t as easy as it sounds. I cycle rune of protection with melee hybrid. It doesn’t provide 100% uptime, but it is up most of the time. Those two powers also really round out resistances, so it works out pretty well. I have little doubt that the build would be stronger with cardiac and barrier instead of musculature and ageless, but the latter was a conscious decision to increase dps. I might finish out those two alternate incarnates though for some difficult encounters like the “final warwalker standoff” in the tinmage tf. I have been unable to pass that point solo no insp/temp/lore. I have assault radial at t4 as well as melee t4. If I know survival is a non issue then the extra dps is welcome (see pylon section).
  11. One thing I'd really like to work on, if possible, is to create a group repository of information on Sentinels as a whole, explaining what makes a strong pairing from each primary to each secondary and all of the pool powers, as well as what distinguishes Sentinels from Scrappers and Blasters. I understand that this is a big undertaking, but I think it could be extremely helpful to new players. I have some thoughts on these subjects, but the fact of the matter is, I didn't play CoX live at a very high level of proficiency and there are limits to how much I've experienced in Sentinel as-is. I will say that i would like to avoid contributions from people who are of the position that there is no such thing as a weak choice of powerset in CoX, or of the position that any powerset is so bad it should not be taken by anyone with an interest in m making the most of their characters. I believe it is possible and responsible to speak in general terms about average player performance and also support a diversity of interests. There is no wrong way to play, but I want players to be reasonably well-informed going into their choices -- at least, if they want to be. Some enjoy the discovery! I think the best way to create such a project would be for people to submit "sets" of opinions, where they analyze multiple different powersets in compare and contrast, so that we can get a feel for each reviewer's independently, then have a "czar" for that powerset synthesize all the submissions into something that succinctly reflects the consensus and any important divergences thereof. However, that assumes a large interest in this project. I don't know if anyone else would be interested in contribution. Also, accepting general feedback at this stage. Post inspired in part by @oldskool and their excellent comments in various threads. Set Sign-Up Sheet List of posters reviewing what powersets. Set Name Reviewer 1 Reviewer 2 Reviewer 3 Reviewer 4 Primaries Archery @drbuzzard @oldskool Assault Rifle @oldskool @Sunsette Beam Rifle @Sunsette [X] Dark Blast @drbuzzard @oldskool Dual Pistols @oldskool [X] Energy Blast @Sunsette [X] Electric Blast Fire Blast @drbuzzard Ice Blast Psychic Blast @drbuzzard @oldskool Radiation Blast Sonic Attack Water Blast @drbuzzard Secondaries Bio Armor @drbuzzard Dark Armor @oldskool Electric Armor @Hopeling[X] Energy Aura @Sunsette [X] Fiery Aura @drbuzzard Ice Armor Invulnerability @Sunsette [X] Ninjitsu @drbuzzard @oldskool [X] Radiation Armor @Destlin Regeneration Super Reflexes @Sunsette [X] @drbuzzard Willpower @drbuzzard @oldskool [X] Epic Pools Dark Mastery Electricity Mastery @Sunsette Fire Mastery @Sunsette Ice Mastery @Sunsette Ninja Tool Mastery Psionic Mastery @Sunsette Leviathan Mastery Mace Mastery Mu Mastery Soul Mastery Utility Pools Concealment @Sunsette Fighting @Sunsette Flight @Sunsette Leadership @Sunsette Leaping @Sunsette Medicine @Sunsette Presence @Sunsette Sorcery @Sunsette Speed @Sunsette Teleportation @Sunsette We can have more reviewers than four, but I chose not to assume everyone in the world ever would want to participate in this. I'll increase the number of slots if necessary. I intend to do the synthesizing of reviews into a coherent whole and will also be doing primary reviews on a number of sets; please feel free to keep me honest and call me on my shit if you think I've done a poor job somewhere. I'm initially going to be conservative on picking sets and stick to ones I feel I have a very, very strong grasp on; I'll branch out to ones I feel I have an OK grasp on if we have a lot of holes. If you're interested in submitting a review, this is the current format. Submissions are not yet open, but will be soon barring major disagreements. Set Review Format (Tentative) Powerset Name Basic Qualities:0 If damage primary: High/Med/Low Single-Target Damage1, High/Med/Low AoE Damage2 (# Cones/# Spheres/# PBAoEs)3, High/Med/Low Control4 If survival secondary: High/Med/Low HP/Healing5, High/Med/Low Defense6, High/Med/Low Resistance7, High/Med/Low "Clicky-ness"8. If pool: The main purpose of this pool. Special Qualities: For primaries, list secondary effects here: knockback, knockdown, stun, -regen, -res, -def, etc. Do not include the benefits of Passive or Active Opportunity. For secondaries, list things that aren't defense, resistance, healing, absorbs, or max HP here. So +recharge, defense debuff resistance, any notable mez protection the set lacks or is weak in, etc. If pool: Can skip Other: Anything else that you think should be noted about this powerset. Significant changes in this powerset from their implementation on other archetypes should go here. Beginner's Notes: Any powers or strategies that are especially beneficial to low level or new players to this set. This is a good place to put down slotting ideas for before level 50 (keep it to under 10 million inf. costs please) as well as early level rotations. Skippables/Must-Haves: For primaries or secondaries, list the powers that typically are considered optional or bad. For pools, list powers that are the strongest in the set. Whenever possible, please explain your reasoning. Advanced Slotting: L50 builds. (sky's the limit for budget). Whenever possible, please explain your reasoning. This will probably be a pretty long section that needs subdivisions, I'll work on this some more. Base Rotation: The standard attack rotation leveling up or at early 50s, for people to refine. Note any cooldown benchmarks that may be necessary for a specific rotation if it requires over 70% or so enhancement or global recharge. Complementary Choices: Suggest any primary, secondary, or pool (save ones that are mutually exclusive with this one) that synergizes with this one, and explain why. Ex: Energy Blast synergizes well with pools that contain an AoE immobilize with knockback protection and a strong melee attack to make the most of position with Nova; Dark Blast synergizes well with Dark Mastery to completely floor the opponents' accuracy. Whenever possible, please explain your reasoning. Incarnates: Would skip this for pool powers generally speaking, but incarnate powers that pair notably well with this powerset. Whenever possible, please explain your reasoning. 0 All measures assuming fully geared and incarnated at 50; this is just so we have an empirical baseline. 1 High: ST damage of approximately ≥230+ DPS. // Medium: ST damage of approximately 190 DPS. // Low: ST damage of approximately ≤160 DPS. If damage type is mostly Smashing or Lethal, consider it one tier lower. 2 High: Has 3+ AoEs. // Medium: Has 2 AoEs. // Low: Has 1 AoE. If damage type is mostly Smashing or Lethal, consider it as having one fewer AoE. 3 The breakdown of the number and type of each AoE type. 4 High: Reliably reduces incoming damage from the average pack of enemies by 50% or more. // Medium: Reliably reduces incoming damage from the average pack of enemies by about a third or a quarter. // Low: Controls can be beneficial sometimes but not to be relied upon. 5 High: Unaided, can heal or absorb a third of base Max HP (400) every 10 seconds or less. // Medium: Unaided, can heal or absorb a third of base Max HP (400) every 20 seconds or so. // Low: Unaided, can heal or absorb a third of base Max HP (400) every 40 seconds or more. Does not include the benefits of Defensive Opportunity. 6 Use values derived from Reistorm's chart located here. High: Gets S/L/E or all Positional to ≥32.5%. // Medium: Gets some of S/L/E or Positional to ≥32.5%, or gets all of S/L/E to 20%+. // Low: Any other result. 7 Use values derived from Reistorm's chart located here. High: Gets S/L to ≥45% or S/L/E to ≥30%. // Medium: Gets S/L or E o to ≥45%, or gets all to 20+%. // Low: Any other result. 8 High: Has 2+ abilities with an enhanced cooldown of a minute or less used frequently. // Medium: Has an ability virtually used on 'autocast' or an ability with an enhanced cooldown of a minute or less that otherwise needs to be frequently used for a non-healing purpose. // Low: Active abilities with enhanced cooldowns of a minute or less are rarely used for any purpose but an emergency heal. Outline (Tentative) Why Play a Sentinel? Seize the Opportunity: Sentinel Basics The Never-Ending Battle: Attack and Defense Mechanics Zoom and Enhance: Enhancement Mechanics Four-Color Fantasy: Leveling Red, Blue, Gold, and Black Primary Colors: Blast Powerset Reviews Secondary Strategies: Defensive Powerset Reviews Fly Like an Eagle: Utility Pool Reviews EPIC!: Epic Pool Reviews The Alpha and the Omega: Incarnate Mechanics A Few Provisos: Badges, Macros, and other Miscellany At the moment these are all things I intend to write myself, but I will gladly take volunteers for any sections.
  12. This guide takes a different approach on explaining Hamidon Raids. There are currently two guides available with general information about the raids that can be useful to be read before this one: How to Hamidon Raid Virtue-Style, Addendum, Homecoming Edition - ROBOKiTTY Comprehensive Guide to Hami Raiding - Foxfyre This guide aims to be complementary, offering another perspective on different roles in a raid and where most player builds can fit in. Know Your Enemy Quick recap on the nucleus and its mitos: Mitochondria Antibodies (Yellows) Can be hit mostly by melee damage, or attacks lacking positional flags (e.g., Blind, Dominate, etc). They have very high defense against ranged attacks. Their ranged attack deal very high area damage and also does stun and knockback. They have a very strong damage aura that also deals stun and knockback. Mitochondria Electrolytes (Blues) Can be hit mostly by ranged and single-target attacks. They have very high defense anything melee or AoE, including ranged targeted AoEs and cones. Attacks without positional flags will hit them as well. Their ranged attack drains endurance at a fixed rate (20% per hit), reduces recovery, slows movement and recharge, and causes terrorize/fear. They have a damage aura that does all of the above at a much faster rate, so meleeing them can be very dangerous. Mending Mitochondria (Greens) They heal the other mitos and the nucleus. Can be hit by anything, but only after they are held. It takes a while to break their defenses with a full team of controllers. Their ranged attack causes Toxic (not Special) damage, reduces the target's ability to receive healing and reduces regeneration by a large amount. This debuff lasts more than 1 minute and it's extremely easy to stack enough to floor anyone's regeneration if they get enough hits. The Hami Taunter is usually the primary victim of this. They have 100% resistance to Taunt. They tend to hit whoever is closer to them. Hamidon (Nucleus) Its attacks deal a mix of every other effect listed above. It's not immune to Taunt, so a dedicated taunter is able to have its attention for the full raid. Know Your Strategy Check the guides linked above for details team formations. Usually we have a formation like this: Taunter Team: they hold the yellows' attention, taunting from range. The Hamidon Taunter is usually on this team. Melee Team: they kill yellows with focused melee attacks. Ranged Team: they kill blues with focused ranged attacks. Control Team: they kill greens with focused holds and damage. The other two teams in a league have mixed types of characters fitting varying roles. So if you don't make any of the teams above, you can still do what's expected of your role. This is what this guide aims to clarify. This guide is divided in three major sections: Roles by AT Targeter Roles Hamidon Tanker Role
  13. This is an update/addendum to my old Issue 18 guide, mostly with new information to account for changes since i18. Information in the old guide should still be current unless superseded in this addendum. I may update this as I think of more to add. This addendum assumes you have read the Issue 18 guide linked above. Incarnate powers and the greatly relaxed alignment system are the main highlights of what's changed since i18. The general gist of how a Hamidon raid operates and the strategies have not changed greatly, but it is generally easier nowadays, given a similar level of experience in raiders. Quick Recap The Hamidon raid is a multi-team task characterized by some special mechanics. Hamidon appears as a giant single-celled organism with a nucleus in the middle surrounded by three rings of protective mitochondria. The ultimate goal is to defeat the nucleus. However, the mitochondria, which come in three varieties and are usually identified by their colours, pose a serious threat. Mitochondria Antibodies, which are yellow, fire large, devastating AoE blasts that stun and cause knockback. Mitochondria Electrolytes, which are blue, shoot chaining blasts that cause fear and drain endurance. Mending Mitochondria, which are green, send healing pulses to mitos and Hamidon itself and also deals toxic damage and debuff healing and regeneration. Yellows are the primary threat and are vulnerable mainly to melee attacks. Blues are vulnerable to ranged attacks. Greens are virtually invulnerable until locked down by holds, after which they quickly crumble. Hamidon itself has very high resistance and fires large, hard-hitting AoE blasts that cause stun/KB, mildly debuff healing and regeneration, and also drain a little endurance. Hamidon and its mitochondria ignore traditional defence and resistance. Instead, only the special inspiration Essence of the Earth, dropped by monsters that inhabit the zones Hamidon is found in, provides protection -- an EoE provides, for one minute, full Hamidon resistance and lowers yellow and Hamidon damage down to a manageable level. When Hamidon reaches certain health thresholds (75%, 50%, and 25%) for the first time, it will spawn a new set of mitochondria on top of any that has still not been defeated. These spawn events are called 'blooms'. The canonical strategy for defeating Hamidon, therefore, is to clear out the initial set of mitochondria, reduce Hamidon down to 75%, break off to engage and clear out the bloom (allowing Hamidon to heal back to full), and so on for the next two blooms before finally finishing off Hamidon. This mechanic has been copied in some later content, such as the Lord Winter trial. This addendum uses some jargon from Virtue that may be unfamiliar to many. Tanks or taunters are responsible for drawing the attention of Hamidon or yellow mitos, preferably from a range away from others. Spikers are meleers who descend en masse on yellows to rapidly defeat them. Assaulters are ranged attackers who neutralize blue mitos. Control means using holds to lock down green mitos in order to shut down their regenerating shields. Rewards Hamidon raid now grants, on completion, 80 merits, 4 Empyrean merits (which convert to 40 merits), or a random Hamidon enhancement (HO). The Emp merits and HO may only be chosen once every 18 hours, while the merit option is subject to diminishing returns (halved each time) within that same timeframe. Raids in both the Hive and the Abyss are considered the same activity and share the same timer. To qualify for the reward window, your team (not league) must have dealt damage to the Hamidon nucleus; you need not have personally damaged Hamidon, so a Hamidon tank with no ranged attack who taunts from a range will still get credit as long as their team as a whole has dealt damage. You can run two back-to-back raids, keep the second reward window up for 18 hours, and claim a full reward again after the time has elapsed. It is possible (if a hassle) to continue playing with the reward window up through most content. Note that another reward window will replace the old one, so avoid participating in tasks that open a reward window (e.g. incarnate trials and certain task forces, missions, and zone events). Hamidon's mitos used to be a good source of rare salvage drops, but this appears to have changed, and now they mostly drop common salvage. Because of their high enemy rank, Hamidon buds have decent enhancement converter and catalyst drop rates. Variation in strategies since i18 In general, some of the finer details of Hamidon raid mechanics are less relevant thanks to increased player power level. A brute-force approach can overpower many of the obstacles that were once a challenge. Green heals on yellows come in pulses, and it is trivial these days for a less-than-full team of spikers to output enough damage so that redirecting green heals elsewhere is less essential. The wide availability of long-lasting destiny buffs also reduces the threat posed by Hamidon blasts and removes a need for the Hamidon tank to stay at range. Raid groups with experienced yellow tanks may also skip the step of assignment, which was a lengthy part of pre-launch preparations. Instead, the raid leader could trust that yellow tanks have enough situational awareness to react in a timely fashion and that the rest of the raid group have the wherewithal to survive stray yellow blasts. The need for coordination and leadership is less stringent now with the league system allowing a raid leader to micromanage everything. The league can simply be told to follow a designated leader for yellows, blues, and greens respectively. The availability of the /ah command opens up the market in a raid, both as a storage place and as a means to acquire more inspirations. Be aware that EoE prices tend to spike during raids. Enterprising raiders might consider setting out low bids ahead of time to ensure a ready supply of EoEs, which reduces dependence on monster hunts yielding enough drops. Required roles 1 Hamidon tank 2-6 yellow tanks 3+ spikers 3+ assaulters 4+ control specialists 1-2+ support The above forms the core of what I think of as the bare minimum to pull off a Hamidon raid that is not an exercise in sheer frustration. Obviously, the more you have, the better it is likely to go. Typically, a raid will not need more than one Hamidon tank and six yellow tanks. If a raid group is low on yellow tanks, each may have to take on two or three yellows simultaneously. In a pinch, the Hamidon tank can also take on a yellow. In general, the fewer people you have, the more they'll have to take on dual duties. Spikers may split up and solo a yellow each to alleviate the burden on the tanks. Support should assist with assault and control when buffs are on cooldown. I'm usually comfortable with starting a raid if I have 20 or more people able to fill the above required roles. When a raid has 30 or more people, I become open to skipping the last two blooms depending on DPS. The more people are level 50+1 with all incarnate slots filled, the smoother a raid should be. Experience level of participating players is probably the most important factor. If no one knows what they're doing, then even a full league may run into trouble. While some ATs are more suitable than others, there is no hard restriction on the AT to perform each role. A tank does not have to be a tanker or brute. I myself have done Hamidon tanking as a tanker, brute, scrapper, stalker, and defender. Yellow tanking is best done by a tanker, brute, or scrapper because of their access to an autohit taunt power. However, any AT may take on yellow aggro by attacking them in melee, as long as splash damage on spikers is deemed an acceptable tradeoff. Regarding leagues When you try to invite people to a league, sometimes you may get the message, "Could not invite <Name>, BlockingAccept". This doesn't mean what it sounds like. They have not blocked anything. Simply send another invite. When you invite someone to a league, occasionally it may fail to actually put them on a team despite them appearing as such in the league UI. They will not get team credit for tasks or receive teamwide buffs. If the team or league is overfilled with someone glitched in this manner, it will glitch out the league UI. One method to check is to ask each individual to check their team window to make sure they are on a team. The team leader should have received the message, "Name was unable to join your team", and the victim should have also received the message "You were unable to join Name's team". You may also use /search to see if anyone on the league and in the zone is unteamed. This glitched state can be fixed by moving them to another team (and back) by dragging them in the league window, or you can kick them or ask them to quit and reinvite them. Sometimes, the league window may spontaneously become unpinnable and stretched out horizontally instead of rescaling vertically as normal. At the bottom right corner of the window, there are two arrows to readjust the league window. The right arrow stretches the window horizontally and the down arrow vertically. This adjustment should allow the league window to be pinnable again. If someone joins the league and appears to be in a locked team, they may still be on a TF, Ouroboros flashback, or AE arc. They will have to quit and be reinvited. A league is just a convenient assemblage of multiple teams. It does not replace team mechanics (although powers that target a friendly PC like recall friend and vengeance can work on leaguemates). Defeat credit is still only shared teamwide, as are team buffs. It is best not to leave someone solo on a league (unless that is what you want). You may reorganize teams by dragging bars around in the league window. Check to see that each team is led by a level 50, or the rest of the team will be exemped to a lower level. You may allow the team itself to resolve the issue, or you could move the team leader to another team, which will automatically pass the star to the next person in the team list (the order of which may not match the league display). You could also appoint new team leaders by dragging the desired person to an empty space in the league window (only possible if the league has 5 or fewer teams) and then dragging each member of the old team to the newly opened team. Note that the league UI may decide to flip the team order while you're doing this. There is no known slash command for most league operations, so the GUI is the only way to accomplish most tasks. There is no way to league-invite someone if they are not physically present or have not recently spoken. You can get around that by ensuring your own team has an open spot and then using the team invite command /invite to add them to your team. They can be moved after. An alternative is to (temporarily) add them as a server friend (/friend <name>) and then use the right-click context menu to send a league invite. Someone who is not in the same zone cannot be moved. If they happen to be a team leader, you cannot alter their team. There's not much you can do about it other than waiting or removing them from the league. If, when you try to move a player, you receive the message, " Player can't be moved to that team. The team may be full, locked, or you may have moved another player too recently and need to wait briefly before making another move." and none of the suggested reasons is true, that may mean that the player has the team leader on ignore. A league can have at most 48 members, while the Hive and the Abyss have a zone cap of 50. It's an unfortunate mismatch that means around two people may be left on their own. A raid leader could consider splitting the main league (e.g. two leagues of 25 each or capping the league at about 42 to allow an overflow team to form) or even forgoing leagues at all and coordinating the raid the old-fashioned way. Or the unteamed could just curse their luck and follow along. You can invite a whole team to a league, assuming you have enough space left. Mobility The Hamidon protoplasm is normally blanketed in a slow/interrupting effect. However, area effects appear to be bugged and apply inconsistently, so there is no longer a reliable jump height buff within the goo. Fortunately, jetpacks are cheap and accessible. Hamidon Buds Hamidon Buds have made a return. When Hamidon's body despawns, remnants called Hamidon Buds spawn randomly at players in the zone and as such may appear quite far from the main raid group, depending on player position. All Buds need to be cleared for Hamidon to spawn again. A thorough post-raid sweep is recommended if a subsequent raid is to follow. Incarnate powers The Hamidon nucleus and the monsters in the zones are levelless, but the mitos are level 50. Therefore, having an alpha level shift provides a noticeable benefit. For example, a yellow mito deals 521.6 upfront and 41.34x5 DoT damage to a level 50 character without an Essence of the Earth active. For a level 50 character with an alpha level shift, the damage goes down to 469.44 upfront and 37.2x5 DoT. Destiny is a game changer, though some are less useful than others. Barrier core has almost no noticeable benefit, as Hamidon raid mechanics almost entirely negates defence and resistance. Green mitos deal toxic damage, but the damage from green blasts alone is seldom a great threat in a Hamidon raid. Barrier radial's areal rez may come in handy situationally, though there are better uses for the slot. Rebirth core is simply outclassed by rebirth radial, as many ATs have low HP caps that don't benefit from a buff to max HP. Increasing max HP indirectly increases regen, but the amount from rebirth core is negligible compared to what rebirth radial grants. Rebirth core epiphany gives 374.8 max HP for the first 10 seconds, 160.62 for 30 seconds, 107.08 for one minute, and 53.54 for two minutes. My willpower tanker, as an example, has 3180 HP and 2.9%/s (about 92 HP/s) regen assuming one target in range for Rise to the Challenge and no debuffs. Rebirth core epiphany will hardcap the HP and raise regen to about 102 HP/s, so roughly an increase of 10 HP/s in the first 10 seconds. On the other hand, in the last 60 seconds alone, rebirth radial epiphany grants more than 15 HP/s. It's not even a contest. The timely use of rebirth radial aids in survival greatly and reduce dependence on EoEs. In short, rebirth radial is probably the best destiny power for a Hamidon raid. Ageless is probably the most popular destiny power, so in a raid setting, plenty of it should be going around, which will largely nullify the endurance drain from blue mitos. The extra recharge is also quite handy. Clarion helps cope with the mez effect from blue mitos and yellow and Hamidon blasts. This in combination with EoEs can allow a raid to endure enough yellow blasts from multiple blooms to finish off Hamidon. More on this later. Incandescence is situational. It can be used for emergency evacuation or when the raid needs to regroup. The healing buff roughly negates one green blast. It's not much, but there may be some limited benefit for the Hamidon tank, at the expense of staying ungrouped to avoid porting team/league mates along. There's not much to say about interface other than the fact that in a raid setting, it's likely that at least one person will have degenerative interface slotted. The consequence is that Hamidon's max HP can no longer be taken to be a constant, so the base numbers for the health thresholds will fluctuate. Raid leaders will have to use their own discretion as to when to call a bloom. Lore adds a lot of damage and is highly helpful in a DPS push through one or more blooms. Make sure to order lore pets to attack Hamidon and/or set them to aggressive. Of note, the highest damage lore type is Banished Pantheon core branch, while Longbow Cataphract from Longbow core has a large regeneration debuff. Assault and support hybrid may be saved for a DPS push as well. Melee hybrid can be of use in personal survival. Non-melee support for Mitochondria Antibodies (yellows) Yellow mitos have capped defence to attacks tagged ranged and AoE. There are a few nonpositional attacks that bypass that defence. Examples include blind from illusion control and mesmerize, dominate, and levitate from mind control, fortunatas, or defenders/corruptors with psychic mastery epic pool. These powers are not high damage but may come in handy when melee needs just a bit of help. Enough ToHit buffs, e.g. aim after power build up, may allow ranged attacks have a non-negligible chance of hitting. It's not an optimal use of resources, but it is an option. Fulcrum shift may be cast off a yellow mito to boost meleers in range. It is not necessary for the kin to be in melee range, though being so will give an extra boost. Autohit debuffs like enervating field can be applied on a yellow mito to lower its resistance. Absorb Hamidon ignores absorb shields. Power analysis Dark armour, with enough knockback protection, can survive tanking Hamidon for extended periods, potentially indefinitely, without EoEs or external buffs. Dark regeneration is not affected by the heal debuffs from Hamidon and green blasts. The main drawback is that missing can be deadly. It's possible to sandwich oneself in range of Hamidon and a low green mito to ensure two targets to use dark regeneration off. The spot can be tricky to find in a timely fashion, however. Siphon life from dark melee (and less reliably, radiation siphon from radiation melee) can further supplement the healing. Sets with capped or near-capped toxic resistance, such as stone armour and radiation armour, make excellent green aggro absorbers. Once yellows are out of the picture, they may stand or hover next to greens nearest the Hamidon tank to shield them from green blasts. Summons are great for absorbing green blasts as well. Carrion creepers from plant control is exceptional for this purpose. The downside is that pets also serve as jumping points for blue contagion, though this is usually much less of an issue than green or yellow blasts. Kinetics is highly beneficial in a Hamidon raid, because with Hamidon's high resistance, damage buffs add more damage than resistance debuffs. Kins should spam fulcrum shift and siphon power off Hamidon as much as possible. Something to note is that only the resistance component of increase density is AoE; the stun and KB protection still applies only to a single target. Skipping bloom(s) When Hamidon is defeated, all mitos despawn, so it is not necessary to clear every bloom, and a strong enough raid group can power through with sheer DPS and momentum. The key to a successful push is a judicial use of buffs and EoEs. A 100% push, sometimes called a Hamikaze, is the most risky and involves going straight for Hamidon without defeating any mito. By the end of the attack, there will be four sets of mitos. Failure to defeat Hamidon at this point essentially means a failed raid, as a quadruple bloom is simply not worth trying to recover from (except for the challenge). A somewhat safer alternative is to clear the initial set of mitos and then take Hamidon from 100% to 0. Destiny and aura buffs and EoEs should be used for right around the time of the first bloom to spawn. A triple bloom is salvageable but rarely worth the effort to clean up. A 50% push is a compromise between speed and recoverability. This involves clearing the starting set of mitos, taking Hamidon down to 75%, clearing that bloom, and then taking down Hamidon. There will be a double bloom by the end. It's possible for a raid to wipe here, but cleaning up the aftermath is not especially difficult, though it can be rough if the raid is short on people or resources, or if morale takes a heavy hit from repeated wipes, and people start leaving. A 25% push skips the final bloom and was a reasonably safe option even back in Issue 18. Even if it fails, there is not much difference from the traditional method of clearing every bloom. Hamidon doesn't spawn a bloom immediately upon reaching a health threshold. There's often a slight, unpredictable delay, the length of which can vary. It takes a further moment for the newly spawned mitos to begin to react. The length of this indeterminate window can sometimes be a decisive factor in the success or failure of a push. Failure is generally the consequence of yellow blasts incapacitating the raid with stacking knockback and stuns and outright defeating players who have not activated an EoE. For extra safety, a raid may trade off a little DPS by sending the yellow aggro management team to disengage from Hamidon and get in position to intercept yellow blasts right before the first bloom. A yellow tank may in some cases have to manage up to six or more yellows at once in a triple bloom, which can be overwhelming, but they only have to last long enough to DPS to finish its job. Some stray yellow fire is difficult to avoid, but clarion, rebirth, and EoEs should suffice if DPS is sufficient. Clearing a double bloom A double bloom takes more coordination to clean up. Spike teams should focus on the same targets at a time. Sometimes it may be helpful to call a retreat to regroup and reapply aura buffs. Every mito defeated makes it progressively easier. The large amount of green blasts is devastating for the Hamidon tank, as EoEs do not protect against them. It is inadvisable for the tank to stay in range. A hit-and-run approach is likely to be safer: i.e., the tank should get in range to taunt and/or attack Hamidon and dart out of the protoplasm, only going back in occasionally to repeat the process. They should take care not to get too far, or Hamidon will aggro on another target. Clearing a triple bloom In a triple bloom, the protoplasm is deadly to squishies. The sheer amount of blue and green blasts will immediately incapacitate and defeat any who gets too close. Yellow tanks will need mez protection buffs, and the raid should focus on chipping away at the yellows one at a time. Green teams should focus on distraction and not bother going after greens until yellows are finished. Going into close range with green mitos is a bad idea until the whole league can gather up for green phase. Be prepared for many wipes while making only incremental progress. It'll get easier with every yellow and blue taken down though. Many if not most raid groups will find a triple bloom simply too much to clear. It's okay to cut your losses and try again elsewhere and/or elsewhen. Clearing a quadruple bloom Like triple bloom but dialled up to eleven. Hamidon spawn RNG It takes between 5-50 monsters to spawn Hamidon. Sometimes the RNG leans more towards the latter, making the monster hunt long and tedious. At the entrance to the Hive, there are police drones that you can pull monsters to. Droning monsters counts towards spawning Hamidon. Hive/Abyss comparison Now that the alignment system has been greatly relaxed, most characters can go to both the Hive and the Abyss for Hamidon raiding, so how do they compare? Unfortunately, since devs hated villains, the Hive is the better choice. The Abyss is a more graphically intensive zone, so raid lag tends to be worse there. Monster density there is lower, with no monster walls as in the Hive, so monster hunts tend to take longer. There is a lack of drones to expedite a slow hunt, and that also means the hospital and the entrance to the zone is unguarded. Verticality is also more of an issue in the Abyss, with a lot of nooks and crannies for Hamidon buds to hide in and slow to navigate for nonflyers. HOs vs IOs With the introduction of enhancement boosters, IOs have further edged out the position HOs used to occupy. A level 50+5 dual IO is about equivalent to an equal-level dual HO. HOs can be combined to reach 50++, at which point they are slightly better. The difference is minor, only about 3% for Schedule A and 2% for Schedule B (defence, ToHit, resistance, range). Triple HOs are much better for powers that can make use of all three enhancement types. Examples include enzyme exposure (-ToHit/-defence/-endurance) in a power like radiation infection in the radiation emission powerset and membrane exposure (+ToHit/+defence/+recharge) in powers like mind link in Arachnos Widows and fortitude in empathy. No IO can replicate the effect. There are some movement powers that increase more than one type of travel speed and do not take universal travel set pieces (e.g. swift, qucikness, lightning reflexes, sprint). It is possible to slot a microfilament (+travel/-endurance) here. This is also an effect that no IO can replicate..
  14. Hey there! Klypso from Homecoming/Excelsior here. This is a guide on how to play City of Heroes on Linux. We will be running the 64-Bit version of City of Heroes, if you are curious. This guide presumes that you already have you GPU drivers installed. NVIDIA users (may) have to install it themselves, while AMD users (may) not have to, but it doesn't hurt to check. If you have any issues, PLEASE make sure you've installed your GPU drivers properly. Also, if you're using an iGPU (Integrated GPU), disabling it should fix some issues that you may run into. Edit: There has been an official post by GM Tahquitz on how to use the new Homecoming launcher in order to download / install / setup HC to run on Linux. Please check it out here if you have issues with this one, or you want to use the official guide: Official Guide by GM Tahquitz. Edit 2: There have been some issues with rolling release distros that're on WINE 5.18 where HC doesn't launch at all, or has issues launching. I've been currently bypassing this issue by using the 32-bit client instead of the 64-bit one. Please, if you are having issues as well, try setting your Architecture to the 32-bit version within the official HC launcher, or through Tequila by using the second option. Tips are BLUE Attentions are RED My system specs: *Pop!_OS 20.04 *i7-4770 with Kernel version 5.4.0-7634-generic *Nvidia GTX 970 (using driver 440.100) *16GB DDR3 RAM To be able to do this, you'll need the files for i24 / Homecoming. If you don't already have it, then you can click this link here to download the files. They will be out of date, so we'll be updating them later on in the guide ourselves. Please note that FireFox can't download files past a certain size with that link, so you will need to use Chrome / Chromium to download the game. Prerequisites: *Linux *A dedicated graphics card (although integrated graphics should run as well, although I haven't tested) *A dual-core CPU (Tested on an i3-4130, i7-4770, and an AMD FX 4300 CPU) or better. *At least 4GB of RAM The start of the guide Now, we're going to need to have 3 things already for this process to be simplified. These three things are as followed: A copy of City of Heroes already, one that we have ourselves that we can simply copy over, or the one downloaded from the link above. Wine to already be installed. If you don't have it, you can easily install it yourself by following the guide here VIA the official WineHQ website for your current flavor of Linux. Just search for your flavor (Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora) and open the Terminal, then copy-paste the commands it gives you to follow. Make sure to grab winehq-stable. For Lutris to be installed. Grab it here. We're going to go ahead and make sure that you have WINE properly installed. To do this, please run this in your Terminal. Do note that your version may be different than mine as this guide ages. Next, we have to add City of Heroes: Homecoming (CoH: HC) to Lutris. The video below will show you how to do so. Please note that it's a little fast as I need to be quick due to "Max total size" limits for uploading, and as such I had to compress the videos. Please, full-screen the videos so you can follow along. Adding_CoH.mp4 When you run CoH: HC (Tequila) for the first time, you'll encounter 3 of these pop-ups. They're necessary to run the program, so please, install them. Once that's done and those files are installed, we need to navigate to the CoH: HC directory, which is shown in this video. Please note that your directory may be different if you've placed it in a different folder. Selecting_Tequila_Directory(2).mp4 While validating files, you (may) come across an error that states "Insufficient Memory". Getting past this is simple, just exit out of Tequila first, and then click "Ok", as shown below Insufficient_Memory(1).mp4 Please note that it will always say that "The file Tequila.exe already exists", just click "Ok", as it doesn't matter. That's it! Every time you want to play CoH: HC, you need to run Lutris, then CoH: HC, then the 64-bit version of the game. Tequila will automatically update as it normally does. I hope this helps you with getting CoH: HC running on Linux! If you have any issues, please, post something here and I'll try my best to help you out!
  15. Collection: Solo-friendly AV/GM/TF Builds Hi all. I've grown an interest in soloing in CoH, and did a fair bit of playing and reading up. I've collected what I've found and my own experiences playing a titan/bio, ill/rad, and ill/traps (incomplete) controller. I've also broken it down by content difficulty level, based on my experience. It's incomplete, so I'm hoping people will respond here to add in their experiences with builds I haven't listed. I'd especially like to know about MM's, ill/storm|cold, and fortunatas for harder & near-impossible content -- these are mentioned often but ppl don't say what content they can solo. Also, I don't play villain-side, so those are unknown. Without further ado: **************************************** Hard to solo: AV's for Accolades (Maria Jenkins, etc.) Most hero-side GM's ITF, regular setting Known viable builds: Ill/traps|rad, Fire/ice blaster, @Chirikiti's mind/psy dominator, titan/bio scrapper Speculated: @Werner and@Bill Z Bubba's brute builds, @nihilii's fire/rad sentinel, Fire/fire blaster, empathy/? defender, Masterminds, Fortunatas, ill/storm, ill/cold, most scrappers, most brutes, @Elmyder's fire/fire blaster Harder: Sutter: Ill/rad unknown Katie Hannon: Ill/rad unknown Babbage (level-limited): Ill/storm known LGTF: Ill/traps unknown ITF +4/x8: empathy/? defender, brute builds below, ill/rad, Dark Armor/Martial Arts Tank, fire/rad sentinel, fire/ice, fire/time, dev/time blasters, sav/shield stalker are known AVs +4/x8: brute builds below, fire/rad sentinel are known Market Crash: Apex: empathy/? defender, demon/cold MM known Tin Mage: empathy/? defender known Jurassik: Goliath War Walker: Known viable builds: Ill/rad, titan/bio scrapper, Elmyder's fire/fire blaster Speculated: Ill/traps, Werner's and Bill Z Bubba's brute builds, Nihilii's fire/rad sentinel, empathy/? defender, Chirikiti's mind/psy dominator Near-impossible: Khan TF: corruptor (fire/cold) known STF / MLTF: Nihilii's fire/rad sentinel known Known viable builds: titan/bio scrapper, Elmyder's fire/fire blaster ************************************ Sources: - Search for posts in the Brute AT sub-forum from @Werner & @Bill Z Bubba - Search for @Nihillii's post on "Silly Sentinel Tricks" on Sentinel AT sub-forum - Search for "Solo" and "AV/GM killer" posts - Titan/bio scrapper guide on Scrapper AT sub-forum - Ill/traps vs. Ill/rad threads on Controller AT sub-forum
  16. Time Manipulation Guide by Bopper Written: 30 July 2019 Last updated: 2 August 2019 (Information that might help new Time Manipulation players for any archetype) A Quick Note from the Author Introduction Links to City of Data Information So that covers the majority of the details you would want for Time Manipulation. Now, I will spend some time talking about each power including some anecdotes of what I like to do with them and also provide some opinions. Basically, if you don’t care about what I think, now is the time to check out. My Summarized Opinion of Time Manipulation More Opinions, Broken Up by Powers Concluding Remarks Revision History Not a Guide Writer!
  17. Between the forums and the Discord channel, I see a lot of folks confused about setting up base teleporters. It's easy to do once you understand the principles, but since there are things that aren't self-evident, I decided to put together a little guide. (With pictures and everything! Ooh! Ahh!) I've separated my lame jokes from the main text by using a different font color for your convenience. ;D Contents: The Basics The Components Setting Up a Zone Teleporter Setting Up an In-Base Teleporter Troubleshooting Tips, Tricks, & Tidbits #1: The Basics (or, What's All This Hullaballoo About Teleporters, Now?) Base teleporters are, in the simplest terms, a base item you can click that will move your character to somewhere else. Because real heroes & villains don't take cabs, and car insurance in Paragon is just outrageous. What base teleporters can do: They can transport a player to any city/hazard/trial zone that has a beacon and matches their alignment. They can transport a player to another spot within the base, a new function since the old days that's super-cool. What base teleporters cannot do: They cannot transport you to zones you can't access. (i.e., Heroes can't go to villain zones or vice-versa, and low-level Praetorians can't go to Primal Earth.) Silly baby goldsiders, you can't escape Cole's utopia that easily, muahaha! They cannot transport you from city zones into the base. (Though, as noted by justicebeliever--thanks!--you can get a base teleporter power by collecting badges or purchasing it from the P2W vendor.) They cannot change where you zone in to the base when you use a base portal, or make it so different people will zone into the base in different spots. No making the peons turn up in the back alley by the dumpster while the CEO shows up in the penthouse suite; sorry. A note on "Secret Entrance" Portals: Despite being a type of portal, the "secret entrance" is an entirely different beast than a teleporter, with different rules. The secret entrance cannot be deleted. So much for that Poe-themed base idea. There can be only one secret entrance. ...#highlander... If you ever see more than one, it's a glitch; leaving the base empty of people for 20 minutes should reset it. Though the secret entrance can be moved anywhere in the base, the entrance room can't be resized or deleted. Typing /stuck will return you to the secret entrance. Anyone entering the base through the secret entrance will always be facing south. And it just goes south from there! Haha! A-haha...ha...*cough* 😒 Leaving via the secret entrance will return you to the zone you were in before you entered the base. Déjà vu, or a glitch in the Matrix? You decide. If you entered using a base portal, you'll reappear beside it; if you entered any other way, you'll reappear at the zone's designated teleport spot. (Thanks to justicebeliever for the clarification. :) ) Okay, so now that we know what teleporters are and aren't, how do they work? #2: The Components (or, 'Porters & Beacons & 'Port Points, Oh My) Regular teleporters (i.e., the "teleport to zone" types from the live era) have two parts: Teleporter Beacon (the thing you click) (the place you go) Arcane Example: Tech Example: PI Paragon's VP of Engineering, Karen, agreed to be in these photos to provide a sense of scale. She's a shapeshifter and a bit of a clothes-horse, but so dependable and dedicated--I never see her leave her office! For in-base teleporters, there's one other component, a teleport point...but we'll come back to that in a bit. #3: Setting Up a Zone Teleporter (or, Transportation by IKEA) To make a working zone teleporter, all you need is a teleport device and a beacon of the same style placed within range. That's it! Back in my day, we only had one basic and one advanced 'porter for each style...and you needed a special Transportation Room and enough power to run the thing...and even then, the basic 'porters would only go to two places, uphill, BOTH WAYS! These young whipper-snappers and their free, pretty, 10-destination porters don't know how good they have it! Muttergrumblemumumble... (I'm totally kidding about the grumbling, to be clear. They can pry the new porters from my cold dead hands.) The beacons, up to ten per teleporter, can be placed anywhere...above the porter, behind it, buried in the floor, wherever...as long as they are within range. You can tell if a beacon is in range in two ways: Click on the beacon, and make sure there's a yellow box around the teleporter (or vice versa). -or- Click on either the beacon or teleporter, and check the object description box (the "Info" tab for beacons, or the "Aux" tab for the teleporter). The attached items should be listed. #4: Setting Up an In-Base Teleporter (or, "But I Don't Wanna Go Outside, Mom!") For teleporting to another area within the base, there's one more piece you need: a teleport point. Regular beacons teleport you to zone points the game already knows how to find. So, to make an in-base teleporter work, you need to explain to the game where you want people to end up. That's where this tab comes in: Currently, there are ten points available to place inside your base. When placed, they look like this: VP Karen not included. So, let's say you want to teleport from your office to your bathroom. When you gotta go, you gotta go, amirite? To do that: In your office, put a teleport device. In your office, put an Aleph beacon. In your bathroom, put the Aleph teleport point. (Teleport points don't have a style, and can be used with either arcane or tech devices.) And voila, you can teleport directly from the office to the potty. Base Teleporters: Bringing you proper hydration without fear since 2019. Note, the above setup will only get you to the bathroom. If you want to teleport back, you'll need to repeat the steps above, except in the opposite direction and using a second teleport point. #5: Troubleshooting (or, LIEZ!! It doesn't work!! UR AY FRAUD AN SHUD B ASHAYMED!!) I hope that amused someone because typing like that made me die a little inside. If you've placed a teleporter and it doesn't work the way it should, there are a few things to check: Did the beacon connect to the wrong teleporter? If you have two teleporters close together, the beacon may have linked to a different one than you expected. And next thing you know, the teleporter and the beacon are arguing about infidelity on Dr. Phil. Are you trying to connect more than ten destinations to a single porter? Any beyond ten won't connect. That's what happens when you let the henchmen do the math. Are you using a functional teleporter? As one might imagine, teleporters labeled as inactive or destroyed won't work, but it's an easy mis-click. Now where do I get a portal repair tech at 3 AM on a Saturday?!? The second-most common problem: Is your character the right alignment to see the zones in question? A villain character can't go to hero zones, and vice versa, so the list will be blank even if the beacons are connected and working properly. Nice try, Lord Recluse. And--*drum roll*-- the biggie: Is your beacon the same style as your teleporter? Items from the tech tab will not connect to items from the arcane tab; the styles must match. Arcane & tech elements in the same teleporter ensemble is so last season. Remember... goes with goes with #6: Tips, Tricks, & Tidbits (or, Things You Wish You'd Known Before Wasting That Last 3 Hours) The order zones appear in any teleport listing is according to the zone's ID number in the internal database. The only way you can affect the list order is to link beacons to separate teleporters. We won't discuss how long I tried to alphabetize the teleport beacons before I learned this. I (like a number of other folks, it seems) like to set up my zone 'porters with one for blueside city zones, one for blueside hazard/trial zones, one for redside zones, and one for everything else (although our current base has them split up slightly more for aesthetic reasons). If you aren't sure/can't remember which zones are which, this wiki page may help; it has zones separated by alignment, and you can sort the list by type or level. None of the teleporters are tintable, except the Oranbegan Portal in the Arcane tab. That one lets you recolor the runes that circle around the edge of the portal. I see a red portal and I want to paint it black... There are currently no doors in the base builder that open/close...but you can simulate one using in-base teleporters. You'll need two teleporters (the Interdimensional Shard is a popular choice because it's small), two beacons, and two teleport points. Place the Shards as far inside your doors as you like, as long as enough sticks out for people to click on. Place Beacon A on one side of the door, and Point A on the other...then place Beacon B on that side, and Point B back on the original side, as noted in this high-quality illustration: [Point A, Beacon B, Teleporter] {[DOOR(S)]} [Point B, Beacon A, Teleporter] Great, there goes our whole graphic design budget. Note, you'll want to use two teleporters and make sure your beacons connect the way you intend, because otherwise both destinations would show up on the same teleport list, and someone could inadvertently teleport to where they already are. Ha ha, suckers. Er, I mean... :-X Whatever direction you're facing when you click an in-base teleport point, that's the same way you'll be facing when you come out the other side. (As ajax34i observes, the points -- and the Secret Entrance, for that matter -- do have directional arrows you can see using the Hidden Markers option...but they don't seem to actually be correct or do anything.) Turn around, bright eyes... Since you're actually teleporting instead of using the door like a door, you have the option of putting the "other side of the door" anywhere in the base you like. It doesn't have to be physically near the original door. And they'll never know they've been fooled! MUAHAHAHA!! ...well, unless they look at the map. If devious hidden doors are your jam, you can easily bury your teleporter almost all the way inside pretty much anything...secret door hidden in the bookshelf, anyone? From Catgoyle: "For semi-secret in-base teleports, the globes are about the right size to fit the "interdimensional shard" into (and I hide the beacon under the floor -- enable room clipping)." Just make sure Alfred doesn't set it off accidentally while dusting Wayne Manor. There's no way to re-name the in-base teleport points. What you see is what you get. Fun Fact: I learned that the point names are letters in the Hebrew alphabet. Thanks, Google! Clicking a teleporter always brings up a pop-up destination menu, even if you only link one beacon. At present, there's no way to make it click-and-go like mission doors. Some of the flatter teleporters (the Carnival of Light portal, etc.) are difficult to select once they've been placed. In addition to the usual camera angle shuffle, it can help to hold shift, which helps you click objects hidden behind other things. If all else fails, you can choose "Current Room," sell off the portal, and start over. If a sound/visual effect remains after you delete a teleporter, leaving the base for 20 minutes should reset the map. Anybody else entering the base in that time will prevent the reset; stowaways walk the plank. WanderingAries adds that if you've read all this and decided it's too much work, you can always coalition with someone who's built zone teleporters already and use theirs. 😉 So there you have it, everything you need to be a physics-defying location hopper. Did I leave anything out? Did something get added/changed since this post was written? Did I...*GASP*...get something wrong? Or worse yet...HAVE A TYPO?!?!? :-[ Let me know, and I'll get it fixed. Happy base building!
  18. Mayhem missions are great, aren't they? It's incredibly cathartic to be able to wander through a neighborhood and bust stuff up—sort of the City of Heroes equivalent of popping bubble wrap. And what's more, there's a contact, Lord Schweinzer, who will give you access to all the Mayhem missions without having to complete five newspaper missions first, if you earn the "Hero Slayer" badge. "Hero Slayer" requires defeating 25 heroes, of the sort found in Mayhem Missions, tip missions, the Lord Recluse Strike Force, and a few other places. It can take forever to grind those out if you're just relying on those missions, even with the occasional LRSF thrown in. But someone told me about a really speedy way to get it, and I tested it, and it works. So, here it is for you! Go to Pocket D and have Null change your Alignment to Hero or Vigilante. Go to Brickstown and talk to contact Dakota Berg, who offers part 4 of the "Who Will Die" signature story arc. He's the red storybook icon east of the hospital. You must be at least level 30 to do this. Do the first two missions of the arc at -1/x1 for speed. When you get to mission 3, set it to -1/x8. (If your character class isn't good at damage, you might want to bring a damage-class along to help with this.) This mission spawns bunches of dream-ghost-images of Malaise and Aurora, who count as "heroes" for purposes of the badge. Defeat them until you get the "Bloody Hands" badge; it shouldn't take too long. You can then quit the TF, go back to Pocket D, and have Null change you back to Rogue or Villain. "Bloody Hands" will become "Hero Slayer," and you should get Lord Schweinzer as a contact as soon as the alignment switch completes. This also offers a speedy route for heroes or vigilantes to get the "Invader"/"Task Force Commander" accolade power if they don't want to have to do all the Task Forces to obtain it. Just get "Bloody Hands," then change to Rogue and get the exploration badges from all the Mayhem missions. (You don't even have to complete them; just go into each mission, get the badge, then exit and drop the mission.) Once you have all of them, you will get "Invader," which will magically change to "Task Force Commander" when you return to Paragon City. (Sadly, there isn't any similarly speedy way to unlock the equivalent badge for the all-Safeguard-missions contact, Villain Disruptor. You just have to grind those out, though the Statesman (Miss Liberty) Task Force can certainly help.)
  19. Interface Damage over Time (DoT) Procs How to Quantify Their Effects by Bopper Written: 14 February 2020 Last updated: N/A Some quick news. The bug causing Interface DoT procs to under-perform has been found and a fix should be easy enough to implement and hopefully will go live soon. With that being said, I wanted to put together a quick guide (or crib sheet, really) that details how you should quantify the effects of the Interface DoTs (once the bug is fixed, that is). This should help you decide if/which Interface DoT is right for your build. How do the Interface DoT procs work? The description of the Interfaces will read as “Adds… a Minor/Moderate DoT (X% chance) to most damaging attacks”. This phrasing causes some confusion as most assume this to mean there is an X% chance that each of your attacks will add 5 ticks of Damage over Time. In actuality, the Interface procs are mechanized such that each of the DoT ticks will have an X% chance to proc; however, once a tick misses all remaining DoT ticks are cancelled. This is what’s referred to as “Cancel-On-Miss”. How much damage do Interface DoT procs do? There are 5 Interfaces that offer a DoT proc: Cognitive (Minor Psionic), Degenerative (Minor Toxic), Reactive (Moderate Fire), Preemptive (Moderate Energy), and Spectral (Moderate Negative Energy). The Minor damage DoTs do up to 5 ticks of 10.71 damage each, and the Moderate damage DoTs do up to 5 ticks of 13.39 damage each (25% stronger than minor damage). Those numbers assume same level enemies (refer to Purple Patch mechanics if you’re considering fighting weaker/stronger enemies). What can I expect from a 25% DoT proc? This is the lowest performer of the bunch as it is very likely to miss on an early damage tick, resulting in all subsequent ticks to be cancelled. That being said, what is the expected performance? Probability and Expectation of Exactly X Ticks Proc'ing (25% DoT) X Prob(X) E[X] =X*Prob(X) 0 75.00% 0 1 18.75% 0.1875 2 4.69% 0.09375 3 1.17% 0.035156 4 0.29% 0.011719 5 0.10% 0.004883 Total 100% 0.333008 These numbers tell us that on average, each attack will do 0.333 ticks of damage. Given that a Minor DoT does 10.71 damage (Major DoT does 13.39 damage), this equates to averaging only 3.57 more damage per hit (or +4.46 damage, for Major DoT). What can I expect from a 50% DoT proc? This is the middle performer of the bunch and is only available as a Tier 3 Interface Proc. Below is its expected performance. Probability and Expectation of Exactly X Ticks Proc'ing (50% DoT) X Prob(X) E[X] =X*Prob(X) 0 50.00% 0 1 25.00% 0.2500 2 12.50% 0.2500 3 6.25% 0.1875 4 3.125% 0.1250 5 3.125% 0.15625 Total 100% 0.96875 These numbers tell us that on average, each attack will do 0.96875 ticks of damage, which equates to averaging +10.375 and +12.969 more damage for the Minor and Major DoTs, respectively. In this case, doubling our Proc probability nearly tripled out added damage performance. What can I expect from a 75% DoT proc? This is the top performer of the bunch and is only available as a Tier 3+ Interface Proc. Below is its expected performance. Probability and Expectation of Exactly X Ticks Proc'ing (75% DoT) X Prob(X) E[X] =X*Prob(X) 0 25.00% 0 1 18.75% 0.1875 2 14.06% 0.28125 3 10.55% 0.316406 4 7.91% 0.316406 5 23.73% 1.186523 Total 100% 2.288086 These numbers tell us that on average, each attack will do 2.288 ticks of damage, which equates to averaging +24.505 and +30.632 more damage for the Minor and Major DoTs, respectively. In this case, using a 75% DoT proc instead of a 25% DoT proc has increased the average DoT output by 587% (so nearly 7x damage). Using a 75% DoT proc instead of a 50% DoT proc increased the average DoT output by 136% (more than 2x damage). Can you show your work?
  20. Quick Guide to Movement Speed Some Info, Tips and Tricks to Traveling By Bopper Written: 1 Mar 2020 Updated: 2 Mar 2020 I’ve been looking a lot at travel powers lately and I have come across a few nuggets I wanted to share that I don’t think is common knowledge, but it should be. First I’ll give a short primer on what the base and max speed for each of the three movement types (Flying, Running, and Jumping…sorry, no teleport but I may revisit it), along with explaining the difference between a power providing “+X% to <Movement> Speed” versus “+X% Strength to <Movement> Speed”, then I’ll get into the fun stuff you can do with Flying, Running, and Jumping. Base and Max Movement Speeds: Fly Speed (mph) Run Speed (mph) Jump Speed (mph) Jump Height (feet) Base 21.48* 14.32 14.32 4 Max 58.63 (87.95)+ 92.50 78.18 200 * In issue 18 the base flight speed was buffed by 50% to 21.48 mph. + The standard max flight speed is 58.63 mph, however there are powers (such as Afterburner) that can increase the max flight speed to as high as 87.95 mph. What’s the difference between “+X% to Movement Speed” versus “+X% Strength to Movement Speed”?: If you see a power or bonus that says “+X% to <Movement Speed>”, it means it is an increase from that movement type’s base speed. So, a +10% to Fly Speed would mean your total Fly Speed is increased by 2.148 mph (10% of Base Flight Speed). If you see a power that says “+X% Strength to <Movement Speed>”, it means it enhances the effects of all your powers that improve that type of movement speed. For example, your base Jump Speed is 14.32 mph and you have the inherent power Hurdle which increases Jump Speed by +124.5% (+17.83 mph). If you have a power that grants “+20% Strength to Jump Speed”, then powers like Hurdle will have their +Jump Speed enhanced by 20%. In this case, you get to add an additional 124.5%*20% = +24.9% Jump Speed (+3.565 mph). It’s worth noting (foreshadowing) that the most a power can be enhanced by (strengthened) is +300%. That includes enhancements and strength bonuses. What can you do with flying? When it comes to flight, there is only 1 question you need to ask yourself…are you going to take Afterburner, or not? If you say no to Afterburner, then you can either get Fly and instantly be at your max fly speed (58.63 mph) without enhancements, or you can pick Hover to achieve max fly speed (58.63 mph). How? By using Hover in combination with P2W’s Jet Pack and Steam Jump powers. It will cost you 100k influence to own both, but you must own both. Here’s why: Steam Jump/Jump Pack (not enhanceable): +2,780% to jump height, +300% strength to fly speed (advertised as +273% strength to fly speed, but in game the numbers suggest it’s actually +300%). Also, both powers have up to 30 second durations with a 30 second base cooldown, but that cooldown recognizes global recharge bonuses, so typically it will recharge in 10-15 seconds. They are not mutually exclusive, so you can use them both at the same time to provide gapless coverage. So, with Jump Pack and Steam Jump combined, you can max out the strength of all your fly powers permanently. With Hover and Swift, it does this: Swift (Enhanceable): +35% to run speed, +13.65% to fly speed Hover (Enhanceable): +50% to fly speed Hover (Not Enhanceable): +50% to fly speed, -101% to fly speed (net: -51%) Base Steam/Jump Pack Net Bonus (%) Net Total (mph) Fly Speed 21.48 mph 100% 21.48 Swift +13.65% +300% +54.6% +11.73 Hover (Enh) +50% +300% +200% +42.95 Hover (not Enh) -51% -51% -10.95 Total Fly Speed 303.6% 65.205 There you have it, with just Hover, Swift, and Steam/Jump Pack you will surpass your max fly speed of 58.63 mph. No enhancements, no additional buffs/bonuses. Not to mention, Fly only provides a Magnitude 1 Fly, whereas Hover provides a Magnitude 4 Fly, so theoretically you should be harder to knock out of the sky. If you say yes to Afterburner, then you will have initially increased your max flight speed by 14.32 mph (to 72.95 mph). This increase to max flight is enhanceable with a hard flight speed limit of 87.95 mph (+104.8% strength to Afterburner achieves this). By taking Afterburner, you can still skip Fly and achieve the 65.205 mph with Hover shown above, plus add on any +fly speed bonuses/powers that your build may have. But let’s face it, that’s not why you get Afterburner. Instead, you take Hover, Fly and Afterburner, and you can 1 slot all of them if you like (Hover and Afterburner are good LotG mules, Fly is a good KB protection mule). Then with Steam/Jump Pack, Fly, and Afterburner, you will hit 87.95 mph easily. Swift (Enhanceable): +35% to run speed, +13.65% to fly speed Fly (Enhanceable): +136.5% to fly speed Fly (Not Enhanceable): +80% to fly speed, +100% to fly speed, -101% to fly speed (net: +79%) Afterburner (Enhanceable): +14.32 mph to max fly speed (capped at +29.32 mph) Base Steam/Jump Pack Net Bonus (%) Net Total (mph) Afterburner +14.32 max speed +300% +300% +57.27 Fly Speed 21.48 mph 100% 21.48 Swift +13.65% +300% +54.6% 11.73 Fly (Enh) +136.5% +300% +546% 117.27 Fly (not Enh) +79% +79% 16.98 Total Fly Speed 779.6% 167.44 So, there you have it; with no Flight Enhancements (it would be pointless since Jump Pack already maxes out the strength), we can hit an uncapped speed of 167.44 mph, unfortunately we are hard-capped at 87.95 mph. If Afterburner did not have a hard cap of 87.95, then this combo would increase the +max fly speed by 57.27 mph which would cap the flight speed max at 115.90 mph. One final note on Hover + Afterburner, it’s a pretty nifty defensive move and any movement speed set bonuses will still count. So, if you chase the Movement Speed set bonuses, just know every 7.5% is an extra +1.61 mph. If you can achieve +106% to Fly/Movement Speed bonuses, you could hit the 87.95 mph hard cap with just Hover and Afterburner. Chasing that number would be foolish, but it’s completely reasonable to get 5 of the +7.5% to Movement Speed bonuses (Performance Shifter, Gaussian, Aegis all get this with 2 slots). That number would boost your Fly Speed by 37.5% which equates to +8.05 mph. That gets you to 73.26 mph with Afterburner, Hover and Steam/Jump Pack. Conclusion: Buy both Steam Jump and Jump Pack to maximize your flight speed without any enhancements. Also, don't take Fly if you don't have Afterburner. What else can you do with flying?!? I did a little more research and wanted to share what I found. For instance, Group Fly is panned as a bad power. Maybe it is, but it is a travel power and I figure I should at least share what it can do as well as what it can do with a Steam/Jump Pack. It's worth mentioning, Group Fly says in its short description that it does -ACC, yet when I look in the combat attributes there are no debuffs to To-Hit or Accuracy, so it must be a typo. Group Fly (Enhanceable): 60 foot radius; 255 Max targets hit, +68.25% to fly speed Base Steam/Jump Pack Net Bonus (%) Net Total (mph) Fly Speed 21.48 mph 100% 21.48 Swift +13.65% +300% +54.6% 11.73 Group Fly +68.25% +300% +273% 58.64 Total Fly Speed 427.6% 91.85 The combination of Steam/Jump Pack with Group Fly will result in granting you and your team max fly speed (58.63 mph). You can also use the Group Fly + Afterburner + Jump Pack combination to cap your fly speed at 87.95 mph, unfortunately when you activate Afterburner, the Fly effects are no longer given to your teammates. Consider this as an endurance hungry replacement for Fly, while providing some team utility (although it might be unwanted team utility at times). The P2W Vendor offers 6 variants of the same temporary fly power: Small Longbow Jetpack, Longbow Jetpack, LKT-1700 Rocket Pack, Jet Pack, Holiday Rocket Pack, and Goldbricker Rocket Pack. They each cost 50k influence for 30 minutes of flight usage. You can purchase up to 10 each for a total of 30 hours of usage (3 Million influence). These temporary powers do the following: Jet Pack (not enhanceable): +136.5% to fly speed, +80% to fly speed (ignores buffs and enhancements), +100% to fly speed (ignores buffs and enhancements), -180% to fly speed (ignores buffs and enhancements). As a net, this power is a +136.5% to fly speed that can be buffed, while the un-buffed portions are a net 0% to fly speed. The main difference between a Jet Pack (or variant) and Fly, is that Fly is maxed out at 58.63 mph right away, whereas a Jet Pack will come up just short (if no enhancements, buffs, nor set bonuses, then the fly speed is 53.73 mph). With minimal effort, we can reach the 58.63 mph capped fly speed. There are only two reasons to consider taking a P2W Jet Pack (or variant). The first is to be able to fly at max speeds (58.63 mph) while not having to take the Fly pool (perhaps you took Leaping pool, now you can use Combat Jumping with Jet Pack to make a ghetto-Hover). The other reason to take a P2W Jet Pack is if you want to take Air Superiority from the Fly Pool and want Afterburner for ultra-max fly speed (87.95 mph), but can't afford to take 4 powers from the Fly Pool (Afterburner requires at least 2 powers from Air Superiority, Hover, and Fly). So the solution becomes taking Afterburner with a P2W Jet Pack to achieve your 87.95 mph ultra-max fly speed, while retaining Hover for general combat and Air Superiority for an attack. Let's look at how the numbers work for the P2W Jet Packs. Base Steam/Jump Pack Net Bonus (%) Net Total (mph) Afterburner +14.32 max speed +300% +300% +57.27 Fly Speed 21.48 mph 100% 21.48 Swift +13.65% +300% +54.6% 11.73 Jet Pack (takes buffs) 136.5% +300% +546% 117.27 Jet Pack (ignore buffs) +0% 0% 0 Total Fly Speed +700.6% 150.47 Here we show that Afterburner + Jump Pack + Jet Pack will equal the ultra-max fly speed of 87.95 mph, as its theoretical 150.47 mph is capped. What can you do with running? There are many run powers available to you that will buff your base run speed. Swift (Enhanceable): +35% to run speed, +13.65% to fly speed Sprint (Enhanceable): +50% to run speed Sprint (ignores buffs and enhancements): +50% to run speed Ninja/Beast Run (Free at P2W, not enhanceable): +140% to run speed, +137% to jump speed Super Speed/Speed of Sound (Enhanceable): +350% to run speed Base Empowerment - Increase Run Speed: +20% to run speed To cap our run speed we need to achieve +546% to run speed (92.5/14.32). We can get there with minimal effort from Super Speed, as all you need is to put a Level 50 Run IO in Swift and Super Speed (350%+35%)*(100%+42.4%) = 385%*142.4% = +548.24% (92.8 mph, capped at 92.5 mph). Now let’s assume we don’t want Super Speed (or its soon to be variant, Speed of Sound). What can we achieve with Ninja/Beast Run and the other available inherent powers? Base +5 Level 50 IO + T4 Alpha (Agility/Musculature) Net Bonus (%) Net Total (mph) Run Speed 14.32 mph 100% 14.32 Swift +35% +86% +65.1% 7.67 Sprint (Enh) +50% +86% +93% 10.95 Sprint (not Enh) +50% +50% 7.159 Ninja/Beast Run +140% +140% 20.05 Temp: +Run Speed +20% +20% 2.86 Total 468.1% 67.02 Above I have slotted Swift and Sprint with a +5 Boosted Level 50 Run IO (+53%) and included a T4 Alpha incarnate (either Agility or Musculature) which will enhance our run powers by an extra 33% (86% in total). The temp bonus shown comes from a Base Empowerment station which grants a +20% to run speed buff for 90 minutes of in-game time. In the end, we are far under the max run speed cap (72.5% of the cap). It’s decent, but it’s no super speed. Things do get interesting if you have a +Special power, like Power Boost or Clarion Radial. The +Specials will include a +X% Strength to Run Speed, which means it will buff Swift, Sprint (the enhanceable portion), and Ninja/Beast Run. A */Energy Blaster can use Power Boost to increase the strength of their run speed by 78.672%. That would boost Swift, Sprint, and Ninja/Beast Run to do an extra 3.94 mph, 5.63 mph and 15.77 mph, respectively. That extra 25.34 mph will get you right near the run speed cap with 92.37 mph. If you want to pursue taxing yourself for the sake of running fast without Super Speed, you can chase the five Gift of the Ancients: +7.5% Run Speed bonus, the easy to get five +7.5% Movement Speed set bonuses, and the soon to arrive Synapse’s Shock: +15% Run Speed bonus. That is a +90% run speed bonus, which equates to +12.87 mph. That will get you to 79.91 mph. Conclusion: If you want to run as fast as possible, just get Super Speed. If you are good with running closer to max Jump Speed numbers, then Ninja/Beast Run with Sprint can get you close to that number (if you enhance, have a T4 Alpha, the Base Empowerment buff, and set bonuses). What can you do with jumping? There are some jump powers available to you that will buff your base jump speed. Hurdle (Enhanceable): +124.5% to jump speed, +166.8% to jump height Ninja/Beast Run (free at P2W, not enhanceable): +140% to run speed, +137% to jump speed Super Jump/Mighty Leap (Enhanceable): +249% to jump speed, +2780% to jump height Base Empowerment – Increase Jump Speed: +20% strength to jump speed/height To cap our jump speed we need to achieve +446% to jump speed (78.18/14.32). We can get there with minimal effort from Super Jump, as all you need is to put a Level 50 Jump IO in Hurdle and Super Jump (249%+124.5%)*(100%+42.4%) = 373.5%*142.4% = +531.86% (90.47 mph, capped at 78.18 mph). Now let’s assume we don’t want Super Jump (or its variant, Mighty Leap). What can we achieve with Ninja/Beast Run and the other available inherent powers? Base +5 Level 50 IO + T4 Alpha (Agility/Spiritual) + Increase Jump Speed Net Bonus (%) Net Total (mph) Jump Speed 14.32 mph 100% 14.32 Hurdle +124.5% +106% +256.47% 36.72 Ninja/Beast Run +137% +20% +164.4% 23.54 Total 520.87% 74.58 Above I have slotted Hurdle with a +5 Boosted Level 50 Run IO (+53%) and included a T4 Alpha incarnate (either Agility or Spiritual) which will enhance our jump powers by an extra 33% (86% in total). I also show a Base Empowerment temporary buff called Increased Jump Speed, which provides a +20% strength to jump speed for 90 minutes of in-game time. Here, we are so close to the cap for jump speed that set bonuses would likely put us over the 78.18 mph cap (4 of the 7.5% Movement Speed bonuses will do the trick). Conclusion: You can replace Super Jump with Ninja/Beast Run with proper investment. You can cap your jump speed at 78.18 mph with the Base Empowerment temporary buff and a T4 Alpha that boosts jump speed. Even without the Alpha, you can get to 74.07 mph with five of the +7.5% to Movement Speed buffs and the temp buff. You’ll also notice it is easier (less investment) to go faster jumping as opposed to running (5 less enhancement boosts, no need to use Sprint). Also, use of the Steam/Jump Pack will help you reach the same jump heights as Super Jump. Summary: Get both Steam Jump and Jump Pack, and either Ninja Run or Beast Run If you want flight, decide if you want Afterburner or not. If you want Afterburner, get Fly (you will reach 87.95 mph, easily) If you don’t want Afterburner, don't take Fly (you will cap Hover at 58.63 mph, easily) If you want to run fast, take Super Speed. Otherwise, you can achieve approximately 75% of what Super Speed can do with a semi-invested build using Ninja/Beast Run and Sprint. If you want to jump fast, no need for Super Jump. You can cap your jump speed and height with Ninja/Beast Run and Steam/Jump Pack with investments. Even without a T4 Alpha, you can hit 95% of what Super Jump does with that same combo (74.07 mph vs. 78.18 mph). Possible Future Topics: Below are some possible future updates to this guide. I have information on them, but I think most of the teleportation information has already been covered and well known, while the P2W powers are not going to be very popular as they lock out your power tray. I might speak to the P2W powers with the caveat that they should just be supplemental (like a non-flyer takes a fly travel power, or a non-speedster/jumper takes the animal travel power): Incorporating Teleportation (but I don’t think it’s in much demand) Teleporting Tips (Enter Base with Passcode Macros, P2W Teleporters, etc) P2W’s other Travel Powers (Void Skiff and variants, Coyote/Panther) Revision History:
  21. Currently a work in progress, but will be updating as I go. This thread will be used to compile my thoughts on Ice Tankers, all the secondary sets I've tried on Ice Tanking, As well as data mining things such as "How taunting actually works" and suggestions on how to improve/change Defense-based tanker sets.
  22. Table of contents: Commonly Asked Questions Common Mistakes What is Bodyguard Mode (BGM) Power Bar Set Up Example Builds Helpful links In Closing Commonly Asked Questions Q: What is the most common reason people do not play Masterminds? A: The most obvious reason is due to the lack of info of masterminds. The second most common issue is other players giving masterminds a hard time due to pets getting in the way. Pets were fixed in Page 4 of CoX Homecoming Q: If you were to give advice to a new mastermind player what would it be? A: The best advice I could give is that bodyguard mode is a life saver. Q: What are the highest DPS pets? A: Robots. However Thugs can easily contend for highest DPS Common Mistakes The biggest and possibly the most prevalent mistake is a mastermind who does not micromanage each pet. Newer mastermind players do not know when or how to use BGM (Bodyguard Mode) Newer mastermind players do not know when or how to use BGM (Bodyguard Mode) Masterminds not using the IO Auras for pets Call to Arms: Defense Bonus Aura for Pets Expedient Reinforcement: Resist Bonus Aura for Pets Sovereign Right: Resistance Bonus Command of the Mastermind: Recharge/Pet Defense Bonus Aura. Mark of Supremacy: Endurance/Pet+Resist all + Regen Aura. Edict of the Master: +Defense Bonus Setting up your num pad to micromanage your pets https://cityofheroes.fandom.com/wiki/Mastermind_Numpad_Pet_Controls Treating each pet as separate parts. You should be treating each as a separate entity that works by itself. Newer MMs may find this hard at first however with time it will be easier. What is Bodyguard Mode (BGM) Bodyguard mode(BGM) a stance to put your pets in that will turn you into a sudo-tank. You can set BGM by selecting the Defensive Stance and the Follow all pets within Supremacy range will be set to BGM and they will be damage mitigators. Defensive/Stay and Defensive/Goto work as well. Each pet takes one 'share' of the damage, and the Mastermind himself takes two 'shares'. This is in addition to any damage that the pets themselves might incur from Area attacks. Example: If a Mastermind has 3 pets set to Def/Fol, and he gets hit with a 100 point attack, each pet will take 20 points of the damage, and he himself will take 40 points. Example 2: If a Mastermind has 3 pets set to Def/Fol, and he gets hit with an Area Effect attack for 10 points of damage, then each pet will take 2 points of damage, and he himself will take 4 points. Pets that were also in the Area of Effect will take an additional 10 points each, as normal. This in effect turns your mastermind into a sudo-tank as long as your pets are alive. Power Bar Set-up Num Pad Method There are several ways to set up your power bars on masterminds. The first option you can do is to set up your num pad as a way to control your pets. This option tends to be the most common among masterminds. http://web.archive.org/web/20120904222729/http://boards.cityofheroes.com/showthread.php?t=117256 Multi Bar Method If you do not have a num pad the next option is to set up separate bars for each group of pets (see below for example) Multi Bar Individual Method The third most common way seen by masterminds is swapping to individual commands you can do this by summoning pets-clicking Options- Show Individual Pet Commands then placing the commands in their respective power trays. (see below for example) All Pets One Bar Method The fourth and probably the most common way for beginner Masterminds is to control all the pets at once. This is the suboptimal method to control the pets due to the fact that in a team masterminds pets can sometimes aggo more than what is intended. The other reason that controlling pets this way is a suboptimal method is because pets tend to get in the way when your team needs to click a door or a glowie. At the end of the day it is best for each mastermind player to find their own bar set up that is right for them. Be it any of the methods above a combination of them or their own unique style. Example builds Some things I look for personally in a build are ranged defenses. Part of the reason for this is because if your pets die they can easily be resummoned where as if you die then you are taking time out of someone else’s attack pattern to rez you. With high ranged defense you should be over top of your group and be playing field general with your pets while also providing the Debuffs/Heals/Buffs to your team and allies. Lets now take a look at a few builds that can accomplish this goal of high ranged defense. Above is an example of a Demons Thermal Soul Mastermind lv 1- Summon demonlings- Superior Command of the Mastermind: Rech/Pet +AoE Defense Aura Superior command of the mastermind Dam/End Superior Command of the Mastermind Acc/Dam Edict of the Master Defense Bonus Edict of the Master Scc/Dam Edict of the Master Dam/End Lv 1- Health Preventive Med Chance for +Absorb Panacea +Hit Points/End Lv 1- Stamina- Power Trans Chance to Heal Self Power Trans EndMod Lv 1- Warmth- Miracle heal/end Miracle End/reach Miracle heal/reach Miracle Heal/End/Reach Miracle Heal Miracle +Recovery Lv 2- Fire Shield- Steadfast Protection Res/end Steadfast Protection Res/+Def 3% Steadfast Protection Knockback Protection Lv 4- Cauterize- Numi Heal/End Numi End/Reach Numi Heal/Reach Numi Heal/End/Rech Numi Heal Numi +Regen/+Recovery Lv 6= Enchant Demon Rech IO Lv 8- Hasten- 2 Reach IO Lv 10- Gladiator’s Armor End/Res Gladiator’s Armor Rech/Res Gladiator’s Rech/End Armor Gladiator’s Res/Reach/End Armor Gladiator’s Armor Res Gladiator’s Armor TP Protection +3% Def (All) Lv 12- Summon Demons- Expedient Ref Acc/Rech Expedient Ref Acc/Dam Expedient Ref Dam/End Expedient Ref Acc/Dam/Rech Expedient Ref End/Dam/Rech Expedient Ref Res Bonus Aura for Pets Lv 14- Fly- Blessing of the Zephyr Knockback proc (4points) Run,Jump,Fly,Range/End Lv 16- Hover- Blessing of the Zephyr Knockback proc (4points) Run,Jump,Fly,Range/End- LotG Global Rech LotGDef/End Reactive Def Scaling Res Damage Lv 18- Hell on Earth Soulbound Alleg Chance for Build UP Sover Right Res Bonus Lv 20- Thaw- Reactive Armor Res Reactive Armor End Reactive Armor Res/End Lv 22- Kick- Sudden Acc Knockback to Knockdown Lv 24- Tough- Reactive Armor Res Reactive Armor End Reactive Armor Res/End Lv 26- LotG Global Rech LotGDef/End LotG Def Shield Wall +Res 5% Res (all) Lv 28- Summon Demon Prince Sup Entomb Acc/Hold Sup Entomb Hold/Rech Sup Entomb End/Rech Sup Entomb Acc/Hold/End/Rech Sup Entomb Rech/Chance for +Absorb Call to Arms Def Bonus Aura for Pets Lv 30- Forge Gaus’s Syncho ToHitBuff Gaus’s SynchoToHitBuff/Rech Gaus’s Syncho ToHitBuff/Rech/End Gaus’s Syncho Rech/End Gaus’s SynchoToHitBuff/End Gaus’s Syncho Chance for Build Up Lv 32- Abyssal Empowerment- Rech IO Lv 35- Stealth LotG Global Rech LotGDef/End LotG Def Lv 38- Melt Armor- Achilles’ Heel Def Debuff Achilles’ Heel Def Debuff/Rech Achilles’ Heel Chance for Res Debuff Lv 41- Heat Exhaustion- Rech IO Lv 44- Dark Embrace- UnGuard Res UnGuard +Max HP Impervium Armor Psi Res Aegis Psionic/Status Res Impervious Skin Status Res Lv 47- Soul Tentacles- Artillery Acc/Dam Artillery Dam/End Artillery Dam/Rech Artillery Acc/Dam/Rech Artillery Acc/Rech/Range Artillery End/Reach/Range Lv 49- Invisibility- LotG Def/End Reactive Def/End This build in the hands of someone willing to manage their pets will quickly come to find out that they should not get into melee range of things and to hover overhead throwing out their shields as well as Warmth and Cauterize to keep both their pets and team alive. This is a great general build for anyone looking to play with a team or large group while at the same time be perfectly fine solo’ing AVs. In a pinch this build can also do a low end Fire Farm due to Demons casting Def to Fire/Cold shields however you may find yourself healing your pets and resummoning them than you are actually throwing your debuffs out. When fighting an AV or in team play your opening attack may change a bit or it may look like Set pets to petcom_all Defensive as well as petcom_all Follow Move pets to location safe from the fight to start using petcom_all GoTo Cast Farsight on as many targets as possible do not be afraid to get in close to cast this to help your melee fighters as well as yourself. Distortion Field into Time Crawl this holds any adds around and or slows them so your AoE can do its job Remember you are not the damage and are more commanding your pets from the air or the ground Move pets using petcom_(pets name) GoTo into place that have Hell on Earth on them This will allow Hell on Earth to Proc more consistently Cast Mending on that target as often as possible Soul Tentacles and reposition pets closer By now Hell on earth is either down or just about which means its time to let bodyguard do its job Build 2 is a Robotics/Time/Soul Build this time focused on being a well rounded high defense focused debuffer. lv 1- Battle Drones- Superior Command of the Mastermind: Rech/Pet +AoE Defense Aura Superior command of the mastermind Dam/End Superior Command of the Mastermind Acc/Dam Superior Mark of Supremacy Dam Superior Mark of Supremacy Acc/Dam/End Lv 1- Health Preventive Med Chance for +Absorb Panacea +Hit Points/End Lv 1- Stamina- Power Trans Chance to Heal Self Power Trans EndMod Lv 1- Time Crawl - Pacing of the Turtle Acc/Slow PotT Dam/Slow PofT Acc/End PotT Acc/End PotT Range/Slow PotTEnd.Rech/slow PotT Chance of -Rech Lv 2- Temporal Mending - Miracle End/Rech Miracle Heal/Rech MiracleHeal/End/Rech Miracle Heal Miracle +Recovery Lv 4- Time Juncture - Deflated Ego ToHitDebuff Deflated Ego ToHitDebuff/Rech Deflated EgoChance for Recovery Debuff Lv 6= Equip Robot- Rech IO Lv 8- Hover- Blessing of the Zephyr Knockback proc (4points) Run,Jump,Fly,Range/End LotG Global Rech LotGDef/End LotG Def Lv 10- Boxing- Stupefy Acc/Rech Stupefy End/Stun Stupefy Acc/End Stupefy Stun/Range Stupefy Acc.Stun/Rech Stupefy Chance of Knockback Lv 12- Protector Bots - Superior Command of the Mastermind Acc/Da, Superior Command of the Mastermind End/Pet +Res+Regen Lv 14- Fly- Blessing of the Zephyr Knockback proc (4points) Run,Jump,Fly,Range/End Lv 16- Distortion Field - Sup Entomb Acc/Hold Sup Entomb Hold/Rech Sup Entomb End/Rech Sup Entomb Acc/Hold/End/Rech Sup Entomb Rech/Chance for Sup Entomb Acc/Hold/End/Rech Lv 18- Hasten- 2 IO Rech Lv 20- Time Stop- Basilisk Gaze Chance For Rech Slow Basilisk Gaze Rch/Hold Ghost Widow Chance For Dam(Psionics) Lv 22- Tough- GladtArmor TP Proc +3%Def(all) Impervious Skin Res/End Impervious Skin Status Res Lv 24- Weave - LotG Global Rech LotGDef/End LotG Def Shield Wall +Res Reactive Def Scaling Res Damage Lv 26- Assault Bot- SoulBound Chance for Build Up Call to Arms Acc/Dam Call to Arms Dam/End Call to Arms Acc/Dam/Rech Call to ArmsEnd/Dam/Rech Call to Arms Def Bonus Aura for Pets Lv 28- Farsight- LotG Global Rech LotG Def Lv 30- Stealth - LotG Def/End LotG Def/Rech LotG Def/End?rech LotG Def LotG Global Rech Lv 32- Upgrade Robot- Rech IO Lv 35- Slowed Response -Achilles’ Heel Def Debuff/Rech Achilles’ Heel Chance for Res Debuff Lv 38- Chrono Shift- PrefShift Chance for +End PrefShift EndMod Lv 41- Dark Embrace- UnGuard Res UnGuard +Max HP Steadfast Proc Knockback Protection Lv 44- Soul Tentacles- GravAnchor Immob GravAnchor Immob/Rech GravAnchor Acc/Immob/Rech GravAnchor Chance For Hold Lv 47- LotG Global Rech Blessing of the Zephyr Knockback proc (4points) Run,Jump,Fly,Range/End Lv 49- Invisibility- LotG Def/End Reactive Def/End In this Robotics/Time/Soul build you will still play as a field general however with your defense being as well rounded as they are you can survive in melee to get in and throw Farsight on your tanks/scrappers/brutes/and stalker in team play. If you are solo your opening rotation may look something like this Set all pets to petcom_all aggressive on chosen target This will force them to attack the nearest thing. You should then quickly set your pets to BGM after they fire their first power During these fights pets dying is not bad so long as you are quick about resummoning them. Cast Farsight (this is your bread and butter power.) Cast Distortion Field into Time Crawl this holds any adds around and or slows them so your AoE can do its job Tab to the next group repeat your Robots should have things from this point. Set pets to petcom_all Passive petcom_all GoTo and send them near you Move to re-set where pets are attacking Repeat step 1-5 as needed till trash mobs are dead. If you are fighting an AV the attack pattern changes slightly Set pets to BGM Move your pets using petcom_goto to keep them out of the AV’s alpha. Cast Farsight Cast Distortion Field into Time Crawl this holds any adds around and or slows them. Cast Chrono Shift on as many allies as you can. Time Mend any ally that needs it after the opening of the AV If you have Vanguard Medal use it If the AV is not dead by this point Cast Soul Tentacles as well as Distortion Felid and Time Crawl Move your pets inwards so they can use smash as needed If you are ever at a loss for what to build for on a Mastermind the is Positional Def (ranged is preferable this way you can stay out of harm's way and let your pets work in BGM). If you find yourself over capped in one or more positional defenses it's not a bad idea to look into taking the Ghost Widow Patron set as opposed to Black Scorpion the opposite also is true if you find yourself lacking Scorpion Shield works just as well as Dark Embrace. Helpful links https://www.reddit.com/r/Cityofheroes/comments/bn51p3/helpful_mousecentric_mastermind_binds_that_i_want/ https://cityofheroes.fandom.com/wiki/Mastermind_Numpad_Pet_Controls In Closing In closing the most daunting thing about masterminds is knowing you are not the damage and also not the primary debuffer/healer your role is a jack of all trades master of none. Masterminds are one of if not the hardest AT to master and at the same time one of the most rewarding experiences in the game to master. There is no such thing as a bad set for masterminds so feel free to open up and try things like Ninjas Electrical Affinity. Finally a good mastermind is someone who can keep their pets controlled while still maintaining productivity of attacking. You never notice a great mastermind however everyone remembers a bad mastermind.
  23. Well.... Here we go again. If you've read my other "guide" on my Fire/Energy Tank, then you'd know to stop reading right now. To those of you mad enough to continue on, I'd like to introduce you to my new love affair, MeEp. MeEp is my Fire/Dark Affinity/Fire Controller, a sadomasochists wet dream, a demon boi from Hell (who would have thought?). I hadn't played him in a long while, but decided it was time for a respec due to the changes to Fade no longer receiving +special buffs. And wow, what a success this has been. My goal was to reach 45%+ defense to Melee/Ranged/AoE despite Fade no longer getting extra defense from Clarion. And I was able to do so. So without further ado... Let's dive into it! Fire Control& You® Why? - Because any other secondary means you can't burn Nazis! MeEp takes great joy in burning Nazis in the physical plane, only to meet them once again in the depths of Hell. The damage is great, the knockback (or rather, knockdown) is GLORIOUS and the visuals are stunning. Notice a theme here? Neither do I. Fire hot, fire good, FIRE FUN. Now, let's go over the powers in GREAT detail. Ring of Fire - I'll spare you a Johnny Cash reference here, you'll need all the reprieve you can get from this madness. You're welcome. Ring of Fire is great! I've debated swapping this out for Fire Blast from the APP, but the difference in damage is neglible AND you can use this at low levels if you take it at a low level (and you should). Also, I lied. Take this power and unleash your inner Johnny Cash on unsuspecting victims. Char - Any good chef knows the secret to a good steak is just the right amount of char. S**t, thought I was on the Chicago Chefs Forums.. Umm.... I mean, this power is also great? Yeah. That's it. This is part of your ST rotation and also can stack an incredibly high magnitude of hold on your enemies. Take it, spam it, love it and use the power of Char to win over your enemies hearts... And stomachs. Fire Cages - If I could fall in love with a power... It would be this one, but also like 6 or 7 others. I'm a polygamist and you can't tell me it's wrong. Just take this power, burn Nazis and stop asking questions. This will help set up containment, keep mobs in your patches of super bouncy fun time and doom and also make your enemies visually stunning. It's a win-win for everyone involved. Smoke - Smoking is bad for you, but good for your enemies? I don't know. All I know is that I've never liked this power, especially in a meta that is so farkin fast. Which is a shame, because it IS a good power. It's just not a good power for me, and this build is so intricately woven.. There's just no room for it. Save your smoke for you, why would you want to smoke up your enemies? Hot Feet - Ahhhhh yeah! Say goodbye to your endurance bar! I love this power. Mainly because it forces me to be in PBAoE range at all times, which is EXACTLY how you should be playing this build, but it's also a unique power amongst Controllers. Once you get containment set up, you'll watch mobs melt as your DoT's tick away. It's epic. Flashfire - This is where I'll be giving some Controller veterans an aneurysm. I rarely use this power. I repeat, I rarely use this power. Take a stroll through the Controller forums and you'll see some of the veteran Controllers all saying the same thing: The meta is so quick, control powers are oftentimes obsolete. Flashfire + Howling Twilight takes 5.54 seconds to activate between the two. This is a LIFETIME on teams that ROFLstomp everything in their way and those 5.5 seconds can be better used on other powers like Tar Patch or Bonfire. I really only open wth this on low level teams. Cinders - I really want to like this power.. I really do. And I would, if I had the room to put it in this build. But I need to reiterate again, this build is TIGHT, so tight.. And I just can't find a way to utilize it. Which is a shame, because it activates SO quickly. But it also has a 240 second base recharge.. Which is awful. You'd be better off stacking Flashfire + Howling Twilight to shut down mobs. Bonfire - Now, the world don't move to the beat of just one drum, what might be right for you, may not be right for some. I don't think the people who came up with this ever played a Fire Control Controller... Bonfire is incredible. Slot the Overwhelming Force KB->KD IO and make your own drum beats! Bonfire + Tar Patch + Fire Cages is enough to completely neuter most mobs. The damage mitigation from this power alone is huge. Drop it on a group of enemies, jump into the middle of them and /e drum your heart out. Fire Imps - These little bastards.... I love them to death but they are SO reckless. It's a good thing you can buff them into oblivion so they can die anyways. Darkness Affinity& You® Why? - Because any other secondary restricts your access to the depths of Hell, where you can further torment the Nazis you put down. It's a literal tool-box full of everything you could possibly want. Defense debuff resistance? Check. Turn your entire team into emissaries of darkness? Yup. HP and endurance management? Mmmmmmmhmmmmm. Fluffy? F**k YEAH! This has quickly become my favorite Controller secondary.. And for good reason. So let's go over those reasons. Twilight Grasp - I can't even begin to tell you how many times I was kicked out of WalMart for stealing copies of Twilight... I couldn't tell you why I did it.. But just know that I did. And here we are. This "almost" helps keep your Imps alive... "Almost". Tar Patch - A match made in heaven for Bonfire. Open up the gates of Hell and torment your enemies. This used to be more effective back when Controllers/Corrupters had Defender debuff values for this power. I hardly notice, it's still great! And also.... it stacks! Drop Tar Patch whenever it is up. You won't regret it. Darkest Night - Just take it... Okay? Another power I use infrequently. I mostly use this to anchor a distant mob when I am at aggro cap. That way, when the Tank (or my whole team) finally catches up to me and takes the aggro I've acquired away from me, the mob I have this anchored to will come to me and my patches of DOOM. Useful for herd management and hard target debuffing. Howling Twilight - AWWWHOOOOOOO!!!!! "The wolve's howls echoed through the night, sending a chill down my spine." Love the sound this power makes... It doesn't sound like wolves at all.. But a demon boi can dream. Useful for rezzing your teammates (which should be as immortal as you if you are doing your job) and also helpful for making hard targets squishy! Throw this on an AV as well as a few applications of Twilight Grasp and you can substantially reduce an AV's regeneration rate. Shadow Fall - Ohhh.. So edgy, so cool. One of the few powers that offers resistance to Psionic damage for yourself AND your teammates! And it's only one of two in this set that do so! Take it... My Satan... Take it!!!! Fade - Oh yes... This power. Let me TELL YA about this power. First... You want this perma, and it is on this build. Second.. It offers defense debuff resistance! To my knowledge, it is the only power that does so on a team wide level, outside of Ageless. This is HUGE. How many resistance based builds are rocking 45% defense to S/L/E/N or Melee/Ranged? A lot. And this further bolsters those defense while also giving DDR? So good! It also offers resistance to various damage types, most notably, Psionics. Take this power and make it perma, ASAP. Soul Absorption - It just keeps getting better! Imagine if Regeneration Aura and Recovery Aura had a child and it became the spawn of Satan. That is this child. Nurture this child, it commands you. You can make this perma, and you should. This completely remedies your endurance woes, and believe me, there are endurance woes when running Hotfeet on top of the other toggles this build is running. This power is amazing and should be prioritized the second it becomes available AND you are surrounded by foes that are dead or alive. Black Hole - Finally a power that does exactly what the name implies. This power SUCKS. Next!!! Dark Servant - FLUFFY!!! It's always there, lurking, watching... He's been with you ever since you were a child, hiding in the shadows. Corrupting anyone who gets close to you. The bond you share with Fluffy is immeasurable. Respect it and it will respect you. Alright, now that THAT'S over. Let's dive into the build. Quick stats at a glance: Perma Fade, Soul Absorption and Hasten (with one FF +Recharge proc) 1,461 HP with accolades + set bonuses (1,257 HP with no accolades) 46% Defense to Melee/Ranged/AoE 39-42% Defense to all damage types 34.6% Defense debuff resistance 75% Resistance to Smash/Lethal 62.1% Resistance to Fire 49.8% Resistance to Negative Energy 45.2% Resistance to Cold 43.8% Resistance to Psionic 34% Resistance to Energy 8% Resistance to Toxic 28.5 HP/sec with 1 stack of Soul Absorption 5.52 End/sec with 1 stack of Soul Absoprtion 101% Global recharge (before Hasten) Team buffs: 24% Defense to all 34.6% Defense debuff resistance 35.85% Resistance to Psionic/Negative Energy 19.96% Resistance to Energy 15.89% Resistance to Smash/Lethal Perma Soul Absorption Strategy: Aggressive. When exemplared, I play a tad bit more cautiosly, often opening up with Flashfire +Howling Twilight before engaging mobs and dropping Tar Patch or spamming Fire Cages. At 50+ I throw no caution to the wind. I engage every mob first, always. It takes some time to drop Tar Patch and Bonfire, and I prefer to do that BEFORE my team engages. Otherwise, by the time you get all your goodies set up, the team has already killed them. This allows you to utilize your powers to the fullest extent. I cannot stress that enough. Aggressive play is going to get you the most bang for your buck. Anyways, here's the build! Let me know what you think or if there is any room for improvement. Off the top of my head, maybe taking the Agility Alpha would open up the door to save some slots, but endurance can be a bit taxing if you don't take Cardiac. There are a lot of things I'd like to add.. The Kismet IO, Power Transfer chance for heal IO... But as it stands, if I change even one IO, I lose 45% defense to all or perma Hasten. Hero Plan by Mids' Reborn : Hero Designer 2.7.2.10 https://github.com/Crytilis/mids-reborn-hero-designer Click this DataLink to open the build! Level 50 Magic Controller Primary Power Set: Fire Control Secondary Power Set: Darkness Affinity Power Pool: Speed Power Pool: Leaping Power Pool: zc_Leadership Power Pool: Fighting Ancillary Pool: Fire Mastery Hero Profile: Level 1: Char -- SprWiloft-Acc/Conf/Hold/Immob/Sleep/Stun/Fear(A), SprWiloft-Conf/Hold/Immob/Sleep/Stun/Fear/Rchg(13), SprWiloft-EndRdx/Rchg(15), SprWiloft-Acc/Conf/Hold/Immob/Sleep/Stun/Fear/EndRdx(15), SprWiloft-Acc/Conf/Hold/Immob/Sleep/Stun/Fear/EndRdx/Rchg(25), SprWiloft-Rchg/Dmg%(27) Level 1: Twilight Grasp -- TchoftheN-Acc/Heal(A), TchoftheN-Acc/EndRdx/Heal/HP/Regen(11), TchoftheN-Heal(13) Level 2: Fire Cages -- PstBls-Acc/Dmg(A), PstBls-Dmg/EndRdx(27), PstBls-Dmg/Rchg(29), PstBls-Acc/Dmg/EndRdx(29), PstBls-Dam%(31) Level 4: Tar Patch -- RechRdx-I(A) Level 6: Ring of Fire -- Apc-Dmg(A), Apc-Acc/Dmg/Rchg(7), Apc-Acc/Rchg(7), Apc-Dmg/EndRdx(9), Apc-Dam%(11) Level 8: Hasten -- RechRdx-I(A), RechRdx-I(9) Level 10: Darkest Night -- EndRdx-I(A) Level 12: Howling Twilight -- RechRdx-I(A) Level 14: Flashfire -- AbsAmz-Stun/Rchg(A), AbsAmz-Acc/Stun/Rchg(37), AbsAmz-Acc/Rchg(37), AbsAmz-EndRdx/Stun(37), AbsAmz-ToHitDeb%(40) Level 16: Shadow Fall -- LucoftheG-Def/Rchg+(A), LucoftheG-Def(17), LucoftheG-Def/EndRdx(17), StdPrt-ResDam/Def+(21) Level 18: Combat Jumping -- LucoftheG-Def/Rchg+(A), ShlWal-ResDam/Re TP(19), Rct-ResDam%(19) Level 20: Fade -- LucoftheG-Def/Rchg+(A), LucoftheG-Def/Rchg(21), LucoftheG-Def/EndRdx/Rchg(23), Ags-ResDam(23), Ags-ResDam/Rchg(25), Ags-ResDam/EndRdx/Rchg(42) Level 22: Super Speed -- BlsoftheZ-Travel(A), BlsoftheZ-Travel/EndRdx(42), BlsoftheZ-ResKB(42) Level 24: Hot Feet -- Arm-Dmg(A), Arm-Acc/Dmg/Rchg(34), Arm-Acc/Rchg(34), Arm-Dmg/EndRdx(36), Arm-Dam%(36), FuroftheG-ResDeb%(36) Level 26: Bonfire -- OvrFrc-Dam/KB(A), FrcFdb-Rechg%(50) Level 28: Soul Absorption -- NmnCnv-Heal(A), NmnCnv-Heal/Rchg(33), NmnCnv-Heal/EndRdx/Rchg(33), EffAdp-EndMod(33), EffAdp-EndMod/Rchg(34) Level 30: Maneuvers -- LucoftheG-Def/Rchg+(A), LucoftheG-Def(31), LucoftheG-Def/EndRdx(31) Level 32: Fire Imps -- SvrRgh-Acc/Dmg(A), SvrRgh-Dmg/EndRdx(43), SvrRgh-Acc/EndRdx(43), SvrRgh-Acc/Dmg/EndRdx(43), SvrRgh-Acc(46), SvrRgh-PetResDam(46) Level 35: Boxing -- Empty(A) Level 38: Dark Servant -- GldNet-Acc/Hold(A), GldNet-Acc/Rchg(39), GldNet-EndRdx/Rchg/Hold(39), GldNet-Acc/EndRdx/Rchg/Hold(39), GldNet-Dam%(40), GldNet-Rchg/Hold(40) Level 41: Tough -- GldArm-3defTpProc(A) Level 44: Fire Ball -- Rgn-Dmg/Rchg(A), Rgn-Acc/Dmg/Rchg(45), Rgn-Acc/Rchg(45), Rgn-Dmg/EndRdx(45), Rgn-Knock%(46) Level 47: Fire Shield -- UnbGrd-ResDam(A), UnbGrd-ResDam/EndRdx(48), UnbGrd-ResDam/EndRdx/Rchg(48), UnbGrd-Max HP%(48) Level 49: Weave -- LucoftheG-Def/Rchg+(A), LucoftheG-Def(50), LucoftheG-Def/EndRdx(50) Level 1: Brawl -- Empty(A) Level 1: Containment Level 1: Prestige Power Dash -- Empty(A) Level 1: Prestige Power Slide -- Qck-EndRdx/RunSpd(A) Level 1: Prestige Power Quick -- Empty(A) Level 1: Prestige Power Rush -- Empty(A) Level 1: Prestige Power Surge -- Empty(A) Level 1: Sprint -- Empty(A) Level 2: Rest -- Empty(A) Level 4: Ninja Run Level 2: Swift -- Run-I(A) Level 2: Health -- Pnc-Heal/+End(A), NmnCnv-Regen/Rcvry+(3), Mrc-Rcvry+(5) Level 2: Hurdle -- Jump-I(A) Level 2: Stamina -- PrfShf-EndMod(A), PrfShf-EndMod/Rchg(3), PrfShf-End%(5) Level 0: Freedom Phalanx Reserve Level 0: Portal Jockey Level 0: Task Force Commander Level 0: The Atlas Medallion Level 50: Cardiac Core Paragon Level 50: Pyronic Core Final Judgement Level 50: Reactive Radial Flawless Interface Level 50: Control Core Embodiment Level 50: Clarion Radial Epiphany ------------
  24. KnightSoul

    Guide Index

    Last Update: 8/112019 (Internal links repaired. Please notify me if any are still faulty.) This is an index of Player Guides, for players, by players. Thank you to everyone that contributes. This is a resurrection of Zombie Man's pre-shutdown Guide to Guides. You can find The undead Guide to the Guides (Zombie Man 4-21-12, [i23]) on the web archive. Its full of all the pre-shutdown guides that countless players wrote and an excellent resource. This Index will be focused on the material written for the I26 Homecoming servers. [glow=yellow,2,300]Mirrors to be found at <placeholder> and <web.archive placeholder>.[/glow] Information on contributing is in section one, the first linked post. This post contains the links to the Index subsections below, allowing quick navigation to the links to the guides. Click the header to be on your way. I. Introduction: The Guide Index. II. Before You Start -Preparing to Play Manuals, New Player's Guides, Account Information, Overviews. Homecoming - What's new with City of Heroes Homecoming Account Info Beginner Guides Tips Guideposts for long range planning Character Creation Names and Titles Rolling Role-Players Origins Alternative Characters Costume Hero/Villain Planners III. Archetypes, Powersets, Powers and Builds Guide to Archetype and Powersets Heroes (Blaster, Controller, Defender, Scrapper, Tanker, Kheldian) Villains (Brute, Corruptor, Dominator, Mastermind, Stalker, Soldiers of Arachnos) New (Sentinel) Pool Powers Travel Powers Other Pool Powers Ancillary/Patron Pool Powers Specific Powers & Character Concepts What Archetypes Can Do Powers used by Several ATs Character Concepts In General Incarnate System General Incarnate Powers and Slots IV. Operating Your Game - How To Make Things Go Commands User Interface Binds & Macros How To Bind & Macro Binds for Specific Purposes Travel Binds Remapping V. Communicating With Others Playing Nicely Know Where and How to Speak Understanding One Another Sying it With Style VI. Combat Mechanics Introduction to Combat Defense, Accuracy, and To-Hit Damage, Experience, Rewards and Leveling Health and Endurance Other Combat Mechanics Control, Aggro and Strategy Pulling Managing Aggro VII. Foes Combating the Environment (PvE) Giant Monsters ArchVillains and the Hero class Foes in General and other Specific Foes Combating Other Players (PvP) VIII. Missions Contacts, Difficulty, and Missions in General Mayhem and Safeguard, Schemes and Policebands Specific Missions Trials, Raids, Events, and Task/Strike -Forces Hero Content Villain Content Shared Content Respecification Trials The Hamidon Raids Lord Recluse Strike Force Miss Liberty Task Force Ouroboros and Flashback Going Rogue and Praetoria Alignment System IX. Teams, Groups, and Bases Teaming How to form a team How to run a team- leader tips Team Strategy Knowing Your Teammates Capabilities Voice Communication Super (Villain) Groups and Bases Creating a group Creating a Base Base Salvage and Crafting (Not applicable in the Homecoming fork.) X Powers -Enhancements and Respecification Enhancements Respecification XI. Inventions - Enhancements, Recipes, "Loot" and the Market Inventions in General Invention Salvage, Recipes, and Drops The Consignment Markets and Economy XII. Other Game Systems Badges Setting Badge Title How to Get a Specific Badge How to get a Specific Badge Set Badge Lists Badge Trackers Arena and Gladiator Day Jobs Mission Architect XIII. The In-Game World - Tale of Three Cities Background, Storybook, and Lore Areas and Zones and other Places Finding Yourself Hero Zones Villain Zones Praetorian Zones Shared Zones XIV. The Out of Character Experience Community History, Customs and Culture Leading by (Bad) Example Comic Books and "The Industry" XV. Looking Under the Hood - Advanced Mechanics 3rd Party Customization (maps, graphics, sounds, fonts, icons) Screenshots, Demos, Videos Computers & PeripheralsHomecoming Development XVI. Getting Help and Other Resources Official Channels Using the Homecoming Forums Other Websites with Guides and Further Information
  25. RUNNING THE BEHAVIORAL ADJUSTMENT FACILITY INCARNATE TRIAL or ROCK 'EM SOCK 'EM PRAETORIAN ROBOTS! The Behavioral Adjustment Facility Trial, or BAF, is one of the dead simplest Incarnate Trials to do. For that reason, it's probably the single-most run Incarnate Trial in the game, simply because it's so easy. That being said, even the simplest Incarnate Trial can be hard to understand if nobody bothers explaining it to you. And the way many of these trials are run, most of the people doing them have long experience and know exactly where to be at any given time, so nobody really bothers to give clear orders—they just assume everyone already knows what to do. This can leave newcomers confused, with no idea at all about what is even going on. Reading the Homecoming Wiki article about it can help, but the wiki tends to be more informative than instructional. So, I'm writing this guide to let the newly-Incarnate know what to do, as well as go over my own advice for people running the trial for the first time. To note, this guide is informed by my own experience and opinions. Other experienced trial leaders will have their own way of doing things, so if you get on a trial with leaders who run it differently, don't assume they're doing it wrong. Learn from what they're doing, just as I learned from others before I got comfortable running the trial for myself. And if you're an experienced leader and disagree with any of my advice (or think I got something factually wrong), please comment below the guide. I hope you've already read my Comprehensive Guide to the Incarnate System, so you'll have a basic idea of how Incarnates work. If not, or if it's been a while, you might want to run through it to refresh your memory. MAP OF THE BEHAVIORAL ADJUSTMENT FACILITY In the rest of the guide, I'll be referring to this map, and the numbers I've marked on it. Keep it handy. PREPARATION STAGE FORMING UP THE BAF TRIAL If you're going to be leading the Trial, begin by deciding where you're going to meet up for it. There are two main spots people usually use: Pocket D and Ouroboros. Both of them are accessible to both heroes and villains; both can hold a lot of people. Ouroboros is a bit easier to get to, given that everyone almost certainly has an Ouroboros porter by the time they're an Incarnate, plus has Luna the Incarnate vendor to convert Astral Merits into Empyreans while people wait between Trials. Pocket D has a lot of nice amenities and can be reached by SG base porter or that teleport power from the P2W store. In the end, it's largely a matter of personal preference. Whichever zone you pick, once you're there you should broadcast periodically on the LFG channel and be ready to invite people to the League as they zone in. Note that you can't invite "enemies" into the league unless they're within the same zone as you. If you're a blue-sider (Hero or Vigilante), then any red-sider (Villain or Rogue) must be in the same zone with you before you can invite them on the league—and vice versa. So if you get the message that you can't add an enemy to the league, ask them to let you know when they're in the zone so you can add them. At this stage, don't worry too much about balancing out the composition of the teams—due to the way the LFG teleport works, your teams will probably look completely different when you zone into the trial, and you'll just have to do it all over again. For now, just worry about getting 24 people. (If you like. You can start with as few as 12, but the more, the merrier!) In Homecoming, all that is necessary to be eligible for the BAF Trial is to have trained up to level 50. You don't even need your Alpha Slot unlocked yet; it's enough that you be 50 and earning Incarnate XP. CHOOSE YOUR LEAGUE: OPEN OR CLOSED? When you're forming a league for this or any other Trial, you have the choice of leaving the league Open or setting it Closed. Both approaches have their advantages and disadvantages. Open Leagues will allow anyone to join the league uninvited through the LFG panel if the league has room available. Running the Trial from an Open League will grant an additional Astral Merit on completing the Trial, as well as apply the "Warmth of Prometheus," a 7.5% buff to damage, healing, and recharge rate for all participants. It will also allow league members to vote to kick members, but will prevent you as league leader from kicking anyone from the Trial yourself. Also, if your league is not completely full with 24 members at the time you queue up, you may have to wait a few minutes before the game will allow it to start. To launch a Closed League, you would make sure that the "Lock the event for your group" option at the lower right of the LFG screen is checked before you queue. This will prevent outsiders from joining without an invitation from you, and will allow you to kick troublemakers yourself without need of a vote. Of course, you won't get the extra Astral Merit or the "Warmth of Prometheus" buff from running Closed. Also, there is a bug inherent in Closed Leagues that will make zoning into the Trial a bit of a trial itself, which I'll explain in a future section. PREPPING FOR LAUNCH: THE THREE REQUESTS Once you've filled to 24 people, issue the Three Requests. (I'd say "Three Commandments," but really, that sounds a bit too bossy, even for leading a Trial. And you don't have the power to comply obedience anyway, so might as well try to catch more flies with honey.) Once we zone into the trial, please stand perfectly still, so you don't move and trigger the cut scene. The very start of the trial can be a bit confusing, due to a nasty bug with Closed Leagues that I'll go over in the next section, and there's an obnoxiously long cut scene that triggers just from someone walking a few yards forward from where you zone in, right in the middle of it. If you can get people to hold off on triggering that cut scene, you'll have time to repair the teams from the issues caused by that bug. Once we zone into the trial, please check to see if you have the league star. If you do, please pass it back to me immediately. One of the more annoying things about the LFG teleporter is that it will invariably assign the league star to the first person who zones into the trial zone—which is nearly never the person actually running the trial. If you don't say anything about that now, when people zone in their minds will be on charging headlong into the trial, and they may not even pay any attention to their chat or messages if you ask them to give the star back. So prompt them now so they'll be thinking about it when they zone in. If you get dropped from the league, send me a /tell so I can invite you back in. Due to the bug I'll explain in the next section, a handful of people will probably be booted from the league if you launch Closed. However, you can invite them back in again just by issuing the command /li [name]. So ask that they tell you who they are, so you can get that taken care of. Once you've made those things clear to everyone go ahead and hit LFG, choose the BAF trial from the Incarnate Trials tab, lock the event to your group, and queue up. Note that if you're taking part in the trial and get disconnected at any time other than when you first zone in, you should always check your LFG window for a "rejoin" button that will let you hop right back into the trial. For whatever reason, getting a /li reinvitation when you have a "rejoin" button available will actually lock you out of the trial. PART ONE: RUNNING THE TRIAL For the first part of this guide, I'm going to go over the Trial the way it is usually run—just the basic tasks required to beat the Trial and get your Incarnate materials. Afterward, I'll discuss the badges and what you need to do differently if you want to get them. Then I'll discuss each badge in turn. Note that, as with all Incarnate Trials, the hospital is within the trial map—but the hospital's exit doors will only open for ten seconds out of every thirty. So, be quick about getting to the exit door; if you miss the 10-second window, you'll have to wait 20 more seconds for another one. ZONING IN You'll appear on a small platform with stairs to a door at one end (which you can barely see at the very southwest part of the map, above). Moving forward toward the stairs will trigger a two-minute cut scene as Mother Mayhem gets an update on the current situation from Siege and Nightstar. Hopefully, everyone is well-behaved and doesn't move for at least a minute or two. Now, that bug I was talking about. For whatever reason, when you zone into an Incarnate Trial on a Closed League, the game likes to fill two teams, then split the third team into four people scattered across the other four possible league teams, and drop the rest. So, those people will need to send you a /tell so you can invite them back in with /li [name], and you'll need to consolidate those scattered people onto just one team. Of course, a complicating factor is that you probably won't even have the league star until whoever has it now notices and gives it back to you, and you can't consolidate the team or reinvite the dropped players until that happens. And if someone doesn't heed your advice and goes ahead and charges forward, you'll be into that cut scene for two minutes before you can do anything further about fixing things. (Note that if you do happen to have the star as you're zoning in, you can try immediately moving people from teams 1 and 2 over to team 3 as they zone in one by one. This could prevent those people who are last to zone in from getting booted by this bug.) In any case, you should try not to keep the players waiting too long. It may take a couple of minutes before everyone is able to send you a /tell. Once you've merged the remains of team 3 back into one team, you should go ahead and move forward, through the cut scene, and get started on things. BALANCING THE TEAMS After the cut scene, and while peforming the first couple tasks of the Trial, you should check the composition of the teams and try to balance them as best you can by shuffling people from one team to another. Ideally, you should have at least one Tanker or Brute and at least one Controller or Dominator on every team. Try to split support and damage types evenly across the teams, because there may come times each team needs to act on its own. Ideally, you should have teams well balanced by the time Siege is defeated. PHASE ONE: DEFEAT FOES As soon as the cut scene ends, and you enter the door at the top of the stairs, you'll be inside the Behavioral Adjustment Facility—and so will a bunch of Warworks. You need to take out 40 of them in order to move on to the next phase. That shouldn't take you long. When you finish, the turret guns positioned around the walls will start firing, and they have nasty auto-hit attacks that will quickly clobber anyone still standing in the open. To get out of their line of fire, make for the point marked 1 on the map, above. Due to the way the north building is positioned, it's a blind spot from the nearest turrets, and out of the range of the turrets farther away. By the way, do not click on any of the glowy consoles by the outer wall beneath the turrets. I'll explain why later. PHASE TWO: DEFEAT NIGHTSTAR When the Warworks are cleared out and the turrets open up, Nightstar will appear at the point marked 2, between the two smaller buildings to the east. Some Tanker or Brute needs to go taunt her back to point 1. (The best candidate would be a Resistance-based type, like Fire, Dark, or Stone, because the turrets are auto-hit so Defense won't do any good; someone Defense-based like Super Reflexes won't have the capped Resistances of a Resistance Tanker and will go down a lot quicker.) Try to get her as close to 1 as you possibly can—dead-center of the building. It may be necessary to ask the league to hold off on attacking her until the taunter has her properly positioned. Once she's there, take her down. She's generally easy to defeat, save for one special trick that both she and Siege have for this trial, which is sequestration. As you gain her attention, you will receive two warnings, and with each warning you'll have a glowing ring that appears around you. If you disregard the warnings, what happens next is that you get sequestered—irresistibly held for thirty seconds. What's more, it's an AoE hold—so anyone within those rings around you will be held as well. Pay close attention to these warnings. If you notice the second warning message, or see you have a second ring, back away from everyone else, and either attack the AV from range or fight their adds (that is, the additional enemies that spawn with them) until the rings fade away. If you lose track of Nightstar amid all her adds and the other players, you can instantly target her by clicking on her health bar in the pop-up trial window that displays it. Once Nightstar goes down, you'll have about a minute to prepare for the next part: the running of the prisoners. PHASE THREE: PRISONERS ESCAPING When the countdown timer hits 5:00, the doors on the four large buildings and the two smaller ones will open, and mindwashed Resistance prisoners will start running for freedom. For whatever reason, they will run up and down the walkways toward the exit doors at the opposite side of the complex from where they start. (You would think that if they really wanted to get loose, they'd head for the doors closest to them, but who can say what goes through the minds of the mindwashed?) To stop the Praetorians' evil plans, you have to stop the prisoners. Position your teams, and be sure to summon Lore Pets and set them to "Aggressive" when the timer reaches 5:05, so they'll be effective all the way through the prisoner run. There are two kinds of prisoners: Commandos and Fighters. Commandos are the tougher ones, and they're immune to pretty much every form of mez or taunt; the only way to stop them at all is to drop them. Fighters can be mezzed, however. Classes with high single-target damage should probably concentrate their fire on Commandos, since they're the toughest ones to stop. The macro /macro Cmdo targetcustomnear Commando could come in handy for quickly targeting them. Prisoners won't attack you, so you can generally drop defensive toggles for this phase if you could better use the End for other things. However, they can cast Confuse on characters and their pets. Kinetics should be careful when and how they cast Speed Boost, lest they accidentally grant a group of prisoners super speed and send them zipping quickly away. DOORS VS. CHOKES There are two possible ways to distribute your forces here. The way I saw most leaders run it for the first few months of Homecoming was that they'd assign two or three people to each set of doors, and clobber the prisoners from each door before they could get loose, with a couple people held in reserve to go after runners. There is some argument that this might still be the way to go if your league has a lot of AoE damage but not so many buffers. However, I feel the other method is a vast improvement in almost every possible circumstance. More recent teams have largely switched over to the "chokepoint" strategy, or "chokes" for short. In this strategy, you will position one of your teams at the point marked 1, and the other two teams at the point marked 3. Due to the way their pathing system works, all prisoners will pass through either point 1 (about 1/3 of the prisoners) or point 3 (about 2/3 of the prisoners) on their way to freedom. Setting up a pair of gauntlets at these chokepoints will let you clobber each of them with all your might as they pass. Group your teams up fairly closely together, with the center of the group about where the red number is; this lets AoE buffs hit more people, and allows you to concentrate AoE damage. It also doesn't leave room for prisoners to slip between buildings and escape, which is the most likely cause of leaks in this strategy. (Prisoners exiting the middle south building will try to head south between it and the building immediately to its left, to make for an exit at the lower left corner of the left building, which is why point 3 is positioned right there.) If anyone tries to spread out, or take up position at one of the doors, ask them to get back with the rest of the group. People at each end of the choke should be facing outward, because enemies will run in from both directions. Clobber the enemies coming toward you—but if you see any enemies running past you from behind, definitely clobber them before they get far, because if they get past you they'll be able to escape to freedom. Try not to let any prisoners at all get away. The chokepoint system is remarkably efficient; with a league that knows what they're doing, chances are good that not a single prisoner will get past you. Even if a few do, it's not likely that all 30 will. PHASE FOUR: DEFEAT SIEGE This phase is essentially a repeat of Phase Two. Gather everyone back at 1, where Nightstar is still lying. Siege will appear at point 4 on the map, and that tough taunter needs to grab him and bring him back. You should position him as close as possible to Nightstar, because it will be important for Phase Five that those two be as close together as possible. This is also why it's a good idea to get Nightstar to the middle of the building before dropping her during Phase Two, so you won't have as far to drag Siege. It may be necessary to ask the rest of the league to hold off attacking until Siege is where you want him. As with Nightstar, Siege will warn and then sequester people who attack him. Again, pay attention to the warnings, move away from other people when you get the second ring, and don't get your leaguemates mezzed. And as with Nightstar, you can instantly select him at any time by clicking on his health bar in the trial goal display. Once Siege drops, Phase Five will begin immediately. PHASE FIVE: DEFEAT SIEGE AND NIGHTSTAR (AGAIN) The instant Siege falls, both he and Nightstar will self-rez, and you have to clobber them both again—with the addition that the two archvillains must be defeated within 10 seconds of each other. You need to take them down at more or less exactly the same time. Positioning them close together during the earlier phases helps with this, since you'll be able to hit both of them with the same AoE attacks, making it easier to balance the damage. Everyone should keep a close eye on the health bars, and try to keep the two within 5% health of each other at all times. If one goes down faster than the other, switch your target over and pound on the other until they're more even. Again, you can quickly select either one by clicking on their health bar in the trial goal display. As with Phases Two and Four, mind your warnings and beware sequestration. And that's that. When the two go down, you win the trial, and will get a pop-up window offering your choice of Incarnate component. Make your pick, then exit the trial, and get ready to run another one! PART TWO: BAF BADGES There are four possible badges you can earn from the Behavioral Adjustment Facility Trial. Earning each badge brings with it a random Uncommon Incarnate Thread salvage material, which means that earning badges is a good way for beginning Incarnates to get some of the pieces they need to let them build up powers quickly. Earning all four badges confers the Master of the B.A.F. badge, and a random Rare salvage. If you already have a badge, qualifying for it again awards an extra Astral Merit. The first two of these badges are really simple, but the other two are considerably more complicated. ALARM RAISER This is the very easiest badge to get. All you have to do is not click on any of the glowing consoles around the wall beneath the turrets. Clicking the console deactivates the turret—but the way most trials are run, you're almost never going to be exposed to turret fire anyway, so why bother? That means you'll automatically get the badge the first time you do the BAF on a character, and get an extra Astral Merit each time you run the trial thereafter. NOT ON MY WATCH This is another very easy one to get, if you're any good at Phase Three. Simply don't let any prisoners escape, and you'll get that badge the first time and an extra Astral every time afterward. In my experience, a properly executed chokepoint strategy will do this nearly every time. GOTTA KEEP 'EM SEPARATED This one can be trickier. To earn this badge, you have to defeat Siege and Nightstar where they spawn, rather than pulling them away to point 1. To do this, follow these steps. For Phase Two, the entire league heads to point 2 and engages Nightstar where she spawns. If you move between the two small buildings, you can avoid most of the turret fire. During Phase Three, after the teams have arranged themselves at chokes, divide one of the teams of 8 into two teams of 4 each, so you now have four teams of 8, 8, 4, and 4 people each. In Phase Four, the whole league heads to defeat Siege at point 4. Moving under the awning behind where he spawns will shield you from fire from the turrets. When Siege is down to about 25% health, direct one of the teams of 8 and one of the teams of 4 to head over to point 2 and get ready. During Phase Five, keep a sharp eye on the AVs' relative healths. Remember that you can't switch targets from one AV to the other, so the only way to control defeat speed is to ask the people fighting one AV or the other to hold their attacks for a few moments. You may need to remind them ahead of time to watch the chat so they will see those instructions when you give them. When you defeat the AVs at the same time, you should get the badge. STRONG AND PRETTY For this badge, during Phase Five, you have to make sure that no reinforcement adds are alive when you defeat Nightstar and Siege. This can be a little tricky, and may take more than one try to get right. During Phase Five, assign from 4 to 8 people to an "Adds Team" to move to where the adds spawn during this phase—the set of doors at point 5 on the map. Meanwhile, work on getting the AVs' health down to about 5%. Make sure that everyone understands the importance of watching their health and stopping their attacks at that point, so as not to kill the AVs prematurely. Hold the AVs at 5% health until the next bunch of adds spawn. At that point, the adds team defeats them as quickly as possible with Judgement and other huge AoE attacks, and gives the go signal—at which point the AV teams clobber the AVs as fast as they can and hope they can do it before another wave of reinforcements comes out. Note that it is possible to try for both Gotta Keep 'em Separated and Strong and Pretty at the same time—simply arrange your teams so that you have a 4-to-6 person Adds Team in addition to four other teams to split evenly between the two AVs, send the Adds Team to do their job at the same time you send the Nightstar teams on their way, and follow the same hold-at-5% strategy. But my own preference is just to go for one badge at a time, because there are fewer things that could go wrong that way. And it's not as if you're not going to want to run this trial again. CONCLUSION I hope this guide has given new Incarnates a better idea of what goes on during the BAF trial, as well as given players thinking about leading it some insight into how the thing should be run. If I left anything out or made any mistakes, I'm open to suggestions and corrections, and will happily edit the guide to fix any errors. For other suggestions on how to run the Trial, you might also want to have a look at the several guides on offer linked from the BAF Trial Homecoming Wiki page. In particular, the Visual Guide has a very nice diagram of the facility with the prisoner pathing and all exits marked out, which demonstrates exactly why those two particular chokepoints are so effective (and where to watch for leaks).
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