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  1. What The Hell Is "Doublehit"? - A Hybrid Assault Guide This guide sets out to answer two questions: What does Doublehit actually do? Should I take Assault Core or Assault Radial? This is a guide that I was planning to write back when i24 and the Hybrid slot were still on the test server in 2012. I shelved the project after the shutdown announcement, but recently dug out my old notes and decided to finish it. There is a lot of incorrect information out there about Hybrid Assault Radial and its Doublehit mechanic. I've seen people say that it deals a percentage of the power's damage, that it deals the power's base damage, that it's affected by slotting, and general confusion over what it does. None of these are correct. It's a strange power which works in a strange way. But based on my old notes, and some testing both then and now, I have a fairly complete picture of what it actually does. 1. What Does Doublehit Actually Do? The t4 version of Doublehit, from Radial Assault Embodiment, is a 6 PPM proc on all your attacks. Its damage depends on the power being used. Specifically it depends on two things about the power: its base recharge, that is, the recharge before any slotting or buffs. For toggles, I believe the tick frequency should instead be used, which is 2 seconds for most damage auras, but I have not tested this directly. its areafactor, which is given by a fancy formula: ((1+(Radius*0.15))-(((Radius/6)*0.011)/5)*(360-Arc)). For single-target powers, this simplifies to 1. For spherical AoEs, it simplifies to (1+(Radius*0.15)). Once you know these two things, here's how you calculate how much damage a doublehit proc will do: Doublehit Damage = 0.4×0.2×[0.8×(Recharge)+1.8]×107.09/Areafactor If the power's recharge time is less than 1 second or more than 30 seconds, it gets "clamped" to those values. Where Did That Come From? Are You Making This Up? Nope, that's the real formula. But it's not pulled from thin air: if you hop over to the Design Formulas thread, you'll recognize this as the damage formula, with a base damage of 107.09 damage plugged in, and then a coefficient of 0.4 applied. Since the usual base damage in that formula is (55.61×AT damage scale) instead of 107.09, what Doublehit does when it procs is it deals 77% of what the power's base damage would be, if that power followed the damage formula, and if your archetype had a damage scale of 1.00. What are these "ifs" about? Well, there's two things going on: Every AT has a damage scale. You can view them raw here, but most people are more used to the user-friendly interpretation on ParagonWiki. Your AT damage scale determines how much damage your powers do: a Blaster's ranged scale of 1.125 is 50% higher than a Corruptor's ranged scale of 0.75, so Blasters will do 50% more base damage with ranged powers. But Doublehit doesn't care what your AT is. We'll see later that this has implications for Core vs Radial comparisons. The damage formula is a guideline for designing powers, but not all powers follow it. For example, Foot Stomp has a 20s base recharge and a 15-foot radius, so according to the damage formula, its base damage for a level 50 Tanker "should" be 0.2×(0.8×20+1.8)×44.488/(1+.15×15) = 48.73 damage. But a quick peek into Pine's will show you that it actually deals 63.17 damage base. Foot Stomp breaks the damage formula, so Doublehit will deal less than 77% of Foot Stomp's base damage, because Foot Stomp's damage is higher than it "should" be. What About Other Tiers of Assault? Man, I have no idea. Ostensibly, lower tiers should have a lower PPM and a reduced coefficient (instead of the 0.4 used above). But I could not tell you what they are. The numbers in my old notes came from a dev post in the old forums. I have no idea which thread it was, and looking for things on the old forums is a pain. If someone wants to do it, or do some in-game testing, I'll be happy to update the guide. 2. Should I Take Assault Core or Assault Radial? Now, to answer the question most people are actually interested in: which is better? Unfortunately, the answer is "it's complicated". To compare the two, you have to also know what Core does. The t4 Core Assault Embodiment power gives each of your hits a 65% chance to give you a +15% damage buff, lasting 10 seconds, and stacking up to 5 times. A 10s duration means that to stay at 5 stacks, you'd have to get a stack every 2 seconds. Attacking every 2 seconds is feasible, but there's only a 65% chance on hit to get a stack. This means that, unless you have very fast attacks, you won't be hitting 5 stacks very often on a single target. But AoE powers get a chance to proc on each separate hit, so getting 5 stacks is very feasible when there's more than one enemy around - ie, most of the game. If you have 5 stacks of Core, that's +75% damage. That is, Core adds 75% of the power's base damage, and it does that to every hit. Radial adds 77% of what "should" be the power's base damage, ignoring AT modifiers. But it's a proc; it doesn't go off on every hit. The math for comparing these is tedious, because you have to use the above formula AND do PPM calculations, so I made a spreadsheet. Feel free to download a copy and enter the info for the powers you use. By default I've put the "Stacks of Core Buff" setting at 4 stacks; play with that to see how it performs in ideal or not-ideal situations. Some Cliffs notes that may help you decide, if you don't want to crunch a ton of numbers: Doublehit ignores AT modifiers, but Core does not. If your AT has a damage scale below 1.000, lean towards Radial. If it's above 1.000, lean towards Core. If you have a lot of pets (whose attacks usually have low base damage, relative to player attacks), again lean towards Radial. Core is generally a better choice for AoE damage. Core is at its strongest in AoE situations since it can build stacks easily. Meanwhile, Doublehit double-dips on recharge and areafactor: a power with longer recharge has a higher proc chance AND deals more damage when it does proc; a power with a larger area has a lower proc chance AND deals less damage when it does proc. Core is generally a better choice if most of your attacks have short recharge times, by the same reasoning. Doublehit is not subject to the damage cap, because it's not a damage buff, it's a proc. If you're often at the damage cap, Core does nothing for you, so go Radial. Radial works at full strength whenever it's toggled on, while Core needs to build stacks. If you spend a lot of time throwing support powers, buffing your pets, etc, then you won't be building stacks very effectively, so go Radial instead. Hopefully this guide left you less confused than you were before reading it, but if not, please feel free to ask questions. Either power is quite strong overall, so if you're getting anxiety over this much math, don't stress a great deal about picking the "right" one. Changelog 08/04/19: Fiddled with some phrasing. Fixed proc chance calculations. Update info about Core stacks from AoE powers.
  2. Peacebomber How-To Guide (to be updated) You Will Find: -Build Use Recommendation Overview -Macro Setup -Form and Power Tray Key Binding Setup -Null The Gull - Disable Power Tray -MIDS Build Link (2nd Post) Build Use Recommendation Overview This build is meant to play mostly melee with ranged capabilities. “Tri-form” here isn’t meant as necessary to play each form and its powers as standalone roles (although you can), but to chain their powers together. The exception being single target you may remain in human form (radiant, incandescent, solar flare, glinting eye (human) or bright nova blast (an exception) if you have the switch down fast). At the lowest levels exempt nova will be mostly utilized though. As you exempt lvl 15+ dwarf is available. With dwarf slotted w/resistance standalone tanking is optional when needed. Or, damage (damage/tank if team composition rewards you bonus resistance–tank without having to stay in dwarf) exempt lvl 15+ 3 AoE’s available being x2 detonation, and dwarf flare. If playing exempt lvl 21+ all 4 AoE’s are available. Taunt macro is highly utilized – pulling in mobs after a dawn strike + flares close enough to continue AoE chain and without runners, photon seekers shines after taunt as well. AoE Attack Chain: dwarf flare, solar flare, nova detonation, and lum detonation. Depending on current recharge it may look something more like: Dwarf flare, flare, dwarf flare, nova detonation, dwarf flare, flare. You can change the order and use nova detonation more frequently I just prefer the pbAoE over targetedAoE. Using macros will allow a continuous flow between skills without ever having to activate or deactivate the forms before skills (other than pressing the macro button 1-2 times depending which order you choose to use them). Using Key binds allows quick form transformation + power tray swap using one button for quick pace play. Macro's Setup; Attacks; Dwarf Flare: /macro_image "UmbralBlast_DarkMatterDetonation" "Dwarf Flare" "powexec_toggleon white dwarf$$powexec_name white dwarf Flare$$powexec_toggleoff white dwarf" Solar Flare: /macro_image "LuminousBlast_SolarFlare" "Solar Flare" "powexec_toggleoff white dwarf$$powexec_toggleoff bright nova$$powexec_name Solar Flare" Nova Detonation: /macro_image "UmbralBlast_EbonEye" "Nova Detonation" "powexec_toggleon bright nova$$powexec_name bright nova detonation$$powexec_toggleoff bright nova" Luminous Detonation: /macro_image "LuminousBlast_LuminousDetonation" "Detonation" "powexec_toggleoff white dwarf$$powexec_toggleoff bright nova$$powexec_name Luminous Detonation" Bright Nova Blast: can press once to activate form, use glinting eye with nova form damage bonus, then bright nova blast, and form deactivates after BNB (no use of macro on glinting eye) /macro_image "UmbralBlast_ShadowBlast" "Nova Blast" "powexec_toggleon bright nova$$powexec_name bright nova blast$$powexec_toggleoff bright nova" Heal; Dwarf Sublimation: /macro_image "FlamingShield_HealingFlames" "Dwarf Sublimation" "powexec_toggleon white dwarf$$powexec_name white dwarf sublimation$$powexec_toggleoff white dwarf" Taunt; Dwarf Antagonize: /macro_image "LuminousAura_Antagonize" "Dwarf Antagonize" "powexec_toggleon white dwarf$$powexec_name white dwarf antagonize$$powexec_toggleoff white dwarf" Form and Power Tray Key binding Setup; (You may use whichever key you'd like - just replace the suggested) Quick White Dwarf Form Switch and Power Tray Swap /bind ctrl+` "goto_tray 9$$powexec_toggleon white dwarf" Quick Bright Nova Form Switch and Power Tray Swap /bind alt+` "goto_tray 8$$powexec_toggleon bright nova" Quick Human Form Switch and Power Tray Swap /bind H "goto_tray 7$$powexec_toggleoff bright nova$$powexec_toggleoff white dwarf" Quick Form Deactivation and Tri-Form Power Tray Swap /bind V "goto_tray 1$$powexec_toggleoff bright nova$$powexec_toggleoff white dwarf" I've arranged my Tri-form power tray in order of: (1)Glinting Eye (2) Bright Nova Blast (macro) (3) Luminous Detonation (4) Radiant Strike (5) Incandescence (6) Solar Flare (7) Dwarf Flare (macro) (8) Solar Flare (macro) (9) Bright Nova Detonation (macro) (0) Luminous Detonation (macro) This works well with a gaming mouse having Ranged attacks in one line, Human Form Attacks in the next, and Tri-form AoE melting following. If you're not using a gaming mouse you may try using Shift+# key binds to accomplish similar use without having to run your hands down the entire row of #'s. A Complete View of my Functional Mess: Null The Gull - To Disable Pop-up Form Power Tray In pocket D - the Gull (bird) on-top of truck offers the option to disable the extra power tray that pops-up with dwarf & nova forms.
  3. 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 (though you certainly can still do it if you want to see the story play out). Once you train, you’ll immediately start earning Incarnate XP—and not just from special Incarnate content, either, but from ordinary adventuring. 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. 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!
  4. 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).
  5. This bug has been brought up numerous times over the last year. You can check that out here, here, and here. I have not seen much discussion on this by the devs, with the only mention of looking into it came from @Captain Powerhouse where he stated this. However, I have no idea if he actually looked into it. Nonetheless, I decided to look into it by creating large sample sizes of data and hopefully identify a trend (for those who don't like lots of numbers, feel free to scroll down to my conclusion, which is in big-bold letters at the bottom). Here is what we think we know. The DoT does its proc check after each tick and will cancel all subsequent ticks if there is a miss. This means we have the following expected performance numbers for a DoT that has a 75% chance of “ticking”. Probability of 0 ticks: 25% (25% to miss on first tick attempt) Probability of at least 1 tick: 75% (75% to hit on first tick attempt) Probability of at least 2 ticks: 56.25% (75% x 75%) Probability of at least 3 ticks: 42.19% (75% x 75% x 75%) Probability of at least 4 ticks: 31.64% (75% x 75% x 75% x 75%) Probability of all 5 ticks: 23.73% (75% x 75% x 75% x 75% x 75%) This also translates to the following expected performance: Probability of exactly 0 ticks: 25% Probability of exactly 1 tick: 18.75% (75% x 25%: hit on 1st, then miss on 2nd) Probability of exactly 2 ticks: 14.06% (75% x 75% x 25%) Probability of exactly 3 ticks: 10.55% (75% x 75% x 75% x 25%) Probability of exactly 4 ticks: 7.91% (75% x 75% x 75% x 75% x 25%) Probability of all 5 ticks: 23.73% This tells us that on average, for every successful attack we hit, we can expect 2.288 DoT ticks. (0*25% + 1*18.75% + 2*14.06% + 3*10.55% + 4*7.91% + 5*23.73% = 2.288). Now that we know all the math for the expected performance (which was suggested/verified to us by Captain PowerHouse in the similar Bug Report last year), let’s look at the results we get from testing. For this test, I removed all recharge bonuses for my build and used auto-Kick repeatedly. I did this because it would create a 5 second cycle between Kicks, which make all potential DoT ticks play out before I could perform the next Kick attack. This made it much easier for me to parse my combat log to measure the number of ticks generated from each attack (which I will compare to the probability of EXACT results I just provided). Finally, I removed all results where my final Kick attack resulted in the defeat of the enemy. I did this because we could never be sure of how many ticks of damage the target could have had if they remained alive (once they're dead, the ticks stopped). This includes removing results where the death occurred on the 5th tick. Even though we know exactly how many ticks happened, it is unfair to cherry pick (please don't make me explain the math). So those were my test conditions. Now, onto the results. Test 1 (10 Feb 2020): T3 Degenerative Radial (+75% chance DoT only) 313 Successful Kicks. No Ticks: 149 (47.60%) 1 Tick: 29 (9.27%) 2 Ticks: 34 (10.86%) 3 Ticks: 20 (6.39%) 4 Ticks: 22 (7.03%) 5 Ticks: 59 (18.85%) Average: 1.7252 Ticks per Successful Kick Test 2 (11 Feb 2020): T3 Degenerative Radial (+75% chance DoT only) 1192 Successful Kicks. No Ticks: 522 (43.79%) 1 Tick: 178 (14.93%) 2 Ticks: 109 (9.14%) 3 Ticks: 82 (6.88%) 4 Ticks: 86 (7.21%) 5 Ticks: 215 (18.04%) Average: 1.7290 Ticks per Successful Kick Test 1 and 2 combined: 1505 Successful Kicks No Ticks: 671 (44.58%) 1 Tick: 207 (13.75%) 2 Ticks: 143 (9.50%) 3 Ticks: 102 (6.78%) 4 Ticks: 108 (7.18%) 5 Ticks: 274 (18.21%) Average: 1.7282 Ticks per Successful Kick These results show that the actual performance is nothing close to the expected performance. So, what’s going on here, exactly? First, let’s look at the ratio of the test results with the expected results. 1 Tick: 13.75%/18.75% = 0.7335 2 Ticks: 9.50%/14.06% = 0.6757 3 Ticks: 6.78%/10.55% = 0.6426 4 Ticks: 7.18%/7.91% = 0.9072 5 Ticks: 18.21%/23.73% = 0.7672 Average: 1.728/2.288 = 0.7553 There’s a little bit of variance still happening, but it seems there is a pattern, which is the probability of X Ticks are all being weighted by approximately 0.75 (75%). I suspect an extra 75% probability to proc is being applied in the front end and it carries itself through the rest of the ticks. I notice similar behavior with the 25% proc as I performed a small test (using a T4 Reactive Core) of 172 samples and only saw 9 ticks (5.23%, when I expected 25%). I don’t have enough samples with the 25% proc yet, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it is also having the 25% probability to proc applied an extra time on the front, which cascades down to the probability of the subsequent ticks. If my hunch is correct, then the probability of X ticks to occur would no longer be: X: Current Expected | Actual? 0: 25% | 43.75% 1: 18.75% | 14.06% 2: 14.06% | 10.55% 3: 10.55% | 7.91% 4: 7.91% | 5.93% 5: 23.73% | 17.80% And for completion, here are the numbers for the 25% DoT (needs more testing) X: Current Expected | Actual? 0: 75% | 93.75% 1: 18.75% | 4.69% 2: 4.69% | 1.17% 3: 1.17% | 0.29% 4: 0.29% | 0.07% 5: 0.10% | 0.02% As for continuing testing, I'll do so when incarnates become free again on Beta. As of now, I'm limited to the 75% T3 Degenerative and the 25% T4 Reactive. Edit: To be clear with my phrasing. I suspect only the first tick is having an extra 75% (or 25%) check applied to its proc. All subsequent ticks should be working as expected (with just the single 75% proc checked).
  6. Attained 53.8% Def to all positions with the intent of using Barrier to make up the other 5%, putting me at 58.8%. All attacks are hit capped vs +3 mobs (set Mids to 48 in config). Dark Consumption used as proc blast. Hasten less than a second off perma. Attack chain should be smooth with MG > SL > MB > Smite. Any suggestions? Touch of Fear is just there cause I did not have anything else I wanted... maybe Assault??
  7. Hi there, Over the years the leveling system has matured, its main milestones where level 50, IO Slotting and then Incarnates. The problem is, in order to benefit from the incarnates you need to run lvl 45+ content. Loads are going to say there is plenty of it, but actually its a very slim picking. My main is VET 210+ now, I've completed most content on max rep that I can retain my incarnate powers on, Ive even solo'd most of the TF's. But now I'm left with repeatable which are short, boring and have no real meaning. Im plowing through Villain Side arcs but they wont last long even on max rep to slow it down. Currently the option is Oroborous Flashbacks, which for what they were intended for is great, miss something, go back and do it again. Unfortunately, its the most antisocial aspect of the game. You start a story arc and its in TF mode, no new players can join. if its a new one you also dont know its length so cant really expect others to commit to something that could take many many hours. Outside of Oroborous repeatable missions are: Police Radio/Paper missions - After a while you are practically on first name basis with the various leaders and even know where they hang out.. RWZ repeatable - they just go on and on, have no substance or working goal Dark Astoria - They again go on and on with no end goal Cimerora - They again go on and on with no end goal AE isnt even worth mentioning This game has mode content then almost any other, but its not designed for the power that you gain. There is a lovely TF from Wavelength where you get to fight Trolls again at up to level 54. They scaled well for their damage and a lvl 54 Caliban hits like a truck with no other alterations. Id love for something to be done to allow characters you made and love, to be able to continue going. With the new incarnate systems comming out at some point, its going to make using those powers against end game content even harder. Id like to suggest a few alterations that wouldn't require much effort (hopefully) The first is "Content Restart" - When a contact is 100% complete, as in they say go bug someone else as the world is safe, they can be reset to 0%. For arcs like Unia and Maria Jenkins this would allow high level teams to form and run those pivotal missions and create dynamic flowing teams that people can come and go from easily. It cant be much more then a tag on the character profile saying 100% complete so a simple reset shouldn't be too hard and would give a huge boost to end game play-ability. Next is to do with repeatables. In police/paper missions, we have safeguards/mayhem's as goals, but after a while you have met and arrested all the villians. Id like this same principle to be applied to the RWZ and Dark Astoria repeatable. In RWZ, every 6 completed missions, you have to do a mini version of Save the World from LGTF, where you can fight the big boss or at least a general of his at EB or AV level. In Dark Astoria, every 6 missions you could have to fight an avatar of MOT and break into his inner sanctum to whack him down again, small additions that would give some sense of time and structure to them. Cimerora can have the same deal only say attacking a 5th Column construction yard similar to the 3rd Mission of the ITF. Finally, and this would be harder, once your level 50, allow previous contacts to to usable post Flashback, only at incarnate level. With the enemy scaling up to lvl 54, and in some cases getting a tweek to their loadout if they are lacking. Imagine Skulls Bosses spamming all that Dark Energy at lvl 50 - brutal. Before people start going on about it being impractical, remember.. its already been done with The Family. They used to be machine guns, gravity controllers and Super Strength bosses, at level 50 they have beam rifles and Titan Weapons. That REALLY hurts at lvl 54 to anything. Id rather these alterations over a new Archetype personally as new characters will always run low on content, this would mean future generations of toons can be enjoyed indefinitely and wouldn't need loads of authors to write new content continually. After all, If Synapse's TF was so important, why didn't he get heroes a little better to help him.. Welcoming any comments, especially from Devs
  8. My questions are specifically about buffs. Do the pets have high base damage/def/tohit/recharge/other attribute that is easily buffed or lower base attribute with a built-in buff? What are their caps? If someone has tested this or numbers are available, please post a link because I have been unable to locate the info. If the answer to the previous question is very complicated, a simpler question is what buffs are "transformative" in how they boost the pet. (like SB/FS on fire imps or bubbles on bots) Thank you for any insights. I hav
  9. hey, ive been at level 50 with my Rad/Sonic Defender for a while, my alpha slot is completely upgraded and now i have no idea what to do with the 5 other slots. i have been running incarnate trials like crazy and have enough materials to get 3 level 3 incarnate abilities slotted, i just really dont know which ones are useful for a defender. any guidance is greatly appreciated.
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