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What tips do you have for those currently in a creative rut? Are there costume pieces that work well together? Are there costume pieces that look horrible together? Or perhaps there are some underrated costume pieces no one uses much or knows about?
It feels time to construct a thread to share some experiences about the AT after playing it for the better part of a year. When I first came to HC, probably right around this time, I wasn't sure exactly of what I wanted to play. I created a bunch of ATs and recreated old characters. I'm sure many of you understand. I saw the Sentinel and it got me curious. It was new, not many people knew anything about it, and it seemed like a challenge to play/build. I had tried to play Dual Pistols a few times but it never worked out for me. I didn't really care for it on Blasters (still don't) so I tried it on Corruptors/Defenders. My support sets always felt too busy for me to really enjoy Dual Pistols. Well, Sentinels come along and many of the armor sets are fairly hands off allowing me to fully focus on the attacks. YAY! Right off the bat... I want to try to keep bias to a minimum. Its not possible to fully remove my own bias, but unchecked bias helps absolutely no one. Unchecked bias is a very common lens to view the Sentinel through. 500lb Gorillas... Damage. The Sentinel is a damage AT. It isn't a tanker, it isn't an off-tank, nor is it a support set. Its a damage AT. Its a damage AT that incorporates some group support through its inherent but that is subject to change. When it comes to damage the Sentinel is often compared to entire ATs with little regard for any component pieces. It is, possibly unfairly, compared to ATs in light of recent changes to those groups as well. This is where the unchecked bias becomes a problem. I think the disparities are blown way out of proportion. I think that people's unchecked bias doesn't allow them to go past a certain point with the AT and then make sweeping comments about it as a whole. Make no mistake, there is some truth in those arguments, but they can get distorted very quickly. Metrics... Let's note that Mids just isn't accurate for all things for just a moment. When I just jumped into the game to check the info screen on one of my characters I noted a 43 damage difference between the game and the planner. Doesn't sound like much, but this exacerbates the unchecked bias. Let's talk ranged damage scalars for just a moment. AT/Class Scalar (ranged) Blaster 1.125 Corruptor 0.75 Defender 0.65 Sentinel 0.95 When you step back and look at the numbers as they are it doesn't look so bad does it? However, this isn't the full story either. Inherent Mechanics: An Ugly Monster of Unchecked Bias... Corruptors, Defenders, and Blasters have inherents. Corruptor Scourge grants an increasing chance to double damage when health goes below a threshold. Defenders gain bonus damage while solo. Blasters gain damage while attacking. The 3 ATs previously mentioned all have fairly straight forward inherents. These make great sounding boards for arguments on effectiveness in a vacuum. The Sentinel inherent is far more complicated than it needs to be. It is confusing, sometimes counterproductive, removes a sense of player agency, and is difficult to quantify. It is no wonder to me why some people dislike the AT or are adverse to playing it. Opportunity as a mechanic is not easy to use nor is it easy to understand. What's it do though? Opportunity will always impose a minor resistance and defense debuff on enemies struck by the Sentinel. There is no thought or action required. If you successfully hit, then the target gets a debuff pairing (-resistance and defense). This effect does not stack from the caster and it can be resisted. It will work alongside other sources of the same debuffs. So additional resistance or defense debuffing still build from the caster as normal. Against most content this translates into more damage not only from the Sentinel but by teammates too. Everyone gets to take advantage so the Sentinel functions like a Bard might from other games. You multiply damage and no one ever recognizes your contribution. That's the passive portion of the inherent. The activated portion is a separate mechanic and has multiple parts. Confused? Good, because this part may cross your eyes. I'll try to keep at a 30,000ft level. Sentinels have a 3rd bar called "Opportunity". Its a meter that functions like a Dominator's inherent "Domination". Hell, when you fill the bar near max you glow... just like a Dominator. Unlike the Dominator, this meter does not hit a "perma" status. Some builds can create situations where Opportunity's meter mechanic feels more like a Brute's Fury. ...Crap, I said I would try to keep this simple, but it just isn't. So all attacks have a specific amount of meter attached to it. For example, all T1 attacks grant +8 meter to the bar. This has been consistent across every single primary set I have tested. T9 powers can grant 30+ meter. Many of the single target attacks grant +13 meter. Cones can generate 16-18 and TAoEs can range 18-20's. The exact amount of meter generated is not uniform across the sets. Generally, if an attack has a longer set of recharge and/or animation it will trend towards more meter. For ease of use though, it is pretty consistent to observe all T1's as granting +8 and virtually all other single target attacks as granting +13 (includes the T2). At 90 meter the T1 and T2 attack choices will gain a ring. The T1 power will always trigger "Offensive Opportunity". The T2 power will always trigger "Defensive Opportunity". There is a catch... You have to successfully hit first. If you miss the attack Opportunity remains full until you successfully land attack or leave combat. Technically, if you miss the chance to trigger the inherent's active mechanic you just continue to build meter until you spend it. What activing Opportunity does (general): Once triggered, Opportunity will last 15 seconds. The effect below will last until the target is defeated. The specific modes are independent of the target's state. Regardless of hitting the T1 or T2, the target struck will receive a -20% resistance debuff. This debuff can be resisted and it stacks with all other -resistance sources. In other words, it is its own source. This debuff allows all other teammate striking the target to gain a damage boost. Bard complex, no one cares that they are doing upto 20% more damage and that you were the cause of it. Offensive Mode: This grants a proc-like effect that lasts for 15 seconds. The effect applies to all attacks dealt during the duration. The effect cannot be enhanced and functions off a percentage of your base damage. So the weaker the attack the smaller the effect's hit. AoE attacks can spread more damage during the duration. Defensive Mode: Its similar to Offensive Mode but applies a minor health and endurance restore for the same duration. Once again, this is tied to all successful hits and can apply to AoE powers. The game will directly tell you how much health you gain but the combat window will only say "you also gain some endurance". You do in fact gain endurance. The endurance feature is the strongest perk of this effect as endurance is a much smaller pool than health. Even at low levels I have found the endurance restore to achieve a state of neutral drain. That was tested without any endurance reduction in attacks or toggles. The higher in level you get and the more end drain you apply the hard it is to maintain that equilibrium. However, once you start modifying endurance spend in attacks and toggles, the perk starts to pay you BACK endurance spent. The faster your recharge, the more frequently you hit, and the more frequently you hit successfully the more endurance you restore. Crap on the healing effect all you want, but the endurance restore can be very powerful for an inherent if you bother to pay attention. Should you focus on one opportunity or both? That's a great question and it is impossible to answer in a vacuum. Offensive Opportunity cannot be enhanced meaning that the more you push your own ED cap on damage modification the less it contributes. Still, Offensive Opportunity is usually a positive DPS gain but it can be so relatively minor that you can skip it. Just how good this effect becomes is very related to how good the carrier power is and whether or not it holds any significance to your attack cycle. It is possible to net a tiny fraction (or sometimes even lose) of DPS triggering Offensive Opportunity by using a T1 power with no other enhancement beyond accuracy. If you treat the T1 as a regular part of your routine, then the effect becomes just added damage. Still, it isn't so significant that you stress about it. Same goes for Defensive Opportunity. Defensive Opportunity's strongest benefit is probably the endurance gain. That can have noticeable effect during the entire leveling spectrum, but its contribution can drop off sharply with a well designed build. Still, some secondaries do struggle with recovery and the T2 can benefit those (more on this later). My advice is this... run both the T1 and T2 to explore the options while leveling. Worry less about it once you hit 50 and just use the best attack out of the two if you need to prune a pick/slots. The strongest aspect of the activated inherent is that -20% resistance which is available in either mode. How to Use Opportunity Organically... Simply don't worry about it. That's the easiest way to view it with a full build. I spent an awful lot of time linking the animation, recharges, and meter values of the attacks I use in my characters. I could tell you the average expected time in seconds it takes for my Dual Pistols Sentinel to hit 90% meter. I've designed the attack sequence to include Opportunity without much thought on my part. All I need is the muscle memory of what powers to click and that's it. Basically what I do is I tag the T1 or T2 at the end of my attack sequence. I generally try to limit my attacks cycles to just one of the two, but not all primaries can or should do that. If you would generally use a concept of T1 (or T2) -> T3 -> T1 (or T2) -> T4, just reverse it. T4 -> T1 (or T2) -> T3 -> T1 (or T2). Doing that will usually result in triggering Opportunity at the soonest moment without much worry. Sometimes you'll miss and that sucks. Still, if you try to trigger Opportunity as close to 90% of the meter as possible you can usually improve the overall uptime of the effect. Once the duration ends you rebuild as fast as possible (more on this later). You rinse and repeat. Why does the above work the way it does? I've found that I can often achieve 90% meter by the time I hit that T3 power on the 3rd sweep of the routine. This means that when the T1 (or T2 - these can be interchangeable for the purpose of this discussion) is used next it will automatically trigger the inherent once the target is hit. If you run the reverse of the routine what happens is you often generate 90% opportunity during the use of the T1. This will NOT trigger the inherent. The T1 cannot be the power that gets you to 90%+ meter. It has to come AFTER that condition. If the T1 is the power that generates you're 90% meter condition, then the next attack will go beyond 100% (since it almost always grants +13 meter). That delays the triggering of the Inherent by 1.188 to 2.64 (or higher) seconds. I've almost always had positive DPS gains doing this but some primaries might not pull it off. Still, it is worth exploring as an option. You could also completely ignore this advice and do what you want. Opportunity, AoE, and the ATO... The previous commentary is focused on single target. However, what about AoE? This is a big can of worms. There are a wide range of ways to build your Sentinel, but I'll still share some my findings on what works for me. I tend to prefer both ATOs in AoE powers. Superior Sentinel's Ward has good set bonuses, but the proc is total crap in difficult content. The absorb shield it provides is affected by the purple patch and therefore its benefit is severely reduced. I've see it proc for as little as +14 Absorb against +4 enemies. I've seen it grant well over +1000 when I shot at a level 1 Hellion in Atlas Park at level 50. Do not take this set for the proc. However, the proc does check per target in AoEs. I have not noticed it stacking with itself but it can have a high chance to go off in an AoE. Its not great, but it is something. Superior Opportunity Strikes is also good for set bonuses. The proc can be total crap in single target situations, but it can have potential in AoE. The proc is similar to the Ward one. It will check against enemies but doesn't appear to stack effect. You can turn an AoE power from generating +18 opportunity to generating +37.5. It can make your T9's grant you half a bar. It can trigger again if activated against a large group and you get lucky. The other night I had back to back procs. My bar filled to max, I ran Opportunity, and when it ended I filled to max in a span of less than 10 seconds. Many, many months ago, I saw someone talking about Sentinel opportunity working like being a ranged Brute. They just kept filling their bar over and over. AoE is how you do that. You could slot the Strikes set in any AoE you prefer or even a T9. The full 6pc set has 100% recharge modification. I have a Sentinel with this set in the T9. That power has a 23 second cool down due to the set and global recharge (185%). Hitting 10 targets with that power has a pretty good chance of granting significant meter. Several other Sentinels I have run the set in their 10 target TAoEs and in teams I notice a significant uptime on Opportunity. Pairing this strategy with taking the T1 to trigger Offensive Opportunity can allow a person to have significant uptime on the bonus damage. Even if that damage effect is low, it still applies to all attacks. To recap, I tend to find that in fast moving group scenarios the Sentinel can potentially hammer out a lot of Opportunity use due to the above strategy. Single target is far more difficult to optimize. This is largely due to the Strikes ATO having a PPM value of 1 (the basic version) or a PPM value of 2 (superior) depending on version used. I have only had success triggering that proc in very select powers within specific primaries. For example, Sonic's Screech or Psionic Blast's Scramble Thoughts trend towards higher than proc chances than many other powers. Slotting that ATO in a T1 power that has a 1 second animation plus 4 second recharge will likely land you around the default proc chance of 5%. It may trigger so rarely in quickly available powers that you'd think it is totally useless. For single target, I'd agree. Try to find space in AoE if you bother with the proc or otherwise its value is pretty much garbage. Most Sentinel primaries can easily rebuild opportunity meter within 13 seconds in their single target chains when considering higher states of recharge. Even without that, you could potentially hit 50% uptime. The longer your attack chains lag the greater the gap gets. With AoE powers and the ATO the difference in uptime can be significantly less. Food for thought. I've noted before that Sentinels aim to pick up a lot of pennies. The pennies being bits of damage that are available in various forms to offset the perception of the AT being "low damage". Playing with Opportunity uptime is one way to do that. Its not the only way to do it, and can pair with others.
The Experience I went digging, I do a lot of sleuthing about on the nitty gritty of the game these days, looking for a small bit of information on a specific Task Force the other night that I found myself soloing simply for the heck of it. By the other end of it I came up pretty empty handed both in regards to that Task Force, and just the general fact that there was strangely a lack of discussion around the idea of soloing it. Hoped back onto the forums from beyond Google to see if there were ever any threads with open discussion about soloing content, thoughts, experiences, just anything in general in the last few months. Not a thing specifically designated to that purpose. So I figured, why not open that floor up and see what the thoughts are out there? I recently took on the challenge of building a Titan Weapon/Regeneration Scrapper with the explicit purpose of putting it through as much challenging content as I could, with as much solo as I find the time to do. The game was quiet, so I decided I'd try and take a peak around Khallisti Wharf for the first time ever, and also take a swing at the Task Force (Market Crash) while I was around. I hadn't actually taken a tour through it yet, and thought it'd be fun to try and run something brand new. There's relatively no direct-link resource for that TF, so it was a bit of a blind-run (not a big deal, really), until the end with the last AV (Crimson Prototype). That thing smoked me within 15 seconds and I was, truly and honestly, baffled. I hosp'd and took another swing, got it about 1/5 down before it happened again... just flat-lined out of no where. Que growing rage. For an AV, the Crimson Prototype is kind of annoying, but in a solo circumstance I was finding him, on that build, irritatingly difficult and it wasn't until another death, and really looking at the combat log that I realized it causes -MaxHP. I knew I had a ton of effective debuffs stacking on me, but not a lot of time to really stop and question them individually in my fight to kill that thing, and stay alive at the same time. There's also the fun little fact that whenever it manages to get a hold of, or summon a Force Field Generator, that tiny little drone makes the CP effectively untouchable. Its debuffs are what killed it for me on a Regen, though. I could cycle a lot of +Def and +Res, and hold up for a considerable amount of time without question, but at the end of it all Regeneration is one of my key elements, and that guy was stripping me down 100's of HP at a shot to the point where I was getting dropped by half, making those meager 150-200 damage attacks critical me. In the end I had to fold and give up the TF. It didn't matter if my Regen ridiculously high, it was chopping my hit points right out from under me. In the end, I might not have made the attempt if I'd come across a more definitive "btw, watch out for this..." I'll possibly revisit it down the road once I have the last few sets catalyzed in my build, and the Incarnates at least all T3 (versus only having Alpha and T1 Judgement). The Call to Action! That being said, I wanted to call out to others whose quest is to solo the content of our great city on their thoughts, tips, tricks, or stories they've experienced that might weigh in on the idea for others. What lessons did you learn, or what event happened that no other soul got to witness but you, alone in that dark cavern beneath Oranbega? I wanted to hear from others, to share those memories into something constructive for others, if anyone's interested. What's your Solo: Best Experience Favorite Content Task Force Tips AV Challenges GM Takedowns Bang-for-Buck Arcs Merit-Making Side-Runs Soul Crushing Defeats World Breaking Wins Solo Questions Advanced Warnings Overall Tricks If enough people dive in and there's a good flow of info, I may even go back and edit it together into an archive/table of contents.
I was referred by a friend to the game so I looked it up and went to the account creation page but after filling out the requested information and submitted information nothing happened, I did not know I had to make a account via the forms page till my friend told me a week later. But what I wanted to suggest a note to let new members know or a popup that has that information. Thank you kindly in advance see you in game. Radames75