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New players: Picking an Archetype


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What AT should you play?

Here's a quick and dirty guide to the archetypes (and some powersets where they stand out), to help you on your way. 


I want to...



  • Tankers are the tankiest tanks and the hardest to take down. They can withstand a lot of damage, but dealing damage isn't their focus. 
  • Brutes are almost as hard to take down, but do more damage the more they attack or get attacked so benefit from being in the middle of lots of enemies. Their defences come in later than tankers so they can feel a bit anaemic for the mid-levels.
  • Peacebringers and Warshades can shift into Dwarf Form and make very strong tanks, possibly peaking earlier in their resilience than either of the above as they can get huge survival buffs by teaming, but they are slightly less able to hold aggro and Dwarf form does very, very low damage compared to their other forms. 
  • Masterminds summon minions to control aggro around them, and take an unusual but powerful approach to tanking with very high damage capability and support powers, but when things go wrong, they go wrong dramatically


Beat stuff up

  • Scrappers are stong melee fighters with random criticals. If you just want to run in and start fighting, this is the one for you. 
  • Stalkers can use stealth and hide mechanics to control when they critically hit. If you want more control over your damage and like a "technical" playstyle, this is the one for you. Stalkers also generate the least aggro of the four melee archetypes, so they're very safe in groups.
  • Brutes can, in theory, do the highest melee damage but they take a lot of building up to get there and don't do as well against a single target on their own. They're more an aggresive tank than DPS under most circumstances. 
  • Peacebringers in human form have some heavy-hitting melee attacks, as well as good damage resistance and range. 
  • Arachnos Widows have a very solid melee attack chain, as well as strong team buffs and ranged attack and control. 
  • Arachnos Soldiers also have a solid melee option, as well as team buffs and optional pets and ranged damage. 
  • Blasters and Dominators both have a mixture of ranged and melee fighting, although they don't have much room for error with the weakest defences.


Blast stuff and deal ranged damage

  • Blasters are the obvious choice here, being all damage with no real protection other than more damage, with their secondary either focusing on melee attacks or utility skills. The devices secondary is a good choice if you want to swap out a little damage for utility and is good for soloing.
  • Dominators combine ranged damage, some of the strongest control powers in the game and a few melee attacks. They're somewhat safer than blasters, thanks to the control, but take some building to feel at full power as they're very dependent on their inherent power (known as perma-dom builds). 
  • Corruptors and Defenders both deal ranged damage and have team support powers. Corruptors are more damage focused, while defenders are more focused on buffs and debuffs. Don't overlook them - some defender sets are fairly notorious for being able to take down pretty much anything in the game with no help, although it's a slow and risky ride. 
  • Controllers do critical damage on all controlled enemies thanks to their inherent, meaning they deal a reasonable amount of damage when they get going and do it from a position of relative safety. Some sets can solo very well, while others are definitely better in a team. Mind control is arguably the only one with a "full" attack chain, although all controllers are more than capable of doing damage. 
  • Sentinels combine resilience and ranged offence - they're never the strongest, but they're easy to use and they are pretty resilient, meaning the don't have the "one good sneeze will kill me" of many of the above ranged damage types.
  • Peacebringers and Warshades technically can do the highest unmodified ranged damage in the game in Nova form, although their human form sacrifices some of the power for (quite a lot of) survivability. 
  • Arachnos Widows have a mixture of range, melee and control attacks available as well as melee options, and Arachnos Spiders/Soldiers have some of the strongest AoE damage out there, all while having very high defence, some resistance and melee options.  



  • Pure healers are usually frowned upon in this game, just as a warning. If you plan to just hang back and heal, never attacking and never using any other skills, experienced players will probably see you as a hindrance. Healing does have an important role, but it shouldn't be all you do. Empathy and Pain Domination are the two most heal-orientated powersets, but if you ignore the other powers at your disposal then you are limiting yourself and, by extension, your teammates. Instead, try:



  • Defenders are the undisputed kings and queens of support. Their buffs are stronger, their debuffs make enemies even weaker and then can heal harder than any other archetype. They can also handle themselves in combat, if they need to. 
  • Corruptors trade off some supportive ability for damage. 
  • Controllers mix support and control - buff your allies, hold your enemies and totally shutdown combat when you need to.
  • Widows and Spiders have powerful team buffs at their disposal.
  • Masterminds have a good array of support powers and can keep their minions (and their team) going for a while.



  • Dominators have the strongest control skills in the game, although it takes some building to get them permanently high. 
  • Controllers bring control and support, which can turn a weak team into a force of nature. 
  • Warshades and Widows have access to control skills as part of their normal attack chains. 


Run around with loads of pets

  • Masterminds are built around pets. It's their whole shtick.  
  • Controllers and Dominators have pets at their disposal. Illusion control is very pet-ish. 
  • Warshades and Soldiers have pets available later on.


Do a bit of everything

  • At level  35, you can unlock a third power set that specifically gives you access to powers that are unlike the rest of yours. Melee ATs get range, squishy archetypes get protective powers etc.
  • You can pick from up to four Power Pools - powers that everyone has access to. Use these (sparingly) to add to your build and round out flaws. Generally, it's easier to add defence and melee damage than ranged attacks and damage resistance, though it's certainly possible. Don't go overboard, though - convenience usually comes at a cost of the powers being a bit mediocre, especially for the attacks. Some excellent powers require you to pick up one or two middling powers to get to the good ones.
  • If you can wait until level 50, incarnate abilities are extra powers you can unlock that add a little bit of everything with a great deal of choice. They're generally used to round out builds.
  • Roll an epic archetype - the four epic ATs are all generalists, but arguable a little more complex to use. 


What are the epic archetypes?


Released later than the "main" archetypes, peacebringers, warshades, widows and soldiers/spiders (the game inconsistently calls them both) are all hybrid archetypes that do a little bit of a lot.

Kheldians - alien (optional) shape-shifters that get buffed by being part of team.  They have access to nova (ranged damage) and dwarf (melee tank) forms.

  • Peacebringers are self-sufficient melee-range hybrids. Very hard to take down with a lot of easy-to-use survivability boosts. 
  • Warshades are their shadowy counterparts and have more of a ranged damage and control mix. They can use enemies and their corpses to buff themselves to fairly extreme levels of power.

Soldiers of Arachnos - natural leaders that make a team stronger just by walking through the door (with their toggles on). Their power choices branch at L24. 

  • Widows start out like scrappers with a bit of range  then end up either as Night Widows which favour stealth and melee attacks with a little bit of range for convenience, or Fortunatas which favour range and control, though can still pack a wallop in melee range. 
  • Spiders start off with a mix of range and melee, then end up either as Bane Spiders with strong melee abilities or Crab Spiders with lots of AoE and, eventually, pets. 


What are the differences between the four main melee types?


Damage and survivability, but also they differ in playstyle. Stalkers really work best when you master proc fu and hides and calculated critical hits, while tankers are the slow and mighty glacier controlling the flow of combat from a position of relative safety. 


Most damage, least sturdy  --- Stalker --- Scrapper --- Brute --- Tanker --- Most sturdy, least damage. 


What are the differences between the four main support archetypes?

  • No one can buff, debuff or heal as well as a defender. They have mediocre damage as a payoff.
  • Corruptors are their reverse - worse support, better damage. 
  • Controllers have access to control effects like holds, sleeps, fear, confuse and immobilise as well as okay support. They do double-damage to most controlled enemies, but that damage has a low base as a payoff..
  • Masterminds have high highs and low lows as pets can do very strong damage but fall apart like wet tissue at higher levels if you don't invest in a good build.


Within the support power sets, there is a huge amount of variation. Radiation emission is known as a being very solo-friendly debuff set and kinetics is a very team-friendly buff set. Empathy and pain domination have the most ways of healing, but clever use of other sets should mean you never need to heal in the first place. 


I don't remember sentinels


They're new! They're Homecoming's flagship new archetype. They play a bit like a ranged scrapper.


I want to deliberately make my life more difficult

The self-imposed challenge builds and unofficial archetypes:

  • Petless Mastermind - lowest heath in the game, lowest damage modifiers, highest challenge,
  • Blapper and variants - roll a blaster, but don't take any ranged attacks beyond your first, mandatory choice. Dip into the power pools where needed and stay in melee range. 
  • Pool Party - as soon as they're unlocked, only take powers from the power pools as much as you can. 


I want to make my life easier

Consider purchasing one or two Archetype Origin Enhancements from either a merit vendor or the auction house, as soon as you can afford them. Each archetype has two "special effect" enhancements that add to the archetype's core mechanic. Some are excellent (the stalker ones are game-changers, Kheldian's Grace form empowerment is a flat upgrade), some are nice (brutes' fury bonus and scrappers' increased crit chance are nice) and some are a bit underwhelming (controllers' energy font, Essence Transfer's heal). They're worth a look at, at least. 


There are a few Invention Origin enhancements that have special effects and some sets of enhancements give you useful bonuses. It's worth having a look and seeing what you can add in. For example, the Stalker ATO resets the Build Up skill a few times a minute, so slotting a chance for Build Up proc in the Build Up power gives you a huge boost to DPS as the bonuses stack. Masterminds can get a lot of mileage out of six IOs that make pets much more resilient. 

Edited by Gulbasaur
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