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Help for a solo build


Traegus
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has anyone ranked the primaries in terms of raw damage? i'm looking to build a primarily solo sentinel for my next toon, but i've run fire sets on my last two toons, so i'm pretty burned out on fire...... i'm sorry for that one 😞.

 

as i'm not overly familiar with sents, i have no idea how the primaries fare, and i never really played Blasters either, so my only real experience with blast sets come from cor/def builds, which are skewed by buffs. i'm more of a concept player than a numbers min/max guy, but giving myself a bit of a head start without running through 4 or 5 builds until i land on one that "feels" right appeals to my limited amount of available play time. any insight would be greatly appreciated.

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TL;DR Before I get into below, this sums things up:

 

If you are looking to play a Sentinel, and you're wondering about viability of its solo capacity, then don't worry so much about it.  You really do not need to over think your selection looking for the absolute best pairings.  All Sentinels, even the lowest damage ones, are capable of enough damage to stalemate* AV regeneration.  This means no matter what primary you pick you're going to contribute damage to a team or solo.  If you're looking for big game hunting builds that is where min/maxing matters.  Even in those kinds of set ups you'll want Envenomed Daggers to speed up AV killing. 

 

Ok, now to addressing the original post.  The question reads more like "what sets should I avoid" vs "what is best". 


Fire Blast is one of the easiest sets to pair with anything in order to produce high damage outcomes.  Sonic Blast also has a lot of potential.  Water Blast has a lot of build potential to raise its weak single-target while maintain its high AoE.  Then there is everything else with varying degrees of success. 

Sets that you may wish to avoid due to clunky mechanics or general feeling of shortcomings by the community:

Assault Rifle
Dual Pistol
Electric Blast
Energy Blast
Radiation Blast

These power sets have either clunky mechanics (Dual Pistol's ammo system, Energy's knockback), or damage that isn't that impressive without procs (Assault Rifle, Electric, Radiation Blast).  In a vacuum those are sets that I might recommend avoiding.  And yes, I main a Sentinel with Dual Pistols that can solo just about anything short of Giant Monsters.  However, I am not ignorant of the sets shortcomings or the communities frustrations with it.  Instead, that power set happens to be a part of a build that includes means of overcoming those weaknesses as best it can. 

Even more important than what primary you pick is what secondary you pick.  There are real winners in that range of selection for a wide variety of solo capability.  Sets like Energy Armor, Invulnerability, Ninjutsu, and Super Reflexes (in no particular order) are excellent at avoiding hospital trips.  Other sets are good, but those mentioned are great. 

Finally, if you truly are concerned about damage, then plan to take a melee attack from the Ancillary/Patron Pools at level 35+.  One single attack like Mind Probe or Cremate offer more DPA than almost everything found in each of the sets other select ones like Fire Blast.  Yes, picks from your Ancillary/Patron can trivialize almost all of your choices in various primaries due to just how good melee is vs ranged.  So pair up one of those melee attacks with your most efficient primary set attacks and watch your DPS raise by a considerable amount.

Edit: *I know going toe-to-toe with an AV and not watching its health go down in an appreciable amount of time isn't the most awesome metric in the world.  The point of that though is this is baseline performance with little investment.  I went toe-to-toe with Marauder on SO's using Dual Pistols and Ninjutsu in my early 40's while teaming up.  Everyone died but me.  I held his health at about 50% (where it was before everyone dropped) for about 5 minutes while everyone else got their act together and started running back or using wakies.  Maruader's use of Unstoppable was an issue and it made me start running out of gas so he regenerated.  Though it was fun seeing everyone's responses on just how long I held him at bay.  Plus, once everyone was back up his Unstoppable was on cooldown, so screw him!  Post-50, this character has solo'ed Task Forces and Dual Pistols is considered by some to "bad".  I've even solo'ed defense debuffing heavy enemies on Ninjutsu which is a weak point of that set.  Yeah, gotta run away and recoup, but I've done it. 😉 Sentinels strengths are in its pairing and less so in its primary.  Though for ease of use it is hard to argue the efficiency of Fire Blast.

Edited by oldskool
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I'd argue Sentinels get an excellent port of Elec Blast, especially during leveling:

- Zapping Bolt replaces the snipe and gives you a "Blaze" level tier 3, thanks to its lightning quick animation at 1.188s
- Tesla Cage becomes a defacto T4 while keeping its hold properties. The animation is a little lengthy for an endgame build, but fills up your attack chain more than anything during leveling
- The ticks of Ball Lightning + Short Circuit have been sped up on Homecoming. The two powers make an excellent aim-free AoE combo
- Thunderous Blast gets the standard Sentinel 90s recharge even though on other ATs it's the slowest recharging nuke. TB keeps its tremendous end drain and -recovery, so you will sap a group dry which significantly lowers their attack rate by the time you're done executing Thunderous Blast - Ball Lightning - Short Circuit - Ball Lightning (but a better question can be: will anything even be left standing save for a couple bosses)

Elec's biggest issue, for me, is... Wait, I get *this* many cool powers? There's no real clunkers, even Voltaic Sentinel is useful if you break down the DPE and DPA it deals over time (although having to recast it every minute is such a major PITA, the power really ought to be perma or at least a longer duration pet with a similarly longer recharge).

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9 minutes ago, nihilii said:

I'd argue Sentinels get an excellent port of Elec Blast, especially during leveling:

- Zapping Bolt replaces the snipe and gives you a "Blaze" level tier 3, thanks to its lightning quick animation at 1.188s
- Tesla Cage becomes a defacto T4 while keeping its hold properties. The animation is a little lengthy for an endgame build, but fills up your attack chain more than anything during leveling
- The ticks of Ball Lightning + Short Circuit have been sped up on Homecoming. The two powers make an excellent aim-free AoE combo
- Thunderous Blast gets the standard Sentinel 90s recharge even though on other ATs it's the slowest recharging nuke. TB keeps its tremendous end drain and -recovery, so you will sap a group dry which significantly lowers their attack rate by the time you're done executing Thunderous Blast - Ball Lightning - Short Circuit - Ball Lightning (but a better question can be: will anything even be left standing save for a couple bosses)

Elec's biggest issue, for me, is... Wait, I get *this* many cool powers? There's no real clunkers, even Voltaic Sentinel is useful if you break down the DPE and DPA it deals over time (although having to recast it every minute is such a major PITA, the power really ought to be perma or at least a longer duration pet with a similarly longer recharge).

I don't disagree. 

I think what was jumping out at me was that a lot of build discussions with Electric Blast revolve around sapping which makes it seem gimmicky.  It is also a build choice which I didn't want to really dive into.  I've also seen complaints about Electric's damage in the low levels and it just stuck out to me.  I've seen complaints about every single Sentinel primary except for Fire Blast so it is difficult to filter out the hyperbole.

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thanks all, i was disheartened to hear that rad/ and nrg/ are near the bottom as i love both sets thematically. but elec/ getting some gas was a nice surprise, is sapping a viable option with a sent? does only start to work once you get TB? i love the mechanic itself, and had a pretty good sapping dom back on live which i liked, but would be hard to solo to a competent level now. i have a couple of ideas of characters i would like to make, and with your insight i can maybe skip some painful attempts (quietly sweeps rad blasting idea under rug). one of my thoughts was psi/, but i didn't see any info on that, what i've gleaned from some threads is it's solid ST damage, and lackluster AoE, which i would be fine with if that was the case. but i think between dark/ninj, elec/elec, or maybe sonic/something or another, i can build out something i really enjoy. thanks again!

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The real problem is the odd archetype mechanic and our damage seems to plateau in the 40s right as a lot of other archetypes are taking off or keep ramping up.  Still a good build can solve a lot of problems.  If all you want is higher damage I suggest you look at the secondary's not the primaries.  The primaries are incredibly similar in layout with only Assault rifle, water and sonic bucking the trend of 2aoe, 1nuke, aim and single targets for the balance.  In particular I would recommend bio-armor and fire armor both have damage boosting powers and if you add in assault you can hit 20/35% damage boost.  I particularly love the devastation IO set because 4 gives you another 3% damage per singe target attack.  I got to 50% damage on one sentinel which tickled me pink.  Seriously I turned bright red and cackled like mad!

 

Sapping is very viable and my favorite combo is Electric/Energy Armor.  It does take a while to get going but very robust and got a tank/controller type feel as you dance in the middle of the mobs.  I have an electric/ice armor that is languishing but it could work with heavy IO love if you have the cash.  Electric blast feels fast and fun, plus the different color options are amazing. 

 

 

 

 

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14 hours ago, oldskool said:

I don't disagree. 

I think what was jumping out at me was that a lot of build discussions with Electric Blast revolve around sapping which makes it seem gimmicky.  It is also a build choice which I didn't want to really dive into.  I've also seen complaints about Electric's damage in the low levels and it just stuck out to me.  I've seen complaints about every single Sentinel primary except for Fire Blast so it is difficult to filter out the hyperbole.

+1

 

I just incarnated my Electric/Energy sent today up to T3 Alpha /Judgement/ Interface. It wasn't until my mid 40s that I felt my damage wasn't anemic.

 

I'm not sure what it was outside of the plain math that made it feel worse than even my Defenders outside of getting IO sets completed, but for a dps class, even a second string one, it was a bit disheartening. My MMs are as tough, offer more team support, and do more damage. In exchange for pet wrangling, I guess?

 

However, build now complete, it finally came together. Even exemplared down for Penelope Yin, my damage was solid, if not stellar (and compared to when I was running Yin at 24, much more capable). But I was also the sturdiest dps on any team. Fair trade.

 

I did not build to sap. I built for damage with only a few procs in attacks. Nothing tricky, but I spent quite a bit of inf as I do with all my end builds and have what I wanted: a damage dealing skirmisher with some controls (hold, immob) who can take a beating on the front lines without hovering away.

 

Pretty much any set can function well I'd hazard to say. Some blossom later than others. I've got about seven Sentinels in the 40s in my pursuit of looks, style, and performance. This is the one that clicked for me. 

 

DP/Nin with incendiary ammo was decent. Better than low level Electric. 

 

Water/Bio was solid damage. Not so tanky as EA at lower levels while on offensive, however. 

 

OP, try a few out. See what works. It's easy to level in HC. But be patient. Some builds take time to fall into place.

 

I love my Grav/Dark controller, but it took me two tried to get there. Slotting and sets really are integral for performance.

 

Enjoy. Sentinel has many fun powers, may you find the ones that help you soar. I'm glad I stuck it out with my Electric/EA - I'm really enjoying mine.

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I might not agree with @oldskool's rankings. Has any purely ranged set actually beaten my Rad/Ninja 4 minute pylon time? I know @nihiliihad better times incorporating melee attacks.

 

Rad/is also one of the best for AoE, IMO, on top of allowing for triple procced ST attacks. I'd still go and advise Sonic/Bio for the fun and easy factor.

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I rather like Rad as well. It has a proper T3 in Cosmic Burst and a T4 through the snipe changes in Proton Stream. Animations are a little lengthy, which makes Rad essentially a "Fire Blast minus" - before procs. But there are so many good procs for Rad.

Perhaps the DoT nature of several powers, coupled with lengthy animations, add to the feel Rad is low damage.

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Hah! 

So this is why these kinds of vacuum discussions are silly @Traegus.  

I feel I need to add even more clarity to what I wrote since @Sovera uses the term "rankings".  I didn't rank anything.  The power sets I listed are in alphabetical order not order of effectiveness (which I should have noted since the OP stated that Radiation and Energy are last -- they aren't necessarily).  Radiation is last because R comes after E.  If you want to play Rad Blast, @Traegus, then go for it!  Your follow-up is also completely ignoring the part where I mention you're over thinking it.  Also, like Sovera and Nihilii mention procs will change how Radiation Blast plays.  Energy Blast is in a similar situation where adding in things like Explosive Strikes, Force Feedback, and Javelin's Volley make every attack better.  Energy Blast would be hypothetically better than Dual Pistols or Assault Rifle even before procs.  Incendiary Ammo in Dual Pistols makes that set much better and damage procs push it even more, but that isn't just a view of baseline performance.  

Also, for @Sovera and @nihilii I stated "damage that isn't that impressive without procs".  If I remember right, someone building a Rad/Nin character was bit disappointed with performance in their previous builds before they started searching a primary to add 3+ procs to their attack chains.  I know from my own personal experience with Dual Pistols that adding damage procs and changing my attack routine reduced my own Pylon tests by half from where I started (before Incarnates).  If the OP doesn't intend to run the gamble game, which in turn is part of a build, then I stand by my assessment that some of those sets might seem lackluster.  The 4 min proc damage time is 287 DPS.  Without procs what is that?  Nihilii also posted a Dark Blast/Invul build that could push something like 270 DPS (might have been more), but again without procs it won't do that.  No one is going to replicate that damage without using a build as the set itself isn't natively that damaging.  

I'm not mad.  This is good stuff because this proves why I shouldn't have bothered with trying to pick some sets to avoid without context to their builds.  Which was the direction I was originally writing that ended up a lot longer than I wanted it to be.  In hindsight, maybe I should have done it?  I doubt there would be 100% concurrence on such a ranking but that was also why I avoided it in the first place.  Anyway, all this does is just confirm to me that builds matter more than looking at the sets themselves.  Fire is clearly a winner but the other primaries can be made to achieve performance that isn't so clear at first glance.  For that, I thank you two for continuing the discussion in that way. 😉 

Also @Traegus, and any others curious, please note @carnalchaos wonderful statements of "Still a good build can solve a lot of problemsIf all you want is higher damage I suggest you look at the secondary's not the primaries.".  And, as I mentioned originally in addition to how secondary sets matter a lot in making builds so does the decision to use any of the Epic/Patron attacks.  

Edited by oldskool
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54 minutes ago, oldskool said:

Also, for @Sovera and @nihilii I stated "damage that isn't that impressive without procs".

Oh, indeed. I just feel Rad is good without procs (which is what I meant to get at with "Fire Blast minus"), and then you can proc it out to realise full potential.

It's good to "badmouth" sets if only because it's the best way to bring out the counterpoints from fans. 😉 The other day there was someone arguing Sentinel AR has something pretty cool in Incinerator. I think "all Sentinels can keep pace with AV regeneration" is a great rule of thumb for the (ir)relevance of powerset choice.

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As always, bring the odd guy who doesn't worry too much about single target (and thus pylon times), I will say radiation is pretty good if you like PBAOE builds. Using psychic shockwave, irradiate and atomic blast for an AOE chain (and actually, you can irradiate, PS, AB, Irradiate, PS in pretty short order on a perma hasten build) makes it into an AOE reaping set. Yes, burst powers will work about as well (fireball, water burst, etc.) but not even having to target just makes it very easy. 

 

I did go the proc route on rad simply because there's so many cheap ones available. Lady Gray procs are dirt cheap, so throwing one in is about as close to a freebie as you can get. I just don't build around the procs (because then I wouldn't be taking spiritual alpha). 

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43 minutes ago, nihilii said:

Oh, indeed. I just feel Rad is good without procs (which is what I meant to get at with "Fire Blast minus"), and then you can proc it out to realise full potential.

It's good to "badmouth" sets if only because it's the best way to bring out the counterpoints from fans. 😉 The other day there was someone arguing Sentinel AR has something pretty cool in Incinerator. I think "all Sentinels can keep pace with AV regeneration" is a great rule of thumb for the (ir)relevance of powerset choice.

You mentioned previously, and I was about to quote it, about perceived weakness with Rad due to DoTs/long animations.  That's spot on!  That's really what I was wanting to get at.

The only Sentinel primary I am actually disappointed with is Assault Rifle and that is largely due to the cone heavy choices and Sentinel caps.  I did proc out Burst and Slug to improve my damage.  Still, it is the one set I have played on the AT that just never clicked with me.  Its actual performance, at least with how I built it, is lower than some of my other Sentinels.  So for the investment I put in to it I felt it wasn't worth it, but there are those that will love it. 

For me arguing the worst Sentinel sets is like arguing Marvel movies.  While I may think that Thor: the Dark World is the worst of the bunch it is still better to me than Justice League (which I cannot even watch for more than 20 minutes without turning it off).  Thor: the Dark World is in my opinion the worst MCU film, but it is still an MCU film which I find very entertaining.

Edited by oldskool
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7 hours ago, Force Redux said:

Penelope Yin.

 

 

Water/Bio was solid damage. Not so tanky as EA at lower levels while on offensive, however. 

 

OP, try a few out. See what works. It's easy to level in HC. But be patient. Some builds take time to fall into place.

 

I love my Grav/Dark controller, but it took me two tried to get there. Slotting and sets really are integral for performance.

 

Enjoy. Sentinel has many fun powers, may you find the ones that help you soar. I'm glad I stuck it out with my Electric/EA - I'm really enjoying mine.

Penelope Yin was the first TF I solo'ed on DP/Nin.  I did it completely on a whim and I didn't even buy any resources to do it.  I just had to play hide and go seek with Clamour when she would drop my defenses to -15%.  I'd run away, hide from her line of sight, click my heal and wait out the debuff.  Then it was peek-a-boo John Wick time until her hits actually landed on me to start the kiting cycle again. 

Also, +1 to you too for suggesting to try something out and see what works.  Some builds definitely take time to fall into place.

+2 for Grav Controllers.  😉  One of my favorite builds right now is Grav/Time because its just so cosmic and nerdy at the same time.  Gravity, which I played first as a Dominator on the old servers, is a slooooooow set.  Its great with the right combinations, but so damn slow to get there.

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On 1/29/2020 at 1:16 PM, oldskool said:

Sets that you may wish to avoid due to clunky mechanics or general feeling of shortcomings by the community:

Assault Rifle
Dual Pistol
Electric Blast
Energy Blast
Radiation Blast
 

I didn't overthink my answer, @oldskool, but it wasn't a dig aimed at you and your answer was a lot more elaborate than mine to begin with. I just meant what I said that so far Rad has been the best damage I managed to eeke out from Sentinels in a purely ranged build (btw, 6 minutes without procs) while also being very satisfying for AoE.

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43 minutes ago, Sovera said:

I didn't overthink my answer, @oldskool, but it wasn't a dig aimed at you and your answer was a lot more elaborate than mine to begin with. I just meant what I said that so far Rad has been the best damage I managed to eeke out from Sentinels in a purely ranged build (btw, 6 minutes without procs) while also being very satisfying for AoE.

Oh, that comment wasn't directed at you!  I didn't think *you* over thought *anything*.  That was directed at the OP who's follow-up took my commentary out of context by stating how bummed they are that Radiation is "near the bottom".  That wasn't my intent!  Then you're commentary made it seem like I was deliberating ranking them.  That's on *me* not you for misunderstanding what I was trying to communicate.

I didn't take any of that as a dig.  It's just a situation where I was already thinking that was me putting my foot in mouth once again, and sure enough it appears it was. LOL  We're good! 😄
 

Edited by oldskool
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On 1/28/2020 at 3:14 PM, Traegus said:

has anyone ranked the primaries in terms of raw damage? i'm looking to build a primarily solo sentinel for my next toon, but i've run fire sets on my last two toons, so i'm pretty burned out on fire...... i'm sorry for that one 😞.

 

as i'm not overly familiar with sents, i have no idea how the primaries fare, and i never really played Blasters either, so my only real experience with blast sets come from cor/def builds, which are skewed by buffs. i'm more of a concept player than a numbers min/max guy, but giving myself a bit of a head start without running through 4 or 5 builds until i land on one that "feels" right appeals to my limited amount of available play time. any insight would be greatly appreciated.

I have a Dual Pistols/Super Reflexes Sentinel I am quite happy with. It was very easy to cap defenses, and can do +4/8 pretty efficiently. In terms of solo play you  are mostly likely going to have mobs on you a good amount of the time, so DP plays nicely into that. My first build had no healing, and did +2/8 just fine. Getting the Incarnate heal helped, but I reworked it to have Aid Self and that helped more. Plus if you ever wanted to ditch Hasten, SR is really great for that. The different ammos are nice flavor. For Incarnate or farming I go Cryo. solo I go Incendiary, and Chemical I usually use on a team if they are getting pounded. Not saying any of the effects are game changing, but it is cool to choose.

 

Side note: of any character I've ever gone into Incarnates trial with this one if very cheap/cheesy in some instances. Namely Piercing Shot vs all those prisoners running in a straight line.

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On 2/3/2020 at 12:33 PM, Warwallalt said:

I have a Dual Pistols/Super Reflexes Sentinel I am quite happy with. It was very easy to cap defenses, and can do +4/8 pretty efficiently. In terms of solo play you  are mostly likely going to have mobs on you a good amount of the time, so DP plays nicely into that. My first build had no healing, and did +2/8 just fine. Getting the Incarnate heal helped, but I reworked it to have Aid Self and that helped more. Plus if you ever wanted to ditch Hasten, SR is really great for that. The different ammos are nice flavor. For Incarnate or farming I go Cryo. solo I go Incendiary, and Chemical I usually use on a team if they are getting pounded. Not saying any of the effects are game changing, but it is cool to choose.

 

Side note: of any character I've ever gone into Incarnates trial with this one if very cheap/cheesy in some instances. Namely Piercing Shot vs all those prisoners running in a straight line.

I was having the same experience with my SR sentinel, not quiet +4/x8 on an array of mob types. I specd aid self til I realized how effective master brawler was for SR compared to aid self. I have it slotted with 2rch and 2 heal, you can Frankin slot I just haven't yet. No aid self anymore. What really made the difference in my build was taking cold patron powers. The -rch between the aoe imm and snow storm has ~80% reduction. Plus ice sword with 1 acc/dmg and 5 dmg procs is chill. Now +4/x8 easily. MB is up ~13 seconds. At max health and end I start the fight with a shield of ~440 for about 2040 "health". And at low health, ~10% being ~170 health shield gives ~855 absorb, the absorb is more effective than aid self ime-xperience. Allowing you to sustain higher resists and not having to worry you'll be one slash dead.  Between regen, health procs, and not necessarily needed but the sentinel defensive opportunity health feels perfectly sustained in most battles so far. I must also mention, once all resists (except toxic) were between 20-30% baseline I felt strong. (Edit:) I forgot until  looking now that after a few set changes my neg and nrg resist are only 10% while toxic is 15%, everything else 20-32%. I have noticed the electricity being my true nemesis. Still easily overcome by the -rch and MB - since (I think I read 1/20) you will be struck now and again, only if the real big hitters all land around the same time, are you taken down. The real weakness of SR is end drain. MB is truly only masterful if you have high endurance. Ageless is my top pick - supports health absorb shield and of course takes care of high end drain if you're throwing out snow storm and playing a digital-dream throwing nearly infinite blasts.

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