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A crawl through the sewers of a min/maxer's mind.


Luminara
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I've always had a somewhat individual approach to building a character, but that's not really unusual around here.  We all focus on different things when we're making our characters uniquely our own.  For every "I can has cookie-cutter build?" post, there's another asking about making a concept work with a specific set or power, or how to wrestle the mechanics into working in favor of a build idea, and that's one of the really interesting things about being here, we can poke around in one another's mind, see the game through different eyes.  I love that.  It's like reading a really fantastic book, you become so immersed that you forget the reality around you and slip into whatever world you're reading about.

 

So I thought I'd give everyone a chance to peer at the game through my eyes, rather than merely mentioning personal choices or preferences when it comes to characters.

 

I talked about my latest obsession, Antianeira, in another thread.  The idea of this character has been around since I started playing, back in '04, but the tools to bring that idea to fruition didn't exist then.  She could never work as a blaster, defender or corruptor, because they simply lack one or more aspects of what I felt the character needed.  The closest I was able to come was a weapon-wielding scrapper with the Weapon Mastery APP, and that never was quite good enough.  Too few ranged attacks to make a chain, too little AoE, too many limitations.  It wasn't until I decided to see what sentinels were and how they might be used to fulfill any of my character concepts (or if the archetype might spark a few new ones (of course it did)) that I realized I could, finally, make the one character I'd all but given up on.  A character which was fully functional at both long range and in melee, with good damage output in both situations and which fit the Amazonian theme I had in mind.

 

As I mentioned in that other thread, I started with Archery/Ninjitsu, for no reason other than the Jump Speed buff in that set.  That's always the first thing I look for when I'm beginning to form up a character concept, because most of my character concepts are centered around not having a standard travel power.  I have no particular aversion to travel powers, I just... well, I like hopping at high speeds.  Everything is distant, the world below moving so slowly, when you're flying.  Running at high speeds feels limiting, it's difficult to avoid tiny obstacles that catch you and leave you jittering on them until you either pop off or use /stuck, and moving around in caves with only 35 mph running speed is trying enough (really, who thought it would be a good idea to put all of those walls there?  i want the excavators fined!  and shot!).  Teleporting has never really been fun for me.  That only leaves leaping, and there's an unusual problem with leaping that very few people notice, or care about.

 

You see, Cryptic went to a lot of trouble to create realistic physics in Co*.  There's a friction mechanic.  There's a momentum mechanic.  There's a gravity mechanic.  And all of the mechanics were designed to be as realistic as possible.  Normally, you don't notice any of them, because they're part of the immersion created by the game world.  They're background code, completely meaningless, unless you're specifically looking at them and figuring out how they work.  You can see the friction and momentum mechanics at work when you're flying.  It takes a moment to build up speed, and it also takes a moment to slow down.  You can also see vectoring at work, when you try to fly up and forward at the same time.  If, for instance, you fly perfectly perpendicular to the ground, and press the space bar (or whatever you have mapped to Jump), your vector is no longer straight ahead, nor is it straight up, it's a 45 degree angle, and that angle is where all of your movement speed is being applied.  Consequently, you're moving forward at a slower rate than your actual movement speed, because of that vectoring. That's the realism built into the game, and it's really, really well done.  But it also, consequently, hinders leaping in a curious way.

 

When you jump, the game calculates your friction, your current momentum and speed, then determines the arc of your leap.  When you reach the apex of that arc, your forward speed is turned into falling speed, and your momentum is altered similarly.  Basically, you stop jumping and start plummeting.  With certain powers, you can steer your fall, somewhat, but that's not actually the problematic bit, it's where the apex of the leap occurs.  The higher you jump, the more of your jumping speed is "wasted" on upward movement, and the less of it you apply to forward movement.  Additionally, none of your movement speed is applied when you reach the apex of your jump and begin falling, so that arc which started out so gracefully becomes a precipitous drop after the apex, and you're only moving forward slightly in comparison to your previous rate.  The best way to get the most out of jumping speed is with shallow leaps... like what you get with Hurdle and Combat Jumping.

 

Mind you, none of this is a bug, or erroneous code, or something exploitable.  It's exactly how the engine was designed to work.  All of the travel powers were created with these limitations and systems in mind.  So when you use a power like Super Jump, you're only spending part of your time moving at the jump speed cap, because some of your speed is being spent moving upward while moving forward, and once you reach the apex and begin to fall, you're at the mercy of the gravity mechanic.  Your momentum declines rapidly, friction applies more and more the further you move (even down), until you're struggling just to hit a specific point when you land.  Of course, SJ doesn't bring you up nearly high enough for all of your momentum to bleed off, so you still have a modicum of control by the time you land, but it's still a net loss in speed.

 

I never liked that.  I love that they designed the engine with these kinds of things in mind, but I never liked the way SJ felt.  Or Ninja Run.  So I don't bother with travel powers.  Occasionally, if it's thematic, I'll take one.  My Ill/TA, Star of the Show, has Mystic Flight because she's an actress, and modern actresses do a lot of wire work.  I've got Hover on a couple of characters, but only when I can bring it up to the flight speed cap.  One of them also has Group Fly, but she's a Bots/Rad mastermind and I really, really want to play something with Rocket Boots and a bunch of robots with rockets.  Mostly, though, Hurdle + CJ, because it feels, viscerally, like sticking your face out of a car window while traveling at 80 mph.

 

So that's always the first consideration when I start working on a character.  How fast can I be with this one?  If the net result is lower than the Fly speed cap (58.64 mph), I won't even try to make the character.  If it's above the Fly speed cap, I'll work it and rework it until I can either push it past 60 mph (including Incarnate buffs), or I'll tear it up and try the concept with different sets.  I'm very particular about this, to the extent of abandoning a concept altogether if I can't get the speed up to what I consider to be "reasonable".  When all we had were SOs, I'd three- and four-slot Hurdle, in spite of ED, to maximize my speed.  IO sets and the Alpha slot have made it much easier to break 60 mph, and with a pair of +5 boosted Jump IOs in Hurdle, it's almost a given on any character I care to create.

 

Getting back to the build, after I abandoned /Ninjitsu and started over with /Energy Aura, I found myself staring at the build for hours.  When I was home, not playing and there was nothing going on here, I'd be eyeballing that build.  It just didn't sit quite right with me.  The movement speed was fine, but a lot of other things were bothering me.  Here's one of the early revisions of the build (in a spoiler drop-down, because this post is going to be loooooooong).

 

Spoiler

Hero Plan by Mids' Reborn : Hero Designer 2.7.2.10
https://github.com/Crytilis/mids-reborn-hero-designer

Click this DataLink to open the build!

Antianeira: Level 50 Natural Sentinel
Primary Power Set: Archery
Secondary Power Set: Energy Aura
Power Pool: Leaping
Power Pool: Fighting
Power Pool: Concealment
Ancillary Pool: Ninja Tool Mastery

Hero Profile:
Level 1: Aimed Shot -- SprSntWar-Acc/Dmg:50(A), SprSntWar-Dmg/Rchg:50(3), SprSntWar-Acc/Dmg/Rchg:50(3), SprSntWar-Acc/Dmg/EndRdx:50(5), SprSntWar-Acc/Dmg/EndRdx/Rchg:50(5), SprSntWar-Rchg/+Absorb:50(7)
Level 1: Kinetic Shield -- Rct-Def:50(A), Rct-Def/EndRdx:50(7), Rct-EndRdx/Rchg:50(9), Rct-Def/Rchg:50(9), Rct-Def/EndRdx/Rchg:50(11), Rct-ResDam%:20(11)
Level 2: Fistful of Arrows -- HO:Centri(A), HO:Centri(17), Dtn-Dmg/EndRdx/Rng:50(17), Bmbdmt-+FireDmg:30(19), JvlVll-Dam%:10(19), PstBls-Dam%:20(21)
Level 4: Kinetic Dampening -- StdPrt-ResDam/Def+:30(A), Ags-ResDam:50(25), Ags-Psi/Status:50(27)
Level 6: Combat Jumping -- LucoftheG-Def/Rchg+:50(A), DefBuff-I:50(27)
Level 8: Power Shield -- RedFrt-Def/EndRdx:50(A), Rct-Def/EndRdx:50(29), LucoftheG-Def/EndRdx:50(29), LucoftheG-Def/Rchg+:50(31)
Level 10: Kick -- FrcFdb-Dmg/KB:35(A), FrcFdb-Acc/KB:35(31)
Level 12: Explosive Arrow -- SprOppStr-Acc/Dmg:50(A), SprOppStr-Dmg/Rchg:50(31), SprOppStr-Acc/Dmg/Rchg:50(33), SprOppStr-Acc/Dmg/EndRdx:50(33), SprOppStr-Acc/Dmg/EndRdx/Rchg:50(33), SprOppStr-Rchg/+Opportunity:50(34)
Level 14: Tough -- GldArm-3defTpProc:10(A)
Level 16: Entropy Shield -- EndRdx-I:50(A)
Level 18: Blazing Arrow -- Apc-Dam%:50(A), Apc-Dmg/Rchg:50(34), Apc-Acc/Dmg/Rchg:50(34), Apc-Acc/Rchg:50(36), Apc-Dmg/EndRdx:50(36), Apc-Dmg:50(36)
Level 20: Weave -- Rct-Def/EndRdx:50(A), RedFrt-Def/EndRdx:50(37), LucoftheG-Def/EndRdx:50(37)
Level 22: Power Armor -- Ags-ResDam/EndRdx:50(A), Ags-ResDam:50(37)
Level 24: Energize -- RgnTss-Heal/EndRdx/Rchg:30(A), RgnTss-Heal/Rchg:30(39)
Level 26: Grant Invisibility -- LucoftheG-Def/Rchg+:25(A)
Level 28: Repelling Force -- LucoftheG-Def/Rchg+:50(A), LucoftheG-Def:50(39), DefBuff-I:50(50)
Level 30: Aim -- GssSynFr--ToHit/Rchg:50(A), GssSynFr--Rchg/EndRdx:50(39)
Level 32: Rain of Arrows -- Artl-End/Rech/Rng:50(A), Artl-Acc/Rech/Rng:50(40), Dtn-Dmg/EndRdx/Rng:50(40), Dtn-Dmg/Rng:50(40), Rgn-Dmg/Rchg:50(42)
Level 35: Sting of the Wasp -- Hct-Dam%:50(A), Hct-Dmg/Rchg:50(42), Hct-Acc/Dmg/Rchg:50(42), Hct-Acc/Rchg:50(43), Hct-Dmg/EndRdx:50(43)
Level 38: Boxing -- Empty(A)
Level 41: The Lotus Drops -- Arm-Dam%:50(A), Arm-Dmg/Rchg:50(43), Arm-Acc/Dmg/Rchg:50(45), Arm-Acc/Rchg:50(45), Arm-Dmg/EndRdx:50(45)
Level 44: Paralyzing Dart -- BslGaz-Acc/EndRdx/Rchg/Hold:30(A), BslGaz-Acc/Hold:30(46), BslGaz-Rchg/Hold:30(46), BslGaz-EndRdx/Rchg/Hold:30(46)
Level 47: Cross Punch -- Obl-Dmg:50(A), Obl-Acc/Rchg:50(48), Obl-Dmg/Rchg:50(48), Obl-Acc/Dmg/Rchg:50(48), Obl-Acc/Dmg/EndRdx/Rchg:50(50), Obl-%Dam:50(50)
Level 49: Stealth -- LucoftheG-Def/Rchg+:25(A)
Level 1: Brawl -- Empty(A)
Level 1: Opportunity 
Level 1: Prestige Power Dash -- UnbLea-EndRdx:15(A), UnbLea-Jump:15(13)
Level 1: Prestige Power Slide -- UnbLea-EndRdx:15(A), UnbLea-Jump:15(13)
Level 1: Prestige Power Quick -- UnbLea-EndRdx:15(A), UnbLea-Jump:15(15)
Level 1: Prestige Power Rush -- Empty(A)
Level 1: Prestige Power Surge -- Empty(A)
Level 1: Sprint -- UnbLea-Stlth:15(A), UnbLea-EndRdx:15(15)
Level 2: Rest -- Empty(A)
Level 4: Ninja Run 
Level 2: Swift -- Run-I:50(A)
Level 2: Health -- Pnc-Heal/+End:10(A), NmnCnv-Regen/Rcvry+:30(21), Mrc-Rcvry+:20(23)
Level 2: Hurdle -- Jump-I:50(A), Jump-I:50(23)
Level 2: Stamina -- PrfShf-End%:21(A), PrfShf-EndMod:50(25)
Level 0: Freedom Phalanx Reserve 
Level 0: Portal Jockey 
Level 0: Task Force Commander 
Level 0: The Atlas Medallion 
Level 50: Agility Radial Paragon 
Level 50: Vorpal Judgement 
Level 50: Diamagnetic Core Flawless Interface 
Level 50: Cimeroran Radial Superior Ally 
Level 50: Ageless Radial Epiphany 
Level 50: Support Core Embodiment 
------------

 

On the surface, that looks fairly decent.  Defenses to almost all typed damage soft-capped, almost 130% +Recharge, that's not too bad.  But... the ranged attack chain is lacking.  It's fully formed, but every time I looked at the build, Stunning Shot caught my eye and I found myself wanting to try to squeeze it in.  And the melee attack chain?  Didn't exist.  It wasn't possible to chain two attacks sequentially without pause, not at that level of +Recharge, or with any slotting.  And having to wait until level 50+1 to cap my Defenses meant I wouldn't be capable of turning up the difficulty very much, meaning all of that lovely AoE/PBAoE potential would go to waste.

 

Of note, though, is Fistful of Arrows and Rain of Arrows.  With my slotting, the ranges on both powers is nearly identical to the range of the single-target attacks.  That's a vital consideration for me when I'm working with cones, or any short-ranged power in a collection of primarily longer-ranged powers.  I don't like moving forward and backward to make use of powers with different ranges.  I also don't like staying closer to avoid having to move, because it means critters are going to close in on me that much sooner.  Granted, with soft-capped Defense to everything but Psi, and melee attacks of my own, it's really not a critical issue, but it violates the basic precept of the character.  I wanted to stay at range when I was playing at range.  Extending the range of cones is something I started doing back on the original servers, when I was maining a TA/Dark.  Her attack chain consisted of Tenebrous Tentacles and Nightfall.  Just those two attacks.  I bumped up the range on TT until it matched NF, packed both powers with procs and went to town on big spawns of +2-3 critters.  And on my Archery characters, I carried over that technique and used it to turn Fistful into a "single-target attack with benefits".

 

Take a look at Fistful of Arrows.  Superficially, it has comparatively low DPA.  The common wisdom would be to sideline it and only use it in concert with Explosive and Rain, strictly and specifically as an AoE chain power.  But if you stick it into a single-target attack sequence, the DPA rises dramatically.  How?  Well, we're almost always fighting more than one foe, aren't we?  And if you're dealing damage to multiple foes while attacking a single one... bingo, DPA goes up.  In fact, when used in a single-target attack chain, and there are only two foes, the DPA climbs to second best, just behind Stunning Shot.  And with those three procs, even at the lowest proc rate (20%), it's the highest DPA attack in the set.

 

Furthermore, with Fistful slotted for range, the cone width at that distance is a massive 75'.  I'm not exaggerating when I say that you can hit anything within sight with it, as long as it's within 70.5' of you.  That makes it incredibly easy to leverage the higher DPA potential.  It's no longer potential now, it's a given.  And with a short recharge time and very low endurance cost (for an AoE), it's perfect for filling a single-target attack chain.

 

Rain of Arrows was slotted for maximum range as well.  While the HC team may have shortened the animation when they set it up for sentinels, 40-48' just isn't far enough to use it without being seen unless you're corner shooting.  Matching it to the range of the other attacks just made sense.  Having the ability to do that, via enhancement boosters, without giving up any damage or recharge time, made it a given for my build.

 

So, I was happy with my movement speed, range and recharge times, but I knew there was a lot of potential being wasted in this build.  Energize was little more than a slot mule, I had four Sprints slotted, my damage mitigation was reliant on the Alpha slot, and I was going to have a lot of down time when I used my melee attacks.  I could do better.

 

Spoiler

Hero Plan by Mids' Reborn : Hero Designer 2.7.2.10
https://github.com/Crytilis/mids-reborn-hero-designer

Click this DataLink to open the build!

Antianeira: Level 50 Natural Sentinel
Primary Power Set: Archery
Secondary Power Set: Energy Aura
Power Pool: Leaping
Power Pool: Fighting
Power Pool: Concealment
Power Pool: Flight
Ancillary Pool: Ninja Tool Mastery

Hero Profile:
Level 1: Aimed Shot -- Apc-Dmg:50(A), Apc-Dmg/EndRdx:50(37)
Level 1: Kinetic Shield -- RedFrt-Def/EndRdx:50(A), LucoftheG-Def/EndRdx:50(3), Rct-Def/EndRdx:50(3)
Level 2: Fistful of Arrows -- HO:Centri(A), HO:Centri(9), Dtn-Dmg/EndRdx/Rng:50(9), Bmbdmt-+FireDmg:30(11), JvlVll-Dam%:10(11), PstBls-Dam%:20(13)
Level 4: Kinetic Dampening -- StdPrt-ResDam/Def+:30(A), Ags-ResDam:50(17), Ags-ResDam/Rchg:50(19)
Level 6: Combat Jumping -- LucoftheG-Def/Rchg+:50(A), LucoftheG-Def/EndRdx:50(19)
Level 8: Power Shield -- LucoftheG-Def/Rchg+:50(A), RedFrt-EndRdx/Rchg:50(21), RedFrt-Def:50(21), RedFrt-Def/EndRdx:50(23), RedFrt-Def/EndRdx/Rchg:50(23), RedFrt-EndRdx:50(25)
Level 10: Kick -- FrcFdb-Dmg/KB:21(A), FrcFdb-Acc/KB:21(50)
Level 12: Stunning Shot -- SprOppStr-Acc/Dmg:50(A), SprOppStr-Dmg/Rchg:50(25), SprOppStr-Acc/Dmg/Rchg:50(27), SprOppStr-Acc/Dmg/EndRdx:50(27), SprOppStr-Acc/Dmg/EndRdx/Rchg:50(29), SprOppStr-Rchg/+Opportunity:50(29)
Level 14: Tough -- GldArm-3defTpProc:10(A)
Level 16: Entropy Shield -- EndRdx-I:50(A)
Level 18: Blazing Arrow -- SprSntWar-Acc/Dmg:50(A), SprSntWar-Dmg/Rchg:50(31), SprSntWar-Acc/Dmg/Rchg:50(31), SprSntWar-Acc/Dmg/EndRdx:50(31), SprSntWar-Acc/Dmg/EndRdx/Rchg:50(33), SprSntWar-Rchg/+Absorb:50(33)
Level 20: Weave -- LucoftheG-Def/Rchg+:50(A), RedFrt-EndRdx/Rchg:50(33), RedFrt-Def:50(34), RedFrt-Def/EndRdx:50(34), RedFrt-Def/EndRdx/Rchg:50(34), RedFrt-EndRdx:50(36)
Level 22: Power Armor -- Ags-Psi/Status:50(A), Ags-ResDam:50(36)
Level 24: Energize -- RgnTss-Heal/Rchg:30(A), RgnTss-Heal/EndRdx/Rchg:30(36)
Level 26: Stealth -- LucoftheG-Def/Rchg+:50(A)
Level 28: Repelling Force -- LucoftheG-Def/Rchg+:50(A), LucoftheG-Def:50(37)
Level 30: Aim -- GssSynFr--Build%:50(A), GssSynFr--Rchg/EndRdx:50(37)
Level 32: Rain of Arrows -- HO:Centri(A), HO:Centri(39), Dtn-Dmg/EndRdx/Rng:50(39), Rgn-Acc/Rchg:50(39), Bmbdmt-Acc/Rech/End:50(40)
Level 35: Sting of the Wasp -- Hct-Dam%:50(A), Hct-Dmg/Rchg:50(40), Hct-Acc/Dmg/Rchg:50(40), Hct-Acc/Rchg:50(42), Hct-Dmg/EndRdx:50(42)
Level 38: Air Superiority -- SprBlsCol-Dmg/EndRdx:50(A), SprBlsCol-Acc/Dmg:50(42), SprBlsCol-Acc/Dmg/EndRdx:50(43), SprBlsCol-Acc/Dmg/Rchg:50(43), SprBlsCol-Dmg/EndRdx/Acc/Rchg:50(43), SprBlsCol-Rchg/HoldProc:50(45)
Level 41: The Lotus Drops -- Arm-Dam%:50(A), Arm-Dmg/Rchg:50(45), Arm-Acc/Dmg/Rchg:50(45), Arm-Acc/Rchg:50(46), Arm-Dmg/EndRdx:50(46)
Level 44: Cross Punch -- Erd-Dmg/Rchg:30(A), Erd-Acc/Dmg/EndRdx/Rchg:30(46), Erd-Dmg:30(50), Mlt-Acc/Dmg/EndRdx:50(50)
Level 47: Paralyzing Dart -- BslGaz-Acc/EndRdx/Rchg/Hold:30(A), BslGaz-Acc/Hold:30(48), BslGaz-Rchg/Hold:30(48), BslGaz-EndRdx/Rchg/Hold:30(48)
Level 49: Boxing -- Empty(A)
Level 1: Brawl -- Empty(A)
Level 1: Opportunity 
Level 1: Prestige Power Dash -- UnbLea-EndRdx:15(A), UnbLea-Jump:15(5)
Level 1: Prestige Power Slide -- UnbLea-EndRdx:15(A), UnbLea-Jump:15(5)
Level 1: Prestige Power Quick -- UnbLea-EndRdx:15(A), UnbLea-Jump:15(7)
Level 1: Prestige Power Rush -- Empty(A)
Level 1: Prestige Power Surge -- Empty(A)
Level 1: Sprint -- UnbLea-Stlth:15(A), UnbLea-EndRdx:50(7)
Level 2: Rest -- Empty(A)
Level 4: Ninja Run 
Level 2: Swift -- Run-I:50(A)
Level 2: Health -- Pnc-Heal/+End:10(A), NmnCnv-Regen/Rcvry+:30(13), Mrc-Rcvry+:20(15)
Level 2: Hurdle -- Jump-I:50(A), Jump-I:50(15)
Level 2: Stamina -- PrfShf-End%:21(A), PrfShf-EndMod:50(17)
Level 0: Freedom Phalanx Reserve 
Level 0: Portal Jockey 
Level 0: Task Force Commander 
Level 0: The Atlas Medallion 
Level 50: Cimeroran Radial Superior Ally 
Level 50: Ageless Radial Epiphany 
Level 50: Support Core Embodiment 
Level 50: Spiritual Radial Paragon 
Level 50: Vorpal Judgement 
Level 50: Degenerative Core Flawless Interface 
------------

 

This... this was better.  Soft-capped Defense before level 50.  More utility from Energize.  A slightly longer Stun duration on Stunning Shot (i dropped Explosive around revision 5, in favor of Stunning.  i felt that having more single-target damage was preferable to having weak and intermittent additional AoE), which would allow me to Stun a boss briefly (handy for dropping critter toggles, if nothing else).  I've got a complete, chainable melee attack sequence with no down time.  I've had to sacrifice some global +Recharge, but I've gained quite a bit in exchange, things I couldn't get without the Agility Radial Paragon Alpha enhancement.  With this build, I switched over to Spiritual, since I no longer needed the +Def from Agility, and that improves more powers, across the board, rather than filling the Defense holes I had.

 

Using this build, I laid out several other alternate builds with differing focuses.  Regeneration over 500%.  Higher Psi Defense and Resistance.  Variations I thought might be worth investigating.  But, no matter what I did, I still felt that it wasn't quite there yet.  There was something missing, something I couldn't identify until I blew a respec at level 28.

 

I'd had in mind a plan to spec out of Aimed Shot and focus on using Stunning, Fistful and Blazing to create an attack chain.  What I didn't know at that time, though, was that I'd made a critical error in my estimation of animation times and recharge times.  Part of that was my own inattention to the numbers.  I was in such a hurry to make this work that I didn't factor my animation times correctly, and ended up falling short on recharge times.  But part of that was also due to the sentinel data entries, for both powers and procs, being erroneous in several cases in Mids'.  Power Armor, for example, allows the player to slot Healing sets.  And the +Recharge values on the ATO procs are set to Schedule A/single aspect, when they're actually 4 aspect (like acc/dam/end/rchg).  I didn't discover these faulty entries until I was mousing over powers and enhancements after trying out the new single-target chain and discovering that it was really falling short on Blazing Arrow's recharge.  I ended up burning through two more respecs, one to try another slotting scheme, and lastly, to move slots back to Aimed Shot and put it back in the tray.

 

Having gone that route, though, I realized that having Stunning/Fistful/Blazing as my single-target chain was what I was missing from the build.  The problem was, it was impossible to achieve.  Every attempt I made to change slots, cram in a little more recharge, move powers around, barely had any impact.  I had to find a way to close the recharge gap, or resign myself to using Aimed, and not being able to create a perfectly sequential attack chain.  It ate at me, like a field mouse gnawing at a wooden door, trying to get inside where it was dry and there might be an easy meal.  I went to bed thinking about it.  I woke up thinking about it.  I'd sit here, staring blankly at the screen while Jessica cavorted wildly around the cabin, trying to figure out how to make it work.  How could I create that perfect attack chain without giving up any Defense or movement speed?

 

It wasn't until my 19th revision of the character that I finally found an answer.  There was one possible option, only one, and it would mean giving up 6% +Jump, but it would give me that attack chain.

 

Spoiler

Hero Plan by Mids' Reborn : Hero Designer 2.7.2.10
https://github.com/Crytilis/mids-reborn-hero-designer

Click this DataLink to open the build!

Antianeira: Level 50 Natural Sentinel
Primary Power Set: Archery
Secondary Power Set: Energy Aura
Power Pool: Leaping
Power Pool: Fighting
Power Pool: Speed
Power Pool: Flight
Ancillary Pool: Ninja Tool Mastery

Hero Profile:
Level 1: Aimed Shot -- SprOppStr-Acc/Dmg:50(A), SprOppStr-Dmg/Rchg:50(27), SprOppStr-Acc/Dmg/Rchg:50(29), SprOppStr-Acc/Dmg/EndRdx:50(33), SprOppStr-Acc/Dmg/EndRdx/Rchg:50(34), SprOppStr-Rchg/+Opportunity:50(50)
Level 1: Kinetic Shield -- LucoftheG-Def/Rchg+:50(A), LucoftheG-Def/EndRdx:50(3), RedFrt-Def/EndRdx:50(3), Rct-Def/EndRdx:50(5)
Level 2: Fistful of Arrows -- HO:Centri(A), HO:Centri(9), Dtn-Dmg/EndRdx/Rng:50(9), Bmbdmt-+FireDmg:30(11), PstBls-Dam%:20(11), JvlVll-Dam%:10(13)
Level 4: Kinetic Dampening -- StdPrt-ResDam/Def+:30(A), Ags-ResDam:50(17), Ags-ResDam/Rchg:50(19)
Level 6: Combat Jumping -- LucoftheG-Def/Rchg+:50(A)
Level 8: Stunning Shot -- SprSntWar-Acc/Dmg:50(A), SprSntWar-Dmg/Rchg:50(19), SprSntWar-Acc/Dmg/Rchg:50(21), SprSntWar-Acc/Dmg/EndRdx:50(21), SprSntWar-Acc/Dmg/EndRdx/Rchg:50(23), SprSntWar-Rchg/+Absorb:50(23)
Level 10: Power Shield -- LucoftheG-Def/Rchg+:50(A), Rct-Def/EndRdx:50(25), LucoftheG-Def/EndRdx:50(25), RedFrt-Def/EndRdx:50(27)
Level 12: Kick -- FrcFdb-Acc/KB:21(A), FrcFdb-Dmg/KB:21(29)
Level 14: Tough -- GldArm-3defTpProc:10(A)
Level 16: Entropy Shield -- EndRdx-I:50(A)
Level 18: Blazing Arrow -- Apc-Dmg/Rchg:50(A), Apc-Acc/Dmg/Rchg:50(31), Apc-Acc/Rchg:50(31), Apc-Dmg/EndRdx:50(31), Apc-Dam%:50(33)
Level 20: Weave -- LucoftheG-Def/Rchg+:50(A), LucoftheG-Def/EndRdx:50(33), Rct-Def/EndRdx:50(34), RedFrt-Def/EndRdx:50(34)
Level 22: Power Armor -- Ags-Psi/Status:50(A), Ags-ResDam:50(36)
Level 24: Energize -- RgnTss-Heal/EndRdx/Rchg:30(A), RgnTss-Heal/Rchg:30(36)
Level 26: Aim -- GssSynFr--Rchg/EndRdx:50(A), GssSynFr--ToHit/Rchg:50(50)
Level 28: Repelling Force -- LucoftheG-Def/Rchg+:50(A), LucoftheG-Def:50(36), LucoftheG-Def/Rchg:50(37)
Level 30: Hasten -- RechRdx-I:50(A), RechRdx-I:50(37)
Level 32: Rain of Arrows -- HO:Centri(A), HO:Centri(37), Dtn-Dmg/EndRdx/Rng:50(39), Bmbdmt-Acc/Rech/End:50(39), RechRdx-I:50(39)
Level 35: Sting of the Wasp -- Hct-Dam%:50(A), Hct-Dmg/Rchg:50(40), Hct-Acc/Dmg/Rchg:50(40), Hct-Acc/Rchg:50(40), Hct-Dmg/EndRdx:50(42)
Level 38: Cross Punch -- Erd-Acc/Dmg/EndRdx/Rchg:30(A), Erd-Dmg:30(42), Erd-Dmg/Rchg:30(42), Mlt-Acc/Dmg/EndRdx:50(43)
Level 41: The Lotus Drops -- Arm-Dam%:50(A), Arm-Dmg/Rchg:50(43), Arm-Acc/Dmg/Rchg:50(43), Arm-Acc/Rchg:50(45), Arm-Dmg/EndRdx:50(45)
Level 44: Air Superiority -- SprBlsCol-Acc/Dmg:50(A), SprBlsCol-Dmg/EndRdx:50(45), SprBlsCol-Acc/Dmg/EndRdx:50(46), SprBlsCol-Acc/Dmg/Rchg:50(46), SprBlsCol-Dmg/EndRdx/Acc/Rchg:50(46), SprBlsCol-Rchg/HoldProc:50(48)
Level 47: Paralyzing Dart -- BslGaz-Acc/Hold:30(A), BslGaz-Acc/EndRdx/Rchg/Hold:30(48), BslGaz-Rchg/Hold:30(48), BslGaz-EndRdx/Rchg/Hold:30(50)
Level 49: Boxing -- Stp-KB%:20(A)
Level 1: Brawl -- Empty(A)
Level 1: Opportunity 
Level 1: Prestige Power Dash -- UnbLea-EndRdx:15(A), UnbLea-Jump:15(5)
Level 1: Prestige Power Slide -- UnbLea-EndRdx:15(A), UnbLea-Jump:15(7)
Level 1: Prestige Power Quick -- Empty(A)
Level 1: Prestige Power Rush -- Empty(A)
Level 1: Prestige Power Surge -- Empty(A)
Level 1: Sprint -- UnbLea-Stlth:15(A), UnbLea-EndRdx:50(7)
Level 2: Rest -- Empty(A)
Level 4: Ninja Run 
Level 2: Swift -- Run-I:50(A)
Level 2: Health -- Pnc-Heal/+End:10(A), Mrc-Rcvry+:20(13), NmnCnv-Regen/Rcvry+:30(15)
Level 2: Hurdle -- Jump-I:50(A), Jump-I:50(15)
Level 2: Stamina -- PrfShf-End%:21(A), PrfShf-EndMod:50(17)
Level 0: Portal Jockey 
Level 0: Task Force Commander 
Level 0: The Atlas Medallion 
Level 0: Freedom Phalanx Reserve 
Level 50: Spiritual Radial Paragon 
Level 50: Ageless Radial Epiphany 
Level 50: Mighty Radial Final Judgement 
Level 50: Degenerative Core Flawless Interface 
Level 50: Cimeroran Radial Superior Ally 
Level 50: Support Core Embodiment 
------------

 

This is actually the 20th revision, but it only slightly differs from 19.  The Defense numbers are incrementally higher (0.1-0.2%), Regeneration is a little better (will hit 400% when Energize is active), but otherwise, this is where I finally hit the target.  It did cost me 6% movement speed, as I noted above, but that 6% loss nets me 70% more global +Recharge, that small amount of increased Defense and Regeneration, a few more HP, and, most importantly, my single-target ranged attack chain is complete with only Stunning, Fistful and Blazing.  Though, in point of fact, it's 0.122s short on Blazing's recharge, but that's less than 1/8th of a second, it won't be noticeable as more than the standard "I'M STILL RECHARGING, STOP PRESSING ME!" sound, and when I slot the Spiritual Alpha, it'll be well past the necessary recharge time.

 

20 revisions, from the false start with /Ninjitsu to the final product, and including multiple variations.  20 different builds, each time trying to make it slightly better in some way without losing core aspects like the ranges on Fistful and Rain (i could've easily slotted both with fewer enhancements if i'd been willing to sacrifice the additional range), or my super zoomy boing boing jumping ability.  Every slot and enhancement is so critical to the entire build, changing even a single one would cause the whole thing to cascade into ruin.  One minor alteration drops a typed Defense, or reduces movement speed, or disrupts either the ranged or melee attack chain.  It's the kind of build that you're afraid to breathe on before you get to 50, for fear of it collapsing like a house of cards.

 

All of that, because I don't want to take SJ or use Ninja Run.  It would've been so easy to use either, and opened up more options by allowing me to step back from the focus of +Movement Speed.  This... this is min/maxing at it's purest, taking something raw and unrefined and distilling it down the the very essence of what it can be, hammering the critical aspects into place and keeping them there while everything around them is shifting and changing, and dragging every last iota of potential out of it.  This is what I do to relax.  This is both enjoyable and rewarding for me, as much as playing the characters I've worked on in this manner.

 

This is the game through my eyes.

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Get busy living... or get busy dying.  That's goddamn right.

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Zone into mission.

TAB to target, F to follow, commence appropriate attack chain.

Slaughter everything at max diff.

Build based from the correctness and flow of the single target attack chain. AoE chain is superfluous, welcome sure, and yay, pretty orange numbers.

TAB, F, Kill.

Background music doesn't matter. Metal, folk, weird ass Norwegian chantings, goth and acid rock...

TAB, F, Kill.

My mind is a whole damn lot simpler than Luminara's.

 

Edited by Bill Z Bubba
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On 9/27/2020 at 1:25 AM, Bill Z Bubba said:

Zone into mission.

TAB to target, F to follow, commence appropriate attack chain.

Slaughter everything at max diff.

Build based from the correctness and flow of the single target attack chain. AoE chain is superfluous, welcome sure, and yay, pretty orange numbers.

TAB, F, Kill.

Background music doesn't matter. Metal, folk, weird ass Norwegian chantings, goth and acid rock...

TAB, F, Kill.

My mind is a whole damn lot simpler than Luminara's.

 

 

Melee poetry:

 

TAB chooses wrong foe?

"/bind n target_custom_near

enemy alive"

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I find SJ to be fairly zippy if you can do short hops, rather than attempt escape velocity.

 

As I recall from the classic Incredible Hulk comics, he'd more often than not do short hops...skyscraper rooftops, craggy mountains, passing airplanes, etc.

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I often go through a somewhat similar process. Days of planning and modifying. Endless thoughts from waking to sleeping (and sometimes even dreaming lol)... except it also extends to my costumes and color choices. I also don't typically burn respecs unless it's a Eureka! moment... I just copy the build to test server and make changes there. 

 

Lately I've been super lazy with travel powers though, just grabbing Flight for ease. Funny because I think I only ever had one character with Flight back on live.

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1 hour ago, Mystic_Cross said:

I often go through a somewhat similar process. Days of planning and modifying. Endless thoughts from waking to sleeping (and sometimes even dreaming lol)... except it also extends to my costumes and color choices.

 

I have one that, for the life of me, I just can't figure out.  Something's wrong.  I load her up about once a week and stand in Icon for half an hour or so, trying to find whatever's missing.  She's shelved until I do.

 

1 hour ago, Mystic_Cross said:

I also don't typically burn respecs unless it's a Eureka! moment... I just copy the build to test server and make changes there.

 

I jumped the gun this time.  I was too eager, didn't pay enough attention to my math.  In fact, I almost did exactly the same thing a second time.  I was adding up the animation times of the melee chain and realized that the total was almost identical to the recharge time for Lotus when I had a full buff from Cross Punch, and I thought to myself, "Hey, I can just use the attacks sequentially and have Lotus every 4th attack!"

 

Then I remembered that this was where I went sideways when I blew three respecs.  I had to remind myself, despite knowing, that recharge doesn't begin until the animation finishes, and that attack chain wouldn't work.  Observer bias.  I saw what I wanted to see and didn't account for something that I knew, that I've known for 15 years, and almost stubbed my toe again in my excitement to make it true.

 

I am, sadly, only human.  Ish.

Get busy living... or get busy dying.  That's goddamn right.

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11 minutes ago, Luminara said:

 

I have one that, for the life of me, I just can't figure out.  Something's wrong.  I load her up about once a week and stand in Icon for half an hour or so, trying to find whatever's missing.  She's shelved until I do.

Haha I have two of those right now! A DA/Psi Tank that after nearly 10 hours in the creator I ended up using one of my mains spare costume files just so I could finish creation. I've made several attempts since then but nothing that quite fits. The other is an EM/Shield Stalker.... a STALKER for god's sake... that I'm almost never going to see the costume on anyway... but there's something that's just off and I can't resolve it. I'm happy with the base design... mostly, and the coloring... mostly. But up to about 40 different variations of the same costume (more or less) now, and I can spend a couple hours just cycling through them until... "oh wait! what if I do this" and end up making another variation that I'm not quite 100% happy with. lol

 

1 hour ago, Luminara said:

I jumped the gun this time.  

<snip>

I am, sadly, only human.  Ish.

We all are, even at the best of times. lol 🙂

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1 hour ago, Luminara said:

{...}

I jumped the gun this time. 

More like an accelerated hop, really.

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Those of you who continue to profess a belief in the Users will receive the standard substandard training which will result in your eventual elimination.

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On 9/26/2020 at 4:30 PM, Luminara said:

This is the game through my eyes.

That was a fascinating read, Luminara. It's one thing to know that people see the game differently, but getting such a vivid look is a such a different thing. I confess that your requirements are completely foreign to me, but I can understand your rationale behind them.

 

However, one comment:

On 9/26/2020 at 4:30 PM, Luminara said:

When you jump, the game calculates your friction, your current momentum and speed, then determines the arc of your leap.  When you reach the apex of that arc, your forward speed is turned into falling speed, and your momentum is altered similarly.  Basically, you stop jumping and start plummeting.  With certain powers, you can steer your fall, somewhat, but that's not actually the problematic bit, it's where the apex of the leap occurs.  The higher you jump, the more of your jumping speed is "wasted" on upward movement, and the less of it you apply to forward movement.  Additionally, none of your movement speed is applied when you reach the apex of your jump and begin falling, so that arc which started out so gracefully becomes a precipitous drop after the apex, and you're only moving forward slightly in comparison to your previous rate.  The best way to get the most out of jumping speed is with shallow leaps... like what you get with Hurdle and Combat Jumping.

I have no proof of this, but I've certainly never felt like I slowed down at the apex of a Super Jump. I always assumed that the forward vector was always a fixed magnitude and the upward vector just transitioned to zero after reaching a certain height. If you let go of the forward key, forward momentum actually slows down.

 

I suppose this shouldn't be too hard to test, time jumping across a large zone while (1) bunny hopping with Super Jump and (2) max height Super Jumps. If the times weren't within the same ballpack, I'd be pretty surprised.

 

Super Jump is probably my favorite all round travel power. Fast, easy to use, has vertical, can be used indoors (bunny hopping!), and Combat Jumping is still great (even if travel powers don't have prerequisites anymore.) It also has the optional mini-game of "the floor is lava! cross the zone without touching the ground!" going for it...

 

On 9/26/2020 at 10:25 PM, Bill Z Bubba said:

Zone into mission.

TAB to target, F to follow, commence appropriate attack chain.

Slaughter everything at max diff.

Build based from the correctness and flow of the single target attack chain. AoE chain is superfluous, welcome sure, and yay, pretty orange numbers.

TAB, F, Kill.

Background music doesn't matter. Metal, folk, weird ass Norwegian chantings, goth and acid rock...

TAB, F, Kill.

My mind is a whole damn lot simpler than Luminara's.

I'm going to have to go ahead and /jranger this whole post... with incriminating evidence.

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11 hours ago, Sarrate said:

I have no proof of this, but I've certainly never felt like I slowed down at the apex of a Super Jump. I always assumed that the forward vector was always a fixed magnitude and the upward vector just transitioned to zero after reaching a certain height. If you let go of the forward key, forward momentum actually slows down.

 

You don't slow down instantaneously at the apex.  Both forward speed and momentum are converted to falling, but it's controlled.  Forward speed becomes falling speed more quickly than momentum bleeds off, so you continue to move forward, but your forward motion declines the farther you fall.  Past a certain point, it becomes a nearly perfectly vertical drop (that point being when the second leg of the arc is longer than the first leg (meaning, when your landing point is lower than your starting point) with any travel power.

 

With SJ, the only real factor of note is that you're moving both forward and upward when you leap, and the greater the angle upward, the slower the forward velocity, so it's not really noticeable unless you're pushing your +Jump Height to a point of making it evident.  The conversion of forward speed to falling speed and the gradual reduction of momentum don't visibly present themselves with the way the power was designed and how people slot.  SJ is capped with a single +0 SO, or nearly capped with a level 50 common IO in Hurdle, and slotting for +Jump Height leads to massive overages in speed, so people just don't slot for +Jump Height.  If it's at the cap, or nearly, it's "done".  The underlying world mechanics are still there, hidden by SJ's mechanics.  It's "working as intended", and it really does it well.

 

The interaction with world mechanics is much easier to observe with CJ and Hurdle.  Your apex is lower, so more of your forward speed is actually applied to moving forward.  Slotting for more +Jump Height makes the speed loss more evident because it's still slower than SJ and that allows the split between axes to be more easily noted.  And the proportional increase in height is greater than it would be with a travel power, which makes it even more evident.  CJ also doesn't have a momentum mechanic (does have an anti-friction mechanic), as far as I've been able to discern (not easy to test because Hurdle can't be respeced out of or turned off), so the loss of forward momentum after passing a certain falling point is also easier to observe.  By noting these behaviors and observing how they affect the player character, the world mechanics can be distinguished and analyzed.

 

That's really all it is to me.  Finding and playing with things under the hood.  I love playing the game, but how it works, and why it works that way, is just as much an obsession.  SJ is great, it really is, but I prefer Hurdle and CJ because they're more efficient in regard to taking everything I put into them and giving me exactly what I want.

 

13 hours ago, Sarrate said:

It also has the optional mini-game of "the floor is lava! cross the zone without touching the ground!" going for it...

 

That's my FAVORITE game.  It's actually why I bitch about Verizon so much.  When the deprioritization starts, I can't walk (using Walk!) without rubber-banding.  All of my perfectly executed hops turn into wildly jerking map spasms forward and backward and I end up on the ground with my face in a wall.  Pisses me off so much.

Get busy living... or get busy dying.  That's goddamn right.

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You can also be just about as lazy with SJ as you can be with fly when you want:

 

/bind J "powexec_toggleon Super Jump$$++autorun$$++up"

 

I always liked SJ, but have to say I liked it even better when I found that bind.  It can be fun, but sometimes I don't want to bother with it or want to give some of my fingers a rest.

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22 minutes ago, Riverdusk said:

You can also be just about as lazy with SJ as you can be with fly when you want:

 

/bind J "powexec_toggleon Super Jump$$++autorun$$++up"

 

I always liked SJ, but have to say I liked it even better when I found that bind.  It can be fun, but sometimes I don't want to bother with it or want to give some of my fingers a rest.

This.

 

Which I follow up with /bind h "powexectoggleon combat jumping$$-up$$-autorun"

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I'll do the same thing with your Archery / EA build, through my eyes.  It will be shorter.  But just remember, this is how I see things and how I operate and -not- a critique on playstyle, or build, or anything else.  Now that I have the PC stuff out of the way.

 

Archery / EA is a combo I'd never even try due to my lack of imagination.  How is it my archer has an aura of energy which provides defense and / or resistance?  Is it a device?  Did I build this device or is it implanted?  If either, why didn't I or the creator of this device arm me with something better than a bow?  That would be my hang up.  Archery seems to be a learned, low tech skill.  Energy aura seems to be very high tech or even something scientific or magical possibly.  Maybe a magical archer with a magical aura of energy?  Ah, possible justification, but for me the combo is a stretch and just doesn't click with me.

 

The reason why I posted this was to just demonstrate how differently people see the same thing, but very different perspectives.  It's all legit, but IMO rather interesting.

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33 minutes ago, Xeres said:

Archery / EA is a combo I'd never even try due to my lack of imagination.  How is it my archer has an aura of energy which provides defense and / or resistance?  Is it a device?  Did I build this device or is it implanted?  If either, why didn't I or the creator of this device arm me with something better than a bow?  That would be my hang up.  Archery seems to be a learned, low tech skill.  Energy aura seems to be very high tech or even something scientific or magical possibly.  Maybe a magical archer with a magical aura of energy?

 

I already knew I wasn't going to be able to explain it fully within the context of the character without reaching, something like "The gods did it!", but... one of the nicer aspects of this game engine is that we can disable most of the graphical effects for our characters, even the ones for which there is no NoFX option, by changing the suppressCloseFxDist parameter.  With suppressCloseFX turned on (either /suppressclosefxdist 1, or through the graphical options), and the distance set (/suppressclosefxdist 30, for example, and the number can be tweaked to a distance that works just enough to suppress at exactly the range where you normally keep your camera, or only when you nudge too close to a wall, or really far out so it never shows unless you scroll beyond the distance you set), /EA shows no graphics for the player.

 

And then there's no blinding glow to explain.  At least, on the player's screen.  Others will still see it, but rarely, if ever, comment.  That still leaves the fact that the toggles are named things like "Kinetic Shield" and "Power Shield", but I'm not looking at their names when I'm playing, I'm just verifying that they're still turned on.  I'm no longer protected by a techno-magical device created by a mutant with a science degree, I'm just really, really good at not being hit, or my Roman armor is really, really good at deflecting enemy attacks.

 

1 hour ago, Xeres said:

Ah, possible justification, but for me the combo is a stretch and just doesn't click with me.

 

You're definitely right, but with a bit of tweaking and a willingness to ignore that others don't see what I see, it works pretty well for me.  🙂

Get busy living... or get busy dying.  That's goddamn right.

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On 9/26/2020 at 6:30 PM, Luminara said:

I've always had a somewhat individual approach to building a character, but that's not really unusual around here.  We all focus on different things when we're making our characters uniquely our own.  For every "I can has cookie-cutter build?" post, there's another asking about making a concept work with a specific set or power, or how to wrestle the mechanics into working in favor of a build idea, and that's one of the really interesting things about being here, we can poke around in one another's mind, see the game through different eyes.  I love that.  It's like reading a really fantastic book, you become so immersed that you forget the reality around you and slip into whatever world you're reading about.

 

- SNIP -

 

This is the game through my eyes.

 

I loved this post, thank you for taking the time to write it.  I have a lot of the same issues with having a concept and having multiple revisions to get to a place I where the character matches what is in my mind.  My DP/MC blaster went through so many revisions I used all my earned respecs and had to purchase additional respecs.

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