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drgantz

Is AOE Important for Stalkers?

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I was looking at several Stalker Primaries and was surprised that several of them don't have AOE (besides cones).

I was thinking of Street Justice, Ninja Blade and Dual Blades because I want a Natural Stalker.  StJ is the only one that has AOE.
I plan to use Ninjutsu as my Secondary.

Am I overthinking this?  Is it good to have a Stalker that is just ST and cones?  Should I just let the others do the AOE?

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AOE is important.

 

The devs thought it wouldn't be.  They were wrong.  Newer sets have the same AOE as Scrappers

 

STJ and Staff would work for Natural.  

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AOE is important for speed.  I suggest going Ice/Ninja and saying the Ice is Chi based or you're an alien and the natural theme will work 🙂

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Why do you think ninja blade and Dual blades don't have AoE? they each have 2 cone attacks hitting up to 5 or 10 enemies. Dual blades Ablative Strike also shows it has a 10ft PBAoE hitting up to 10 enemies in the description.... finishing move of the sweep combo makes it AoE?

 

STJ has one cone and one very small PBAoE hitting 5 and 10 enemies also if you are lucky with such a small radius.

 

Ninja Blade does look the weakest in AoE but it does have 2 cones.

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46 minutes ago, Gobbledegook said:

Why do you think ninja blade and Dual blades don't have AoE? they each have 2 cone attacks hitting up to 5 or 10 enemies. Dual blades Ablative Strike also shows it has a 10ft PBAoE hitting up to 10 enemies in the description.... finishing move of the sweep combo makes it AoE?

 

 

My problem with cones is that I usually only take out only 1 mob, and rarely more than 2.
As far as Dual Blades, I have to do 3 hits to do a combo.  By the time that I've completed the 3 attacks, there is a good chance that many of the mobs in that AOE zone have already been taken out.  In addition, many people say that to get the best damage from a DB, you should ignore the combos.

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DB isn't bad. If you run one of the top DB attack chains, the Sweep Combo occurs naturally within the chain itself. [BU]-AS-Ab-SS-Ab/NS/PS-repeat, with the BU-AS-Ab portion activating the Combo. Also the chain is fast, about 5 seconds long. SS cone is used often.

 

Even though the Sweep Combo is BU dependent, the Stalker ATO2 unique may recharge it instantly. And with the attack chain being so fast, BU may insta-charge more frequent than other primaries. But at the same time, StJ's Spinning Strike KD's targets naturally.

 

Melee cones are not great. Throwing the Mid's data for those powers into an area calculator:

 

DB's Sweeping Strike has a 7' range, 90° arc and will cover about 38.5 feet²
DB's 1k Cuts has a range of 10', 90° arc and will cover about 78.5 feet²
DB's Sweep Combo has a 10' radius and will cover about 314.2 feet²

StJ's Spinning Strike has a radius of 6' and will cover about 113.0 feet²
StJ's Sweeping Cross has a range of 7', a 50° arc and will cover about 21.4 feet²

NB's Flashing Steel has a 7' range, 130° arc and will cover about 55.6 feet²
NB's Golden Dragonfly has a 10' range, 19° arc and will cover about 16.6 feet²

 

The chance of any of those cones hitting max targets is pretty slim. 

 

https://www.calculator.net/area-calculator.html?circleradius=30&circleradiusunit=meters&calctype=circle&x=55&y=9#circle

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I've made do in solo play with no AOE at all.  I've made do in team play with no AOE at all.  If you're looking to farm, yes, you'll want AOE.  Yes, AOE will help clear missions faster.

 

You want a PBAOE and natural, have you thought of Staff?

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I have a STJ/Nin natural stalker myself and because Nin as a secondary is so efficient with so few power picks I also fit Cross Punch into the build + both Kick and Boxing to get the max damage bonus on it. So for AoE I have: Spinning Strike, Sweeping Cross and Cross Punch which is essentially another Sweeping Cross you can slot the Force Feedback proc into - once that gets going between the 3 and Judgement when its up you're well covered for AoE. 

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23 minutes ago, Hedgefund said:

Poor MA, is that the only set now with 0 AOE now that EM got readjusted?

Yeah probably.

 

Its a great boss killer since you have a lot of good ST attacks

 

And it exemps really well since you can get many of them early

 

But compared to STJ its noticeably lacking at higher levels, better off just doing Scrapper with MA TBH.  

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AoE helps clear mobs faster, but there is nothing wrong with single target focused sets. The stalker archetype as a whole is more single target centric. We need boss/eb/av killers just as much as we need trash mob killers.
 

That said, dual blades is one of the best primaries there is and has great single target damage and good AoE. Sweeping strike is good and will often hit 3 or more enemies. I generally run BU>AS>ablaiting>sweeping>power slice repeat. Build up will occur pretty frequently with the stalker ATO and will trigger the sweep combo.

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I actually think Dual Blades has better AoE than Street Justice.  Street Justice has Sweeping Cross (which mostly gets used when Crushing Uppercut is not available / on cooldown) and Spinning Strike which is kind of a meh attack and in both cases only hits enemies that are pretty much directly in front of you.  Dual Blades on the other hand has Sweeping Strike which is a fantastic attack that in my experience regularly hits 3-5 targets and the Sweep combo which is a solid PBAoE.  Granted you only get to Sweep after you Build Up but thanks to the ATO you are using Build Up all the time, but also note that Dual Blades gets its AoE for free built into its best attack chain so it costs you zero animation time.  If you want more than that, then Dual Blades also offers 1 Thousand Cuts which is one of the best AoE attacks available in a Stalker primary (also one of the only but whatever).

 

As for how important AoE is in general, it's good and it's satisfying when your Stalker can also clear tons of mobs very fast.  But AoE is definitely LEAST important on the stalker AT.  For small groups you are probably better off buzzsawing through enemies with your ST damage.  IMO if you are playing with a team and the team needs more AoE the last person they should be looking at is the Stalker and if you are playing solo and you find yourself spending too much time clearing trash mobs and you're getting bored, just turn it down from x8 to x6 or 4 or whatever is more comfortable.

15 hours ago, drgantz said:

As far as Dual Blades, I have to do 3 hits to do a combo.  By the time that I've completed the 3 attacks, there is a good chance that many of the mobs in that AOE zone have already been taken out.  In addition, many people say that to get the best damage from a DB, you should ignore the combos.

A fair point but 3 attacks in Dual Blades takes like 2.5 seconds so if this is your regular experience then yeah AoE is definitely not something you need to be worried about. 

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At first I found the Street Justice "AoE" to be slightly deceptive in that Spinning Strike is a melee-targeted AoE (I was expecting a PBAoE) and Sweeping Cross is a classic melee cone that requires repositioning... unless you are running content with a lot of enemy mobs where they will line themselves up to some extent. Until you level up and can handle large groups, these two attacks will seem rather "meh".

 

To the OP:

On 12/24/2020 at 12:32 AM, drgantz said:

Am I overthinking this?  Is it good to have a Stalker that is just ST and cones?  Should I just let the others do the AOE?

I have experimented with an AoE-focused Stalker, leveraging the Primary (Spines) and Secondary (Bio Armor). I enjoy playing the AoE character more with teams, because for much of the content in any given mission/arc (at default settings), there aren't enough hard targets in mass combat to occupy the entire team. I can stay relatively close to the team, or I can wander off. My single-target Stalkers pretty much have to wander off in order to increase clear times.

 

With Spines/Bio, I leverage all of the Primary except the T1 (Barb Swipe) and T6 (Placate). The T3 (Spine Burst) is mostly just holding a set bonus, I don't use it all that often because of the long cast time... but it is a PBAoE. The T8 (Ripper) is a classic melee cone. the T9 Throw Spines is a classic AoE ranged cone; I have it franken-slotted on my character for Damage/Range plus 4 %damage procs.

 

I have all the secondary powers from Bio Armor except the T8 PBAoE Genetic Corruption. I would have tried to work it in the build, but it comes too late (as a power pick) as it runs into Epic Pool territory, and I want every one of my Stalkers to have a Snipe. The T7 DNA Siphon can be made a very good PBAoE; I also have this franken-slotted with 4 %damage procs. I would have tried to leverage the T9 Parasitic Aura with some PBAoE %damage, but it is another power that comes late in the build (I could only squeeze it in at lvl 44 without making some serious compromises) and I don't have enough slots to dedicate to it for the somewhat marginal extra damage I could get from it.

 

TL; DR - I have found that it is not necessary to have AoE on Stalkers, but that my method of dealing (Stalker) damage does change my play style.

 

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I need to have AoE on my Stalkers.  It just makes such a difference in the way it plays.  I guess some people don't find taking out minions one at a time tedious, but I sure do.  I enjoy being able to throw in some AoEs in between single-target attacks on the boss and the minions fall without any direct attention.  Feels more powerful that way, too.  The minions aren't worth my time, they are just collateral damage.

 

I agree with people who say that you can contribute to a team even as a single-target focused character.  In my experience on teams there are usually bosses left after AoEs have cleared the rest, and being able to burn down the bosses quickly helps the whole team move along faster.  So really it comes down to personal preference.  What feels good and fun for you.

 

I don't consider sets with just a single cone to really have AoE.  I mean, it's better than nothing and they can be worthwhile to use against multiple enemies, even if you have to reposition a bit.  That's mostly when solo though.  Fast-moving teams are different.  Cones tend to be wasted there unless you have a tank bunching enemies up for you and can get in before everyone else's AoEs render yours irrelevant.  I like having a cone to supplement a PBAoE when available, because they are nice when solo.  It's too bad that Psi Melee didn't keep it's cone.  Would have made a more solid set.

 

I'm a big fan of damage auras on other melee ATs.  It's too bad they are unavailable on Stalkers.  There are precious few options for adding damage from the secondary.  Between that and the more limited AoE options in the primary, there aren't that many interesting Stalker combos, unfortunately.

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I'm currently taking my time leveling up a Broad Sword stalker and there's not much AoE in there at all, just a couple of thin cones.  I've done fine with being a single target damager, but I have to admit that having some AoE creep into the set as I leveled up felt like something of a relief, if nothing else because it's fun to manage a crit on three targets at once.  Which, come to think of it, sounds like a real good argument for wanting AoE for stalkers.  But still, you can easily still live and do your thing without it.

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The stalker sets with decent aoe still do good to excellent st damage.  I have a few characters with limited aoe (basically just judgement) and there are times it can be tedious facing even a handful of enemies. 

 

That said, I play a lot more st specialists than aoe specialists.

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I made a street justice and I was like, well this is actually like useable aoe ok I can work with this and said yeah stalkers need some aoe. 

 

Then I made an elec/shield and I cackled "Stalkers are the best aoe this is more fun than a fire blaster hahahahahahaha"

 

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I run a fire/fire/fire stalker with soft cap s/l def. Burn on stalkers can crit, let that sink in. Fire sword circle, burn,and fireball. Still has very good ST.

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