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Are melee focused blasters facing an identity crisis, or is that just how you should play?


Blapper, or Just Blaster.  

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  1. 1. Do you think Blapping is a subclass or just the way you should play a blaster?

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Eh, it's whatever makes you happy. I've seen plenty love all ranged blasters before - usually going atomic, devices, or energy manip as their secondaries. You do end up missing a lot of powers but it can leave your build with quite a bit of room for some interesting takes.

From a numbers perspective, your best DPA attacks will come from a mix of melee and ranged - so in that sense you could say you are doing it wrong if you are only wanting to put out as much damage as possible.

If you wanna be an all ranged blaster that uses dark manipulation for the secondary, then I would suggest maybe you're doing it wrong haha 🙂
The design for that secondary really won't bring any benefits unless you are close. For the most part though, Blasters have enough attacks at their disposal to allow for both playstyles while still being effective and that's why I love them.

Edited by Ratch_
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Over the years I've made and played maybe 20 blasters, I think I have 9-10 lvl 50 ones on Homecoming alone. As someone who spent the bulk of my time during live pvping, it felt like all secondaries outside EM were lacking.

 

Now a day's I don't PvP near as much as I used to, and the sets have changed a lot, mostly for the better.

 

I've come to the understanding that blasters are not meant to be played at ranged or melee, instead they are designed to pump out damage whenever needed regardless of you or your foes location. The most important aspect of a blaster is being mobile, and able to realize when you should of shouldn't use a power and the most optimal location for you and your for to use that power, ie. Lining up targets via cone angle, and depth of power.

Edited by SeraphimKensai
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Blasters were designed for mixed play (ranged/melee) from day one.  You can choose to play them as purely ranged, if you wish. 

 

As for how they "should" be played, they "should" be played in whichever of the two styles you enjoy the most.

 

With the exception of VEATS, there are no subclasses in CoX.

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1 minute ago, Grindingsucks said:

@SeraphimKensai I don't view them as such, because you don't have two separately branching class trees to choose from and can switch back and forth between the forms.  Granted, such things are largely a matter of subjective opinion.  YMMV, and what not.

Ah, I use Veats with a buildselect macro to hot swap builds in missions all the time, so in my experience I'm able to switch back and forth between being a widow/fort or crab/soldier just like a Kheldian going from Nova to Dwarf.

 

But this is besides the point this thread is about Blasters.

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Just now, Doomrider said:

Semantics.

Blasters are pure offense, be it ranged and/or melee. Playstyle is flexible. Identity/role is irrelevant. You have the same role as everyone else. Arrest all.

That's right buddy, "arrest" them all 😉

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1 hour ago, SeraphimKensai said:

Ah, I use Veats with a buildselect macro to hot swap builds in missions all the time, so in my experience I'm able to switch back and forth between being a widow/fort or crab/soldier just like a Kheldian going from Nova to Dwarf.

 

But this is besides the point this thread is about Blasters.

Handy!  I never thought of setting that up, before.  👍

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7 minutes ago, Grindingsucks said:

Handy!  I never thought of setting that up, before.  👍

 

You should be aware: swapping builds forces a timer rest on all your powers, include prestige powers.

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41 minutes ago, tidge said:

 

You should be aware: swapping builds forces a timer rest on all your powers, include prestige powers.

Thanks, tidge. 🙂  I was aware of that, I just hadn't thought of making a macro button for build switches.  

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If you look at all the possible primary/secondary conditions, most of them will involve making serious compromises if you don't operate in melee range at least some of the time.

 

Likewise, if you're looking for the highest possible single target dps Blaster build, it will come as a result of combining ranged attacks in primary with melee attacks in secondary. Those ranged primary attacks are the high dps part of a purely ranged rotation while the melee attacks replace the low dps part of your rotation. For example, Fire Blast is ~46 dpa while Charged Brawl is ~103 dpa. If you can get away with not using Fire Blast because you can use Charged Brawl instead, your dps rotation is going to deliver a lot more damage. Using melee attacks also permits you to use Hecatomb for its 10% recharge bonus and exceptional damage proc.

 

Moreover, many of the critical abilities in secondary require melee range. Soul Drain is a potentially awesome ability - but requires you jump into a pile of enemies to use properly.

 

Unfortunately, Blasters don't really get much to help them survive in melee range. With full IO set builds and Scorpion Shield, they can S/L/E/R soft-cap and not immediately flop over dead in most content. But there are few good ways to get status protection and you're not going to see Blasters solo'ing +4 AV without a whole lot of temporary powers and other widgets.

 

As a result, 'Blappers' tend to exemplar poorly and don't scale well into difficult content unless they've got someone with support abilities to keep them operational. You can build them for specialized content (such as fire farms) or for intermittent bouts of trouble (such as with Rune of Protection), but you can't really make the dps-for-all-seasons type of build you could with, say, a Scrapper. This tends to lead to the "why not Scrapper?" question. After all, Scrappers can use ranged attacks just like Blasters can use melee attacks.

 

This survivability issue also means that almost everyone starts out with a 'Hover Blaster' - a character designed to operate purely at range and blow stuff up before they can be blown up through their very narrowly focused ranged defense.

 

However, certain Assault sets tend to open the possibility for 'Blaster Controllers' - Blasters who can operate in safety not just because they're (primarily) at range but also because they have the ability to neutralize spawns in some way. Not having to take Mace or Cold Mastery also opens up significant control options in Epic/Patron pools. This sort of approach trades off single target dps for often better AE possibilities and better scaleability across the range of all possible content.

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When I am working on blaster builds, The choice of yes or no for melee attacks is literally the first thing I decide.  Of course it's possible to change my mind and go a different way later, but for me, it's two distinct play styles. 

 

 

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Active on Excelsior:

Lode Monkey - Fire Blast / Energy Manipulation Blaster (Blapper), Flaming Doom Monkey - Shield / Martial Arts Tank, Xero-Ranger Monkey - Energy Melee / Energy Aura Stalker

 

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1 hour ago, Hjarki said:

As a result, 'Blappers' tend to exemplar poorly

Only for those people that think blapper means building for S/L or melee defense only. You can have 40+% range defense and mid 20% S/L defense on a melee blaster build by level 25-30 without compromising offense. That kind of build carries teams when piloted by someone who understands the dynamics of melee blasting.

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Liberty, Torchbearer, Excelsior, Everlasting

Jezebel Delias

Level 50 Fire/Elec/Mace Blaster

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1 hour ago, Nemu said:

Only for those people that think blapper means building for S/L or melee defense only. You can have 40+% range defense and mid 20% S/L defense on a melee blaster build by level 25-30 without compromising offense. That kind of build carries teams when piloted by someone who understands the dynamics of melee blasting.

20% S/L is still pretty weak for jumping into a mass of melee enemies. If your build is structured around the expectation of being in melee range, your going to have a lot of weak/useless abilities in many circumstances where the pure Ranged Blaster - who has every bit as much Ranged Defense as you - would simply be doing what their build is designed to do.

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That's exactly the trap that novice melee blasters fall into. Melee blasting isn't being derpy like a broote and standing in one spot in melee range all the time. Even if you are in melee range micro movements in between attacks means at most you have 2-3 enemies that can actually use melee attacks against you, the rest are either shooting you or chasing you. The majority of the threat coming at you is still ranged damage. Jousting pbaoes and melee attacks alike also minimize your exposure to melee retaliation. In addition, being 50 exemped down means I have the luxury of those extra insp slots to patch up any momentary weaknesses during game play.

 

Range defense is just as important for melee blasters as it is for pure rangers. The difference is that melee blasters have additional damage options to kill stuff quicker. I'll raise that flash arrow with charged brawl or thunderstrike that can actually kill something.

Edited by Nemu
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Liberty, Torchbearer, Excelsior, Everlasting

Jezebel Delias

Level 50 Fire/Elec/Mace Blaster

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On 3/26/2021 at 3:27 PM, Doomrider said:

I made that un-necessarily PG didn't I? 😄 
Fire blasters "arrest" them to a crisp?

Last seasons winners?

 

No.  Last season's LOSERS.

 

 

Edited by Haijinx
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3 hours ago, Nemu said:

That's exactly the trap that novice melee blasters fall into. Melee blasting isn't being derpy like a broote and standing in one spot in melee range all the time. Even if you are in melee range micro movements in between attacks means at most you have 2-3 enemies that can actually use melee attacks against you, the rest are either shooting you or chasing you. The majority of the threat coming at you is still ranged damage. Jousting pbaoes and melee attacks alike also minimize your exposure to melee retaliation. In addition, being 50 exemped down means I have the luxury of those extra insp slots to patch up any momentary weaknesses during game play.

 

Range defense is just as important for melee blasters as it is for pure rangers. The difference is that melee blasters have additional damage options to kill stuff quicker. I'll raise that flash arrow with charged brawl or thunderstrike that can actually kill something.

I knew there was a reason my Elec/Fire resembled a barefoot guy walking on a bed of white hot nails.  Never in one spot long

 

And PS "ranged" attacks work perfectly well when the range is 2ft 😜

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5 hours ago, Nemu said:

That's exactly the trap that novice melee blasters fall into.

Bear in mind, it only takes one attack to effectively kill you. That single disorient is likely to lead to a corpse on the floor.

 

No matter how you spread the spawn around to avoid concentrating attacks, a defense that relies on avoiding 100% of melee attacks and soft-capping against range is going to be more reliable - especially at low levels - than a defense that relies on 20% defense against some melee attacks and soft-capping against range.

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  • 2 weeks later

(for clarity right from the start, i'd never tell anyone to not ranged/hover blast if that's their preferred playstyle. everyone should enjoy the game the way they like.)

doesn't the "sub" in Subclass mean "less"? and isn't limiting your powers & play to ranged/hover blasting, less than the options avail to a blapper who can fully utilize all powers & pools they see fit at any given moment? even if you can't play as @Nemu describes... if a blapper needs height & distance temporarily in a fight, hop back & use any of the many temp-flight powers. if a fight needs more dmg (Reichsman, for expl), the ranged/hover build can alter their abilities/play very little to resolve the issue. where is the case of a "blapper" being less-than/sub?

also, i disagree with the "safer" sentiment of ranged/hover blasting. that playstyle means far longer battles w/o the high melee/PBAoE dmg, & so, far more attacks lobbed at the player over time... who can't as easily/quickly break LoS or get out of range when needed. Stuns?...Lost Sleeps come to mind. a decent "blapper" build & player will be far more effective most of the time (early leveling, not Ex'd down, as the sole outlier). a truly great "blapper" build & proficient player behind it, will be the dominant force of most teams when Ex'd down really low... you can quickly clear solo with some of them, no Scorp.Shield needed.

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Just a general correction, the Sub- prefix of Subclass means "a part or division of", not that it's less.

As for the topic, not every Blaster is melee capable either like /Tactical Arrow or /Devices users. On the other hand some are just meant to melee, and then there's /Energy which wants to excel at both long, long range and melee.
So if you look at it this way, Blapping isn't really a subclass at all, but the normal way to play some power sets.

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