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Mastermind Farming: Discussion/Guide


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Hello forums!

 

After a few discussions with people in-game and here on the forums, I wanted to post how I farm with Masterminds, as it seems to be something not many people do or who are aware of. Before we get to the details though, a few things of note -

 

1. I am by no means an expert in CoH mechanics. There are others far more knowledgeable than myself, who might in fact be able to point out ways to improve this even further.

2. There are possibly better setups or options, this is just listing what has worked well for me.

3. Unless stated otherwise, everything is on max difficulty - +4/8, with solo elite bosses enabled.

4. I am still doing ongoing tests and experiments, but I believe I have found enough at this point to start a discussion about it. Other people are certainly welcome to add to the conversation!

5. I "power farm" with 3 Masterminds, but it is possible to do with one or even two. I added the third MM as an afterthought, and I just find three the most exciting and efficient.

 

Apologies for the long post in advance, but I don't think this has been discussed in any great detail before, and may be a completely new concept to many people, so I wanted to be as detailed as possible.

 

With that in mind lets begin!

 

Mastermind Farming - How does it work?

 

Well, Brutes are regarded as the kings of farming. Either by being able to go AFK, or by simply being the most efficient. Well, I love Masterminds, but going spawn by spawn 8 or so mobs at a time was just too slow for me. So I tried to fight more than 1 spawn at a time. At first it was 2 spawns of 8, and then 3. But I noticed something.

 

I was aggro-ing more mobs than I should have normally been able to. Usually on tankers or brutes, if you are at your aggro cap, things can walk right through your AoE and not aggo. They may still take damage, but they won't fight back until there is "room" on the aggro list after killing some other mobs. However, on my Mastermind this was not the case. 

 

Even alone, things kept coming. And coming. And coming. I lost track of how many I was fighting at a time, even accidentally. At first I grew frustrated and wondered why it was happening. Why can masterminds get swarmed and overwhelmed, when it didn't happen to Tankers or Brutes? And then I realized, that pets have their own aggro caps as well. 

 

I have looked and looked, but I can find no hard data from old sources or new ones, on a breakdown on pet aggro. But as far as I can tell, they seem to be able to aggro anywhere between 6-12 mobs themselves, in addition to what the Mastermind themselves are able to aggro. What this means is that a Mastermind with their pets, can fight much much more than Any other AT can at a time. For calculations sake, lets assume the low end of 6 mobs per pet.

 

So that's 12 mobs (you the mastermind) + 3 T1 pets (18 mobs) + 2 T2 pets (another 12 mobs) + 1 T3 pet (6 more) = 48 mobs, assuming its the lowest. If it is indeed 12 mobs per pet, it can be as high as 84 mobs Engaged at a time. And this is PER Mastermind. That is one single mastermind by themselves.

 

Realistically though, there is only so much space and room available for so much at a time, as well as time required to move between spawns and distance. But I quite regularly fight 6-8 entire spawns at a time on some smaller maps.

 

(Note: This is just flat aggroing mobs. There is no taunt involved, no provoke, and so on. I have tried using provoke when Mastermind Farming, but it has a low target cap and simply wasn't worth attempting to use it. More on that later.)

 

So the TLDR behind this is, it's an entirely different style of farming. It does not focus on how much Damage you can do at once as a Brute might, nor does it focus on Total Survival as a Tanker might, but instead of being able to engage, and survive, many more mobs at once.

 

Mastermind - The Breakdown -

 

So with our "En Masse" style of farming, it should go without saying that AoE will be our friend. Now while our AoE and damage per mob isn't anywhere near a brutes, if you are fighting enough mobs at once, you can even it out, or even pull ahead when taking the "total net mob hitpoints" of the map as a whole. Here's an example off the top of my head-

 

Brute, fighting 12 mobs, at 100 dps, would would be doing a total of 1,200 "total" damage each and every second.

But the Mastermind, fighting even the low end of 48 mobs, at lets say even a lowball 30 dps, would be a 1,440 "total" damage.

 

So, small numbers, but so many MORE of them at a time. 

(Note: I cannot claim the expertise and knowledge to do a spreadsheet data comparison as some Big Brains on the forums often do, so apologies there. This is only an example for context of the Mastermind "style", or at least how I do it. But a comparison like that would certainly be an interesting read.)

 

The Details -

 

So with all this in mind, I decided to put together a way to take advantage of this increased target capacity. Thinking long term, I opted for Robotic Primary, as the Assault Bot's fire patches is the best AoE a Mastermind has access too, and as it turns out, is stackable. I am currently working on testing Demons as well, as well as possibly Thugs and even Undead at a later time. But for now, I have only done this with Robots.

 

As I did further experiments, I began to 2 box Masterminds, playing 2 at a time. Now, I can manage 3 at once, for a grand total of 3 Masterminds, with 18 pets in total. For secondary, I took Electric Affinity, as making my pets as survivable as I could was utmost concern when fighting to many at a time, as I doubt few other sets would be able to stand against the number of mobs I would be engaging. For my second Mastermind, I decided to go with Time, as it is quite easy to softcap defense with Time and Robots. My EA and Time MMs were quite successful, and you can farm with those two alone. But I wanted to push it further. After some discussions in Discord, I was urged by an acquaintance to make my third Mastermind Kinetics, for more damage.

 

So, together, here is what the 3 MMs contribute -

Electric - +Absorb, Healing, Status Immunity to You and to Pets, a -10% damage AoE Debuff.

Time - Defense Softcap, Healing, AoE Debuff and Toggle Debuff, with an emergency button.

Kinetics - Healing, Damage Cap for all pets (including lore pets)

 

Again, I want to stress Electric and Time were enough to speedfarm with Masterminds, Kinetics was just the icing on the cake.

 

Some may want to use debuffs, which is fine. I just personally perfer to focus on buffs and healing for this style of play, that and I question about the target cap of powers when fighting so many enemies at a time. There is also the question if a debuff set could even survive this, as there are times I have had difficulty even when focused on survival. But I will leave that to people with more experience with debuff sets than me.

 

Incarnates - All 3 MMs use Muscled Alpha, for increased pet damage. All 3 also use Ion Judgement, and Support Hybrid. Where it Varies is when it comes to Destiny and Interface slots. 2 of them Use Barrier, as Clarion is not needed (due to Faraday's Cage from EA). The final MM uses Ageless, as a sort of emergency END tool in the rare case Energizing Circuit proves to be not enough. For Interface, One Mastermind uses Degenerative, one uses Reactive, and one uses Spectral. (If any are wondering, I chose that in order to trap more things in my main source of damage output - the Assault Bots fire patches.) For lore pets, all 3 MMs use Longbow.

 

How it plays -(For reference, I usually farm on the Asteroid map, the Terminator Map, or the City Map. Damage type doesn't matter. You can farm any kind of damage types with this setup. The Moon/Asteroid map is the fastest, but the Terminator Map is easiest.)

 

1.) First you zone in with all Masterminds, and wait the few moments it takes for pets to be placed. If you try to buff as soon as you zone in, your pets may not be affected. 

 

2.) I keep my own Assualt Bots as my target with all 3 MMs, for defensive autocast power targeting. If you activate an offensive power, it will automatically target the last mob who attacked your pet. I just find this an easier way to manage 3 MMs. All pets are on Bodyguard mode, (defensive and follow) for almost the entire duration. The powers I have autocasted are - Insulating Circuit with the EA, Temporal Mending with the Time, and Fulcrum Shift with Kinetics.

 

3.) As soon as all pets are spawned, I pop Barrier, and pre-apply absorb with Insulating Circuit, and I use Power Boost and Crono shift with the Time MM. This is because even with Barrier and an Absorb applied, your pets are going to take a lot of hits before you settle into your spot. Its not uncommon I loose 1 or 2 pets before picking my killing zone.

 

4.) With both my Time and Kenitics autofollowing my EA, (with their t3 pets targeted) I fly into the middle of the map, aggro-ing as many mobs as I can. During this time it is very IMPORTANT to spam the follow button, or else your pets will stop in place, and shoot, and end up out of range of heals and buffs, and won't last long.

 

5.) Once I aggro between 6-8 groups, I stop and drop a Faraday's Cage, and group up all MMs and Pets into a "Death Ball." this is where the fun begins. All 3 T3 pets will fire their missles, leaving fire patches. This is why following is also important - the tighter/closer your pets and MMs are, the better, as you can stand in your own fire and force enemies to stand in 2-3 patches at a time in order to fight you.

 

6.) Things will start to die, fast. Once their numbers thin out a bit, you can move around a bit and keep the death ball rolling, and aggro more groups. Keep clicking follow to avoid any left behind pets, to drag along the entire swarm of enemies behind you until you get to your next kill spot. At this point, it is rinse-repeat.

 

Using this method, it actually takes me longer to hunt down stray spawns or straggler bosses/elite bosses, than it does to bulldoze the map.

With the Asteroid/Moon map as a referance, it takes me roughly 4-5 minutes to clear. However, if I use my Lore pets, I can get this down to 3 minutes, as damage capped Longbow lore pets are quite deadly to isolated bosses/elite bosses, which is usually what gives Robot Masterminds time to chew through.

 

Tools/Powers of note - 

 

Bonfire - I have bonfire on 2 MMs, as they are fantastic proc powers, and add a bit of CC as well, helping to keep things penned up in all that fire.

 

Web Grenade - I took Mace mastery mainly for the boost to Time, but Web Grenade is also useful for locking things down in fire patches as well.

 

Group Fly - Group fly is a fantastic addition, for robots in particular, as if you so chose to do so on some maps you can go entirely AFK with a robots mastermind, provided there is no roof and you are fighting mobs with no -fly powers (such as most fire enemies.) Your heal on autocast will be enough to heal what little ranged powers they do have. It is also worth noting that group fly makes it very easy to stack fire patches, as enemies naturally want to run right under you, which is where all 3 assualt bots tend to aim. For the most part, all you need to do is hover in place and out of reach.

 

Fold Space - A new tool I have been experimenting with, it does work quite well to yank things back to where you want them to be. It is also quite fun to use it and drop things from the sky when combined with Group Fly, letting you drop them precisely where you need them to be.

 

In closing - Masterminding is indeed not only possible, its can be quite fast and efficent. And turns a normally boring task of farming into something on edge and exciting, at least for me. I will post my builds when I can, but I can't right this exact moment. (posting from work) But I certainly will do so when I get home.

 

Additional comments/feedback/questions/critiques are always welcome. As stated before I have only done this on Robots to date, but I am in the process of leveling up 3 Demon Masterminds now.

 

Thank you for your time. Again, apologies for the long post, I just wanted to be as descriptive and informative as possible.

 

Hope this inspires some more masterminds!

 

Sins Robot-Electric MM (fold space).mxd Sins Robot-Time MM (mace).mxd Sins Robot-Kin MM (fold space).mxd

Edited by Neiska
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@TheSpiritFox - hehe, thank you. I love masterminds, but always felt kinda bummed when grinding incarnates and stuff. Came on this by accident, so, figured out a way to take advantage of their increased target capacity!

 

Anyway, I found your points on thugs interesting. I recently did a test with 3 demon MMs that didn't turn out as well as I had hoped, working on a post for the results of that now. Do you think thugs would perform decently in such a playstyle? They were the next set I was curious about, I don't see any of the other pet sets really viable sadly.

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48 minutes ago, Neiska said:

@TheSpiritFox - hehe, thank you. I love masterminds, but always felt kinda bummed when grinding incarnates and stuff. Came on this by accident, so, figured out a way to take advantage of their increased target capacity!

 

Anyway, I found your points on thugs interesting. I recently did a test with 3 demon MMs that didn't turn out as well as I had hoped, working on a post for the results of that now. Do you think thugs would perform decently in such a playstyle? They were the next set I was curious about, I don't see any of the other pet sets really viable sadly.

 

The big difference between Thugs and Bots is that Thugs has a healthy mix of Range/Melee, and bots are pure Ranged. The Bruiser/Gang War will be hard to control with group fly, where with Bots you can just hover and afk blast your way through it all.

Also, the bulk of Thugs AoE is Lethal damage, followed by Fire (arsonist) and the arsonist is an aggro magnet, so he can get killed pretty easily. The bulk of Bots AoE is in the Assault Bot, and he can take quite a bit more of a beating than the arsonist can. Also Bots is Energy/Fire, instead of Lethal/Fire. Energy is slightly less resisted if I remember correctly, but I could be mistaken.

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2 hours ago, Neiska said:

@TheSpiritFox - hehe, thank you. I love masterminds, but always felt kinda bummed when grinding incarnates and stuff. Came on this by accident, so, figured out a way to take advantage of their increased target capacity!

 

Anyway, I found your points on thugs interesting. I recently did a test with 3 demon MMs that didn't turn out as well as I had hoped, working on a post for the results of that now. Do you think thugs would perform decently in such a playstyle? They were the next set I was curious about, I don't see any of the other pet sets really viable sadly.

 

Hmm. I'm honestly not sure. Your multibox thing changes the dynamic alot, and target saturation via multiple spawns being pulled at once changes things.  Bots are going to be solid aoe in a target rich environment like that because every single time it fires burn patch missiles it spawns 16 burn patches due to saturating multiple aggro caps and making a giant swimming pool of enemies to wade around in basically. Thugs are great in normal content, but a multibox farm with multiple MMs and 40+ targets aggroed simultaneously is it's entire own gameplay scenario I have no experience with to give you a nuanced comparison between thugs with it's more distributed aoe and bots with its "Assault bot melts everything" aoe. 

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While I’m all for “I CAN do this thing and so I went and DID it,” I’m actually surprised that if 3 multi boxed MM’s can totally destroy the aggro limits of the AE farming maps and you basically have maxed out damage, resistance debuffs, etc etc.....it still takes THREE MM’s with all the crazy game-breaking mechanics to match (or possibly even beat) the kill speed of a SINGLE Spines/Fire Brute.

 

3:1 tells me Brutes were/are game breaking.

 

 

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@Crysis - oh, i wasn't trying to compare brutes to MMs and such hon. More or less was a "oh this is neat," and its something new and fresh. Personally i hate tanker and brute farming. its just so boring. But with this its actually entertaining and exciting, doesn't feel like farming at all.

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