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Dominator Melee Mode?


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While I think the primary purpose of a Dominator is the crowd control and debuffing, I keep feeling like if I just changed my builds enough I might have something approaching a kind of status-effect reliant scrapper or maybe a weak brute. Trying to play to that strength tends to lead to a very dead Dominator... but not always, and the successes are just common enough to make me think a close-quarters variant of what I typically do has some merit.

 

Having said that, I'm bad at regular builds and slot optimization in general, so this kind of theoretical construction feels like it's probably beyond me. Think it's doable?

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There are a couple of videos posted recently where you can see how other people are approaching Doms. You'll see some melee attacks in there. That's where your highest damage is in most cases so you'll want to figure out how to use that.

 

One thing about this class is it can be a death trap. You really do have to understand what you're doing probably more than any other class out there, and maintain constant situational awareness. Even after "mastering" it a lot of builds are still high risk / high risk, not high risk / high reward. 

 

One thing in particular to unlearn, if you're used to true melee characters, is the trap of leaping into a spawn Tanker-style just because the team has moved on, even though your key controls haven't Recharged. This is an extremely key-power dependent class. It can work okay, in a handful of cases more than okay, in some cases (hi Ice/Rad Dominator I shelved) not at all.

Edited by oedipus_tex
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/Earth Assault is very melee focused - 6 of the 9 powers are melee or close range. The two mallets and Seismic Smash hit hard. With Earth/Earth you can open with power boosted Earthquake or Stalagmites and then go to town. 

TORCHBEARER:  Uun - Martial Arts/Invulnerability Scrapper | Uunison - Gravity/Storm Controller | Uuncola - Ice/Temporal Blaster | Uundergrowth - Plant/Martial Dominator
                           Uunreal - Fire/Time Corruptor | Uunknown - Mind/Psionic Dominator | Uunflappable - War Mace/Willpower Brute | Uundead - Dark/Dark Tank

EXCELSIOR:        Uunderdog - Radiation/Radiation Scrapper | Uundertaker - Radiation/Dark Corruptor | Uunstable - Super Reflexes/Staff Fighting Tanker | Uunseen - Illusion/Poison Controller

Uunrest - Dark/Tactical Arrow Blaster | Uuncool - Cold/Beam Rifle Defender | Uunderground - Earth/Earth Dominator | Uunplugged - Stone/Electric Brute | Uunfair - Archery/Trick Arrow Corruptor

Uunflammable - Fire/Nature Controller | Uunfit - Water/Martial Blaster | Uunwrapped - Dark/Dark Dominator

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I'd recommend psi secondary for something that is a bit more survivable in melee range on a dominator.  A fully saturated drain psyche enhanced for healing can cap your regen.  Psychic shockwave is also one of the best PBAoEs available to dominators since it has a higher target cap of 16 and a decent chance to mez.  Mind probe is great DPA.  And TK thrust is a decent 2nd melee attack if you slot it with KB to KD.

 

Definitely doesn't hit as hard as earth.

 

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Most of my dominators tend toward melee range, I'm just not a fan of ranged ones personally. You'll definitely want a more melee oriented secondary, savage, stone, and martial are all good picks. You're going to want some defense to go with it too, so scorpion shield or ice shield for your epic is almost a must, as well as building some decent +ranged. It certainly can be done, but it's not going be a cheap or easy build, and you're still going to have to pay a lot of attention to which AOE controls are up when playing them. It can be tight to get all these things plus high +recharge for the permadom you're going to want.

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Before shifting to my Plant/Fire dom where I took no secondary melee attacks, I ran my Ice/Earth dom in melee range constantly. Due to ice's lack of hard controls, slotting Arctic Air with Contagious Confusion made the build much more survivable - and fun. Things were either slipping due to Ice Patch and Sleet or they were confused. Heavy mallet and SS on bosses and then most everything else is dead by then. There was definitely a learning curve and the build was not cheap, but it can be done!

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The best way to play a dom is hybrid blapper style.  You'll want to get your defenses up real high like others are saying, plus you'll be targeting defense powers from the pools anyways to slot those Lotg's, so two birds with one stone.  Where I differ though is getting real high defense bonuses and then I'm a huge advocate for the Force of Will pool.  With a power boost type power, which about half of the dom secondarys have you can get roughly 30% defense to all for a minute at a time.  With your recharge Unleash Potential will recharge quite nice and in the meantime you can use an incarnate power like Barrier to alternate in some fantastic defense.  With all that strong aggressive offensive control adding this level of defense turns you into a tank with more aggro control.  

 

At all times I run fabulous defense values which opens the door for me being able to pick the most potent epic pool power that I think benefits me.  I play Energy which has a nice hybrid melee and range style but I also pair it with Soul Mastery for Soul Drain, Dark Obliteration and Dark Consumption, all of which do quite nice damage on their own and proc well for things like -resist procs and dmg procs as well as adding other utility to my character like 100% damage boost or refilling my endurance bar in emergencies if I'm ever too far away from Domination recharging.  

 

The thing about doms is there's many variations to fit your fancy but it does seem the most opportunistic play style is rewarded in melee range.  There's a few that are quite good in melee, Earth, Energy, Martial and Savage, I think Energy has a bit better attacks in a melee/range ratio of the bunch though.  Psi is good in melee as well but more aoe focused and not as much oomph, it has more utility like Pzn is saying because Drain Psyche.  Fire is quite good as well but stronger in ranged attacks and you're likely going to get shoehorned into taking the Fire epic pool for Fire Ball to pair with Fiery Embrace.  

 

I try to limit the amount of primary and secondary powers I take to no more than 6 from each so you can build yourself through those important pool powers.  Paring down powers you find yourself not using after you've gotten experience with them is how you'll likely adapt yourself to playing a machine like doms. 

 

There's lots of combos that work well and lots that don't.  Finding the one that works best for you is what you'll want with the goal in mind of you possibly wanting to live in the danger of melee range.  You can't go too wrong with most of what's being suggested here.  

Edited by Mezmera
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  • 2 weeks later
On 7/12/2021 at 1:51 AM, CraterLabs said:

While I think the primary purpose of a Dominator is the crowd control and debuffing,

Guess I've been playing the wrong Dominators, unless you mean debuffing foes health bar

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On 7/13/2021 at 12:24 AM, Grave1 said:

Before shifting to my Plant/Fire dom where I took no secondary melee attacks, I ran my Ice/Earth dom in melee range constantly. Due to ice's lack of hard controls, slotting Arctic Air with Contagious Confusion made the build much more survivable - and fun. Things were either slipping due to Ice Patch and Sleet or they were confused. Heavy mallet and SS on bosses and then most everything else is dead by then. There was definitely a learning curve and the build was not cheap, but it can be done!

Is this still viable? I thought the toggle/proc nerf made it so the Contagious Confusion proc was not very effective in artic air anymore. 

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