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Starting to get into blasters more and more - need help with secondaries


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So I've been dipping my toe into blasters more and more lately, and have been loving my fire/devices one.  I have and ice/earth which is also quite good, but just can't  quite fully grasp the manipulation sets.  Obviously the "maintain" powers are fantastic, and they offer different benefits, but I just do not see the allure of taking those melee attacks.  I also can't quite understand the "proper" way to use something like reaction time.  Anyway, I'd love to hear your advice or tips for better utilizing these sets.  Thanks!

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The trick is to not think of blasters as Ranged DPS but rather the DPS.


If you're still working into your comfort zone and not ready to play Banzai Blaster, then wait for your point to dive the pile, soak the Alpha, run in and throw a few punches in between your ranged attacks. 


Melee attacks usually do more damage than their ranged counterparts at the same power teir. And Blasters are no different. 


As for Reaction Time, it's a sustain that also provides some control, keeping enemies that might run away from you close enough to punch for maybe a second more. I guess theoretically the Recharge Slow on it helps reduce incoming damage but I'm skeptical of that. The control aspect is definitely less impactful than the sustain.


Fire/Devices feels natural to play because besides both being good sets, /Devices leans into allowing for pure ranged builds. However a Fire/Fire is going to be more effective in terms of overall damage output, all else being equal.


Try /Tactical Arrow as well. It's a very ranged-friendly secondary that has more opportunities for damage output via procs and ignition of OSA.



Edited by twozerofoxtrot
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Leveraging the melee attacks takes some getting used to, for multiple (generic) reasons:

  • The Blaster has to be able to stay in melee, for at least a little bit of time.

This isn't easy to do at low levels (low defenses, no resists) , and at higher levels where spawn sizes are larger RNG has more opportunities to land hits. Since many enemies have a mix of melee and range, when in melee range you open yourself up to more attacks. This can be mitigated with a variety of powers, playstyles, Enhancement set bonuses, and power choices.

  • Low-to-mid level Blasters often have something like a decent attack chain made almost entirely of ranged attacks (from the primary) that they grow comfortable with by the time they could choose to have melee worked into the chain.

A player has to make a conscious effort, through pool choices (of melee attacks, which could be seen a "gimping a build") and play style to see how melee could be worked into a build at low/mid levels. A level 50+ build can respec and add lots of slots (with Enhancement sets) to better leverage melee attacks, even at low levels.

  • There are a handful of pool powers that can help "Blapping".

I'm a personal fan of Combat Teleport, using a couple of binds:


/macro_image "DevouringEarthSeed_Hematic_Seedbuff"    "BAMF" "powexec_location target Combat Teleport"
/macro_image "DevouringEarthSeed_Hematic_seedblood"   "Back" "powexec_location Back:25 Combat Teleport"


The first puts you in the face of a target (I keep meaning to experiment with the bind to go "just past" the target for those times when targets are on the edge of ledges); the second pops me back to switch to ranged attacks (typically cones).

  • Patches

Blasters with some sort of "placed patch" powers also get a bind to drop the patch on a specific target; often the patches have some some sort of "soft control" like Knockdown or damage-over-time, or debuff that causes enemies to begin to scatter, which can buy time for a melee attack.

  • Pay attention to the AI

Many single harde targets, like GMs, have a cycle of attacks... so time your melee attacks based on their attack chain.

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I've literally years of experience with fire/em and ice/em blasters as I used to almost only log on for the sole purpose of PvP back during the live test ladder league days. The experience before IOs even existed cemented in me the idea of mobility and jousting in for your melee attacks.


To this day while pugging I'll occasionally see someone else jousting mobs in PvE play and more often than not I find out they either actively PvP or were at one point or another.


That joust mentality helps you leverage positioning to maximum effect as you take into account not just your own powers, but also the powers of your target (their ability to counterattack).


But nowadays you can build a blaster that can stand toe to toe with almost any npc in the game without having to worry about positioning so it's a dying skill set in the game.


The melee attacks in manipulation secondaries can definitely hit hard so I agree that having the mindset that a blaster is more about being an overall DPS toon than a ranged DPS toon.


Additionally there's some newer blaster secondaries that have some really interesting mix of effects including control abilities. I have an Ice/Plants blaster that plays like a harder hitting dominator with a sustain and it's a very fun combo.


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