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Novice Q: Dual Pistols vs Beam Rifle?


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Hello Defenders! I'm a new (or new "again" I guess) player to COH, and I've been trying to advance all the ATs more or less steadily together, so I can better appreciate what they bring.


Currently, I have a Pain/DP Defender, my first take on the AT. I've been enjoying the character a lot, and it was where I did my very first DFB run. I'm enjoying the primary a lot, and after going through the Homecoming Wiki, DP sounded really nice on paper. Defender debuffs are strong, and Swap Ammo lets you choose what debuffs you need situationally! Yay!

Except, I've kept my eye on the in-game discussions and on the forums, and I'm starting to see that Swap Ammo isn't all that highly regarded. It seems like while it's really flexible in theory, in practice people only use Fire Ammo. (Or at least off-hand comments have me believing! By all means, correct me if this isn't true.)


So, if DP isn't quite what I thought it would be, the character can be recreated.


In playing through the ATs like I have been, I've found I most enjoy power sets with sub-mechanics like my Water/Atom Blaster, Seismic Blast Sentinel, Staff Fighting Tanker, etc. BR's Disintegrate mechanic fits there, and as a bonus would let me keep the same "marksman" thematic in the character and costume.


It's too early in my COH life to be thinking too much about proc-fu and the like, so speaking generally: would the various additional debuffs added by the Disintegrate sub-mechanic matter more in supporting a team than the ones from various DP ammos? I can look at a wiki all day long, but that won't give me the same answer the collective playerbase's experiences could.

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Beam Rifle is a better supportive power set.  Now, Dual Pistols' cryo rounds are great in Praetoria to slow all the danged ambushes.  But other than that, it's incendiary rounds all day long.  Beam Rifle offers both -res and -regen which are great for a support character, especially a Defender.  Also, Beam Rifle is one of the best single target ranged power sets, and Dual Pistols is one of the best AoE ranged power sets.


My suggestion: Go Beam Rifle on a Defender, and go Dual Pistols on a Sentinel or Blaster.

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Swap Ammo is actually pretty strong on Defenders.  Chem Ammo gets quite a bit of -dmg debuffing, near 40% with a few of the aoes, that's pretty much like giving your team resistance shields but they're not beholden to a cap. 


I find when I'm doing the extra hard content I run Chem Ammo and everything else I can switch to Incendiary Rounds. 


Beam feels a little clunky with little aoe but it does have some decent -regen and -resist.  I enjoy playing my DP toons, not so much for my Beam ones. 

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In terms of Dual Pistols, let's start with the big issue: no Aim. This significantly impacts the value of Hail of Bullets since you can't Aim + Gaussian's proc into a mass damage attack.


Instead, you get Swap Ammo. However, I'd argue you shouldn't waste a power on it (for a Defender). Cold Ammo gives a very minor recharge/slow debuff. Toxic gives a -damage debuff that - like all such debuffs - gets savaged by purple patch and resists. Fire gives a bit of additional damage. However, what Lethal gives trumps all of those: -20% stacking damage resistance. Given a Pistols/Executioner's/Pistols/Piercing rotation, this averages to around -30% resist.


For Beam Rifle, the big objection I have is Disintegrate. It's a critical part of the set but it just feels so clunky.

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My Dual Pistols defender has Power Build Up with a full set of Gaussian +5 which the proc still is sure fire for massive damage.  Just gotta think outside the box a little.  


Chem ammo's -dmg debuff is very noticeable and invaluable in the hard mode content.  Using your aoe's on mobs you're netting the team 40%+ damage resistances which any resistances to that would at worst take it to high 20's%.  Still quite a good bit of survivability you're bringing to the team.  Then outside of that you can switch to Fire rounds to provide more damage.  


My DP defender also has a 2nd build strictly for standard ammo which that -resistance attack then becomes useful albeit it is a slow animation which is why I don't like it much to begin with.  

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PBU is on a long cooldown - 240s (vs 90s for aim), making it an every-other-spawn power in best case. Soul drain may be better overall, if you are able to take dark epic's soul drain which has every-spawn uptime. A reasonable soul drain that catches 5 enemies gives as much +dmg as PBU, and soul drain can slot the gaussian proc too. The disadvantage of the soul drain route is the higher cost in slots (it needs acc, though it also offers access to pbaoes and hence set diversity, which may be a net win), power choices (T3 vs T1) and the inability to pre-buff before engaging as with aim/BU.


I think the -dmg from DP is underrated; however, for situations where you fight +3/4's, I think it only becomes worthwhile when you can stack it with a primary that also has significant -dmg of its own, something like dark (-37.5%) or TA's partly-irresistible PGA - can be your own powers or someone else's on the team. Otherwise, that 40% ish debuff gets slashed to 20% by the purple patch and against HM mobs that alone may not turn a 2 hit kill into a 3 hit kill.

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  • 2 weeks later

There is an unintuitive thing to remember about -damage buffs. 


-resist also decreases a mob's resistance to -damage buffs.  


Also AV/GM have no traingles resistance for -damage


So sets like poison, Rad, and TA are doing a lot more - damage that what the powers say they do. Sonic and dp chem rounds make -damage bigger if -resistance is present. Poison can hit the cap -90% on its own. I think TA/DP can but I never checked. 

Edited by bustacap
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