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7 hours ago, Sovera said:

Dark is probably not the best choice for a proc optimized build though. 

I read though the post more than once, and I get you were having breakfast, but I am not sure what this means. 

Is that just due to looking at how Dark/Nin performs against Sonic/Bio? 
 

Edit: What maybe throws me off about this is the word optimized.  Procs optimize Dark Blast as a set.  Dark Blast, among Sentinel Primaries, does have medium-low damage on basic IOs/SOs.  With damage procs it shifts up the food chain making it more firmly in a middle of the road realm.  So when it is said that Dark is probably not the best choice for a proc optimized build, this suggests that procs aren't beneficial.  So that is where I hope you can forgive me if I am misunderstanding, but procs are very beneficial to Dark.  All Dark powers can take a minimum of Clouded Senses and the PvP damage proc.  Additionally, one lucky power can take Apocalypse.  Abyssal Gaze can take any of those, and also can take any one of the 4 out of the Hold sets including the purple.  That is, in my experience, some pretty significant damage.  Pine's also misrepresents proc damage and how it interacts with global bonuses.  It's really deceptive.

Edited by oldskool
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3 minutes ago, oldskool said:

I read though the post more than once, and I get you were having breakfast, but I am not sure what this means. 

Is that just due to looking at how Dark/Nin performs against Sonic/Bio?  I want to be real careful with how I interpret this because I deeply disagree. 

I've been browsing your Dark proc oriented builds, @oldskool, and you seem to be on to something. Someone over the Defender part of the forums is also leaning on Dark as the best proc carrier. I've seen some good arguments towards Ice though, and at this point I am not sure which will fit better with that goal in mind.

 

That said Ice sins for the rains not carrying procs very well but in practical terms the rains work rather well in a Elder Scrolls sort of thing, which is basically throw both AoE DoTs on the ground and then start picking the hardier enemies while they tick. Even if someone T9 and killed most minions both slows in both rains would keep the hardier mobs slowed and keep on damaging them (the flee effect should not be ignored either. Slooooowly fleeing mobs are mobs not attacking back).

 

Someone over the Corruptor side of the forums showed an Ice build also very proc heavy that seemed interesting, but I have not placed both side by side to dissect which appears better (especially since both would need to be tweaked for a Sentinel).

 

Speaking of dissecting someone over the Scrapper side of the forums showed a Blaster doing some amazing under two minutes times. Well worth looking into though considering we too have Dominate.

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1 hour ago, Sovera said:

I've been browsing your Dark proc oriented builds, @oldskool, and you seem to be on to something. Someone over the Defender part of the forums is also leaning on Dark as the best proc carrier. I've seen some good arguments towards Ice though, and at this point I am not sure which will fit better with that goal in mind.

 

That said Ice sins for the rains not carrying procs very well but in practical terms the rains work rather well in a Elder Scrolls sort of thing, which is basically throw both AoE DoTs on the ground and then start picking the hardier enemies while they tick. Even if someone T9 and killed most minions both slows in both rains would keep the hardier mobs slowed and keep on damaging them (the flee effect should not be ignored either. Slooooowly fleeing mobs are mobs not attacking back).

 

Someone over the Corruptor side of the forums showed an Ice build also very proc heavy that seemed interesting, but I have not placed both side by side to dissect which appears better (especially since both would need to be tweaked for a Sentinel).

 

Speaking of dissecting someone over the Scrapper side of the forums showed a Blaster doing some amazing under two minutes times. Well worth looking into though considering we too have Dominate.

Yeah, it was maybe over a month or so ago that I made my Dual Pistols/Dark Miasma Corruptor with procs in mind.  My single target chain of Piercing Rounds -> Pistols -> Executioner's Shot -> Pistols has every attack with a minimum of 3 procs.  At least two of these procs are -resistance, and I often open with Soul Drain followed by Hail of Bullets which has a 3rd -resistance proc (Fury of the Gladiator).  Oh... correction.  I open with Tar Patch.  Then I hop in, Soul Drain, and mow everything down.  I kid you not, it does more damage than most Blasters I see. 

Abusing procs has been going on for a while.  I was just reading someone talking about how the Singularity in Gravity Control with damage procs becomes a buzzsaw (lol).  I've seen that kind of shenanigans with Dark/Dark Controllers too with their pets. 

Sentinels get both Dominate and Char.  It can get really impressive.  Soul Mastery has a version of Midnight Grasp with a 34 second recharge which can take Hecatomb, Clouded Senses, Mako's Bite, Touch of Death, and so on.  The damage can get up there pretty fast.  Oh, Knockout Blow is a Hold, which means it can take those damage procs too.  Leviathan Mastery let's you snag that. 

If we could have gotten Water Spout... omg.

Edited by oldskool
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Primary Powerset: Dual Pistols

Medium+ Single-Target Damage*, Medium+ Area of Effect (AoE) Damage* (2 Cones, 1 Targeted, 1 PBAoE), Medium Control**, Medium Debuff Potential**

 

*Ammunition powers will add variance and Dual Pistols has many proc options which also push damage higher. 

**Ammunition powers introduce options for controls such as Hold or Knockdown as well as various debuff options.

 

Dual Pistols is a unique blast set which was added during the Going Rogue expansion and was released alongside Issue 18. Dual Pistols features some incredibly over the top gun fu inspired by Hong Kong action films. Perhaps one of the most notable sources of inspiration stems from the 2002 cult classic film Equilibrium.  What makes Dual Pistols so unique from other blast sets is that it includes neither a snipe nor Aim. Alternatively, Dual Pistols features an ammunition swap mechanic in place of Aim and Executioner's Shot in the place of a snipe. The level 26 power, Piercing Rounds, is a unique cone with the "Narrow" quality giving it an area of effect more like a line. Beam Rifle, introduced in Issue 21, is the only other set with a similar cone. 

 

Dual Pistols is often criticized for its low to mid tier damage and the powers it lacks (e.g., Aim). However, the way Dual Pistols is designed makes its effectiveness deceptive. In practice, Dual Pistols is a better set than it often gets credit for. Dual Pistols is a fantastic support set with decent damage output. All Dual Pistols powers have some secondary effect (sometimes several) which is improved by archetype modifiers. Defenders have the highest of these values with Sentinels having the lowest of these values. Sentinels can still contribute as minor support despite this if they so choose. 

 

The strength of Dual Pistols is its versatility. This versatility can change how you use the set in various team compositions. Invention Origin (IO) sets also open up a lot of build opportunity to close its damage dealing gaps.  

 

Beginner's Overview

 

So, if my fantasy of being Mark Lee (A Better Tomorrow, 1986), John Preston (Equilibrium, 2002), Wesley Gibson (Wanted, 2008), or John Wick (John Wick, 2014) isn't met with WTFBBQ levels of damage then what gives?

 

Dual Pistols has several quick animating and recharging powers. The speed of these powers comes with lower damage per hit, but this doesn't mean the powers are weak. A nice feature of Dual Pistols, at least for Sentinels, is that most of the powers are relatively competitive with one another in various circumstances and conditions. This means you can choose powers you want and ultimately build around your choices. Not many power sets offer that when discussing optimization options. 

 

As noted before, the powers for dealing damage offer a lot of options and flexibility. On top of that, Dual Pistols gain access to Swap Ammo. This power is your Aim replacement and it grants you the ability to change how you play. This gameplay swapping can change the effects of your powers to either grant additional damage or change the fundamental debuff associated with various effects. Below is an overview of how the ammunition system works.

 

Swap Ammo:

About 70% of every Dual Pistol attack is Lethal damage. The other 30% of the damage depends on which of the 4 ammunition types are currently active. The default ammunition is "Standard" which is also Lethal (so 100% Lethal by default). Each power also carries with it some form of secondary effect. These secondary effects are replaced based on the ammunition type being used. Below is a list of each power's effect under Standard Ammunition. Suppressive Fire is an exception to this design. Suppressive Fire splits its damage 50/50 between lethal and elemental types.  

 

Power

Secondary Effect

Pistols

Defense Debuff

Dual Wield

Chance to Knockback

Empty Clips

Chance to Knockback, Defense Debuff

Suppressive Fire

Stun

Bullet Rain

Chance to Knockback

Executioner’s Shot

Chance to Knockback, Defense Debuff

Piercing Rounds

Resistance Debuff

Hail of Bullets

Chance to Knockdown*

*During Standard Ammunition the chance to knockdown at the end of the animation is guaranteed but moves down to "chance to knockdown" with other ammo types.

 

Swap Ammo grants 3 toggle powers which cost no endurance to run.  If no toggle is active, then the default Standard Ammunition is used. 

 

  • Chemical Ammunition converts the secondary damage from Lethal to Toxic.  All secondary effects are replaced with a damage debuff except for Suppressive Fire which is changed to a Hold effect. 
  • Cryo Ammunition converts the secondary damage from Lethal to Cold.  All secondary effects are replaced with a slow (both attack rate and move speed) except for Suppressive Fire which is changed to a Hold effect.  Special: The Sentinel version of this power grants a 33% bonus to power range.  Turning this power on does add a buff that can be viewed in the Combat Attributes and it will improve the range of your powers.  The exact text of the effect in the power description states it ignores buffs and enhancements.  So while my Combat Attributes shows me a total of 53% range bonus due to the two ATO's the real effect does seem to ignore that.  So the range addition isn't particularly great, but it also seems to effect the cone width on Empty Clips (and like Piercing Rounds but currently not using it).  So this effect brings some additional utility for creative players to tinker with.  Thanks to @Riverdusk for pointing it out and encouraging further testing.  
  • Incendiary Ammunition converts the secondary damage from Lethal to Fire.  All secondary effects are replaced with a short duration fire-based damage-over-time (DoT) except for Suppressive Fire which is changed to a Hold effect.

 

Dual Pistols has a host of options.  Chemical Ammunition's -damage debuff may not be much, but it can contribute to damage mitigation for the Sentinel as well as teammates.  Slow effects and knockdown/knockback are good ways to allow regeneration effects to heal the Sentinel.  Even if these effects don't do much by themselves they do interact with other archetypes to magnify them.  Experiment! Explore!

 

Slotting

 

Basic Slotting

 

Dual Pistols is a set with higher than normal innate accuracy. This partially makes up for not having Aim and can let many players get away with running 1 accuracy enhancement. There are also 3 powers that can reduce defense with Standard Ammunition which should help reduce misses in the lower levels. Most of the attacks in Dual Pistols recharge and animate rather quickly and it will create a significant drag on your endurance. I recommend at least 1 endurance reduction in your attacks. The amount of recharge reduction is going to depend based on how many attacks you have selected. If you're taking everything in order to explore the set, then you should have at least one power available. I wouldn't recommend enhancing damage beyond 3 Single Origin (SO) or basic Invention Origin (IO). The diminishing returns on enhancements isn't worth pursuing. This may leave 1 slot open if you are fully enhancing a power(s). You could further enhance recharge or endurance modification. You may also wish to enhance some of the secondary effects like defense debuffs. Keep in mind that defense debuffs are linked to Standard Ammunition and those enhancements will offer no benefits with other ammunition types. 

 

Advanced Slotting

 

Dual Pistols is a set that is wide open for creative build possibilities. Realizing this potential can also be closely linked to your secondary power set. What this means is that some secondary sets may demand more defense potential from IO sets found within the Ranged Attack category (e.g., Thunderstrike). If your Dual Pistols is paired with a resistance-based secondary, then you may want to consider the more defensive-based sets. If your Dual Pistols is paired with a defense-based secondary (e.g., Super Reflexes), then your attacks should be enhanced to maximize their damage output. Maximizing your damage output under this context is about using damage procs (e.g., Explosive Strikes (Knockback Set): Chance for Smashing Damage).

 

While there are a number of options to chose from, a Sentinel is primarily a damage dealing archetype and gains more out of damage enhancement over enhancing secondary benefits (e.g., Defense Debuff, Hold Duration, etc.). I did mention that players should feel free to explore though. So you should make careful consideration about the ramifications on fully enhancing a primarily damage dealing power with something that is not directly related to damage. If doing something like this works for you and your teammates, then go for it.  However, for most players this is not an optimal path to take. 

 

  • Pistols - This can take a number of sets from the Ranged Attack, Defense Debuff, and Accurate Defense Debuff categories. Ideally, you want a damage set here to enhance the primary function of the Sentinel. However, you can accomplish this in a number of ways. If you are running a resistance set (e.g., Radiation Armor) then look for sets that grant you some defense or recharge. Thunderstrike is a good one for defense and Decimation is good for recharge. If your defense is already covered by a secondary (e.g., Super Reflexes), then you have several options. You can keep to running a complete or nearly complete set (5-6pc) or you can explore damage procs. Pistols can accept the Achilles' Heel, Touch of Lady Grey, Shieldbreaker, and Gladiator's Javelin procs. 
  • Dual Wield - General slotting is going to be very similar to Pistols with the exception of which auxiliary sets it can access. Dual Wield cannot access the Defense or Accurate Defense debuff category but it can access the Knockdown and Slow categories. Sets of note include the Impeded Swiftness, Explosive Strikes, and Force Feedback for their available procs. Force Feedback is a possible way to "cheat" in extra global recharge reduction to a build and several powers can take this. 
  • Empty Clips - This power accepts the Targeted Ranged Attack, Knockback, Slow and Defense Debuff categories. Ideally, you will want to maximize the damage potential but there are some very good procs that work in this power. Sudden Acceleration's Knockback to Knockdown makes for a welcome change in groups. Force Feedback's Chance for Recharge has a chance to trigger per target hit. This power can also accept Achilles' Heel's resistance debuff as well as several damage procs. I recommend players stick to something that primarily benefits damage up to 5 slots, but a 6th slot is a good reserve for some form of proc. Ideally that proc is utility-based like Force Feedback or Achilles' Heel.
  • Suppressive Fire - This power accepts Ranged Attack, Stun and Hold category sets. The Hold category is the real gem here. The Hold category has 4 damage procs available! Damage procs are what makes Suppressive Fire potentially one of, if not the, hardest hitting powers in the set. If you are not a fan of random chance effects, then this power loses a lot of effectiveness. If you're running Standard Ammunition the most, then this power is still one of the strongest damage powers in the set. It is worth enhancing the damage in some form. I would not recommend enhancing the Hold/Disorient duration.  
  • Bullet Rain - Bullet Rain can take sets from the Targeted AoE, Knockback and Slow categories. Ideally, you want to slot this with a similar strategy to Empty Clips which means enhance the damage. However the 6th slot, if you 6 slot it, is just as flexible on utility proc opportunity. If you prefer to run Standard Ammunition, then the Sudden Acceleration Knockback to Knockdown is just as welcome here as it is in Empty Clips. Bullet Rain is an even better carrier for Force Feedback's Chance for Recharge.  Bullet Rain has a target cap of 10 targets vs the 6 with Empty Clips. Each target has a chance to trigger a proc which makes Bullet Rain an excellent source to improve the consistency of that recharge effect. Due to how procs work, you cannot guarantee a triggering of the effect, but having 10 rolls of the dice is as good as it gets on the Sentinel.  
  • Executioner's Shot - This power can take everything from the same categories as both Pistols and Dual Wield. Executioner's Shot is the highest DPA power in the set.  It is not a great vehicle for adding more secondary effect duration. It is a potentially good candidate for any number of damage procs as well as the very rare sets. If you're enhancing this heavily with a set, then your choices are broad. However, this power is so strong for delivering procs that I find it hard to pass up. If you feel you need Thunderstrikes for your build, then try to do that in all of your other powers before you enhance this one. If you can use a 5pc set, non-Thunderstrike, here and use the 6th slot for a damage proc, then you will get more mileage from it. 
  • Piercing Rounds - This power can take sets from the Targeted AoE and Slow categories. The "Narrow Cone" quality creates a very unique opportunity under the procs per minute (PPM) rules. The cone size is small enough that it doesn't hurt the PPM calculations nearly as much as many other area of effect powers do. This means Piercing Rounds is a good power to accept the Annihilation proc for -resistance. You won't make or break your build with this proc but it is a unique power with a higher probability to activate than most area powers. 
  • Hail of Bullets - This is a Point-Blank Area of Effect (PBAoE) and as such it has several options from some more melee-oriented sets. These types of sets are great sources of additional recharge (Obliteration, Armageddon, etc.) as well as damage proc potential. Hail of Bullets can also take sets from the Knockback category which means this power has a high chance to activate the Force Feedback chance for recharge. Hail of Bullets can also take on the Fury of the Gladiator's resistance debuff with a very high chance to activate it. 

 

What a minute... I didn't mention the Archetype Origin (ATO) enhancements! That's on purpose. The Sentinel ATOs are very utility oriented which makes it difficult to prescribe blanket recommendations on where to put them. In general, both ATOs have good global bonuses, but their special effect procs require some understanding to make use of them. I'll explain what they do below and with that information you can decide where they work best for your character. 

 

  • Opportunity Strikes - This is a decent set and at 5 pieces you can access the global recharge benefit. The 6th piece is a range defense perk. The other valuable bonus worth noting is the enhanced range global bonus. That's right, the range increase affects all your powers. That means you can initiate combat from slightly greater distances and it will makes your cones wider. The special effect proc from this set is a "Chance for Opportunity". As of Page 5, this proc grants a minor boost to your meter recover (about 10% at Superior quality). This set can be slotted in either Single Target or Area of Effect powers. Which type of power you wish to slot this in is going to be dependent on personal preference. In general, I'm not a huge fan of this effect and often place the entire set in one of the Area powers for maximizing benefit while grouping. 
  • Sentinel's Ward - The Ward set has a similar theme to the bonuses like what Opportunity Strikes grants. You get a defensive bonus at 5 pcs and a recharge bonus at 6. You also have access to another source of range bonus. Either or both of these sets can be split to take advantage of that if you do not care for or need the higher tiered perks. The proc is an absorb shield. For Dual Pistols you can place this anywhere depending on the needs of your build. It is worth noting that due to the higher PPM value this works very well in area powers. Every target has a chance for the absorb shield to trigger turning a power like Bullet Rain into a hybrid of defense and offense.

 

Skippable Powers

 

What should I skip is a very common question. The answer to that can be complicated as various powers work better in certain configurations. That said, let's walk through the powers: 

  • Dual Wield vs Pistols: Pistols can potentially out perform Dual Wield when talking about basic damage enhancement slotting. Pistols has a better damage-per-activation, even with the fire damage difference in Dual Wield, and benefits well in builds with extreme recharge. Dual Wield on the other hand, is slightly better at trigger damage procs and has access to a 4th damage proc Pistols does not (2 options out of the Slow category). In addition to the extra damage potential of procs, Dual Wield can also make use of Force Feedback: Chance for Recharge. There is no clear winner here without having a much deeper discussion on where your build is ultimately going to go. That said, Dual Wield will likely edge ahead in most builds attempting to leverage heavy use of procs for damage. Pistols, in the same kind of build consideration, needs more recharge and the total outcome is relatively minor. You have to pick one, and which one you chose is more dependent on what build path you want to take. Both options can be viable under their respective conditions. You only need one of these, and definitely don't need both (there are better options later). 
  • Empty Clips: Some people don't like cones and that's OK. However, Empty Clips has pretty decent DPA for a cone attack making it a competitive choice to both Pistols and Dual Wield in the early game. In essence, this works really well as a gap filler early on even in single target situations (be mindful of the higher end cost though, that can drain your blue bar fast). That said, if you hate cones, then I guess you could skip this. 
  • Swap Ammo: This is your Aim. Not only does the fire ammo type increase your overall damage, but you can swap it around for completely different effects. Some people do not like this system though, and decide to skip. I don't recommend that, but you do you. 😉 
  • Suppressive Fire: This power does damage in a way that is entirely unique to the Sentinel AT. On all other AT options, Suppressive Fire is incredibly low base damage and mostly used as a control power. The Sentinel version has a flipped role. This version has higher damage and lower duration on control. In addition to that, this is the only power in the set with a 50/50 split on elemental damage vs mostly lethal damage. While Suppressive Fire doesn't get the fire damage-over-time effect as other powers do, it does get half its damage converted into that element. That alone is pretty significant. Furthermore, this can pull IO set options out of the Hold category which means there are a lot of damage proc options. Suppressive Fire can easily be turned into the second highest damage power in the entire set, just behind Executioner's Shot, and therefore I highly recommend taking it. That said, I've seen people skip this so that is an option, I guess. 
  • Bullet Rain: This is your largest non-T9 AoE. Given that the Sentinel lacks the AoE options of other ranged ATs, there is just no compelling argument (outside some roleplay idea) to recommend skipping this. Sure, the homing bullets are ridiculous, but this entire set is in a comic book game. If you're looking for realism you picked the wrong game. Take this. 
  • Executioner's Shot: This is the most efficient damage power for single targets in the entire set. This power only gets better with with its various slotting options and becomes available around the same time as other blast sets getting their snipe. OK look, I know DP doesn't have a snipe anywhere. My point is, ES is effectively the snipe power replacement, and it has always been a strong power choice. I've seen people skip this before across all ATs. I'll never fully understand why people do that and then complain about damage. 
  • Piercing Rounds: So far, my recommendations haven't really planted a firm stake in the ground on when to skip. I mean, pretty much all of the powers in this set are pretty good for damage. So, I guess we have to have one real standout stinker. That stinker would be Piercing Rounds. The biggest selling point of Piercing Rounds I could ever give, is that it includes a fairly hefty resistance debuff when using standard ammo when playing anything other than the Sentinel. The Sentinel's version of the same debuff is the weakest of all ATs that get this power. Furthermore, Piercing Rounds has some unique traits in its area of effect, animation time, and recharge which make it strong at delivering procs. HOWEVER, it is *really* slow to animate. The way that Suppressive Fire works in conjunction with Executioner's Shot (and likely either Dual Wield or Pistols) overshadows Piercing Rounds for Sentinels. Piercing Rounds isn't total garbage for Defenders, Corruptors, or Blasters however. Keep in mind both Corruptors and Blasters have a strong damage proc available in one of their ATO sets and it can work surprisingly well in Piercing Rounds. That option doesn't exist on Sentinels. Defenders get a whopping -20% resistance debuff in that power vs the Sentinel's just over 9% version. See where I am going with this? Sentinels inherit all of the weakness of Piercing Rounds but don't have any of the bells or whistles to offset it. Skip it on Sentinels. Consider taking it on any of the other ranged ATs depending on what you want to do with it. 
  • Hail of Bullets: This is your other large (for Sentinels that is) coverage area damage power. The big downside it is melee range, but you do get a defense benefit for a few seconds to compensate. I'd suggest taking it. 

 

So, from the above you could skip either Pistols or Dual Wield, skip Empty Clips (I guess), and skip Piercing Rounds. Other than that, you should strongly consider taking everything else. 

 

Rotations

 

Post Page 5 changes, this section can be much smaller. When Opportunity used to exist and force a choice in the T1/2 powers there were ways to squeeze out effectiveness that no longer matter (not that it was a big deal then either). 

 

For Sentinels:

There are two primary ways to get the most out of your single target sequence vs a hard target. You want to do either:

 

A) Dual Wield -> Suppressive Fire -> Executioner's Shot; or

B) Pistols -> Suppressive Fire -> Executioner's Shot. 

 

The exact order doesn't really matter that much. The only thing which may change your decision making is if you use Achille's Heel: Chance for Resistance Debuff in Executioner's Shot. If you have that, then you may want to lead with that power since everything after it will benefit from the resistance debuff (including follow-up Executioner's Shots). 

 

The major difference between the two options above is that in option A all attacks have the exact same animation time. This is the most forgiven sequence on global recharge and it is also highly beneficial to using multiple damage procs per power. Option B really only becomes competitive if we exclude damage procs and/or include extreme amounts of recharge (if using procs). You'd want Executioner's Shot to recharge in 3.03 seconds in order to avoid using Pistols too much. If you want to use procs in Executioner's Shot, without any recharge in that power, then you're global recharge total needs to be quite high (greater than 200%). This just isn't practical in most builds and would require Ageless Destiny running for a short window of opportunity to really maximize it. So, for the average proc heavy build, go with option A and use Dual Wield. Overall, the animation transitions will likely feel a bit smoother. 

Other ATs: 

 

A) Pistols -> Dual Wield -> Executioner's Shot; or 

B) Pistols -> Executioner's Shot -> Pistols -> Piercing Rounds. 

 

Yes, you could swap Dual Wield in place of Pistols (its generally a DPS loss for most ATs, but you can do it) or for some builds with high enough recharge Suppressive Fire with a all damage procs possible could be another substitute. Option B is actually a reasonably effective choice for any of the other ATs due to either the high debuff potential and/or better ATO choices. For Blasters in particular, they may wish to only invest in Pistols and Executioner's shot. Pistols is a mandatory choice vs Dual Wield (may as well take the option with better DPA), and Executioner's Shot is better with Defiance. These two attacks make a decent way to weave around melee for Blapper builds. The other option is to use Piercing Rounds with the damage proc-based ATO, Executioner's Shot with Apocalypse, and Pistols with the mezz protect set (of course you can swap that around if you wish). 

 

About Ancillary/Patron Pools:

 

There is a lot to unpack by adding in more complexity with the higher level pools.  I'm not going to go into all of the variations possible.  There just isn't enough space and there is just too much to go over.  Furthermore, discussing how these rotations work is less of a discussion about Dual Pistols and more a discussion applicable to the entire Sentinel archetype.  In short, there is absolutely nothing unique about adding Mind Probe -> Dominate to a Dual Pistols attack chain.  Any Sentinel can do this and it can potentially increase your damage dealt if you slot these right.

 

Complementary Choices

 

Dual Pistols is a skirmish style set and fits in with an idea of being in close quarters.  Any secondary which grants you a means of native stealth (e.g., Ninjutsu) will make positioning to drop Hail of Bullets easier.  You can also place a Celerity: Stealth IO into Sprint and this gets stronger with stealthy sets. 

 

Defense-based sets allow for the luxury to ignore set bonuses in your attacks and let you have free reign to load damage procs. 

Other defensive sets can make use out of the debuffs present in the ammunition mechanic. Resistance sets may enjoy benefits of the -damage debuff on enemies. Regeneration-based sets (Regen/Willpower) can benefit from -damage, or the slow from Cryo ammo, or even buy some time with knockdowns. 

 

Dual Pistols baseline damage is towards the lower end of the medium spectrum and moves to upper-medium with Incendiary Ammunition. This means power sets that grant additional damage like Bio or Radiation Armors bring some welcome benefits. 

 

The Epic/Patron pools all have a lot to offer many builds generally speaking. These pools don't necessarily bring anything specific to Dual Pistols though. Ninja Tools does have additional defense debuffing, but again this is not specific to Dual Pistols. Furthermore, using any of these powers may conflict with concepts or create annoyance of watching your pistols appear out of nowhere (the no redraw option). 

 

Dual Pistols has several fast attacks and the Sentinel version isn't nearly as reliant on Piercing Rounds as other ATs. This makes Hasten potentially optional since you can easily have enough attacks available. Hasten does allow for builders to push some extreme circumstances like abusing damage procs in a small number of rapid fire attacks.

 

Word of caution. Ok, not really a complementary choice, but more a warning on a potential trap option. Dual Pistols doesn't have Aim or Build-Up and many Sentinels may wish to squeeze these into their builds. This doesn't work out as well as it sounds on paper if you're going at this solo. This is especially true of using the Gaussian's Synchronized Fire Control + Tactics combo. If you use that Build-Up proc in Tactics, note that the chance to have it activate is incredibly small... by yourself. If you're on a full team, then each target of the buff (including pets that can receive Tactics) rolls a chance to proc that Build-Up effect on you.  So you could use this to squeeze in Build-Up randomly while teaming, but for solo it will rarely activate. It is also completely uncontrolled no matter how you go about it.  Decimation also has a chance for Build-Up proc.  This one can work but again the caveat is that it is uncontrolled. If you are already thinking of using the 5pc Decimation bonus for the global recharge modifier, then you may as well use the proc to get there. The chance for it going off is fairly small (between 6-12% depending on power). However, Sentinel Dual Pistol attack chains can be pruned to just the fast activating attacks. This means the faster you hammer out your attacks the more chances you have to make that smaller probability into a reality. So it will go off in your attack chain at some point. Oh, and remember when I said that Epic/Patron pools Holds have long recharge times? Know what sets they can take (hint: rhymes with Ranged Attack Sets)? A Hold like Dominate can be a more reliable proc carrier for things like the Decimation: Chance for Build-Up if you are so inclined. Experiment! Explore! My way of doing things is not the only way of doing things!

 

Incarnate Abilities

 

I'm hesitant to offer hard line prescriptions here. Incarnates are best used to either shore up weaknesses or expand on strengths. You're also not locked into how many Incarnate powers you pick up.  You're only limited to what you can slot at any given time. I have multiple powers in the Destiny category that I can swap out as I see fit. That said, it is tough to make blanket recommendations for a primary only and not a character. I'll try though!

 

For Alpha slots, this is going to vary based on what defensive power set you use. The Cardiac options can help resistances but also offer some endurance management. End management can be a welcome choice since hammering fast attacks will drain endurance. The Vigor options may be a nice perk for regenerating sets. Agility and Spiritual both have good uses but also bring additional recharge reduction which does impact your chances to trigger procs. If you're not heavily invested in procs, then either of those may be for you. The Musculature options bring more damage, and Intuition Radial does too.  I lean heavily towards Musculature but these options are matter of preference. 

 

There are several good judgments like Void, Pyronic or Ion. Pick one based on their secondary effects and/or if you like their targeting method (PBAoE, Cone, etc.). 

 

Interface is fairly generic across all damage dealers and Sentinels are no different. The Degenerative chance for reduced hit points is a very good option for tough targets like Archvillains and Giant Monsters. Reactive can be good for clearing out hordes of weaker enemies.  Diamagnetic can be good to add some defense due to the to hit debuff it brings. 

 

Lore pets were all standardized and as such there is no specific category I recommend for Dual Pistols. 

 

Destiny is going to vary wildly based on a complete character. You can't go wrong with Barrier as a generic choice, but the others will have uses depending on your secondary choice. Ageless works like another form of Hasten but the value of the effect degrades over time. Ageless can be a good option for builds needing more recharge which is especially beneficial to ones heavily invested into procs. 

 

Hybrid options generally lead towards the Assault toggles. You have two options of Radial or Core. Radial adds a chance to do damage and Core adds a chance for a stacking damage buff. The chance to do damage works off PPM rules (the value is PPM = 6) and the chance for the stacking buff is 65% (thanks @Hopeling). Dual Pistols can make good use out of either option but Hybrid Assault Core does edge out ahead a bit due to the Page 5 scalar change. Still, Doublehit isn't a bad option to pursue if you prefer to have the bonus energy proc vs the stacking damage effect. 

Edited by oldskool
Fixing spelling/grammar errors as I find them.
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Looks good, oldskool, thanks! I have one comment: it might be helpful to mention that -res on piercing rounds is a group damage benefit even if it is neutral damage for you compared to incendiary.

 

I like how much you compare the set to its versions in other ATs, should be useful for getting people to adapt.

 

In the final, I'll do some minor copy-editing for spelling and punctuation and smooth out formatting on fonts and paragraph spacing for uniformity. 

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40 minutes ago, Sunsette said:

Looks good, oldskool, thanks! I have one comment: it might be helpful to mention that -res on piercing rounds is a group damage benefit even if it is neutral damage for you compared to incendiary.

 

I like how much you compare the set to its versions in other ATs, should be useful for getting people to adapt.

 

In the final, I'll do some minor copy-editing for spelling and punctuation and smooth out formatting on fonts and paragraph spacing for uniformity. 

I'll make that more clear.  I was drafting that and almost lost all of it.  So I'll go through and edit. 

 

The -res can potentially be a force multiple on certain teams, and I'll bring that up.  However, that may not always be the case (depends on who you're with).  However, it is not DPS neutral for solo damage.  It is a potential DPS loss to flip off Incendiary Ammunition for a -9,6% resistance debuff.  Incendiary Ammunition adds substantial damage to Piercing Rounds and the DoT is only 3 seconds.  The -resistance is 10 seconds long.  In order to squeeze your hardest hitting powers within 10 seconds you'll open with Piercing, then Executioner - Suppressive - Pistols - Executioner - Piercing Rounds.  Finishing that is 12.012 seconds but lets the next Piercing Rounds take advantage of the buff (it'll start at 9.73s mark).  Keeping Incendiary on all the time is a 12 DPS gain for me.   On the flip side, you can run Pistols -> [Executioner's Shot -> Pistols -> Suppressive Fire]*2 -> Pistols in 12.144 seconds.  The DPS difference for my set is 32 pts in favor of not using Piercing Rounds by toggle flipping and a 21 DPS difference vs using Piercing Rounds with Incendiary Ammo.  

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Regarding the discussion of what distinguishes Sentinels from Blasters, there needs to be a section on Range, and ways to overcome the range disadvantage Sentinels have versus Blasters.  There are three ways Sentinels can boost their range via slotting - enhancements that boost range, enhancements with a global range boost (the archetype sets), and Incarnate abilities.  Unfortunately, the first option is very slot-inefficient - you're forgoing set bonuses to slot either a pure range IO or one of the few hybrid IOs that have a range component, and it only enhances that power.  The second option does limit set bonuses slightly by spreading the two archetype sets among a minimum of 3 powers (3 groups of 2 and 2 groups of 3) to get a +33% (+50% for superior) global bonus to range.  The Intuition Alpha is the best method (+20% range while still getting +33% damage, 2/3rds bypassing caps), but only opens up at level 50 and won't persist below level 45.

 

Personally, I frankenslot the archetype sets to give me a +50% global range boost at level 50 (and it was +33% before then).  That's more than enough to overcome the range disparity between sentinels and blasters, and it only gets better when you add the Intuition Alpha.

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I think calling range a disadvantage that needs to be overcome is a misunderstanding of what Sentinels are.  By all means, if you love staying far away and blasting, have a gas.  But Sentinels do not need this at all to be effective, and building for it will usually create inefficiencies.  It's not hard to have soft-capped defenses with some resistance, as well as full mez protection.  With the right build, stuff will be arrested way before you are at risk, especially in today's game.

 

I'm curious, if you are maximizing range it seems as though you are negating a Sentinel's advantages over Blaster and might as well go for Blaster and the better damage.  What do you like about a max range Sent that I'm missing?  Thanks!

 

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On 7/31/2019 at 7:52 PM, oldskool said:

Oh, Knockout Blow is a Hold, which means it can take those damage procs too.  Leviathan Mastery let's you snag that. 

One could achieve pretty fun things with Leviathan, given KO Blow and Spirit Shark Jaws together. Their impact on an attack chain wouldn't be so dramatic, given the recharges; but in regular gameplay, that one-two punch for massive damage + boss level hold? Mmm!

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9 minutes ago, Tankshock said:

I'm curious, if you are maximizing range it seems as though you are negating a Sentinel's advantages over Blaster and might as well go for Blaster and the better damage.  What do you like about a max range Sent that I'm missing?  Thanks!

There are multiple things I like.  First, my cone attacks cover a bigger area and are easier to use.  Second, I can engage foes even when a teammate uses knockback and catapults a foe outside of normal Sentinel range.  Third, it makes it harder for high damage melee foes to get to me, and gives me more time to use other powers (like Bonfire) to keep them out of melee range.  Fourth, I have ranged defense capped but not melee or AoE - it's to my advantage to stay at range (and long enough range that several enemy AoEs can't reach me).

 

Yes, with capped ranged defense and capped S/L resistances, I'm about as durable as a scrapper.  However, when facing larger, higher-level spawns, I still need to be careful.  Range is a useful tool in that regard - if nothing else, it gives me more time to react.

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8 minutes ago, nihilii said:

One could achieve pretty fun things with Leviathan, given KO Blow and Spirit Shark Jaws together. Their impact on an attack chain wouldn't be so dramatic, given the recharges; but in regular gameplay, that one-two punch for massive damage + boss level hold? Mmm!

I contemplated doing something like that with my Water Blast character.  That mastery is very much in theme. 

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19 hours ago, oldskool said:

Primary Powerset: Dual Pistols

 

·       Low- Medium* Single-Target Damage, Low- Medium * AoE Damage (2 Cones, 1 Sphere/1 PBAoE), Medium Control**, Low- Medium*** Debuff potential.

 

Great, great post.  I have to rethink my DP builds now because you have given so many points to consider.

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On 8/1/2019 at 10:05 PM, oldskool said:

Primary Powerset: Dual Pistols

 

·       Low- Medium* Single-Target Damage, Low- Medium * AoE Damage (2 Cones, 1 Sphere/1 PBAoE), Medium Control**, Low- Medium*** Debuff potential.

 

*Ammunition powers will add variance.

...

 


 

Great post ! I'm dual pistol Big fan. Tested others powers pool and always back on dual pistols.

I think dual pistol with fire ammo is more med-hight dammage.

Concerning Epic/patron pool, i prefer Ninja Mastering tool. Jump on liddle of battle, launch hail of bullet and finish with lotus drop !

Incredible style ! 

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@FedifensorWhile I agree that range needs to be addressed, I will have trouble wholeheartedly recommending breaking up the Sentinel sets at 50 to get additional range as that comes at the cost of a lot of recharge and defense bonuses, and Posi's Blast comes with range for your AoEs, which need them most. I think it's quite reasonable advice for low and mid levels, though. 

 

Given @Hopeling's stellar work on Radial here, I'll be updating my Energy Blast and Beam Rifle guides tomorrow, and I think incarnate sections should broadly touch on this as well. Tomorrow I will try to get up submissions for some of the secondary sets.

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49 minutes ago, Sunsette said:

@FedifensorWhile I agree that range needs to be addressed, I will have trouble wholeheartedly recommending breaking up the Sentinel sets at 50 to get additional range as that comes at the cost of a lot of recharge and defense bonuses, and Posi's Blast comes with range for your AoEs, which need them most. I think it's quite reasonable advice for low and mid levels, though. 

A wholehearted recommendation isn’t needed, but it should be mentioned as an option for those who favor a longer range playstyle than the Sentinel typically offers.  

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Is there a chance that Sentinels can get a blaster Ancillary set, say like Munitions Mastery? Reason I ask is because I've read that the sentinel ancillary power pools are bugged and were created at the same time. I know it's a slightly silly suggestion, but I thought it may be worth mentioning just in case. :)

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23 minutes ago, Panthonca7034 said:

Is there a chance that Sentinels can get a blaster Ancillary set, say like Munitions Mastery? Reason I ask is because I've read that the sentinel ancillary power pools are bugged and were created at the same time. I know it's a slightly silly suggestion, but I thought it may be worth mentioning just in case. 🙂

I wouldn't hold my breath. While Sentinel epic pools could be improved IMO most ancillary pools follow roughly the same pattern as each other on an archetype (and patron pools have a variation thereof to fit their pet powers in). So the Sentinel pattern is:
T1: AoE Immob/Melee Attack
T2: Ranged ability/AoE ability
T3: Team support ability

Blaster APPs follow a very different pattern, though they're also allowed more variance than the Sent pattern.

Edited by Sunsette
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It is insane to me that no one has posted on /rad armor yet, I guess the big dogs don't play it but so far I have found it to be my favorite. I would assume that there are people WAY more qualified than this stoned sent lover but I guess I'll start putting together the outline for it. be warned my high as shit brain ain't gonna make it pretty but if there isn't one up by tonight ill give it some proper time.

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6 hours ago, Destlin said:

It is insane to me that no one has posted on /rad armor yet, I guess the big dogs don't play it but so far I have found it to be my favorite. I would assume that there are people WAY more qualified than this stoned sent lover but I guess I'll start putting together the outline for it. be warned my high as shit brain ain't gonna make it pretty but if there isn't one up by tonight ill give it some proper time.

Is that the very very very top of Sean Connery's head in ZARDOZ when I hover over you? How do I know that? Not sure who that makes crazier...

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1 hour ago, Vulpoid said:

Is that the very very very top of Sean Connery's head in ZARDOZ when I hover over you? How do I know that? Not sure who that makes crazier...

Oh you know it! And that means you know what he is wearing in that scene.

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First of all, I have had a hell of a day and I apologize. It looks like I won't get to my next write-ups until tomorrow. I am not in any sort of state of mind to crank out writing.

As far as /rad armor, it's new and offense oriented, but it's not as good as bio at either of those things on Sentinels given our scale values and caps, and it's not radically different conceptually from some of the existing sets. So it doesn't have a lot of built-in fans who are inclined to post on forums. Whenever you get around to it, though, it's appreciated!

Lastly, why the hell did you have to make me remember that movie exists?

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This is going to be as short as possible as i'm always baked out of my mind and if left alone with a keybord to long shit gets weird. I am here to just give my 100% biased opinion on /rad so here it goes.

                                                                  RADIATION ARMOR

 

SPECIAL QUALITIES-
 a. Meltdown: the T9 radiation ability is both offensive and devensive at the same time. It increases damage and gives a nice chunk of resist to all making it a good ability to use as often as possible.

 

 b.Ground Zero: The T8 radiation ability (it is why this is my favorite set). Ground Zero stands out because it can be slotted many different ways. I also mean drasticaly different. It can turn your sentinel into a team healer by giving you that extra AoE heal, mixed with pool and epic this becomes very powerful. It can be slotted for incredible damage turning into another full powered nuke on a 24 second CD. It can also be slotted to straight debuff the enemies. AFAIK no other armor choice has such an ability.

 

 c. Particle Shielding: The T7 ability is not only an absorb shield but it also gives a minute long regen and recovery buff. Making energy management simple.

 d. Particle Acceleration: The T6 is a flat 20% haste. A few armors have this but it is still worth noting.


CHANGES FROM OTHER AT's-
 a. Beta Decay is now Particle Acceleration. It becomes and auto ability and loses the AoE taunt and debuffs. Gains speed.

 

 

SKIPPABLE SKILLS-
 none

 

Drawbacks-

NO DDR- not that big of an issue for a resist set but still might be an issue for some.( or maybe it is a bigger issue for a resist set? I have not figured that out).


Thoughts-
 Radiation armor seems to be really good for any hungry primary set and it gives the sentinel something it really needs, which is another powerful AoE. Also meltdown will be up a minute at a time then down for about 2 minutes which makes it really good to stagger some with your hybrid incarnate. It is really easy to build your primary for dps and use w/e points are left over for radiation and still be tough. Heal other+ground zero(6 slotted for heals)+chain heal= yay. Also it doesn't seem to do much less than bio (would love to see a build that shows bio doing more than just a tiny bit, someone show me!) ST but because GZ is better for AoE.

 

 

I may come edit this later when not baked and take out anything that doesn't make sense or add w/e I forgot. (this may be a hot wreck idk, the pot compels me)

Edited by Destlin
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After a lot of consideration I am beginning to think that Assault Core Hybrid is a better choice to recommend for Sentinels than Radial. My reasoning is twofold:

 

  1. The Sentinel is a soloing archetype, and from @Hopeling's work it looks like typical Sentinel primaries do more damage with Core at 3 stacks than Radial, and we can get to 5.
  2. When we're reliably at the damage cap, there are multiple ATs that better specialize at either single target or multi target damage than us. Under those conditions our personal contribution is less important. When we're not reliably at cap, the team is probably not well composed, and that is when it is most important for us to bring our damage. The fact that AoE powers in particular are far weaker with radial is thus cause for concern. 
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