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DarknessEternal

Why Sentinel vs Blaster?

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I'm quite a new returnee, and this question has been bugging me.  I can't figure it out on my own, so I'm asking you experts.

 

Considering IOs, I can get reasonably good on defenses with a Blaster.  Yes, they are lower than what Sentinels get, but not by much in actual practice.  But a Sentinel's damage is far worse than a Blaster's damage than the defense comparison.

 

Admittedly, I don't really understand Opportunity.  Maybe that's what I'm missing?  What's the story with why someone would pick Sentinel?

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For me, the #1 thing is a stronger orientation in both offense and defense toward ranged play. I never liked the extent to which melee range was required for a bunch of blaster powers. The sentinel versions of power sets feel good to me.

 

I like both offensive and defensive opportunity. Both do a hefty -resistance debuff to targets, which is always, always in order. The offensive damage boost is likewise never out of order. And it turns out that defensive opportunity followed by AOEs can charge up a depleted endurance bar amazingly fast. I get annoyed with lack of endurance, and having a quick replenishment almost on tap makes me happy and feel more confidence.

 

I like the extent to which sentinel secondaries fold in mez protections and such, too.

 

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Late game, a blaster is a completely new class. With sets and IO's and incarnates, that squishy blaster that always died and was awful, a pain to level, and made you tear at how bad it is becomes an actual machine of devastation and sheer absolute awesomeness. 

 

However... remember when I said it's a pain, awful, and made you tear up during that leveling process? 

 

This is where sentinel makes a much needed and helpful appearance. 

 

They're somewhat of a scrapper/blaster/defender AT. They can give a really nice -res in their opportunity and they do have still decent damage. Their T9's have typically much less of a cooldown than the blaster versions do, some by a substantial amount. Ice blasts' blizzard for a blaster is a 170 second cooldown base. Ice blasts' blizzard for a sentinel?... 90 seconds. 90 SECONDS... almost HALVED! So yes, the damage is a less, but when you can use it TWICE AS OFTEN... that really does shape up quite well for a sentinel, and quite honestly, when you consider that also for ice blast the difference in single target vs blasters really isn't much especially when ice blast never had a sniper to begin with... it becomes actually quite OP! Pair this with a secondary that provides something you're not getting that gives excellent damage mitigation and you've got a character that can really do it all and do it well. Sure, late game they may not be as exceptional as a blaster but damn they've got a solid nice good ride the whole way through!

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As a new player to CoH, I tried out all the ATs until level 10. I fell in love with Sentinels because they were very forgiving especially for someone like me who's just learning the ins and outs of the game. I got one to level 50 with less faceplants than I expected, and that's with me not knowing what was going on half the time. Working with my first incarnate, sentinels can really deliver some hurt and live to tell about it. Now I'm not in any authority to compare them to blasters, but I found blasters too hard to level for a noob. I just rolled one the other day and I'm afraid I have to park him for now, at least until I improve my skills and knowledge of the game.

 

 

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Sentinels start off good and stay good. You give up some damage, but you're not faceplanting every five minutes either.  Not dissing blasters, they are awesome, especially late game. But I don't want to wait 50 levels and get incarnates before I feel awesome. A lot of people balk at 25% less damage than a blaster. To that I say "so what"! My sentinel still plows through content solo. And if I'm on a team, he feels more than adequate to get the job done.  

 

Also, late game sentinels..are just amazing. That's the thing nobody ever talks about, or sweeps quickly under the rug. I'd even argue, late game Sentinels are very much overpowered. 

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I just finished leveling a blaster, and let me tell you that it was exhausting.  The damage is loud and brutal thanks to Aim + Build-Up, but the class feels so clunky. As our numeric friend above mentions just the T9s show this. What's the point of burning a pack to cinders if then we can't use it for the next two packs? What's even the point of burning a pack to cinders with so much 'wasted' damage since things are dead already? It came to a point I did not use Aim + BU with my T9 because no point, and I would rather have Aim + BU for the next pack where I'd be T9-less.

 

Then of course there's not having CC protection until level 50, no defenses, etc.

 

On the other hand a Sentinel starts with CC protection early on. Defenses early on don't do much until they stack up enough so that's more of a level 40-50 thing, but the T9 is well build. Sure, less damage, but does it matter? When we pop Aim + T9 (whose CDs match) all minions are dead, and then we use the rest of the AoEs and most things not a boss are on a sliver. AND WE CAN DO IT AGAIN NEXT SPAWN! I was playing with a stalker friend of mine and starting to feel bad for her since every spawn I'd just open up with my T9 and simply clean it and she'd just be poking at the almost dead leftovers.

 

This is *practical* damage, not spreadsheet or pylon killing.

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When we talk about endgame the only real difference between Sentinels and Blasters is that a blaster walks up to a pack of +4x8 mob, pops his cooldowns and erases all the mobs except the bosses and has to wait 45 seconds to do it again. A Sentinel will kill all the minion and most of the Lts., but can do it on every pack.

 

When you have your defenses covered by your secondary you can focus more on damage on your primary abilities. There are some blaster builds that can put out insane damage, most people don't play those builds though and sentinel damage can be pretty comparable to normal blaster builds if built correctly.

 

And as Sovera just mentioned, Mez protection is a huge bonus. I'm currently leveling a blaster and got my badge for being held or put to sleep for 10 minutes at level 32. None of my sentinels at 50 have it.

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The not-dying-so-often thing is very important, and very hard for some people to grasp. I do not mean that as an insult, either. When there's anything that you're comfortable with and simply not bothered by, it can be really hard to really identify with or understand the emotions of people who find it difficult, painful, unwelcome, frustrating, whatever. (This is why people who aren't targeted by an ethnic or other slur are generally terrible and judging whether and how much of a problem it is for those who are the targets.) We all have limits to our emotional imagination, and have to listen to others. You can find multiple posts throughout these forums where I have to go "oh, okay, I just didn't think about it, but now I understand why that's a big deal, thanks".

 

The classic blaster tradeoff of power versus fragility always worked great for some people, was tolerable for others, and was not acceptable for still others. For those of us in that last group, the sentinel tradeoff is just what we were wanting. Continuing to operate, even at a lower moment-by-moment levels of power, feels really, really good to some of us, while the interruptions of getting defeated, razzing, firing up toggles, and all of that loom large as distracting, unwanted nuisances, much more so than they feel to some of our fellow players.

 

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20 minutes ago, Knottewe said:

When we talk about endgame the only real difference between Sentinels and Blasters is that a blaster walks up to a pack of +4x8 mob, pops his cooldowns and erases all the mobs except the bosses and has to wait 45 seconds to do it again. A Sentinel will kill all the minion and most of the Lts., but can do it on every pack.

 

When you have your defenses covered by your secondary you can focus more on damage on your primary abilities. There are some blaster builds that can put out insane damage, most people don't play those builds though and sentinel damage can be pretty comparable to normal blaster builds if built correctly.

^
I agree.

 

Without boring everyone with a diatribe on their differences, the only real answer to the question is this:

I find it fun. 

That's why it is Sentinel over Blaster for me.  Its fun. 

Really nothing else matters and every point I could come up with about DPS on one or the other is irrelevant in light of what I enjoy logging in to.  Fun is all that matters.

Edited by oldskool

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53 minutes ago, tjknight said:

Also, late game sentinels..are just amazing. That's the thing nobody ever talks about, or sweeps quickly under the rug. I'd even argue, late game Sentinels are very much overpowered. 

Can you explain why?

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2 hours ago, DarknessEternal said:

I can get reasonably good on defenses with a Blaster.

(a) you can't do that at level 15 or 20.  Sentinels have decent defenses right out of the gate.

 

(b) there is an opportunity cost.  Every IO you spend on +Defense, the Sentinel player spends on +Damage and/or +Accuracy (etc).

 

2 hours ago, DarknessEternal said:

But a Sentinel's damage is far worse than a Blaster's damage than the defense comparison.

Not really, no.  Sentinels, I believe, get the same damage multiplier as Corruptors.


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My problem with the Sentinel opportunity thing is that it always seem to pop when the target is almost dead. Not sure how much utility it provides. Nothing like brutes rage mechanic. I am not 100% on the mechanic, but it seem like you fight 5-10 things, it pops on the 10th, and usually when that guys is half dead already, and gives you a bonus on that creature.

 

Is there something I am missing here?

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12 minutes ago, PaxArcana said:

Sentinels, I believe, get the same damage multiplier as Corruptors.

Its a bit better than that.  Its the Dominator scale (0.95).

8 minutes ago, DarknessEternal said:

Also, can someone explain or point me to the documentation of Opportunity somewhere?

Opportunity -

 

All attacks impose a minor resistance and defense debuff (about 5%).  This does not stack per attack but can stack per Sentinel. 

Sentinels have a 3rd meter called "Opportunity" and it works in some ways very similar to Domination on Dominators.  All of your attacks fuel the Opportunity meter.  When the meter reaches 90 out of 100 then your Tier 1 and Tier 2 attacks will gain a circle around them.  The Tier 1 attack triggers "Offensive Opportunity" and the Tier 2 triggers "Defensive Opportunity".   You'll have to land a successful hit with either of these attacks to trigger their specific mode and it will fill the meter completely and hold it there for 15 seconds.  Everything below lasts for that 15 second duration.  These modes are not intended to stack but some claim to have done it (probably a bug).

Both versions of "Opportunity" always impose a 20% resistance debuff on a single target.  This appears as a giant target under a single foe (the color of this matches whatever your power is colored - so these modes can be different colors if you want).  


Offensive Opportunity adds minor energy damage per attack and this is regardless of target.  So you gain the buff even against enemies without the giant target under them. 

Defensive Opportunity adds minor health and endurance return per attack regardless of target. 

In a nut shell, that is it.

Edited by oldskool
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2 hours ago, DarknessEternal said:

But a Sentinel's damage is far worse than a Blaster's damage than the defense comparison.

 

I would contest this claim. My Blaster has mid-30s S/L defense, 60%ish S/L resist, and about 500% regen via Sustain. My /Elec Sentinel has mid-30s S/L defense, 60-75% S/L/E/F/C resist and 40%ish psi/negative resist, and 700% regen plus the actual heal from Energize. On healing alone, my Sentinel can survive about twice as much incoming DPS as the blaster, and has only a toxic hole instead of an "everything except S/L" hole.

 

Like yes, Blasters can have comparable numbers on their best defenses, but it's rare for a blaster to have significant defense and/or resists to more than one position or damage type, while it's very common for a Sentinel. In practice, this means that even with IOs and epic shields, Blasters tend to feel brittle, because they can still die almost instantly when they come under fire from the wide swathes of enemies they aren't specialized in defending against. Sentinel defenses are much more robust.

 

On the damage front, considering that Opportunity boosts your damage and everyone else's by 20%, and that Sentinel base damage is only about 15% lower, Sentinels are actually reasonably competitive for ST. Blasters remain the kings of AoE thanks to their higher target caps, and I do think that Sentinel damage is a bit undertuned in general, but it's well above the corruptor/defender level that it's sometimes compared to.

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1 hour ago, oldskool said:

^
I agree.

 

Without boring everyone with a diatribe on their differences, the only real answer to the question is this:

I find it fun. 

That's why it is Sentinel over Blaster for me.  Its fun. 

Really nothing else matters and every point I could come up with about DPS on one or the other is irrelevant in light of what I enjoy logging in to.  Fun is all that matters.

Truth!

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Opportunity is terrible as a class feature, ignore it. Unless the T1 in your primary is better than the T2 I would just take the t2. You'll end up with better powers and better sustain.

 

People seem to forget that mobs have a finite amount of hit points. You don't get bonus xp for extra really totally killing them (or arresting if your video game morals don't allow murder)

 

Unfortunately, we have decided to judge the damage we do by killing an immovable object that is unlike anything we kill (or arrest, see above) in game. It really has no bearing on how different ATs actually play. In real play sentinels are fine, although if they redid opportunity I would not complain.

 

CoX is great because there are very few absolutely wrong answers when it comes to murdering (or arresting, see above) huge swaths of villains (or heros), but people like me get to agonize over squeezing just a little more out of a spec. Maybe a good blaster might make his team finish ITF 5 minutes faster than your sentinel, but ultimately very few people actually care about those 5 minutes.

 

Really, you came here to ask why and the real question is why not. Play what you enjoy and if you enjoy the game you'll have 1 of everything eventually anyway. 

Edited by Knottewe
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You can't really build a blaster to be as survivable as a Sent. 

 

You can build it to be good against a lot of content, but the blaster is still going to farm debt badges faster.  

 

 

 

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Status protection.

 

The late game is LOADED with CC effects. Being able to ignore the vast majority of it gives sentinels an edge that blasters just can't surmount.

 

Edited by DocRadio
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2 hours ago, Knottewe said:

Opportunity is terrible as a class feature

I think Opportunity is not getting the love it deserves. Before, I felt the same way, that Opp doesn't really bring much to the table. But after trying other secondaries (paired with the Dual Pistols as a control and because they're my favourite), I've found that with some, I tend to depend on Opp for that second wind of endurance during a prolonged tangle or that extra bit of bite or enough end to finish the fight. It helps. It's there. I'll use it. With WP and SR, it doesn't matter if I end up clicking the red one or the green one. With my /Dark, I have to time the green one strategically to make sure I don't suffer and end crash before the fight is done. I suppose you can say that you can do what Opp does with Insp's. But I'm not much of a skittle-popper. Besides, I really like my T1 and T2 powers. 😃

 

4 hours ago, quixoteprog said:

My problem with the Sentinel opportunity thing is that it always seem to pop when the target is almost dead. Not sure how much utility it provides.

For single target, maybe. But for the bigger picture, it comes in at the opportune moment (pun intended). I use it on the "next" mob, because a Sentinel is strong enough to go in, wipe out, move on without missing a step (or taking a knee). I've found that it comes in handy with larger mobs with several Lt.'s and one or two bosses in the mix. Nuke takes out most, a quick clean up of targets, save the boss for my undivided attention. In such a case, I get Opp to fire up twice or three times to help with finishing up the boss. I don't really mind which Opp I end up clicking, both continue to prove useful to me. On my /Dark, Defensive Opp is often a life saver. On my /WP, /SR, and /Regen, it just adds some badassery on top. 😃

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I haven't really gotten to play yet, since I live in China and the lag this weekend has been entirely unplayable the moment the seven-hours-behind-me Europeans wake up and pile into Reunion.

However, my poking at the creation and other research has made one thing clear: Sentinels are Blasters for people who play a lot of solo or play with a lot of PuGs they can't trust.

DocRadio completely nailed it. It's CC protection. As a dedicated solo player I always would have handed in pretty much my entire Blaster secondary for nothing more than the CC protection toggles from defensive secondaries. Having the entire rest of a defensive secondary as well isn't so much sauce for the goose as another entire goose for my goose. Blasters are the Oldest of Old School glass cannon classes, which is unsurprising considering how old the game is. They were built in the dark, obscured ages of fifteen freaking years ago to be played basically only with a team, back when MMOs hadn't worked out that a lot of people actually like MMO gameplay loops without wanting or being able to team all the time. The same goes for Defenders and Controllers. Yes, you can solo them (usually more easily than a Blaster because they use a lot of CC which works as active damage mitigation), but it is utterly DISMAL.

The Sentinel is basically just 'updated modern Blaster'. It's a hybrid class with more independence (which is usually preferred even in multiplayer games now), as opposed to the Blaster which is Old School Glass Cannon that fireballs everything like an unstoppable demigod right up until a lucky goblin finds itself outside the AoE and instantly kills them with a bonk to the knee with a rotten stick.

If someone made City of Heroes now, the Blaster wouldn't exist, it would be the Sentinel.

Edited by SaintD
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1 hour ago, SaintD said:

DocRadio completely nailed it. It's CC protection. As a dedicated solo player I always would have handed in pretty much my entire Blaster secondary for nothing more than the CC protection toggles from defensive secondaries. Having the entire rest of a defensive secondary as well isn't so much sauce for the goose as another entire goose for my goose. Blasters are the Oldest of Old School glass cannon classes, which is unsurprising considering how old the game is. They were built in the dark, obscured ages of fifteen freaking years ago to be played basically only with a team, back when MMOs hadn't worked out that a lot of people actually like MMO gameplay loops without wanting or being able to team all the time. The same goes for Defenders and Controllers. Yes, you can solo them (usually more easily than a Blaster because they use a lot of CC which works as active damage mitigation), but it is utterly DISMAL.

Playing devil's advocate. Of course if this is asked in the Sentinel forums the response will be (and were) overwhelmingly in favor of Sentinels.

 

Most of what you speak happens as we level (I have bad memories of dying against grey mobs on my blaster). But double XP doesn't make leveling a tremendously long process. 4-5 hours from 1 to 50 if powerleveled. 2-3 days for me by doing TFs from level 8 to 50.

 

At 50 we get Clarion, and T3 is enough, and again this is not a long thing to obtain and then boom, CC immune. One day to achieve? Two days?

 

With enough infamy we get softcap levels of defense, which requires about a billion inf, but, yet again, this is not a six month process but rather two or three weeks, more or less depending on time to play or desire to do market flipping. To me this is a bonus. The longer i have something to work for the longer I'm playing it. Once maxed out there isn't much more reason to play the character, but this is just personal preference.

 

What of content under 45 like the weekly strikes? Does it matter? It's usually ran at +0 and not +4.

 

 

So depending on slowness we can say it takes a month to level a character to max and then trick it out to have a 'glass cannon' with scrapper level of defenses and be CC immune as long as doing level 45+ content.

 

End result? Both my Blaster and my Sentinel jump into a pack of +4 ITF (unhealthy thing, cascading defense failure is a thing, but funny enough y blaster survives better because it has a mass AoE Hold up every 25 seconds) and go on a rampage, with the Blaster uncaring that the Sentinel has CC and a defensive secondary, while doing twice the Sentinel's damage (Aim empowered Inferno does 600 damage on the Sentinel. Regular Inferno with no aim or BU does 1k damage on the Blaster).

 

Edit: this might seem like I'm contradicting what I said above, but I'm really not. Both posts are equally true.

Edited by Sovera

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1 hour ago, Sovera said:

Valid stuff

All true. There are really broadly two kinds of players, which is where the thought disconnect comes from. People like me play for the journey. Once I hit that tricked out toon.....I kinda don't care anymore. Other people consider everything until reaching that tricked out toon to be foreplay before the endgame they want to play.

Sentinels will probably appeal heavily to people who care more about that journey, because they're not so arduous to play without all the bells and whistles. Blasters will appeal to endgamers, because they'll pile through the 1-50 levelling as if someone put it there to irritate them before real gameplay, trick out their toon, and be a walking nuclear bomb with not really any appreciable drawbacks anymore.

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18 minutes ago, SaintD said:

All true. There are really broadly two kinds of players, which is where the thought disconnect comes from. People like me play for the journey. Once I hit that tricked out toon.....I kinda don't care anymore. Other people consider everything until reaching that tricked out toon to be foreplay before the endgame they want to play.

Sentinels will probably appeal heavily to people who care more about that journey, because they're not so arduous to play without all the bells and whistles. Blasters will appeal to endgamers, because they'll pile through the 1-50 levelling as if someone put it there to irritate them before real gameplay, trick out their toon, and be a walking nuclear bomb with not really any appreciable drawbacks anymore.

 

I would definitely never recommend a blaster for a first character. And by that I do mean not just never ever ever ever recommend a blaster but actively try to discourage them from it. All you've said above stands in terms of class design. Even things like having an aura that taunts given to a squishy blaster makes zero sense.

 

A Sentinel would be my first choice, and if they like melee instead then a brute/scrapper (again, not a tanker, simply because expectations and low damage. Same reason I would not encourage someone to play a controller for their first character. They may love the idea of CC but be completely turned off, like, drop the game level of turn off, of doing the early levels doing low two digit damage).

 

Once they have tried a scrapper/sentinel, then sure, have them try a blaster. They just need to be aware the game is not a mess of being CCed and killed by a gobbo with a rotten stick hitting their knee as you rightfully put it.

Edited by Sovera

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Wouldn't say the Blaster at 50 tricked out compares to a Scrapper defensively.  

 

But maybe say they can sort of survive +4 stuff, usually.  

 

I've found I can roll along just fine on my softcapped blaster, churning out the big orange numbers .. then 3/4 into the mission .. oops Stunned .. BAM! More progress on my next Debt badge.

 

I will say a blaster does way more damage than a scrapper, even ST.  Since they don't need to be touching the bad guys, just TAB and blast.   

 

 

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