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Exercises Min/Maxing a Scrapper

Wednesday I work all day, not much time for City of Heroes there. Thursday and Friday (which I took off or had off respectively) I mostly played The Nanites, getting him to level 24 and finally completing the Terra Volta trial with him, providing a much needed respec.

The powers I ended up picking for this Spines/Dark Armor Scrapper looked something like this:

Archetype: Scrapper
Primary Powers - Ranged : Spines
Secondary Powers - Support : Dark Armor

01 : Dark Embrace, 01 : Lunge, 02 : Death Shroud, 04 : Murky Cloud, 06 : Build Up, 08 : Impale, 10 : Combat Jumping, 12 : Swift, 14 : Health, 16 : Dark Regeneration, 18 : Obsidian Shield, 20 : Stamina, 22 : Super Jump, 24 : Acrobatics, 26 : Ripper, 28 : Cloak of Darkness, 30 : Hasten, 32 : Throw Spines, 35 : Oppressive Gloom, 38 : Soul Transfer

In comparison with my previous display, I opted to skip Barb Swipe and take Death Shroud instead. I was forced to take two outta three of Barb Swipe, Lunge, and Death Shroud. Lunge is my single target bread and butter attack, I wasn't giving that up. Given the choices between Barb Swipe and Death Shroud, I took the one that both does AOE damage and has zero animation time.

A particularly unflattering City of Heroes Screenshot, taken during the Terra Volta trial. The Nanites is laying dead on the ground with the back of the Sky Raider Sky Skiff mostly blocking his corpse of shame. Through the doorway, the remaining members of the group fight on, ignoring him.

The Nanites, only being level 24 at the time of the respec, is currently restricted to having just two "active" attacks: Lunge and Impale. This is not counting the inherent powers of Brawl and Tranq Dart, without which this would be insufferably boring. In application, I've found that Death Shroud actually does most of the work. The damage output of that little shroud is much more awesome in the long run than it appears. An AOE instant damage attack, Spine Burst, after factoring in animation and recharge time, does a base 0.16 dmg/sec. Death Shroud does a flat 0.555 dmg/sec at its base. It's nearly as much damage as Lunge. So, despite only having two (non-inherent) active attacks, the Nanites is doing well.

The future looks more exciting yet for the Nanites. Hitting level 26 grants Ripper and level 32 grants Throw Spines. Level 40 and onward grants even more attacks to Nanite's arsenal. At the end, he'll make Blasters very, very envious. Look what I did with level 30: Hasten. With my emphasis to having animation time cleared up, that would be freaking nasty. It'll also let me use that Dark Regeneration a lot more often. With proper slotting of Endurance Reducers, I'd be unkillable. So, what I have here is an end-game respec done early.

--- Contact of the Alt kind ---

Yet, despite the Nanites apparent awesome potential, I found my thoughts drifting back to the Psi-Caster. One thing that struck me fairly hard during the Terra Volta Trial was that there were many situations that Psi-Caster could overcome that the Nanites simply couldn't do or would have a hard time doing. If the group encounters a tough bunch of monsters and the group is afraid of that initial alpha strike, it's risky for The Nanites to endure it, but Psi-Caster just throws down a Phantom Army to make all that damage disappear. Upon encountering a Sky Raider force field generator, the Nanites has to try to take it down by force (often missing because of the +DEF buff) while all Psi-Caster has to do is land one confuse spell on it and suddenly the force field generator is helping instead of hindering.

It seems that Nanite's real specialty is just having absolute control over what must die right now, where Psi-Caster is forever chained to the whim of NPCs beyond his control (the Phantom Army, the Phantasm, and confused foes). Then again, what Psi-Caster can't kill he can at least neutralize with a hold. It's tough things like this that make me waffle between characters in CoH so much: it's not a cut and dry easy decision.

Psi-Caster does have one big advantage over the Nanites: He's six levels closer to level fifty. This, more than anything else, keeps dragging me back to him. Yet, such a difference is merely a matter of time investment.

Next goal: Get Psi-Caster from level 30 1/2 to 32 before the weekend is out. I've got about 16 waking hours to play, that should be enough. Right? Right?! We'll see.

I've got to determine for myself if this Phantasm (level 32 pet) is really all it's cracked up to be. If my damage remains poor, and looks like it'll stay that way fully enhanced, then that may well drive me to the more visceral life of a Scrapper. I know that Controllers are defensively oriented, but there's a matter of how much patience I have to wait for those mobs to get taken down. Apparently, not so much. Plus, it's just so satisfying to watch the enemies melt away under your fury.
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