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Oh Cruel /Devices: Another One Bites The Dust

This Blog entry is dedicated to more City of Heroes alt-a-holicism: the deletion of Garage Hero (Assault/Devices Blaster) and the creation of The Transcendi (Storm/Archery Defender).

Garage Hero, my new City of Heroes Assault/Devices Blaster, was doomed to failure and was deleted today at a young age of level 21. Comparing him to Blasters that have the patented "Build Up" power (which doubles attack firepower for 10 seconds) he simply didn't have a chance. Even slotting a special enhancement that provided a random chance of a similar effect to go off, it was no comparison to being able to trigger it at will right before unloading a deadly barrage of area of effect attacks. Being able to drop trip mines and time bombs might have helped compensate for /Device's weakness here, but the trouble is that teams tend to move forward, not backwards, and so those powers are rarely useful.

My time with Garage Hero was not entirely wasted, however, as I sent about 15,000,000 influence points he had earned through lucky Task Force recipe drops over to an Assault/Electric Blaster before deleting him. Assault/Electric has a surprisingly good fusion, Assault taking care of the area-of-effect attacks with Electric providing extra single target damage, control, and (eventually) really effective endurance recovery.

Garage Hero's fate was sealed not only because of his genuinely quantifiable inferiority because I needed his character slot. I was in the mood for a more support-related hero, one that does not merely do damage but also exists to function as a multi-faceted member of a super team.

That meant it was either going to be a Controller or a Defender. I had already made level 50 on an Illusion/Storm Summoning Controller, and so I decided I'd give the Defenders another try. It's an interesting Archetype in that it specifically focuses on being this support-related hero as a primary power set while simultaneously allowing some reasonable damage output from the secondary power set.

I had a Dark Miasma Defender already, but decided I didn't really enjoy him. While extremely powerful, I found the whole execution of Dark Defending to be too predictable, the same chain of powers for all situations: lay down a Tar Patch, throw Darkest Night to more than halve an enemy group's damage output, Fearsome Stare a group into submission, and ride Twilight Grasp's powerful healing to the battle's completion. Really, the other 5 powers of the set were just overkill.

I had Trick Arrow Defender already (and, in fact, completed the "Hess" task force with him this morning). Trick Arrow is a very satisfyingly situational set. Unfortunately, Trick Arrow is the Devices of Defender primary power sets in its genuinely quantifiable inferiority. It really is, I'm not a bad player, but I can't even complete solo missions on the lowest difficulty without risking death. The only real reason to suffer through Trick Arrow was for an ignitable Oil Slick: a very respectable chunk of extra damage. Yet, fate would have it that Oil Slick is bugged and can not be ignited reliably, thereby removing the last good possibility of Trick Arrow Defender viability.

Thus, it came down to creating a new Defender, one with a different primary power set. I did not like how most of them played: Force Field and Sonic Resonance require casting powers on each of the other 7 group members every 4 minutes, and I simply don't have the patience for that. Empathy is a choice for healers, I prefer to mitigate the damage with buffs/debuffs. Kinetics and Radiation Emission are very effective but as non-situational in execution as I found Dark Miasma.

This left only one choice: Storm Summoning, the very same one my level 50 Controller had. I paired this up with Archery mostly because I don't like the idea of an endurance-sapping "nuke" attack and that leaves this as the only option. Thus, a magical, mystical hero of lightning storm-conjuring, bowslinging capacity (and the fortunately available name "The Transcendi") was born.

The Transcendi.

While there's security in taking more of something I knew I enjoyed, I had steered clear of creating a Storm Summoning Defender in the past because none of the powers are new to me. I reconsidered today because research indicates that a Defender's version of Storm Summoning is balanced differently enough from a Controller that it may feel significantly different. It also helps that, instead of a Control set, the Defender has a Ranged Attack set -- not only because this is this makes half the powers completely different, but also because it always bothered me that Controllers' damage output is so low. Between these two differences, this hero might just have a chance.

Still, the Defender's damage is rather low, even with the Ranged Attack set being at about 66% of a Blaster's (unenhanced) base attack potency. Thus, the whole deal may have fell through, but it was salvaged by a specific Storm Summoning power: Freezing Rain. This power reduces foes' resistance by 35%, boosting the damage done to them by the same amount, and makes them 30% easier to hit besides. Thus, liberal use of Freezing Rain has the potential to boost my new Defenders' damage to match a Blaster's (unenhanced) attack damage.

There's also respite from poor damage to be found at the top of this new Defender's Primary and Secondary power sets. At the top of the primary power set is Lightning Storm, whose damage output is nothing to sneeze at even in its slightly lesser Controller form. At the top of the Secondary Power set is Rain of Arrows, capable of laying down about half a nuke every 60 seconds (unenhanced). Combining Freezing Rain, Lightning Storm, Rain of Arrows and Snow Storm (which slows foes to keep them where the damage is) should be devastating, more than enough damage to breeze through those Safeguard missions. (Granted, I won't have all those powers until level 38.)

It'll be interesting to see how the Transcendi shakes out, but it's a pity I didn't try this 3 weeks ago. Now vacation's over, it's back to school as of tomorrow. I guess I'll see how much time I have to play my new hero after the new semester gets underway.
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