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My Super Power Is Being Non-Committal

For four terrifying hours I went without my City of Heroes subscription today. I nearly tried to learn the Torque Game Builder! But, confronted with there being no real game I wanted to play at the moment, I caved and resubscribed to City of Heroes for another month. 

So it's time for another exciting episode of watching me debate what character I'm going to play today.  The squeamish may want to skip to another entry.

My ultimate fantasy character remains that: a fantasy. It was time to compromise. I decided what I really wanted was just a character that does a decent amount of damage while having a decent amount of interesting choices. It differs from before in that I was no longer looking for a character that greatly excelled in both aspects.

After hours of deliberation, I came across some simple criteria. If I wanted a hero (and I did) that eliminates half the possible choices. If I wanted to do a decent amount of damage (and I did) I would need a dedicated damage dealer archetype, that brought me to two out of the five archetypes. From there, it was just a matter of determining which power sets available to those archetypes offered a decent amount of choices.

My first prototype was a Dual Blades/Regeneration Scrapper. He was an upgrade from my previous Dual Blades/Super Reflexes Scrapper because the secondary power set actually required timely use. Regeneration also seemed to have some pretty good "choices" available when things were turning sour.

However, the leap from theory to practice panned out quickly: he didn't make it past level 2. I came to realize that, although I do enjoy a "visceral" experience, I also enjoy the thinking man's approach. What I really needed wasn't necessarily visceral, just a character who did enough damage to not bore me when I soloed.

I realized then that what I needed was a "Blastroller," the Blaster whose powers allow them to fill a minor "Controllery" role. Fortunately, the last issue introduced some Psionic Blast primary and Mental Manipulation secondary sets that were both fairly Controllery. After even more hours of deliberation, I came to settle upon an Electric/Mental Blaster.

Why Mental Manipulation? It has a good battery of psychic attacks, but I mostly chose it for "World of Confusion." This toggle power perpetually sets all minions within 8 feet upon their former allies, and I suspect it can stack and influence Lieutenants and Bosses too. It's the ultimate AOE attack, and "Controllery" too. As a very nice fringe benefit, it looks like Drain Psyche can be enhanced to provide incredible hitpoint and endurance regeneration, circumventing the need for Stamina.

Why Electrical Blast? My previous experience has shown it to be pretty dependable, if a little slow on the recharge. However, it's mostly due to the lack of cone attacks. Short Circuit (PBAOE) and Ball Lightning (AOE) will go well with where I expect my Blaster to be: in the midst of enemies where I can comfortably use World of Confusion and Drain Psyche.

In practice, the first 10 levels have gone relatively well. A Blaster's firepower certainly doesn't keep one waiting, and Subduel and Telekinetic Thrust are more interesting than most control methods a Scrapper get. An unexpected benefit is that Subduel operates as a third ranged attack that space out the Electronic blast effects nicely. However, given that I'm only at level 10, the majority of the powers have yet to be used.

Taking a closer look at World of Confusion, it's not great enough for me to base an entire character concept on because there's only a 25% chance it'll affect a given foe. However, if I'm allowed to Confuse Set enhance it, there's a nice level 50 purple enhancement I might be able to get my hands on that causes an AOE confusion proc. For a toggle confusion effect, that's about as good as a permanent PBAOE confuse.

Honestly, my day would have been better spent if I used it wrapping my brain around Torque. It's not that I'd learn it in one day - it'd probably take months to get good enough at it to put together a respectable single-developer-quality game, and that's because I've some previous C++/Java programming experience - but it would have been more productive than wrestling with squeezing the last ounce of pleasure out of City of Heroes.


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