Issue 12 Musings

21 05 2008

Okay, so Issue 12 has dropped sooner than anyone expected. It has a few polish bugs and a few more serious wallbangers, but I’ll let those slide (under assumption they will be fixed). Let’s talk turkey.

With the new XP curve in place, I was able to get to level 10 in a single long session. That’s good stuff, right there. Beginner’s Luck ensured I didn’t perpetually whiff my hits, and with enough teammates, no XP debt for noobs, and tri-converting insps into revives when I did get pasted I could progress at a good clip. The biggest problem I’ve had with COH is that it wants to be a casual-friendly MMO but until now didn’t really have a casual-friendly grinding curve… it’d take you forever to get to ‘the good stuff’. There’s still some problems there, notably in the teens when you’re sucked into the gaping maw of boredom that is Travel+Fitness power picks, and I still don’t get why they balanced the game around the idea of enhancements going from Useless (TO) to Lame (DO) to Awesome (SO) with no in-between, but… it’s too late to do much about that now.

My newly rolled spider was fun enough, for what amounts to an AR blaster with no secondary. (In the early levels the only thing you have other than shooty time is some near useless mitigation due to, you guessed it, TOs.) I enjoy assault rifle sets, though, no matter how wussy they are… something about hosing down minions with a machine gun speaks well to me. Which is probably why I just can’t get into mideval sword hackery type MMOs. Still, this guy isn’t really gonna be unique or interesting until he finally hits 24 and gets his Crab Spider abilities and some actual SOs in the mitigation tools. I’m willing to wait-and-see.

My new Mastermind was likewise weak but fun. I’m FINALLY playing a Thugs MM, the type I’ve wanted to play since COH launched — Thugs were patched in after and I really wanted an MM, so I started Charly as a next-best-thing and got too busy playing her to go play ANOTHER MM on top fo that… and then after she hit 50 I realized I hated all the MM secondaries other than Traps. At last, the time has come! Storm works well for me, and I love having two pistols. I understand the Bruiser is going to be a pile of suck but I’m hoping the experienced thugs MM’ers in our group will have some suggestions for how to make him less than useless.

Next up on the docket will be my Hero!Flora Plant/Storm Controller, and a Mace/Dark Brute. I’ll roll the brute tonight, probably, but will wait until after the beach for Flora since she needs a proper RP sendoff.

Speaking of the beach, packing’s been pushed off to Thursday. It might be a bit of a rush but Jen’s promised to help, and presumably we can get it all done in one night. I’m also gonna wait on playing the new Penny Arcade steampunk game… I bought the Microsoft Points to order it (it just FEELS like a console game to me, not a PC game) and I’ll download it while I’m at the beach, odds are. I plan to do a lotta gaming at the beach… tons of free time, relaxing environment, folks to play multiplayer with (at long last!)… it’s gonna be sweeeet. No COH, though, so I better get my fill on that before we bail.

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19 responses

21 05 2008
danel4d

What is your Thugs/Storm build, anyway? I’m thinking of doing one myself, but there’s an awful lot of nice looking powers – and a hell of a lot of end-eating going on.
The QoL stuff does add a fair bit to things, I have to say. The numbers! The insp-conversion! The contact-rearranging! Good times, good times.
Never managed to get to 50 before it hit, mind, so I’m still plugging away in the mid-40s hoping to sample these VEATs at some point.

21 05 2008
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

I don’t have my build in front of me, but I remember the basics.
My pools are lite. Flight (seems appropriate), Hasten, Stamina, and in my 49 slot probably Assault. I could exchange flight for superspeed since I’m already taking Hasten, but meh. I’m going with Mako for my patron since my guy is a chemist and bile spray fits well.
For Thugs, I’m taking Dual Pistols, because why the hell would you take thugs and NOT shoot at things? DP offers good burst damage and recycles slow, which is fine since you’ll be busy doing other things a lot of the time. If you were tankerminding, Empty Clips might be better. The single-shot pistols is okay but is more for fun than damage, so I’m sticking with DP only. Gang War is a must; it’s one of the defining powers of the set. But I’m not massively slotting it until I have room. Until then I save it for distracting end-bosses.
Stormwise, I’m taking almost everything, but nothing major other than O2 until after Stamina due to the end-burn issues. (Again… many of these powers are pointless without SOs, in this case, because you need them to reduce endurance burn.) Steamy and Hurricane need end slotting before anything else, but once you’ve got two in each you can start doing your damres and tohit debuff slotting.
Tornado is being pushed off until I can get an AOE immobilize, assuming one of the patron AOEim’s does -KB… it’s not going to do appreciable damage if everything’s just being tossed around randomly. I’m also going to take the usually-skipped Thunderclap, because for an MM, you’ll want that PBAOE stun effect to let your minions whale on ’em with impunity (and to save your butt if things go south).
The build grows slow, with little secondary effect slotting until I can afford it, and end MAY be an issue… but with an MM, your pets are awesome by themselves, and with O2 boost (end and heal slotted) you can spot-check them nicely until your other powers grow enough.

21 05 2008
dkellis

The Thugs Bruiser is not so much a pile of suck as a mass of stupid. I’m not sure how Storm would work, but on my Thugs/Poison, the Bruiser was devastating to just about everything I faced, if I kept a careful eye on him and made him GoTo right on top of the target. Essentially, the Bruiser is a very well-built Brute who insists on tossing boulders at range.
Many Thugs MMs don’t bother giving the Bruiser the first Equip. It gives the Bruiser Haymaker, but also Hand Clap, and the loss of the former is seen to be more than made up for not having to deal with the aggravation of the latter. Your Thugs are best against tightly-packed Cone fodder, which the Bruiser’s Hand Clap is likely to scatter.
I know for certain that Scirocco’s Patron AoE Immob has -KB, and I think I remember Black Scorpion’s AoE Immob having it too, so chances are they all have it.

21 05 2008
pyromaniac_ks

Random commentary time!
Flight/Hasten/Stamina will serve you well for pools. I wouldn’t recommend another toggle at 49 though. Not a major factor that pick though, so whatever.
Dual Wield is alright, but I’d probably have suggested the small blast personally, if only because it doesn’t require nearly so much slotting. (DW really wants five slots, you can get away with four in Pistols). As for the other Thugs stuff, yeah, you basically want everything, so not a great deal of difference to be made there.
Storm I’d say your assessment of the endcost and power selections is probably alright, although I would strongly suggest getting Freezing Rain as soon as it opens.
Do note, Thunderclap is only mag2. You won’t be getting anything except minions with that, and it’s not a particularly impressive duration. Probably not the world’s greatest “Oh Shit!” button. Admittedly if you already have Tornado out it’ll stack, but. Also, Tornado is alright for damage if you can get a pile of stuff Galed into a corner and keep it there with FR/Hurricane/Gale. KB suppresses, so if they’re being KBed/KDed by those, they don’t get randomly flung around by Tornado (as much).
And the nice thing about MMs is, for the most part, if you’re running out of endurance, you can just let the pets handle a spawn on their own and recover a bit.

21 05 2008
pyromaniac_ks

Just Scirocco’s, actually.

21 05 2008
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Hm, noted. Maybe I will go with Pistols instead. I’m only level 5 and it took a single hour to get there; rerolling would not be a chore.
Edit: Hang on, what about DW’s better damage, and its knockdown? I could slot knockdown procs in it. Would that be a good tradeoff compared to the lower slotting needs of Pistrols?
I believe I have FR as early as I can get it… I’ll have to check. I DO know I skipped Snowstorm, that I forgot to mention.
Thunderclap’s minion only, I know, but a lot of minions do mez (sappers, various thorns, etc). And since mez is a hole in a stormy, having the ability to KO minions right away is handy.

21 05 2008
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Nuts. I’ve already done Scirocco’s arc, and it doesn’t make sense for my character — but given all the kb issues the bruiser has and all the KB I come packing, I guess I can cope with something off model. We’ll call it stormy lightning or something.

21 05 2008
hit_people_guy

Have a safe trip.

21 05 2008
sd_chan

A bit of random commentary as well:
Gang War I ONLY used as a distraction for end bosses (or any bosses I ran into in general while soloing/duoing). I found that, for the most part, the Gang War didn’t last that long – enough to soak an alpha strike, whereupon they all died.
That said, it’s one less alpha strike on your GOOD Thugs, and I was a very conservative while playing Thugs/FF anyway, so take it with a grain of salt.

21 05 2008
kowh

Heh, I seem to have taken to going without enhancements until I can get some IOs slotted, skipping everything else except for opportunistic things like SO drops. I never really did care for enhancements dieing on you in a few levels, it always happened so quickly as to almost seem not worth it.
Now if only low level IOs weren’t a crapshoot. Often there aren’t any for sale at a particular level of a type you need and/or they’re stupidly expensive. Trying to use a recipe doesn’t help either because one or more pieces of the salvage are always stupidly expensive (I’m looking at you luck charm). If you’re lucky, some high level person going for invention badges will dump what you need on the market below cost, but you can’t rely on that.

21 05 2008
kowh

Oh, and set IOs are useless too because they’re an order of magnitude more expensive than regular IOs, even at low levels.

21 05 2008
danel4d

Thanks for this – like I said, I’m completely flailing. The thing I differ on is that I wasn’t planning to take Gang War – my only experience of it is it is teaming with someone who believed it a helpful thing to constantly use, in an office mission, resulting in no one being able to move. Is it actually that helpful apart from that? I mean, I know it can take an alpha strike, but does it really have much of other uses?

21 05 2008
Anonymous

IOs before 30 aren’t really worth it anyway. DOs and SOs are usually cheaper, and it’s only at 30 that IOs catch up to SO levels of enhancement. You shouldn’t seriously consider ‘setting out’ until your late 40s, unless you get a rare or a unique that isn’t going to get a better replacement.

21 05 2008
pyromaniac_ks

Only the ones with nice set bonuses. Which, since you should only be caring about the enhancement value at level 27, are not the ones you should be buying.
A nice frankenslotted IO build with cheap sets at level 30 will set you back maybe four or five million inf, give you an improvement of 30-50% enhancement over SOs, and you will never have to buy another full set ever again.

22 05 2008
dkellis

Gang War, for me, is pretty much only good for alpha strikes, but since I’m used to playing with Illusion’s Phantom Army (AV-soloing fun!), that’s enough for me to want to take it.
It helps when Ms Liberty unleashes a full-blown Eagle’s Claw on a random Gang War unfortunate, rather than my Noxious Gassed Bruiser.
In short, I haven’t found any other uses for it, but the one use I did find was good enough.

22 05 2008
dkellis

While DW’s knockdown is useful at lower levels, by the higher levels, your Thugs will be doing a lot more knockdown (with their own versions of DW, plus the Bruiser’s Super Strength), so when I took it myself at 49, I felt a bit redundant.
Still, dual pistols. Which can be customized in the tailor. More than made up for not actually being useful in combat, as long as I looked cool.

23 05 2008
jengagne

Thanks. :D

23 05 2008
Anonymous

Feelin’ out of place with a non-CoH comment
Just as a heads up – you might wanna try the demo version of the Penny Arcade game before buying it. Not because of quality, but because of the control scheme. As a long-time lurker, I know that the trigger-based gameplay can sometimes trip you up a little. The )surprisingly) fast-paced combat relies on well-timed trigger presses for blocking attacks, and that’s a fairly important gameplay aspect. The PC version goes with the space bar for blocking, so might be a little easier.
I don’t know for sure if the 360 controls would be a pain, but it never hurts to check the demo first.

23 05 2008
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Re: Feelin’ out of place with a non-CoH comment
Sadly, you’re right. The initial battles were no problem on the 360 but as the game went on it was just too fast paced to fumble around with.
I’ve picked up the game on the PC instead, and am lovin’ it.

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