I’ve been talking with friends about Champions Online builds. Few games allow the amount of freedom and choice seen in CO’s character development; it is by far the game’s strongest point. However, such freedom doesn’t come without cost. A game with an open build system risks having powers that are must-haves, or on the opposite side of the scale, powers that are useless when compared to other powers of a similar type. This leads to players making similar “cookie-cutter” builds so as to be as effective as their peers. Another possibility is that with so many choices, some players are overwhelmed and make bad decisions, gimping themselves and quitting the game in frustration.
Fortunately, building a character in Champions Online is easy. With a little forum research and experimentation, you can make lots of viable character builds that are effective and fun to play. In the next few posts, I am going to go over five character builds that I am currently enjoying. I will give you an overview of the powers and advantages in the build, the ideas behind it, and my play experience with it. I am under no illusion that these builds are the absolute best builds in the game, but they are fun and effective and I think you will like them.
My goal when I build a character is to take an idea, stick with it and make it as effective as I can. With Paragon, the idea was a Power Armor build focused around melee. Now, melee builds are generally considered to be weaker than their ranged counterparts, due largely to the fact that the melee powers do only a small bit more damage than ranged powers and are a ton more inconvenient to bring to bear – no big deal if we are sticking mostly to PvE. Let’s see how it turned out.
Powers (in no particular order)
Wrist Bolters– Nothing special; just a run of the mill energy builder. At one point I used a full respec to try to spec out of Bolters and get the Gadgeteer’s energy builder, but could not then get the rest of the powers to fit, so I am sort of stuck with these.
Laser Sword (Rank 3) — I did spec out of the Power Gauntlet and took this as my second power and then proceeded to max it out. It is the bread and butter power of the build.
Invulnerability (Rank 3) — This is a good passive… not as good as Regeneration at low levels, but I think it outpaces it at higher levels.
Energy Shield (Rank 2 + Laser Knight)– Laser Knight is a great advantage for melee characters as it causes a weak version of your shield to automatically trigger every time you use a melee attack. Most experiments put LK’s damage resistance bonus at around 30%, which is well worth the 10% damage penalty you take for using it.
Spark Storm (Rank 2)– At some point, I realized that I wanted a better way to deal with loads of henchmen besides charging around the battlefield trying to get a whack at them with the laser sword. I looked for a PBAoE that would fit the “Android Galactic Bounty Hunter” vibe that I had with the character and Spark Storm fit the bill. It is a little clunky because it targets randomly and often knocks enemies away, but it works well enough especially when used in tandem with…
Sonic Device (Rank 1)– Sonic Device is an awesome crowd control power when piggy-backed off of an AoE attack. This power followed by Spark Storm is a typical opening move that kills most of the henchmen, leaving only the villains to face the wrath of my laser sword.
Unbreakable (Rank 1) & Resurgence (Rank 1) – When things start getting hairy, these powers gives me time to heal and reassess the situation. Between her invulnerability and these two emergency powers, Paragon is hard to kill even when facing hordes of enemies.
Arcane Vitality (Rank 3) — I think of this power as my healing nanobots. As you can see, Paragon is pretty serious about her defense. AV provides a nice maintenance heal if necessary, though I don’t have the presence to pull off any emergency healing with this power. It is also a nice teaming tool as it can heal in a cone and generate aggro.
Demolish (Rank 1 + Below the Belt) — Demolish is a great power that reduces the damage resistance of the target by up to 21% when fully charged. When fighting tough villains, this is a great opener. Followed by…
Force Eruption (Rank 1 + Gravitational Polarity) — FE + GP makes for a great power. For a low-energy, almost instantaneous tap, you create a small buffing cloud that increases your (base) damage by 20%.
Defensive Combo (Rank 1)– This power is a crappy attack that generates some threat and provides a single stack of the Defiance buff (which I think is about 6% damage resistance?). Of course, at one time this power provided multiple stacks of Defiance, which made it pretty darn overpowered. Now, with only a single stack, it is mostly a throwaway power which I keep for the odd occassion where I have to generate more aggro than my fire-wielding duoing partner.
Paragon has a 3-stat build with CON and END super-statted and STR built through talents and items. Constitution is important because of Invulnerability (and the hit points don’t hurt either). Endurance gives me enough energy to get 5-7 taps of the Laser Sword after some energy building. Strength enhances the Invulnerability and allows me to open fights by throwing vehicles… which is just plain fun.
For most combats, I toss something large and heavy at a random opponent, doing some damage and knocking one or more enemies down. Then, I charge in with Wrist Bolters blazing, waiting to get some energy. Once I have enough of an energy bar, I turn off the Bolters, click Sonic Device and then hold Spark Storm which nukes and stuns the crowd. By now, most of the henchmen are dead, or knocked away, leaving a villain or two who are no match for my Laser Sword.
Tougher combats have a similar start (henchmen do quite a bit of damage in CO and so getting them dead is often a priority), but I usually follow up with Demolish and/or Force Eruption (just a tap to create the Polarity buff) and then go to town. It is a pretty simple attack sequence, but it is very effective.
When things go bad, I can use Unbreakable and Arcane Vitality to halt the incoming damage and heal, or I can use Resurgence to “reset” the battle. I can also use a fully-charged Force Eruption to knock everyone away, or tap Sonic Device and then tap Force Eruption for a stun. Hopefully, one of these two tactics will give me time to back off, break line of sight and then use Arcane Vitality to heal and get me back into fighting shape.
I almost never block-turtle with Paragon, since I find that tactic boring, and it is largely ineffective unless you are have Regen. However, when facing ludicrous odds, I will sometimes aggro a spawn and block while flying backwards, looking for a corner or obstacle to break line of sight. The spawn will then spread itself out some as the enemies charge me, allowing me to pick off a few before the main crowd arrives.
I think Paragon’s build shows the crazy stuff you can do with Champions Online’s character system. I have powers from no less than seven sets in her build and still she comes out as a well-themed character (with the tiny cheat of the “Healing Nanobots”). She is also effective and fun to play. Ultimately, I would like to get her a Munitions power so that I have a reasons for the holstered pistols in the costume.
That’s it for now. I hope you like the build. I will fire off another in a day or so. Happy Hunting!