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Posted: Feb 2nd 2012 11:49AM (Unverified) said

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Just want to comment on the energy builder frustration.In my experience not all builds have to fall back on their energy builders. Energy Unlock powers such as the Reverberation or Focus/Forms significantly reduce the dependence on the initial Energy Builder and can generally be paired with more potent powers to ensure a steady energy gain or energy neutral build. For high energy requirement powers the addition of one or two pieces of gear should clear up any remaining issues.

While I realize this requires more thoughtful character design there are resources available to help with Free form character design and a generally people in the Power House are willing to give advice or help test builds now that there are arenas.

Posted: Feb 2nd 2012 12:55PM (Unverified) said

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Fantastic article, I love it! Finally someone is seeing the problem with these energy builders. I remember when they changed them back in beta and I raised cane about it, but no fix or attention was given for just what a few people saw as boring and problematic. Spamming the button wasn't exactly fun either, but this was a total downgrade.

Anyway, great article, I hope the devs are reading this. =)

Posted: Feb 2nd 2012 1:56PM psycros said

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@(Unverified) : same here. I personally think CO has three big issues:

1) single leveling progression path. You start in ONE place and play the exact..same..quests over and over.
2) As of Oct '11, some powers are simply broken and have been for ages. The primary energy builder for my powered armor char, for example..it simply would not fire half the time.
3) Subscribers should have access to ALL chargen content. Why am I expected to pay extra for a third of the costume pieces just like a F2Per? If its not available to a subber, then it should NOT be available at chagen.
4) Balance. Yeah, I know, I know, but when a melee or grimoire can solo things that a ranged specialist can't hope to, something is wrong. I've no idea how bad things are in PvP, I never had any interest (hero vs. hero makes no sense to me).
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Posted: Feb 2nd 2012 1:57PM psycros said

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@psycros : yes, that was four issues..but balance is almost a meta-issue.
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Posted: Feb 3rd 2012 12:23AM Patrick Mackey said

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@psycros
Balance is sort of relative. I mentioned above that there is pretty good balance at the top tier. Making a character a damage dealer cuts heavily into his tank, and there's a pretty big difference in utility between a ranged AoE nuker and a more survivable melee DPS. You can't have everything you want in a build; the best tanks can't deal a ton of damage, although it's respectable. Healers can't deal a ton either, but it's respectable. The best damage dealers aren't tanky, but they can survive a few hits.

If you compare archetype balance it is obviously out of wack. Mind is overpowered, grimoire is super good, and most of the ranged damage dealers are hard to solo with. In the freeform game that's not the case; add bionic shielding and bam you have a survivable damage dealer that can solo hard or vh easily, and probably most stuff on elite too. There's a big difference between stuff like unleashed, mind, mountain, master, grimoire and stuff like marksman or specialist. The archetype balance is bad, and my end suggestion is just to play the top 3-4 classes, find a buddy, or use consumables (not necessarily c-store ones) to make leveling easier. I found that the stims you can buy from the vendors make leveling an avenger pretty painless even without a self heal, though you might not want to solo on anything higher than hard.

As for the extra costumes and stuff, I think it's good. The only people that buy everything are the people who want everything. I only get the costume sets and stuff that I want and I ignore the stuff I don't. If you want everything but don't want to pay for it, that's what we call a false sense of entitlement. A lot of people feel the same way about crafted travel powers or costume drops. Just don't do it if you don't want the items, and if you feel like you need to have everything, then expect to work for it, whether that's an ingame grind or some extra hours at work or skipping out on going to burger king for a week or doing some extra chores around the house so mom drops you some cash.
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Posted: Feb 2nd 2012 1:04PM XenomorphDrone said

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Patrick,

Perhaps you've hear of me in Game. Xenomorph Drone@Nesno. I've been an advocate for PVP since Beta. I like to speak to you about many of your observations and share with you Knowledge that cannot be found in game or via the conventional methods about builds, powers and their synergies. Many of the builds you talk about were invented in Altered Ego's my PVP SG and I'm willing to now release much of our hidden knowledge to the public. Some of the examples of the builds we invented for PVP were the INV/DODGE Tank created by Giest, The perma Stealth builds using shadow form and nades created by Tearmonger and the Chainsaw builds created by myself. We have a vent channel you can log onto to speak with us if your interested.

Posted: Feb 2nd 2012 6:34PM Brown Ninja said

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@XenomorphDrone

Famous on a mmo board?

Are you kidding me?

CO barley has a user base.
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Posted: Feb 3rd 2012 5:18AM (Unverified) said

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@XenomorphDrone

Seriously ....I mean come on thats the single most cringe worthy post I have ever read.

You didn't come up with those things you tool. The DEVS did.

Banging on about PvP in a mostly PvE game is rather sad.

You need to get laid kid.
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Posted: Feb 3rd 2012 11:10AM Patrick Mackey said

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@(Unverified)
Actually I can pretty much verify that invul/dodge was "invented" by multiple sources as soon as Parry was released; no individual person really deserves credit as it's sort of a "duh" revelation for us min-maxers.

Permastealth has been around forever, too. It's definitely not a new idea and I know I was personally tossing ideas around for it as soon as they changed Escape Artist to its current state (over a year ago).

It sort of disappointed me to read that comment because people think that they have some sort of deep entitlement because they came to the same conclusions that a few thousand other people probably already have. There are a very tiny handful of builds that people can honestly say they invented first -- this is because exploiters tend to hide their best tricks. Even as a columnist, I did not write about a lot of exploits unless they were very common knowledge.
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Posted: Feb 2nd 2012 3:42PM Daverator said

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A note on energy builders, if you despise them so much you can make a spec that simply does not require them. However if you decide you'd rather SS non-energy stats then part of the tradeoff is that you will occasionally be relegated to spamming low damage attacks until your energy is back.

Did you really think that SS Con and having 15000 hp was coming at no opportunity cost?

Part of giving players the freedom to choose everything is that you do give them the freedom to fail. In whatever sense of the word you wish to use it. Maybe not having the highest burst dps is failing, or generating enough aggro, or maybe having to occasionally use energy builders is failing.

Posted: Feb 2nd 2012 5:07PM (Unverified) said

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@Daverator Even without using Recovery as a Super Stat builds that work with Energy Generation mechanics or supplement with end generation gear can either completely avoid using Energy Builders or come very close.
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Posted: Feb 2nd 2012 4:48PM Caerus said

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"In Champions Online, there's no reason to get more than a couple of attacks for the most common situations."

I guess I could be in the minority here, but I absolutely love this about CO. My absolute favorite character in any MMO -ever- was my darkness toon before they nerfed Shadow Embrace: I turned my energy builder on autocast, I spammed it with the advantage that pulled mobs into the center of the effect, and I smiled nonstop for 35 levels. Then they changed the advantage and killed it.

I've tried picking up other toons, but nothing comes anywhere close. The minor health regen from shadow form, the CC+damage from constantly knocking and pulling foes, and the passive energy regen from autoapplied fear made soloing so SO much fun and I really felt like a hero. Plus, the absolute best part, every mob died in one single spot so I could quickly loot everything without hunting bodies!

I miss the old SE :(

"I've griped a lot about how energy building in CO isn't fun."

It's a recharge mechanic, what more does it really need? In my head, end building feels like rogues adding combo points in Rift/WoW/other games - only instead of spending most of your time using lackluster builder abilities you get to spam finishers almost continually. Feels pretty damn fun to me! I've never felt really energy starved on any of my characters in CO, ever, so I'm not sure what they need to add. I do have the skill on autocast toggle never cancels, so maybe it's different in a lair.

Posted: Feb 3rd 2012 12:05AM Patrick Mackey said

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@Caerus
The point is, especially if you read the article linked (where I talk about alternate energy mechanics) is that the energy mechanic itself isn't "fun." Running your EB on auto doesn't make it more fun, it just lets you forget about it more often. If you're really nitpicky about that sort of stuff (and I kind of am, or I wouldn't be writing the column at all), it's just 1 second of dead time every 3.

A better system would be more like combo points; you may think there's not much of a difference, but the actual difference is huge. A rogue's combo points have to be managed along with his energy, and this is quite tricky when you're trying to maintain a stunlock too. Additionally, using sinister strike (or whatever cat druids do) to combo is meaningful; it does white damage plus a bonus, and a rogue's white damage is quite non-trivial. Energy builders are trivial; they're more akin to wanding than to a rogue's white damage -- the source of a ton of the rogue's DPS comes from autoattacks. In CO, maybe a tiny fraction of your DPS comes from an EB. It's meaningless wasted time.

I would prefer useful energy building attacks, along with energy consuming attacks that had cool, explosive effects -- similar to say, SHSO or a fighting game. When I'm playing a game like Rusty Hearts, my normal attacks feel powerful and effective, even if they're not as strong as my skills. The same can't be said for CO.
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Posted: Feb 2nd 2012 5:29PM TacoBrain said

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Good article.CO has currently very little new content(more importantly endgame one). The SOTG did show and provide interesting info about the future and since the PWE takeover we have seen an increase on the developement(eg:the new tutorial and ,while many don't like them grab bags,who are actually kinda useful to finance new content as showed in Captain's Log,provided it works for CO too).But overall I have hopes for 2012.CO is,in my opinion, the best Superhero MMO in the market but it really suffers for a lack of new content that simply turns away players on a long-term period.

Posted: Feb 2nd 2012 6:13PM gandales said

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Good article Patrick but I beg to differ about energy builders. The thing is that in a system where energy is fueling powers, the energy gets depleted so it needs to be regained. The other options is moreless to have cooldowns on powers. Given that energy replenishment is needed, then it can be done through powers, items or automatic. If Items were the main source it would turn the potion fest that others mmos have. If powers gives energy back they should have some kind of situation for that, which is happening with the energy unlocks like the reverberations, the other option is automatic with is pretty doing nothing.
Energy builders are kind of a step over doing nothing to replenish energy, low damage and pretty not significant effects in most cases. So, why having energy builders? because when there is not automatic replenishment(in combat) and energy unlocks are not in the right situation, you can always fall back to energy builders since they are the only reliant energy replenisher and even in the worse cases they look better than automatic replenishment.

The second thing I would like to comment is that the new changes(for the pts) are not only going for itemization but also for role reworking making a bit more especialized the way a player plays keeping still the role chaning freedom(at least for golds). I wonder how this will affect pvp, making tanks a little less attractive.

Posted: Feb 3rd 2012 12:11AM Patrick Mackey said

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@gandales
Again, energy management is fine with just passive gain. There's really no need to have energy builders, except to lock your character in a forced animation.

As a comparison, I like Protector role a lot because you get energy for blocking. Unlike running your EB, blocking is a very valuable thing that does a lot for your character; you block to reduce damage, you get energy to attack, build threat, or stay alive. Blocking is meaningful. Energy building isn't.

The simple answer is to make energy builders actually effective in combat; they shouldn't be just filler animation space to lower DPS. Personally, the easiest solution is to lower energy gained and increase the damage, but even that really doesn't work due to the presence of SEUs and other forms of energy gain. The system just needs to be totally overhauled.

Why would there be tons of articles and guides about energy management (several of which I've written) if the mechanic was cool and fun? It's not, it's boring and annoying. I'd rather just have passive energy gain.
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Posted: Feb 3rd 2012 11:49AM (Unverified) said

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@Patrick Mackey While the basic Energy Builder is a low DPS attack depending on your build you can completely ignore it, and do so without falling back on a Block. Forms and Energy Unlocks allow you to generate Energy for real attacks. If you have an Energy heavy build that uses high cost powers there is Gear that generates additional Energy with every kill. Sure that's not great for PVP (Zombie Apocalypse aside) but in the core game it does wonders.
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Posted: Feb 3rd 2012 2:38PM Patrick Mackey said

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@(Unverified) I linked to a post in the article. I know how SEUs work, how force sheathe and force shield work, I know about dark transfusion, tyrranon's familiar and any other energy generation mechanic in the game. You're losing the point here: energy builders aren't fun. It doesn't matter that there are ways around them; the point is that they're not fun.

Yes, SEUs are fun. I like them. Energy builders aren't fun.
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Posted: Feb 2nd 2012 9:24PM (Unverified) said

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I really agree that the current skill system needs to be revamped, for a good build needs a few more skill slots, and choices too often come down to essential vs. non-essential instead of FUN or what would fit my super-hero persona the best.

Posted: Feb 2nd 2012 11:56PM (Unverified) said

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Im a lifer and haven't and won't touch this game till they do raise the cap. Love the character creator and Love the 'promise' the nemesis system has but until they give me something new too do just no interest....

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