Tuesday, April 29, 2008

CoH - Ice / Mace build

A couple days ago I posted the current build of my Kinetic / Electric defender, so now it's my Ice / Mace tanks turn to be on display.

The concept behind the ice tank is that they are the status effect and aggro tank. The status effect comes from two of the AOE powers, one of which drastically slows enemies down, and the other which removes enemies endurance. The aggro affect is built on the ice tank having two constant AOE powers, where-as other tanks only have one constant AOE power.

I wish I could say that I went with Mace because it combo'd well with the slowness of ice, which is does... but my ice / mace was the second tank I ever created... and um... lemme put it this way. This picture was taken back on Wed, 2005-12-28 14:18 when my Ice / Mace was still under level 5.

.. And, oh, by the way? My Ice / Mace isn't even 50 yet. The current build itself was originally a test platform for a respec on my Fire / Fire Tank. I've commented that my Fire / Fire tank was an awesome Issue 8 tank, although a not so good Issue 9 tank. So some of the slotting choices that I would use on my Fire / Fire are first being tested on my Ice / Mace.

So far, the build has worked. My Ice / Mace is capable of soloing a 7-spawn Citadel task force, and has once received a complaint from a scrapper that she kills too quickly. At level 44 my ice tank was able to taunt a Rikti Magus during a mothership raid... and my mentor had time to die, respawn at the hospital, and get all the way back to the ship before I had to use Hibernate. At level 46 and 47, I was taunting, and holding level 52 Praetorian WarWolves and Praetorian Spectres... Amazingly enough, at 46 going INTO 47, my Ice Mace was taunting and holding level 52 CoT Demons... The ego trip was promptly ruined though by a couple of con orange Vanguard Swords put my Ice / Mace 6 feet under.

So, lets get started.

Okay, since I didn't do this on my Kin / Elec, a clear shot of the basic power sets. The first thing that might be noticed is that 7 of the visible slots aren't full. No, this build ain't done either. However, the goal of the build should be visible. Basically each power has an IO slotting that improves regeneration, or recovery, or both at once.

Remember the point of a Tank is to take damage, not give it out. As such, my primary power set has almost every available power, and it can be seen that I've taken from the Fighting pool. It's also at this point that I've realized that the shots are taken from before I hit 47 and got another power.

Frozen Armor: I decided to try something a little different with my defense powers. Two Luck of the Gambler IOs offer a 10% regeneration boost, while two Gift of the Ancients IOs offer a 2% recovery boost. So I tried a Defense + Defense / Endurance IO Set from Luck of the Gambler, and a Defense + Defense / Endurance IO Set from Gift of the Ancients. The result is that as I was slotting the final Defense / Endurance IO, my collective Defense was only being boosted by 2.2%. I had successfully slammed my Defense straight into ED.

Hoarfrost: As a power, Hoarfrost isn't so much of a heal as it is a buff. With the current slotting Hoarfrost adds over 1000 hit points to my Ice / Mace's health, putting the health count on the other side of 3000 hit points. The power behind Hoarfrost is delivered from Numina's Convalescence IO set with Healing / Recharge + Healing / Recharge Endurance combined with the Miracle IO set
Healing / Recharge + Healing / Recharge / Endurance. Both of the healing sets adding to the base regeneration and recovery of the entire build.

Chilling Embrace: The IO sets for slow powers are a little annoying for constant AOE slow powers such as Chilling Embrace or Snow Storm, since there are a ton of added enhancement values that are useless, such as buffs for accuracy and range. The level 25 IO in the Pacing of the Turtle IO set is the Chance for Recharge Slow. With the lack of endurance reduction in other slow sets, it's coupled against another Pacing of the Turtle IO, Slow / Recharge / Endurance. The other IO set, Tempered Readiness, couples together a Slow / Recharge / Endurance with an Accuracy / Slow to get the 1.5% boost to recovery.

Wet Ice
: As the status protection Buff, Wet Ice has a limited number of slotting options. This is one of the powers that will be scaled back in an eventual respec so it will only have one Endurance reduction power. That will free up a slot to fill out Hibernate.

Icicles: The second AOE taunt after Chilling Embrace, Icicles is the constant AOE damage aura for Ice Armor. It will eventually be slotted with Scirocco's Dervish for a Regeneration and Accuracy Buff.

Glacial Armor: The current slotting is identical to Frozen Armor, which means that the Defense is slammed straight into ED, with the same buffs to Regeneration and Recovery.

Energy Absorption: Possibly one of the most potent weapons in the Ice Armor arsenal, Energy Absorption is capable of removing over half a con-red Boss's Endurance in one shot. By the time a player gets to 6 slots on Efficacy Adapter, the benefits are almost evil. Buffs to Maximum health, regeneration, recovery, damage, and recharge rate.

Hibernate: Like Energy Absorption before it, Hibernate will eventually be slotted with 6 Efficacy Adapater IO's.

Alright, that's it for the defensive side of things. Now lets go over the offensive side. While a Tank is supposed to take damage, that doesn't mean they are helpless when it comes to dealing damage. While a defender is a helpless kitten compared to a Blaster, with anywhere from 1/2 to 1/3 of the same damage at the same level with the same slotting with the same, Tanks are a bit more realistic in their damage output, with damage rates around 3/4ths to 4/5ths that a scrappers damage output.

The advantage to the Mace Power set is that it has a high single strike damage with each hit, equaling some of the single strikes that scrappers can produce. The disadvantage is that the Mace power set is slow. The animation and recharge times are a little on the obnoxious side, hence the focus on a full 6 slotted Efficacy Adapter, and some of the slotting choices yet to be seen. However, the slowness of the Mace set combos well with the inherent slow down of Chilling Embrace. In addition, the Mace set has a number of stun, knockdown, and knockback attacks.

Bash: Providing the 96% damage boost to Bash, and the nice 5% overall recharge boost, and the nice 7% accuracy boost, is the Crushing Impact IO set. This is one of the cases where the developers pretty much blew the slotting choices. Crushing Impact is a non-rare IO set... but because the rare IO set, Mako's Bite, doesn't have an accuracy boost, Crushing Impact is the most desired out of the melee damage IO's.

You seriously do not want to know how much getting this set cost me.

Jawbreaker: The same slotting as Bash.

Taunt: A tank without the Taunt power is a tank you don't want to play with. Taunt is one of the powers that is used to hold aggro, and pull attacking enemies off friendly forces. In my case Taunt will eventually be 5 slotted with Perfect Zinger to add another 2.5% to base damage. One of the Zingers is the Chance for Psionic Damage IO, which makes it interesting to have even the taunt do damage.

Whirling Mace: All of the tank powers eventually get an AOE power of some sort. The Mace's AOE attack is the Whirling Mace, which hits everything in a circle. Since the power has a bit of a stun attached to it, two Stupify IO enhancements offer punch to the stun effect, and a recovery boost. With 2 slots open, an eventual 4 slotting of Scirocco's Dervish will bring the damage boost up, as well as adding a base accuracy boost to the base regeneration boost already in place.

Shatter: Not finished yet. Eventually will be four slotted with Scirocco's Dervish for... you guessed it, Accuracy and Regeneration.

Crowd Control:
Not finished yet. Eventually will be four slotted with Scirocco's Dervish for... you guessed it, Accuracy and Regeneration.

Before we finish, a quick shot at everything Scirocco's Dervish will bring when I can afford it:

As can be seen, there still is a lot of damage to be unlocked on my current Ice / Mace build. Either way, lets go into the Pool Powers and see how the character has been fleshed out.

For convience, a shot of the first set of the non-IO slotted Pool Powers.

Hasten - Super Speed
: I went with the hasten power because the Mace set is fairly slow to begin with. To keep the pool power count down, and the useful power count up, Hasten was followed with Super Speed, which isn't bad as CoH is fairly flat. On a side note... if you ever see a tank with more than one travel power... RUN AWAY. They will not be able to tank, end of story, no argument.

Fitness: the Fitness pool is sort of a no brainer with ED maxed slotting on both Health and Stamina.

Now for a convenient shot of the IO Pool powers.

: This is one of the reasons I snicker out loud at anybody who tries to use pool attack powers to make up on damage. Two Rope-A-Dope IO's give a bonus regen and a nice boost, about the only thing this power is worth. Trust me on this, even if you ED it on damage, it's no stronger than the basic Brawl attack every hero gets.

Long story short, Pool attack powers are worthless on damage, No matter how you slot them. If you have to take a pool attack power to unlock a power you might actually need or use, make sure you get a good IO effect buff out of it.

Tough: The reason I had to take Boxing. the major problem with Ice Armor is that it is all Defense. In City of Heroes the Defense rating is how hard it is for an enemy to hit you. Damage Resistance is how much damage you take once you are hit. Ice Tanks have next to no native Damage Resistance, so anything with a high enough accuracy rating will do full damage against an Ice Tank.

Tough helps offset smashing and lethal damage. The slotting on this power isn't finished because... well... no other way to put this. The developers messed up on the Damage Resistance IO sets. As shown with the Frozen Armor and Glacial Armor powers, the Defense IO sets offer a high regeneration and recovery IO buff.

The Damage Resistance sets though... do not offer any regeneration buffs. Only one of the sets offers a high recovery bonus, with Impervium Armor featuring a 2.5% recovery buff. However, the Impervium Armor IO set stops at level 40. The other Damage Resistance IO set that offers a recovery boost is SteadFast Protection IO set, of which I have two. Steadfast protection is an interesting IO set since it features an IO that prevents knockback, and an IO that boosts Defense and Resistance at the same time. It shares the same underlying problem as Impervium Armor... it stops at level 40.

I'll probably wind up slotting tough with either Aegis or Titanium IOs, which do go to lvl 50. I won't get any decent IO buffs, but the power itself will be set for endurance and resistance.

Now, for the first Epic Power I took. Focused Accuracy. Slight problem with this power... it drains endurance faster than any other power I've ever had. Super Speed with no endurance reduction uses less power than Focused Accuracy.

I went back into the game to grab a screen of the power I picked up between these shots and the current power. That power is Weave. It boosts the overall defense of all powers, and as shown, is not slotted at all. It will eventually be slotted like Frozen Armor and Glacial Armor.

I'll have one more power to take to finish the build out. I can already tell you that my final power will be Conserve Power, and it will be taken to offset Focused Accuracy. I may wind up respeccing to take Conserve Power first at 41, Focused accuracy at 44, Tough at 47, and Weave at 49.

There we go. My current Ice Tank build.
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