Guide to building a character in Champions Online that won't fall flat on its face:
Guide to building a character in Champions Online that won't fall flat on its face:
General: Your framework picks don't matter. Really. Like, at all. Which framework a power is in is only relevant until you hit level 26, after which you have access to every power in the game. For reference, here's a table for how early you have access to powers, depending on whether you've been focusing on its framework:
| ||Focused Framework||Unfocused Framework|
|Tier 1||Level 5||Level 8|
|Tier 2||Level 8||Level 17|
|Tier 3||Level 14||Level 26|
|Level 1||Energy Builder, DPS Power, Innate Talent|
You're going to pick three things here - Your Energy Builder, your first DPS power, and your Innate talent (in that order). If you pick a Framework default set, you'll just get the EB and main nuke from that framework, and the Innate Talent that the devs have decided to associate with that framework. I'd suggest clicking Custom and picking them yourself, there's really no downside and you'll get a lot more customization from it. You can only ever have one Energy Builder, but obviously you can pick a few DPS powers over time.
- Energy Builder: Not much matters with this one. Some people have mentioned that you should always pick a ranged Energy Builder, even if you plan on having a melee character. Whether you do is up to you, but there is definitely a difference to the way you play if you can't get energy at range. Personally, I haven't found it to be an issue, but the highest Melee-only character I've made was ~15, back in OB.
- DPS power: Pick whatever you want. Really.
- Innate Talent: The only major choice you have to make right now. Talents, including your Innate Talent, serve only to boost your stats, nothing else. Later on you'll pick two stats to focus on. You will probably want to pick the Innate that also focuses on these two, but you can also get good returns from just picking Hero and being done with it. For reference, here's a breakdown of what each stat does (ignoring, for a moment, your focuses).
|Constitution (CON)||Bonus Health, 10 HP per CON|
|Strength (STR)||Slight Melee damage bonus (i.e. you will only ever get 20% damage bonus from STR [again, ignoring focus], and reaching that much STR is fairly easy). Increases the strength of any knockbacks you perform, and increases your resistance to everyone else's knockbacks (~1% per STR). Increases your ability to break free of "tangible" holds.|
|Dexterity (DEX)||Increases your chance to crit (?% per DEX at level 40). Increases your stealth (which doesn't affect a very large number of characters)|
|Ego (EGO)||Increases the bonus damage of your critical strikes (.05% per EGO at level 40). Increases your ability to break free of "intangible" holds.|
|Intelligence (INT)||Lowers power cooldown time (.15% per INT at level 40, works like Haste, so 100% means half recharge time). Lowers power energy cost (??% per INT at level 40). Increases your ability to see stealthed players.|
|Endurance (END)||Increases your maximum energy (1 Energy per END).|
|Recovery (REC)||Increases your energy recovery rate with your energy builder, increases your Equilibrium (Those two yellow arrows on your energy bar? Your energy will naturally gravitate toward that point out of combat. High REC means you start fights with a full or near-full energy bar). Scales such that you need 40% more REC than END for a full bar.|
|Presence (PRE)||Decreases threat in all stances except Protector. Increases threat in Protector stance. Increases strength of most heals.|
Most of the stats are balanced to provide flavor differences of the same thing. Boost REC, and you'll spend less time building energy, and more time using your higher-DPS nukes/heals. Boost END and you'll have a larger energy pool to work with. Boost Int and your powers cost less energy. While functionally different, they all provide the same goal of increasing your energy efficiency. DEX/EGO boost that as well, though more directly as your powers do more damage per cast (i.e. INT/END/REC boost cast/energybar, DEX/EGO boost damage/cast). There are other things to take into account when picking stats, but I'll cover that in a second.
|Level 5||Travel Power, Characteristic Focus, Power|
Congrats, you're out of the Tutorial. You get a metric shit ton of things to play with now: Your first Characteristic Focus (Super stat), your first Travel Power, and another Power. You can choose these in any order, unlike when using the character creation.
- Travel Power: Jet Boots have the highest top speed. Flight is the most maneuverable (and I assume this includes Fire Flight, which is really just a Flight recolor). Swinging is kinda funky, Tunneling and Super Speed won't let you get up to high places very easily. Super Jump and Athletics are kinda okay, I guess. Teleportation looks cool, and is just as mobile as Flight, with the added benefit that you're immune to damage while teleporting (though it is NOT a threat wipe). Travel powers which allow you to use other powers while they're active (really, all but Teleportation and Tunneling) will increase the energy cost of those powers. Teleportation will gain a short cooldown if used in combat. Jet boots cannot be charged like the other Flight powers. Most importantly - You can try out all of the powers for free until you leave the powerhouse, so there's no reason to be locked into a travel power you don't like.
- Characteristic Focus (Super Stat): This is the stat thing I told you to wait for. On top of the benefits provided by each stat innately, you also pick two stats to scale your damage with ( . Order picked doesn't matter. Your damage dealt with almost all powers will scale directly off of these stats (and if your pick Super Strength, this stacks with the innate melee damage bonus from STR). You also, by virtue of supering these stats, get a bonus to them. At level 40, you get 80 to both of your Super stats on top of your gear's stats. Which one should you pick? If you plan on healing, you should probably take Presence as your first Super, as most heals scale off of it. If not...
- Power (suggested: Passive Defense/Offense): You have an EB, and you have a nuke. At level 5, I'd suggest you then take a Passive Slotted Defense. You're likely going to need one eventually, and there's no reason not to take it now so that your Characteristic Focus can provide more than just bonus damage. All Passive Slotted Defenses except Regeneration (which may actually scale with Recovery now). You could also take a Slotted Passive Offense, though only Quarry and the Martial Arts Slotted Offenses are avaliable yet.
What is a Passive Slotted Defense? Well, first you need to understand Passive Slotted powers in general. You get one Passive Power slot (though not all passive powers are slotted, some are just always on), and what type of power you can put in that slot depends on which role you're currently in (analogous to Warrior stances). By this point you've probably unlocked both Avenger and Protector roles, as well as the Balanced role you begin with. Avenger is the DPS role, Protector is the Tanking role, and Sentinel (which you won't unlock for a while most likely) is the Healing/Support role. When you're in the Balanced role, you can slot any passive power you want. When you're in the other roles, you can only slot powers which match the role - Defensive powers in Protector, Offensive powers in Avenger, and Support powers in Sentinel. At the end of the post I've listed all of the benefits of each Role.
There are 5 passive slotted Defenses: Personal Force Field in Force, Invulnerability in Power Armor, Lightning Reflexes in Martial Arts (A large number of the Martial Arts powers are associated with all four MA frameworks, rather than just one), Defiance in Might, and Regeneration in Supernatural.
|Power||Scales With||Linked Active Defense||Useful For||Opposite of / Similar to||Description|
|Personal Force Field||END/EGO||Field Surge||Short fights with massive damage||None||Acts as a second HP bar that sits on top of your normal one. The size of the HP bar scales with your END, and it regenerates (even in combat, though more slowly) according to your EGO. PFF will not block all of an attack (at full strength, it will block 95% of an attack, and the percentage drops with the relative amount of shield you have left. I.E. if your PFF has a max HP of 500 and a current HP of 100 (20%), you will block considerably less than 95% of an attack with your PFF. As well, actively blocking by holding shift only decreases the post-PFF damage, so if you're at maximum field strength there is little difference between actively blocking and not. The only way to "heal" your PFF besides its natural regen is with another power, Field Surge, its linked Active Defense. Field Surge also significantly increases your damage resistance for a short period. All Active Defenses have a 90s cooldown, and enforce a 30s cooldown on all other Active Defenses (and usually have a ~15s duration).|
|Invulnerability||STR/CON||Unbreakable||Fast-hitting-small-damage attacks, namely hordes of henchmen||Opposite of Lightning Reflexes||Invulnerability has two components, much like PFF. First, you have a full block component much like the current WoW block mechanic, which scales with STR. Any incoming damage is reduced by this component as a scalar - i.e. if your STR-based block has a value of 100, and an incoming attack does <= 100 damage, you take nothing. Secondarily, you get an additional %-based decrease based on your CON. The active defense associated with Invulnerability is Unbreakable, which greatly increases your damage resistance for a short period.|
|Lightning Reflexes||DEX||Masterful Dodge||Any ability with a long charge time||Opposite of Invulnerability||Lightning Reflexes simply increases your dodge rate - though it increases it by a huge amount, and the increase scales with your DEX. To understand how helpful this is, you have to know that dodge has two components to it, and both scale with the charge time on the incoming attack. The first component is your chance to dodge. Assuming you have a 15% chance to dodge listed, you will dodge a 1s charge-time attack 15% of the time. You will dodge a .5s charge-time attack 7.5% of the time, and a 2s charge-time attack 30% of the time. When you dodge an attack, you reduce its severity by a much larger, though similarly scaled amount. For example, dodging a 1s attack will reduce that attack by 50(??)%. Which also means that dodging a 2s attack will reduce it by 100%. Yes, you can go over 100% with this power, meaning that you have a good chance of taking no damage from long-charge-time attacks. On the flip side, you will take almost full damage from almost all small-time attacks, making you tissue paper against mobs of henchmen. The active defense associated with LR is Masterful Dodge, which greatly increases your dodge (both chance and reduction) for a short time. Note that you can both block and dodge an incoming attack for very significant damage reduction.|
|Defiance||CON/STR*||Enrage*||Long fights||Similar to Regeneration||Defiance is a fairly simple power. Every time you get hit, you gain a stacking damage reduction buff (%), scaling based on your CON. The internal cooldown of this proc is decreased when you rank it up, with max rank allowing you to add to the stack every 3s, which also refreshes the stack duration of 20s. Maximum stack size is 8, so you'll have the best defenses 24s into a fight at max rank. Defiance has no active defense associated with it. Instead, Enrage, when used, will consume all stacks of Defiance, and convert them to Enraged, which buffs your damage. Enrage scales with STR.|
|Regeneration||REC/CON*||Resurgence||Long fights||Similar to Defiance||Regeneration is also a fairly simple power. As you take damage during a fight, you begin to regenerate HP. The more damage you take, the more HP you regenerate (note that this isn't tied to your current health, but how much damage you've taken recently. When you stop taking damage, your regeneration lowers. Your regeneration also lowers when you attack, though I don't believe it lowers as quickly). The Active defense associated with Regeneration significantly boosts your HP recovery, but once it drops it resets your HP recovery back to its beginning (i.e. out-of-combat) value. The boost to your HP recovery scales with CON.|
Okay, wall of text over. Bottom line for picking a passive defense: PFF and Invulnerability are decent for soloing, the others are good for boss fights (for various reasons - Defiance and Regeneration are just good on long fights, LR is best against mobs that use a large number of charged abilities). There are some downsides to each. PFF can't be healed by anything but Field Surge(directly, anyway. It self-heals over time, so you get something similar to a mini-Regeneration on top of the original shield buffer, on the order of ~50 HP per tick), and blocking only affects the bleed-through damage, so it's possible that in terms of effective health it would be better just to stack CON. You get 10 HP per CON, and I'm not sure how much each END adds to your PFF, but if it's not significantly more the costs outweight the benefits. Regen provides no damage reduction at all - Heavy hits will still kill you, and if they come early enough in a fight your regen won't keep up. It's purely reactive. Invuln, LR, and Defiance look to be the best functional powers, but Invuln does (almost) nothing against bosses and LR does almost nothing against henchmen.
HOLY FUCK I'm only level 5, did I really need to know all that?
Simply-put, yes. Super Stats are really the most important choice you'll make for your character, and for non-healers it's mostly going to come down to which passive defense you want. With how Retconning works, picking a bad power this early in the game means a HUGE resource sink in order to fix it later - often impossible without a free Retcon from the Devs, so you're better off knowing what you're getting into. If you don't want a passive defense, here's a short table of the other powers which scale from specific stats:
|Power||Type||Damage Boost||Damage Resistance||Other|
|Electric Form (Slotted Offense)||Energy(Electric, Sonic, Particle)||END||REC|| |
|Fiery Form/Ice Form (Slotted Offense)||Elemental(Fire, Ice, Toxic)||PRE||REC|| |
|Killer Instinct (Innate Offense)||N/A||N/A||N/A||Energy return scales with EGO|
|Ego Form (Slotted Offense)||Ego Blades||EGO||CON(physical)|| |
|Ego Surge||N/A||N/A||N/A||Mini non-slotted Ego Form, with no damage reduction component and a 12s duration.|
|Telekinesis (Innate)||N/A||N/A||N/A||Reworks your pick-up-and-throw ability to scale off of your EGO instead of your STR.|
|Shadow Form (Slotted Offense)||Paranormal(Ego, Dimensional)||END||CON|| |
At this point, you should have a good idea of which stats you want to SUPER. If not, it's likely because you don't intend to pick up any of the powers listed (which would really be a funky move, but it's doable). In that case, there are two fallbacks - CON is a great all-around Super Stat; pick it, and the same stat boosts both your damage and your HP. This pairs well with END for high HP and Energy. Other wise, if you're going pure DPS, Super both DEX and EGO, which will make you crit often and get big crits. This is the OOH SHINY NUMBERS option.
While not a function of level specifically, you'll also gain access to Crafting once you're out of the Tutorial. Crafting on its face is very simple. You pick one of three Professions: Mysticism, Arms, and Science. Within each Profession, there are three Specialties. These specialties don't affect the gear you can create (yet) in any meaningful way - they just change the names for RP flavor purposes (i.e. the "gear" you get from Science can be something you invent, something you're exposed to, or some way you mutate, but it gives the same benefit either way). There are also action figures for each specialty. Changing either your specialty or your profession will reset your skill to 1, but will not cause you to forget your blueprints, hence if you stay within the same profession you will eventually be able to craft everything within that profession at the same time.
There are three ways to skill up crafting; You can craft an item (obviously), you can gather mats for your profession from one of the nodes in the world, and you can do Research. Research consists of taking an item which matches your profession and breaking it down for parts. This will be the main way you skill up your profession, and is likely also the best way to gain mats. When you Research, the output depends heavily on the input. You will get back a portion of the mats used to create the item (yes, this applies to items that are not really crafted). You can put in multiple items and get more mats back. Doing this will also increase the rating of the Research you do. The more powerful the equipment you research, the higher the portion of mats you get back, and the greater the number of skill you get. As well, certain tokens (Epiphany for Science, Profundity for Mysticism, and I forget the term for Arms) require 5/5 rating to receive (at the level they're mainly used - i.e. if I'm a tier 3 crafter, I need 5/5 rating to get a tier 3 epiphany, 4/5 to get a tier 2, and 3/5 to get a tier 1). These are mainly used to buy Power Replace or Conversion Blueprints, though a couple other blueprints require them as well.
Your maximum skill with a profession is gated by level: 100 until level 11, 200 until level 21, 300 until level 31. As well, here's a list of the stats each profession focuses on. Note that stats are also dictated by type of equipment - You won't see INT on an offensive item as a main focus, for example. High numbers mean a better focus. Note that Primary slots focus a lot more heavily and have a lot more budget, so I'm adding 3 to anything in a primary slot.
|Mysticism||Primary Offense|| ||4||5|| || ||6|| || |
|Mysticism||Secondary Offense|| ||1|| || || ||2|| ||3|
|Mysticism||Primary Defense|| || || || || || || ||6|
|Mysticism||Secondary Defense|| || || ||3||2|| ||1|| |
|Mysticism||Primary Utility|| || || ||6||4|| ||5|| |
|Mysticism||Secondary Utility|| || || ||3|| || ||1||2|
|Arms||Primary Offense|| ||6||5|| || ||4|| || |
|Arms||Secondary Offense||3||2||1|| || || || || |
|Arms||Primary Defense||6|| || || || || || || |
|Arms||Secondary Defense|| ||3||2|| || ||1|| || |
|Arms||Primary Utility|| || || ||5||6|| ||4|| |
|Arms||Secondary Utility||3|| || ||1||2|| || || |
|Science||Primary Offense|| ||4||6|| || ||5|| || |
|Science||Secondary Offense||1|| ||2|| || ||3|| || |
|Science||Primary Defense||6|| || || || || || ||6|
|Science||Secondary Defense|| || || ||1||2|| ||3|| |
|Science||Primary Utility|| || || ||4||5|| ||6|| |
|Science||Secondary Utility||1|| || || ||2|| ||3|| |
Relax. If you're here, your character build is, for the most part, done - even this early. You know your intended Supers, and you've already purchased one. Other than level 21 and level 35, every level from here on gives you exactly 1 thing: A new Talent, a new Power, 2 Advantage points (more on this at level 7), or at level 13 you'll pick your second Super Stat. Level 21 gives you both Advantages and a talent (your last), and level 35 gives you both a power and a second travel power. Powers are easy to pick for the most part, though I'll give suggestions. Talents are just stat boosts. Level 6 gives you your first non-innate talent:
- Talent (suggest: Super1 +8): You should make your first Talent match your first Super stat, for the extra damage bonus. Past level 5 the game is balanced on the assumption that you've got a super stat picked and are at least marginally interested in gearing toward it. Do yourself a favor and add as much to that stat as you can.
Honestly, me trying to suggest specifics of advantages is just going to be too much. There are some basic ones that a lot of powers have, such as adding threat to an attack, or an energy return proc, or a taunt. There are others that are fairly specific, such as a 20% damage bonus hotspot left on the ground after you use Force Eruption. You'll probably want a taunt if you plan on tanking, as well as a threat attack, and everyone would do well with an energy proc though I don't think it's necessary. As well, Advantage points let you rank up your powers. Rank one (which you get for purchasing the power) is, at level 40, designed to be somewhat undertuned. Rank 2 is normal, and rank 3 is exceptional. If you plan on DPSing, make sure your main nuke is rank 3 unless you can't make it rank 3. Why would that happen? Because each power is limited to 5 total advantage points. Ranks always cost 2, so you could have rank 3 and a 1-point advantage (such as the Energy proc I mentioned, which always costs only 1 point), but most useful advantages cost 2 points as well, so you can't have rank 3 and, say, the Hotspot on Force Eruption I mentioned. Some very powerful advantages, like the Taunt effect, take 3 points as well. You'll get 36 advantage points over the course of leveling up, and I won't really mention them again because, again, they're largely going to be up to you. Just remember that your travel powers also have ranks.
|Level 8||Power (Focused Tier 2 unlocks, Unfocused Tier 1 unlocks)||Some form of PBAoE||You're going to get larger groups of mobs now. Why not take advantage of that by getting something that hits more than 1? Note: If you're Dual Blades, you get PBAoE on most of your attacks anyway.|
|Level 9||Talent||Super1 +5, CON +5||If you're already Supering CON, pick a third stat whose benefits I listed at Level 1 match your goals.|
|Level 10||Advantages|| ||You get these every 3 levels until level 21 (except 13), then 2/3 of your levels after that. If I don't list a level, assume you get Advantages.|
|Level 11||Power||Heal|| |
|Level 12||Talent||CON +8|| |
|Level 13||Characteristic Focus|| ||Here you pick up your second super.|
| || || ||Around this point you'll finish your first non-MC zone. Head to the other and revel in fighting mobs much lower level than you for a while.|
|Level 14||Power (Focused Tier 3 unlocks)||Active Offense||There are a few clickies in the game which boost your damage for a short period. Now's a good time to pick one up.|
|Level 15||Talent||Super2 +8|| |
| || || ||Should be time to head to MC for some decent questing about now.|
|Level 17||Power (Unfocused Tier 2 unlocks)||Block Upgrade||There are quite a few powers which augment your active block, and there are quite a few Super/Master Villains coming up who you'd really be wise to Block against.|
|Level 18||Talent||Super1 +5, Super2 +5|| |
| || || ||By now you should be finished running around each zone you have access to for the first time. From here on you're going to bounce around a bit for a while.|
|Level 20||Power||Ranged AoE|| |
|Level 21||Advatages, Talent||Super2 +5, CON +5||This is your last Talent. At this point, you have +30 to Super1, Super2, +23 to CON (or whichever CON replacement you picked), and +5 to all other stats from talents, assuming you picked a focused innate talent You'll also have +~40 to each of your supers just by virtue of them being your supers, 5 to each stat as a baseline, and your gear on top of that.|
|Level 23||Power||Active Defense||You should probably pick up the Active Defense associated with your Passive one at this point (unless you don't have one, obviously). At this point, the rest of my suggestions can really come in any order - actually, the last couple probably could, too. I've tried suggesting alternating offense with defense, but that's just to spread things out a little. For the rest of your powers (you have 5 left before level 40), try and also pick up a Hold, an AoE Nuke, and a couple other powers of your choice.|
|Level 25|| || ||Time to create your Nemesis. Go to the Police Station 2 blocks north of the City Hall. If you haven't been to City Hall yet, you're not playing the same game I am.|
|Level 26||Power (All Powers are now unlocked)|| || |
|Level 29||Power|| || |
|Level 32||Power|| || |
|Level 35||Power, Travel Power|| ||You get your second Travel Power now, and by this point you should know the shortcomings of the one you have and be able to cover them with the second.|
|Level 38||Power (Your last one)|| || |
|Level 40||Advantages (Your last 2 points)|| || |
And that's it. Assuming you've been following the guide, you should now have an Energy Builder, 13 Powers, 2 Travel powers, and 36 Advantage points (for an average of about 2.5 points per power, including your EB). You'll also have 115 to each of your Super stats, 28 to CON, and 10 to everything else, plus whatever you get from your gear. Now, as promised, I'll list the advantages of each of the roles:
|Role||Damage||Bonus HP||Healing||Holds/Roots||Resistance to Holds/Roots||Energy Decay||Energy gain while blocking||Threat||Slot|
|Guardian||Standard||Standard||Standard||Standard||Standard||Standard||Standard||Standard||Balanced (i.e. Any)|
Edit since this is a bit more public than the BB: I can't take a huge amount of credit for this. Most of the information presented here is an aggregation of posts from the official CO forums, including other guides. If anything, it's just a place to consolidate information.
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