Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Champions Online Guide to Not Gimping Your First Hero

Brief tips to help you avoid building a gimped hero right off the bat:

1) Characteristic Focus: This is the most confusing aspect of the stats in CO. Here is a simple analogy:

You know how, in WoW, warriors want strength to increase their damage, while rogues want agility?

Those are their characteristic focii. The only difference is that you get to pick them instead of having them be intrinsic to a character class.

The 2 Characteristic Focus stats you pick are the stats that increase your damage.

This damage increase is in addition to whatever benefit the stat gives you (such as DEX's increased crit chance or END's increase to your endurance pool).

Starter rule of thumb: pick gear that has your Characteristic Focus stats on it.

2) Presence is the healing stat. It is also the threat stat for tanks.

3) Instead of picking a class you pick a framework. It simply refers to the theme of your powers, and not to your character's role, which I will discuss in a moment. The pre-build frameworks come with an endurance-building auto-attack power (you only get one of these per character, ever) and a nuke, as well as a starting stat layout based on a theme, such as "indomitable" (high ego and strength) to "Genius" (high intellect and presence). In most cases the stats you get are the ones that are most helpful to that framework. Though which stats you pick really only matters for your support powers and passives usually.

For instance, all of your attacks will scale with whichever super stat you pick. But your heals scale with Presence, while your passive defensive ability might scale with Constitution or Endurance, depending on framework. You're generally safe just going with the stat outlay tied to your framework, but if you want to change it (as I did with my Telekenesis hero, by switching out Constitution for Endurance) you can do a custom framework using the 2 starter powers from that set, but a different stat pick, and see no ill effects.

The 2 stats you favor at the beginning should be the ones you plan to make into your Characterstic Focus stats.

4) You unlock powers in your framework by picking up more powers in that framework. You also unlock more powers in other frameworks as you go, just at a slightly reduced rate. You can get to the big stuff faster by staying in one framework, and I recommend you do this at first. Make more varied characters and dip into other sets once you get a handle on the game.

5) Pick up talents (stat bonuses) that increase your Characteristic Focus stats. (durrr)

6) Put your Ranks and Advantages points into the attacks you use most often, at least at first.

7) As you play you will unlock Roles. These work a lot like Death Knight Presences or Druid forms. You start in a balanced role, but you'll eventually be able to get an offensive role (that increases damage but reduces defense), a tanking role (higher defense and lower damage), and a support role (improved healing and energy regen). So your powerset framework is more a theme for your character, while the Role defines how you will play in a group. If you want to be a healer, hold on to gear with high presence so you can switch into it when needed (much like putting on your spellpower set in WoW).

There. Now you can get on with the playing and learning while minimizing the risk that you'll gimp your character right out of the gate. Have fun!

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