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Friday, February 04, 2005

Sharing Lifes Little Lessons

I decided to log into City Of Heroes, if only to play a sngle mission. I felt like teaming, so I logged into one of my lower level "alts" (an alternate character from the "main" character that you play most often) this toon ("toon" is slang for "character") happened to be a level 19 Earth/Storm controller.

A little background for the lay person: A controller is one of the various unique types of characters that are available to you when playing COH. The various types beakdown as follows:
1. Scrappers - short range ("melee") damage dealers

2. Blasters - Long range (often AOE ["area of effect"]) damage dealers

3. Tankers - Damage absorbers (dont teal much damage, but can take a TON of punnishment)

4. Defenders - Focus on iether making friends stronger or making foes weaker

5. Controllers - Focus on disabling the enemy

For a level 19 this controller has an impressive ability to chain lockdown a mob (groun of foes). You can HOLD foes, but this does not stop them from attacking with any ranged powers (or melee powers if you get to close to them) that they might have. But... locking down the mob is completely disabling them. Both unable to move, AND unable to attack. This controller has 2 different methods of lockdown which allow him to chain them back to back -- completely incapacitating the all of the enemies for long periods of times. The first of the two methods involves 2 parts: First stone cages holds all foes in place, and second Stalagmites disorient the held foes, rendering them unable to move and unable to attack. The second lockdown methos I have is called Salt Crystals. Salt crystals has one drawback, if you deal damage to a held foe, he breaks free -- immediately. Not a problem because as the group picks off the enemies my single target lockdown can be used to hold him as soon as he's free. I warn teammates up front about this, and take the first two fights to SHOW them the difference.

Enter "Rain" the level 18 blaster. She has an AOE attack the hurts everyone in a radius around her. With lockdown method A this isnt a problem, BUT, with salt crystals the whole mob breaks free as SOON as she uses her AOE. Also, for the record, her AOE attack is NOT POWERFUL... its minor... does very little damage... you can imagine that this just pisses the mobs off something fierce... After most of the mission is over (and about the 15th time she breaks my salt crystals [sending me scrambling for dear life to try and keep the team out of harms way]) the team is QUITE used to being able to just wear down mobs one foe at a time. So, since Rain is "uber" (a term meaning "the best ever", or some close approximation) I announce that SHE gets to be crowd control this fight.

As if on queue she's running ahead, not waiting for the team, AOE's the mob which promptly starts beating the hell out of her. I watch. the healer is desperately trying to keep rain alive and rain still almost dies not once, twice, three, or four, but SIX times before the battle is completed. Keep in mind that I was CLOSELY supersising the battle, and the health of ALL of the team, and had it taken a turn for the worse I would have immediately locked the mob down (I also assured the two other team members of this)... It didnt they cleared the mob with no deaths, but one very shaken "Rain the level 18 blaster." I pointed out to her that she made a lousy controller, a horrible scrapper, and an aweful tanker, she agreed on all points, I also pointed out that if she was going to undermine my crowd control that I would withdraw it. And, do you know, rain was very polite from then on not to break my salt crystals?

I think I helped Rain learn TWO valuable life lessons:
1. A good controller make life much easier

2. You have to work WITH your team, not against it

Maybe I was wrong in my treatment of Rain. Maybe I was being a bitter cynical overbearing knitpicking unwanted mentor. I'm willing to bet, however, that Rain will be a MUCH better heroe from this day forward... What do you think?

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