Teaming With a Defender (version 1.0)
Since the release of Issue #2, Defenders, Controllers and Tankers are more important than ever. Lots of bad guys stomping heroes flat with status effects and an improved accuracy. With this in mind, I’ve created this post to help people understand what the different Defender Primaries (and Controller Secondaries) bring to a team. (I’ve played each Defender Primary and most of the Defender Secondaries up to the teens or beyond, just as an F.Y.I..)
Defender Primary Summary:
First, the quick rundown of the types of Defenders and what they can bring to a team:
Dark Miasma – All about Debuffing Accuracy and Controller-like powers.
Empathy – Healing of all different kinds, Anti-Status Buffs and Other Buffs.
Force Fields – The ultimate in protection, i.e., pure defense. Abilities are based on making bad guys not hit you. Period.
Kinetics – All about the speed: Buffs will help you fly through missions with more damage, faster movement and endurance recovery.
Radiation Emissions – Buffs (Attack and Damage), Debuffs (Attack, Damage and Defense) with one AoE heal around the defender.
Storm Summoners – No Buffs, but lots of weather-based Debuffs with one heal that helps with Status effects and group stealth/resist damage.
A note along the lines of a quick overview of Defender Primaries: You will frequently hear a number of the Defender types telling their team to “Gather for a hug!” or just plain “Hug!” which means to gather around them for a Buff.
Another major concept to understand when dealing with many of the Debuffing Defenders, they will lay their Debuff on a villain. This bad guy is acting as the anchor of the Debuff. Usually, try to arrest/kill the anchor last. There are a few exceptions to this, in my experience, like Enervating Field on a Boss or Archvillain where you want to take them down as fast as possible. Also, when you see a villain that’s an anchor for whatever Debuff the Defender is using, that is usually the safest place to be in a battle because villains will run to fight you, thereby getting Debuffed.
The Defender Concept:
One thing to keep in mind when playing a defender or dealing with defenders, they are all about helping others – whether by shifting the outcome of a battle by strengthening their team or weakening the bad guys, they can either toughen you up or soften up villains. Most all of their abilities are tied into helping others out without killstealing – since most all of their heals and buffs don’t damage bad guys except for taking endurance or lowering their accuracy or resistance to damage, etc… when they help you by casting on a bad guy, it isn’t killstealing. There are some abilities that cause damage in Defender Primaries, but not many.
One thing to understand about the non-Empathy Defenders is that they might not be healers, but because of their ability to Buff and Debuff, you won’t necessarily need one. Having two defenders using their abilities to their fullest on a team can easily change the outcome of any mission. All defenders are useful to a group in different ways, but you just have to know how to use them properly to make battles easier and safer for you.
Healing, Buffing and Debuffing is the main concept behind the Defender Primaries (while each Secondary has its own Debuff effect, it is a mild one). Healing is self-explanatory; Buffing either gives your character a boost in attack power (accuracy and damage), defense power, speed of attacks or resistance to status effects; Debuffing affects the bad guys by decreasing their accuracy, damage, speed of movement, speed of attacks, weakening their susceptibility to damage (causing more damage output) and just plain messing them up.
One way to look at it is that some of the most hated villains in the game are either Defenders or Controllers: Eidolons, Shamans, Mages, Shockers, Sorcerers, and so on. All the things they do to mess you over, you could have working for you when you have a Defender or Controller on your team.
Here’s an explanation of the two sections I’ve made for each Primary. The Character Reasons are some insights I’ve figured out from playing the various Defender Primaries. These are just some of the character backgrounds and types of characters I’ve seen, but obviously, you can make your character anyway you want it. You could have a Dark Miasma character who is a party-hopping raver who takes all their cigarette smoke that they’ve gathered into their lungs and inflicts it upon bad guys so they can happily bounce through life – hardly a gothic, death oriented character which the primary tends to attract. Have fun with the creation of your characters, but some of these ideas might help you understand some of the characters and why some people chose to play them, if not help inspire you to create a Defender of your own!
The abilities section for each Primary is where you can get a basic grasp of what each Defender Primary has to offer to the player or a group. If you aren’t interested in playing a Defender, but want to know how a Defender can help you, read these sections.
General advice for getting the most out of any Defender or any Archetype you might interact with in a team – find out what they can bring to the party and make the most out of it. A number of the buffs/heals that a Defender has are based around where they are standing or that they start the Debuff before you attack. If you want a higher chance of survival – talk to your team before a battle so that everyone can understand everyone else’s strengths and how to capitalize on them. When fighting with a defender, staying somewhat close together (can be a pain with AoE attacks from villains) can help keep you buffed which tends to lead towards more people surviving a battle.
One of the most atmospheric character types out there – being constantly wrapped in shadows and darkness tends to turn heads. Fear, darkness, death energy from the realms beyond the grave are all at this type of hero’s command. Dark Miasma heroes are those who have somehow tapped into this energy to offer some excellent Debuffs and crowd controlling abilities, I’ve heard that after Issue #2 the second best after Force Fields in protection.
One of the primary things a Dark Miasma Defender adds to combat is reducing the accuracy of your enemies. You have some holds (one that is extremely powerful), a Debuff against movement, one AoE healing ability based around the Defender – via stealing a villain’s life force, a group stealth ability – via wrapping your group in shadows, thereby killing their accuracy or the damage they might dish out. Now that their resurrecting ability has gotten better (they can resurrect many different heroes at once depending upon how many villains are gathered around at the time)
You want to make a character that helps everyone out. Empathy defenders are the type of character that will go out of their way to help out other heroes with a healing so they can keep fighting the good fight or buff their strength in various ways. You have the power over strengthening someone’s life force – the opposite in many ways from Dark Miasma in character concept. These characters are walking hospitals. With some teams, healing is all you’ll do as you watch your team’s health status in the team menu bar like a hawk. Other teams, you’ll be able to blast and heal easily bouncing between the two.
Empathy’s primary focus is healing. They are the überhealers of the game bar none. The Controller’s Empathy powers come later and are weaker than a Defender’s version, but with a careful team, that might be all they need. The early levels up to about 18, you’ll be healing and helping people resist/recover from injuries and status effects. Starting at 18, you can get Recovery Aura. Many people start saying that they become buff bots starting at around this time period, but you can also view this time period as when you can start having more fun with your blasts. The big three – Healing Aura, Heal Other and Absorb Pain – can be key to changing the outcome of a battle gone sour unlike any other Defender Primary. Usually an Empathy Defender’s battle will be usually much different from everyone else: they are battling to keep everyone alive. Also, Empathy Defenders’ abilities have the most visible effect during a battle – everyone can see someone go from almost knocked out to full health as they heal people all on the team. Also, for those who are teaming with one, if you stay together in battle, your Empathy Defender can heal you easier – besides, if you run off alone, the rest of the Tankers, Scrappers, Controllers and Blasters on your team can’t back you up.
As I said above in my Quick Summary of Force Fielders, they are the ultimate in protection. Other Defenders Buff, Debuff and heal but none provide the extreme level of protection that an FF Defender offers. Force Fielders are the Catchers in the Rye, shepherds who protect all those who travel with them, frequently leaving themselves unprotected in battle so that they can contribute while the team fights in relative safety within their bubbles.
Force Field Defenders are the armor of any superhero team. You have visions of superheroes fearlessly fighting with little to no damage getting through? You imagine bullets bouncing off your heroes? Look up a Force Fielder – you won’t regret it. Their bubbles protect you from all different types of damage – all types of lethal/smashing attacks as well as most blasts (one of the exceptions being zombie vomit). They do their best to make sure damage doesn’t happen to heroes. They protect you at the beginning of a battle and then blast away with their Secondaries until they notice someone needs their bubbles refreshed. This is a great type of Defender to have or to play if you also want to have fun with a Defender’s blasts. Who needs healing when bad guys can’t even hurt you? Even their ‘offensive’ abilities are about protecting someone – they can force a bad guy away with Force Blast or put them in a bubble prison so they are effectively removed from the combat.
As many other players who have teamed with Kinetics Defenders have said before, when you are with a Kinetics Defender, everything seems to be on fast forward. Battles go faster, you recover and move faster, you can do more damage, thereby making the bad guys go down quicker. With a Kinetics Defender, a lot of your inspirations won’t be necessary – healing for those who stay away from the front lines might be one of the main ones you need as well as Luck. Playing a Kinetics Defender is fun, playing with a Kinetics Defender lets you get in on the fun as well. Wanna see what Super Speed is like? This Defender can give you a taste. Wanna be able to bounce around like a super ball on steroids? Yep, they can share the Super Jump fun with you as well. If you are playing a Kinetics Defender, you become Willy Wonka, the Candy Man when you play this type of character or you get to enjoy the wild ride if you are teaming with one.
Kinetics Defenders have abilities to make things go faster. They can take away a villain’s stamina and speed. They can allow you to do more damage as if you took an Enrage. They can help your endurance come back faster, abilities recharge faster and help you be able to zip around almost at super speed. They use the bad guys’ own energy against them – even to the point where you can cap out on damage dealing. They definitely share the wealth of fun that’s possible in this game. I’ve repeatedly heard people talk about how their jaws dropped when they’ve seen how much of an influence a Kinetics Defender has in combat.
These type of characters are those heroes who have both the helpful and harmful aspects of radiation at their command – or whether or not their concept is truly radiation or not (I created a Rad/Rad Defender who was wearing away people’s identity in the same way radiation affects people). They can do both buffing your team and debuffing your enemies – mutating, if you will, the outcome of battles. These heroes are the those who have somehow been granted the ability to tap into the powers (both good and bad) of radiation whether by a science experiment, exposure to radiation or even being able to tap into the magical currents of decay and stimulation/strengthening. Some of these heroes have nothing directly to do with science, but understand matter on a subatomic level to the point where they can weaken the bonds that hold everything together through various means.
Radiation Defenders are excellent buffers and debuffers. Want to weaken the bad guys like a hotdog that’s been in the microwave too long? I’ve seen it done both in real life as well as in the game and it isn’t pretty for the hotdog or the bad guy. They can temporarily boost the recover times of the team’s metabolism, speed and damage dealing. They have a limited AoE healing centered on the Defender and a resurrection power that makes you fight like a titan until the ‘mutation’ wears off and then you are out of sorts as your body recovers from the unnatural state of being.[/font][font class=”post”]
Storm Summoners have the power of weather at their command. All forms of wind and rain/snow are at their command. These characters are closer to the natural order of things than the rest of the Defenders; they are a nice counter point to Radiation Defenders in terms of concept. I’ve heard many people say that Storm Summoners have some of the flashiest abilities out there. These heroes are some of the most well-rounded Defenders out there. They can heal some (and remove some status effects), they can soften up bad guys, they can slow them down and they can literally be the calm in the eye of the storm in case things go sour. Nature can be either your friend or your enemy and this Primary can channel the power of both.
A Storm Summoner has a healing ability with a bit of a resistance to some mind-affecting attacks, but primarily they are about Debuffing, slowing down and keeping bad guys at bay. They can blow bad guys away from the Blasters and Controllers, they can slow down bad guys big time as well as weaken their defenses. SS Defenders can shift the tide of battle in different ways and how they can contribute to a team is less on the buffing side and more on the debuffing side of the fence. Their group stealth and protection from the natural elements (fire, ice and electricity) can be a big boon as well as their Hurricane which can turn a massive loss into a chance for everyone to recover and turn the tide of battle. This is the one Defender Primary that has some Controller-like abilities, while some of the other Defender abilities have one hold if even that. They can control the flow of a battle as well as Debuff like no other.
This is just my experience with excellent combinations based upon the primary makeup of the team:[ul][li][b]Dark Miasma Defenders and their Debuffs/crowd control abilities work great with almost every AT out there. If they can’t hit you, that allows you to safely fight against your enemies. When you see bad guys with smoky effects upon them, run to them and fight in the debuff zone, taking out the bad guys outside of it first or, better yet, have them come into the Debuff zone and fight you there. Try to leave the anchor for last. [/li][li][b]Empathy Defenders are also excellent in most any team you might put together. Don’t take it for granted that your Empathy Defender will be able to heal you if you run off though. Stay somewhat near the Defender so they can make sure you stay healed. Also make sure to gather around them for their amazing AoE Buffs like Recovery Aura and Regeneration Aura. Listen for their request for everyone to gather for a hug. [/li] [li][b]Force Field Defenders are great with all different types of ATs and will try to keep you in bubbles so that the bad guys will have serious problems hitting you. Also, their Dispersion Bubble (i.e., their super huge protective bubble) will protect you from a lot of attacks, except Psychic as well as protect you from some Status effects. The moral of the story is to stay near the FF Defender if they have their huge bubble up if at all possible. [/li] [li][b]Kinetics Defenders are good with most ATs, but really shine with Scrappers and Tankers – reason being that their heal is based around the bad guy…unless (as someone pointed out) they use Repel a great deal which will allow them to act like Tankers while the other Controllers, Blasters and other Defenders stand behind them, plying their trade. Otherwise, the rest of their abilities help everyone out. Their Speed Boost is like a weaker version of Super Speed, Hasten and Stamina which they can dispense whenever needed. Their AoE buffs are based around their stealing Kinetic energy from the enemy and tends to go off around them. If you are fighting near the Kinetics Defender, you should remain buffed most of the time. [/li] [li][b]Radiation Emissions Defenders are also good for any group in general. They have an excellent Buff in Accelerate Metabolism, so when they call for a ‘hug’, make sure to gather around. Also, make sure to fight in the Debuff zone when you see bad guys start glowing that yellowish-green color so that you can take less damage while fighting them. [/li] [li][b]Storm Summoning Defenders are best with Blasters, Controllers and other Defenders because of Gale and, one of their signature abilities, Hurricane. Tankers and Scrappers can easily learn how to fight well with an SS Defender, but like how a Kinetics Defender is really shines around Scrappers and Tankers, a Storm Summoner shines when helping the non-melee-based ATs. Outside of Gale and Hurricane, their abilities work well with everyone. It is usually very easy to see the anchor point for Snow Storm since the effect is centered around them as they move, so make sure to take that guy out as soon as tactically makes sense (a minion you want to take out last while a boss you want to take them out sooner). [/li]
I’ve noticed that the different types of Defenders go great together like peanut butter and chocolate. Each type of Defender has a slot they fill on a team and I’ve found that Defenders are the most challenging character type for me to play since you have to balance so many things at once to make a successful and invaluable hero.
People who I’ve teamed up with have been exceedingly happy to have more than one Defender on their team because they feel a lot more comfortable about the outcome of the battle – no matter what their Primary.