A Guide to Singularity v1.1




Filled With Hate: A Guide to Singularity v1.1

Thanks to LaughingDog, Io_ars, Zloth2, sparc, Robson, Ariel1, Sirendipity and Doctor_Gravity for public and private insights that have helped to improve the guide.

Revision history:

<ul type="square">[*]Authored guide.[/list]
<ul type="square">[*]Revised comments on Singularity speed in section 2.0 due to increased speed in Issue 2.[*]Revised comments about Singularity selectability in section 2.0 - post-Issue 2 they are now selectable by clicking on them.[*]Added comments in section 4.0 about Singularities being teleportable.[*]Added point in section 2.0 about Singularities and apparent immunity to CC effects.[*]Added point in section 2.0 about Singularities attacking anything.[*]Added point in section X.X about the location of the Singularity summon point.[*]Added screenshots in section 2.0 showing the Singularity in action.[*]Revised comments in section X.X about buffing Singularities and whether it is an exploit. Issue 2 demonstrates implicit approval by making Singularities easily targetable.[*]Significantly expanded the recharge time &amp; enhancement discussion in section 3.0.[*]Modified visual description in section 2.0 - it looks like Siphon Power, not Repel. It has also changed somewhat with the introduction of Issue 2.[*]Gave the guide a new title. Post title remains the same for consistency's sake.[*]Updated impressions of Singularity accuracy in section 2.0.[*]Added comments to the Empathy, Kinetics, Rad and Storm paragraphs in section 4.0[*]Updated suggestions in 7.0 to reflect new thoughts and things that have been addressed in Issue 2.[*]Clarified what I meant by "letting the singularities lead the fight" in section 5.0.[*]Added comments to section 5.0 about buffing priority when in teams.[/list]

Table of Contents:
1.0 Introduction
2.0 Traits &amp; description
3.0 Enhancing
4.0 Power Synergies
5.0 Basic Usage
6.0 Advanced Usage
7.0 Suggestions

1.0 Introduction

Here is my Guide to Singularities, based solely on my own experiences with the pet and my discussions with other Gravity Controllers. Scattered throughout the guide are various TODO items. I welcome help with these. I also welcome suggestions, comments, criticism and discussion. I plan to modify the guide and keep it growing, so any help I can get will be much appreciated.

2.0 Traits &amp; Description

Singularity is the level 32 pet power in the Controller archetype's Gravity Control primary power set. There is much ado about this power for a few reasons: 1) it is (at the time of this writing) the final and arguably most potent power in the set, 2) it changes the nature of the game for people who have the power, and 3) it is a uniquely defensive pet.

Visually, the singularity looks like the animation for the Siphon Power ability from the Kinetics line with a white ball of light inside. There are also other light effects that sparkle around the sphere created by the Siphon Power animation. When it attacks, the little white ball pulses and emits little white lines. It will also accrue buff graphics, so if you've got a group with a lot of AOE buffs, the singularities will become pretty colorful. This also makes singularities an interesting insight into how the buff animations work, because you don't have a hero's body obscuring part of the graphic.

Some pre-Issue 2 screenshots:
Io_ars and his three Singularities stand guard over Brickstown - two of the singularities here have Accelerate Metabolism applied
Windy summons a Singularity

A post-Issue 2 screenshot:
Windy's Singularities crushing a Rikti

Following are the fundamental characteristics of the singularity. Singularities:

Are extremely durable. They have an impressive array of traits that make them so.

First is the fact that they have a Repel effect around them that works exactly like the Kinetics power. This makes it very difficult for mobs to melee them, although on occasion a mob will get a hit in before it is tossed back.

Second is the fact that they seem to have a lot of hit points. They can take a lot of punishment from mobs many levels higher than them before they go down.

Third is the fact that they have very high resistances. I have confirmed (by standing near a singularity and taking hits from AOE and cone attacks) that they have 50% resistance to smashing, lethal, fire and energy. TODO: complete the list of resistances. Does anybody have a list of damage types?

Do low but consistent damage. This becomes even better with damage enhancements and buffs. They spam the Gravity Control powers Crush, Gravity Distortion and Lift. Their unenhanced damage with these powers seems to be about 20-40% more than the controller's unenhanced versions of these powers. They also have no endurance limits, and their accuracy is rather high. When three singularities are working on a single target, the various stacked DOTs and occasional lifts provide clouds of orange numbers floating above the unfortunate victim.

Are slow. They are slower than both fire imps and phantasms, and can be a drag on a fast-moving group that is killing in the streets. Reliable information has it that they speed up when you get very far from them, but even then they are slower than the other pets (which seems to indicate either that the other pets also speed up with distance, or that the increased speed for singularities is still slower than the other pets' default speed). According to Ariel1, their speed was 10 mph before Issue 2, and is now 13 mph after in long-distance tests. The boost is noticeable and quite appreciated, but more would be nice. Because singularities are arguably the toughest of the pets, you want them to head first into difficult fights. That makes their low speed an annoyance. TODO: get comparisons of singularity speed with Jack and Earth.

Have high accuracy. They consistently hit mobs that are +4 and +5 levels, although you'll notice some misses at those levels. This makes them somewhat more effective against higher level mobs than other pets are, especially at level 32. Update: I've been doing a lot of thinking about this since the whole furor over Fire Imps and Phantom Army in Issue 2. In CoH, mob class seems to determine base accuracy, and the pet class has (for example) 75% accuracy, while the minion class has 50%. I'm sure these bases can be altered, but it did get me wondering if the DOT nature of most sing attacks creates a false impression of high accuracy. I'd love to see what other people think about this.

Take up no space. You can run through them. Because of this, they can't block a passage from heroes and pets, but because of their Repel effect they can block a passage from mobs.

Can be click-selected. This is new in Issue 2, and most welcome. Thank you, devs! They are now quite easily buffed with single-target powers.

Cannot be healed. Some have said that they get healed for .1 points of damage. I've never seen that. When I try to heal them, no numbers appear above them (but when I heal my buddy's fire imps, the imps get the green numbers). Because they're so tough, this isn't a big deal, but if you're planning on maintaining an invincible defensive line by healing singularities, you'll need to rethink your plan.

Can be buffed. There were some questions about this, so I did all the testing I could. I have confirmed that they are affected by the following buffs: speed boost, accelerate metabolism, fortitude, assault, and siphon power. I think it's safe to extrapolate that all buffs work on singularities (and pets in general).

Are great at crowd control. Singularities attack with three of the single-target control powers in the Gravity line: immobilize, hold and knockup. They seem to distribute their attacks fairly evenly across 2-4 mobs that are in range. This means that there is a lot of control flying around, and 3 singularities can frequently lock down a +3 or +4 boss if it's the only mob they're facing. They also seem to have controller-level magnitude on their holds. One hold locks down minions and lieutenants, and two locks a boss.

Attempt to path intelligently. Singularities seem to try to follow your path. This can be a blessing and a curse. If you're trying to lead them around a group of mobs, this is nice. If you've zig-zagged around looking for mobs and you want them to come straight to you, this is less nice; watching them lazily follow your zigs and zags down the street while you wait for them to join the fight can be a pain.

Are immune to crowd control. This is a significant advantage. I've seen imps disoriented before, and it's not a pretty sight - when pets are stunned, the music stops, and quite frequently the party is over. The good news for Gravity Controllers is that singularities seem to be immune to CC. It's probable that they merely have a high magnitude of resistance, so they probably can be stunned, but for most practical purposes, they are immune. This means that Gravity Controllers themselves have little to fear from CC effects: when the controller is stunned or held, the singularities will take aggro easily. The one exception is when ranged foes, especially snipers, are shooting at the controller from outside the singularities' aggro range, but if you learn to play your game up close to the enemies, you can minimize this problem.

Attack anything in their aggro range. This includes mobs of all levels and types, prison doors, lab equipment, bombs, and any other non-friendly with hit points. If you have room to move, you can shake them off by moving far away (just under sight range, usually).

Sometimes, especially with three singularities out, you'll notice that two of them follow your path and one decides to beeline straight for you. I don't know what makes this happen. Other times a singularity will become "filled with hate," head straight toward a mob and send it flying. I've also noticed on rare occasions that singularities seem to just want to be close to their creator: every now and then a singularity will suddenly ignore the mobs it was attacking and take a moment to move closer to me, even when I'm standing within 15 feet of it. When they get homesick like this, they will ignore mobs and even toss them aside with their Repel effect in order to be next to you. It's cute and heartwarming, but occasionally awkward.

3.0 Enhancing

Slotting strategies will vary depending on your level, your secondary power set, and potentially your power pools.

Let's look at what singularities are good at, in descending order of power.

1. Tanking (taking aggro)
2. Controlling crowds
3. Dealing damage

But really what we want to enhance are the things the singularity does better than the controller. The controller is much better at handling large groups, but not as good at handling single targets (because the controller is constrained by recharge times, endurance limitations, and a wider array of powers that are available and in demand) So let's revise the list to what singularities do better than controllers, in descending order of magnitude of difference:

1. Tanking (taking aggro)
2. Doing damage
3. Single-target control

The singularity power accepts these enhancements: recharge reduction, damage, knockback, range, accuracy, damage and endurance reduction.

There is only one enhancement here that increases all three of these at once: recharge reductions. More singularities = more tanks = more aggro that isn't on a hero. More singularities also mean more damage. And more singularities mean more control being tossed around. That said, recharge reduction enhancements produce diminishing returns, so let's consider what other enhancements might help us out.

Damage enhancements only enhance one of the three primary roles of a singularity, but it's an important one because it's the one that earns experience.

Knockback in theory increases the control, especially if it affects both the Lift and the Repel elements of a singularity. However, Lift and Repel don't knockback if there is a gravity hold on the mob (gravity holds both slow and give knockback resistance as secondary effects), and since there are going to be a lot of gravity holds flying around, enhancing knockback might not be as effective as other enhancements.

Range seems not to be particularly useful. The summon range isn't high, but I've never found myself wishing it was higher.

Accuracy might be an option for those who are neurotic about hitting. But I'll say this: a singularity missing a hold isn't usually as problematic as a controller missing a hold. Singularities excel at taking damage. Controllers don't. If a singularity misses, the typical consequence is that it takes damage from a mob, which isn't a big deal. There are times when singularities missing can be problematic, but their accuracy is high enough and the consequences are usually small enough that I recommend skipping accuracy. If you're really concerned about accuracy, take and slot Tactics.

Endurance reduction. This can be tempting when you see that the Hero Planner lists the cost as 37.5 endurance. That feels high to me, but let's take it at face value. It is a lot of endurance, no question. But look at it another way: amortized over the duration of the singularity, that is dirt cheap. Another way to think of it is to add up the cost of all the powers the singularity uses over its lifetime (don't forget the constant drain of the Repel effect), and compare that to the piddling little 37.5 endurance cost. If the singularity only casts only one Lift, one Grav Distortion and one Crush during its lifetime, it has saved you 34 mana plus the cost of the repel plus the aggro it takes, not to mention that its Lift, Crush and GD do more damage than yours. In short, the singularity more than pays for itself after about 15 seconds of existence.

Still not convinced that End Reduction isn't worth it? Need that endurance elsewhere? I might be able to buy this argument if you don't have Stamina. But the singularity allows you more downtime during combat to recover endurance. If you're not spamming powers in a vain attempt to speed up your xp/time rate, then you'll probably recover the endurance you spent on the singularity before long.

OK, so I've pushed hard for recharge reduction and damage. Now, how many of each? This really depends on what you want. Personally, I wouldn't feel comfortable with less than three singularities out 100% of the time. Three singularities provide a lot of control and free the controller to put his attention on other things. Three singularities also mean that you've got the singularity power recharging frequently, which lets you position your new singularity exactly where you want it more frequently.

Other people are happy with only two, and some feel that four are worth shooting for. The real question is which you value more: control or damage. If you want more control, the diminishing returns of recharge enhancements may not bother you. If you value damage, you can actually get much more effect out of putting some damage enhancements into the power.

So let's take a look at some slotting layouts. I'll break it down into three categories: slotting with no other powers affecting the recharge, slotting with perma-hasten, and slotting with perma-hasten and perma-Accelerate Metabolism.

These calculations are based in part by calculations done by Io_ars and Doctor_Gravity in another thread on slotting singularities. I've expanded the calculations to include Acc Met and to alter an incorrect assumption about the siphon power buff (original calc had its damage buff at 25%, but it's 20%).

The recharge formula, as provided by Geko, is
Original Time/(1+(Sum of all Recharge Discount))=new time

and relevant recharge discounts, also provided by Geko, are:
Hasten: 0.7
Accelerate Metabolism: 0.3
SO Recharge Enh: 0.33

I won't bother with calculating benefits for DOs and TOs, since they are a non-factor by level 32. All enhancement math assumes equal level SOs.

And, of course, Original Time / new time = averaged number of singularities out at any one time, assuming optimal circumstances. A fractional number, such as 1.5, indicates that half the time you'll have one singularity out, and half the time you'll have two. This number also indicates the control benefit, since control is driven by the number of singularities you can have out.

Damage benefit is calculated by multiplying the number of singularities by the damage modifier, which is 1.00 for no enhancements, +0.33 for each SO damage enhancement, +0.20 for each application of siphon power, +0.20 for each mob-buff component of fulcrum shift, +0.40 for the caster-buff component of fulcrum shift, and +0.25 for Accelerate Metabolism.

All calculations are rounded to the nearest hundredth.

Control Benefit:

No recharge modifiers:

6 damage SOs, 0 recharge SOs - 1.00
5 damage SOs, 1 recharge SOs - 1.33
4 damage SOs, 2 recharge SOs - 1.66
3 damage SOs, 3 recharge SOs - 2.00
2 damage SOs, 4 recharge SOs - 2.33
1 damage SOs, 5 recharge SOs - 2.66
0 damage SOs, 6 recharge SOs - 3.00


6 damage SOs, 0 recharge SOs - 1.70
5 damage SOs, 1 recharge SOs - 2.03
4 damage SOs, 2 recharge SOs - 2.36
3 damage SOs, 3 recharge SOs - 2.70
2 damage SOs, 4 recharge SOs - 3.03
1 damage SOs, 5 recharge SOs - 3.36
0 damage SOs, 6 recharge SOs - 3.70

Perma-hasten and Perma-AM:

6 damage SOs, 0 recharge SOs - 2
5 damage SOs, 1 recharge SOs - 2.33
4 damage SOs, 2 recharge SOs - 2.66
3 damage SOs, 3 recharge SOs - 3.00
2 damage SOs, 4 recharge SOs - 3.33
1 damage SOs, 5 recharge SOs - 3.66
0 damage SOs, 6 recharge SOs - 4.00

Damage Benefit:

No recharge modifiers:

6 damage SOs, 0 recharge SOs - 1.00 * 3.00 dmg = 3.00
5 damage SOs, 1 recharge SOs - 1.33 * 2.67 dmg = 3.56
4 damage SOs, 2 recharge SOs - 1.66 * 2.33 dmg = 3.89
3 damage SOs, 3 recharge SOs - 2.00 * 2.00 dmg = 4.00
2 damage SOs, 4 recharge SOs - 2.33 * 1.67 dmg = 3.89
1 damage SOs, 5 recharge SOs - 2.66 * 1.33 dmg = 3.56
0 damage SOs, 6 recharge SOs - 3.00 * 1.00 dmg = 3.00


6 damage SOs, 0 recharge SOs - 1.70 * 3.00 dmg = 5.10
5 damage SOs, 1 recharge SOs - 2.03 * 2.67 dmg = 5.42
4 damage SOs, 2 recharge SOs - 2.36 * 2.33 dmg = 5.52
3 damage SOs, 3 recharge SOs - 2.70 * 2.00 dmg = 5.40
2 damage SOs, 4 recharge SOs - 3.03 * 1.67 dmg = 5.06
1 damage SOs, 5 recharge SOs - 3.36 * 1.33 dmg = 4.49
0 damage SOs, 6 recharge SOs - 3.70 * 1.00 dmg = 3.70

Perma-hasten and Perma-Acc Met:
(note: Acc Met increases both recharge and damage, both are factored in)

6 damage SOs, 0 recharge SOs - 2.00 * 3.25 dmg = 6.50
5 damage SOs, 1 recharge SOs - 2.33 * 2.92 dmg = 6.80
4 damage SOs, 2 recharge SOs - 2.66 * 2.58 dmg = 6.86
3 damage SOs, 3 recharge SOs - 3.00 * 2.25 dmg = 6.75
2 damage SOs, 4 recharge SOs - 3.33 * 1.92 dmg = 6.39
1 damage SOs, 5 recharge SOs - 3.66 * 1.58 dmg = 5.78
0 damage SOs, 6 recharge SOs - 4.00 * 1.25 dmg = 5.00

Perma-hasten with one application of Siphon Power:

6 damage SOs, 0 recharge SOs - 1.70 * 3.20 dmg = 5.44
5 damage SOs, 1 recharge SOs - 2.03 * 2.87 dmg = 5.83
4 damage SOs, 2 recharge SOs - 2.36 * 2.53 dmg = 6.00
3 damage SOs, 3 recharge SOs - 2.70 * 2.20 dmg = 5.94
2 damage SOs, 4 recharge SOs - 3.03 * 1.87 dmg = 5.67
1 damage SOs, 5 recharge SOs - 3.36 * 1.53 dmg = 5.16
0 damage SOs, 6 recharge SOs - 3.70 * 1.20 dmg = 4.44

Perma-hasten with two applications of Siphon Power:

6 damage SOs, 0 recharge SOs - 1.70 * 3.40 dmg = 5.78
5 damage SOs, 1 recharge SOs - 2.03 * 3.07 dmg = 6.23
4 damage SOs, 2 recharge SOs - 2.36 * 2.73 dmg = 6.44
3 damage SOs, 3 recharge SOs - 2.70 * 2.40 dmg = 6.48
2 damage SOs, 4 recharge SOs - 3.03 * 2.07 dmg = 6.27
1 damage SOs, 5 recharge SOs - 3.36 * 1.73 dmg = 5.81
0 damage SOs, 6 recharge SOs - 3.70 * 1.40 dmg = 5.18

Perma-hasten with two applications of Siphon Power and the caster-buff component of Fulcrum Shift:

6 damage SOs, 0 recharge SOs - 1.70 * 3.80 dmg = 6.46
5 damage SOs, 1 recharge SOs - 2.03 * 3.47 dmg = 7.04
4 damage SOs, 2 recharge SOs - 2.36 * 3.13 dmg = 7.42
3 damage SOs, 3 recharge SOs - 2.70 * 2.80 dmg = 7.56
2 damage SOs, 4 recharge SOs - 3.03 * 2.47 dmg = 7.48
1 damage SOs, 5 recharge SOs - 3.36 * 2.13 dmg = 7.18
0 damage SOs, 6 recharge SOs - 3.70 * 1.80 dmg = 6.66

Some observations:

You can see side-by-side the Control Benefit and the Damage Benefit. Some trade-offs are clear. For example, with perma-hasten only, three recharge is better than two recharge, because the damage benefit you lose is negligible next to the control benefit you gain. It gets fuzzier beyond that, however, because control benefit is worth more to some controllers than to others. Storm secondaries may value it less than, say, empathy secondaries. Personally, I will choose 4 recharge, 2 damage because having 3 sings out all the time is more important to me than the .33 damage benefit that I lose.

Ultimately, you should go with the slotting scheme that works best for you. By level 32 you should have some extra influence laying around. By 34 you certainly will, unless you're a habitual costume shopper. Feel free to experiment with different enhancement setups; singularity is your defining power, and you shouldn't be shy about spending influence to find the right way to enhance it for the way you play.

4.0 Power Synergies

Certain powers work very well with singularities, and different secondary power sets can have a real difference in the way you play with singularities. If you're planning a build, then this section might help you decide what secondary works best with the way you want to use your singularities. If you've already got a character, then it can help you choose secondary powers that complement them.

Empathy: Empathy's strengths aren't ideal for singularities. They can't be healed, they don't seem to be constrained by endurance, and they are practically immune to crowd control. So of the Empathy powers, the only one that really plays well with singularities is Fortitude. However, don't discount the power of fortitude. It's a single target buff, so it will be hard to lay it on the singularities when you're grouped (but you should be putting fortitude on heros or other pets before singularities in any event), but when you're soloing it's not hard to get most of your singularities buffed. You'll be well pleased with the extra damage. It may also be possible to use Regeneration Aura and the new Adrenaline Boost on singularities - if so, that's a nice way to heal them indirectly.

Force Field: This is probably the least ideal secondary powerset for enhancing singularities, which is a shame because it is a good thematic match with gravity. Force field powers will make singularities last longer, but they can already tank mobs that are inefficient for you to kill, so unless you're a stunt controller who likes showing off that you can indefinitely hold off +7 mobs, you can probably forego the single target shields and just use dispersion bubble.

Kinetics: This is my secondary, and it helps the singularities in two ways: increasing their speed and increasing their damage. Siphon power and, later, fulcrum shift will make a singularity's relatively low damage less low. And Speed Boost will mitigate their low speed somewhat, although you should be aware that Speed Boost makes them so fast that they often don't aggro on mobs until they've already zoomed into the mob and repelled it; it's up to you to decide whether the scattering that can result is worth the increased speed. Now that singularities are targetable, Speed Boost is an excellent way to mitigate the slow speed of singularities. Finally, chances of hitting the damage cap by using fulcrum shift on singularities are low: they typically don't engage at melee range, so the mob-buff components of fulcrum shift rarely affect singularities. But the +40% boost of the caster-buff component is nice, and coupled with siphon power, you can see some impressive damage build up.

Radiation: Another excellent secondary for singularities. Accelerate Metabolism can free up enhancement slots for damage, and Enervating Field can debuff the enemy resistances, which further magnifies singularity damage. Acc Met also has a nice fringe benefit of speeding up the singularities and boosting their damage. Choking Cloud may also find some application as a tool to supplement the singularity control: on its own, it's not worth much, but coupled with 3-4 single target controllers, it might relegate GDF to an emergency tool. Have any high level Grav/Rads out there gone against the grain and tried this out?

Storm: An odd match thematically and power-wise. Steamy Mist improves defense and resistance, but the singularities don't need the help, although the stealth component will be nice for helping to lure the singularity into a group of mobs. Hurricane debuffs accuracy and keeps mobs away from singularities, but singularities repel mobs just fine and still don't need to worry much about being hurt. The best match in the set is easily Freezing Rain, which will increase the singularity's damage against foes in the rain - add the frequent holds and immobilizes that singularities toss out, and chances are they'll be stuck in the rain a good long while. Another good synergy to explore is Lightning Storm - I suspect that with 3 sings, Freezing Rain and Lightning Storm, the controller will be able to wreak some real havoc. Finally, the much-maligned Tornado might find some use here as a creator of chaos. I think there might be some value in having 3 pets locking things down and another scattering those not held by the singularities. The potential downside is a tornado vainly attempting to toss a mob firmly held in place while unlocked mobs remain free. Can any Grav/Storm folks comment on the singularity/tornado synergy? If nothing else, unleashing four remorseless forces of nature on the enemy seems like a fun time.

There are some other power synergies that are worth noting, so let's take them individually:

Leadership: This power pool has the woefully unenhancable Assault, which increases allied damage by 10% when run by a controller. I want every last damage bonus possible for my singularities, so I took this and I'm happy with it. Tactics is another option if you're worried about accuracy. I don't recommend Maneuvers for singularities, since they do just fine defensively, although I took the power for the sake of my teammates. It's worth noting here that these powers only buff pets if you're in a team or you've been in a team or in a door mission since you last logged in. The fact that Leadership buffs sometimes don't work on pets has been acknowledged as a bug, and the devs have expressed that they intend to fix it.

Teleport Foe/Wormhole: Singularities tend to focus on opponents near them to the exclusion of foes who are farther away, although at times they will stay focused on distant opponents for reasons I don't understand. Even so, some people have got a lot of mileage out of using these powers to position individual mobs near the singularities for some special attention.

Stealth Powers: Stealth powers will help you to lure singularities into aggro range of mobs. They will allow you to get close to the mob without taking aggro, which is crucial when herding singularities. The four stealth powers available to Gravity Controllers are Steamy Mist from the Storm secondary set, Stealth and Invisibility from the Concealment pool, and Super Speed from the Speed pool.

Travel Powers: Any travel power will be useful to help you position yourself on the other side of a group of mobs so that you can drag the singularities into aggro range. I am a fan of super speed, because it also comes with a stealth component that makes it easy and safe to get to the other side of a group of mobs without drawing aggro. It does make the singularities seem even slower, however. Another excellent option, now that singularities are targetable, is the teleport pool. Recall friend is now a credible way to get your singularities to travel with you and even bypass elevators and portals in indoor missions.

5.0 Basic Usage

The basic usage model for singularities is as follows: maneuver the singularities into aggro range of a group of mobs while not drawing aggro yourself. Buff/debuff as appropriate. Repeat. If a rash develops, consult a physician.

An unenhanced singularity with no help from the controller will kill a group of 4 even con mobs in 2-3 minutes. 3 singularities with two damage enhancements will take down the same group in a minute or less. Buffs and debuffs can alter these times considerably. In neither case is the singularity in any danger of being killed.

Dragging singularities into a group of mobs without taking aggro can be tricky. The easiest way to deal with this is to open the fight yourself with GDF, lock most everybody down, then run to the other side of the mobs so that the singularities float in range and start doing their thing. This approach has two drawbacks: 1) you may find yourself waiting for GDF to recycle, depending on how quickly your singularities have done their work. 2) If you're facing a large group and GDF fades before the singularities have managed to hit every mob with a power, you're going to face some aggro, possibly a lot.

Because of the drawbacks of that approach, I prefer to let the singularities lead the fight before I jump in, by maneuvering myself to the other side of the mobs and letting the sings drift into aggro range. This lets the singularities take the initial aggro, which allows you to move around the battle without having to worry about taking damage or whether you're in melee range of that Tank Swiper. It also lets you apply your control powers where they're most needed. More on that in section 6.0.

Another approach is to drag mobs into the singularity. Because singularities don't take up any space, you can run right through them. When the mob tries to follow, he is repelled, which frequently draws aggro from you. But this approach can be dangerous, because controllers aren't particularly sturdy, and inevitably some mobs will run around the singularities and you'll have your hands full staying alive instead of making the fight go faster.

Another facet of this is that you (and your teammates) can stand inside singularities. This gives you the benefit of their Repel effect and can make blasters almost melee-immune. The drawback of this is that singularities typically have a lot of aggro, and some of it is bound to be AOE and cone attacks. People standing inside a singularity will be hit by these area attacks as well, so it takes some experience and awareness to know when the singularities represent a shelter and when they represent a kill zone.

Buffing singularities with single target buffs can be difficult in group engagements, where the singularities have to compete with other heros and other pets for aggro. In general, a hero is a better target for a buff than a singularity. Buff your pets last - they're expendable, temporary, incapable of proaction and limited in reaction. A force multiplier is much better placed on a teammate who (in theory) can apply that extra force intelligently.

Finally, you should know your limits. It's a good idea to test the singularities out against higher level mobs to learn the thresholds for yourself. I think it's very important to know the capabilities and limitations of your powers so that you can handle unexpected situations. But don't risk debt. Turn stealth on, summon the singularity, and stand just out of range and watch it go. You'll be pleasantly surprised for a while, then as you ramp up the difficulty of the mobs you're facing, you'll learn that singularities are not indestructible. This is good to know.

Because singularities can tank so well, it's tempting to fight mobs that are just within their survivability threshold. This is a bad idea, because singularities are the inverse of fire imps. The imps are fragile, high-damage little savages and can "arrest" things efficiently far beyond their ability to tank those same things. Singularities can tank things far beyond their ability to "arrest" them efficiently. You'll get better xp "arresting" +1 - +3 mobs than you will "arresting" +4s and up. Just because you can "arrest" it, doesn't mean it's efficient.

There is a potential downside to singularities: they can make you lazy. Properly slotted, they handle aggro better than you, they do far more damage than you, and they do an adequate job of controlling when you're solo or fighting smaller groups. Because they're so effective at these three things, it can be easy to just coast along. When I'm tired from intense gameplay or just want to veg out or relax for a half hour before bed, I will often solo around FF, lazily dragging my sings around and letting them eat mobs. This is nice, but don't get too used to it. The first time you try this with a group, you'll find that they aren't as relaxed as you are about letting the singularities do all the work, and they'll take aggro. If the group of mobs is big enough, the singularities won't lock everything and suddenly there's aggro to manage and you haven't done your job. If your teammates are used to you locking everything down (as they should be), then they may get nasty surprises when they cut loose with AOEs or confidently walk into the middle of a group of angry melee mobs. Learn and know how the singularities play in different situations. If a teammate dies because you were letting the singularity do all the controlling, that's your fault, not his. He has a right to expect you to do your job.

Finally, you'll need to educate your teammates on how to deal with a singularity. Most people haven't seen them before. Even more people don't know what they do. Some expect them to be imps. Others haven't got a clue. Some people see them and never imagine that they're pets. I was in perhaps a dozen fights with one pick-up teammate before he said "What are those balls of light?" It's up to you to tell teammates what they are, what they do, how they can be useful and how to play with them.

6.0 Advanced Usage

Singularities almost replace the controller. They are many times better at tanking, much better at delivering damage, and better at single-target controlling. They lack only in AOE control, and the controller really only has to use one power to take care of that responsibility.

So singularities make the controller a better controller just because there is more control being tossed around. Singularities take a lot of responsibility off the controller's hands. They don't require babysitting the way imps and (to a lesser degree) phantasms do - they handle themselves fine and they keep a lot of mobs busy in the process. This gives the gravity controller the ability to stop worrying about just keeping the mobs locked down and take a little more time to think about the battle. I think of this as "meta-controlling."

A good controller needs a good situational awareness. This is no different with or without singularities. But because singularities reduce the gaps in control, the controller can focus more on the shape of the battle and making it more efficient. The controller can spend more time handing out buffs, healing, restoring endurance, locking down bosses who break loose, dealing with other groups of mobs that get accidentally aggro'd, helping out held/stunned teammates, managing aggro, watching for griefers, and managing the standard tasks involved in leading a group (giving advice, helping the blasters to contribute effectively instead of just soloing with other people in the team, etc).

Yes, controllers should always do these things. But unlike fire controllers, who have to focus on their pets, gravity controllers have the freedom to devote most of their attention to their teammates. Gravity controllers can spend time making the team more efficient and helping the team to reduce downtime.

Some suggest that a gravity controller should be spending his extra time spamming control and damage powers. The argument is that there is no such thing as too much control and damage. My response is that spamming control is a) overkill, b) not sufficiently damaging to compete even with your singularities, much less other ATs in the team, c) reduces your situational awareness by drawing your focus exclusively to the current fight, d) reduces your ability to respond to unexpected situations (e.g. accidental aggro) because your control may not be reset when the situations arrive, and e) wastes endurance that should be used on the next fight. The last point may not be an issue if your secondary makes you a walking endurance battery (empathy and kinetics), but I contend that the other points remain uncontestable.

A good meta-controller isn't worried about just managing the current fight - he's learning lessons from the last fight, applying those lessons to the current fight, managing the current fight, and planning the next fight, all while watching for the unexpected sniper, the panicked scrapper who drags a group of angry mobs through your group, or the mobs accidentally aggro'd by an overzealous fire imp.

7.0 Suggestions

Many thanks for increasing the speed of the singularity. It's still not fast, but any increase is better than what was. It still can't keep up with a fast-moving group of street sweepers, but it's better at keeping up with average-pace teams.

And thanks also for making the singularities easily targetable. This makes our lives so much better.

I am left with my remaining suggestion:

<ul type="square">[*] Provide a pet management window. I know that you're planning to add them to the team window, and that's a fine way of doing it, too. This may also address the above suggestion.[/list]

So that's my guide to the gravity pet. I plan to update it as I play through more levels and as you folks give me feedback. Many thanks to the very helpful folks from the Controller board who helped me think through some of my early thoughts on Singularities. The Controller community in general is a good group, and I've found Grav Controllers in particular to be some thoughtful, pleasant people.



A very nice and informative guide, definetly worth 5 stars



Another excellent guide!

I just wanted to mention a couple of things:

1) You did in fact mention that sings are targetable now. And now you can buff them, but another nifty little benifit from this was shown to me by Sidney Brewster (an accomplished grav/kinetic controller)- you can now teleport your sings! That's right if you or someone in your group has tp friend they can teleport your sings when it's time to use the elevator! How cool is that?!

2) Another thing that I have been asked about regarding the concealment line to lure your sings into position- yes you can use phase shift to do this. You can use phase shift with stealth/invisibility on so the mobs don't notice you at all until the sings attack or you can use it without stealth/invisibility on so the mobs agro you as soon as you get in agro range then the pets arrive. I've done both at different times.

Spines/ D A lvl 50 Scrap, stone/wm lvl 50 tank, Kat/reg lvl 50 Scrap
Grav/Kin lvl 50 Cont, Fire/Enegry lvl 50 Blast
Warshade lvl 50, PB lvl 39, nightwidow lvl 50, crab lvl 42
plant/thorns lvl 50 dom, ice/fire lvl 40 dom, grav/nrg lvl 41 dom



Beautifully done. Grinding it out pre 32 with my SG. This guide has just made me hungier to get my Sing's. To actually be able to kill more than 2 blues and a white... all by myself.



Another excellent guide!

I just wanted to mention a couple of things:

1) You did in fact mention that sings are targetable now. And now you can buff them, but another nifty little benifit from this was shown to me by Sidney Brewster (an accomplished grav/kinetic controller)- you can now teleport your sings! That's right if you or someone in your group has tp friend they can teleport your sings when it's time to use the elevator! How cool is that?!

2) Another thing that I have been asked about regarding the concealment line to lure your sings into position- yes you can use phase shift to do this. You can use phase shift with stealth/invisibility on so the mobs don't notice you at all until the sings attack or you can use it without stealth/invisibility on so the mobs agro you as soon as you get in agro range then the pets arrive. I've done both at different times.

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Actually, he did mention the teleport ability:

Another excellent option, now that singularities are targetable, is the teleport pool. Recall friend is now a credible way to get your singularities to travel with you and even bypass elevators and portals in indoor missions.

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An amazing guide - Makes me wish I had a Grav controller!



I had a mission a few days ago where a mob was completely stuck in the wall. I noticed my singularities were trying to get to the mob. So, I had a hunch that they knew where the mob was but didn't have line of sight to actually attack them. I targetted my pet to get a lock onto the mob and was able to wormhole the mob out of the wall. Although this applies to all pets, its was quite a handy combo singularity + wormhole.



Doh! So he did

Spines/ D A lvl 50 Scrap, stone/wm lvl 50 tank, Kat/reg lvl 50 Scrap
Grav/Kin lvl 50 Cont, Fire/Enegry lvl 50 Blast
Warshade lvl 50, PB lvl 39, nightwidow lvl 50, crab lvl 42
plant/thorns lvl 50 dom, ice/fire lvl 40 dom, grav/nrg lvl 41 dom



To actually be able to kill more than 2 blues and a white... all by myself

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You already can do that! Singularities, however, let you do so in a finite time.



OK, I spent a lot of time (oh, so much time!) fighting the Psychic Clockwork King a couple of weeks ago. He was capable of one-shotting me with his little psychic hurricane attack (1300+ dmg at lvl 42), but he wasn't doing much to the sings. So I spent some time watching and it looks like the singularities have 90% resistance to psychic damage type. Which makes sense, they're pretty mindless

I have since watched Carny illusionists do their thing to the sings, and they don't seem to do much damage at all with either Blind or Spectral Wounds. It comes in pretty handy, especially when I get held by one of those Master Illusionists. I've never been more grateful for the unique properties of the singularities than when I was in a tiny room with a MI and her minions, I got Flashed, and the Sings moved in, took aggro, absorbed all of her attacks like pros, killed her minions, and then locked her down and crushed her like a bug. It brought a little tear to my eye.



Excellent guide!



Outstanding, outstanding guide. I can't wait to get my sings!



Yep Sings seem to have 50% damage resistance to just about everything but they seem to take much less damage from Psi attacks.

I used them on the Hydra trial to take agro for the group while we attacked the Hydra and the tentacles. The hydra spit cut them down with no resistance but my sings were able to tank the hydra when it was time to use the particle cannons

I use them to open up boss and AV fights for the initial brunt of the agro and then between them and my holds i can get a lock down shortly there after. A sing with bubbles is nearly unstoppable.

They are also great to pull agro off a teammate if your timer is up. Just cast them right on the teammate and they clear him off and good chance of taking agro from the mobs.

They can see things stuck in walls so assisting them and using wormhole can really find those hidden mobs.



Hopefully this will be fixed soon, but there is an outdoor Carnival map that has some serious teleport problems. Any pets that try to go into the central tent area get teleported off to the side, as do several of the enemies. (We even had one enemy somehow bounce OUTSIDE the blue barrier!)

You can spot this map because one of the tents has a SUPER-HUGE banner. I think it's about 10 times larger than it should be and is far larger than the tent itself. If you see it, be ready for your pets to get shoved out to the side streets.



it's the mission right after train/faunton park.

it's not just the sings, all pets will have that problem, i think.



Since you asked for it, the possible damage types are:
Negative Energy

Technically there is an eighth damage type in the game, falling damage (no resistance to it available, but can't kill you), but I doubt it matters for the purposes of this guide.
There is no electrical damage type, it is energy. The Devs have mentioned this might change, but I'm not holding my breath.
What they have promised WILL change is there will be a Poison/Corrossive type (Poison for say Spines (lethal currently), Corrosive for say Vhazilok spit (fire currently)). What it will be called and what will change to it and what defenses will resist it yet to be announced, or likely even determined.



Here is a question. My SG is slowly but surely getting to the "hamidon" levels - with peeople building alts specifically for taking hamidon etc. My current is an illusion/kinetic - but with the quick glut of fire controllers and the other illuion controllers - I figured we needed a real controller - so I rolled a grav/storm. I'm curious to their affect on hamidon - and more importantly - their defense against him - I've read that he does *unavailable* damage - and was curious if anyone knew if the sings would possibly be resistant to it - if so I may go the 4 sings route for tanking purposes - since I heard he 4 shots tankers since he tears thru their buffs.

Also from experiance with my ill/kin - phants will often play the aggressor and move in front of you to attack - or ocntinue attacking - however phants don't follow your path - they do what they want - but sings on the other hand will stick to your path - so does that mean if I wanted a wall I'd have to move foward and then backwards?



I don't play a grav controller, but I can answer the question you had about Tornado. Basically, you know it'll cause havoc against roaming mobs by throwing and disorienting them, but against crowd controlled ones, it becomes a major damage-dealer.

A tight-packed group of minions sitting under a freezing rain will probably be killed just by the DoT of Tornado, assuming they have some gravity control that raises their magnitude to be knocked up. As a storm defender, I know that I was able to slaughter purple Rularuu portals back when they were "invading" using Tornado, because those portals would get hit over and over again by the damage component.



Great guide- It's convinced me to pick back up the Grav/FF controller I made when I bought the game....

Does anyone have experience with Singularities and Group Fly or Group Teleport? Are these viable solutions to keeping them with you? Long recharge time, so it seems like a pain to leave them behind....

I have to believe that this was the original intention of Fold Space- Getting your Singularities to you without the targetting problems.... Of course, it probably didn't work.



Singularities already fly. I don't know if group fly would help them or maybe slow you enough to keep you back with them. &lt;shrug&gt; Teleport Friend might be the better way to do this, especially when (if?) we get pets in our team windows.

Honestly, the slow singularities really do not bother me much at all. It's only a factor when you are hunting outdoors for particular enemies. Singularity speed almost never matters in indoor missions or outdoors when you are going after every spawn.

If they make a change to singularities (and pets in general) then I think I would rather have a dismiss option. I wouldn't use that much but I do want it at times and it sure seems silly that I can summon them up but can't get them to go away!

Singularities kinda follow you but not exactly. Plus sometimes they get a burr up their...ummm... well, whatever they have and go rushing off after an enemy. Getting them to make a wall takes some doing. It might even be easier to move the battle to the wall than to get the singularities to line up where you like them. (Again, though, teleport friend can be a help there.)

By the way, some of you may have seen the sheets of ice in certain missions lately. Wouldn't it be great if there was a large, slanted sheet of ice in a valley somewhere? We could strategically place singularities on the ice (with controller hovering above), put a few force blasters who have invested heavily in knockback SO's at the bottom, then drop a big tank smasher at the top of the ice and play pinball with him!!!

Hmmm.... or maybe it's just getting too far past my bedtime...



This guide is superb.

I wanna know if Group Fly would be helpful for these guys or no. If anyone's tried this, please post.




Who are you trying to help? Sings already fly, are you trying to help them fly faster?

Spines/ D A lvl 50 Scrap, stone/wm lvl 50 tank, Kat/reg lvl 50 Scrap
Grav/Kin lvl 50 Cont, Fire/Enegry lvl 50 Blast
Warshade lvl 50, PB lvl 39, nightwidow lvl 50, crab lvl 42
plant/thorns lvl 50 dom, ice/fire lvl 40 dom, grav/nrg lvl 41 dom



Superb, answered all the questions I had, MANY thanks for this great work.



Radiation: Another excellent secondary for singularities. Accelerate Metabolism can free up enhancement slots for damage, and Enervating Field can debuff the enemy resistances, which further magnifies singularity damage. Acc Met also has a nice fringe benefit of speeding up the singularities and boosting their damage. Choking Cloud may also find some application as a tool to supplement the singularity control: on its own, it's not worth much, but coupled with 3-4 single target controllers, it might relegate GDF to an emergency tool. Have any high level Grav/Rads out there gone against the grain and tried this out?

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Excellent guide!!

Since you asked about this, and I'm somewhat knowledgable about it, I figured I'd chime in with my nonsense.

Choking Cloud rocks with Sings. I wouldn't go so far as to say that GDF has been relegated to an "emergency tool," but I do find myself using it less and less in solo situations and occasionally in teams.
When using choking cloud you have to realize that it's a PBAoE and you have to be in the middle of the mob in order for it to work... this can be dangerous for us squishy controller folk. The key involves utilizing the tanking abilities of Sings before trying to jump in the mob. My CC strategy is simple: SS thru the mob that way the Sings follow and grab aggro directly. After they have the baddies attention, run into the group with Choking Cloud running. I've rarely ever been aggroed on using this method.. as Sings do an amazing job of tanking.
That method only works solo though. In team situations, the tanks and scrappers have already got the aggro, so jumping in with CC isn't too much of an issue... the added melee holds are quite welcome and the Sings do an excellent job of locking down the ones that CC tends to miss.

To get the best use of of CC 2 or 3 hold SOs are needed. While I personally love this power, I will admit that it's not the world's greatest power on it's own. Used with Singularities and some occasional lingering radiation it can be a very effective tool.



With issue 3 changes to team teleport, the grav controller-tanker will be born!

A group of singies team teleported with you into a battle (just towards the edge) gets them in aggro range of everything. In fact, because they take up no space, they share the exact same location as you once you teleport them. Neat huh? Makes them very easy to position. And more imporantly, it sets them up for full Fulcrum Shift buffage. This takes practice so you can tp in at the right distance not to cause a repel issue, but it is completely doable.

AOE is still a problem, so feel free to take a few steps back and just move in for the Siphon Power buffing you have to do.

This tactic might look a little suicidal. But as long as you are careful you can get awesome tactical positioning out of it. You can select a mob to target, then throw team teleport, click on your aoe hold as you teleport in, and you arrive just in time to hold the mobs. Or take another controller with you and let them do it with their faster activation time!

And bring the blasters with you, they'll love the FULL fulcrum shift buff. Warn them what's about to happen so they don't run away from the buff aoe. Or die of fright for that matter.

The tanks and scrappers might find this tactic a little annoying if they stand too close. Be warned.

Other warnings: This tactic doesn't work well with concealment pool powers. You lose your stealthy attribute when the singies attack. Also invisibility and phase shift will prevent you from bringing your pets with you.

Don't freak out too much if a boss gets a hold on you. Your singies are immune to those, and they hate it when someone is mean to you.

Put team teleport on an accessible keaybind so you can move in quickly. And be ready to use it if things go badly.

Take SOMETHING to improve your defense. I used maneuvers. Be a little bit calm and don't try to aggro the world. I have not tried to use this tactic in combination with any application of crushing field, which I fear would cause massive pavement consumption through its aggro-generation.



Yep, it works all right! One group teleport and you're hovering in the center of your singularities! Assuming you have the stamina, this will make Teleporters able to move long (or at least medium) distances without leaving their pets behind, too. For teleporters, that will put an end to the outdoor hunting problem where you skip a few spawns and your pets go and train the skipped spawns right into you.

Can people turn on the prompt-for-teleport option so they can refuse team teleports? I don't have Kinetics so our squishies will not appreciate popping into the middle of things.

This could work very nicely with the Hibernate epic power, btw. Pop in, maybe toss up a lightning storm, then hunker down under the ice. When you're ready to go, start a personal teleport then turn off the hibernate.

I'm almost tempted to give up the leaping pool to take it!