Winterseed's Guide to Plant/Ice Dominators




Professor Winterseed's Guide to Plant/Ice Dominators

Welcome to a brief guide on life as a Plant/Ice Dom. I’d like to thank, first, everyone who made this possible – from the outstanding heroes and villains of Triumph and Virtue (Victor Nefarious, Xirella, Arc’, Jules Garred and others) – to the people who helped me test those more interesting aspects of COV, such as “how many mobs *can* you fit in a room before your graphics card ignites,” and “how long can a Dominator tank Infernal.” (2.1 seconds.)

Thanks also to my Giant Fly Trap, Daisy, who’ll be helping me with this guide.

(A separate section on IOs will be added a little later.)

Table of Contents:<ul type="square">[*]Playing a Dominator, or: “Blastroller! Contraster! Let Your Powers Combine!” [*]Domination: Not Your Nuke[*]The Plant/Ice Dominator: Let’s Get Specific.
[*]Primary: Don’t Feed the Plants (They’ll Feed Themselves)
[*](Strangler) Accuracy And You: Or, How *Did* You Miss That Gigantic Robot?[*](Seeds of Confusion) Experience and Experiencing Its Lack[*](Seeds of Confusion) Know your Hero Infestation![*](Fly Trap) Why Can’t You Be More Like (Mastermind) Mike?[*](Fly Trap) Wet Blanket Time[*]Secondary: That Cold, Cold Heart of Yours (Please Stop The Hitting)[*](Ice Bolt) Side Notes on Slotting Your Secondary[*](Power Boost) Magnitude: Why That Hero PWNd j00.
[*]Travel Powers and You: Commuting, Rogue Isles Style.[*]Recommended Power Pools[*]Sample Build: Professor Winterseed
Playing a Dominator, or: “Blastroller! Contraster! Let Your Powers Combine!”

Congratulations: you’re the envy of Controllers and the Blaster’s dream. Effortless mastery of the battlefield with the firepower to cut down anything in your path… right? Well, sort of. You do have a good offense, just like those gin-swigging depressed Controllers in Pocket D keep asking you about; but you don’t have the heart to tell them that instead of Controller-duration effects and Blaster-level damage, it’s close to the reverse.

The Good: <ul type="square">[*]Strong controls, over time[*]Good team contribution[*]Safe soloing, if careful[*]Control *and* damage[/list]
The Bad:<ul type="square">[*]Poor AOE lockdown, compared to Controllers[*]Endurance issues[*]Sub-par damage for an “assault” secondary[*]Low HP[/list]
Your primary powers don’t last as long as a full-blown Controller, which means you’ll need to cycle more powers to achieve the kind of lockdown you want: equally, your secondary doesn’t offer the synergies that the Defender sets often provide (such as Storm’s Freezing Rain, Dark’s Fearsome Stare, or TA’s Glue Arrow, and etc.). Added to this, your offense isn’t going to be amazing even after SOs – it’s a long-running gripe that Dominators need to be given some additional punch as an “assault” class. Adding insult to injury, your powers are also endurance-intensive which, combined with needing to cycle them multiple times to knock out your foe, can be a real headache.

Daisy Sez: Rrrrrgh! (crunch, crunch, spit)

Right, Daisy. It sounds pretty dire, doesn’t it? Well here’s the good news: you’re not a Controller or a Blaster, sure, but you don’t need to be. Your talents are invaluable in a team, and pretty strong solo as well: your damage isn’t amazing, but it’s a lot better than it sounds on first read. Your primary is a major source of damage mitigation in COV and you’ll never be second-fiddle on a team, especially in the higher levels; and your attacks will definitely let your team knock out their targets that vital bit faster. Solo, use your head and there’s nothing you can’t handle, given a little time – from Freak Tanks to Carnie Ringmistresses, the world is your evil oyster.

Be aware of the drawbacks of the Archetype and you’ll find it a lot easier and more enjoyable to work within those limits – and admit it, haven’t you always wished you could Strangle, Freeze, Crush or Terrify those Longbow while also being the one cutting them down?

Domination: Not Your Nuke

You know how blasters jump in now and then and annihilate everything in one massive wave, then say “I’ve been waiting all mission for a good moment to let loose?” Right. Don’t treat Domination that way. The temptation is to think of the power as a panic button or boost for only tough fights; this is a good way to slow yourself down, decrease your damage and controls, and probably to have less fun (which we should avoid at all costs).

Domination, especially on a team, but even solo, recharges quickly. It’s an effect that last 90 seconds, and recharges in 200; so without any other factors, solo, you could have Domination up almost half the time.

It does make sense to look for some strategic situations to pop Domination, or to wait up if you think it’s close to the end of the task and you need to Hold that boss first-off; but spend some time using domination to push through medium-tough fights or just refill your Endurance bar, and see how it feels for you. All in all, you’re not “losing out” by using it – much like saving BuildUp or Aim or Enrages only for the end of a mission doesn’t “save” you anything at all.

**Note also that Invention Enhancement Set bonuses – global recharge – will let you recharge Domination faster. For more math on this, see Brev’s guide to Perma-Dom. Yes, it’s possible, just very pricey and requires a very specific build.**

The Plant/Ice Dominator: Let’s Get Specific.

Your primary is beautiful to watch and effects in general are easy to identify even in the biggest battles. You have a good hold with a bonus to accuracy and a great deal of AOE control, including Carrion Creepers, an AOE pet/effect unique to Plants. You can enjoy a good taste of Mind Control’s last power, Mass Confusion, at level 8 – being green was never this easy. It’s a powerset with amusing flavor, if you enjoy concept and bios, as well as a surprising degree of versatility.

Your secondary allows some good AOE and reasonable damage, with the nice effect of slowing movement of your targets, and that lovely –recharge effect. Each secondary offers a Build-Up/Aim-style click power to make your other abilities a bit better: for Ice, you get to enjoy the lovely Power Boost, which can help you make your AOE Hold much more effective, as well as perhaps tossing out a few single-target Holds that will last half of forever. And of course, you can simply boost the Slow effects of your attacks on that Elite Boss or Freedom Phalanx foe tormenting your team.

Between the hard control (holds) and soft control (creepers, confuse) in your little hothouse of horrors and the debuff, effects-boost and AOE damage of your cold, chillingly lethal weaponry, you’ll never be at a loss to cripple your enemies.

It is critical that you pay attention at this time.

Gaming in Limited Times
Guide to Plant/Ice Doms



Primary: Don’t Feed the Plants (They’ll Feed Themselves)

It’s customary to break down the powers one by one, and reading someone else’s opinions is sometimes half the fun. Without further ado….

<ul type="square">[*]Strangler[/list]Take it as your first power; this is the mainstay of your primary, the basic hold. As a Plant Dominator, you’re indulged by this power. The graphics are a treat and make it easy to see what is and is not safely locked down (as opposed to Mind or Gravity Control, for example). Even more important, Strangler has a nice bonus to accuracy. While I’ve seen it listed as both 1.1 and 1.2 (vs. the normal 1.0), I can testify that one ACC SO is sufficient to handle red-con LTs and minions reliably.

Accuracy And You: Or, How *Did* You Miss That Gigantic Robot?
As a fast side note, to find the effective accuracy of a power, take the “1.x” and multiple by 75% for an even-con enemy; moving up the scale, that 75% decreases to 70% (yellow-con), 65%-ish (orange-con) and then fades in larger increments. So, “1.2” for Strangler means 75% + 15% for an even-con (90%), and so on.

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Daisy Sez: Like most plants, they need ground to grow on, so don’t expect them to take care of fliers too far off the ground. They won’t pluck anyone out of the air alone.

Also, Strangler Vines are stringy. Sometimes they get stuck in my teeth when I take bites out of whatever the Professor is Holding. That’s why I stay out of melee range. And they hog the fertilizer, too.

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Thank for that insightful comment, Daisy. And we’ll be taking more about your habits later.

<ul type="square">[*]Entangle[/list]A single-target immobilize with a minimal DoT: you’re not going to get a lot of mileage out of this one. Early on (pre-12), sometimes keeping an enemy out of melee range is useful enough to justify using this power. It has a fairly quick activation and may have some form of accuracy bonus, since it hits reliably – but let’s face it, immobilize is never going to have its poster above someone’s bed.

Now, unlike Strangler, Entangle has a –Fly component. Hooray? Well, not so much. Unlike Chillblain or Ring of Fire, you don’t get to drop that Longbow Eagle out of the sky because if the target is too high off the ground, the power has no effect. –Fly? Go figure.

Daisy Sez: Entangle is a great way to build Containment and one of –

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Wrong guide, Daze, wrong guide. Moving on.

<ul type="square">[*]Roots[/list]Entagle’s AOE brother. Now, here’s one of those times when a power’s usefulessness is subject to your style. Roots is never, never going to be a good way to “open” a fight, but it has a possible place with Seeds of Confusion. (See below). It’s a possible way to keep Confused enemies clustered together, hitting each other, rather than running around.

On the down side, it’s an endurance hog and an amazing aggro magnet, and negates the KnockDown of Creepers (see below-er). This is best seen as a power to make you “win more” when everything is already great. It’s always made more sense to me to go for a power that can save your poor skull from being used as an ashtray, rather than adding extra shine to a victory.

Roots also has a hefty ACC penalty (80% modifier): You’ll need two SOs to hit a group reliably: expect to miss one or two anyway.

<ul type="square">[*]Spore Cloud[/list]
An AOE sleep with a slightly-too-long animation and a short range (think “Web Grenade meets Alkaloid” for the gesture, with the range of, say, Flash Freeze or Beanbag). If you’re using this, they’re already shooting because you’re fairly close. Also, enemies will aggro on the wind-up, before you throw your little ball of soporofic spores, making this a chancy means of control.

Adding to the negative column, the graphics for the effect are not very visible, and the duration vs recharge is too-short-meets-too-long. Plus, it’s a sleep. Easily broken in a pickup group, or by Mastermind pets in general. If you have room in your build, it’s a reasonable emergency power; and if you have a regular partner or two in your villainy, you may see good results after you agree on tactics. Still, chances are you have something else do pick.

Daisy Sez: What are you a Professor of, anyway? Besides, you always try to Sleep the enemies I’m throwing thorns at.

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You want to be written out of this guide? No? Hmm? Good.

<ul type="square">[*]Seeds of Confusion[/list]
The jewel of the set, but not the only jewel. Seeds is going to be a staple of your life, from 8-50, just don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s the only thing Plants has to offer. An AOE cone Confuse, capable of hitting 10 targets within its range (as opposed to 16 for Mass Confusion), Seeds causes aggro from enemies you miss, and from the enemies that eventually shake off your dosage of hallucinogens.

Seeds has a long and very wide cone; experiment for yourself to get a feel for the range. Even in the late thirties, I’m still pleasantly surprised at how many enemies I can Confuse with a blind toss when things go south; unlike the cone of FrostBreath and such, it’s more of a giant, long arc.

Seeds, unlike most AOE powers, has no accuracy penalty and has a rather nice duration/recharge. You will almost never need to use Power Boost (see below) with Seeds, even on high-con enemies: yes, it’s that good.

As a soloist, Seeds will be key to pumping out the damage you’re looking for, in combination with your AOE and some single-target attacks. I’d like to address build-ideas later, but in essence, Confuse both keeps the damage off of you while letting the enemies whittle each other down, in addition to grouping them nicely into a clump … perfect test-subjects for that Ice Sword Circle and Frost Breath combo you’re always refining.

Experience and Experiencing Its Lack
Most people in COV are glad for the soft-control aspect and the decrease of fire coming their way, so the “less exp” issue doesn’t often raise its head. Summing it all up, your experience for defeating a foe is based on the damage you do to the target. Confused mobs damaging your target detracts from your overall reward, since you and your team didn’t do 100% of the damage: ergo some gripes on rare occasions. The trick is 1) you mow through spawns more quickly with Confuse effects, resulting in more experience over time, if slightly less for any single encounter, and 2) any damage a Confused enemy does is counted at a significant reduction when experience is doled out (e.g., 50% damage done, and 50% by a confused pet, still nets you over 80% of the total experience reward). ...In short? Don’t worry about it. Even solo, you’ll do just fine.

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As a team player, Seeds is one possible “opening move” against a large spawn, though risky in the later levels, or against high-con enemies (there’s nothing like catching a volley of werewolf-thrown rocks to make you want the Brute to go first). A compromise is to let any melee types start their charge and open with Seeds as the spawn starts to see them. Equally, and this applies to solo tactics, though with more caveats, Stealth is a useful investment go get a little closer and slap leather.

Despite Seeds’ lack of an ACC penalty, you’ll likely want 2 ACC SOs in this power because 1) you’ll be using it on a large number of enemies at once, which means rolling the dice for each target and you need to keep the odds firmly on your side, and 2) when you use it, you really don’t want to miss. Slotting is open to your preference: some prefer one ACC SO, some drop one Confuse Duration in, others go for two; likewise for recharge. I find that 2 Acc, 2 Duration and 2 Recharge makes me happiest.

*Warning: Not a Remedy for All Situations. Know your Hero Infestation!
Throughout COV, there are enemies resistant to Confuse, either with inherent abilities that shorten its duration, or requiring two doses to succumb to its effects. These enemies are almost always Lieutenants, such as Anathema or Fortunatas (two applications); Longbow Nullifiers (shorter duration), or Wardens (who reduce the duration on the troops around them, thanks to inherent Leadership powers, curses be upon them). It’s also surprisingly hard to confuse Rikti Drones (insane defense) and Nemesis Army soldiers, as the latter activate Vengeance on the death of a comrade, which is a pain in the flora. Learn which foes you’ll need to take additional measures with.

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<ul type="square">[*]Spirit Tree[/list]Triage Beacon for the Plant set. Nothing wrong with it at all; just a rather long recharge, and you’ll likely need the slots you could put in this for one of your more offensive powers – or perhaps there’s another power you want more.

I see this primarily as a team power for long fights. Plant a tree near the Brute’s clump of baddies, or in the middle of the Mastermind’s forces. +Regen is always welcome; just don’t expect it to let you tank.

It’s a good feeling to contribute to a group with this, but recognize that it won’t turn a bunch of red health bars green suddenly and that fights are often mobile affairs that can ebb and flow out of range of your cheerful sapling’s effects.

Daisy Sez: Great with the Treehugger Badge!

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<ul type="square">[*]Vines[/list]Your AOE Hold. Terrible duration, accuracy penalty, long, long recharge. Expect to use this power once a mission, or twice if the task is a very long one. Unlike many other AOE Holds, Vines does no damage at all.

Daisy Sez: There are some who write off the power as “don’t bother;” Controllers see more effectiveness from their AOE Holds after all, and if you peruse the forums, you’ll see that there’s already a lot of discontent from their corner about their (superior to your) duration and recharge for these powers. ….Yes, I lurk on the forums. On the Internet, no one knows you’re a maneating scientific monstrosity! Sweet, sweet…

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I’d like to state for the record that I know nothing about those “Student Vanishes After Blind Date” headlines. I like to give Daisy her privacy.

Vines is best seen as a panic button or end-of-mission switchblade. It’s good for stacking magnitude of Holds on a boss or set of bosses in a tough group, but it’s a rare occasion that you’re going to use it. If you have your heart set on something else, that’s fine: just remember one thing…. With your Ice Secondary, you can make Vines the Ace up your sleeve.

Power Boost (see below, again) lets you add to the duration of the Hold Effect, starting at +100% with an additional 1% per level of your Dominator. This turns Vines into something rather worthwhile – if you stack this with Domination (and heck, you should), then Vines can last an entire battle.

The slotting I’d recommend is 2 ACC and 2 Recharge. This way, you’re overcoming the accuracy penalty (standard -20%) and it’s definitely up for use once each mission, even if you’re blowing through paper jobs. Honestly, though, and I never thought I’d say this about any power, you could consider a third accuracy SO… because if you’re using Vines, you’re almost certain to be facing high-con enemies, and you need it to hit as many as possible while overcoming that built-in accuracy penalty. It feels insane, but it’s been a nagging desire since level 18.

Note that I don’t suggest putting in an Hold Duration SOs. Power Boost will take care of that for you, and you can use that two or three slots better somewhere else. Equally, the recharge is just so long that a third Recharge SO won’t bring this up any sooner to really make a difference in how you use it. (Do you really care about, say, a 9-minute recharge versus the full 10-minutes? Numbers not to scale, but you get the idea.)

<ul type="square">[*]Carrion Creepers[/list]The second real jewel of the set, Creepers summons a series of gigantic vines at a targetted location. These malevolent tendrils do little damage, but they sure attract attention, letting your team move in. The Creepers take the alpha just fine, and there’s something terribly, terribly satisfying about seeing your targets flail in panic at the Tendrils of Doom. (Doom!)

Creepers will Slow enemies in the patch where you summon them (no to-hit check) and KnockDown your foes when they swing and connect. They’re fairly resilient and toss Roots occasionally, keeping everything immobilized (the KnockDown still seems to happen despite this). Long recharge, good duration – and the creepers often “follow you,” sprouting from the ground at the next group you get close enough to, again producing the Slow effect.

There’s some debate about what governs how many of those fantastic ferns you get when you use this power. The number of enemies in the targetted ground patch matters, for sure; there’s a rough concensus that ACC in the power seems to help increase the number of Creepers, but it’s very hard to test. Thankfully, you’d slot this for ACC anyways, to make sure the ferns can KD the heroes you’re villainizing, so the debate won’t keep you up nights.

With sufficient recharge, you can toss these out perhaps twice a mission. Take 2 ACC, 2-3 Recharge, and call me in the morning.

<ul type="square">[*]Giant Fly Trap[/list][ QUOTE ]
Daisy Sez: Finally! It’s all about me, me, me!

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The good and ugly, with some of the bad thrown in for good measure. Your Fly Trap is a cheerful beast, best fed regularly and at a distance, because it’s quite enthusiastic about feeding time. More than one Plant Dominator has come to a sticky end thanks to the puppy-like enthusiasm of a carnivorous two-ton plant at dinner time. (In memoriam, Dr. Myopia.)

Daisy Sez: You didn’t mention I’m lovable and need affection.

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You keep saying that, but you just want my readers to get a little closer.

Daisy Sez: I can’t get no… satisfaction… mmm…

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Not helping.

Daisy, err, your Fly Trap, follows you well, does moderate damage with thrown thorns (lethal/minor toxic) and tosses Entangle seeds at her targets. Her melee bite is quite impressive (lethal damage), but she doesn’t often get close. She can stand up to a few melee hits, which improves your survivability, and any added damage output helps you to push ahead.

Note that your pet will need slotting to be really useful. Fresh out of the cage, your plant is still learning the ropes, so be patient with her.

Why Can’t You Be More Like (Mastermind) Mike?
You’ll never have the level of control over your pet that the scruffy guy with the gangsters seems to, or that Clockwork refugee with its Robot pals. Daisy, as noted, has issues with melee, and if you’re stealthing up to a group to Confuse them, she may decide to throw a preemptive volley of thorns. This is one good reason not to lead from the front in large teams, unless you’re careful. And yes, she does not do well with Sleeps.[/b]

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Wet Blanket Time
Your damage issues are not solved. You will still get debt when things go wrong; your pet will not taunt the Freak Tank off of you. The Fly Trap is a good tool, but Magic Level 32, contrary to outsider rumor regarding pets, won’t “change your life.” Daisy’s effects are hard to see, adding to some feelings that she’s not doing much; her reluctance to close for melee also severely curtail her damage.

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It is critical that you pay attention at this time.

Gaming in Limited Times
Guide to Plant/Ice Doms



Secondary: That Cold, Cold Heart of Yours (Please Stop The Hitting)
Ice offers a mix of ranged and melee attacks, with its AOE potential spread out over both – as with most Dominator secondaries. You have a choice to focus on melee, ranged or a combination of the two – while it’s not an immediate make or break decision, have a plan about which strategy feels right for you, and for how you view your character. It won’t be until the late 30s, when you unlock Ice’s third melee or third single-target blast (Greater Ice Sword and Bitter Ice Blast, 35 and 38), that you’re able to make a really good attack chain for either pure melee or pure ranged. I’ve had the best mileage mixing the two, but there’s no reason you have to: pure ranged is safer, and pure melee is faster but brings more debt.

<ul type="square">[*]Ice Bolt[/list]Initial, and no-choice power; moderate (low) damage, with a reasonable recharge and the –speed/-recharge that defines the set. As with all Dominator attacks, you’ll find that the damage-to-endurance ratio is not ideal.

Unlike, say, Flares from the /Fire set, Ice Bolt is useful and there’s a good chance you’ll be using it as part of your attack chain for a long time, if not until 50. If you prefer to be ranged and shun melee, this is the power besides Strangler that you’re likely to use the most. It’s also possible in much later levels to drop slots from this power and to focus on Ice Blast, Frost Breath and Bitter Ice Blast, to develop a more effective attack chain.

Side Notes on Slotting Your Secondary
For single-target attacks, I strongly suggest 1 ACC, 3 DAM, 1 Rech --- and then one EndRed. Even with a three-slotted SO’d Stamina, you’re going to be needing the help with that blue bar. Adding a second Recharge will only drain you faster. Adding a second ACC is worth thinking about, if you’re always facing high-cons, but you’re better off dropping the Recharge than the EndRed, if you go that path. (For one thing: if they’re higher level, you’ll need *even more* uses of a power to kill it, which adds to Endurance issues….)

For AOE attacks: 2 ACC, 3 DAM. If you have space in your build, sure, drop in a Rech or an EndRed. Why 2 ACC? As with Seeds, you’re rolling the dice on more targets, so get the best chance you can to hit all of them. Above, I’ve just noted the inportance of EndRed, so why am I not demanding a slot for it here? Because you won’t be using your AOEs more than once a fight, generally: EndRed nets you less gain here, even if your AOEs do take more End per use. Equally, you can get by with or without a Recharge SO. Do which you want, or neither: this is more “your way, my way” than “agree now or respec later.”

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<ul type="square">[*] Ice Sword [/list]Here’s what I would have said, a month ago:

This power poses something of a conundrum. I’ve taken and respecced out of this one twice, and I’m not sold either way. It’s nice to have an additional single-target option – breaking down vault doors and trying to whittle down that held LT solo both spring to mind as immediate examples. On the downside, where other sets have a strong melee attack in the second spot, Ice Sword seems to lacks punch while recharging somewhat slowly. I also have reservations about taking a power that’s most useful only solo: rushing into melee range in a team means taking on dangerous-con enemies, and should be done for a good reason, with a fast entry and exit. I’ve never felt Ice Sword’s damage outweighs the extra delay within reach of fangs, claws and all that.

Perhaps the best argument for this power is that if you don’t take it, you have to choose Roots or Entangle which are both losers, really. Ouch.

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After some more checking into the power, I have to change my tune. If you lack a good melee punch that recharges regularly, you’re cutting down on your damage; Ice Sword is a power I now use most often after the target is Held, to stand and slice. It’s worth it and worth the slots. On teams, though, I find myself sticking to ranged and occasionally Ice Sword Circles, as below, when the mobs are contained.

<ul type="square">[*] Ice Sword Circle [/list]In an earlier issue, Circle was essentially a “kill me now” power, because that’s how you felt waiting for the animation to end, and because that’s what it did. Fortunately, the activation is much briefer now, without the pause and inability to use powers for a second or two post-use, making Circle worth considering.

The damage here is comparable to that of Ice Blast and is PBAOE (point blank or player based, take your pick); it has a relatively short range and a slow recharge, meaning that you’ll need to be surrounded to make the most use of it, and you’ll want to make sure your positioning is good since you won’t get a second swing for a while.

Daisy Sez: Why take a PBAOE? Because Seeds of Confusion makes it worthwhile. Your enemies will tend to clump up as they turn on each other, grouping nicely. Also, delivering damage to as many targets as possible makes sure that you get the greatest experience reward you can for the defeat of each foe finished off by his Confused allies. Plus, it looks nifty.

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Recommended if you’re okay with dipping into melee: it’s a fast-activating damage spike that can really help move things along.. Remember, though, as with ANY AOE power, don’t lead off with it, don’t use it if you’re going to get creamed in return, and don’t lead off with it.

<ul type="square">[*]Ice Blast[/list]Your new best friend: more bite than its smaller level-one cousin, with a longer recharge and a higher endurance cost. Its –speed effect combines nicely with that of Ice Bolt, and is quite noticeable. I found that in earlier levels, primarily in solo situations, the doubled -Runspeed will let you toss a Strangler at one enemy and slow the advance of another long enough for your Hold to recharge.

A good solid attack, and nothing ill to say about it, save for the usual caveat that you’ll always wish that your AT had a bit more punch for the effort.

<ul type="square">[*] Power Boost [/list]Your gem, prize and joy. Power Boost has an approximately 7-second duration (which is less uses per activation than you’d think, but more than the usually-planned-for one-shot) and recharges in 90 seconds.

While Domination will boost the magnitude and duration of your abilities (and your damge), Power Boost will only boost the duration and the magnitude of the secondary effect, if any. For you, this means that your Ice attacks will slow the movement speed and recharge of your targets a good deal more (as noted above, an increase in effectiveness of 100% + 1% per level); your Holds and Confuses, plus Immobilizes will also last longer.

The immediate and obvious use, as above, is with Vines. However, Boost can make Seeds of Confusion’s duration impressively long in the pre-SO levels – and frankly disgusting later on, if you just want to sit a fight out and make popcorn.

Magnitude: Why That Hero PWNd j00.

Daisy Sez:
Okay, the Professor is alwys talking about effects and magnitude and whatnot, so let’s do a fast recap. Magnitude defines what rank (Minion, LT, Boss) of enemy your Hold or Sleep or Immobilize or Disorient affects. [p]

Mag 1 is minion-only (Dark Pit is a Mag-1 Disorient, for example); Mag 2 is your average Hold (Strangler, Char, Block of Ice are all examples; Beanbag is a Mag-2 Disorient); Mag 4 is Boss-level (Total Focus is a Mag-4 Disorient). Magnitudes stack against an enemy, so you throw two Holds at a boss, he’s done; likewise, two Dark/Dark Defenders (what are the chances?) toss a Dark Pit at a LT and he’s doing the unsteady shuffle alongside his lackeys. But it would take four Dark/Dark Defenders (the entire population of some servers) to stagger a Boss.

Daisy Sez More: So, Power Boost doesn’t touch the Magnitude of a power, just its duration and the effectiveness of any random other debuffs/buffs on the ability. That Hold is still Mag-2 when Power Boosted, but it lasts longer and if it has, for example, a Defence Debuff – why, that Debuff is also twice as strong (e.g., taking off 10% instead of 5%). Things buffed under Power Boost include –SPD, -RECH, -ACC, End Drain, Knockback – plus Defense Buffs and ToHit Buffs, but never –DAM or +DAM.

Daisy Finishes: So, PowerBoost plus Forcefields is very nice, and the +ACC of Aim or Build Up is boosted too, but you can’t increase the -RES from Sonic Siphon or the +RES from, say, Temporary Invulnerability or the RES (Toxic) from something like Dull Pain. From everything I’ve seen (and hey, we plants get around), offensive toggles such as Radiation Infection or Darkest Night are not affected by Power Boost. There are plenty of weird interactions and odd exceptions, but you won’t have to know about them 99% of the time.

[/ QUOTE ]

<ul type="square">[*]Frost Breath[/list]Cone AOE cold damage in two hits over about 2 full seconds (from animation to last tick of damage). You can catch a good number of targets in this cone, but placement is key; it’s fairly narrow and only moderately long.

If you have ISC, this makes a good addition to your AOEs post-AOE Hold/Confuse. If you lack ISc, you should take this to speed up your Exp/Kill progress; you will want at least one AOE, with Plant/. Frost Breath is pretty useful, even if it’s not enough damage or area to be an “I win” button.

<ul type="square">[*]Chilling Embrace[/list]PBAOE slow movement / -recharge aura. No. Just no. It combo’s badly with Seeds (the enemies will fight each other more slowly, making you do more of the work); it aggro’s any non-controlled-target you dip into melee reach of; it won’t stop a target from running up and smiting you. When did you last see a non-Tank with CE? And did you think it was a good idea, for him?

<ul type="square">[*]Greater Ice Sword [/list]Crunch. It’s big, it’s damaging, and it takes longer than you’d like to recharge: if you feel up for some melee vengeance, go for it. Single-foe-lethal/cold carnage. The bad news is that for all that it’s a “Greater” sword, it only does 20% more than the normal version, for a larger End and Recharge. Additionally, the bonus damage is Lethal, not Cold, which is heavily resisted.

If you want another melee option, it’s not bad at all, but it doesn’t quite live up to its name, so be warned. You’ll also need to devote enough slots to this to make it worth your time, so be sure you have enough slotting free to invest in this, if you take it.

<ul type="square">[*]Bitter Ice Blast [/list]Big single-target zap. Not as strong as the Blaster version, and it’ll be a while before you can fully enjoy, since you need slots to put in; as a 38 power, it would be nice if you got something good “out of the box.” Still, this is a great addition to your arsenal. No complaints here.

It is critical that you pay attention at this time.

Gaming in Limited Times
Guide to Plant/Ice Doms



Travel Powers and You: Commuting, Rogue Isles Style.

With the implementation of Mayhem Mission rewards, villains had a nice set of options available only to themselves – temporary travel powers. Heroes, sadly, now have access as well, but in any case… The conventional wisdom of “pre-req before 14, travel power at 14” doesn’t have to hold true. It is perfectly possible, if one is diligent, to make the Atlas Park Raptor Pack (1.5 hours use) and the Kings Row Jump Pack (ditto) last from 5-22. So, if you want to push things back a bit to have more punch earlier, or to fit slots into the right powers, you DO have the option. I strongly advise taking a travel power by 24, however, because at this point it just gets annoying to keep thinking about conserving your temporary powers.

A few notes on getting there and back again: others have said plenty about specific powers, so we’ll make this brief.

<ul type="square">[*]Flight is slow, and safe. Easy to use, very good for the Isles’ geography, and lets you cross long, dangerous zones while going to the fridge. But it’s definitely the slowest option from point A to point B.[*]SuperJump is very popular, and rightly so: it’s fast, pretty safe and has two great powers associated (Combat Jumping, to resist Immobilizes, and Acrobatics, to resist KB/KD and Holds – if only one Hold, really). However, you don’t get to really go AFK while going place to place.[*]Teleport and Superspeed are both not recommended; slower video cards have trouble with ‘porting, and while it’s fast, it’s hard to use and unforgiving. SS is tough in the Isles without some vertical movement (SJ, Flight, Jetpacks, Good-Vs-Evil Reward JumpPack). The Isles are cluttered, with lots of broken ground and alleys, making SS difficult.[/list]
Recommended Power Pools

<ul type="square">[*]Stealth: allows for closer work with Seeds, and gives less paranoia when, solo, you see the Dreaded Corner that may hide Night Widows galore.[*]Medicine: Aid Self. You can add to your survivability here with Aid Self, which combined with Power Boost, gives you about 3/4 of your HP back. It’s useful solo and teamed; and both the pre-reqs (Aid Other or Stimulant) are useful on a team, here and there.[*]Fitness. Yes, it’s still true.[/list]
Sample Build: Professor Winterseed (35)
*This takes advantage of travel powers from the Mayhem Mission rewards. Slotting is tight; I always tried to at least slot some minimum into each power in time for Dos/SOs (e.g. adding a slot for an EndRed to Ice Bolt, in addition to the Acc for the default slot, by 12). It has not always been an easy ride!

+ Built with SuckerPunch's Online Planner
Name: N/A
Level: 38
Archetype: Dominator
Primary: Plant Control
Secondary: Icy Assault
01 =&gt; Ice Bolt ==&gt; Acc(1),Dam(19),Dam(21),Dam(21),EndCost(29),Rech(33)
01 =&gt; Strangler ==&gt; Acc(1),Hold(3),Hold(3),Rech(5),Rech(5)
02 =&gt; Ice Sword ==&gt; Acc(2),Dam(7),Dam(7),Dam(9)
04 =&gt; Ice Sword Circle ==&gt; Acc(4),Dam(17),Dam(17),Dam(19)
06 =&gt; Swift ==&gt; RunSpd(6)
08 =&gt; Seeds of Confusion ==&gt; Acc(8),Acc(9),Confuse(11),Confuse(11),Rech(13),Rech(33)
10 =&gt; Ice Blast ==&gt; Acc(10),Dam(13),Dam(15),Dam(15),Rech(33)
12 =&gt; Hover ==&gt; Flight(12)
14 =&gt; Health ==&gt; Heal(14)
16 =&gt; Power Boost ==&gt; Rech(16),Rech(25),Rech(31)
18 =&gt; Vines ==&gt; Acc(18),Acc(25),Rech(31),Rech(31)
20 =&gt; Stamina ==&gt; EndMod(20),EndMod(23),EndMod(23)
22 =&gt; Aid Other ==&gt; Heal(22)
24 =&gt; Aid Self ==&gt; Heal(24)
26 =&gt; Carrion Creepers ==&gt; Acc(26),Acc(27),Rech(27),Rech(29)
28 =&gt; Fly ==&gt; Flight(28)
30 =&gt; Stealth ==&gt; Rech(30)
32 =&gt; Fly Trap ==&gt; Acc(32)
35 =&gt; Greater Ice Sword ==&gt; Acc(35)
01 =&gt; Sprint ==&gt; Empty(1)
01 =&gt; Brawl ==&gt; Empty(1)
02 =&gt; Rest ==&gt; Empty(1)

It is critical that you pay attention at this time.

Gaming in Limited Times
Guide to Plant/Ice Doms



Good guide and a fun read. A few things though:

1) Under Vines, you say "Unlike many other AOE Holds, Vines does no damage at all." Actually, this is the norm, not the exception. If I remember correctly, of all the AoE holds available in Controller and Dominator primaries, only Earth Control's Volcanic Gasses does any kind of damage and it's minimal damage at best. But damage isn't the reason you take an AoE hold is it?

2) Something about cone attacks in general, brought up by your discussion about Frost Breath. Once a player is experienced enough in knowing the limits of their various cone powers, putting a single range modifier into them allows for you to hit larger groups (at least up to your cap) at safer distances, since longer cones also cover a larger area at the far end. This means your 'narrow cone', Frost Breath, becomes a lot more useful.

3) As someone who has played with Ice attacks extensively (after more than two years, I'm finally going to have my first 50, an Ice/Dev blaster), I will say that Ice attacks are End hogs. I'm surprised you didn't put more emphasis in putting End reducers into the heavier Icey Assault powers.

Thanks again for a great guide!

=^..^=. o O (Nothing to see. Just a cat.)
(_ _)~
*Recipient of a Sentai Sage thumbs up of approval.



Nice guide! Very fun to read, and I love getting Fly Trap into the guide with her/it's quips.

One thing, though: Power Boost doesn't affect magnitude. It just increases duration.

But, again, a nice guide!

Always up for teaming with good players, so hit me up: @Deceivius and @Deceivius2



<ul type="square">[*]Entangle[/list]A single-target immobilize with a minimal DoT: you’re not going to get a lot of mileage out of this one. Early on (pre-12), sometimes keeping an enemy out of melee range is useful enough to justify using this power. It has a fairly quick activation and may have some form of accuracy bonus, since it hits reliably – but let’s face it, immobilize is never going to have its poster above someone’s bed.

[/ QUOTE ]
Entangle does indeed have an accuracy bonus. Like Strangler it has a base accuracy of 1.2.

I think you're underselling this power.

1. It has a base magnitude of 4, which means it will hold Bosses and (most) AVs with a single application. That's huge.

2. It is -Fly. I have used it to drop Colonel Duray on the Silver Mantis SF from near the flight ceiling to the water so this next bit is completely wrong unless there's been a bug introduced recently. (And I doubt that, I use Entangle on my L50 Plant/Ice all the time).
Now, unlike Strangler, Entangle has a –Fly component. Hooray? Well, not so much. Unlike Chillblain or Ring of Fire, you don’t get to drop that Longbow Eagle out of the sky because if the target is too high off the ground, the power has no effect. –Fly? Go figure.

[/ QUOTE ]

3. Still on the -Fly - Plant/Ice needs a -Fly, simply because of Stangler's limitations. For several reasons this is far superior to Roots (your other -Fly).

4. It's damage is comparable with your first tier attack. It is conceivable that some Doms could take it and slot it for damage (not Plant/Ice though, we already have too many good powers early).

5. Finally, if you happen to choose Mako as a Patron, Water Spout is significantly more effective if you have Immob powers available to you.

Enjoying the guide, it's well written.



*Warning: Not a Remedy for All Situations. Know your Hero Infestation!
Throughout COV, there are enemies resistant to Confuse, either with inherent abilities that shorten its duration, or requiring two doses to succumb to its effects. These enemies are almost always Lieutenants, such as Anathema or Fortunatas (two applications); Longbow Nullifiers (shorter duration), or Wardens (who reduce the duration on the troops around them, thanks to inherent Leadership powers, curses be upon them). It’s also surprisingly hard to confuse Rikti Drones (insane defense) and Nemesis Army soldiers, as the latter activate Vengeance on the death of a comrade, which is a pain in the flora. Learn which foes you’ll need to take additional measures with.

[/ QUOTE ]
Ok, couple of things wrong here.

1. It's not the Vengeance that's the problem with Nemesis. They are in fact innately resistant to Confuse. Even the Automatons and Warhulks. You can Confuse them with Domination up though.

2. The Longbow problem is with Longbow Officers not Wardens. And it doesn't just lower the duration, it grants mag resistance. Again, you can push through this with Domination up, but they're still a very unpleasant surprise.

3. Fortunatas are in fact weak to Confuse. Sure, they're hard to hit (they have a high defense), but once hit can be confused straight off the bat. In fact, Confuse is the only reliable mez effect that works on Fortunatas and Night Widows.

4. I think you'll find Anathemas confuse quite well. I also have not noticed shorter durations on Longbow Nullifiers. The only one I think you missed are Rularuu, most of which have some level of resistance to Confusion.



A few more notes, then I'm done.
<ul type="square">[*]You might want to mention the -Def in the Fly Trap's attacks. When you look at the figures, it's quite nice. "Worth enhancing" level of nice.[*] Also, regarding Frost Breath, it gets an accuracy bonus (1.2) and is also the first attack that gets a good slow secondary effect (in this case, -20% to recharge/movement for 10 seconds. It's a shame about its long animation, but it's still a good power.[*] You compare Chilling Embrace with the Tank and Blaster version. Don't do that. Turns out they're a completely different power. The Hero version gets an AoE damage debuff and a slow effect. Our version just gets a slow effect, but it's a MASSIVE slow effect. And despite the anti-synergy between this and Seeds, it can be part of the solution of keeping you alive in melee range of fairly tough foes. After all, on a decent sized team, you're not going to hit everyone with Seeds. I'm not saying it's a must-have, but I will say that it's not an automatic "no", particularly if you ever PvP.[*] Greater Ice Sword does indeed only do 20% more damage, but your phrasing is a little off. The increase in recharge and endurance use is also 20%, so it is proportionate. But it should also be pointed out that it has an accuracy bonus (1.2 again), twice the slow effect of the other ice swords (and in fact, the same as Frost Breath) and is a 66% PvP toggle dropper.[/list]Hope that helps! Still a really well written guide.



Thanks, Min Min - really appreciate the feedback. I'll have some re-editing to do, it seems. I've faced fewer Nemesis villainside than on heroes, so it looks like I've been working on imperfect information.... interesting.

Thanks again for the comments, and thanks for reading this!

It is critical that you pay attention at this time.

Gaming in Limited Times
Guide to Plant/Ice Doms



Winterseed, any update as to how you've progressed with your build? Did you work in Hasten?

Would love to see how you've progressed . . . I just hit 31 with my plant/ ice and i'm so close to Fly Trap I can taste it!!



I'll try to add something this week. I've been neglecting my Dom for that overpowered flavor-of-the-month build, Trick Arrows/Archery.

(Blue side! Get if off me, get if off!)

It is critical that you pay attention at this time.

Gaming in Limited Times
Guide to Plant/Ice Doms



Look forward to it; Am 33 now and am kind of unimpressed with Fly Trap . . . its so cowardly!



Unable to edit the above-reserved slot on IOs, so here's a quick update.

IO Slotting And You! Or: Spending Millions on Millionths of a Second

1. Primer Tips on Slotting Them Powers

IOs are a funny beast. They combine two very contradictory ideas: getting “more bang for your buck” through raising the total effectivness of each slot you dedicate to a power; and the “buy 3 get 1 free” trick that you see in sales, where the more you over-dedicate slots towards a set, the more fun, free bonuses also pop up.

As a quick rule of thumb, chasing a specific set for that +7% Accuracy (global) or +5% recharge (I’m looking at you, Crushing Impact Set!) can be very expensive and usually requires more slots than you would spend on enhancing that power if you were keeping to a reasonable minimum. For example, you really can spend several million on, oh, say, Crushing Impact (at 5 slots for that +recharge to all your powers), or you can spend 3 slots plus a base slot (total of 4) on a set/ common IO mix and manage rather nicely, thank you very much.

How to slot your powers in this new environment becomes very much a question of personal preference – and advice is limited pretty much to “what to avoid,” and “what your minimum should be.” Your real choice is following the Collect Global Bonuses And Mortgage Your House path, or the Enhance It Cheap, Envy Others path. Both work just fine, and you can always respect and switch from one style to the other when you have the influence to burn or if you’d rather sell those slotted-in fancier IOs for a few ka-jillion.

2. Case Study: Perma Domination. (Funding the Black Market)

One of the more interesting things brought to us by Issue 10 and IOs is the idea (proven) of perma-Domination (proven to be expensive). For an in-depth look at how to make it happen, I do suggest looking at _Brev_’s excellent guide here.

Global recharge bonuses, combined with Hasten, mean that you can influence how fast Domination recharges, letting you hit that golden-gray joybuzzer all day long in a constant frenzy of controllery, sadistic goodness.

The good? Obviously, you get to use domination 100% of the time. The bad? You need to slot and choose powers *very* specifically to make it work. If you’re working towards this goal, make sure it’s a respect build that you do late-game – there’s no point doing otherwise. Bear in mind also that if you /EX down for Ourobos or a friend’s mission or for PVP, you will likely lose some of the set bonuses that let you pull this trick off – and if you’re heavily rigged for perma-domination, you may perform poorly without its boost.

Here’s how your Plant/Ice might look if you tried this trick, plus some caveats:

1) This is a sample build, and there’s other ways to do this.
2) This particular build reaches 57.5% global recharge, which in a worst-case scenario means perma-domination in some cycles has a roughly 10-second gap. (E.g., you have to rebuild Dominations points in that few seconds and survive 10 seconds of bring mortal). This is avoidable by adding more recharge!
3) You can add more recharge if you add levels and more slots: the below is based on Prof. Winterseed’s roughly current level, not some personal dreamland of 44+ (I’m contractually obligated to alt.) Plus, if you find a Luck of the Gambler IO (+Recharge), this gets a lot easier – but they’re selling for some absurd 20+million sum, so Daisy suggests leaving wining the lottery out of this plan.
4) This is based around a level 40 number of powers/slots, which means that stamina and other powers not slotted below for global recharge are neglected. This gets easier at 42 and 43 -- but for this, you get only 1-2 spare slots for your hold or AOE hold. Then again, with the Dom/recharge bonuses, you wont' need much more. Still, builder beware: check it out in a hero, errr, villain planner before you sink your cash into a perma build.

The Parts:
Hasten: 3-sloted at 99% recharge (IOs)

Global Bonus: Each power below is 5-slotted.
[u]6.25% Recharge[u]
-Ice Blast: Entropic Chaos
-Ice Bolt: Entropic Chaos
-Bitter Ice Blast: Entropic Chaos
-Frost Breath: Positron’s Blast
-Seeds of Confusion: Malaise’s Illusions

[u]5% Recharge[u]
-Ice Sword: Crushing Impact
-Greater Ice Sword: Crushing Impact
-Spirit Tree/Health: Doctored Wounds

[u]3.75% Recharge[u]
-Entangle/Roots: Enfeebled Operation
-Carrion Creepers: Enfeebled Operation
-Ice Sword Circle: Tempered Readiness

Total Global Recharge: 5x(6.25) = 31.25 + 15 + (3*3.75) = 46.25 + 11.25 = 57.5%

Notes on This Build/Choices

Even slotting for something as arcane and specialized as this project, you can manage in a lot of different ways. Many different sets offer the 6.25 bonus, while the very rare one-slot Luck of the Gambler IO does 7.5% all on its own. Doctored Wounds in Health/Tree is a pretty horrible slotting, for example, but since we’re taking Health anyway, it lets you take another power slot for fun. Equally, almost every power in /Ice can be slotted as a Slow Set, giving 3.75% -- it’s your ball game. Just remember that you can’t have more than 5 of the same numeric bonus: a sixth 6.25% bonus will have no effect.

How This Works: The Math Walkthrough and the 10-Second Fail

Hasten should be up for most of Domination’s recharge time, with its added +70% recharge enhancement spurring that lovely power to pop back faster. Now, without factoring Hasten in, we see that Domination’s 200-sec recharge, as affected by our 57.5 global bonus, becomes… (200/ (1+.575) = 127 seconds. Great! Without Hasten, we’re already looking at Domination being up 90 seconds / down for 37 seconds before you can use it again. A lot better than the usual 90/110.

Adding in Hasten get somewhat tricky. Hasten isn’t always up, so you can’t count on its affecting Domination all the time. Instead, let’s look at the worst case scenario – with Hasten ready to use once Domination has already started. Then we’ll know what’s the longest you’ll have to deal with no-Domination… and have a good idea of how nice the 90% of the rest of the time will be.

Hasten lasts 120 seconds, and recharges in 450 seconds – which time is in fact modified by its own recharge bonus of 70% for the time that it’s active. Yikes, math. I’m going to quote Brev here, with some differing numbers for our case:


While Hasten is up it recharges [ 120duration * ( 1 + 0.991enhancements + 0.575globalbonus + 0.7powereffect ) ] = 391.8 'ticks' of Hasten's 450 seconds recharge. The remaining 58.2 seconds-worth of Hasten's recharge are actually recharged in [ 58.2 / ( 1 + 0.991 + 0.69 ) ] = 22.7 seconds. That gives Hasten a total cycletime (including activation) of [ 120duration + 22.7downtime + 0.73activation ] = 144 seconds

[/ QUOTE ]

Okay, everyone take a break, get some tea, rub your eyes, hit the AH. Feeling better? Almost done.

Worst case, Hasten expires just before you re-hit Domination, and you lose out on its extra bonus for the full period between Hasten’s expiration and recharge – which for us is 22.7, aka 23 seconds.

For 23 seconds, you only get the global bonus to speed Domination along, then after that you get to enjoy the extra +70% recharge again. So, the 23 seconds recharge Domination by …(23 seconds*1+0.575) = 37.8 seconds effectivness. Domination is now 23 seconds into its duration, and it’s recharging in 200-38 (162) seconds.

Great, how Hasten kicks in for the rest of our current Domination run, which has 90-23… well, 67 seconds to go before we crash. 67seconds *(1 +0.575 +0.70) = 152.43. This, sadly, is not enough to reach the 162 recharge figure above – so in the worst case, you have a gap of 10 seconds in which to rebuild domination and suffer withdrawl.

On the bright side, the times when you hit this 10 second gap are a very small fraction of your overall “cycle” of Hasten-Domination. This worst case timing issue is not a repeating, “every third time” failure – but rather a problem that crops up once every several activations.

So, go forth and enjoy!

It is critical that you pay attention at this time.

Gaming in Limited Times
Guide to Plant/Ice Doms



Thanks for the guide. I sure did learn a lot. I did like the commentary from Daisy, too. Some of what she said cracked me up.

I'd also like to thank @Min Min for her suggestions and contributions.

@Stablae - Freedom Server
Controller/Dominator Freak
Freedom Server
Repeat Offenders: Doing hard things stupidly easy.