The official forums are filled with people complaining about CO being too difficult. Yet, there are people soloing 5-man instances and killing legendary monsters. There is no big trick or secret. Figure out the system and build the most powerful champion.
To have the most powerful champion in Champions Online, you have to pick the best powers and be well-rounded. There are a bunch of ridiculously powerful abilities in this game that can make PvE and PvP into a complete joke.
Note: This guide isn’t comprehensive. I have played with and tested most of the powers in the game, but it’s impossible for me to try every single combination. In addition, this guide is valid as of October 1st, 2009, but MMORPG’s are constantly changing.
Step #1. Get championBuilder.
Step #2. Be well-rounded.
You need a passive defensive power, a block enhancer, a heal, a hold or knockdown and a good AoE attack. If you skip any of these, you are making the game unnecessarily difficult.
If you know what you are doing, you don’t need CC powers like holds or knockdowns. Picking a passive offensive power is an option that should only be considered if you have a solid build that can make up for the loss of survivability.
A lot of people run into problems somewhere between level 8 and 20. The difficulty ramps up after the Crisis zones and your build has to take that into account. The primary issue that people have is due to sticking with one framework. As a result, people end up with a bunch of offensive powers, when they really need more survivability. Pick a defensive passive power at level 8 or 11 and save yourself a lot of problems. Picking a block enhancer right away is often a good idea as well.
Getting a defensive passive and block enhancer so soon means that you delay reaching the Tier 3 powers. It’s your decision. If you are willing to deal with difficult missions early on, focus on one framework and get your Tier 3 power sooner (earliest is level 14). Then get a defensive passive and block enhancer.
Step #3. Be a ranged champion.
If you have to be a melee champion, pick Might or Telekinesis (Ego Blades).
Step #4. Pick two useful superstats.
- CON/END – The best and most useful combo that works with practically any build and shines in PvE and PvP.
- CON/REC or CON/INT – Both reasonable choices, but only pick them if it fits your powers better. CON/END is superior in most cases.
- CON/PRE or PRE/END or PRE/INT – The best choices for a healer/support hero.
- DEX/EGO – Overrated. For many builds, CON/END will have a comparable DPS and much better utility. DEX/EGO has the highest potential for burst damage and it can be fun to do a lot of critical attacks.
- END/REC or END/INT – Sacrifice survivability for loads of energy. Provides the highest sustained DPS because energy = damage in CO.
- CON/STR – The best choice for many melee heroes, especially Might.
Step #5. Pick the best powers.
Right now, the most powerful frameworks are Fire and Telekinesis/Telepathy. No other framework can compare to the sheer power that these two provide. Both frameworks provide debuffs to your target’s defenses, which dramatically increases your damage output. For Ego damage, there are multiple sources of stackable debuffs, which is why Telekinesis/Telepathy is currently the most powerful framework.
This list is valid as of October 1st, 2009. I’m sure Cryptic will eventually get around to balancing all the powers. This list doesn’t have all the great powers, but it’s more than enough to provide anyone with a powerful hero.
- Ranged: Kinetic Darts, Sonic Blaster or Psi Lash are the best. Pick the one that offers the best advantage for your build.
- Melee: Pick the one from your primary framework. They all work well and many have a synergy with the framework.
- Regeneration – The best all-around choice.
- Invulnerability – A great option for CON heroes, especially CON/STR.
- Aura of Radiant Protection – The best choice for support builds because it scales well with PRE.
- Telekinetic Shield – The most powerful ability in the game. It’s like you are constantly running around holding block.
- Force Shield + Force Sheath – If and when TK shield gets nerfed, Force Shield is the way to go.
- Energy Shield + Laser Knight – Only good for melee heroes.
Ranged single target attack
- Ego Blast – Amazing synergy with the Telekinesis and Telepathy frameworks. Also holds your target and combos with Telepathic Reverberation.
- Ice Blast + Hard Frost – Great damage if you tap spam it on chilled targets.
- Gauntlet Chainsaw – Great damage.
- Scything Blade + Swallowtail Cut – Powerful DoT, but only works on Master Villains or weaker (works in PvP, too).
- Ego Blade Breach – Stupidly overpowered when combined with other Telekinesis and Telepathy debuffs.
- Thunderbolt Lunge – Travel power remover (essential for PvP) and for closing the distance.
- Haymaker – Good damage and Nullifying Punch ruins healing and Regeneration in PvP.
- Laser Sword – Good damage.
- Ego Hold – Strong hold that you can cast while moving.
- Electrocute – Currently the strongest hold in the game.
- Grasping Shadows – Only AoE hold in the game, but it gets interrupted if you take any damage. Can be very useful for PvE.
- Lash + Meteor Hammer – Has no knockdown resistance, so spammable. If you pick up Supernatural Power or have good energy regeneration, you can keep your target completely disabled…forever.
- Shotgun – AoE knockdown and a guaranteed single target knockdown if advantaged.
- Shadow Embrace + Fatal Allure – Good damage, good damage mitigation and good control.
- various Force and Might powers
- Ego Sprites – Cheap AoE DoT. Great opening power, especially for melee heroes.
- Fireball + Unstable Accelerant & Conflagration – One of the best damaging combination of attacks in the game.
- Ego damage buffs and debuffs – By far the best damage in the game. Stack powers like Psi Lash + advantage, Telekinetic Eruption, Collective Will, and Ego Blade Breach.
- Gigabolt + Death Arc – Not good in PvP, but great in PvE.
- Ego Storm – Big AoE, big damage, big hold. Makes solo PvE into a joke.
- Shadow Embrace + Fatal Allure – By far the best AoE cone attack.
- Frost Breath + Frost Bite – Tap to Chill everything.
Heals and defenses
- Resurgence, Unbreakable or Masterful Dodge – Good emergency instant protection. Pick one or more if you want.
- Mindful Reinforcement – Utterly overpowered. Shields you and heals you.
- Arcane Vitality and Psionic Healing – Two solid healing choices for support heroes.
Other utility powers
- Force Eruption – Can be used when held, cheap, AoE knockback. Great for keeping melee attackers away.
- Sparkstorm + Electric Personality – Can be used when held, good damage, chance of knockback
- Sonic Device and Toxic Nanites – Great choices for additional AoE damage. Combine with an AoE attack.
- Mind Lock – Confuse. Provides another tool for control and has a different resistance timer from hold powers.
- Smoke Grenade – Good aggro management tool. Draws ranged monsters into melee range. Can be used when held.
- Electric Sheath, Shadow Shroud, Immolation or Ice Sheath – Damage buff and hold breaker.
- Circle of Ebon Wrath – Damage boost + damage mitigation.
- Circle of Primal Domination – Regeneration + damage resist + knockback resist all in one nice power.
Example Overpowered Builds
Here are a few example builds that can breeze through all the solo content and do team content with a little effort. I only list the important powers. These are all you need to be ‘super’. Any additional powers make you even more ridiculous.
- TK shield, Regeneration, Fireball + Unstable Accelerant, Conflagration (This is my preferred choice.)
- TK shield, Ice Form, Fireball + Unstable Accelerant, Conflagration
- Psi Lash + advantage, TK shield, Regeneration, TK Eruption, Ego Blade Breach
- Psi Lash + advantage, TK shield, Regeneration, Ego Storm
- Kinetic Darts + advantage, TK shield, Regeneration, Shadow Embrace + Fatal Allure
- Kinetic Darts + advantage, TK shield, Shadow Form, Shadow Embrace + Fatal Allure
- TK shield, Regeneration, Gigabolt + Death Arc
- TK shield, Regeneration, Chainsaw, Ego Sprites
- TK shield, Aura of Radiant Protection, Fireball + Unstable Accelerant, Conflagration, Flashfire, Thermal Reverberation (For support builds with PRE)
It should be really clear that Telekinetic Shield is the most overpowered ability in the entire game. In these example builds, Regeneration can be swapped for Invulnerability or Radiant Protection if that fits your super stats better, but you will also need a healing power.
If and when TK shield gets nerfed into the ground, Force Shield + Force Sheath provides far weaker protection, but you will be overflowing with energy. Bring defensive powers like Mindful Reinforcement (another horribly broken power).
Some Final Words
Many of the recommended powers in this list are clearly overpowered. Overpowered usually means that it will get nerfed by Cryptic at some point…usually sooner, rather than later. For some unexplainable reason, TK shield is still around a month after the game has gone live, but it shouldn’t be around forever.
If you rely on overpowered abilities to play the game, don’t be surprised when Cryptic destroys your hero in a future patch. Lucky for us, Cryptic has also been nice enough to provide several free full retcons. I’m sure we will get at least one more full retcon. Eventually, there should be a way to get more (maybe via the Cryptic store).
Trying out builds and powers on the Test server is a great way to learn the game.
Read the PvP subforum if you want to keep up with any changes to the most powerful abilities in the game. Usually the PvP’ers are the people who figure out the best powers and combinations before anyone else.
Making the most overpowered champion can be fun, but it can also make the game very boring.