Helping Players: Not Just a Time-waster
Helping other players outside of regular missions is one of my favorite activities when I'm not particularly interested in doing missions or building, buying and selling stuff at Wentworth's. Mainly, I do it to a) be helpful to a player who is trying to level up a new character, and b) do something not so taxing on the mind, sometimes between missions or when I'm waiting for part of my supergroup to finish up an activity.
Part of this behavior stems from me generally being helpful in real life--I like to know that my actions are beneficial to someone else. I also have been on the receiving end of fortuitous help from higher-level players while trying to roam the streets of Atlas Park, so I like to think I am returning the favor in a way. You'd be surprised what a passing heal or buff can help a very new hero do. Suddenly, you don't have to worry about that red Hellion boss defeating you in one shot, because you've either got the health to deal with it, you've got a buff that helps you resist damage, or you've got the speed to get away!
You don't just have to confine your helping to Atlas Park, however. Anywhere you see a lower-level hero who's in some hot water, you can stop to help. And even if you're not a healer, you can still buff if you've got the Magic Booster Pack's Mystic Fortune power, and you can give an assist on attacking (carefully).
Here are some tips I can offer from months of personal experience casually helping other players in-game:
For Healers/Support Crew
- Before you go out to help, go to Menu > Options and change your setting on "Player Health Bars" to "Always display." This will let you see other heroes' health and endurance bars hovering over their heads all the time, even when you haven't clicked on them. This is a good way to monitor how your fellow heroes are doing in battle, even if you're just hanging out in Atlas Park.
- When you sight a hero on the street fighting some baddies, first, stand or hover a ways off from the battle so you can monitor the situation. If the hero seems to be handling it okay, don't step in to heal. Do, however, pass them every buff you have--it's a gift that is generally well-received no matter how experienced the player actually is.
- If the hero seems to be having some trouble--there's a lot of baddies around them and their health is dropping, or they don't have any endurance left to attack with--give them a heal and every buff you've got in rapid-fire succession. Keep them targeted so that you can heal or buff again as necessary. Remember to keep away from the immediate battle scene so that the baddies are not drawn towards you instead.
- If the hero is in imminent danger of being defeated, give them the most epic heal you have. I have "Absorb Pain" on my Empath Defender for just such occasions--it damages me a bit and makes me unable to heal myself for 30 seconds, but it gives my target almost full health back from being in the red. On my Plant Control/Storm Summoning Controller, I have "Spirit Tree" and "O2 Boost"--the Tree, when planted next to them, helps boost their Regen rate, and O2 Boost works like a targeted heal and Perception boost.
- If you've got a single-target or multiple-target Hold attack that does little or no damage, that is a great thing to use on the baddies so that the other hero can either Rest or just have a few seconds to think straight.
- If all else fails and the hero dies, tell the hero using Local chat that you have an Awaken, but you're going to get rid of the rest of the baddies first. Clear the immediate area of bad guys, and then either pass them an Awaken (remember, you can make one from three of the same Inspiration) or use a power that rezzes, like Resurrect (from Empathy), Mutation (from Radiation Emission), Power of the Phoenix (from Thermal Radiation), and Howling Twilight (from Dark Miasma).
- Once the hero is finished with the tough battle, I sometimes monitor them for a minute or two afterwards, either to refresh their buffs or to be ready to offer another round of heals. Don't be stalkerish, though--if they're running off to another part of the zone, don't keep following them.
- Be sure, when you're helping a person who's street-sweeping, that you're high-enough level to not be in danger yourself. Nothing's more embarrassing than running in to help someone and falling flat on your face with the nice little "Defeated" dialog box in the middle of your screen. Make sure the bad guys are at least blue or green, and preferably gray.
- Start helping by giving the other hero some of your Inspirations. Hand off a few greens if they're in bad need of health; passing a few blues is a welcome gift if they have no Endurance left. If you don't have any greens or blues, remember that you can combine three of the same Inspiration together to make a new Inspiration of any kind you need.
- Don't attack and kill the baddies yourself unless there is absolutely no choice. The person you're helping needs to make the kill in order to get the XP; if you can spare the time, have the person invite you to a team, so that you will be playing on his or her level and you both will get experience when you kill something. Otherwise, let the baddies bang on you--block them from getting to the other person until they can Regen back up or get back some Endurance.
- If you must attack (as in, the person is dying fast and you don't have a heal or a Respite to give them), and you're not on a team with them, use Brawl and your Origin's ranged attack (Throwing Knives, Mutagen, Apprentice Charm, Taser Dart, or Tranq Dart). These will be your lowest-damage attacks, and will have the least chance of accidentally killing the baddie before the other hero has a chance to do some damage to it as well.
- If you've got a Taunt or you've got Provoke (from the Presence power pool, off the Generic Power Pools list), you can draw the bad guys away from the hero for a little bit. Use your Taunt on the group, and then run back a few steps, far enough away so that the other hero can Rest. Keep using the Taunt until the hero's ready to get back into the fight, and then bring the battle back over. Make sure you don't damage the baddies while you're keeping them Taunted! Also, let the other player know what you're doing via Local chat, so it doesn't look like you're trying to steal kills.
- If the hero dies during the battle, pass them an Awaken and do what you can to draw the enemies down the street a ways, so that he or she can stand back up without fear of getting pummeled again. If you have a Break Free, pass that along, too, so they can get rid of being stunned as soon as they stand up.
- Once the battle is finished, pass the other player a few extra greens and blues (and an Awaken, if they used theirs already) as a parting gift; also, give them a Mystic Fortune if you've got the Magic Booster Pack.