City of Heroes
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Getting the Right Power Balance

When you make your character, you get a primary and secondary Power Set choice, plus access to generic power pools later on in levels. It can be hard to decide what powers to take and what order to take them in. Here are some questions to jump-start your thinking, help you choose powers, and build your character’s repertoire:

Solo Character, Team Support, or Both?
Do you want this character to be a powerful solo character, a team support character, or a little bit of both? Controllers and Defenders, by nature, are usually team support characters, but can be built with a little higher offense if you wish; check out the powersets to see what kind of damage output you’d like to do. Tankers, Scrappers, and Blasters are usually pretty good solo characters, but they can be equipped with powers that make them good team support as well. Take into account that Defenders and Controllers can be a little more fragile going solo, and that Tankers, Scrappers and Blasters do need to play a bit closer to the healers on their teams just in case they get smacked around too hard.

Ranged or Close Combat?
Do you want the character to have lots of ranged attacks or lots of close combat attacks? Take into account that by default you do get a minor ranged attack that matches your origin, as well as the close combat attack Brawl. Defenders, Controllers, and Blasters all play better from range, but sometimes you need a good close combat attack to get rid of an annoying little thug that wants to get in your face. Likewise, Tankers and Scrappers both play better close combat, but sometimes you need a little ranged attack to start the party or to pull just a few members of the enemy group closer so that the team behind you can wail on them. Choose powers from the smaller Generic Power Pools that help balance your character out if you find yourself too heavy on either side for your liking.

How Much Attack and How Much Defense?
Do you want this character to be an aggro fiend, a defense master, or a little bit of both? Going almost all aggro and little defense might work well if you have a good team of healers behind you; likewise, if you want to build the supportive healer of a team, a good set of defense buffs and very little aggression might be just the thing for your build. Keep in mind that going heavy to one side and light on the other will make it hard to do solo missions; trust me, I know this from playing my Defender (Lyssadia) and my Scrapper (Catarinya). Lyssadia may have the Empathic ability to heal herself beyond any of my other characters, but she’s not meant to be the main powerhouse damage-dealer of the team; she prefers to mop up with Energy Blasts in the wake of the Scrappers and Tankers. Catarinya, by contrast, can dish out the damage with her Claws powers, but not even her defensive power of Regeneration can save her once she is completely surrounded by a group of aggressive thugs all beating on her at once—-a healer supporting her with intermittent Healing Auras and occasional Resurrects keeps her on her toes. Lyssadia and Catarinya both need to be in teams rather than doing solo missions—Cat needs a healer to keep her in the fight when she’s out of Inspirations, and Lys needs a primary damage-dealer (or ideally two or three) slugging it out while she watches their health bars and keeps them alive with a few well-timed Healing Auras and Resurrects.

What Traveling Power Do You Need?
Do you want to take Flight, Super Speed, Teleportation, or Combat Jumping? You’ll most likely want to take the one that matches your character thematically as well as the one that’s easiest for you to use. For instance, I usually take Flight because it seems faster and fits most of my characters better than Super Speed or Combat Jumping. However, for Catarinya, who is imbued with many feline-esque powers, Flight didn’t make sense for her. Instead, I gave her Combat Jumping (which fits, being that most cats can pounce out of nowhere and scare the daylights out of you). Teleportation might be a Travel power of choice for you, but do remember that you cannot Teleport yourself farther than you can see in a zone.

You may not think you need a traveling power, but trust me, flying, jumping, teleporting, or using super speed over very long distances is much easier than just using Sprint to get around everywhere, and you don’t get lost in higher-level areas as often! A traveling power is also handy to have if you simply need to get out of a battle right away. If you’re not sure which power you like better for your character just yet, check out the Generic Power Pools list the next time you level up and see which one will give you the fastest movement.

Which Generic Power Pools Work With Your Build?
Generic Power Pools are smaller pools that can help you balance out your character. Check the Generic Power Pool list each time you level up (or check the list on this site) to see which power pools might work best with your character build. For instance, after checking the lists, I have decided to have my Tank take at least part of the Medicine power set, because I want her to be a little bit more team support as well as a strong damage-dealer. For my Defender, I took Recall Friend from the Teleportation power pool because I wanted her to be able to resurrect teammates quickly and put them back out into the fight as quickly as possible.