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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Global Agenda Assault PvE Guide

In Global Agenda PvE, nothing will turn an average team into a losing team more quickly than a bad Robotics.  But on the flip-side, nothing will turn an average team into a great team more quickly than a good Assault.  A good Assault is the backbone of winning a PvE mission or raid in Global Agenda.  Their ability to hold the line against the ravening Commonwealth horde will make it easier for every other member of the team to do their jobs.

Here's what I'm increasingly coming to regard as the ideal fitting for a PvE Assault:

[Balanced], 4 points
Passive Protection ->
Advanced Passive Protection
Power Pool Increase
Power Pool Return

[Tank], 8 points
Built Tough ->
Built Truck-Tough ->
Built Tough as Nails ->
Built Brick Wall Tough
Shield Strength
Shield Readiness
Heavy Armor
Super Tank

[Destroyer], 1 point
Assault Guns Range

[Equipment]
Impact Hammer (dddddd)
Heatwrack M.A.S.E.R. (rpdddd)
iMINIGUN (ddrddd) or Inferno-X Cannon (rqdddd)
Assault Crescent Jetpack (pppppp)
Incendiary Grenade (dxxccc)
Range Shield (sscccc)
AOE Shield (sscccc)
Protection Boost (mmm)


As with my other guides, level 30 is assumed for skills, giving you 13 skill points.  It's critical that you skill up the Tank tree first, specifically your "Built Tough" skills.  It's incredibly tempting -- and horribly wrong -- to skill up the Destroyer tree, so don't do it.  As with the Robo, your ability to do damage is very Zen: don't try to do damage, and you'll do much more damage.  It turns out that staying alive greatly increases actual damage you can do.  ;-)  Take it from me: I've taken this fitting side-by-side into raids with Destroyer-fit Assaults, and beaten them on total damage and kills every time because I don't have to wait out re-spawn timers or spend time running back to the objectives after getting killed.

After you've skilled up the Tank tree, put your four points into Balanced.  The single point in Destroyer goes last, and is mostly useful for buffing your main weapon, which should nearly always be a Minigun or Inferno-X Cannon.  Again, this is somewhat Zen: other Assault main weapons do more damage, but also do less, because most of the heavier hitting weapons are massive overkill for single units in PvE.  The humble minigun variants, meanwhile, do very little damage per shot but can be rapidly switched from target to target as they fall.  The melee weapon requires level 32; use a Radiant Axe until then.  The Jetpack requires level 40; use a Hands Free jetpack until then.

The best Assaults are slow, lumbering, implacable, and unstoppable.  When immobile, you should be the proverbial immovable object.  Your minigun main weapon gets a massive energy-use buff when you're stationary, so plan on spending a lot of time stationary.  Your job is to stand between danger and the rest of the team.  Fit this way, you have massive resists and massive HP -- use them!  The Range Shield and AOE Shield just make you even more disgusting.  If you ever find yourself dropping or in danger of dropping below 75% HP, put up the appropriate shield to eliminate that source of damage and just keep on firing.  Your third off-hand should be a grenade of choice.  Some guys like EMP grenades; I like incendiaries.  Do not use the Perfect Target buff.  By using it, you are rendering yourself completely useless to the rest of the team for its duration.  You're supposed to be out front, keeping threat, absorbing damage, and dealing DPS.  The Perfect Target's disadvantages to these three requirements -- particularly completely cutting off your DPS -- far outweigh its advantages.

Use your jetpack rarely, if at all, when moving from room to room.  When you clear a room, just use normal walking speed to reach the next room.  This gives the other members of the team and yourself time to recharge energy, and gives the Medic time to heal anyone who might have taken incidental damage during the battle just fought.  Staying off your jetpack unless absolutely necessary also makes the Medic's job easier by making you easier to find.  All he has to do is stay near the noisiest member of the team.  ;-)  That said, your job is to stay in front of the main body of the team.  Let the Recon drift in front of you if he insists on it (particularly if he's cloaked).  But everyone else should be behind you.  Your job is to take the brunt of the initial blast, should it come.  You're built to take it.  The rest of the team is not.

One other note about your shields: use them early, use them often.  Your AOE Shield, in particular, is invaluable for soaking up AOE attacks that might otherwise destroy the rest of your team.  If you can get far enough ahead of the rest of the team, Sentinel missiles and Ballista grenades will just bounce off you and away from everyone else.

As weird as this sounds, though, don't be overly aggressive.  Advance only as far as you need to advance at any given moment to keep three or four enemies in your sights.  Then go stationary and right click.  As you open up with your gun, the very smart GA AI will send more enemies at you than you can immediately see, and will try to flank you.  If you advance too far, you'll soon find yourself and your Medic surrounded, which is the route to a quick death.  You'll also want to learn to balance the art of staying in front of damage without also blocking everyone else's line of sight.  This is a tough art to learn, but here are some general principles:

1) When facing single larger opponents such as spiders or foremen, get right up in their face, then crouch.  By doing so, you get their attention and will draw their full ire.  But by crouching, you then give the rest of your team line of sight so that they can fire over your head.  This will greatly increase the team's overall DPS and reduce the danger to you.

2) When facing mobs of enemies in a hallway, doorway, or otherwise tightly-enclosed space, don't crouch, but instead stand to one side or the other and open up a bit more distance from the rest of the team.  Again, this is about keeping enemy threat on you while opening up line of sight for the rest of your team.  You don't want to crouch because that will open up the rest of your team to fire.  But you do want to give the rest of your team the opportunity to fire back, then duck back behind your impressively large form to avoid counter-fire.

3) When facing enemies in a more open area, stand in the open, but very near cover, such as a doorway, pile of crates, or whatever.  This serves three purposes.  First, it gives you one protected flank.  Second, it gives your Medic and Robotics a place to hide while they perform their duties.  And third, it gives you the option of ducking behind that cover if things start to go way south.  When faced with a large open area, many Assaults will step right into the middle of the area, or do long, arching curves from open area to open area.  Both of these are bad moves.

While stationary, your main gun and grenades are your only weapons.  But while advancing, don't be afraid to swap for your longer range assault rifle.  You can use this rifle in one of two ways: to soften up upcoming opponents, or to draw the AI's attention back to you if it drifts to another member of the team.  As enemies approach the source of your fire, switch back to your main gun.

Your morale Protection Boost is most useful if the team is facing large numbers of weaker opponents, such as Alarm Responders, large flocks of Minions, or three or more Ballistae.  Try to save your boost for these occasions.  Keep an eye on the health of the rest of the team.  If two or more team members are taking damage at the same time you are, that's a good time for the Protection Boost.  That said, you can use it for your own benefit if you have to.  If you're facing two or three Helots and the Medic is having a hard time keeping up, go ahead and trigger it then, too.

Finally, you will find that your Robotics, if he's any good, will set up Medical and Power Stations near your position.  A smart Assault will stay just at the outer edge of the range of these devices.  Since you own threat, you will be taking a great deal of fire.  You don't want to be standing so close to the stations that whatever is hitting you is also hitting the stations and potentially taking them out.  This is particularly critical for AOE attacks, or even more importanly, for the Switchblade mission boss.  Once the Switchblade starts its spinning AOE attack, if you're standing too close to the Medical Station, the Switchblade boss will rip up the Medical Station while he's ripping you up.  This is not something you want.  So again, when you have friendly stations nearby, stand at the edge of their range, not right on top of them.

A good damage-soaking Assault makes the job of the Medic easier, by giving him one target to focus on.  He makes the Robo's life easier by giving the Robo someone to hide behind as he works his magic with Stations and Turrets.  And the Recon loves a good, stationary, heavy-hitting assault because that kind of Assault will keep threat, allowing the Recon to apply his huge DPS to targets outside the Assault's range.  The Medic might think he's keeping the team safe, but it's really a good Assault doing that job.

15 comments:

  1. Awesome writeup! I'll be keeping an eye on it while trying to play my baby assault.

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  2. This is a great tutorial for those like me who confront with this kind of issue. I appreciatte that you publish this post, it's really helpful! Thank's!

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  3. Nice guide! But i have a question in regards to balanced ranged damage vs destroyer assault guns ranged. Since you have range i am guessing that is the better choice but why?

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  4. @Anon: Thanks. :-) And it's a matter of style, really. The minigun and Inferno-X cannon are terribly inaccurate, and I find that the Range perk helps compensate for that somewhat, particularly at medium range. It seems to compress the size of the "cone" of fire. But if you do most or all of your fighting at short range, then the Balanced Range Damage perk is a great choice.

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  5. Cool thanks i was always wondering about which to take. I am going to go with ranged damage since my biggest threats are usually the mini and stage bosses which generally come close and just pray to god that the recons kill the long range enemies (ballista). Btw are you making a recon guide?

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  6. Since the whole purpose of your PvE tank build is to keep yourself and your team alive, I would avoid the Balanced tech tree altogether. In fact, despite being called the Destroyer tech tree, several skills are ideal for what you're going for. (See final paragraph for a "TL;DR summary")

    The Destroyer's "Overdrive Durations" stacks with your "Shield Strength" in the Tank tree, increasing your shield duration by 60%.
    "Heavy Impact" increases the knockback effect of your miniguns, making your weapon even better at keeping enemies away from the rest of your team (e.g. pushing bomb-carrying Assassins away from your Robo's turret) or pinning them in place for an easy kill.
    The Destroyer's "Assault Offhand Recharge" stacks with the Tank's "Shield Readiness". Combined, the cool down time of 60 seconds is cut to 42 seconds.
    The two "Power Pool"- skills from the Balance tree are inferior to the "Assault Guns Power Cost" and "Spare Power" skills in the Destroyer tree. Comparing the two pairs, the Destroyer tree's skills allow longer continuous weapon fire AND is quicker to recharge your energy from empty to full.

    The fun begins when you throw in all the offhand related skills from both the Tank and Destroyer trees. If you select them all, your shields will last 17 seconds and each recharges in just 42 second. If you include the cooldown mods you've got in your "Equipment" list, the cooldown is only about 38.5 seconds. Use the Range shield and the AOE shield on rotation and there's only a 2 second gap between the two shields! "Aegis Armament" skill in the Tank tree gives you 25% protection when you have any shield active, as opposed to the 10% you'd get from the two "Passive Protection" skills in the Balanced tree.

    Summary of a Tank-Destroyer hybrid vs the build you originally posted:
    You'd have 15% more protection for 90% of the game.
    You'll find it easier to keep your team mates alive because of the increased knockback.
    You'll be able to fire your weapon continuously for longer.
    You'll spend less time waiting for your energy to recharge.

    So, how's that sound? =]

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  7. It sounds quite interesting! I'll give it a try.

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  8. OK, I gave the following build a try:

    [Tank], 7 points
    Built Tough ->
    Built Truck-Tough ->
    Built Tough as Nails
    Shield Strength
    Shield Readiness
    Heavy Armor
    Super Tank

    [Destroyer], 6 points
    Assault Guns Range ->
    Assault Guns Power Cost
    Overdrive Durations
    Heavy Impact
    Assault Offhand Recharge
    Spare Power

    Let me know if that's the build you were advocating. It seems to have all of the skills that you mentioned except "Aegis Armament". I simply could not find the points to buy this and all the other things you mentioned. Did you not buy "Built Tough as Nails"? Seems risky, since that's where a large block of the Assault's HP comes from.

    I'll do a full write-up, but short version: I found this Assault to be far too thin for Maxes and raids, though it's a terrific build for Highs AND seems superior to my current favorite PvP build. In particular, you're absolutely right about the power benefits and the frequent use of shields (I was getting shield durations of about 22 seconds and only required a 19 second recharge).

    But as I said, the build is pretty freakin' thin. I was folding up under the first sign of real, sustained abuse, such as multiple Helots or the rocket-launching boss.

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  9. how long would it take to get up to this level? days, weeks, months?

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    Replies
    1. A week or so. GA is remarkably fast to level up in. You'll get the full 13 points to upgrade with over the course of maybe four hours.

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    2. awesome thanks

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  10. awesome! thanks a lot men!

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  11. Don't diss the perfect target,
    wheter your screwing with the widow by healing while it does its "douchepull" on you, sitting infront of the turret while viking goings ROCK-IT TIME!. or just plain have no hp left, pulling it out can save your life, and with sheild life bonuses, the 10 seconds means, that a assault can skip the walk back from the respawn point and just start shooting. not to mention just plop yourself in the enemies way and still contribute more than the corpse you woulda been

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    Replies
    1. As a medic, I cry at the sight of an Assault who uses Perfect Target in any match, PvE or PvP.

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