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
[Destroyer], 1 point
Assault Guns Range
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.