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I'm your host, Jester. I've been an EVE Online player for about six years. One of my four mains is Ripard Teg, pictured at left. Sadly, I've succumbed to "bittervet" disease, but I'm wandering the New Eden landscape (and from time to time, the MMO landscape) in search of a cure.
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Monday, July 11, 2011

Global Agenda Recon PvE Guide

The most interesting and useful character class in Global Agenda PvP is the Recon.  Its ability to deliver pinpoint long-range DPS combined with awesome area effect attacks, great speed and agility for avoiding counter-fire, and stealth attacks/approaches make it a truly unbalanced part of the GA PvP equation.  It's no surprise that Recons are, by far, the most-used PvP class.  This, in turn, makes them the most active class in-game.  At any given time, for every Medic logged in, there seem to be three Assaults, seven Robotics, and ten Recons.  And sooner or later, all of those Recons have to do at least some PvE to gather loot and XP.

And that creates the biggest weakness in GA PvE, because Recons are far and away both the least useful class in GA PvE and the hardest class to play in it.  As a result, GA PvE is absolutely swarmed with bad Recons.

Even for those few good Recon players, the GA PvE environment is stacked against them.  PvE maps are tight and cramped, with few maps catering to their long-range, fast-moving style.  So even those good Recons end up needing a lot of hand-holding to survive, by and large, and often end up being the least useful member of the team when the mission or raid is over.  A 10-man raid with four or more Recons in it is probably over before it has begun: you lose.

All of that said, having had some practice using the Recon in PvE, I can now say with a fair degree of confidence that this is the least fail of the PvE Recon set-ups that you can use:

[Balanced], 4 points
Jetpack Power
Power Pool Increase
Team Boost Increase
Power Pool Return

[Infiltration], 2 points
Explosives Area Increase
Explosives Damage

[Marksman], 7 points
Recon Rifle Range
Recon Rifle Effective Range ->
Recon Rifle Accuracy
Eagle Eye
Killer Instinct
Sureshot
Super Sharpshooter

[Equipment]
Dual Daggers (dddddd)
Ballista OC (dddddd)
Sprint Stealth (pppppp)
Recon Crescent Jetpack (pppppp)
Fire Bomb or EMP Bomb or Virus Bomb (ddxccc)
Deconstructor (ddxddd)
Decoy (ccvccc)
Shatter Bomb (mmmddd)


This fitting assumes level 30 for skills and level 44 for equipment.  Unlike many of the other classes, Recons will have to change their fitted equipment very frequently in both type and quality as they level up.  Prepare to spend a ton of Tokens and Credits making this happen, and each change will be covered one-by-one as I discuss tactics in this guide.  The guide also covers lower-level items to have in these slots until you can equip the high-level options.

Train the Marksman skills first.  A good PvE Recon is first and foremost a sniper.  A Recon that even equips an SMG for PvE is a failure.  There are three sniper rifles currently available: the Ballista, the Scorpia, and the Dweller.  The Scorpia is really a PvP weapon and should be restricted to that use.  A Recon in training should acquire a Dweller rifle as soon as possible from either loot or the Auction House until a high-damage Ballista -- your final choice -- becomes available.  The Dweller is not only an excellent DPS rifle in its own right, but it currently causes the target struck to pop into the air for a half-second or so after each shot, which will give the practicing Recon a nice visual confirmation that the shot went home.  The sniper rifles require a good deal of skill to use; the reticle is practically worthless, since you must lead a moving target a great deal to ensure a hit.  This will get progressively easier as your skills in Marksman improve.

Your melee weapon will probably change frequently, but should be only infrequently used.  Initially, you will use either a Ghost Sword or a Rusted Machete (if you get one as a loot drop).  Don't bother purchasing a Rusted Machete unless you like the look; the Ghost Sword is perfectly adequate for the very few times you need a melee weapon.  Do not equip or use the Assassin's Blade for PvE.  It has no block capabilities, and eight times out of ten you need a melee weapon in PvE, you'll need something that can block.  It's a quite good weapon for PvP, though.  Once you have acquired all the other equipment items and armor you need, you can upgrade to Dual Daggers if you wish.  Most of the time, you'll only need your melee weapon if the team is closely engaged by a foreman, Techro, or Assassin.  Your melee weapon is therefore the least useful and should be the least-used weapon in your arsenal.

Spring Stealth is worthless in PvE; use Sprint Stealth.  Until you can use and afford the Crescent Jetpack at level 40, use a Hands Free Jetpack.  The combination of Sprint Stealth and the Crescent Jetpack will be one you want to become proficient with as soon as you possibly can.  Go out into the desert and practice this combination.  Stealth is not all that impressive on the ground; the AI opponents will frequently detect you despite your use of it.  Once you can use it in the air, though, it will increase your likelihood of correctly aiming and dropping your off-hands and your Shatter, once you have it.

The combination of "spinercon" and "bombercon" tactics will be tough to master initially.  The worst mistake a Recon can make is to be too aggressive.  You should nearly always be at the back of a mission group, and well away from the others when on a raid.  Despite their DPS, Recons should try not to draw any threat (more on this in a bit).  However, dropping your off-hand bombs will force you to periodically come forward.  Whenever possible, before dropping bombs, be stealthed.  This does not mean run forward, wait until you get shot, and then stealth.  This means stealth first, then run (or preferably, fly) forward.  Initially, you should equip an EMP Bomb and a Fire Bomb.  Something else you'll want to practice in the desert are "toss-bombing" techniques: the ability to toss a bomb to a precise location while jumping or flying on your jetpack.  When you gain access to it, you can and should try out the Virus Bomb and see if that one is more to your liking.  Late in your career, you're only going to have access to one, so decide which of the three is your favorite.

Don't bother with mines in PvE.  Mines are for defensive situations and are useless for a fast-advancing mission team.  They can be used with more success in raids until you can access the higher-level bombs, and better still, the Deconstructor.  The "decon" is tossed like a bomb but covers a much wider area and does continuous damage over time.  It can also take damage from weapons.  As a result, placement is critical.  It works around corners and from behind cover, so those are often good places to put it.  You also want to keep it away from Assaults, turrets, or locations that will draw fire.  If the first thing an AI sees as it comes around a corner is a decon, it will destroy that decon.  However, the very same decon hidden just around the next corner will do good damage.  It is also particularly useful placed under or near spiders, foremen, bosses, and (if the team has chosen to destroy them) support scanners.  However, you will not get access to the decon until level 36, so you'll have to content yourself with lesser weapons until it becomes available to you.

Similarly, the best weapon in the Recon's arsenal is the Shatter Bomb, which is used like the other bombs, but is actually a Morale Boost rather than an off-hand.  It is not available to Recons until level 44, but should be immediately equipped when it does become available.  Shatters are made available when you reach your Morale threshold, and are toss-delivered just like other bombs.  However, they have an extremely wide area of effect and do terrific damage, as well as producing a short EMP effect.  A Recon with a Shatter is more or less a prerequisite for the difficult Ultra-Max missions and extremely helpful with lesser missions and all types of raids.  As soon as your Morale rises high enough that a Shatter becomes available, start thinking about where you're going to use it.  It is Global Agenda's best single weapon.

Once you've completed putting seven points into Marksman, put one point into Infiltration to increase the size of your various explosives.  That will make these various off-hands even better.  Your four points of Balanced are taken next, followed by the last point into Infiltration.  Until you can equip Shatter, Sensor Boost is a quite good Morale Boost.  Use it particularly when the team is facing spiders, foreman, bosses, or other very high-resistance enemies.  The Sensor Boost greatly increases the team's DPS.

Your third off-hand should be the Decoy.  This is your one and only defensive option, but is not a GTFO option (that's what your speed is for).  Your Decoy should be deployed pre-emptively, preferably while running under cloak.  It does you no good at all to deploy it after you've been shot at and while not under cloak.  AIs will ignore the Decoy and continue shooting you.  However, if they see the Decoy first, it will go a long way toward preventing you taking damage.  For instance, a Recon's first move when entering a boss room should always be to cloak, then run into the room, then drop the Decoy, then change course toward his initial sniping point.  As long as you are cloaked when you enter the room, the boss and any reinforcements will nearly always go for the Decoy.

There's some disagreement about what targets the Recon should be sniping at.  A lot of people will tell you to concentrate your high DPS on the more elite targets such as Helots, Alchemists, and spiders.  These people are wrong.  The best PvE Recons will concentrate their fire on Minions, Ballistae, and Sentinels.  Only after these ancillary targets are dead should you bother with the tougher targets.  There are two reasons for this.  First, opening fire on the tougher targets will likely draw much more threat onto you than sticking with weaker ones.  Recons are glass cannons, with great DPS... but very, very thin.  It isn't going to take any time at all for a spider or Helot to kill you once you're in his sights.  Let the Assault deal with these larger threats, particularly since they'll be moving in close anyway.

No, stick with the long-ranger enemies among the AI targets.  Minions can shoot a surprisingly long way with their simple guns, and four or five Minions shooting at an Assault already under a ton of fire from a spider or Helot (or two, or three) will probably end that Assault's life.  However, clearing those ancillary targets away will both allow you to avoid threat and will significantly reduce the amount of DPS the Assault has to tank.  A Minion will usually take two shots at most, which means that in a busy fight, you can rack up four or five kills every ten seconds, if your aim is good.  A correctly played Recon in a Maximum Security PvE mission will have the second or third most total damage of the team... but should have the most total kills: anywhere from 65 to 80, depending on the mission.

Attacking the more distant enemies is not only something that the Assault and the Recon can't do while they're busy with closer, stronger foes, it will have yet another benefit.  It will draw those distant, but visible, enemies toward the Assault's short range guns and the nest that is already established by the Robotics.  If a mission is handled correctly, there are a finite number of enemies in it, and reducing this number from a defensive position already established and already held is always preferable to having to reestablish that position more frequently and risking being pushed back.

Two more quick notes, then I'll draw this (very long) guide to a conclusion.  ;-)

Again, don't be too aggressive!  The Medic should be concentrating on keeping the Assault alive, which means that you should do what you can to avoid taking a lot of fire.  Needing healing between battles is fine.  Needing healing in the middle of a battle is frequently fatal to a Recon; more Recons die because of this than due to any other cause.  A correctly-played Recon should need little to no healing from the Medic.  He should not be drawing much fire, and what fire he does draw should be something that the Medical Station supplied by the Robotics can handle.  When the team is moving -- particularly when the team is moving through cramped hallways with frequent switch-back turns -- don't be afraid to hang way, way back.  Often, the game likes to hide AoE attacks from Ballistae in the midst of these tight corridors.  The last thing you need is to be another critically damaged or dead team member in terrain you can't fight worth a damn in anyway.  Be patient and let the rest of the team go in first.  Content yourself with knowing that when the terrain opens back up, you'll get your licks in.

Finally, you'll often find that a good Robotics will strike somewhat off on his own in some situations.  He's trying to split the threat between the Assault and his own turrets and thereby make the Medic's life easier.  When this happens, if it makes sense to do so, hook up with the Robotics and fight from his position.  There are a few good reasons for this.  First, the Robo will be deploying his Dome Morale Boost frequently, and Recons are rarely happier than when they're safely under a Robo's Dome.  Second, a good Robo will also have a Power Station nearby and your high-energy sniper rifle will benefit from this.  Third, you'll be in a good position to backstop for the Robo in case Alarm Responders or other new spawn appears near his position.

Playing a Recon well in Global Agenda PvE  is the hardest job there is in the game.  GA is full to bursting with bad, bad Recons.  Even a marginally competent Recon will be better than literally 90% of the ones in PvE.  Follow the instructions in this guide, and you're past that 90%.  The remaining 9.9% is up to you.  ;-)

13 comments:

  1. Funnily enough I have a very similar build for my LVL 30 RECON, but for PVE I always equip a SMG, and sure enough I am always #1 or #2 for DMG and usually #2 for kills. I find that I land in teams where the Assault is not as strong as we would all like and having the rapid fire of the SMG allows me to help out a lot more than the Ballista does. But I do still hit and draw the AI units from much further distances than the Assualt and Robotics units.

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  2. Great guide! As a medic player I am having serious problems with recons charging and getting themselves in a lot of trouble (then griefing about how I wasn't doing my job). Hopefully more of them will read this and learn. Thank you.

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  3. @Anon0346: yeah, that's a failure of your Assault. By using the SMG, you're forcing every enemy to come to you, giving them the opportunity to do DPS and thereby working your Medic and Robo harder. If your Medic isn't up to scratch, that's an excellent way to get overwhelmed by numbers and murdered.

    Were you doing Highs or Maxes? I'll bet: Highs.

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  4. @Jester Both Highs and Maxes....mainly Highs is when I find that the Assualt's arnt up to the job. You are right in saying that I do need much more Medic and Robo support when I do this. But it does beat trying to fight close quarters with a Ballista. Your guides are great, I hope that more players read and take on what you have to say.

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  5. Hi Jester I have found your guides to be great and they have improved my proformance over all.

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  6. Decoy? Why not Visual Scanner or Vulture Vision?

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  7. Backstabbing is also effective, not just sniping, as minions will probably be focused on assault players.

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  8. I'm with anon, why not Visual Scanner/Range stim instead of Decoy? I see decoys being far more situational than Visual Scanner.

    Every time the cool down is up, that's an extra amount of damage you can be doing, and especially in boss situations where dps is important, I see visual scanner being far more useful.

    I see Decoy being more useful when you can two-three shot enemies. An extra amount of damage there wouldn't be as useful as taking some damage off the tank/medic, and I'll admit that you're spending a lot of time killing enemies, but I think that unless you have a really bad team, Decoy isn't as helpful.

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  9. Not exactly the best guide. In pvp recons are not the best, each class is equally important, its just up to the players to play it correctly. Also, recons are far from the least usful class in pve, again, each class in pve is equal in their own way, you have to play them for their intended purpose. Yes, almost all maps are pretty close quarters, but its nothing anyone cant handle. Be as agressive as you want. The corners provide excellent cover to run if your getting shot at. A good robo will have stations behind the group just for that. At te very least you can rest for 10 secs and jump back in. The spec shown isnt the best. it cuts your dps by alot.

    [Balanced], 5 points
    Jetpack Power
    Power Pool Increase
    Team Boost Increase
    Power Pool Return
    Damage Increase:Ranged

    [Infiltration] 0 points

    [Marksmen] 8 points
    Recon Rifle Effective Range
    Recon Rifle Accuracy
    Recon Rifle Range
    Recon Rifle Power Cost
    Recon Rifle Damage
    Killer Instinct
    Sureshot
    Super Sharpshooter

    That is the best spec for a recon that maximizes dmg in pve. I've tested multipul specs with none out dpsing this one. Sacrificing something for eagal eye isnt worth it, the only thing viable is Damage increase range, or recon rifle accuracy. Damage Increase is has more dmg than eagal eye will add, and recon rifle accuracy is your fireing rate, so you will fire slower lowering your over all dps.

    For gear, swap sprint stealth for Targeting System, dont go bombs unless you dont have a Bionics or Visual Scanner. all Four of those offhands can be changed depending on how you play and what is best for the mission.

    Shatter isnt as godly as it seems, it has a long activate time even as a bomber, its also prone to bugs, not doing full dmg, sometimes if an enemy is on a slope it wont even hit them at all. Dont get me wrong its very powerful in alot of situations, just dont get one and expect it to own everything in site. Another thing with shatter, if your in a raid with alot of recons (4+ total), and they all have shatters think about putting a sensor boost on, 3 shatters can handle pretty much anything, the sensor boost will buff the dmg of people around you and help more than a shatter that might kill only a few mobs.

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  10. THERE IS AN INFILTRATOR SKILL TREE BECAUSE SOME PEOPLE PUT MORE THAN ONE SKILL INTO IT. There is no reason not to backstab minions, then quickly stealth. Some people like their sword.

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    Replies
    1. Meleecon really isn't viable in PvE, though - running around into a field of enemy fire to stab one enemy in the back and then aggro everything in its immediate vicinity isn't as effective as shooting that guy from a safe distance.

      Can you play a Meleecon or a Bombercon? Certainly. I play a Bombercon myself, and I love it even though I know from experience that I can get significantly higher DPS as a Snipercon. Play whatever you want as long as you're effective with it - this guide just shows the easiest way to do so.

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  11. As someone who plays Assaults and Medics as well as Recon, a Recon is a much better team asset taking the EMP, Virus, or even Graviton Bomb than the Fire Bomb in missions.

    For starters, the Fire Bomb has less base damage than any other bomb, and relies on afterburn to make up for that. That's a risky proposition because first of all, a lot of enemies are resistant to fire and the fire bomb will deal less overall damage, and second of all, the minion clusters you're likely to throw bombs into are unlikely to live long enough past the initial damage that the afterburn will go its full duration.

    More importantly, however, the Fire Bomb doesn't offer any crowd control. An EMP Bomb will stun enemies, and the poison from the Virus Bomb will debuff your enemies, allowing you and your team to advance and mop up weakened enemies without fear of taking too much damage. The Graviton Bomb can be used quite effectively like the Helot Minigun in PvE, pushing enemies away from your team as a defensive measure, but the ability to use stealth and throw the bomb behind enemies also makes it great for pushing enemies into range of turret nests or Assaults (not to mention occasional and hilarious pitfall kills). As you said, multiple minions firing on the Assault will end his life quickly - slowly killing those guys over time won't help him out, but instant crowd control will.

    Overall, it comes down to the fact that nine times out of ten in PvE, survival trumps your damage or kill count. Groups will appreciate a Recon that protects the Assault and Medic a lot more than one that provides nothing other than damage.

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  12. IMO, you're not giving the Scorpia enough credit. You're going to be targeting weaker minions most of the time, enemies that can be two-shotted even without the protection debuff of the Ballista, and being able to quickly down Elite Alchemists popping Regeneration and priority targets focused on by an Alchemist, Techro or Maintenance Drone is a definite plus.

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