Unsettled Matters Settled Upon

Like sands through an hourglass, so are the cold-fighting down time days of our life.  Granted, this cold is not a particularly nasty one, at most it manages a dull throbbing, occasional cough, and frequent chest congestion – but it’s stubborn.   (I seem to recall hearing somewhere the mild ones are.)

RAID Postphoned

Apparently, I won’t be running my two hard drives in RAID 1 mode because it turns out that this motherboard has no RAID controller.  I confused it with a different model.  I could buy a PCIe raid Controller, but I’m honestly not sure it’s worth the money.   It’s certainly tempting every time I hear these cheap drives click, stop, and spin-up again in mid-read operation – and it’s sort of a waste of all that space not to be.

Funny enough, the documentation in my motherboard manual (obviously shared across all models of this motherboard) says it can run RAID 10 with two drives.  Doing some searches on the net about this, it seems nobody agrees that this would be particularly feasible.  Why not?  Seems like it would work to me – mirrored volumes which perform reads of half a file per drive resulting in twice the read speed but same write speed – but perhaps there’s some technical detail I’m unaware of.

For the time being, I’m just running a weekly backup process.  It’s cheaper, and something that would have saved me a bit of heartache over lost passwords, email, and resumes if I had remembered to do that before.  It helps that this second drive was a gift – I’m not out another $129 for a second bum drive.

The Gravity Situation Failed To Satisfy

On the City of Heroes altaholicism front, my last major revelation was that Grav/Kinetic/Psi was the ultimate bastion of offense and defense in one.  Was it?

At level 29, I’ve found that  in execution this combination lacks an important degree of influence on success or failure.  When the group is in trouble, I’ve found that throwing Gravity Distortion Field, Wormhole, and even Dimension Shift is not enough to save their bacon.  All Kinetics can seemingly do to stave off ones demise is heal and debuff foes’ damage potential, and that’s not enough.  This is disappointing to me because the main reason I play a Controller is to have the ability to take control of a situation gone bad.

Also, Wormhole did not “shake out” as well as I hoping.  Foes missed aren’t teleported – this much I knew already.  However, even hit foes tend to bounce away into unexpected places or, even less forgivably, not move at all.  The whole plan behind my Grav/Kin was to use Wormhole as a clumping agent for easy exploitation of Fulcrum Shift and AOE damage.  Because Wormhole is so unreliable at clumping (less than Telekinesis or even Hurricane) the whole thing falls apart.

Sticking A Green Thumb Up A Lighting Storm

Thus, I’m finding myself attracted to my Plant/Storm Controller again.  First, because it has a whole lot more “influence” on winning or losing a fight.   Many powers from either Plant Control or Storm Summoning can turn the tide of many situations much more effectively than all of Gravity Control or Kinetics put together.

(Plant/Storm also looks more influential – they can flood a good sized room with 4 placed pets, 2 mobile pets, and three weather toggles – but perhaps that’s mostly an ego thing.)

I already have a 50 Illusion/Storm, so it seems I like the concept of a spammy Controller with a lot of influence enough to make the climb to 50 again with a slight alteration: Plant Control instead of Illusion Control.  However, the only thing I really  miss from Illusion is the Phantom Army – the most effective damage rerouting in the game – everything else about the set is lackluster (most importantly its damage when Phantom Army is down).

(It really goes to show Illusion Control is best paired with Radiation Emission, where the Accelerate Metabolism allows for permanent Phantom Army, without which the set suffers.  Ill/Rad is also a ludicriously effective Archvillain/Giant Monster soloer as it pairs the invincible front of the Phantom Army with massive regeneration debuffs.)

It seems Plant/Storm is an upgrade from my Illusion/Storm level 50 character all around.  It boosts my damage, allows me to lock down whole patches of foes (for ideal ravaging with Tornado and Lightning Storm) provides self-healing (via Spirit Tree), and even throws in the area of effect confuse that was the only real reason to pursue a Mind Control.  (It may even be a superior version in that Seeds of Confusion uses a cone – which is often easier to utilize – and it can be cast four times as often as Mass Confusion.)

If I take supporting Storm Control as my primary focus, Plant Control is a bogglingly effective replacement for Illusion.  Further, Storm Control supports Plant Control in ways such as Snow Storm bringing down flying foes (the main ones Plant has trouble with) and Hurricane clumping them up nicely for Seeds of Confusion.  Seeds of Confusion, Roots, Carrion Creepers, and Freezing Rain is an absolutely vicious combination.  If there’s any weakness to this successor at all, it’s that it may make the game too easy.

Only A Few Best Capes To Wear

My City of Heroes related altaholicism has run its course to an ultimate level.  I’m afraid I’ve become good enough at the game to break City of Heroes down into the inevitable result of a game that gives you freedom to customize your characters: Templating.  Basically, there’s a best hero for everything, and I’m now in a good position to know where to find it.

Want to do great damage at range?  Take an Assault/Energy Blaster.  The combination of Boost Range and Buildup paired with Assault Rifle’s high base damage is an effective means to level whole groups of foes in an opening volley.  I imagine it could do some truly deadly things with a Boost Range, Buildup, LRM Launcher, and Full Auto combo.  How about Power Boost and Sleep Grenade?

Want to do great damage up close with a more effective safety net (including status protection)?  Take a Dual Blade/Fiery Aura Scrapper.  Fiery Aura gets a second buildup through Fiery Embrace, and the wide 10-target arc of One Thousand Cuts is the perfect mechanism to exploit it.  It has a hole for Psionic and Toxic attacks, but most foes would have a hard time surviving long enough to exploit it, and Rise of the Phoenix assures any foe’s victory would be bittersweet.   Combining Tenebrous Tentacles and Burn in the end game jacks the damage output straight into ludicrous territory.

Want to dominate any hostile situation you encounter?  Take a Plant/Storm Controller.  Storm Control’s debuffs are a lot more effective at managing a situation than Trick Arrow (the other “control heavy” secondary) while Plant’s incessant spamming of Seeds of Confusion will trivialize most foes capacity to attack.  On top of this, it’s generally a more effective soloer than alternative Controllers who maintain a good amount of control.  (Anything /Kinetics does not.)

Want to solo Giant Monsters and Archvillains?  See comment about Illusion/Radiation above.

Basically, it depends on whatever I’m in the mood to do.  When I’m feeling like staying in control of the situation, I’ll play a Plant/Storm Controller.  When I’m feeling like I want to spam out a ton of damage without a safety net, I’ll play an Assault/Energy Blaster.  When I just want to have some mindless fun, a Dual Blade/Fiery Aura Scrapper.  (Granted, it’s rare I can bring myself to do anything without minding it.)

That mental pursuit settled, perhaps I should take up a new one.  BYOND busywork?  Reading?

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