City of Heroes has a character Archetype called the “Tanker”. City of Villains doesn’t. A lot of people expect a Brute to be the tank but a Brute is not as defensive as a Tanker. A Tanker’s protection powers are much tougher and they have more health. This is where we need Masterminds. A MM has at their disposal some expendable cannon-fodder and can soak up a lot of enemy attacks. (A Master-Mind needs to be prepared to see their pets die.)
The Brute, however, has an important ability available to them: “Taunt”. Taunting a mob of enemies will make them all turn their focus on the Taunting Brute and away from the more fragile members of the group. Many Brutes don’t take the Taunt power seeing it as unnecessary, but in a group it makes you worth taking along. Yes, using this power can be suicide but if you have a well-structured team you can count on being healed or buffed enough to stay alive. In addition a Brute who knows how to Taunt well will have a lot of enemy attacks focused on them and will build more Fury for that.
This consists mainly of Healing, Buffing and Control. Corruptors and Masterminds have a selection of very important powers in their Secondary set that will make them essential in a good team. These sets usually contain Healing powers but can also provide extremely significant Buffing powers. The weakness solo of these buffing powers is that most of them cannot be used on the Corruptor or Mastermind themselves (but are still useful to a Mastermind who CAN use them on their own pets.) Still, though healing is usually a must-have decent buffing can greatly reduce the need for heals.
Another support role is filled almost entirely by the Dominator. Dominators can hold, stun, sleep, immobilise, or otherwise incapacitate their enemies. They might stop a boss from fighting back or perhaps sleep an entire room of foes. With absolutely no defensive or healing powers a Dominator can be very difficult to play without a team but in a group they certainly can contribute a lot.
All of the City of Villains archetypes are capable of dealing damage if built to do so. This means that to fulfil a needed role in a team you might want to have at least some focus on your character’s specific strengths (ie taking “Taunt” as a Brute or healing powers as a Corruptor.) Still, it is important to do large amounts of damage and each of the character Archetypes can bring a lot to a team in different ways to achieve this.
At the front of the team are the Brutes and the Masterminds’ pets. As the fight goes on the Brute will do more and more damage with each hit as their Fury builds. This makes Brutes prone to charging too far head when the rest of the team isn’t ready to keep up so keep an eye on this. The Mastermind’s pets will help the Brute stay alive but will also provide a steady source of mid-range damage.
Aside from healing Corruptors really shine when fighting large groups of enemies. A Corruptor has access to some of the best Area-of-Effect powers available. They can make a huge difference to the front-line fighters who will be able to finish off the weakened mobs. Corruptors simply blast away the health of all the weaker foes. Their Scourge ability also is great for doing extra damage to injured enemies.
Dominators don’t have the Area-of-Effect strength of the Corruptor but are capable of holding their own while still supplying their support powers; once a Dominator has an enemy held or a whole mob put to sleep they are quite capable of finishing off their own kills.
Stalkers are perhaps the deadliest Archetype in the game. Their single-target attacks will usually tear through even the strongest of enemies but they need to be careful to let the Brutes and MM pets take the majority of the hits. Weaving in and out of the melee will keep the Stalker alive. The challenge of the Stalker is to take their foes down with continued, focused efficiency – they need to steadily assess which target is the greatest threat, take them out, and then move on to the next.
So we have covered a few aspects of creating and learning to play a powerful Super-Villain. This should help you figure out what you would like to do for a first character or two. Don’t be afraid of trying different things until you eventually discover something that’s enjoyable enough to play to the higher-levels. City of Villains is extremely re-playable as there is just so much to try.
Have fun, and make sure to grab as much ill-gotten loot as you can on your next heist!