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City of Heroes: A Guide to Sentinel

Michael Bitton Posted:
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Last week, we wrapped up our Guide to Archetypes series with a guide focused on Villain Epic Archetypes. This week, we’ll be looking at the Sentinel, a custom Archetype added to City of Heroes on servers running “I25” code. I didn’t want to include this in the main series of AT guides due to the fact it’s not available on every server.

Even though the Sentinel is custom content, it does have some history as part of the game’s live service. My understanding is that Paragon had batted the idea around for years, but it just never came to light. The Sentinel AT is one that combines ranged blast sets with the armor sets you’d typically find on melee ATs. It’s your “tankmage” for lack of a better term. It’s not hard to imagine why such an AT never quite made it into the live game; it’d be incredibly hard to balance.

To curb some of the balancing issues, the developers of the Sentinel on I25 appear to have undertuned the AT a bit. It can’t take as much damage as most melee ATs and it can’t dish as much damage as most of your ranged ATs can. It’s best thought of as a sort of jack-of-all-trades AT. It’s also particularly great for players looking to solo due middle of the road damage output and survivability.

Inherent Power: Opportunity – The Sentinel’s Opportunity inherent power can be a bit confusing, but let’s break it down:

  • Your second shot on a target will reduce its defenses by a small amount
  • Your attacks will build various amounts of “Opportunity” which fill up your Opportunity meter. When this meter is full, the next shot you land on your target using your first or second abilities will add a significant damage resist debuff to the target.
  • Depending on the ability you used (your first or second) you will activate an Opportunity buff that grants you either Offensive Opportunity (First) or Defensive Opportunity (Second).
  • Offensive Opportunity allows you to strike your targets with bonus damage equal to 25% of your attack’s damage while the buff is active. Defensive Opportunity will restore some health and endurance with each attack while the buff is active.

Primary Powerset: Ranged

Secondary Powerset: Defense

When considering the Sentinel, it’s important to keep in mind that the powersets you’ll find here are not 1:1 copies of their counterparts in ATs such as the Blaster or Scrapper. Sentinel versions of powersets have been adapted to the AT to make a bit more sense as a mid-range fighter.

For the Ranged powersets, Snipe powers have been removed and replaced with a new blast and the damage tier for some powers are different entirely. For example, Tesla Cage, a ranged hold power in Electric Blast, typically deals Minor damage, but for the Sentinel it’s been upped to Extreme. Between Tesla Cage and Zapping Bolt (replacing the Snipe), this works out to giving Electric Blast a fully rounded out single target attack chain, solving an issue the set has long struggled with in other ATs.

Defense sets are similarly altered on the Sentinel. Abilities that scale off of having multiple targets surrounding you have had this mechanic removed, though their effectiveness has also been bumped some to allow them to function without it. Damage auras have also been removed and replaced with new abilities that offer additional utility. In short, you don’t need to worry about having to be in the fray as a Sentinel for your defenses to work.

Is the Sentinel worth playing? I think so. The balance of damage and survivability make the Sentinel a great choice for those who plan to play solo. In groups, it doesn’t bring a whole lot to the table, but with all the high powered characters you’ll typically find in a group setting, it’s not a big deal and it’s certainly not a liability.

The real reason to play a Sentinel, in my opinion, is to be able to realize certain character fantasies that you just can’t put together in other ATs or to play existing powersets with a new twist on them. If you ever wanted to do that cliché Dual Pistols/Super Reflexes character, well, now you can! For me, the changes to powersets like Electric Blast are reason enough to play a Sentinel. Electric Blast is frustrating to play on other ATs, but it flows perfectly on a Sentinel. If you’re on an I25 server, I’d suggest giving the AT a shot. It very likely is undertuned at this point, but it’s still a whole lot of fun.


Michael Bitton

Michael Bitton / Michael began his career at the WarCry Network in 2005 as the site manager for several different WarCry fansite portals. In 2008, Michael worked for the startup magazine Massive Gamer as a columnist and online news editor. In June of 2009, Michael joined MMORPG.com as the site's Community Manager. Follow him on Twitter @eMikeB