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    Tri-Form Warshade Guide by Hak

    Version: 1.0 | Updated: 11/22/05 | Printable Version | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

                                   CITY OF HEROES
                           Developed by Cryptic Studios
                               Published by NCSoft
                           Tri-Form Warshade Guide 1.0
                    Guide by Kevin Murray (hakikev, Hakster)
              Contact hakikev@gmail.com, CoH/CoV Global "@Hakster"
    Version 1.0 - 22nd November 2005.
    Started guide. Got most rough draft information into a readable format. Still not
    100% happy with layout, but information is mainly complete.
      1. What is a Warshade?
      2. Why Tri-Form?
      3. Power & Slotting choices
      4. Teaming possibilities
      5. Strategies
      6. Kheldian disadvantages and issues
      7. Everything else
    General stuff;
    This document is Copyright  2005 Kevin Murray. It may be not be reproduced under
    any circumstances except for personal, private use. It may not be placed on any
    website besides those specified by the author. It may not be distributed
    electronically outside of these websites, and it may not be distributed
    otherwise at all. Use of this guide on any other website or as a part of any
    public format is strictly prohibited, and a violation of copyright. As of this
    moment, only www.gamefaqs.com may host this.
    This guide is a work in progress, and people's opinions may vary. This is my own
    personal views, which I am giving in the hope that others may read and find some
    use in rolling their own Warshade.
    1. What is a Warshade?
    A Warshade (referred to sometimes as WS) is one of the 2 "Epic" archetypes (ATs)
    available in City of Heroes. In order to gain access to the 2 Epic ATs, you must
    have at least one character at level 50. This can be on any server - by getting
    a single 50, you will be able to create Warshades (and their "cousins", the
    Peacebringers) on any server. Even if you delete your level 50, you will still
    have them unlocked.
    A Warshade is the result of a Nictus (scientifically altered Kheldian life form)
    merging with a human host against the human's will. Unlike Peacebringers, who
    merge willingly with a "pure" Kheldian, Warshades have, at some point, been
    forced into hosting the parasitic Nictus. Turning their back on their evil
    impulses, these Warshades become heroes to make amends for the wrongs they have
    Warshades will, through the course of their careers, have access to two very
    different forms. These are classed as Shapeshit:Special in their descriptions,
    and both are very discrete. The Dark Nova Form will give you excellent accuracy
    and damage output at the expense of having no resistance or defence. The Black
    Dwarf form will give you very high damage resistance, increased hit points, and
    extremely high protection against status attacks (mez, or mesmerise) at the
    expense of reduced damage output and less mobility.
    2. Why Tri-form?
    By taking one of the most diverse ATs in City of Heroes, you will have alot of
    decisions to make in regards to power choices and where to put slots. By taking
    both special forms (Black Dwarf and Dark Nova), you are adding an extra 12 powers
    you have to slot (4 for Nova, 6 for Dwarf, plus the forms themselves). Also,
    starting from level 1 when you first create your Warshade, you will have the
    "Shadow Step" power - identical to the Teleport travel power only available to 
    regular heroes at level 14 or above.
    Tri-Form, in my opinion, is simply the best way to play a Warshade. For many, it
    is the reason they pick a Kheldian to begin with. In short, why restrict myself
    to having only human abilities and frailties, when I can become a "Squiddie"
    (Dark Nova form) to provide optimal damage output to my team, or become the
    "Lobster" (Black Dwarf form), giving me decent Tanking ability and almost
    complete immunity to status effects like Stun, Sleep, etc.
    Human form also has very distinct advantages. Since you can only summon your
    pets while in Human form, it makes sense you may want some protection there too.
    Having a close range enemy Disorient power, a very high damage hold which causes
    damage over time, the wonderful Eclipse (more later), cone blasts which group
    stun you enemies, AND a power which boosts your human stats depending on what
    your team-mates classes are all add up to something which can turn into an
    unstoppable kil.... "arresting" machine.
    In short, taking and slotting a good Tri-Form build allows you to fill any role
    on a team which is not currently filled. This leads to more invites and better
    progression through the game.
    3. Power & slotting choices
    The easiest way to start is to post my own build here. I can then discuss my
    own choices. I am always open to new ideas, and this build is only an example.
    It was made after the Enhancement Diversification changes in Issue 6, and works
    Exported from version 1.5C of CoH Planner
    Archetype: Warshade
    Primary Powers - Ranged : Umbral Blast
    Secondary Powers - Support : Umbral Aura
    01 : Absorption damres(01)  
    01 : Ebon Eye acc(01)  dam(50)  
    02 : Gravimetric Snare acc(02)  immdur(43)  
    04 : Gravity Shield damres(04)  damres(5)  damres(5)  endred(42)  
    06 : Dark Nova endrec(06)  endrec(9)  thtbuf(11)  thtbuf(11)  fltspd(17)  fltspd(46)  
    08 : Starless Step acc(08)  
    10 : Orbiting Death dam(10)  dam(13)  acc(42)  endred(46)  
    12 : Shadow Blast acc(12)  dam(45)  
    14 : Shadow Cloak endred(14)  
    16 : Sunless Mire acc(16)  
    18 : Gravity Well dam(18)  dam(19)  dam(19)  acc(23)  acc(25)  hlddur(27)  
    20 : Black Dwarf damres(20)  damres(21)  damres(21)  damres(23)  damres(25)  endrec(27)  
    22 : Stygian Circle endred(22)  
    24 : Nebulous Form endred(24)  endred(31)  
    26 : Gravitic Emanation acc(26)  disdur(48)  
    28 : Inky Aspect acc(28)  disdur(37)  disdur(50)  
    30 : Unchain Essence dam(30)  dam(31)  dam(31)  acc(34)  acc(42)  acc(46)  
    32 : Dark Extraction recred(32)  recred(33)  recred(33)  acc(33)  dam(34)  endred(34)  
    35 : Quasar dam(35)  dam(36)  dam(36)  recred(40)  
    38 : Eclipse recred(38)  recred(39)  recred(39)  acc(39)  acc(40)  damres(40)  
    41 : Stygian Return recred(41)  hel(43)  
    44 : Hasten recred(44)  recred(45)  recred(45)  
    47 : Aid Other hel(47)  hel(48)  recred(48)  
    49 : Super Speed runspd(49)  runspd(50)  
    01 : Brawl enhancement(01)  
    01 : Sprint enhancement(01)  
    02 : Rest enhancement(02)  
    01 : Shadow Step enhancement(01)  enhancement(3)  enhancement(3)  
    10 : Shadow Recall enhancement(10)  
    06 : Dark Nova Bolt enhancement(06)  enhancement(15)  enhancement(37)  
    06 : Dark Nova Blast enhancement(06)  enhancement(15)  enhancement(37)  
    06 : Dark Nova Emmanation enhancement(06)  enhancement(7)  enhancement(9)  enhancement(17)  
    06 : Dark Nova Detonation enhancement(06)  enhancement(7)  enhancement(13)  enhancement(36)  
    20 : Black Dwarf Strike enhancement(20)  
    20 : Black Dwarf Smite enhancement(20)  
    20 : Black Dwarf Mire enhancement(20)  
    20 : Black Dwarf Drain enhancement(20)  
    20 : Black Dwarf Step enhancement(20)  enhancement(43)  
    20 : Black Dwarf Antagonize enhancement(20)  enhancement(29)  enhancement(29)  
    Looking at my build, you will see that I have picked exclusively powers from my
    Primary and Secondary pools until the end of the game. The last 2 powers above
    were taken primarily as "fillers" - there was simply nothing more I wanted from
    the main power choices. They are handy, don't get me wrong, but nothing that I
    couldn't live without
    My first power choice - Ebon Eye - is a minor damage attack. Like every Warshade
    attack in the game, it causes your target to be slowed and have a reduced action
    rate. My slots went into Shadow Step (Teleport) purely because I don't need them
    in any of my current powers - Ebon Eye is an attack chain filler later, but will
    rarely be used until much later when I get some core human powers.
    Gravimetric Snare is a great power - low damage, but it can immobilise minions,
    and multiple applications can slow and immobilise even Arch-Villains. The damage
    isn't high enough to warrant boosting with enhancements, so I stick an Accuracy
    in there to ensure I get more from it. The Immobilisation at high levels is
    purely for when I am regularly fighting AVs.
    Gravity Shield - Smash/Lethal damage is the most common. I don't want to take
    much of it. Take this, and slot it, but there's no rush.
    Dark Nova at level 6. You are, as a tri-form, going to spend a great deal of time
    in Dark Nova form. Slot the attacks for damage first, as the form already has
    an inherent accuracy boost. I increase this with the To-Hit buffs affecting all
    attacks. With high damage output, this form will easily get you up to level 30
    as the game has few status effects before then. Slot your AoE's first, then your
    single target damage.
    Starless Step - the "TP Foe" equivalent. Also, the first power for easily taking
    out lone Void Hunter/Quantum Gunner minions. It will be invaluable later on if
    you run missions on your own.
    Orbiting Death is a power which isn't hugely useful early. In conjunction with
    Inky Aspect, it becomes infinitely more useful. At low levels, it draws too
    much aggro that you are not equipped to deal with. Its low damage, but constant
    hits, make it great if you are in the middle of combat - Inky Aspect will 
    disorient all foes around you and help prevent them scarpering while Orbiting
    Death slowly sucks away their health.
    Shadow Blast is, along with Ebon Eye, another combo filler for use in human form.
    The damage isn't wonderful in comparison with other attacks, but it is useful
    for hammering enemies (such as Void Hunters) who are already held.
    Shadow Cloak is the same as Stealth from the Concelment Pool. Provides a Defence
    buff when active, and prevents discovery except from enemies with +Perception
    powers or abilities. Use this along with Nebulous Form for 100% invisibility.
    Sunless Mire is when things start getting interesting. Triggering this power will
    create a ring of Negative Energy around you. Any enemies inside this ring which
    are hit will take minor damage, but you get a buff to both your Accuracy and
    Damage. This buff carries over into your forms for as long as it lasts.
    Gravity Well is, along with Starless Step, your Void/Quantum killing combo. This
    hold has massive damage, causes a targets toggles to drop (including Void Hunter
    energy shields) and AFTER the initial damage, it still causes damage over time
    to your target. Try summoning a Void Hunter to you, hitting them with this, then
    turning Dark Nova for the finisher - they'll be down before the hold wears off.
    Black Dwarf is, as noted above, the low damage/high resistance form. Because of
    this, I only slot Accuracy into the attacks - the damage is low, and 33.3% of
    "not-very-much" is still "not-very-much". The only 2 powers I readily slot are
    the taunt and the teleport. The taunt to give the edge when I'm filling in for a
    Tanker role, and the teleport so I can TP into the middle of a spawn and grab
    aggro before my team-mates do. The heal does low damage, and recovers 10% of your
    HUMAN form hit points - not Dwarf. Take care of this.
    Stygian Circle is the reason that many Warshades choose not to take any powers
    from the Fitness Power Pool. This power should be triggered after combat, in a
    position central to the most corpses. For every corpse hit, you will recover both
    hit points and endurance. It only takes 3 minion-level corpses for a full health
    recharge, and bosses and lieutenants give more than minions do. After a long
    battle, trigger this for a nice recharge. The recharge is very fast, so only the
    base slot has an Enurance Reduction, in case I have so little left I can't afford
    to trigger it.
    Nebulous Form is a slightly better version of Phase Shift. I say slightly better
    because the time is longer - 60 seconds as opposed to 45 for Phase Shift. Use
    this for playing "hunt-the-glowie" - it boosts your jump ability for quicker
    movement. Enemies can still see you if you are close - use Shadow Cloak at the
    same time to get complete invisibility. You can't affect enemies while using this
    power, but they can't affect you either.
    Gravitic Emanation has its uses. It's a cone attack which throws bad guys backward
    and stuns them. Using this with Inky Aspect running can stun bosses, which is
    nice. No great damage though - slot for Accuracy and Disorient.
    Inky Aspect has been covered in previous powers. Be warned that, although it uses
    very little endurance up, for every enemy it hits you will take a small amount of
    damage. If using it on a huge spawn, your health will drop very quickly.
    Unchain Essence is, in addition to Quasar, a high damage attack. To use it, there
    must be a corpse. This power releases the essence of the defeated enemy as a
    huge AoE explosion, heavily damaging enemies, knocking them back, and also
    having a chance to disorient them. Useful, huh?
    Dark Extraction. Well, you now have pets. Little koosh balls which are summoned
    from the defeated corpses of your foes. With a few recharges, you can have 2 at
    once, since WS pets weren't brought down in the same way other pets were
    recently. These pets have the same attacks as Dark Nova (except Detonation), so
    are great for support while you stomp away in Dwarf form. Their damage is not
    huge, but it is good enough to bring down minions while you engage the boss.
    Quasar is a huge blast of explosive energy centered on yourself. When you use it,
    you will lose all your remaining endurance, and will be unable to recover it
    normally. Blue inspirations and buffs will still allow you to recover as normal.
    Eclipse should be taken as soon as possible, and slotted as soon as possible.
    For every enemy that Eclipse hits, your own resistance to ALL damage, including
    Psionics, is increased. Hitting around 8 mobs with this will place you firmly
    at the resistance cap of 85% (all damage will be reduced by this amount). The
    best part? The resistance carries into the forms! Your Squiddie will now be a
    massive damaging unstoppable machine! The next best part? Unlike many other
    powers which boost your stats (Moment of Glory, Elude, Unstoppable), there is no
    crash on Eclipse. If you have a Kinetics team-mate, you can have it on
    permenantly (assuming enough mobs to make it worthwhile). This power will make
    you glad you waited all those levels, and turn your Warshade into the "Tank-Mage"
    sought after in every MMO currently played.
    Stygian Return is a self-resurrect power. For every bad guy around when you trigger
    it, you recover some health and endurance. No bad guys, no resurrect.
    My last 3 powers were taken for utility - Hasten can be helpful in a jam, but you
    can only trigger it in Human form. It carries over, but it's not always
    convenient to switch.
    Aid Other was my attempt at the healing badges, and Super Speed is there as a
    faster travel method than Dark Nova flight, and less endurance heavy than 
    Shadow Step.
    That covers my build. Feel free to use bits of it if you like. However, the
    beauty of the Warshade (and their inferior cousins, Peacebringers) is that no
    build is "wrong". If it works for you, use it. I have tried using other powers
    and had many, many respecs - this build works for me, and works well. If you
    decide that you will spend a bit more time in human form, it may be worth
    putting off Shadow Cloak or Orbiting Death so you can pick up Health and Fitness
    early. Please be aware that any auto-powers which come from pools do NOT carry
    into the forms - Stamina, Health, etc are ONLY active in human form. Also, when
    in the forms, except for a few notable exceptions, only the powers for that
    form can be used - if you pick up the Leadership Pool, you can only use these
    powers as a human - they have no effect in Squid and Lobster modes.
    Some temporary powers which cause items to appear can have fun results - using
    the Fire Extinguisher from Steel Canyon in human form, then switching to either
    of the energy forms will leave the backpack on for a while. It looks
    especially interesting on the Dwarf. The Iron Sword in Croatoa can be equipped
    in any form at any time - it makes the Dwarf look weel hard, and the Squid
    looks like someone harpooned it through the neck.
    4. Teaming possibilities
    How do Warshades fit into teams? Well, if you have been careful, you can fill
    pretty much any role. If there is no Blaster (no big loss), switch into Nova
    form and start throwing out your energy blasts. Tankers all busy herding Dreck?
    Dwarf form will give you the ability to hold aggro using Taunts, while your
    buddies pick the bad guys off. Controllers on holiday? Inky Aspect, Gravitic
    Emanation, Gravity Well, and Gravity Snare can all provide crowd control to
    a greater or lesser degree. We are not Scrappers - Peacebringers have more
    powers applicable to "Scrapping" than us - and we are not Defenders, although
    we can provide some wicked debuffs to speed and attack rates.
    Warshades have a unique powers available from level 1 which will buff you up
    depending on your team-mates. This power only works in human form - if it was
    available in the energy forms, we would be insanely overpowered. Different ATs
    will buff you as follows;
    Scrappers/Blasters - Damage buff
    Tankers/Defenders - Resistance buff
    Controllers - Mez protection buff
    The buff is applied for every member of the team. If you are lucky enough to be
    in a team composed only of Defenders and Tankers, you will take next to no
    damage in human form. In a Scrapper/Blaster heave team, you can out-damage
    the Blasters and Scrappers themselves. This bonus relies on having team-mates
    providing a buff within 300' or so - don't get cocky by trying to solo a huge
    group while your Tanker/Defender buddies go the other direction down the map!
    5. Strategies
    How do your powers fit together? Well, as a Warshade, you are now in control of
    the only AT in the game who can reach the damage, accuracy AND resistance caps
    without the help of a single other player. This isn't something you can do all
    the time, but when you do, it's impressive.
    My favourite strategy combines several of my powers together. I will ask my team
    to stay back (I hate interference =]), switch on Shadow Cloak and Nebulous Form,
    run into the dead centre of a huge spawn. While my team are wondering what I am
    doing, I drop Nebulous, hit Eclipse (which puts me to the resistance cap), then
    switch to Dwarf form and trigger Black Dwarf Mire. As soon as it finishes, I
    change back to human form and trigger Sunless Mire (putting me to damage and
    accuracy caps since the Mire buffs stack), then trigger Quasar. A fully damage
    capped explosion is a wonder to behold. Then, if something is still able to
    move, I drop a blue inspiration (Quasar drops my endurance), target one of the
    many corpses around the place, wait for the remaining enemies to arrive, and
    hit Unchain Essence (while both Mires are still going). No more bad guys.
    This is a strategy which you will not see until late game, but it truly makes
    you feel like the effort was worth it when you just wiped those guys out so
    fast. Early game, your strategies are going to revolve around how to deal with
    those pesky Void Hunters and Quantum Gunners. I'll cover them later.
    Another nice trick is to have your human form shields running, switch on Inky
    Aspect, Orbiting Death, and Shadow Cloak (although this is very endurance heavy).
    Run towards a spawn and trigger Gravitic Emanation. This will knock the bad guys
    flying (preferably into a wall) then follow them and let your toggles wear them
    down. In a team, your buddies should have used this opportunity to finish them
    all off. If not, quit your team and get people who play while awake. This also
    works without Inky Aspect, although the disorient effect will wear off quickly,
    and you will be the butt of the aggro.
    Through much of the game, you will be in Nova form. Depending on which of your
    attacks you are lining up, select your targets wisely. If going for Detonation,
    target the mob closest to the centre to ensure maximum effect. If using
    Emanation, target the furthest away central one. Click the power, and if you are
    too far, fly slowly toward them - as soon as you are in range, the power goes 
    off and you get maximum spread. Using Emanation first, then Detonation, ensures
    that there are no knockbacks for the second power going off, and with the
    damage slotted up, this can decimate whole spawns.
    Void and Quantum Gunners (Voids/Quants) will be a major thorn in your side. You
    should get into the habit of scanning all groups you encounter in case one is
    hiding away. The annoying thing about these guys (Voids especially) is that
    they will ignore everyone else and target you, even if they have been Taunted
    by someone else. In Nova form, 2 or 3 shots from a Quantum weapon will drop you.
    The energy part can be resisted by shields, buffs, and Eclipse. The secondary
    part - which ONLY affects Khelds - is not resistable, and is devastating in its
    damage outlay, as well as its stun effect. For Quantums, get them into close
    combat range - they should try to punch you instead of shooting you, and can be
    taken down that way. Voids are different - the Void Hunter mercenaries have
    gloves infused with Nictus fragments, and close combat actaully does higher
    damage than them shooting you! These Nictus feed on Kheldian life force, which
    is why you are hurt more than others.
    Early levels, fighting Voids is a pain. If you watch them, time your attacks with
    the 3 or 4 seconds that their aura is off - it's a energy resistant shield, and
    your attacks are primarily energy based. If you get a good knock-back on them
    during this time, they cannot reactivate the shields and you should follow up
    for the killing blow. After level 18, when you have Gravity Well, try using
    Starless Step to bring them to you, then queue Gravity Well to launch as soon
    as they arrive. When you are solo, you should only ever see minion level Voids, 
    and these can be TP'd normally. Don't try to TP a Lieutenant or Boss Void - cry
    and shout until your team offers to help you take it out, then run away until
    it's down!
    6. Kheldian disadvantages and issues
    As well as the Voids/Quantums, there are other problems with running a Kheldian.
    I will concentrate on the Warshade ones (Peacebringers have some, but that's too
    bad for them). Looking through the powers available, you will see that many of
    them require corpses scattered around to function. What if you are in a ghost
    mission, and no corpses are left? You're out of luck then. No pets, no Stygian
    Circle, no Unchain Essence. Your only hope is (believe it or not) running into a
    Void Hunter. These boys leave corpses, and after all that debt, I like nothing
    better than tearing their sould out and making it submit to my will. Besides them
    you're SOL though.
    "Kheldian Scent" is a strange issue that people get. If you are on a team and
    leave (or someone who was on a team with you leaves), they are marked anyway, and
    will expect to encounter Voids, Quantums, enemy Dark Novas, Black Dwarfs, White
    Dwarfs and Bright Novas. Too bad for them - if you quit, they probably weren't
    good enough. If they quit, they weren't worth your time and deserve it! This
    can have a bad effect though - some people are reluctant to take on Khelds in 
    case they face these things.
    Kheldians have their very own story arcs, given out every 5 levels through the
    course of the game. These arcs are some of the best in there, letting you see
    Nictus infused Freakshow, find out the origin of the Nictus themselves, and give
    great background on Kheldians overall. The last arc, between level 45-50, sets you
    up against Requiem and Arakhn (Nictus infused Council leaders). It also brings in
    the nasty things known as Shadow Cysts. Shadow Cysts should ONLY ever be
    encountered during this arc. These horrible things spawn literally hundreds of
    Unbound Nictus (wild evil Kheldian scientifically altered life-forms). Every
    one of these that hits will not only hurt, but also slow you. The thing is that
    these are not only effective against Khelds - they will hurt everyone the same.
    A bug in the game means that any team with a Kheldian in it and over 6 members
    has a chance to find a Shadow Cyst ANYWHERE (including as spawns in the street
    maps). I have seen a mission against the Envoy of Shadows (Circle of Thorns AV)
    where the Envoy was literally standing on a Shadow Cyst. We faced 3 team-wipes
    before getting past that mission.
    7. Everything else
    Special thanks goes to my friend Jesstar (his CoH handle). He got me into playing
    City of Heroes, and gave me great pointers for starting out. More thanks go to
    everyone on my Global Friends list (if you read this, you know who you are).
    Particular thanks go to certain members of the forums on www.gamefaqs.com.
    Blademaster Orca gets a mention, as do Fluffball, jg, Jelenedra, rzn, and a few
    others who I have doubtless overlooked.