Champions Online Lightning Arc Ranged DPS Guide

Introduction

Lately I’ve been adjusting Aeria’s build a little. Thematically she’s Crystal’s straight-laced sister and rival mage. She’s been built around Stormbringer and high crit Hurricanes ever since the Wind set was released, with a few short-lived forays into Infernal, Fire and Lightning.

Aeria
Aeria in my Character Select

Ultimately, I really liked the damage of Lightning Arc and the ease of use of Hurricane, and Stormbringer was the perfect passive to bring those two together with a fitting visual for her theme. Other than the core powers of Stormbringer, Hurricane and Lightning Arc though, the rest of her build was always in the air. Her build has gone through enough iterations that I felt it warranted a guide.

Lightning Arc 101

Why Lightning Arc?

Here’s a few reasons:

  1. It has the potential to be one of the highest damaging 100ft powers in the game
  2. It’s a maintain, so it’s easy to use
  3. Its synergy with Negative Ions is also very easy to take advantage of
  4. Unlike Ice Blast which needs Ice Form/Cold Snap, Lightning Arc works at full potential with many passives.
  5. It looks cool :p
  6. You can yell “Piikaa… CHUUU!!!” when you attack
  7. It performs well even with cheap gear

And why not?

  1. It roots you in place while you maintain.
  2. It can be power hungry
  3. It’s not a standalone power. It requires a complementary power that applies Negative Ions.
  4. It’s quite common. Not as common as Two-Gun Mojo though.

How to build around Lightning Arc?

First things first, refer to my Survivable DPS Guide for a basic build framework near the end. This guide will cover the choices for Superstats, Energy Unlock, Passive, Form.

Superstats

In my framework, I mentioned Constitution should be one of the superstats. For a Ranged DPS, I recommend Constitution as a Secondary Superstat, so that a DPS-oriented Primary Superstat tree can be used to maximize DPS.

Dex and Ego have good DPS-oriented Primary Superstat trees. As does Intelligence if you know what you’re doing.

The third Secondary Superstat should be something that helps with energy, due to Lightning Arc’s energy consumption. Unless you’re using Primary Intelligence. Then you have energy covered and should go with Secondary Dexterity.

Energy Unlock

Lightning Arc has quite a few compatible Energy Unlocks.

Ionic Reverberation is an obvious choice. Very straightforward. Apply Negative Ions, use Lightning Arc. With Secondary Endurance, It should pay for itself as long as Negative Ions are applied.

Overdrive is an alternative to consider for ease of use. Simply maintain Lightning Arc more than halfway to get energy. Note that the description on Overdrive is wrong. It scales with Recovery, not Intelligence or Endurance, so Secondary Recovery is recommended for Overdrive. While Overdrive is more compatible with other powersets, it does take a while to build enough Overdrive stacks to maintain a Lightning Arc + Ball Lightning rotation. Can be mitigated by using Thunderstrike or Chain Lightning to apply Negative Ions instead though.

Molecular Self-Assembly is the not-quite-so-clear choice. It has trouble with demanding rotations like Ball Lightning, full Lightning Arc x 2 and repeat. However, Molecular Self-Assembly works with Superstat Intelligence, which gives shorter Active Offense cooldowns as a nice perk. Also, Thunderstrike can be used a fairly low energy substitute to Ball Lightning.

Passive

Lightning Form seems obvious. Can’t really go wrong taking a passive that boosts lightning damage. The damage types it resists aren’t very common though. I’d say it works best on a build using End or Int as a superstat, so that the energy bonuses get to kick in. Prepare to be very squishy though.

Stormbringer is as squishy as Lightning Form in theory, but Crushing damage is used a lot. It’s on Grav, it’s on the Harbinger, it’s on Madstone and just about every Might-based enemy. So on certain enemies, it’s as good as a tanking passive that can be taken in a DPS role, and that’s a huge advantage. Especially when many of these enemies are bosses with good rewards. But it’s also a Pokemon game. Against something Super Effective! on it, it’s as defenseless as Lightning Form.

Aura of Primal Majesty gives good bonuses all around, and pretty much makes energy management a non-issue. Main downsides are that it shoehorns a character into primary stats that scale very well with high stats, it doesn’t give the best damage, and its defenses come from a variety of tiny things like a teeny bit of extra HP with the boost to Con, a bit more Defense with say, high Con and Juggernaut spec, good healing due to the aura buffing the heal boost from superstats and Pre at softcap. So a lot of micromanagement is needed for an AoPM user, but it pays off if the aim is for a versatile character.

Quarry may not appear to buff electrical damage much, but it gives extra bonuses from Superstats if Int or Ego is a superstat, extra Ranged Damage from Ego and extra damage from higher Int powering Concentration. With some superstat choices, it is possible for Quarry to end up within 3% of Electric Form’s damage, but with much higher dodge. Best suited for builds with Superstat Int and Molecular Self-Assembly.

Form

For a Lightning Arc ranged DPS build there’s really 2 main choices. Concentration for builds that superstat Ego or Int, or Form of the Tempest if for builds that didn’t, but superstatted Dex. If none of those 3 are superstats, there’s a very high chance that something is wrong with the build :p

Compassion is also an option for builds that use some kind of HoT gimmick and superstat Pre or Rec, but it’s contingent on someone taking damage. As a non-tank it’s hard to guarantee that someone is going to be you, and as a non-healer, investing into Sentinel Aura or other party HoTs is a bit of a waste. It could also be done in a roundabout way, like self-damage with Dark Transfusion and then healing over time with Circle of Primal Dominion, but relying on heals to raise a DPS character’s ability to do damage is usually more trouble than it’s worth in most cases.

Sample Builds

Here’s a couple sample templates for a Lightning Arc character:

Ego/Con/End Electric Form version. Squishy passive version that uses Ball Lightning and Lightning Storm for more DPS. Get some Rec via gear and/or talents.

Ego/Con/Rec Stormbringer version. Uses Hurricane due to its lower energy cost.

The 4 empty power slots are free picks, but one should be a block replacer.

Sample Video

Selphea

Selphea is a crazy MMO player who can never decide what to play and runs weird builds. But hey at least they work!

  • Ancient Soul

    Cons is overrated

    • Selphea

      Yea 3 years ago it was a broken stat. Now it’s still kind of broken but slightly less broken than when Ego Surge was on a 29 second cooldown and there was no Justice gear to give you piles of Defense.