CoH — Group Tactics

Dave and Stan and Avocet have been having problems with bad teams on CoH lately, it sounds like.
CoH is a very different game solo, in small teams, or in large teams. Once you are in a large team, the game dynamic really changes. The controller shines, the tanker has a role.
This is what I’ve figured out about grouping, so far.
More as the thoughts occur to me.

RTFM: look up /invite, /sk, /findmember
Build the Team:
In smaller groups, its easier to make a team. With 4 or less characters in the group, you can get away with just about any combination and do just fine. The following is for groups of five and up.
You often can’t pick and choose what you want, but you can try. If you’re still short of the group you’re aiming for, hop to another zone and recruit THERE.
First off, you don’t need a full time healer.
No, you don’t. Really. Some of the best teams have no “pure” healer and some of the worst have 3. What you need is diversity.
(And, sure, you *can* have diversity with five blasters, if they are five different KINDS.)
– You want a melee person to take the hits. One or two scrappers work well, or a single tank. If you can’t find meleers, you’ll want someone or several someones who can do crowd control/debuffs (controllers/defenders/ice blasters/et cetera: crowd control ability shows up in surprising places in the game) to keep the enemies debuffed and held.
– You want one blaster or scrapper at least, and you MUST have them if you’re fighting Arch Villains and the like — no one can compare to these for handing out 12-packs of asswhupping — it’s not bragging — that’s what they DO. A team of 6 without any damage dealers is Slow. So slow the *controllers* could solo faster. And they might not be able to do enough damage to stay in front of Big Bad’s regen, so Arch Villains are right out.
– Multiples of certain ATs are not good in some cases. Two of the same blaster, scrapper, or tank is ok. Two of the same controller or defender is less useful. Having two *different* controllers or defenders is more powerful than two of the same kind. Its really a big difference.
– If someone mentions a friend online, ask if you should invite them, then grab them. The two friends probably will work well together since they know one another’s abilities. Also, acknowledge that that person has *friends*: the likelihood that they are a well-adjusted human is better. Also, it probably makes your teammate happy, which is good.
– Sidekicks are underrated. You can safely/usefully sidekick someone up to 10 levels lower than you. Below that is a bit problematic because it means they have far fewer enhancements and powers. When recruiting a sk, you should tell the person that before inviting them so they don’t look around and say, “I think I’m in the wrong group”. ((That said, three level 15’s with 3 level 6’s SK’d to 14 DOES NOT EQUAL six characters of level 14 and 15.))
– Sidekick people who take damage first. This means blasters that are aggro-magnets first, then scrappers, then tanks, then whoever else. It’s impossible to sk people less than three levels lower.
– A team should probably be all within 4 levels (after sking or exemplaring).
Manage Missions:
After recruiting, your job is managing the missions. First, you select missions from the team mission screen. If you click on the mission without hitting select task, the mission icon will appear on your nav bar if the mission is in the same zone as you — you can gauge distances, pick something close, and select based on speed between missions if you have no other criteria.
Note, if you select a different mission after you have entered and left a mission, then reselect the current mission, the mission will be reset. It will be readjusted for the current number of people on the team, and all the mobs will be restored (i.e. you will have to restart the mission). This can be useful to lower the difficulty after people quit, or to raise the difficulty after people join. Also, if everyone alive leaves the mission, the mission will sometimes reset. I’m not sure about the specifics of this, its been erratic in my experience. If you have started an instanced mission, and the person who holds the mission quits, you can complete the mission normally.
The level of a mission will depend on ***the level the mission holder was when he got the mission*** and the team size. The enemies in a normal mission will be either be the mission level, or if the team has 5+ people, the enemies will be the mission level+1. If the mission is front-loaded (which happens), the enemies right at the front will be 1 level higher than normal, and drop off to up to *8* levels lower than the mission level. Given all this, it seems to be ideal to pick missions of people within 0-2 levels of the highest level person in the group, assuming the whole group fits within a 4 level span after sking. If most of the team is lower or uncoordinated, pick a lower level person’s mission. Sidekick’s missions usually be too easy for the group.
Keeping it moving:
If you want to keep a team going, MOVE. Constantly. Keep the downtime between missions to a minimum. If you have to go AFK, pick the next mission so people can start heading there.
It’s important to establish some kind of order with regard to to training/selling/visiting contacts. I try to set break times and make them clear: Every second or third mission I try to give folks 10 minutes to do those things. I hate being in a group with a 10 minute break between EACH mission because one guy needs to sell now and another guy needs to train later and someone else… ugh.
In many teams, there is a real ambivalence on what to do. This doesn’t work. Suggest something; people will probably go along with anything, but you have to suggest something to get things going. Running missions, hunting, whatever. When you’re in the mission, make sure EVERYONE KNOWS WHO TO FOLLOW so you don’t end up pulling multiple groups. If things are going badly, you need to make sure people understand that they need to assist one another. If no one’s stepping up to lead — you’d better either do it or leave.
Large teams NEED a leader. To apply some good tactics, the team must FOLLOW the LEADER. A screwed up aggro can kill everyone.
Ideally, tanks should lead, at least in combat. They can take the heat, survive a retreat, and have the most HPs.
But that’s not always possible. Maybe you’ve got a tank who rocks at managing a mob of mobs, but they suck at making decisions. So… how to lead.
1 Form the group: people tend to follow the person who invited them in.
2 Be made the team leader: if you aren’t the team leader, and the alleged leader is sitting on his thumb, be MADE the team leader.
3 Be the highest member. If you’re leading, be the highest level. I know you’re wincing already: if you are highest, you get bad exp. Well, yeah, of course, you don’t get as much as the guy that’s fighting +5 mobs. But overall, it helps a lot, and prevents many many deaths, *including yours*.
Not having debt is the best XP around. Repeat that three times. Learn it. Beating a red mob while you have debt is about the same exp as beating a blue mob with no debt. Do the math.
Another big benefit of being the biggest guy: CONTROL. Let’s say you’re the highest level guy by, say, one or two levels. Everyone is 1 to 3 levels less than you. Run your missions and you are *guaranteed* to get better attention from the group, because while mobs in *your* missions will be white and yellows, most of the group sees an ocean of orange and reds with purple bosses. They won’t *feel* like jacking around at all and will be very very glad to have you calling the shots. They will LISTEN.
((Also, if you’re tanking, being the highest level vs. mobs means more success at landing attacks and holding aggro.))
Will being highest screw your XP? No.
Oh, sure, you could get better xp hitting purple and red guys, but by sweeping large amounts of white-yellow minions, with tons of LTs and Boss, you stay SAFE. Hell, even blasters can tank a few yellows or groups of whites. Trust me, I know.
So you don’t die. So no debt. And, you also move through the mission fast.
Then, once folks are in the habit of listening to you, you can run missions on other peoples to-do lists. It makes em happy — and it’s *still* not bad xp. Let’s say you take a large group against a mission held by someone two levels lower than you. The big group size bumps up both the difficulty of the mobs a bit, and the NUMBER: Everything you (the leader) will see will be blue and white, but there will be a LOT of them. Crazy numbers, but safe.
If you want some defender/controller love, run *their* missions — they’re usually really old missions and quick to run through, because they’re easy for the group. But they are hard for the defender/controller — they’ll love you for it.
The things you need to lead a team are:
– A stable connection (an unstable leader is a bad thing).
– A good command of communication and the ability to type well. This can be underrated, but its really needed.
– Patience.
It’s a VERY good idea to ask the defenders and controllers coming on your team if they have an abilities that need to be explained to the group. It’s surprising what other people don’t know.
Designate someone to call retreats (even if it’s you) and someone to pick initial targets. Three Blasters sniping three different red targets aren’t doing good work. Along those lines, make sure your teammates know how to assist others (target a teammate and your powers hit his/her target). You’ll regularly hit high level Task Forces and find blasters and support types who don’t know about that.
As a combat leader it’s also your responsibility to notice when endurance breaks are needed. This especially important for leaders with END-efficient builds. Nothing worse than having the guy in charge dart ahead while the rest of the team staggers behind, running on fumes.
Sometimes a leader is a leader in and out of combat. Sometimes the leader is out-of-combat only. In any case, it’s a good idea to have someone calling tactics. Tactics are frequently the difference between a very easy and a very, very hard mission.


  1. Thanks. I’m not taking any credit, however, as most of it’s been said by other folks in other posts, and just compiled here. That said, lots of folks said a lot of OTHER things in those posts that in my experience are complete crap, so this is the boiled-down version of what I’ve seen actually work.

  2. This discussion reminds me of the old EQ threads. Early on in EQ, it became apparent that the optimum group was a warrior (same function as CoH tanker), an enchanter (same function as a CoH controller and debuffer) and a cleric (same function as a CoH healer) with the rest of the spots filled with damage dealers (CoH blasters). The hybrid classes were more or less shut out from the “holy trinity” until enough changes were made to the classes/abilities to make it worthwhile to consider variations.
    I hope CoH has avoided the Holy Trinity syndrome … so far it sounds like it has.

  3. Absolutely. I think there are such differences in just the Defenders that you can’t really say what will and won’t work. Honestly, a good *player* is an asset to any team, and a max-level, uber-powerful moron will kill everyone.
    Nine missions out of ten, on my main, the group consists of:
    1. Hang Time (a ‘squishy’ blaster: no defense, not a lot of health, and massive damage (his damaging attacks have the secondary effect of more damage — no, seriously)).
    2. Hushman (a Force Field defender with no healing whose attacks also make the target miss more).
    3. Shock.Therapy (an empathy defender (healing) whose attacks also drain the target of the endurance they need for their big attacks.
    So: 2 to 3 characters. No tanks. No real capacity for sustaining damage.
    But Lee (Hushman) is a great tactical player who knows the game very well. Jackie is a great healer. I’m not much good for anything but wise-cracks and doing metric assloads of damage, but I do at least one of those things pretty well.
    It works. We even move relatively quickly. :). In small groups, almost any combo works. I’ve run into AT’s that I can’t, personally, play well, but I’ve yet to see an AT that is *unplayable*.
    (Heck, the AT that I currently have the most problem playing well is considered by most to be one of the most potent in the game, especially at higher levels.)

  4. One minor nit: if the mission is a story arc, then the highest level of the enemies will be no greater than the highest level the mission holder can be to receive a normal mission from that contact.
    The above is accurate, but confusing.
    If you’re running a story arc, but you outlevel the contact (I believe that happens when you hit a level divisible by 5), you can still get the story arc missions from that contact even though you can’t get non-story arc missions anymore. However, the mission won’t scale up to your current level. It will max out at whatever level you were before you outlevelled the contact.
    Practically, what it means is that sometimes missions could be unaccountably easy, even if it belongs to the highest level hero in the group.
    It’s a minor point, probably not worth this many words, but it is a wrinkle that should be kept in mind to avoid confusion.

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