This guide is based on my experiences as well as things I picked up on the forums. I will talk about what powers I chose and why, and what powers I skipped, and give information about the powers. Naturally however, my information on powers I chose is usually more accurate than the ones I didn’t.
First thing – Temperature Protection is an absolutely useless power. It offers 20% fire resistance and 10% cold resistance. You’re going to max out Fire resistance without taking TP and while 10% cold resistance would be a nice addition it still can’t justify wasting a power slot.
Fiery Embrace should only be taken if your secondary is Fire Melee, otherwise take Build Up – it recharges faster, costs less endurance and offers accuracy bonus (FE only buffs damage).
Speaking of which, BU is a really nice power. It doesn’t require heavy enhancements investment and I find its accuracy buff no less important than damage buff. You could certainly skip it if damage is not very important to you or if you have a tight build, but for my money, you would probably get more damage out of build up (once you have your main attacks) than from taking an additional attack.
Anyway, back to Fiery Aura.
If you take nothing else out of FA, you must take Fire Shield, Plasma Shield and Burn. These are the three set-defining powers.
Fire Shield - gives 30% resistance to Smash, Lethal and Fire damage, and 10% resistance to Cold damage. It costs 0.38eps (endurance [points] per second), which is not cheap but not too bad either. It also gives you resistance to disorient, which is very useful against Tsoo and to an extent against Lost, and this is in the early game, later on it becomes even more important.
As one of your only two shields, FS should be six-slotted as soon as possible. Until you get Stamina (more on that later), you should have 1 or 2 endurance reduction enhancements (end redux) in it, and the rest damage resistance (dmgres). Once you get Stamina, you could slot it with 1 end redux, 5 dmgres, or 6 dmgres, depending on your endurance use and slot availability.
Plasma Shield - gives you 30% resistance to Energy and Negative Energy, and 10% resistance to Cold. It also protects you from Sleep and Hold, and costs 0.41eps. With FS and PS on you’re definitely going to be feeling the end drain (even if it’s not visible) but I do not recommend slotting it with end redux (post Stamina of course, before you should put 1 or 2 end redux). It’s the only energy protection you can get so you should squeeze every last ounce of resistance out of it. Unlike FS you can wait with slotting it a bit (though take it as soon as possible), but by 30, at the latest, you should have it six-slotted.
Burn - is what makes us different from every other tanker out there, and what helps us get over the lack of protection relatively to other tanks. They might be able to withstand 100 mobs pounding on them, but it takes them ages to brawl all those mobs to death. We on the other hand, lay down burn and put it on auto-cast, /e newspaper, and go grab a cup of java. When we return the mobs are dead. (Disclaimer: Very few tanks, regardless of primary, can actually withstand 100 even-level mobs, and even then not for long… rest of it though is all true.)
Seriously though, Burn has very high accuracy and high damage. If you have perma-Hasten then slot it all with damage. If you don’t you could still slot it all for damage but I prefer to put 1 recharge reduction enhancement (rechrg redux) in it, so that I can have a second burn patch going by the time the first one dies out.
Blazing Aura - while a great power I personally found the additional end drain it causes to be too much. However, here are the numbers – it costs 0.75eps, which means you should put at least 1 end redux in it, and it has a brawl index of 0.6111, which accumulates nicely. I think it ticks every 2 seconds. Originally BA was used for additional “lazy” damage but with the recent addition of taunt component it is now used as an aggro control tool (actually more like “the lazy herder’s best friend” ). With 1 taunt enhancements it can be reliably used to keep mobs in burn patch without using Taunt (the power). Some even go as far as dumping Taunt but I wouldn’t recommend it, Taunt offers controlled, targeted and selective aggro management too, something BA can’t do. One accuracy enhancement in it is also recommended because it needs to hit.
If you take it for taunt then 3 slots should be enough for basic needs – 1 acc, 1 end redux, 1 taunt. Of course 6-slotting it means that you can enhance every one of these aspects even more, and it’ll be that much cheaper, more accurate and better at holding agro. If you take it for damage then you definitely should six-slot it, otherwise the damage dealt isn’t worth the endurance cost - 1 acc and 1/2 end redux, 3/4 dmg.
Healing Flames - both heals and provides resistance to Toxic damage for the duration of 45 seconds. It recharges every 60 seconds and with only 1 rechrg redux (sans perma-hasten) you can overlap its effect, essentially giving you a shield against toxic damage. It’s a great power to put on auto-cast if you go against Vahz or Hydra so get it early, but before Stamina be careful with it, since it costs 15 ep and when set on auto-cast can quickly drain you out of your endurance. Its resistance is 20% to toxic damage and heals about 25% of your HP, which means you want it for both effects and that makes slotting difficult. Without perma-hasten you should put 1 end redux in it, if you have perma-hasten, don’t bother. As for heals and resistances, an even approach is probably best, i.e. 2/3 heals, 2/3 dmgres – you definitely want to six slot it although you don’t need to hurry with that. At the levels you encounter Vahz and PP hydras, you don’t have SOs, so slotting it for dmgres isn’t necessary and the default resistance will serve you just fine. Later on, toxic damage becomes less common until high levels so there’s no rush to slot it.
Consume - is a great pre-Stamina power and even after stamina it’s very useful. You might have trouble squeezing it before Stamina, but then again, if you take it you can delay Stamina until 22 much more easily, which gives you the room to actually take it (it’s the circle of life). It causes some damage to mobs and replenishes your endurance. Its base recharge time it 3 minutes, which means that without perma-hasten you’d want to put at least 2 rechrg redux in it. You also want at least 1 acc, and 2 is best for those times when you’re in groups and going after much higher enemies. You only need it to hit 3-4 mobs to get replenish your entire endurance bar, but if you can spare the slots, then putting endurance recharge enhancements in it will mean that even if you miss a mob or two you will still get all the endurance you need.
Rise of the Phoenix - is a self-resurrection power (self-rez), and IMHO is the best self-rez. It restores half of your hit-points and endurance, makes you invulnerable for several seconds (so you can get your shields back up) and stuns enemies in a large radius around you. Plus it looks wicked cool It’s great with the default slot, just put heal or rechrg redux in it. I personally took it, but some people hate it because in order to use it, you have to die – decide for yourself, but one thing for sure, it should be one of the last powers you take, because if you accept the inevitability of death then you are sure to die.
This is a fairly straightforward set. Stone Fists, Stone Mallet, Heavy Mallet and Seismic Smash are your single target, light, moderate, heavy and extreme damage attacks (respectively). They form a nice attack chain but personally I couldn’t fit Heavy Mallet into my build. I chose Stone Mallet because in this case I preferred speed and endurance cost to damage, but going the other way is perfectly fine. Quick note on Seismic Smash - it’s got a Mag 4 disorient with a fairly high chance of occurring, which means that it’s not that uncommon to see a boss stumbling around after being hit with SS. Stone Fists also have disorient but it’s only Mag 3 (or 2), which means no single hit boss stuns, and it has a much lower chance of landing.
Fault - is a short-ranged target AoE with knockback and stun but no damage. It is only Mag 3 stun so no one-shot stunning the bosses. I personally don’t like it because as a tank, and especially fire tank, I don’t want mobs wondering around, possibly leaving my burn patch. However, it does provide a nice way to take out a group of mobs out of a fight. If you decided to take it, I wouldn’t waste many slots on it. At most 2 extra - for 1 acc, 1 stun and 1 rechrg redux, but I would even dump the rechrg redux.
Tremor - is a player based (or is it point blank?) AoE attack (PBAoE) with a 15 ft. radius. It’s great for grabbing additional aggro and it also has a knockdown component. It doesn’t have high damage but since it’s AoE the damage accumulates, and as a tank you’re going to be surrounded by mobs anyway. One acc, maybe even two since it’s AoE, is definitely recommend, and it costs 20 ep so an end redux is also not such a bad idea, it doesn’t leave many slots (3, 4 at most) for damage, but that’s ok, you make up for it with mob numbers.
Hurl Bolder - is a short ranged single target attack, it looks pretty cool and its damage is comparable to Stone Mallet (it also costs roughly the same and recharges at the same speed), but it takes 4 seconds to activate, which is longer than most people like. In Issue 4 it’s going to get –fly component, i.e. you can now knockdown fliers with it, which makes it somewhat more attractive, especially for PvP. As an attack you’d want to six-slot it for most effectiveness but it’s going to be hard to find the slots, so it might end up being a situational “knock down that annoying blaster” type of power. I’m definitely considering taking it (or respecing for it) but I’m still not sure about it.
Stone Melee, Detailed Power Specs
Type: Melee, Single Target Brawl Index (BI): 2.7778 Endurance Cost (End): 7.5 pts Recharge Time (Recharge): 4 sec Activation (Act): 1 sec Misc: Stun (Mag 2), 10 sec. duration
Type: Melee, Single Target BI: 4.5556 End: 12 pts Recharge: 8 sec Act: 2 sec Misc: Knockdown
Type: Ranged, AoE Recharge: 3 sec Act: 3 sec Range: 70 ft
Type: Melee, Single Target BI: 6.3333 End: 23.5 pts Recharge: 13 sec Act: 2 sec Misc: Knockdown
Type: Self Buff Buffs Damage 100%, Accuracy 60% Lasts for 10 seconds Recharge: 90 sec Act: 1 sec
Type: Short Range, AoE End: 14.5 pts Recharge: 20 sec Act: 2 sec Range: 20 ft.
Type: Short Range, Single Target BI: 4.5556 End: 13.5 pts Recharge: 8 sec Act: 4 sec Range: 40 ft.
Type: PBAoE BI: 2.7778 End: 19.5 pts Recharge: 14 sec Act: 4 sec AoE Radius: 15 ft.
Type: Melee, Singe Target BI: 9.8889 End: 26.5 pts Recharge: 20 sec Act: 2 sec Misc: Stun (Mag 4), 10+ (?) sec. duration
There are three powers pools that every Fire/* tanker must take – Fitness, Leaping, Fighting. You can certainly do with out some of them but you’ll be shooting yourself in the foot.
Stamina, Stamina, Stamina! Take it and slot it as soon as possible. You simply cannot perform effectively as a tank without Stamina, especially as a Fire tank. You might think you’re doing well until another tank comes, with the exact same build except that they have Stamina, and then you’ll be wondering “How come he’s kicking so much a$$??”
As Fire tankers we don’t get knockdown/knockback resistance so Acrobatics is almost a must (it’s certainly possible to get by without it but it’s not going to be pretty, especially with the addition of knockback to players in I4). Which means that you’re going to take leaping pool for your travel needs as well, which is not so bad. Super Jump is a great travel power, and Combat Jumping is dirt-cheap and offers 5% defense to ranged and melee damage (not AoE). All three powers work great with just the default slots – defense buff in CJ, jump in SJ and end redux in Acrobatics.
You need fighting pool in order to max out your Smash/Lethal (S/L) damage resistance. Without it the only damage resistance you can max is Fire. I’ll give more numbers later, but for now, suffice it to say that the default slot in Tough is enough. Weave is also a good power, it’s not quite as necessary as Acrobatics or Stamina but it can add up to about 26% defense for a relatively cheap price (it has base 12.5% defense to ranged, melee, and it costs 0.2eps).
Note about Speed pool
You could take hasten (and make it perma) but I don’t feel it’s necessary. As tankers, we get the least use out of hasten because it only helps us with our secondary powers (and thus secondary role/function). All other ATs can perform their primary (and secondary) functions better with hasten, tankers’ primary function is defense, which we accomplish via mostly toggle or auto powers that don’t benefit much from hasten. With SJ, super speed is not as necessary but if you have power slots to spare and went the perma-hasten route you might as well take it.
Other power pools are really just a matter of preference, though if you want to participate in Hami raids, having hover slotted with few fly enhancements will make it a lot easier.
Fire Shield 6-slotted with green (+1) SOs gives 67.8% resistance to S/L and Fire, and 22.6% to Cold. Add to that Tough with 1 dmgres (which gives 24.2% resistance to S/L dmg) and you get 92% S/L resistance (90% is the cap).
If you decide to put 1 end redux into Fire Shield and add another dmgres SO to Tough then you get 89.9% resistance. If you have the slots to spare, you could add another slot to Tough and slot it with 1 end redux and 2 dmgres, and you’ll get near-capped resistance to S/L and it’ll cost you much less endurance. (0.44eps, as oppose to the 0.6eps you get with no end redux).
Plasma Shield 6-slotted gives you 67.8% energy/negative energy/fire resistance, which means that with FS you cap fire resistance easily, but that’s as much energy resistance as you're going to get.
Healing Flames starts with 20% toxic resistance and adds another 4% for each green dmgres SO you add to it.
Combat Jumping gives you 6% defense (with 1 defbuf) and 5-slotted Weave gives you 25% defense, together giving you 31% defense, which is very nice and definitely noticeable. It cuts down the minions’ chance to hit you by more than half.
Ancillary Power Pools
Pyre and Artic Masteries give you both, immobilization, hold, and two attacks. Earth Mastery gives you all control powers – immobilize, sleep(aoe), hold and stun(aoe). Energy Mastery gives you to utility powers (Conserve Power and Focused Accuracy) and two attacks.
As a tank I don’t see many uses for holds (or stuns), and while the attacks in Pyre/Arctic/Energy mastery are nice you’re probably not going to have enough slots to make them worth it, then again sometimes even a weak ranged attack in enough.
IMO the Pyre, Artic and Earth masteries should be only taken for concept reasons. Otherwise, take Conserve Power and if you still have powers to spare then anything else from Energy Mastery will be ok.
I find Conserve Power indispensable. Basically, for its duration (90 seconds) I can use all my attacks as fast as they come up without ever worrying about endurance. It’s only needed in long fights but in those fights it’s well worth it. Take it and six-slot it with rechrg redux, though it’s got a 10 minute recharge so it’s impossible to make it perma.
Focused Accuracy is an interesting beast. It’s very expensive – 1.25eps, which almost breaks even with fully slotted Stamina – but turning it on is like putting 1 acc in all your powers, and for each additional tohit buff enhancement you get even more. With 6 end redux in it, its cost drops to 0.4, which is reasonable but if you want to reliably hit +4/5 then you’ll need at least 1 tohit buff in it, which means it’s going to cost you 0.45eps (5 end redux).
It’s definitely possible to run it all the time but you’ll be sacrificing damage for it (due to lack of endurance). I usually don't use it unless the mobs are +3 or higher, sometimes I use it for +2 mobs but only when I just want to quickly go through the mission and not worry about annoying misses.
Well, that’s about it for the guide. Hopefully you found some useful information here.
I’d like to thank all the people who played and tested fire tankers before me and provided tons of useful information to all who cared to read.