Sunday, May 28, 2017

Overwatch: Betrayal at Gibraltar.


I heard a lot around the forums about Total Mayhem's return to Overwatch's arcade, lately - maybe it was never gone?  I dunno, I don't spend much time in the arcade - but it was mostly about how Winston and Zarya just own this mode, apparently.

Total Mayhem breaks down like this.  Everyone gets double health, everyone's cooldowns are reduced by 75%, and everyone's ult charge rate is increased by 150% - but all abilities do the same amount of damage.  This means it's really, really hard to kill things - and characters with powerful cooldown abilities receive greater benefit from the mode's ruleset than say, Torbjorn, who doesn't have cooldowns that deal damage or offer any kind of protection (all he's got a cooldown on is laying a turret).

This means Tracer no longer gets instantly killed by Roadhog's hook, for example, as her 300HP can withstand his follow-up blast, she can blink every 1.5 seconds, and can rewind every 3.  It's crazy!




But, taking the forum's advice, I went Winston to see how powerful he really was.  Apparently he can stall a payload essentially forever annnd yeah.  He can.  The cooldown on his leap is less than three seconds - meaning it takes less time for the cooldown to pop than it does to leap up and hit the ground again, and he can drop his shield every four seconds.  It's huge.  His health pool - over 1,000, now, with lots of armor - is so colossal that you can stand there, chest-up, eating a Pharah or Reaper ult with plenty to spare, and when things get tight you can just pop his ult to refill it, and bring that total up to 2,000.

Oh - worth noting, though - another character who does very well in Total Mayhem is... Sombra.  Of all people. Sombra.  Your power, when you play the mode, is how rapidly you can toss out your powerful cooldown skills like Soldier's Helix, Ana's Grenade or Lucio's Amp It Up - and Sombra has an ability (on like a two-second cooldown, in this mode) that disallows you from using yours - and her ult will do it to your entire team.  She counters every benefit this mode gives you, save your health pool.


Having a Sombra is really one of the only ways you're gonna' win Total Mayhem on attack, because nothing else in this mode can actually set up team wipes like her EMP, and the massive health pools weigh things in defenders' favor.

Annnywho, I was havin' a lot of fun in Total Mayhem this weekend, even with Winston's severely low DPS.  We're defending on Gibraltar, their Mercy runs back towards their spawn to escape me, but I land on her and finish her off while her Hanzo tries to take me out, but I've just got too much HP.

I flee back towards a health pack while their Bastion sets up, dropping another barrier for cover, and... this happens.



Usually the PotG in one of these is Shutdown for shutting down an enemy ult that wouldn't have killed anyone on your team, or a Lifesaver for stopping an enemy who just used an ability that probably wouldn't have ended up killing anyone anyway.  Once I got it for picking two squishies with Tracer's Pulse Bomb, but this was somethin' really special.

Coming around the corner, all full of adrenaline and fury only to discover like... a tea party or something with my Mercy and Torb and the enemy Mei.  "Oh - is this what we're doin'?  Okay - hello there!"

After chilling out for a bit, I look at the payload indicator on the HUD and exclaim "the payload's moving!" to my brother.

"I know it's moving, there's a fucking Tracer on it and she won't die!"

"Oh okay, be right there," I told him, and killed every enemy who trusted me.  It's okay to trust an enemy Winston - it is! - just maybe don't think he'll be able to resist, when you trust him at the edge of a cliff.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Behold: Far Cry 5.


I can dig it.  Launches February 28th, 2018.



There's a lot of interesting little additions to this Far Cry.  It's the first one where the protagonist can be a lady, for example - you'll be able to choose your gender and skin tone - and apparently you can get like an attack dog who'll rip out your enemies throats (a'la Primal, I suppose).  There's sexy American muscle cars to drive (ohyeah!), and in addition to the usual boats we'll be able to fly planes.  That's cool!  Oh, and you can play the whole thing single-player or co-op.

Traditional Ubisoft bullshots!


Heheh.  Puns.

Press release!

Today, Ubisoft announced that gamers will experience the chaos, unpredictability, and ferociousness of the Far Cry franchise with Far Cry 5 on PlayStation 4 Pro computer entertainment system, PlayStation 4, the Xbox One family of devices, including Project Scorpio, and Windows PC. Set in America for the first time, in Montana, players will have total freedom to navigate this serene-looking yet deeply twisted world solo or entirely in two-player co-op as they fight for survival and freedom, when the game releases on February 27th 2018. Development for Far Cry 5 is being led by Ubisoft Montreal*.

As the new junior deputy of fictional Hope County, Montana, players will find that their arrival accelerates a years-long silent coup by a fanatical doomsday cult, the Project at Eden's Gate, igniting a violent takeover of the county. Caught off guard and drawn into a power struggle, players must disrupt the carefully laid plans of the Project at Eden’s Gate, and fan the fires of resistance to help liberate the Hope County community and themselves.

Under siege and cut off from the rest of the world, players will join forces with residents of Hope County and form the Resistance. The fight against the cult will take players to unique locations throughout Hope County that provide different gameplay experiences. During their journey, players can fly planes to engage cult forces in aerial dogfights across Big Sky Country. While tracking down cult members and gathering resources for survival across farmland, forests, mountains and rivers, players can get behind the wheel of iconic American muscle cars, big rigs, ATVs and boats. Vehicles also provide refuge when under attack by animals or as a way to quickly escape when things don’t go as planned.


To take down the cult, players will need to utilise any and all weapons at their disposal, including ranged weapons such as guns and grenades and melee weapons like a sledgehammer or baseball bat. Additionally, players can recruit Guns for Hire from a large cast of characters, or even Fangs for Hire, specialised animals like bears and cougars to complement players’ playstyles whether they’re going in stealthily or forcefully. How players approach each situation and the chaos they create in Far Cry 5 is up to them. Far Cry 5 will also see the return of the map editor, giving players the opportunity to create and play an infinite amount of new playgrounds. The map editor will include new features that add a new dimension to the content created by fans, with more details coming soon.

Additionally, PS4 owners will get at release a free Far Cry 5 skin pack with their purchase of the game. Players need a free Ubisoft account to do so, which can be done at farcrygame.com/playstationULC; Players on Xbox and PC systems will have the same content available through the Ubisoft Club.

For the latest on Far Cry 5 and all of Ubisoft’s games, please visit ubiblog.com.


Annnd there are three character trailers that I haven't had time to check out yet.  Don't need to - new Far Cry - day one!





Genji-Cat by Jane Pidgeon.

Or at least a lady who goes by Jane Pidgeon.  She's had comics on Tumblr forever, but in the last few weeks she started doing Overwatch comics, in which Mercy contends with the needs and silliness of her pet Genji-Cat.

I love each and every one of these.





I really appreciate that he deflects her water attack.



I have been this Ana.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Chamberlain & Chance 73 : Everything Is Perfect.


Wiiith... out... Chamberlain.  

I know, it's weird for me too.  

But wiiith Alex!  Alex thisChamberlain that podcast on iTunes

Chamberlain and Chance - Everything is perfect

THIS WEEK!
  • Prey spoiler talk!  Alex loved the ending, Chance hated the ending but we both love the game!
  • Overwatch's anniversary event is all kinds of cool... mostly. 
  • Without Chamberlain's sagacious guidance, the boys cannot stop themselves from getting into Trumpland when they review the key art form Far Cry 5
  • And what's the next big hot release we're hyped for? 
You'll have to tune in to find out!


Oh, and also, huge shoutout to Chamberlain for actually editing and doing his technical magic to get the podcast online last night while on the road!  You da man!

Baywatch!


Just kidding, it's Overwatch again.

Foooled youuu.

Darkest Dungeon: The Crimson Court launches June 19th!


...on PC.  On PS4 and Vita they're targeting July:
"We do not have a hard date for PSN owners, but we are targeting the following month. Inevitable issues result from releasing to a wide audience, and we want to make sure our console build benefits from the hotfixes we’ll be pushing to Steam as issues are discovered. (It’s a longer process to release hotfixes on PSN.)"
The PC launch includes Mac and Linux through Steam, GoG, Humble and Twitch, and it comes in at a delicious $9.99.

Oh, let's talk about that art up top, for a moment. Red Hook commissioned it from Leesha Hannigan, whose Twitter you can find here - but here's the important bit.  Look at the figure in front of the gate, kind of above and between the Plague Doctor and Man-at-Arms.

Which hero is that..?  It is, importantly, not any of the heroes in the current roster.  It can only be Crimson Court's new hero, who we've learned absolutely nothing about so far.  This is the first we've seen of her (looks like a her from this angle, I'd say?), and to my eye it kind of reinforces the idea that the new hero will be a vampire of some variety.  Indeed, today's post at DarkestDungeon.com indicates the new hero is "awash in blood and delusion, they bear the burden of a thousand lifetimes." (Notably gender neutral.)

So yeah - vampire hero!  Wooo!

I've asked Red Hook and its principals for comment, and am not holding my breath.

[update]  Nope, it's not a silver-haired lady vampire.  It's the Occultist from behind.




[/update]

Annnywho...


Here's all the deets we got today:
"At Red Hook, we’re working around the clock on the exciting new content and features that will be coming to Hamlet next month. Drawing hands are sore, spreadsheets are bursting with data, and eyes are blurry, but our own excitement is pushing us ever forward!  We’ve been pretty tight-lipped on details but we’ll be revealing more information in the coming weeks including screenshots, boss teases, and a comprehensive look at the new class.

In case you’ve missed some of the earlier announcements on what to expect, let’s recap:
  • A new hero class. “Awash in blood and delusion, they bear the burden of a thousand lifetimes.”
  • A new wandering boss: The Fanatic
  • A new dungeon region: The Courtyard
  • A full faction of new deadly foes
  • 4 new, unique Courtyard Bosses with some of the most complex and devious mechanics yet.
  • Massive, sprawling maps with locked doors, prisoner rooms, and progress saves
  • Districts: New prestige buildings that offer permanent, estate-wide bonuses
  • Lore-driven trinket sets for all heroes – with set bonuses!"
Can't wait!  Gonna' have to buy it twice!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Game Diary.

Today's news is the key art from Far Cry 5, which solidifies the game's setting of modern-day Montana, ties directly in to the Pagan Min key art from 4 and directly echoes the current violent religious zealotry that you'd hope wouldn't exist in the de facto leader of the free world, but one would be remiss to ignore the fact that it totally does exist.  So I love this.


Annnywho..

After completing Prey last week I needed something to play when not Overwatching, and - having loaned my brother my copy of Horizon: Zero Dawn - I could either indulge in a constant companion like Darkest Dungeon or Galak-Z, or I could finally return to some of this gen's greatest gems.  I always feel bad about not going back and replaying the excellent Alien: Isolation, Dying Light, Until Dawn or The Order: 1886.

I actually had the case for The Order in my hand, standing in front of my PS4 when it occurred to me that playing the third-person shooter might fuck with my Overwatch muscle memory.  I put it back, and pulled out Bloodborne.  I've still never touched the Old Hunters DLC, and I wallowed in that grande dame of a game, loving every brutal second - but I'll get into that in the podcast tonight. 

No, I must admit, I'm still entirely in love with Overwatch.  What the fuck. 


So last night, after coming home to find PSN undergoing maintenance, I waited.  Did groceries, made dinner, helped my brother do some measuring to produce a blueprint of the house (long story), and I finally had a few minutes around nine o'clock.  

I have a little ritual, every time an event hits Overwatch.  I fire a $50 card into my PS4 (or a $50 and a $20, depending on my wallet balance), and pay like $67 for fifty loot boxes.  

Then, I unwrap those loot boxes.  What'd I score?  Well, I got...
  • Mei's Beekeeper skin - twice
  • D.Va's awesome Cruiser skin, I now feel no shame about not having Officer D.Va, and my brother is super jelly
  • Cyborg 76
  • Symmetra's Oasis skin
  • Ana's dance emote - twice
  • Junkrat's dance emote
  • Pharah's dance emote
  • Torbjorn's dance emote - twice, and
  • Lucio's dance emote
Then, obviously, I went into the hero gallery and unlocked everything I wanted for Tracer and Mercy. I went through all my heroes and bound their Sit emotes to up on the radial and Dance to down, slipped Tracer into her Graffiti skin and bound her fingerbang emote to right on the radial.  

I was ready.  

I danced my face off.  I gathered crowds of dazzled onlookers with my hoodie Charleston, and put in some mighty strong Tracer work to boot!  Man, it's all kinds of awesome to clear out the last three reds on the payload and just chill up there, dancin' the Charleston.  I was the belle of the ball, I tell you!  The belle of the ball!

Felt good. 

Tragically, my awesomest moment didn't come on Tracer.  (There was one where I leapt over a Roadhog and Zen, threw my pulse bomb down onto the Hog - stuck him - and blinked away... only to be headshot by a Hanzo, but...)  My awesomest moment came on a Dorado defense where I had, naturally, instalocked Tracer - but the enemy team had a Pharah that our McCree couldn't handle alone, and was fucking up my game, so I switched to Soldier.  

Ended up getting Play of the Game!  I TacVizored Lucio and Zero Suit D.Va in the lot just outside the final stretch, and then the Pharah started bombing me.  I looked up and wrecked her, 100 fire, without the benefit of the Visor, on a single clip.  

Felt frickin' awesome.  But I also got it while wearing that uggo Cyborg 76 skin, so I dunno', man.  I dunno. 

Still.  Dancin' the Charleston in an adorable hoodie.  Good times.  


Like one week 'till I get my golden guns!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

I'm too tired and busy to blog.

Apologies.  Lots goin' on, lately.

There's only two bits of news worth paying attention to this week.  First and foremost, Red Dead Redemption 2 has been delayed into early 2018.  Here are some sexy new screenshots.






"Look at our sexy revolver textures!"

Second, the Anniversary event is up on Overwatch as we speak, and as it turns out those fugly skins they teased last week were especially fugly when compared to all the other skins they didn't tease for the event.  Specifically,

Genji is a Power Ranger,



Mei is a beekeeper,



Lucio is a sexy-as-fuck jazz man and his crossfade plays horns now,



But the most popular one on forums is D.Va's righteous Cruiser skin - recalling the amazing rockabilly fan art of Andrew Tran.  I hope every character in the game gets this treatment.  Her voice lines change in the skin too!  She'll say stuff like "I'm cruisin' for a bruisin'!" or "hey Daddy-o" instead of "hello!"  That's awesome!  But finally...


Graffiti Tracer.


I get the why of the vapor mask, but I don't love it.  I do love the hoodie, though, and it changes her guns into spraypaint guns - which is awesome.  Tracer - and Reaper, of all folks - also get extra emotes.  These aren't tied to the anniversary event or anniversary loot boxes, though.  Reaper's is a shrug, and Tracer holds out her guns like fingers and shoots 'em!  Oh, and Sombra and Orisa finally got their oft-requested sitting emotes.  

Also - the dance emotes.  Everybody gets a dance emote - every single character in the game - and Tracer dances the fucking Charleston!


Winston does the Twist!


Oh yes.  Oh God yes.  You can see all of the new dance emotes over at the official event page.  You won't find the Tracer Fingerbang, Reaper Shrug, Orisa or Sombra sit emotes there, though - they're hard to track down.

[update] Oh also recent balance changes went live.  Praise the Sun, Orisa's gun only got a 9% nerf, a nice bit shy of the planned 15%, but her barrier buff goes through intact - and more importantly, Soldier's nerf has gone live yaaaaay!




[update] 

G'night everybody!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

There is a beautiful, impossible dream among Mercy mains.


You've seen Mercy Play of the Games.  The Mercy rezzes.  Sometimes the Mercy gets to rez like four or even five of her teammates.  Yay!

And I'll be honest, it does feel entirely badass when you pull one of those off.  When you swoop in, bring your whole team back and get outta' dodge without dying - it's pretty awesome - but, among all Mercy mains, I believe, there is a dream.

A dream of pulling out your pistol and kicking so much ass that it supercedes any rezzes you may have pulled in the game, that it's more awesome than all the offensive ults that have been tossed out in the last ten minutes, and you school the enemy team and yours in the art of murder.

Which is kinda' ridiculous.  Nothing in the game has lower DPS than Mercy (except like, Zero Suit D.Va, I suppose), but it's nice to dream, sometimes.

So last night, we're defending on King's Row.  I started the match as Symmetra and things were going okay until my tele went down.  They almost-instantly pushed to the second point, the reds had no healers so I went Soldier and kept their Pharah at bay.  Then, in the last two minutes, they pulled out a Lucio.

Now it's gettin' serious.  I went Mercy.  In the end, we held defense and won, but more importantly, I think you know where this is goin'.  I'm doin' good Mercy work, healing my Bastion as he sits out in the open, takes too much DPS and dies as my Orisa comes in.  So I hook up my healing beam and keep it on her as she sits out in the open, takes so much DPS it overwhelms my ability to heal, and she dies.

Tracer and Soldier are on the point, with their Mercy and Junkrat coming in behind.




And that is how you get a proud Mercy.  It would have amounted to nothing if Reaper hadn't dropped in at the end to finish off my evil work, so thanks for the no-rez PotG, Reaper!


I also got a no-enviro-kill PotG with Winston last night!  When was the last time you saw a Winston PotG without him booping someone off a cliff?  My brother always likes to tell me what a shitty tank Winston is, so I love it when stuff like this happens when we're playing together.



Niiice.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Chamberlain & Chance 72 : Sage Advice.


Wiiithout Alex!  Alex thisChamberlain that podcast on iTunes

Chamberlain and Chance - Sage advice

THIS WEEK!
  • Is La La Land as good as white people say and a shitty as everyone else says? 
  • After a decade of pining, Chamberlain finally returns to his beloved Phantom Dust
  • Is Viking: Wolves of Midgard worth checking out? 
  • And can Prey possibly keep Chance away from Overwatch?
You'll have to tune in to find out!

The Darkest Dungeon class advice I gave my little brother.

So the other day my brother texts me "What are your favorite classes?" and I say "Probably English and Drama, what are we talking about?" and he says "Darkest Dungeon" and I'm like 'ohhh there's no way I could put all this information into text messages.'  So I opened up my email and wrote...


Hellion
In my opinion, the Hellion is the best tank.  As a straight damage-dealer, she’s peerless among the tanks thanks to her ability to strike any position in the enemy line (her main attack hits 1&2, If It Bleeds hits 2&3, and Iron Swan can deal with those pesky casters in 4).  Breakthrough is excellent when paired with DoT DPS teammates or AoE teammates like a ranged-attacking Highwayman or a Grave Robber, and if you buff her with a +stun trinket, Barbaric YAWP (stuns position 1&2) can buy a ton of room for your team to lay down DPS without suffering much response from the enemy.

Her campfire buffs are self-focused, buffing her damage and +crit chance (she's more reliant on crits than any other class, save the Grave Robber), at the expense of further committing herself to staying in position 1 at any cost. 


Man-at-Arms
Second-best tank.   His DPS output is low, but he’s phenomenally survivable when you use his Guard ability.  His Guard ability, when combined with his riposte, means a ton of damage will be headed his way – which can raise his stress quite a bit.  I never use his group buffs.  Absolutely destroys with a lot of +damage and +acc, though, and especially when paired with a melee-damage Highwayman.  His main attack is solid, and can hit anywhere from positions 1-3.

He has the best camping abilities in the game, and can buff his entire party with +dodge and +speed or +damage and +crit, in addition to two powerful self-buffs.  He's awesome. 


Crusader
A solid all-rounder, won’t work with the Abombination, specializes in taking out the Undead.  His AoE is solid, and he deals decent damage to the first two positions, but if you have two corpses in those positions he becomes pretty useless.  His stress heal is better than nothing, and his stun can save the day.  I wouldn’t recommend using his Lunge ability, as it (1) takes a spot from more important skills (2) can only be used when he’s thrown out of position and (3) relies on enemies being available in positions 3 &4 to lunge after. 

His Zealous Speech around the campfire can buff the entire party with stress damage resist. 


Leper
A very underrated tank, the Leper – like the Crusader – can only really hit the first two positions, but he hits like a freight train.  This is balanced by his relatively low accuracy, which you’ll want to buff with trinkets or lock +acc quirks.  When your Leper crits, he hits harder than anything in the game.  His self-heal is excellent, taking some pressure off your healer, and his Purge ability can quickly clear all corpses – very handy when his attack potential is limited to positions 1&2.   Will not work with the Abomination.

His campfire skills are mediocre. 


Houndmaster
Houndmaster, like the Highwayman, can act as a DPS or your tank, thanks to his stun ability and class-specific trinkets that buff stun.  Putting him in position one limits him to Blackjack and Hound’s Harry, but just having him stun up those first two ranks can be a big deal.  He survives in this position thanks to his higher-than-average Dodge stat.   As a DPS, he pairs well with a marking team (Arbalest, Occultist, Bounty Hunter) from further back, where his self-heal can be used, along with the powerful Hound’s Rush.  Does bonus damage against beast-type mobs. 

The Houndmaster's Therapy Dog is one of the best campfire stress heal abilities in the game, but his camp skills are otherwise mediocre. 


Abomination
The Abomination has two sets of abilities that you cannot pick and choose – four in human form and four in Beast form.  In Human form he excels in position 2, where he can blight rows 2&3, apply a high-damage stun to rows 1-3, heal himself and reduce his stress with a single, powerful move and transform into a beast.  When he transforms, everyone in his party will gain stress, but he becomes an absolute wrecking machine with a high-damage single-target attack that moves him forward one position, and a good-damage AoE of 1&2 that increases its own damage the more times it’s used.  Transforming back to human will lower his stress and the stress of everyone in the party – but not for more than his caused when he changed…
I will often go an entire run without transforming him, because his blight and stun are so strong – only letting him out of his cage when like, the Collector shows up.  Pairs well with the Jester for team stress reduction, but cannot be paired with a Religious hero (Vestal, Leper, Crusader). 

His campfire buffs are mostly self-absorbed, but they further increase his damage-dealing potential, and allow him to burn stress off himself and his allies. 



Highwayman
I put my Highwayman in positions 2 or 3, depending on the comp I’m running.  Best when paired with a Man-at-Arms for double Riposte, he tends to do more melee damage than ranged – though his ranged AoE, when combined with a Hellion and a Grave Robber, can melt entire lines fairly quickly.  The problem with the AoE comp is that it’s possible for an entire enemy team to still be alive to hit you at the beginning of round 2, while they just need a little scratch to finish them off – which ain’t good, and puts a lot of pressure on your healer.   He has high-end class-specific trinkets that buff his melee damage at the expense of his ranged, and vice-versa.  I suggest Lunge, both of his melee slices and Point Blank Shot – which does so much damage, the negative effects of his +melee trinket don’t matter.  So you lunge from position 2 to position 1, Riposte anything that comes your way, then Point Blank Shot to throw yourself back to position 2, ready to lunge again.  Lunge, importantly, can hit anywhere in the enemy line and deal with those problematic back-line casters. 
For this reason – jumping into position 1 -  he doesn’t pair as well with the Hellion, as several of her best trinkets and campfire buffs punish her for not being in position one.  He’s still a contendah, though, and can serve as a tank or off-tank in a pinch.   For my money, he’s the best and most flexible DPS option. 

His campfire buffs further strengthen his damage-dealing potential and specialization - like his trinkets - buffing his melee damage, accuracy and crit at the expense of ranged, and vice versa. 


Bounty Hunter
Like the Leper, the Bounty Hunter produces huge, single-target burst damage.  He has trinkets and abilities that increase his damage against marked targets – his weakness being that he can only ever hit a single target at a time, and his damage output is entirely reliant on marking the target.  He’s higher risk-reward than the more consistent DPS and greater utility of, say, the Arbalest.  His strong constitution means he can also serve as a tank or off-tank, when need be. 

He has some powerful campfire buffs, allowing him to increase the accuracy of his entire party, and increase his own damage against large (2-position) targets. 


Grave Robber
I love the Grave Robber, purely because she’s one of those high-crit Rogue style classes.  Her daggers can hit anywhere in the enemy line, her fade ability buffs her dodge to the point that she basically can’t be hit, her AoE (positions 2&3) is solid and can be huge when her +crit bonus comes into play, and unlike the Arbalest she can still smash position 1 with Pick to the Face.  Does not tank well, as all of her best abilities require her to be behind position 1.

Her camping abilities are pretty meh.  


Plague Doctor
One of the most powerful DPS classes, the Plague Doctor’s ability to Blight rows 3&4 in a single turn is huge, and building up her DoTs on a boss or high-health target is a great way to burn down enemies with high health or PROT.  I use her with Plague Grenade, the single-target frontline DoT grenade, her small heal and Incision.  You want Incision because sometimes she gets thrown forward and you just want that little extra bit of damage, and her heal becomes a big deal when you’re dealing with enemies who lay heavy DoTs on your team.  She becomes incredibly powerful when combined with the DoTs of an Abomination or Houndmaster, but is an excellent DPS in any team comp (unless you’re headed to the Warrens, where the swine are heavily blight-resistant.)

Her campfire buffs are mediocre, but she can buff her own accuracy (never bad) and she can remove a disease from herself or an ally - very important, particularly when you consider how expensive (and time-consuming) curing diseases is in the hamlet. 


Arbalest
The Arbalest is another one of the best DPS classes, thanks entirely to Sniper Shot or whatever it’s called – a single-target high-damage attack that hits anywhere from rows 2-4, and is buffed by Marked targets.  Her bandage ability increases the healing received by the target, so you can buff a tank with it and the next heal from your Vestal or Occultist will do +20%, or something along those lines.  Her only weakness is an inability to land that high DPS on position 1, but when you’re down to just one enemy she may as well be doing some off-healing anyway.  Can’t be used well with the Plague Doctor, as both of them need a backline position to work, and that means you can’t have an effective healer. 

Most of her campfire buffs are excellent, including a +speed buff for the entire party, and a massive buff to her own (already impressive) damage and accuracy. 


Vestal
Best healer in the game, for my money, and nicely flexible thanks to her ranged attacks.  Judgement does good damage and heals the Vestal – so there’s no reason to use anything else when you want to heal her, or when no one in your party needs heals.  Her party-wide heal is one-of-a-kind, and her single-target heal is far more reliable than the Occultist’s occasional burst.  Once you stack +heal trinkets on her, you can get her heals up to +50%, which is huge.   

Her campfire buffs are mediocre, but she has an +Accuracy buff for a single teammate that can come in handy. 

This totally happens.

Occultist
An all-rounder, the Occultist’s incredible burst healing potential is offset by the fact that he’s just as likely to heal for 0 as he is for 20.  He’s the only healer that will work with the Abomination - making him crucial to some compositions - and his enemy debuffs are without peer.  Like the Plague Doctor, he can also hit positions 3&4 with a decent AoE, and often a single grenade from the Plague Doctor and the Occultist's tentacles will do enough damage to a back line that when their turn comes around next, they just die from the DoT.  

His camping skills, while they may seem a bit stupid, can be very powerful.  Specifically, his ability to give an ally a major damage buff is huge.  


Antiquarian
The Antiquarian's entire kit sucks.  Her primary attack is decent - fine damage, and it can hit positions 1-3 - but her most powerful ability is hitting her entire party with +dodge.  While this is valuable in extended fights, it takes multiple turns to become really effective - during which she contributes little, and is basically a drain on the team. Get Down, which forces an ally to guard any attacks made against her, buffs that ally for a bit more dodge and a LOT more PROT.  

Her passive ability becomes hugely important later on, when cash to upgrade your heroes becomes the most valuable thing in a dungeon.  Having an Antiquarian in your party allows your collected gold to stack to 2,500 instead of 1,750 - but most important, when the Antiquarian interacts with a curio and there is any loot to take - even a torch on the wall - she will also find unique valuables.  These valuables are worth either 500 or 1,250 gold each, and those will stack to 20 and 5, respectively.  If you have an Antiquarian in your party and say, your Crusader opens that chest, you don't get the extra loot.

A low-light run with an Antiquarian can net you 40,000+ gold.  Suggested comp: Anti, Vestal, Highwayman, Man-at-Arms, as discussed.   Her camping skills suck. 


Jester
Don't underestimate the Jester.  His buffs can make quite a difference, his stress heal is without peer, but I recommend using him primarily as DPS.  His ability to DoT positions 2&3 with a powerful bleed makes him pair very well with an Abomination or Hound Master, and when it's time to finish off the big dog you can use Solo (moves him to position 1) or Dirk Stab (moves him forward 1) to put him into position 1, from which he can use Finale.  If Point Blank Shot hits like a truck, Finale is the building that falls on that truck.  It moves him back to position 4, which means your team has to be okay with getting shuffled forward or back a bit.  Thus, he pairs well with other more mobile heroes like the Highwayman, Grave Robber and Man-at-Arms.  

His campfire buffs are exemplary, with Turn Back Time offering a powerful stress heal, Every Rose Has Its Thorn is a party-wide stress heal and stress damage defensive buff, and Eye of the Tiger makes a Highwayman, Hellion, Man-at-Arms or Leper explode.  


And that's our show!