Fire and Damage Dealing - Terrornaut's Fire DPS guide
This is copied from The Collectives forum a VnV RP/HC League all credit goes to Vida
It's dmg capability is much higher than alot of the guides floating on oracle, do not reproduce this on official forums or a wiki.
re: Fire and Damage Dealing - Terrornaut's Fire DPS guide
by Terrornaut on 06 Apr 2011 09:41 pm
Posting this here just so I have it up somewhere before posting it elsewhere.
Fire powers - For DPS
Fire is a very powerful power set for dealing damage, but getting high numbers and high damage in is not as easy as spamming reflects and gale for ice, or throwing down fire and forget CoPs and spamming WoD + NVB for sorcery. You absolutely must be opportunistic and aware in order to deal solid fire damage.
Fire's Damage Strengths
Fire damage comes from - by large - aoe damage. It has some of the greatest aoe damage for its power cost and time spent. Yes, CoP will do more damage than (only) some fire aoe if it is active on a mob for the entire time, it will however, not do its great damage if a blast from fireburst kills it long before CoP ends and its damage adds up. Fire's strongest abilities have cast times, or are dots. Yes, the casting can be interrupted - which is why you must be aware of your enemies, your distance, and what kinds of attacks you will be dealing with in order to have a better chance at getting that damage in.
If you are not using fire's cast time aoe abilities, you are not trying to do as much damage as you possibly can and cannot mathmatically add up to how much you would do, if you did use aoe ... or someone else of the same gear/skill (player skill + skill points) level who is.
Power Set/Role interactions
Fire powers rely heavily on targets being on fire already for additional effects such as healing or additional (70% in some cases) damage. Unless you are running with other fire users that you work like clockwork with, it is recommended to have one type of burning inflictor on your loadout.
Also, ideally, a fire dps will run with a fire tank. Your damage will be higher rather than running with an ice tank. The fire tank setting mobs on fire right away will save you from having to use power to set them on fire with lower damage powers. Enflame+backdraft, or a tank using something + wildfire can be ideal. Running with a gadgets person who uses bomb is also great, or a mental person who uses pyrokinesis. The mental person will hate you, however, because you will kill all of his burning dotted mobs faster lol. Sorcery can inflict burning, but I have no idea how often those powers are used.
I have not given details about specific loadouts, just given you the simple facts about the powers. There are powers I do not really like but can be very effective, and powers that I like that are extremely effective that many do not like because they are afraid of casting (I have addressed them above and below).
Below, I rank the powers in terms of damage vs a single target, and damage vs two targets. Afterwards, I describe some important terms with the game/ones I use. In the end, you will find info on my opinion of weapons to use with fire for the damage role specifically.
Power Ranking - Damage, Single target. Highest to lowest based on damage and spammability. If it is not here, it is not worth it.
Snuff out with target at <35% health
Fireburst (vs burning)
Mass Detonation (vs burning)
Power Ranking - Damage, Multi target (2+). Highest to lowest. If it is not here, it is not worth it
Fireburst (vs burning)
Mass Detonation (vs burning)
Spontaneous Combustion - Instant, AOE
Inferno - AOE Cast-time
Meteor - AOE Object
Enflame - AOE Instant
Flashpoint - AOE (while immolation is active)
Fireball - Single Instant
Fiery Cascade - Single Cast Time
Wildfire - AOE Instant (on an existing burning target)
Any supercharge (uncertain about Eternal Flame's reflect damage)
Specific Damage numbers with 1050 might:
You want to be looking at damage, power, and effective damage/recast. If a number is in the negatives, that means you are better off doing your strongest weapon combo (assume mortar/a 2.1x damage combo). This is an extremely, extremely valuable resource....and it took me plenty of hours to get the numbers to frzn to process/calculate.
Supercharges - I do not mention supercharges here because I have not yet done extensive, objective testing of them yet. I would generally recommend Fiery Barrage over Volcanic Calamity, and reignition above those. If you are a speed user though, using Speed Drain to restore ~600 power to your entire group/raid can be very, very helpful. Since fireburst or snuffout can crit well within Volcanic Calamity's damage range, having enough power to cast 1-2 more of those is not a bad thing.
Damage Boost - Every power has a certain percentage it'll boost damage by. When a damage boost is active, you'll have a little explodey star on the right of your effects row, underneath your health/power bars. If you do not maintain constant damage through combos and keep increasing your combo counter, the boost will disappear.
---Not all powers use the current damage boost that you have active (heat vision from iconics uses its own). I am unaware if regular power sets use the current active damage boost always, or just some. I believe that at least the fire aoe powers use whatever damage boost you had before you started casting that power.
As a fire user, there is little excuse to not have a 60% damage boost up at all times. We have so many cost-effective ways of having that boost up that it should be there. At the very least, a 45% damage boost should be up absolutely and always when you are actually fighting. Its as simple as - would you rather do 100 damage, or 145 damage?
Spammability - My use of spammability here refers to how cost effective it is to repeatedly use a power for damage. If it says do not spam, obviously, do not spam it - it simply is not going to add up to any worthwhile damage no matter how many times you cast it compared to something that has fair spammability. Ideally, if you can repeatedly spam a high-spam power all day, you are set, as our high spam powers do very serious damage.
Burning dot - Many powers set targets on fire - extremely minimal damage in most cases for a standard of 11 ticks/seconds, but can be as short as 9. Typically does single digit damage, but the burning dot depends on the power that cast it. Enflame may have the highest dmg for its burning effect - 20s non crit for 1000 might. Burning is very important, as many powers will do significant extra damage vs burning targets. It also has the bonus of dotting people to keep them from escaping in pvp. Burning in roughly 70% of powers/cases is not a reliable source of damage, but some powers do inflict painful enough burning dots.
Overkill Damage - This is what I like to think of as fake dps. Overkill damage is excess damage done to a target as it dies, such as a snuff out on a target with 100 hp left and critting for 2500. I believe that damage gets added to the boards. Certain powers are better suited to overkill damage than others (Snuff out, Mass detonation only really). Powers that do not do multiple ticks (fireburst, absorb heat) do not have overkill damage. Again, this may be completely irrelevant if it turns out the scorecard only counts the amount of damage done to enemies to get them to 0 hp. IE: a mob has 200 health and you kill it for 3000. If overkill damage is counted in scoreboard, you'll have 3000 damage added on, as opposed to 200.
Overview of Powers
Fireball - 35% dps boost, 250 power, single target, inflicts burning. Spammability - low
Fireball is a cheap spell, with low, but reasonable damage. It inflicts burning, knocks down, and spamming a ton of these would be slightly more effective than if you were mortaring on average (if the entire burning dot has the chance to do its thing). It is not worth having on your bar because the amount of power you could spend for two of these would get you up to four times the amount of damage if you were to use other spells.
Detonate - 35% dps boost, 200 power, single target, +dmg vs burning. Spammability - do not.
Detonate is a pit stop in the power tree. Its damage against non burning targets is much worse than your normal combos will be, and its damage vs burning targets will still barely compare with fireball. Even though it is cheap, you should be finding better uses of your power and time spend trying to deal damage.
Absorb Heat - 35% dps boost, 350 power, single target, stuns vs burning, heal self vs burning. 6 damage ticks. Heavy damage. Spammability - very high (high damage for its medium power cost, no cooldown).
Putting my completely baseless and senseless hate of this ability aside, it is a very good power. Most will recommend it like that is all that fire has, and some even say that they only use this and fiery weapon. It is extremely likely, if you know anything about the rest of the tree, that you will outdamage those people. Absorb Heat is very efficient in the amount of damage done vs cost. It used to have the added bonus of doing its damage as a dot, more or less, while you can cast other powers and weapon combos and whatnot, but no more. It is a single target dot that can heal you and stun a target if they are burning. It is comparable to the Iconic Power Heat Vision in that it is single target, but Heat Vision does more damage and costs a bit more (chanelled though, so you can cancel it early and retain some power)
--This used to be castable as a dot, but it was fixed to work as it should.
Wildfire - 35% dps boost, 200 power, knockdown on target + spreads burning in a wide area, heals for a tiny amount. Spammability - do not. Very situational.
This power is not meant to be used on its own. Wildfire is there to spread the burning dot to all enemies in the area. This may be useful for dotting people in PVP, or the more obvious use of preparing mobs for +burn dmg powers like fireburst and mass detonation. While this is useful, and cheap, I would not recommend this on a dps loadout simply because - if you are very skilled and accurate with your burning powers, you will not need this. There are also just enough times when you simply don't need to have mobs burning to kill them all with aoe +dmg vs burning powers.
Backdraft - 45% dps boost, 300 power, medium ranged aoe, pulls mobs in, heals you. Gives 25% health when used on a burning mob in dps or tank role. Spammability - fair
This is not a damaging power, though it is not bad for it (you are better off mortaring/doing your main powerful combo). What is good about it is that it pulls everything close, and heals you vs all burning mobs. Previously, if enough things were burning, you would get a chunk of healing - I do not know if it has a cap on how many mobs it will heal you for. Currently though, it only heals once.
--I would not recommend this on a dps loadout though because fire is best suited to ranged combat, as mentioned elsewhere. It is not the worst choice you could make. It also sometimes has the added effect of interacting with meteor in funky ways to make it bounce...but sometimes it does not. I do not know what controls that. Great for area control, or hijinks like pulling people off roofs if you fly, grouping up mobs/people and then speed dashing out, grouping for dps.
--It can be useful in pvp, combined with AH, to give you much more HP to work with, and to provide a damaging heal spam cc power
--This is a wonderful tool if you run with a fire tank as fire dps. It can interrupt mobs, pull them close for aoe, and pull melee mobs off their targets. It does not stun per se, but does work like one.
Flame Cascade - 60% dps boost. 350 power, single target, inflicts burning. High damage/longest cast time (6 seconds...why?). Spammability - do not.
Flame Cascade initially seems like a terrible power. For the most part, it is, because an unruly long cast time makes the single target damage it puts out not worth it, but it can have its uses. Flame Cascade is best as a traditional mmo buff, giving you that 60% dps boost in between combat or when you really need an extra damage boost and do not have much power and are not in active combat. If you prebuff with this, you can start your next combo chain or power (if the power uses other dps boosts and not its own) with a 60% damage boost. If you know you are going to have no power for long fights, this is worth it - otherwise, it is not.
Fireburst - 60% dps boost, 420 power, aoe cone medium range, +dmg vs burning, very high damage. Medium cast time (4 sec). 4 damage ticks, stuns + knocks down targets. Spammability - oh god yes
Fireburst is incredible and its applications are very simple. The power does good damage to single targets, but of course shines when used against multiple targets. It is and has been our hardest hitting aoe, and thankfully no patch has changed it yet. Though we are not certain by large yet, aoe damage seems to do the same damage to all targets and then start splitting dividing around 4 or 5 targets. I want to say its cone arc is 90 degrees starting with the small point at you, but it may be wider. I recommend using this at a short-medium range, as it will miss mobs directly beside you.
--Great times to use this: more than two targets, when you are low on power and want to ride out a 60% boost, situations like strykers and arkham where you have potentially a ton of mobs to use. With 1200 might, I can melt a hall/room section like all the freeze mobs up until the first breakable ice wall in two casts - likely one if there are good crits. If you have any dom, it is effective CC because not only does it knock down as the tooltip says, but it stuns as well. If a mob is immune to one, the other effect may get them.
Snuff out - 60% dps boost, 420 power, single target long range. Medium cast time (4 sec). Extra (double?) damage vs targets with <35% health. Very high damage. Spammability - absolutely, if target is under 35%, otherwise not really.
Snuff out is great, and is the hardest hitting finisher there is. It has the longest cast time, and is more or less the same as impaling ice. With ~1000 might, a defense debuff active on doomsday, and all but 3 of the crit damage boosts, I crit doomsday for 3645 once. This was over a month ago, with less skill points and gear than I have now. More or less, you can do no wrong in spamming this once a target is getting low on health. If you become skilled with judging how fast a mobs health is going down, you can time this when a mob has 50% or however much health to begin using it to deal ideal damage. This is a finisher move, and will result in what I like to call overkill damage. I would not recommend using this over fireburst though if there are three or more targets in an area that you can safely fireburst.
Mass Detonation - 60% dps boost, 470 power, long range aoe centered around target (cop/wildfire radius), +dmg vs burning, heavy damage, medium cast time (4 sec), buggy. Spammability - very high.
Mass detonation is another excellent fire aoe power. Its damage is on average not as high as fireburst, but it has more strategic options. MD is much safer than fireburst because you do not have to be up close to your target. You can cast this from far away, and it will damage all targets around your target - keeping you safer from knockbacks. And if you're like me, you're practically speed-praying each time you start up a fire cast lol and hoping it succeeds. If you are very wary of the cast time abilities, Mass Detonation + meteor or wildfire on a burning mob + mass det from long range is a good way to go. If a mob runs behind you and you watch yourself turn away from everything relevant.....unlike fireburst, mass detonation will still be fine as it has a very large area of effect.
---Mass detonation currently has issues though, where after you respec, it will disappear off your loadout, or just not even activate when you use it. It also does not seem to affect certain mobs like kahndaq waterkeepers/waterkeepers in that area. I am always reluctant to use this power, even though it is a great one, due to these odd bugs. The safest thing to do is to relog after you respec with it (not just zone), or at the least, switch to tank then back to damage and put it back on your loadout. Weird, I know.
Immolation - 35% dps boost, 200 power, short range pboae, small damage reflect (up to 4 hits). Spammability - do not.
This should not be on a damage loadout. If you are taking damage often enough to warrant trying this power for its low-damage reflect, you are probably not getting into situations where you can use the real damaging powers, and thus wasting power. It does very low damage for its cost. It will do 4 damage hits per cast, but you can cast it repeatedly for it to add on reflect hits (ie cast it 3 times and you will have 12 hits you can dish out with it). Though the extra damage it does through reflects has not yet been calculated, even if it hit positives for damage/recast, it would not be tactically worth it as you would constantly be setting your dps boost back to 35%.
Flashpoint - 35% dps boost, 200 power, short range pbaoe, knocks mobs into the air and inflicts burning if you have immolation active. Spammability - do not.
This is another ability that should not be on a damage loadout. It does very low damage for its cost, will not reliably CC mobs (raid/big mobs in alerts) unless you have high dom (in dps mode). It is a tanking CC ability. If you are spamming this power, you are wasting power you could be doing any number of things that will actually do real damage.
Enflame - 35% dps boost, 250 power, short range pbaoe, knocks mobs into the air, inflicts burning dot on initial cast and refreshes burning for a tick if mobs enter melee range with you. Fair damage - Spammability - fair.
Enflame is nice. Although I do not recommend going melee with fire unless you are tanking (in which case this is great), if you do melee, this is the best way to get mobs burning. It is the most cost effective of the burning inflictors for its damage done, does not block los, and any mobs in melee range will always be on fire for the duration it is active. Its burning dot does the most damage out of other things that inflict burning - and though you'll probably only see a hundred, maybe a couple hundred points of damage with a high might from that initial burn, it is still convenient. If you are in melee, this should be used. Even for tanks, I would not recommend immo+fp because that is a total waste of power when enflame does the same thing, and enflame+backdraft is far more practical in heals and CC and damage than immo+fp.
Meteor - 35% dps boost, 250 power, rock/ball summon, inflicts burning, fair damage. Spammability - fair
Meteor is a mixed bag. On its own, with one single cast, it does not do mentionable damage. It does more damage when thrown (it is not time-effective to smash it) at a number of mobs. This is about the best thing you could do to a giant number of enemies, like the beetles in gotham u duo, robots in the watchtower for lex villains, etc. Superstrength will double thrown damage, and neo venom boost will increase the damage further. A meteor inflicts burning when it hits something, and will constantly refresh burning if they stay close to the meteor (this is when you can do respectable damage with it in single targets).
--Meteor has some issues though. For a burning inflictor, it is low damage, but a fair way to spread it. It also blocks LOS, which means it can block your cast abilities (mass det may be safe from this though) and block heals. Conversely, you can block hallways and use them as cover lol. Many amusing things can happen with meteor hijinks. They can also be used to throw at the smallville doom bubbles to make them roll. This power is not always super effective, but it is a ton of fun, and for that its fairly worth having around.
--It is the safest way to inflict burning, but can be very annoying to your team (and possibly problematic) if you do not have a fire type consuming it.
--Odd things can happen when you summon it. It may not drop onto ramps. It may sometimes appear underneath you, or the floor. It may also spawn underneath the floor entirely ...ah failed meteor tank pulls in bc3 last boss lol.
Consume Objects - 45% dps boost, 300 power, heals, fair damage with 2-3 objects around. Spammability - do not use by itself.
Consume objects is more of a tanking ability - it is excellent for aggro because of the increased damage that can be done with objects around, and because it is an aoe damage spell that also heals you. The damage role does not see much benefit from it though - as power wasted clearing your own meteor could be used for something else. The damage with a ton of objects is still not amazing, I believe, but I have not been able to test this yet. I do not know how it compares with its damage increases per object to sorcery's transmutation.
--The only object it actually removes is your own meteor. I do not know if it does damage to nearby objects, or if it hurts them and gives you more damage to do to your aoe blast of consume.
--Consume can be used just before a meteor hits the ground, if you use meteor, and then consume.
Fiery Weapon - 45% dps boost, 300 power, heals, increases crit chance by 20% and crit damage by 10%. Spammability - you better.
Fiery Weapon is a 12 second buff that augments the crits/crit damage of anything you deal damage with. I believe it stacks with all other crit chance/damage adders. This is an ideal ability to precast before using bigger things like snuff out, the major aoe abilities, etc. If you have this on your loadout, any time you are in combat, unless you are riding out a 60% boost with combos, this should be active.
---I would not recommend this to specs that do not yet have high crit chance/damage in them (probably about half the ones you can buy) as you won't see the effects as often and likely can use the power for something else.
---If you have a ton of power to play with, and moreso a ton of skill points to work with, this is a potential must have. It also heals for a fair chunk. It does not increase base damage at all (although I could swear that was patched away early on and that it did at one point).
Burnout - 45% dps boost, 300 power? (untested to my knowledge), heals, breaks free from CC. 15 sec cooldown? Spammability - You can't
Burnout is not a bad choice for the damage role because it is a periodic heal for an okay amount. It frees you from all CC but perma CC (certain raid enemy CC like batcave arrestors). I do not know if it actually gives you any kind of CC immunity for any length of time, but the breakout+heal can be nice. It is, of course very handy as a tank for bosses like doomsday's sky high smashup or the armory's tornado bounce. Using this after CC may allow you to get back to dealing damage much faster.
---I am testing this out in alerts to see if using it before cast time abilities allows you to be immune to cc for those casts. Edit: Yes, it will grant you enough safety to get one cast off, almost making this a must. There were several times in BC2 I popped burnout, then immediately fireburst and was not knocked around by prime's spin attacks (among other things). You could likely get the same use out of a pvp trinket. This allowed me to get some serious damage in.
Spontaneous Combustion - 50% dps boost, jump cancelable (damage will not continue), knockdown, pbaoe. Inflicts burning. 4 ticks. Spammability - low
Spontaneous combustion does not have the greatest damage, and is only medium range, but it is convenient. It will knock mobs down, and seems to affect 4 or so targets randomly within the power's range every tick (4 ticks total). Its damage is comparable to a meteor drop. Using this ability has a few advantages though: inflict burn for ok damage without blocking LOS (like meteor), burn anything around you, instant 50% damage boost. You can use this, set mobs on fire on the first tick, jump, and then do something else. If you cancel it with a jump, you will not continue to do damage. This will, however, allow you to take advantage of its CC effects and try a cast time ability.
Inferno - 60% dps boost, 350 power, 4 sec cast time, fair damage, inflicts burning. Gives immolation reflect when in tank mode (dps also?). Spammability - low
Inferno is not much of a damage role ability. Its strength in use is controlling space, being used as a short-lived minefield. It has a cast time, but does roughly half the damage of everything else that has a cast time. It is not generally worth it to precast it before a fight because the strongest tick of damage is the first one, and after that, it is only a wide area burning dot for okay damage. If you anticipate a mobs approach/activation, this can be worth it, but you're also better off casting an aoe when mobs are approaching you that will definitely get into a power's range. Generally, if you can cast inferno, you are better off casting fireburst or mass detonation, even on non burning mobs.
Stoke Flames - 50% dps boost, heal over time, heals more when immolation/enflame is active, no damage. Spammable: low/yes
While Stoke Flames does no damage, it can be useful on a damage loadout for a few reasons. If you are going to be taking damage, you can pop this off after a fiery weapon or a number of other abilities for a respectable heal (even in damage mode), making it great for pvp and if you are a melee fire user. Instantly having a 50% damage boost can be very convenient. It is not necessary though, and I would not recommend it for ranged combatants.
Burning Determination - Low-medium power. Cooldown as long as stoke flames I believe.
It will heal for a fair amount of damage at 1/4 health (260-320) in dps mode. Most other heals are better though above that. It provides a short moment of CC immunity, but it is not enough to get a cast off I think. Sometimes it helps me stay through CC, sometimes it doesn't. Somehow, burnout is more reliable. This is of course a better heal than burnout though.
Weapons for Fire's Damage Role
Fire is better suited towards ranged weapons, whereas ice is better suited towards melee in my opinion. Fire works better with ranged, in my opinion, because we have a number of very hard hitting attacks that have a medium-long range distance to them that have cast times. During these cast times, you can be interrupted. You are less likely to be interrupted by CC at a farther range. If you are meleeing, you simply will take damage, even with a good tank (mainly on raids), so you will need to use healing powers as well. With the exception of Absorb Heat, no power heals as well as does significant damage.
--If you are meleeing, you will want what I like to think of as 'active damage' powers - ie powers that are always going and oing damage, separate of what you are doing. Examples: Enflame, inferno, cryofield, weapon proc powers, ice reflects. While these things are going, you are able to do more damage even if you get cc'd, but CC breakout/immunity effects are absolute musts. I would not put points into the power restoration skills if you do not have a lot of skill points if you are ranged, but if you are melee, it likely will be a good idea if you run through your one/two/three breakout/immunity abilities.
Rifle - Pure ranged. There is absolutely nothing that beats a chain of mortars for damage. 2.1x your base damage every 1.3 seconds beats out a full two-hand smash combo significantly. Since it is easy to increase crit chance and damage, and have 60% damage boosts with fire, your main concern is staying at ideal range so that you can mortar and not have to waste time rolling and doing less damage. At times, it may be more efficient for damage and time to simply run back than do a flip roll.
--It has okay power regen through suprise volley (lunge) spam. Also, being able to put out fair damage with lunge spam while having active damage powers running can do wonders, especially if you jump during lunge spam to get over mobs' heads that have frontal blast attacks that will miss (brainiac eradicators in area 51 for example) - effectively allowing you to tank and go some fun gun-fu. 13 seconds to superhuman power regen.
Pistols - Ranged/Melee hybrid. With the proper legit combos, pistol damage is not far behind 2h damage, but you will be in melee range doing that. Pistols works well with fire because you can instantly acquire targets, and being able to ride a 60% damage boost makes full auto ideal with 2-5 targets. You stay at a fair range, but can easily and quickly move in and out of melee range to set up casts and whatnot with its different combos. It also has solid single target damage, especially when paired with fiery weapon and an active absorb heat. It is probably the best at building power (jump shot spam) through hit combos while doing respectable damage. 13 seconds to superhuman power regen.
Bow - Explosive shot is fair damage, though I do not believe it is a 2.1 damage multiplier like Mortar, Mega Smash (was), Magnum shot. It has an easy power builder (Arrow Rain, which is decent damage and an aoe), and can combo well if you link a rmb shot in between anything to avoid dropping combo. Its highest single target damage is bow slam -> flurry. Bow's explosive shot can shoot and hit from any range if you have a target lock (ie be in the rafters of a raid and target reticle is gray and still hit). Versatile, like dual pistols and martial arts.
Two-Handed - Safer for PVE than PVP, but it is amazing how many people do not see that smash coming. 2H damage relies purely on succeeding in connecting mega smashes - if you cannot do so, you are missing out on the most obvious major damage there is. While I have no info to back it up, I always suspected smash had a higher crit chance - combine that with a constant 60% boost and enhanced crit damage and you will bring pain. Still, however, ice is better off due to its instant casts - it doesn't have to commit as much. Still, 2H is best used for damage by blowing power on hard hitting AOE powers, throwing a fiery weapon in there before another aoe for the damage and 60% boost, and then mega smash when low on power. It is not good for building power.
Brawling, Martial Arts - Though these are very different styles of dealing damage, they may be quite similar. Brawling will deliver you more harder hitting spike damage, resulting in more overkill damage. It is not bad at building power -if- you use normal attacks (which costs you damage, of course) before going into those weaving combos. Martial arts is not bad as a fire melee weapon because it combos well with itself, has a respectable damaging ranged component, and has a number of melee aoe attacks to spread your 60% boost and crits around.
Handblasters - While I personally hate these weapons and have yet to see a fire damage dealer do respectable damage with them, they -can- work. You must be aware of your strongest ranged combos (melee are not bad) and absolutely must not drop a combo due to a charged shot taking too long. Yes, pulse beam builds power excellently, but the low damage output during that time does not necessarily add up. It may if you have 1500 might (I don't think it'll be worth it for 1400 even). You'll get much more bang for your buck building power with pistols' jump shot - but at the cost of being in melee range.
---Without question, someone who is just as skilled with rifle as they are with handblasters will do more damage with rifle, by far.
--Handblasters may be a better melee weapon just because the flamethrower scissor blast thing (before pulse beam) does a lot of damage, is aoe, and doesn't have the awkwardness of having to deal with clipped charge shots to maintain a combo. They are not bad weapons - I just don't like them as they don't feel they have enough payoff for how timing-aware you have to be.
-Charged shot into solar flare I believe is the most damaging ranged combo, and does not have the hit problems associated with meteor. For melee, uppercut is very nice, as well as the aoe flamethrower 3/6 hit thing before pulse beam. The flamethrower thing does the heaviest damage I believe.
-Approx 9 seconds to charge to superhuman for power/hit counter.
I cannot comment on staves, dual wield, or one handed as I have not used them enough, or bothered doing any calculations for them. One handed may be on the bottom though if it lacks aoe, though it may have good power building. Likely, I will eventually try these three as I am always trying to find new things about weapons and their combos, and powers and how they all can work together.
There is no TL;DR for this. If you cannot read, you do not deserve to deal damage.
Anyway, to many, I believe this will be helpful, hopefully it is! If you have questions about powers and situations, go ahead and ask. I am not going to give you the easy way out and tell you what to put on your loadout because: I've already given a ton of good info based on my own and many other peoples' figuring...and...two, doing good damage is more than just pushing buttons here - at least for fire. ...Gadgets...wow lol. Playing an ungeared gadgets char almost makes me want to give up fire, but we won't get into that here xD
- Vida Kryptonita, Jury