DCUO Guides: Hard Light Guide to DPS and Controlling

The hard light DPS blows Mental DPS out of the water, and this is coming from a (now) 98 SP Mental since launch. Again, I didn’t get a chance to test out ALL of the powers in instances, but the ones that I did, really, really impressed me. In addition, I have not tested ANY powers in PvP (with the exception of Chainsaw in a duel), so this post will focus on the PvE side of things.

The Basics Power Combos/Chaining:

This feature is what makes the HL powerset unique. If you look at the description of each power, you will see it gives you options to combo into other powers. The way you do this, is simply by using the commands the Power’s description tells you. For example, Light Claws says it can Combo into Mini-Gun, by using your “Ranged Hold” attack. So, once you cast Light Claws and the animation finishes, just hold your Ranged Attack button down.

Looking at the description of Mini-gun, we can see it can combo into Whip Thrash (x2), meaning you can combo into it twice, one after the other. To do this, once the Mini-gun animation finishes, tap your Melee attack button once to go into Whip Thrash. Tap it again to do it once more once the first animation finishes. However, please note, that to COMBO into other powers, YOU MUST HAVE THOSE POWERS PURCHASED. You will not be able to combo from Mini-gun into Whip Thrash, if you do not have Whip Thrash purchased. In addition, when chaining powers together, please keep in mind that only the FIRST power uses your Might to determine your damage amount, the rest of the powers that you Combo into use your Precision as the determinant.

1. Chompers – BY far, my favourite (non-SC) power as a DPS. It’s like Pyrokinesis, but an AoE, less half the DoT. I could get crits of anywhere from 350-900 PER TARGET. Instant cast, no cooldown. This should probably be looked at getting toned down a bit. Very similar to Resonating Gale, but….better .
2. Chainsaw – Coolest single target power IMO. I love using this on bosses especially, since the Tapx4 combo would crit for anywhere from 600-1200 PER HIT. Yea…In addition, I tested this out in a duel against a Leaguemate, both of us in full PvP gear, and I was still hitting crits of 500-900. This move ALONE could dominate in PvP. The nice thing, if you are on the receiving end of this beast of a power, is that it is vulnerable to block on the tapx4 combo, and you can also knock the attacker out of with with any CC. In PvE, I also like to use this against trash mobs by comboing into the Minigun. Speaking of which….
3. Minigun – Not as great as Chompers IMO, but still amazing AoE damage, AND it’s just so…pleasing…you know, aesthetically. It’s like something out of a not-very-good-you-probably-should-have-put-more-effort-into-it big budget motion picture Starring a a Personified instument used for lighting…things…
4. Light Weight – Honestly, at first glance, this doesn’t seem like much…but then you get to a point where you are sorrounded by a mob of 3-4 at least, pop this bad boy, and smile as you see their health melt, while you are being (somewhat) shielded. Granted, MOST of the damage doesn’t come from the spinning move (though it does a good chunk) and instead from the ending move where you throw it (you should time this just right to get the full benefit, you spin for about 3 seconds or so), I think if you plan on staying close-ish to a mob (like a Melee DPS for example), you should not underestimate the capability of this power.
And finally….
5. Tactical Missle Strike – 50% Supercharge – OK, so that’s not what it’s actually called (it’s actually Strafing Run…or something), but that’s what I would (and in fact, WILL) call it. This is by far, my most favorite power in either tree. This thing is so OP it’s not even funny. You get caught in that little cloud of the bombing run, and you will be taking 12 ticks of damage over however many seconds, of AT LEAST 200-300 per tick normal but the CRITS hit for some outrageous, beyond exospheric figures…such as 800-900 EACH, I’ve even had them tick for close to 2400 on the ADDS of BOSS Fights…and yes, speaking relatively, those are MASSIVE numbers. Also, I’d like to point out that I DO, in fact, like this better than the Helicopter 25% thing. It does more damage, and over a larger area (you have to watch this closely, as the AoE doesn’t actually SHOW, you have to watch for ticks that are hitting on the farthest away target).


1. Fan – Probably good for controlling as a CC, MAYBE, as a DPS power, it’s a dud, there are better opportunities elsewhere.
2. Snap Trap (I think that’s what it’s called) – I’m pretty sure this is single target, not an AoE (I thought it would be just like Chompers, but stronger), so it’s probably better as a PvP, rather than a PvE ability. From the testing on the dummies, it does more damage, and the DoTs tick faster than Chompers, so as a single target ability I would say it’s superior.
3. Light Blast – Probably best left to boss fights/PvP, since it gets the added damage bonus on under 35% health targets.
4. Hand Clap, Ram (ESPECIALLY RAM), Whip Thrash, Boxing, Light Claws, and Spikequake I didn’t like very much, whether it was used as an opener, or combo’d into. You, however, might feel differently.

To Sum Up

These are, of course, IMO, so feel free to add input if you like: Best AoE’s (in order): Chompers, Minigun, Lightweight; Best Single Target (in order): Chainsaw, Snap Trap, Light Blast
So, that’s basically my experience with the HL Powerset thus far. Most of the other powers I didn’t like that much (again, this is from a DPS perspective, NOT Controller).
The thing to keep in mind with this powerset, is it’s ability to combo from one power into another (once you use the initial power, ANYTHING ELSE you combo into after that, uses your PRECISION stat, not your MIGHT stat, please remember that). Personally, at least AT THIS POINT in time, I don’t like to do it very much, with a couple of exceptions (e.g. Chainsaw into tapx4 chainsaw or minigun), for a very simple reason: I’m still finding my Bow weapon attacks, combined with a few powers like Chopmers/chainsaw/Light Weight to be more efficient in dealing out damage, than going, for example, Light Claws into MiniGun into Whip Thrash, etc., though some of you may find that style of fighting more suitable to your playstyle.
Here are the Full Playthroughs of the Coast City and Oan Sciencells Alerts (as a quick sidenote, in case some missed it, the NPCs in the new alerts use proper combat mechanics now, i.e. if they are using a blockbreaker, you can hardstun them witha lunge, in they are blocking, you can hardstun them with a block breaker, etc.):

  1. Coast City Playthrough + Final Boss Feat:

  2. Oan Sciencells Playthrough:



First, a couple of quick notes about HL Controlling in General:
Light Weight: (Btw, even better than I thought in DPS, it cranks out crazy damage as you spin in melee range). In CONTROLLER stance, this is a DAMAGE OUTPUT DEBUFF, however, the debuff WILL NOT BE APPLIED until you throw the Weight at your target.
Comboing Powers & Control Effects: In CONTROLLER stance, when you combo into an ability that has an attached Controller effect, that effect will NOT BE APPLIED. You have to use the ACTUAL Power. For example, Light Claws combo’d into Whip Thrash (Defense Debuff) WILL NOT apply a defense debuff, you have to use Whip Thrash from your PowerBar.

Controller Guide:

Assault Vs. Support Trees: Whether you are running PvE or PvP, I found the Support Tree fairly uninteresting and frankly, though I may be proven wrong down the road, the inferior of the two. The only thing I got in there was Recharge. You can get your debuff effect abilities all from the Assault Tree, and these all do fairly heavy damage as well, leaving you with 4 Power Points for Iconics.
Essentially, I purchase Weapons Expert, Tactical Genious, Wisdom of Solomon and Amazonium Deflection (for PvP) in Iconics.

My Loadout consists of:

1. Light Claws (Power over Time Buff) – AOE: I LOVE LOVE LOVE to combo into Mini-gun into 1 or 2 Whip Thrash attacks in Controller stance, it STILL does crazy damage, the follow it up with a Light Weight spin for about 3 seconds…awesome! Single Target: Combo into the Tap X 4 Claws Combo! I usually follow this up with Whip Thrash to apply the Defense Debuff and then Light Weight to Apply the Damage Debuff.

2. Whip Thrash (Defense Debuff) – NOTE: YOU CANNOT get the benefit of the Debuff if you COMBO into it, you HAVE to use it from your Ability Bar.

3. Light Weight (Damage Output Debuff) – Like I said before, does amazing damage even in controller stance, in Melee range. Again, to get the full benefit of this power, spin it for as long as you can (about 3 seconds) and THEN let go. The throw is really nice damage as well.

4. Chompers – I just use this for Ranged AoE Damage when I have the power to spare. Still crits like crazy even in Controller mode.

5. Recharge – Don’t forget that this will give you and your nearby teammates a short buff (I think it’s about 7 Seconds) in addition to being your Instant Power Regen.

6. Tactical Missle Strike a.k.a. Strafing Run – Because it’s SOOOOOO OP
I also purchased Snap Trap because of the Healing Debuff. It’s not necessary for PvE, but MANDATORY if you are Controlling in PvP.
As a Final Note, I’d like to reiterate that this is simply a GUIDE, an OUTLINE, a MAP to the HL Powerset, and what makes this Powerset unique is that there are a variety of ways to achieve the same result. There is no “Cookie-Cutter” build for this. Make sure you play around with the powers, experiment, and decide how you want to play.

  1. Playthough of STAR Labs with Time Feat (30 Minutes) (Controller Perspective):
  2. Playthrough of Smallville with Time Feat (20 Minutes) (Controller Perspective):

P.S. I’m getting pretty tired of hearing people complain about the PoT ability being melee. Look, if you do not want to get in the thick of things, don’t target anything, and just leap at the air. It will have the same effect. But in all honesty, you need to be in fairly close range to apply your debuffs. This is what you do: Leap in with your PoT ability, apply your two debuff powers, roll out, keep doing your weapon attacks (unless you are a Melee Controller obviously, though that’s a lonely vocation indeed),rinse and repeat. Making the HL powerset more Melee oritented, IMO, is a very fair tradeoff, considering how gimped Mental and Gadgets are in comparison.
The reality of the situation is, it takes virtually nothing to jump in and “do stuff” as a controller with Hard Light. It takes ACTUAL SKILL to be able to buff your team, debuff targets, CC if necessary, crank out damage, AND, MOST IMPORTANTLY, STAY ALIVE, whether it’s for short bursts or times where your endurance is tested to it’s limit. I’m probably going to get a lot of heat for saying this, but I actually LIKE that this powerset has so many Melee Components! It makes playing a Controller FUN and ENGAGING again! Not saying Mental controlling was EASY, but it got so boring because it’s not engaging. This powerset actually makes me want to go back to being a Controller instead of DPS!

We would like to say a big THANK YOU to impetvs for making this guide. We think this will be extremely helpful for all of the DCUO community members and we hope you will enjoy it.


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24 Responses to DCUO Guides: Hard Light Guide to DPS and Controlling

  1. Alex C. says:

    Can anyone tell me which class is better for dps/control? Light or mental?? Thx

  2. Rc says:

    Just wondering how to get equipments like yours ? And which ones do i get ?

  3. Rc says:

    Btw awesome guide 🙂 10000000 thumbs up

    • know listen Hard Light is the worst pvp class to pick
      i mean healers have a huge advantage other them so
      healers beat them all the time.
      and how many hard light people do you see that can take down a tank?

      i know a lot of you are thinking that im a hater but im not
      im just trying to give you advise my level 30 fire tank
      rarely ever gets beaten by a hard light character.
      and when i do see a Hard Light player in pvp i am filled with joy because
      i know im going to beat them lol
      so it was an ok guide but not telling the truth

      • SoftLight says:

        The reason you always beat your opponents is because you play in PUGs. Perhaps you have decent gear and have solid knowledge on the paper scissor rock system?

        Get into a real leauge, organise battles with villians or heroes of real leagues. Thats true pvp. PUGing is noobing.

        Light is just as good as fire. Its just different.

      • suckit says:

        your dumb, my hard light character would own you

  4. Rc says:

    Im gonna be starting a new character for this . Which mentor should i pick ?

  5. Nathaniel says:

    Awesome guide, I recently switched from Blasters to bow as a HL DPS its alright im not loving it just yet, but its decent…I was wondering your thoughts on HL/Duel Pistols??…cause I am thinking about giving that a try as well.

    • Trey Bailey says:

      Try rifle. It can do some mad damage if you clip ur powers with it.

    • Ramadiwolfpack says:

      I like duel pistolso alot right now. Might try rifle next but duel pistols is the only 1 I’ve used so far.

  6. Sariph says:

    Great article…Just a note on Entrap for HL… Multi target…healing debuff…entraps(tanks can move enemies) and you can combo in with an hl baseball bat…Great for t2s and raids and also pvp. IMO better than snap trap. Awesome site..Keep the guides coming!

    Sariph – 64 cr HL Troller(usps3 pvp Server)

  7. Kat says:

    Just wondering if you know a beast troll loadout..i have a bow…and im trying to combine powers that will give my team mates power all the time…or if theres a single power that will charge them all up at once?

  8. Green Vale says:

    I just made it to a 50CR on my HL troller and he’s beast! Like all time beast mode beast! I took a lot of the tips and suggestions from this thread an it’s helped me out a lot, however my damage has gone down significantly. My load out is made up of claws, whips, light weight, recharge, grasping hand ( which is legit now that I know how to use it properly), and speed drain (I hate super speed, but love speed drain). I have been asked lately to use my recharge and leave the pot to the bigger guys which messes up my light combos, but it’s effective. I have solo trolled FOS 3 with a 50CR without very minimal problems using this load out (full pug group). I’d say the biggest part to this being accomplished is managing the pot (20 second breakdown) and being able to manage my power effectively on myself. The thing that people should be aware of that I had to figure out the hard way with HL trolls is that you don’t have to be up in the fight and constantly spamming claws just for the light combos is not only ineffective, but a waste of power as well. I spam my powers only when necessary and spend the rest of my time ranged building up my weapon combos while spamming recharge until the PoT ticks from my claws wears off. Of course your debuffs are necessary too, and for those, I simply run in debuff and roll out. Everyone’s blue bar stays full, mine does to, I take little damage, and we win! Every time!

    • Green Vale says:

      I use bows and spam mass arrows (the one that drops a crap ton of arrows on your target). After spamming this 3 to 4 times I’m almost all the way full on power. I wanted to reemphasise that claws/boxing are both PoTs and you don’t have to target anything to use them or get the PoT ticks. It also last 20 seconds so there’s no need to spam it over and over again, that’s just dumb. Debuffs also only work when you use them from your load out bar, not when used in combo sequence with another power. Well, that’s how I do it and it works for me, although I know others have different loadouts and theirs work as well. Have fun!

    • Trey Bailey says:

      As a controller your not trying to do alot of damage. Your main objective is to supply the team with power, debuff and if needed, crowd control.

  9. Teroni says:

    Great guide one thing I would suggest as a troller to go to super speed its an awful movement speed but has speed drain very cruisul to a troller, espescially with earth powers. Have an earth dps/tank in league I drop speed drain and after shock becomes a spam a destructive spam in pve and pvp. Along with I suggest as a troller to use spikes instead of chompers get your dominace up and will stun mobs for a long time making it easier to take down chompers create panic making mobs run around and in small casses cause other mobs agro but as a dps I would use chompers does exalent damage. I have 78 sp and I am going more straight controller have all vit and dom stats in trees domince becomes important for fos2 as troll stuns and pulls. Also I dont get why so many other people dislike hard light trolls I have been kicked from groups before instance starts because of this well screw all of you cause I and there are others who know how to hl troll so if you see a hl troll think twice before you judge the character before you play with the player.

  10. Cool12309 says:

    What makes hard light hard? And how can hl be a tank, I thought light was a controller? I’m confused about this…

  11. RIO says:

    I think HL is most fun take the animation n the construct combos.
    If u pick gadgets its fun but its boring after a time, u throwing grenades all the time, mental is a gr8t trolling power too.
    If u pick them from effectiveness then I think HL is the hardest of em all. While Mental n gadget keeps u at safe distance HL brings u closer.
    mental n gadgets have range debuff abilities while HL biggest downside is the def debuff which is a melee debuff.
    So while mental n gadgets can debuff the defense HL must get closer. Its a big downside if u try to debuff Brainiac.
    I disagree that HL can not take down healers in pvp. I heard that from mental n from gadgets too. that depends on player skills not the power. I had more victories as HL as with gadgets n mental.
    HL needs more skills than any other troller powers n u need to endure the players who gonna tell u how bad u r n how useless ur .
    I played all 3 types on my main n i awitch between HL n gadgets mostly i found mental too simple ( no offense to mental troll brothers u can kick any ass guys n girls), When u use gadgets u have a lot of power point after u done putting power points on tree i usually have 2 point wich i can put on crit attack o iconic tree.
    But as i said after a time gadgets turns into a boring power cos u rly just throwing grenades n using interactions which r simple after a time. In Pvp u can kite enemies easily n u should rly do that.
    But the reason i return to HL ( i was HL originally) is cos its fun to use HL powers, u can learn trolling on the hard way so if u switch to Mental or gadgets u gonna be king.
    Yes u can not defense debuff bosses but in a raid there is a 2nd troll so u can rely on him. On an Alert u can go melee, n if u can troll a single raid alone u can risk to go near too. ( except maybe the f*$#n meta avatar). And in PVP u can easily shred any healer with a good aimed snap trap or light blast ( both healing debuff n removes buff on target) n then go after him with some nice combo.
    So HL is all about practice.
    OH n the comment that troll should beat a Tank… Well… we can not n we should avoid such confrontation. There is a rock,scissor,sapper rule in pvp.
    So troll is weak against tank n tank weak against healer n the troll beat healer.
    SO dont try to beat a tank in a fair fight cos u got shredded. U should dispatch the healer use debuffs on em n kite them n do dmg n stuns so they can not heal those freakin tanks. Let healers n dps kill tanks. U can also kite dps if they r after the healer or the tank.
    N when the group kicks u cos u HL then that group is a bad group anyways n u should avoid such ppl.
    Im cr 86 now with sp 94 ( i know many have more sp) n im using HB as primary wep it replenishes power very fast n as a HL u can use it as range attack n if u need to attack use ur construct combos.

    SO if any 1 disagree pls comment.

    • evad agen says:

      Just wanna go into pvp a bit. mostly how to mod your gear. pvp is all I’ve done for months now. I’m at 111sp, so i get all stats (Except vit, trust your geat and don’t pug. they get power as fast as you eith the pot. let them use weapons, i tick for119 no extra vit. plenty.) All mods should have prec… and get half your gear dps… trust me on this… you’ll have plenty vit and dom, and with over 500 prev in troll, you’ll hit like a dps.

  12. mitch says:

    had a few things to add, being a troller since day 1, specializing in the support tree you gain i think somthing like 10 vit. also boxing gloves does a higher PoT than Light claws regardless of vit. also if you are serious about trolling you should look into ‘word of power’ in the iconics.

  13. Rafe Wildheart says:

    Just wanted to fill in my load out to help others as I don’t believe this guide gives the highest recommended DPS load out.
    1. Ram – fantastic ability when used correctly and is your staple opener. Ram>Snap trap>fan(initial dmg not the full cast(CLIP IT)) and either go into light claws or weapon combos. SPECIAL NOTE-this combo is infinitely chainable/quick and easy. This starts off a fountain of damage that can establish well over 1k in a relatively short amount of time.

    2. Chompers – amazing initial dmg, moderate dot. Of great use on adds and times when you need the added 50%dmg bonus.

    3. Light weight – nothing melts adds as well as light weight>throw combo. Learn proper use of the throw and watch dmg numbers SOAR.

    4. Recharge – heavily situational. Useful when troller is incapacitated or out of power himself. Or if in duos/alerts emergency resource of power for your healer. This is not on my bar for dps reasons, only as an emergency power recharge for when times are bleak and headed downhill.

    5. Hardlight Shield – possibly the most underrated ability in the game. Activate this as an OH-S*** button. This WILL save your life if used appropriately. Absorbs a very large chunk of damage, can be modified using Vit.

    6. Straffing – best supercharge ability in game. Fire and forget ability. Careful in use at the beginning of fights as the initial hit and dots will make it hell on a tank to build and hold aggro.

    My current weapon is bow(I love it) and the stats for dps should be: Precision>crit damage>crit chance.

  14. Stephane says:

    Interesting article. But it uses mainly the Assault tree of Hard Light. My two controllers (Hero and Villain) both only use the Support tree. I hated the support tree at first, but now through tests and experience, I find it is as good if not better than Assault. But in the end, both can do the Job.

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