Whichever powerset you choose in DC Universe Online, having a reliable loadout for the role you take on is of vital importance. Not only does your loadout maximize your potential as a player, but it also plays a hand in how well a group encounter goes. Bad loadouts for one or two players can be detrimental to the success of some of the tougher instances. For the Ice powerset, this means having solid damage and excellent defense loadouts. Not unlike the Fire powerset, this popular power choice can be the savior of the group or the albatross depending on how much research you have done.
The Ice powerset is basically a tank class. Depending on the role you choose, you will either be playing damage or defense. Because of this, you'll want to choose a weapon skill that works well with Ice's melee nature. Ranged weapon skills do not work very well with the Ice powerset so stick with brawling, martial arts, or something similar. It is also important for Ice players to remember to use your loadouts once you have set them up! Nothing is more frustrating for a group than a tank who is unprepared and not properly spec'd.
Just like all powersets, Ice has two trees in which you can select powers from: Storms and Cryogenics. Neither of these trees will have everything that you need so picking up a good combination of both will be your end goal. The Storms set of powers focuses a bit more on damage abilities with a lot of whirlwind and zapping powers. Cryogenics leans towards more protective and crowd control powers they are more close range for better melee handling.
You can do some pretty legit damage with a good spec. You'll probably find yourself picking more from the Storms tree than Cryogenics and this seems to be what works for many Ice players. There are a few powers, though, that you will definitely need on your damage loadout.
Your first damage pick is Glacier Flash. This shoots out a steady stream of ice to rapidly decrease the health of your target. At lower levels, it can one shot enemies and at higher levels it can still do impressive damage if you aren't interrupted. Freeze Wave is another nice damage power that has the added benefit of a knock down. Another good damage power is Avalanche which brings on a barrage of ice and snow. From the Cryogenics tree, Frost Snipe is a nice choice early on but one power that you'll really want to work towards in this tree is Ice Elemental. This power transforms you and gives all sorts of bonuses for your role which not only makes it great for damage but is also a must have for PvP players.
Along with the general damage powers, you'll also want to pick up at least one of the supercharge powers. Freeze Ray is a good damage oriented supercharge power that only requires 50%. Blizzard does great damage but it's a 100% supercharge power so it may end up being the sort of ability you use in limited situations unless you tend to rely heavily on your weapon skills.
Even the best damage players may desire a little protection every now and again especially if you find yourself struggling with survivability. At level 8, you have a supercharge ability called Hibernation available to you that offers protection and healing while deflecting damage. It's worthwhile if you need it, but if you don't, skip it for another damage option.
Cold as ice and just as tough.
Of all of the powersets, Fire and Ice are the two most viable for defensive gameplay, making these two powersets the tanks of the game. Perfect for frontline leaders, these powersets will also be highly desired to head up groups in instances and boss battles. As such, having a good defensive spec (and using it) is very important for damage and healing powersets who rely on that defense to protect the group. There are a handful of powers that stand out as clear winners when putting together a defensive loadout.
Starting out, Cold Snap is the first ability a defensive player should take. You probably are worried less about defense/offense at this point, but it never hurts to think ahead! You might find yourself picking from the Cryogenics line a bit more for defense abilities. Frost Blast not only utilizes good damage, but it also acts as an excellent crowd control ability. Reflection deflects attacks allowing you to avoid damage and in turn, turn that damage back at your attacker. Winter Ward is an absolute must for a defensive Ice powerset player. This ability breaks control effects and increases your defense and toughness which works awesome in both PvE and PvP defense roles.
From the Storms line, Deep Freeze works as good crowd control by encases enemies in ice but your best Storms ability is going to be Shatter Restraints. This power not only increases your defense, but also grants immunity against control effects for yourself and up to three teammates. Learn it, love it, use it. I promise your healer will thank you for it!
Remember, as a tank, doing damage is secondary. Fill your loadout with your primary defensive powers first then add one or two high powered damage abilities. You'll quickly find what works best for you and how you play, but hopefully this guide has given you a good starting point.
Are you an experienced Ice player with tried and true advice on which loadouts work and which do not? Share your secrets with our readers on the Ten Ton Hammer forums.