Note: a google doc version of this analysis can be found here for those who want a better view of the tables: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1D1npo-p4jnTFGhcYDSHFKODMvM7pIu9VH7cTt8PDU9c/edit?usp=sharing
The purpose of this analysis is reasonably straightforward. With this review, I'd like to assess the blaster secondaries functions as power sets themselves, as well as their places holistically as a secondary. It is an attempt to obtain a greater understanding of how these sets function, to ensure that the descriptors we're using to define the secondary are appropriate, and to provide rules and guidelines for how to produce new sets in the future, if it's so desired.
First a note about the data sets. All data on the power sets for the offensive mitigation/manipulation secondaries comes from the Paragon Wiki. There is a problem with this. You see in their desire to be as complete as possible, the good people at Paragon Wiki updated the blaster secondary sets with all of the changes slated for I24. This means that the secondary changes the devs made (one power in every set got a significant heal/regen/absorb buff and recovery buff) are reflected in the data. Basically I'm looking at power sets that were never actually played in game. Despite this, I think it's important to take the original devs intentions into account on this, especially given the way that attitudes were improving about the sets over all. It's also important to note that including the data from I24 gives us one additional power set in our data to review and work with, which is something we should definitely not discount.
Based on all of this, I went through and reviewed each power in each secondary and jotted down some notes on the sets. Note, this is not a quantitative or math intensive analysis, merely an attempt to find logical connections in the sets. All descriptions are my own notes from the wiki.
(See original Document for the tables. They are not essential to the review though)
From this list of powers and the basic descriptions of what they do as written above, some rules about the sets can begin to be made.
All blaster secondaries must begin with either a ranged immobilize or a melee knockback power of some type that includes moderate levels of damage
All blaster secondaries must have 3 to 4 additional melee attack powers (the first one, if it's a melee knockback doesn't count)
All blaster secondaries must include a damage or to hit buff of some kind
All blaster secondaries must include at least one self movement buff power (stealth counts)
All blaster secondaries must include at least one foe movement debuff power or have secondary effects that affect movement in multiple powers
All blaster secondaries must include one heal, regen, or absorb and recovery buff of some kind (new rule for I24 power sets)
So scoring for each powerset according to these rules:
Power Set Immob or Knockback 3 to 4 melee offense Self buff Self Move buff Foe Move debuff Regen/Rec
Devices Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Darkness Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Energy Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Electrical Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Fire Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Ice Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Martial Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Mental Yes Yes* Yes No Yes Yes
Based on this breakdown the only rule that is continuously violated by more then a few one-off sets is the self movement buff power. It exists only in 2 of the original 5 sets and only 3 of all 8 total. Therefore it's probably better to assume that a secondary set CAN have a self movement buff, but is not required to do so. Disappointing given the utility of them, but not unexpected. If you remove that rule you get the following.
Power Set Immob or Knockback 3 to 4 melee offense Self buff Foe Move debuff Regen/Rec
Devices Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Darkness Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Energy Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Electrical Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Fire Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Ice Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Martial Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Mental Yes Yes* Yes Yes Yes
You go from having 2 sets that follow all the rules to having 7 that follow the rules. Devices fails the rules by virtue of having no melee attacks. Technically Mental Manipulation violates the melee offense rule as well but someone gave the set two ranged aoe powers instead, so I'm calling that a wash.