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  1. Frosticus

    Savage guide

    SAVAGE - to assault and maul by biting, rending, goring, etc.; tear at or mutilate - lacking the restraints normal to civilized human beings In this guide I will detail the how and the why behind Savage melee being one of the best stalkers you can make. Savage Melee was a late addition to the retail game. As such the design of the set sacrifices much less than the early stalker sets. Savage retains all of its aoe potential (and more) and has vastly superior single target damage when compared to other AT's that have access to the set. In comparison to other stalkers, Savage is head and shoulders above other sets for AoE and is a top tier performer in ST dps. Where Savage shines less, is the damage type (lethal) and a good portion of the ST damage is comprised of DoT. The majority of attacks are straight forward so I'll just briefly touch on them. Savage Strike - low damage, super fast recharge. A fine attack filler at low levels. Some people use it at high levels. I don't and wish we had a longer rech power instead. Maiming Slash - medium damage, fast recharge, bonus dot that can be meaningful. Shred - melee cone. A decent one at 80 degrees that also does -def. A such it can take some decent IO's. Some people like it, I don't bother with repositioning and the animation is too slow for me. Assassin's frenzy - same as most. The fast cast is slower than kinetic melee, but faster than street justice and noticeably faster than the sword sets. Make sure you get your hide ATO in here and if you can swing it, a couple damage procs Build Up – same as all stalkers get, Other AT’s get blood lust, which provides a very low +dam buff and instantly gives you 5 stacks of blood. They both have their merits, I prefer buildup for the extra damage and because I like to control my blood stacking. Placate – most skip this power these days. However, placate into hemorrhage is worthwhile as is placate into a good aoe. I don’t use it, but savage is a stalker that does potentially benefit from it. The final three powers in Savage all have unique mechanics that make the set excel. These powers are also responsible for why a lot of people overlook, or even downvote savage melee. I will attempt to explain the how and why these powers can be leveraged so well for stalkers. Rending flurry – pretty standard 8ft pbaoe. In base form it is more or less on par with pbaoes from other sets. Frozen aura is maybe a little better, Mass levitate is definitely better due to the control+proc options. That is until you have 5 stacks of blood frenzy. With 5 stacks the pbaoe expands to 15ft. Which makes it a much faster, harder hitting spine burst. I’ll discuss aoe strategy later, but hidden flurry with 5 stacks is very very good. Well worth the exhaustion status. Hemorrhage – at a glance this power is not so great. You’ve probably heard people saying it is skippable even. Mid’s shows crappy damage and ingame shows no damage. I can’t blame someone for overlooking this power. The power has one major drawback – it is a long duration dot and when you critical with it the critical portion isn’t delivered upfront like other dot powers (freezing touch, midnight grasp), but rather, massively improves the dot aspect. The chart below details how strong hemorrhage is from hide. But the power is actually really good unhidden too. At base it does more damage than headsplitter, skysplitter, eagles claw, freezing touch, midnight grasp…and the list continues. So unhidden damage is good, albeit often with overkill, or wasted attacks because the dot is pretty slow. The dot takes 5 seconds to complete. By comparison freezing touch does its dot damage in half the time and the critical hits are upfront damage. Hidden damage is where hemorrhage not only surpasses other single target attacks, but eclipses them. At 5 stacks a hidden hemorrhage deals 1.3x as much damage as a hidden crushing uppercut at combo lvl 3. As indicated in the chart it deals anywhere from 2.2x critical at 0-4 stacks to a 2.03x critical at 5 stacks. But again, it deals it over a considerable amount of time and is often wasted through overkill on anything less than a +2 boss. So in practice some other sets that deal their damage upfront can actually move through small spawns as fast, or faster than savage melee. Hemorrhage Number of blood stacks 0 4 5 Damage 188.49 212.01 258.46 Hidden Damage 418.31 471.74 525.66 Savage Leap – The crown jewel of the set. This power is a true tier 9. It improves tremendously upon what savage is already good at – aoe damage and single target damage. -It’s a big aoe, at least 15ft (sometimes it seems bigger) that hits 10 targets. -The closest comparison I can make is that savage leap is like a sentinel nuke once it is properly slotted. Which is to say, quite good. It is also nearly instant cast time. This results in savage stalkers having arguably some of the best aoe capabilities in the game. -it also improves single target damage because it instantly moves you to your target. That can be pretty handy for a stalker considering their melee prowess. In some situations this power is of tremendous benefit, such as getting close to hard to reach targets. -It recharges fast enough that you don’t need to feel apprehensive about using it in whatever situation you deem best. The image below shows the expected damage from max range with my preferred slotting. The physical damage is halved from point blank, but procs remain the same. You NEED damage procs in this power. It performs subpar without them, but with them it is amazing. 4 Damage procs, 1 -res proc, 1 purple +5 damage. *If not going musculature then drop a damage proc to fully enhance the +damage to ~95%. Single target strategy – pretty straight forward. Use hemorrhage from hide. Whether that means you open with it or follow AS with it, just make sure to get this from hide as much as possible. I highly recommend adding an epic attack into the rotation. I prefer a snipe. Hidden hemorrhage, AS, snipe is hilariously high damage. If you have the odd small gap in your st chain it really isn’t that big of a deal. Nothing short of an EB lives long and EB’s and AV’s will try to flee you often so you spend a lot of time chasing them. AoE strategy – this is a little more fun and unique to savage stalkers. You may want to open with an epic aoe for the 50% crit chance. Mu gives you the aforementioned snipe and a nice big aoe. Either way, that is up to you. Savage leap from max range is next. So target something meaty in the middle of the spawn and savage leap. Some stuff will die, some stuff won’t. Immediately follow up with AS. Savage leap from max range gives 3 blood stacks. Non-hidden AS gives 2. So now you are at 5 stacks which means rending flurry is fully charged. Use that 15ft pbaoe and laugh. Clean up any remaining bosses. Do it again on the next spawn because everything recharges nice and fast on Savage melee. Builds I’ve solo’d both a sav/bio and a sav/shield from 1-50 now. I strongly recommend shield because it is so well rounded and sturdy. It also helps a bit with single target damage and adds another nice big aoe. I’ll highlight some of the silly things my sav/shield has done below and attach my current build. That said, play the secondary you will enjoy most. They all have their strong points and weaknesses. *I personally try to avoid my inspiration tray and I don’t use lore. Those are self-imposed restrictions that alter how I build and play a fair amount. Savage melee is basically how I always imagined fire melee should be. Really good aoe, strong single target and no mitigation whatsoever. So plan accordingly. Build notes: designed to hit +3’s only. Exempts extremely well down to lvl 27 at x8 settings.
  2. Mr. Simpson – we have reason to believe that you have consumed - POISON! Poison is the most aggressive debuff set in the game. It is the kinetics of debuffing. If you attempt to play poison passively the results are always underwhelming. The set requires melee range to achieve maximum potential as the capstone power is a pbaoe aura that is several powers rolled into one. Poison doesn’t compromise, it doesn’t give you false hope through a weak self heal, or encourage you to sneak around. You either poison the enemy so they are weaker than you, or you die. People that have enjoyed melee oriented blasters and dominators usually pick up the set and run with it. Others that have played alternate debuff sets like radiation and go in thinking it will offer a similar play experience, often struggle. In this guide I will detail some of the intricacies of poison that make it a great set for those that take the time and investment into making it work. No, the set is not easy to use, and probably was never intended to be solo’d. We can’t change the ease of use, but we can build it so it can solo just about anything. This is a long guide so refer to the sections for ease of use Section 1 - Brief overview of poison for each AT 1.1 Corruptors 1.2 Masterminds 1.3 Controllers 1.4 Defenders Section 2 - Brief overview of each poison power 2.1 Alkaloid 2.2 Envenom 2.3 Weaken 2.4 Neurotoxic breath 2.5 Elixir of Life 2.6 Antidote 2.7 Paralytic Poison 2.8 Poison Trap 2.9 Venomous Gas Section 3 - In depth analysis of key poison mechanics 3.1 Envenom 3.2 Weaken 3.3 Poison Trap Section 4 - build synergies 4.1 The importance of mez protection 4.2 Cones…..grrr 4.3 What about healing? 4.4 Power pools 4.5 Epics 4.6 Incarnates Section 5 - My build 5.1 Why fireblast 5.2 Current build Section 6 - Fun stuff 6.1 The PYLONS 6.2 TF’s 6.3 GM’s Section 7 - the future ... Section 1 - Maleficent was a corruptor, but what should you be? Poison Is available to 4 AT’s. Two of them excel with it, two of them leave a bit to be desired. *I strongly recommend poison on controllers and defenders – though for very different reasons that I will touch on later. *I don’t recommend poison on corruptors, or masterminds, but that isn’t to say you can’t enjoy one. 1.1 Corrs – relative to defenders their debuffs are just too weak to make effective use of this set. Proc damage is significantly lower and personal protection through power pools and epic armors is too low in conjunction with the weaker debuffs. As far as I can tell nearly everything in poison is subject to AT scaling and everything scales properly between corrs and defs. The result is that defs are noticeably more potent with poison. The Corr ATO’s work reasonably well with this set though as health/endurance is always welcome and another purple damage proc is great. 1.2 MM’s – the debuff values are ok for what MM’s need to do, but the aoes are too small. As a result many of your pets take direct undebuffed damage from enemies and quickly become overwhelmed. The t9 has terrible uptime, otherwise the set would be salvageable. If MM’s had the t9 found in the other AT’s you could make a poison trap tanker-mind that could work reasonably well due to the synergy of PT and venomous gas . But they don’t. 1.3 Trollers – trollers offer a lot of mitigation. This degree of mitigation can more easily compensate for the fact that with poison you either weaken them until you overpower them, or you don’t. Their superior mitigation makes things like mez protection and personal defenses far less important. The set also offers good aoe damage and quick aoe containment, and lots of stackable holds to pair with your primary. You also get very high -res against bosses, which trollers often struggle to take down quickly. Finally, trollers get by far the best modifier on the -special aspect of weaken. It is really strong. In fact it is almost twice as strong as what corruptors get even though it is both a secondary set. 1.4 Defenders - Just about every debuff is strong and they are all scaled up to defender values correctly. For this reason if you want to have the quintessential poison experience it is best played on a defender. Additionally, the defender ATO procs work very well with this set providing consistent absorption and spot heals if placed correctly in your attacks This guide is primarily about defenders, so lets get into what makes poison tick. Section 2 - Pick your poison Short and sweet: *Weaknesses – no mez protection, no sustain powers, requires melee range *Strengths – unparalleled speed of swinging the battle by drastically weakening foes so they do little harm and take considerably more harm. 2.1 Alkaloid – slow projectile, single target ally heal. It’s not my job to keep you alive, so be glad we can skip this on defenders. I’d take this if I had a dedicated duo/trio, but on a full team there had better be someone else equipped to patch you up because I just view you as vengeance bait. (see elixir of life) Slotting: one of the heal sets. Preventative medicine proc if you are leaving it unslotted. 2.2 Envenom – second best power in the set. Available at lvl 1. Pretty fast cast time of 1.33 sec, 12 sec recharge Main target: -40% res, -37.5% def, some other stuff that usually doesn’t matter, but sometimes does (-regen, -heal) 8ft aoe: -20% res, -18.75% def, half of the other stuff that usually doesn’t matter I’d recommend putting accuracy in this power because it doesn’t do anything if it misses. Then achilies, then 2 damage procs. 2.3 Weaken – this is an extremely unique power. There is only one other power in the game that functions like weaken and it is single target and extremely difficult to perma. Weaken however, is spammable and has an aoe mechanic similar to envenom (half strength debuff). Sadly, the benefits of this power are often overlooked for sheer brute force, but where this power shines, it is blinding. Main target: -37.5% damage, -18.75% tohit, -74.5% special (reverse powerboost) 8ft AoE: -18.75% damage, -9.38% tohit, -37.25% special Slotting: Cloud senses goes well in this power. 2.4 Neurotoxic Breath – This is like a poor man’s shiver. Don’t get me wrong the -rech/speed value is fantastic and really cuts incoming damage over the duration. The issue is the cone is pretty narrow so you need to be max range of the power for it to hit most of the group. However, poison plays best in melee range and you want your t9 aura applied immediately. If this had the wide cone of shiver you would be able to use both venomous gas and still hit large numbers with neuro breath. Pretty good while leveling, but once you have venomous gas this will sit in your tray collecting dust. Maybe throw a chance for smashing proc in there. That lets you clearly see who you hit over the whole spawn. 2.5 Elixir of Life – hilarious in conjunction with vengeance. You rez them and they run off buffed to the gills from elixir. Elixer provides 100% rech boost, 50% damage boost and unlimited endurance…at a price. A short 90 seconds later the buffs expire and get replaced with a mag 1000 hold (ie toggle drop) puking and strong debuffs. Everyone else’s veng is still going strong so other buffers get lax. If you get lucky this happens in a spawn and they die again so you can refresh the teams’ veng. Lather, rinse, repeat. Of course they accept the rez, cause who wouldn’t? 10/10 power w/ veng on PUGs. Best used on scrappers as their swords tend to be sharper than they are. 2.6 Antidote – single target, ally mez protection. Good slow/-rech protection and a bit of cold/toxic resistance. Look, if I have to deal with mez, then so do you. That said, it is a good spot for unique Res IO’s if you aren’t taking fighting. And if you are in a duo/trio it is pretty good. It can also be the third leg of the elixir+veng strategy of killing your teammates if you instead want to use a blaster over a scrapper. Elixer buffs the blaster and you throw antidote on him for mez protection. That is now an overconfident blaster. When elixir drops, he splats. Not as much fun as a scrapper though as blasters are used to getting mezzed and dying. When elixir causes toggle drop/suppression on a scrapper they are genuinely confused. 2.7 Paralytic Poison – A not terribly fast single target hold. This allows you to fairly quickly hold a boss in conjunction with poison trap. It doesn’t last long, but maybe long enough to not die? This rolls procs super well and can actually do decent damage give the abundance of -res at your disposal. Definitely use this while leveling, maybe use it in your final build. It works reasonably well. 2.8 Poison Trap – not to be confused with Poison Trap. This poison trap doesn’t work the same as that poison trap. Confused? Ya me too. There are two powers in the game named Poison Trap, they are similar in some ways, but not in others. The one everyone talks about is Traps – poison trap (TPT). TPT has so much -regen that if you split it between all the defender primaries it would still be better at -regen than many sets. So what does PPT (poison - poison trap) do? A bunch of stuff, none of it really worth writing home about. However, doing a bunch of stuff, means it takes a bunch of procs. This power simultaneously rolls procs far better and far worse than you might expect. Slotting: as many procs as your build can support. See section 3.3 for more details. 2.9 Venomous Gas – This power takes just about everything poison does and then does it again in an auto hit pbaoe aura. I’m not sure if this power was supposed to “fix” poison when it was ported over to corrs, defs and trollers, but it sure seems like that was the intent. You’ll either love this power, or get mezzed repeatedly in the middle of spawns until you delete the character. Poison has no defense, no stealth, no resistances, no self heals, basically nothing that would support the need to be in the centre of a mob to utilize venomous gas. But that’s what makes it SO REWARDING. I’m not kidding. Once you get to a point where you can leverage venomous gas you start to feel really powerful and you start to witness a dramatic increase in team efficiency. 25% -res, 12.5% tohit debuff, 18.75% -dam, 12.5% -def Maybe that sounds great to you, maybe it doesn't. But even at a glance you should be able to see that it promotes the virtues of poison - negatively impact the enemy so they do less and you do more. Slotting: achilies, tohit debuff/end. Section 3 - Tetradotoxin, Amatoxin, Botulinum 3.1 Envenom Envenom is the most powerful single application -res power in the game. *Protip – alternate targets when recasting. The main debuff can stack with the aoe debuff giving -60% res. Fantastic if a minion is near an AV. The resistance debuffing is the main aspect of this power, but it also does a large defense debuff, a small amount of -regen and -heal. The aoe is admittedly small. I wish it was at least 12ft, or incorporated some delayed chaining mechanics to help it spread. Oh well, this is your targeted debuff, venomous gas is your group debuff. This power would still be worthwhile if it were single target (like it once was). The -regen is only 50% which isn’t fantastic, but it DOES stack when recast. It isn’t anything to celebrate, but it can help you get a handle on a GM’s regen if you keep it stacked 3-4x. You can see the impact it has on regen in the GM section (6.3) I personally think most -regen powers are too strong, or too weak. The sweet spot to me is 150-200%. That lets you have an impact, but still leaves room for another regen debuffer to have a role. The -heal is interesting, but rarely comes in to play. The target hit with the main debuff will receive 20% less healing. That can be helpful at times. If you envenom your target and cast weaken on the healer the results can be a near shut down of healing. 3.2 Weaken *Protip – alternate targets when recasting. The main debuff can stack with the aoe debuff giving -56.25% damage debuff, -28% tohit, and capping -special at 90% debuff. The nuts and bolts of debuffing damage: An often overlooked debuff. It works like it says on the tin. A 37.5% debuff will lower damage by 37.5%. However, this debuff has several interesting mechanics that make it incredible in some situations and not so hot in others. What makes it incredible? It is boosted by -res. A 37.5% -dam boosted by 65% -res (envenom+venomous gas) becomes 60% -dam. Poison can easily apply 56.25 to 75% -dam and debuff resistances by 65 to 85%. The result is often flooring an enemy’s damage at -90%. (look at the -damage on Jurassik) What else? -damage works independently from resistance. So if you do -90% damage debuff and have 50% resistance you end up taking 5% total damage. If you have 75% resistance you end up taking 2.5% damage. It can make some seemingly dangerous enemies a cake walk. An attack that would normally do 1000 damage can be reduced down to 25 damage. All by your lonesome. Poisoned! What makes it not so hot? The purple patch and enemy resistances. The purple patch is fairly straight forward, basically every level of difference between you and your enemy makes your debuffs less effective. +1 = 0.9, +2 = 0.8, +3 = 0.65, +4 = 0.48 When you hit +3 the potency of debuffs taper off hard. Probably too hard relative to other effects in the game on my opinion, but what can you do? Enemy resistances are a different matter. Resistance resists damage debuffs. Sometimes this matters a lot, sometimes it makes no difference. It matters when your target has resistances to the same type of damage that they deal. An example is Dra’Gon in the lady grey TF. He has 60% fire resistance and deals primarily fire damage. Also resistance resists resistance debuffs. Hahaha say what?. So previously where you can amplify your damage debuffs by applying -resistance, that is now also severely impacted. Examples using Dra'gon (60% fire resistance) while applying debuffing via envenom, weaken and venomous gas: +0 lvl: (56.25% dam debuff resisted by 60%) * ( 65% res debuff resisted by 60%) = 31.85% damage debuff +0 lvl: normal enemy = 92.81% damage debuff (capped at 90%) +3 lvl: (purple patch 36.65% dam debuff resisted by 60%) * (purple patch 42.25% res debuff resisted by 60%) = 19.37% damage debuff. +3 lvl: normal enemy = 52.13% damage debuff As you can see, you need to be very aware of what your enemy is capable of. An AV fight can be going super well and they are hitting like a wet noodle until they activate unstoppable. Suddenly they start hitting like a mack truck. Situational awareness is key. Lots of sets have -damage debuffs so that isn’t unique to poison. However, poison is also a good resistance debuffer so it ends up being very good overall at debuffing damage in most situations. (look at all that lovely -resistance that will boost your -damage) Weaken isn’t only useful for the -damage though. It also has an inverse powerboost. You ever see a scapper get one shot held by ghost widow’s ridiculous mag 100 hold and squirm helplessly until they die from the dot? Well you won’t see that if you hit her with weaken first. The hold will expire very quickly. Weaken drastically reduces the strength of many enemy abilities. Things like hold duration, defense debuffs, and heals are rendered almost useless. No one has any particular resistance to -special beyond the purple patch. So you hit silver mantis with it and suddenly her defense debuffs are a lot less impactful to the point that sets other than Super reflexes can shrug off some of her attacks. (Originally at 30% def, 2 of her attacks would normally drop me to -30% def, but I'm still at 0%) This aspect of the power doesn’t come in to play very often, or at least isn’t noticeable in most encounters. But it can spell the difference between victory and defeat like in the ghost widow example. 2/10 or 10/10 depending on the situation. 3.3 Poison Trap First off, it has a super fast cast time (which Traps -PT does not). And then it detonates when touched by an enemy into a big aoe hold. The hold only lasts like 7 or so seconds, but it can shut down most of the spawn for a short time. It gives you a nice little window to get some debuffs down. In addition to the hold it does a little bit of toxic dot damage. This could be useful for interrupting casters in some cases. What matters though is that it does an aoe hold and aoe damage. So it can take hold and pbaoe IO’s. The initial hold and damage procs roll at approx. 40-50% rate for 3.5ppm procs, which seems a bit lower than it probably should. However, after detonation the PPT releases a cloud that continues to do dot damage and periodically hold foes. So at 10 seconds it rolls its procs again at a lower probability than the initial detonation. (Ka-POW) PPT has some issues I’ll detail below. It is probably bugged and not working as well as it should. That said, it is still one of the most efficient powers in the game to place procs as it can frequently get over a 100% proc rate over the life of the power. The outcome is that while you focus on the bosses this power can often defeat most of the minions on its own. PPT with procs + a bit of aoe will finish off most spawns pretty quickly and safely. *issues with poison trap (and many other drop powers). - It only uses acc slotted into the power (so slots+alpha). Global acc, tohit buffs and even yellow insp have no impact on its accuracy. At least venomous gas helps it hit. People that think the power isn’t proccing well are probably just missing with it. -Secondly - the 3rd and 4th roll of procs are set up to automatically fail. It doesn’t matter what you do the chance to hit will always roll above 95 and miss. -Thirdly - The power can “critical” and double hit with procs instantly. I need to test this more, but I’ve only seen it happen with the pbaoe IO’s, which admittedly doesn’t make a ton of sense as you might expect the hold IO’s to do that given how the power works. -Fourth(ly) - The -recovery of the power hardly ever works. When it does work, it only lasts maybe 1 second. That said, it remains a very good proc power and very useful to helping poison do its job. If/when procs get overhauled my hope is this power gets a deep dive because it likely isn’t working as intended in all of its functions. Section 4 - When carrying poison, be sure to have an antidote on hand 4.1 Mez protection - I think the biggest weakness of poison is that if you get mezzed you will probably die. The set needs to be standing in the middle of a pack and you need to be actively applying debuffs and attacking to succeed. Even with weaken causing mez to last a fraction of the normal duration the toggle drop of venomous gas is often enough to get you killed. Solutions: Teaming - yah, but that’s not the point of this guide. Inspirations - yep, but there isn’t much you can’t do with enough inspirations. Some even rapidly port to their base to refill. I do my honest best to never use inspirations and certainly not as a key part of my build. P2W defense amplifier - you’d be silly not to pick this. 7.5% res all, 5% def all, 4 mag mez protection. 2.5 mil inf/hr at lvl 50. This is the best solution while leveling. Well worth the cash. I don’t use temp powers on final builds because I don’t see the difference between a power like this and a shivian against an AV. Defense - you can’t mez what you can’t hit. But poison has no innate defense and while s/l def is very easy to cap for defenders (scorpion shield) that only protects us from a moderate amount of mez attacks. Softcapping ranged defense and getting enough melee def that venomous gas’ tohit debuff gets you the rest of the way is no small endeavour. Rune of protection - awesome power. Great resistances and mez protection to most things including knockback. Unfortunately it is up only about 50% of the time and it requires you to go three powers deep in a pool. It can function as a break free too. Melee Hybrid - another awesome power. Good resistances and mez protection to most things excluding knockback. Also has really solid regen. Only up 50% of the time though and precludes that you don’t get a different hybrid like assault 😞 Clarion - probably the most obvious choice to cure the mez hole. Means you can’t use barrier or ageless though… 4.2 Cones - There are a lot of great cone powers out there. The issue for poison is that it needs pbaoe or taoe powers. You need to be in the middle of the spawn maximizing venomous gas, so cones conflict with the playstyle of poison. That means a set like dark blast, which would otherwise be a dream pairing, loses much of its prowess. You can still make an excellent poison/dark build, but imo ta/dark or storm/dark have more synergy. 4.3 Healing - poison does a lot to mitigate damage. It isn’t the best at it though to be sure. Damage will get through, sometimes lots of it. Relying on the regen from health will quickly let you down. Solutions: healing procs in health and stamina. These are great on just about any build, but they are essential for poison. Pancea and Power transfer can go a long way to repair chip damage. aid self - a strong heal that can help a fair amount with endurance too if you add field medic. I find aid self counter to the aggressive playstyle that poison espouses. dark blast/life drain - reliable, decent damage with procs. Life drain is a boon to sets like poison, ta and storm. However, as indicated in the discussion on cones in 4.1 dark blast has some issues playing nicely with poison. In addition to that the lack of aim can be significant when you really need to land a debuff, or just want to nuke at damage cap. water blast/dehydrate - reliable, decent damage with procs. Water has some great taoe powers and only one cone. The set takes quite a few procs. Honestly this is one of the best pairings you can make with poison. However, the single target damage leaves much to be desired. The attacks are a tad slow and it has no really heavy attack. The water jet instant recharge gimmick is sort of neat though. A team based poison would do well picking water. Melee hybrid - a great hybrid for poison. I already touched on it in the mez protection section, but melee hybrid provides strong regen as well. Rebirth destiny - yep, good heal with good regen. Means not taking clarion, ageless, or barrier though. All of which may be better for you. Defender ATO procs - one does a pbaoe heal, the other does a pbaoe absorb. If you put these in two heavy hitters (10 second recharge powers) they fire off a lot. An aggressive poison can make great use of these Entomb proc - put this in either paralytic poison or dominate/char. It gives you nearly 200pts of absorb every cast. It makes a tremendous difference. 4.4 Power Pools The reality is, you don’t “need” a lot of powers from poison to get the job done. Maybe that’s a good thing? Having skippable powers is a sign of weakness, but it sure helps out with build flexibility. Skip these for another build: Concealment - nah. Poison is best played in your face. Although phase shift would occasionally present value. Flight - if you enjoy it. But I feel mystic flight is a better option if this is your prefered path. Medicine - if you are really desperate for a self heal, but there are better, more synergistic ways to heal. Presence - don’t worry you’ll pull plenty of aggro haha. Conversely, many things will try to run. Teleport - only if you have a concept? poisoning people through space and time? Take a good look at these: Hasten - of course Leadership - you probably should. Defender values are very attractive. Tactics+kismet can all but let you skip out on acc slotting. Seeing through stealth/blindness isn’t frequently needed, but it sure is annoying. Fighting - just about everyone does these days… I personally skipped it on my poison defender. We all know how effective the pool is though. Leaping -- combat jump is a great power Force of Will - mighty leap is great, weaken resolve is pretty good if a bit slow. It is a surefire way to trigger achilies proc. Unleash potential is a very strong power. Not so great uptime though. Experimentation - Jaunt is really good for getting in to a spawn fast and affecting them with venomous gas. I haven't tried out corrosive vial, it "could" be a good addition. Adrenal boost is a nice offensive power. Not great uptime though. Sorcery - spirit ward is a good spot for preventative medicine, mystic flight is useful at times to chase fliers or avoid extremely dangerous melee attacks. I almost always fight on the ground personally. Rune of protection is awesome. Full mez protection, great damage resists and an achievable 50% uptime. I chose: leadership, combat jump, hasten, sorcery 4.5 Epics Defenders/corrs have some nice epic choices at the disposal. Controllers have very good epics. I'm going to discuss them from the point of view of a defender. Leviathan- good resistance shield (s/l/cold). hibernate can turn the battle around. The pet can add a lot of dps with the huge -res poison adds. Scorpion - only defensive shield (s/l), it makes softcapping s/l very easy for defenders. Focused accuracy can free up a lot of slotting options. Pet can add good dps Mu - great resistance shield (s/l/energy), powersink and conserve power make endurance management a non issue. Pet can add good dps and attacks from range which can be good sometimes. Soul - Double recharge soul drain is meh, powerboost used to boost - special but no longer does. As such it doesnt do a lot for poison. Ok resistance shield (s/l/negative). Mistress can do a lot of dps. Dark - Oppressive gloom works very well with venomous gas and can mitigate considerable damage. Dark consumption recharges too slow to rely on much. Ok resistance shield (s/l/negative), Awesome soul drain. One of the best epic powers in the game. Self rez can be useful. Electric- great resistance shield (s/l/energy), power sink and shocking bolt can all compliment poison very well. Unfortunately you need either electric fence or thunder strike to unlock the good powers. Power - conserve power is good. ok resistance shield (high s/L). Force of nature gives you 120 seconds of god mode resistances and strong recovery. Full end crash though. Powerbuildup is build up+ powerboost. recharge is too slow though. Fire - char. it is reason enough to take fire app. Decent resistance shield (s/l/fire), consume recharges too slow but has a fast cast and bigger aoe than dark consumption at least. Self rez has uses sometimes. Greater firesword isnt very good unfortunately. Psychic- dominate. as good or better than char. Great resistance shield (s/l/psi). Mass hypnosis has uses, but they are rare. Telekinesis costs too much and has no synergy with poison. World of confusion is fantastic w/confuse proc. Poison enhances confuse powers really well. Overall: Psychic is my favorite. It gives you another heavy hitter (proc'd dominate), A very useful shield and a confuse aura that works really well with venomous gas to provide meaningful mitigation and improve spawn clearing. Dark is my second favorite. Perma soul drain can give you really good damage output. Mu is my third choice. It makes endurance a non issue and the shield is great 4.6 Incarnates This is a huge category. I'm just going to highlight a few choices that go particularly well with poison. Alpha: musculature radial - improves damage, tohit debuffs, defense debuffs and gives you a bit of recovery. Everything poison likes. Cardiac core - solves endurance,boost resistances a bit. Nerve - really helps poison trap (see issues section 3.3) Interface: Reactive radial - good dot damage, a bit more -res which helps your -damage powers a little. Degen - probably the best for big game hunting. Lore: I dont use lore, but poison can make them do crazy damage Hybrid: Melee core- good resistances, good regen, mez protection Assault radial - proc damage is poison's forte. Destiny: honestly this will depend on the rest of your build options. Each destiny power has great potential for poison. If you can solve mez protection and endurance then barrier is incredible. Section 5 - I am Poison! I have created and played a lot of poison characters. I chose poison/fire for a variety of reasons. I dont think it is the most synergistic pairing, but it is extremely fun and effective. The set offers virtually no mitigation so everything I do is based on poison as the backbone. 5.1 Why fire? I mean, why not? Even in the world of procs fire is still the damage king. The thing about fire is it doesn’t “need” procs to do well, so you are free to enhance the recharge of blasts without drastically altering overall performance due to decreased proc damage. Some sets can hit harder than fire when heavily proc’d (ie radiation), but fire still does quite a bit more dps in the long run. In the end I enjoy playing fireblast, so that was my main motivation. 5.2 Current Build Ok, I’ve done a lot of respecs now and what I’ve discovered for poison is that I like it a lot more when I focus on solid resistances and coming back from the brink than opposed to softcapped defense followed by immediate occasional defeat. I think resistances and -damage debuffing go very well together and fit really well with the regen of melee hybrid as well as the small absorbs/heals of the defender procs. the result is that my failures are predictable and avoidable if I so choose. I very rarely go from hero to zero in the blink of an eye, which my defense based squishies can not replicate. However, if you plan on being hit that takes a lot more behind the scenes preparation than simply avoiding most damage/mez. Namely you require mez protection. That isn’t as easy as it sounds. I cycle rune of protection with melee hybrid. It doesn’t provide 100% uptime, but it is up most of the time. Those two powers also really round out resistances, so it works out pretty well. I have little doubt that the build would be stronger with cardiac and barrier instead of musculature and ageless, but the latter was a conscious decision to increase dps. I might finish out those two alternate incarnates though for some difficult encounters like the “final warwalker standoff” in the tinmage tf. I have been unable to pass that point solo no insp/temp/lore. I have assault radial at t4 as well as melee t4. If I know survival is a non issue then the extra dps is welcome (see pylon section).
  3. The Good Missions Guide or A heroic journey to 50 without powerleveling The Story is Actually Good Yeah, yeah, I know. It’s easier to powerlevel up to 50, buy IOs and go back through Ouroboros in Flashback missions, but this creates a jumbled storytelling mess. Also, it creates a feeling of character development and your "oh, it's X again" moments become "hey, I remember this! I helped X do Y in Z!" as characters appear and reappear later, giving the whole story a sense of continuity and progression. If you want to experience a version of the story organically and fluidly, here’s a guide to levelling. I’ve tried to cherry pick story arcs that meet the following criteria: Interesting missions (variety of objectives). Missions with unique maps or mechanics. Story flow - introducing characters and ideas that’ll show up again later. Rewards and unlocks, missions with temporary powers (you'll unlock three summons and a very useful resistance buff if you follow along). Things I just think are cool. I do plan on adding to this a bit as there are some points I want to go back to but as it is this will get you to 50 and show you a good time while you get there. Notable omissions are several of the really old story arcs that lack the flair of later arrivals and some "not a story arc BUT" missions (the origin contacts) - I couldn't realistically fit everything in. Also not touched upon are tip or radio missions, although I would say it's worth working through them to unlock your character as a vigilante for a bit more variety (you can cheat with Null the Gull, but the tip missions are all fairly good and so are the alignment shift ones and remember that this is a story guide). I fully admit I've gone for Rule of Cool in a few places, rather than exploring deep lore told only by easily missed contacts. You can still explore that yourself - I encourage it! But that's not what this guide is about. Included below are the names of the contacts, in order, with level bands taken from Paragon Wiki. Suggested Path Tutorial > Atlas Park > The Hollows > Kings Row > Faultline > First Ward & Striga > Night Ward & Croatoa > Peregrine Island > Cimerora & Ritki War Zone There are a few story arcs and task forces along the way that I also suggest, either because they contribute to the overall story or just because I think they're good. A Warning about XP It is very easy to outlevel certain zones and for that reason I recommend you do not use any exp boosts. Other times, you'll get halfway through a zone and not be able to speak to the next contact. Over the course of the game, there was a (near) global XP buff and a reduction in experience debt, so the levelling process is now noticeably quicker than a couple of the early zones were designed for. You’re deliberately taking the scenic route here. The following macro will create a button that will pause and unpause XP gain, allowing you to more easily control your levelling pace. I've indicated in this guide the points at which you should pause your experience gain to get the most from the story - a general rule of thumb is at levels ending in 4 or 9. /macro_image "DayJob_XPBoost" "XP Toggle" "option_toggle noxp" A Note for Kheldian Archetypes Both Peacebringers and Warshades have their own contacts in Sunstorm and Shadowstar respectively, each giving you a unique archetype storyline every five levels, starting at level 5. Each storyline is pretty decent, although they suffer from the slightly monotonous missions that many early game story arcs do. If you pick a Kheldian archetype, follow the story along when it comes up, but be really careful about not outlevelling other contacts while you do it. Levels 1-2: The Tutorials Okay, there really isn’t much here but you do get a couple of enhancements and inspirations for free and a run through of the basics of mission objectives. Outbreak runs you through the basics of your standard door missions. Galaxy City is, in my opinion, less good as a tutorial but more connected to the early story arcs. Your call, really. When you’re finished, you’ll end up in... Atlas Park The temptation here is to skip the early levels by running Death From Below. Do not do this! Believe it or not, the zone actually has a nice little story arc that foreshadows later zones and comes to a decent conclusion. You'll get your levels. Don't fret. There is a good variety to the missions and it really does show you a little bit of everything. All contacts are L1-7. Matthew Habershy > Officer Fields or Sondra Castel > Aaron Thiery Thanks to Roderick and PatientZero for pointing out you can only do one of the middle contacts - both arcs are actually pretty decent, so pick either. They both introduce Aaron Thiery. Next, talk to Twinshot for an *ahem* endearing and light-hearted introduction to some of the further aspects of the game. It’s basically a glorified tour of the introductory areas, but it's not done enormously well. Don't worry - it gets better. The game suggests you go to Kings Row next, and but first I suggest you stop over in a hazard zone. The Hollows A hazard zone is an area that generally has larger spawns, and they generally reflects the game in its very early state where the missions were a bit less distinct and there was a bit more of a focus on the grind, but I think it’d be a shame to miss the Hollows as it has a decent story and unlocks the Cavern of Transcendence trial. Pause your XP gain at level 9 until you have started Flux's arc. David Wincott (5-9) > Flux (5-9) > (see note) >Julius the Troll (10-14) > Talshak the Mystik (12-14) Meg Mason has repeatable non-story missions if you feel like running those. Be careful with the Frostfire mission - you might want help with this one. The level bands are fairly slim, so be very careful about out-levelling them, particularly at the end. Use the no-XP clicky with style and panache. Note: Due to the non-overlapping levels, if you find yourself finished with Flux but not ready for Julius the Troll, now would be a time to go for the Death from Below trial in the sewers with a full team or head over to Kings Row (and come back again). Pause your XP gain at 14 until you have started Talshak the Mystik's arc. Kings Row You won’t stay here long, but it’s certainly worth paying it a visit. Sadly, it looks like this story chain was cut short on a cliffhanger when the game went under, but it’s still well done and worth doing. Shauna Stockwell > Eagle Eye (both 7-20) It’s a short pair of neat arcs ending in a solo mission. When you’ve done this, now would be a good time to do the next part of Twinshot’s next Shining Stars story arc as it introduces a few characters and concepts you’ll see again later as well as having a nice little crossover to a the City of Villains equivalent tutorial. It introduces more than a few characters you see later in tip missions and other content, so it's worth doing for the story element - the final chapter is surprisingly good. Before You Move On Now would be a good time to do Positron 1 and Positron 2, as well as Death From Below, Drowning in Blood and The Cavern of Transcendence if you haven’t already done them. Your goal is to get to to about level 17 or 18 and have a good time doing it. The Positron task forces are very good storytelling and set up the next zone you’ll go to. The trials are all pretty short and sweet with experienced teammates. If you’re still not there, try out the Synapse Task Force. Save your jetpack from the Positron task force if you can - you'll need it much later in the Shadow Shard. When you're ready, it's time to go to one of my favourite zones. Pause your XP at level 19 until you've started Penelope Yin's Faultline arc. Faultline This zone is, in my opinion, where the "modern" game really begins and we see a clear move from "old" style content. It introduces a number of very important characters to the game's plot, has an interesting and unique map and has a huge variety in the missions it gives you. They are almost all stealthable, which is worth noting. A couple of them are defeat-all missions, but when I did it there were only a handful of enemies so it really won't take long. This zone is excellent. Jim Temblor (15-19) > Penelope Yin (15-19) > Doc Delilah (20-24) > Agent G (20-24) The last mission of this chain will grant you the Ouroboros Portal, which is a handy tool for time-travel and avoiding public transport. Pause your XP at level 24. Before you move on or if you want a break from Fautline, go and speak to Laura Lockheart and then Graham Easton (both 15-24) in Steel Canyon for a couple of memorable story arcs. Graham's arc introduces some enemies who you'll see in L50 content and Laura's arc is just very well written with some unusual moments. The University Now would be a good time to learn to craft some IOs. If you've been careful, you should have a bit of influence saved up by now. Head to the university in the southern end of Steel Canyon and do the short tutorial there by speaking to Admissions Officer Lenk. Now would be a good time to do the Admiral Sutter Task Force that starts in Independence Port. It's a very story-focussed task force, linking Faultline, Praetoria, RWZ and Incarnate content. Keep your XP paused - 20-24 is busy. Next, there are actually several very good, slightly overlapping zones that I suggest you kind of do in tandem if you're careful. Striga has a storyline that starts off a little slow and ends in one of the cooler early game task forces and is definitely worth doing. First Ward has a very strong story that links to a lot of the later Praetorian content. Because of the contact level ranges, I'd start in Striga, do the first two contacts then head over to First Ward and work through there before finishing off in Striga. Keep your XP gain paused at 24 until you've completed the first two Striga arcs, then pause your XP gain again at level 29 until you've started Skipper LeGrange's arc in Croatoa - levels 20-29 have a lot of good content. First Ward Striga First Ward is a continuation of the Praetorian Going Rogue storyline to some extent, but it's so well done that I genuinely think it would be a shame to miss out. It has memorable characters, cool story interactions and an element of choice that hasn't really been seen up to this point. All contacts for this zone are 20-29 and it starts off by talking to Mistress Eva in Talos. Mistress Eva > The Doorman > Nadia > Palatine > Noble Savage > Katie Douglas > Blind Makwa > Cerulean > Master Midnight > Vanessa DeVore There's the Seed of Hamidon raid boss pootling about in the middle of the zone - you can take it down with eight capable heroes quite easily and it's worth doing. It's done so rarely that getting a team together on the LFG isn't hard. It's a somewhat anticlimactic battle, but you get some badges from it. I think this zone is often overlooked, which is a shame because it ends in a very cool sequence of missions and unlocks a pretty fun task force, as well as giving you a couple of very good temporary powers. The first story arc is arguably a bit boring and generic, but it builds up into something much better. Be very careful with your levels, as always. Stephenie Peebles (20-24) > Long Jack (20-24) > Tobias Hansen (25-29) > Lars Hansen (25-29) You can then do the Ernesto Hess task force as a bit of a glory lap. It's nothing super special, but it has unique maps and is well-paced and enjoyable. There is also the Moonfire task force here, which is part of the Kheldian storyline. Before You Move On If you're a vigilante you should speak to Shauna Braun in Independence Port to check out her new i26 story arc - it really helps progress the idea of your character as operating in shades of grey. Martin Weintraub in Talos Island has the Freaklympics early game story arc, which is pretty neat. It's also work heading over to Ouroboros and speaking to Twilight's Son for his Smoke and Mirrors arc, which was formerly a short task force. It's worth doing just to see the unique scenery, but the story isn't bad either. Then, we can continue on in Praetoria's otherworldly Night Ward and visit the nightmarish magical land of Croatoa. Because of level restrictions, I suggest you start in Croatoa being careful of the level bands, then head over to Night Ward. Pause your XP gain at 34 until you've Buck Salinger's arc, then pause it at 39. Night Ward Croatoa Carrying on the story from First Ward, we've got the fairly unique zone of Night Ward, full of gaslamp fantasy world-of-the-dead mystery, knights and magic. Start off by talking to Mistress Maria in First Ward for the introduction. All contacts are 30-39. Mistress Maria > Montague Castanella > Ward > Sir Bedwyr > The Magician My only real complaint with Night Ward is that it just sort of stops. A few characters do turn up in later story arcs, though. This somewhat unique zone is, in many ways, similar to Striga. It has a few clunky missions at the start and then when it gets going becomes something fairly memorable with a decent task force unlock and some neat temporary powers. The storyline is good enough and there are some unique maps along the way. Gordon Bower (25-29) > Skipper LeGrange (25-29) > Kelly Nemmers (30>34) > Buck Salinger (30-34). At the end, you'll unlock the Katie Hannon task force, which was historically the quickest task force in the game and has a unique, if slightly unrelenting, first mission. It also has a few giant monsters around, two of which go into battle, which is worth seeing. Before You Move On Now would be an excellent time to stop by Ouroboros and speak to The Pilgrim (25-50) and then Mender Lazarus (30-39) for your introduction to the joys of time-travel and then a short mission chain that has thematic links to Striga and Cimerora. If you're a vigilante you could speak to The Major (35-40) in Brickstown. This mission is unique because it's one of the very, very few where you explicitly don't just "arrest" your enemies. It has some unusual steps and is worth doing, even if I think the whole thing is slightly bad taste. Peregrine Island This is very much the centre of the "old" end game and I consider it something of a right of passage to do the following, as it introduces a lot of archvillains that you'll see again later. Most of this was designed as team content, so now would be a good time to open things up on the LFG if you haven't already been doing so. You can relax on the levelling here, as apart from Tina Macintyre, there's nothing in this guide that you can outlevel any more. Tina Macintyre (40-44) The Anti-Matter Collision / The Instant Army Unai Kemen (45-50) To Save a Thousand Worlds Maria Jenkins (45-50) A Hero's Epic They'll help you get closer to the Portal Jockey accolade, which gives you a very nice permanent boost to health and endurance. Before You Move On Quickly head back to Croatoa and speak to Percy Winkley (30-50) at the University there for a small series of missions that give you some background lore about the world you're in. Now would also be a good time to head over to Atlas Park and talk to the City Representative (20/30-50) in city hall. She has two story arcs that were originally tied to costume unlocks, but they also have some background to later storylines. Montague Castanella (10-50) in the university in Steel Canyon can provide you access to the exclusive Midnighter Club, although if you've already been through Night Ward you can likely enter with no problems already. The Last Stretch Still with me? Glad to hear it. Next up, I'm sending you to two more very well-crafted zones, both with the very relaxed level range. Cimerora is accessed by going through the back door of the Midnighter Mansion accessed through Steel Canyon, Croatoa, or Founders' Falls and touching the crystal in the centre of the hallway. The Ritki War Zone can be accessed by going into one of the Vanguard bases and taking the portal. At this point, you can safely remove the XP pause button entirely; it has served its purpose and we thank it for its service. Most lower level content can still be accessed through the Flashback system in Ouroboros, and the small amount that can't can be got at through teaming with a lowbie. Cimerora Ritki War Zone This zone is notable for just being so stylistically unique and making good use of time travel as a plot device, as well as harking back to some Kheldian lore. As you go in, talk to the Midnighter standing in front of you for further instruction. Personally, I think the story progression is a bit messy, but it's still worth doing if only because the task force is so good. All contacts are L35-50. Midnighter > Senator Decimus Aquila > Marcus Valerius Additionally, there is a Hero-specific contact named Daedelus (40-50) with some missions that send you back to Paragon City and this zone ends with the glorious Imperius task force. I really like the storytelling in this zone. There's a good sense of progression and you meet up with a few characters we met earlier. Levantera (35-50) > Serpent Drummer (40-50) > Gaussian (45-50) > The Dark Watcher (45-50) There are a few task forces here, but for now give the Lady Grey task force a try as it most closely follows the storyline. Your glory lap here is unquestionably the Ritki Mothership Raid. Look for it on the LFG, head on over and join a league. Range and AoE attacks will help you, but if you don't know what you're doing then watch for instructions, follow the crowd and keep spamming those AoE attacks. Nearly there Either the Imperious task force or the Mothership raid should help you get the last few levels out as you approach 50 and they basically hold you down and breathe XP in your face, and are both absolutely worth doing at least once. Now would be a good time to revisit missed task forces and trials and follow up any contacts you might have missed. The Signature Story Arc Who Will Die? is worth doing now, if you want some story-centric content - use Paragon Wiki to help you do them in the right order as it's not very obvious in-game if you're not using the Flashback system, but it's run like a series of solo-friendly story task forces so you might as well do it through Ouroboros. Task Forces and Trials At this stage, you can not access all non-incarnate task forces and trials. Most are pretty popular, although one or two are avoided for being too much of a slog. They're all worth doing, though. The Freedom Phalanx Task Forces Completing these will give you the Task Force Commander accolade. They vary between old-skool grindfests and newly refurbished storytelling episodes. Positron 1 & 2 (10/11-15/16) Rule of Three & Dam Hero - good storytelling with a free jetpack Synapse (15-20) Fall of the Clockwork King - a bit repetitive with a stronger ending Penelope Yin (20-25) A Clamor for the People - short and sweet Citadel (25-30) Citadel's Children - a bit grindy and repetitive Manticore (30-35) Following Countess Crey - a bit travel-heavy but there's a memorable battle at the end Numina (35-40) Soul of the Woodsman - use a guide for this one as there are 16 (fairly easy) hunt missions in a row that work best when your whole team is spread out over the relevant zones The Shadow Shard The four Shadow Shard task forces are, to put it mildly, a thankless grind through repetitive missions with enemies that debuff defence hard and often resist control effects, ending in a moderately cool final battle after hours and hours and hours and I think they're great. For crying out loud, don't do them more that once, but they're a true right of passage for any high level character. They involve a huge amount of travel, which is nightmarish for non-fliers or teleporters. If you can, grab the mission teleporters from the P2W vendor, as well as the Ouroborous portal and maybe a jetpack temporary power. The scenery, however, is amazing. They sort of form one giant task force, and they suffer "a little bit" from pacing issues. Find a friendly group you can have a laugh with, put on some music and just surrender yourself to the grind. Dr. Quarterfield (40-44) > Sara Moore (40-50) > Justin Augustine (44-50) > Faathim the Kind (44-50) The Best of the Rest I'm not going to list all of them - use Paragon Wiki or the LFG for that, but here are the ones I think are especially worth doing: Moonfire (23-28) The Kheldian War - nothing too special about this one, but it links to later content in Dark Astoria, Ouroboros and Cimerora meaning that they'll seem less like the lore in those areas don't entirely drop on you out of nowhere. Katie Hannon (30-24) A Tangled Plot - Croatoa is a strange zone with unique enemies and a unique task force. The first mission is a bossfight marathon and the rest are a short tour of unique and unusual maps. Imperius (35-50) Time's Arrow - excellently paced and fairly varied in its objectives, this task force is a cathartic end to the Cimerora arc with some awesome set pieces and basically the best task force for hitting 50 quickly. Dr Khan (45-50) Return of the Reichsman - a decent task force with an interesting final battle with unique mechanics Lady Grey (45-50) - the final chapter of the excellent Ritki War Zone arcs and worth doing for the lore and the gameplay Ms Liberty (45-50) - often considered the most difficult task force in the game due to the final mission - started in Independence Port, not Atlas Park! Trials Trials are kind of short task forces and all are worth doing at least once. They vary between "that was it?" and genuine challenge, even for end-game built players. Death From Below is infamous for helping new characters get a few levels done nice and quickly at the start and therefore not realising that Atlas Park even has story arcs. Drowning in Blood is mechanically a bit more interesting and has a nice change of scenery if you're used to Paragon City. The three Terra Volta trials are the old blueside respec trials and are worth doing. The Abandoned Sewers Trial is surprisingly difficult with a unique vertical map, requiring more team coordination than you might expect at first glance. Eden is unique in its layout and the Cavern of Transcendence is... short? What's next? Well, it's time for some incarnate-level content, but that's outside of the remit of this guide. Any comments, let me know! I'm a big fan of missions and story arcs and think there's a lot of really great content there that goes almost unplayed due to the "must get moar levelz" mentality, which is fine but not for me. Thanks!
  4. Quick Guide to Movement Speed Some Info, Tips and Tricks to Traveling By Bopper Written: 1 Mar 2020 Updated: 2 Mar 2020 I’ve been looking a lot at travel powers lately and I have come across a few nuggets I wanted to share that I don’t think is common knowledge, but it should be. First I’ll give a short primer on what the base and max speed for each of the three movement types (Flying, Running, and Jumping…sorry, no teleport but I may revisit it), along with explaining the difference between a power providing “+X% to <Movement> Speed” versus “+X% Strength to <Movement> Speed”, then I’ll get into the fun stuff you can do with Flying, Running, and Jumping. Base and Max Movement Speeds: Fly Speed (mph) Run Speed (mph) Jump Speed (mph) Jump Height (feet) Base 21.48* 14.32 14.32 4 Max 58.63 (87.95)+ 92.50 78.18 200 * In issue 18 the base flight speed was buffed by 50% to 21.48 mph. + The standard max flight speed is 58.63 mph, however there are powers (such as Afterburner) that can increase the max flight speed to as high as 87.95 mph. What’s the difference between “+X% to Movement Speed” versus “+X% Strength to Movement Speed”?: If you see a power or bonus that says “+X% to <Movement Speed>”, it means it is an increase from that movement type’s base speed. So, a +10% to Fly Speed would mean your total Fly Speed is increased by 2.148 mph (10% of Base Flight Speed). If you see a power that says “+X% Strength to <Movement Speed>”, it means it enhances the effects of all your powers that improve that type of movement speed. For example, your base Jump Speed is 14.32 mph and you have the inherent power Hurdle which increases Jump Speed by +124.5% (+17.83 mph). If you have a power that grants “+20% Strength to Jump Speed”, then powers like Hurdle will have their +Jump Speed enhanced by 20%. In this case, you get to add an additional 124.5%*20% = +24.9% Jump Speed (+3.565 mph). It’s worth noting (foreshadowing) that the most a power can be enhanced by (strengthened) is +300%. That includes enhancements and strength bonuses. What can you do with flying? When it comes to flight, there is only 1 question you need to ask yourself…are you going to take Afterburner, or not? If you say no to Afterburner, then you can either get Fly and instantly be at your max fly speed (58.63 mph) without enhancements, or you can pick Hover to achieve max fly speed (58.63 mph). How? By using Hover in combination with P2W’s Jet Pack and Steam Jump powers. It will cost you 100k influence to own both, but you must own both. Here’s why: Steam Jump/Jump Pack (not enhanceable): +2,780% to jump height, +300% strength to fly speed (advertised as +273% strength to fly speed, but in game the numbers suggest it’s actually +300%). Also, both powers have up to 30 second durations with a 30 second base cooldown, but that cooldown recognizes global recharge bonuses, so typically it will recharge in 10-15 seconds. They are not mutually exclusive, so you can use them both at the same time to provide gapless coverage. So, with Jump Pack and Steam Jump combined, you can max out the strength of all your fly powers permanently. With Hover and Swift, it does this: Swift (Enhanceable): +35% to run speed, +13.65% to fly speed Hover (Enhanceable): +50% to fly speed Hover (Not Enhanceable): +50% to fly speed, -101% to fly speed (net: -51%) Base Steam/Jump Pack Net Bonus (%) Net Total (mph) Fly Speed 21.48 mph 100% 21.48 Swift +13.65% +300% +54.6% +11.73 Hover (Enh) +50% +300% +200% +42.95 Hover (not Enh) -51% -51% -10.95 Total Fly Speed 303.6% 65.205 There you have it, with just Hover, Swift, and Steam/Jump Pack you will surpass your max fly speed of 58.63 mph. No enhancements, no additional buffs/bonuses. Not to mention, Fly only provides a Magnitude 1 Fly, whereas Hover provides a Magnitude 4 Fly, so theoretically you should be harder to knock out of the sky. If you say yes to Afterburner, then you will have initially increased your max flight speed by 14.32 mph (to 72.95 mph). This increase to max flight is enhanceable with a hard flight speed limit of 87.95 mph (+104.8% strength to Afterburner achieves this). By taking Afterburner, you can still skip Fly and achieve the 65.205 mph with Hover shown above, plus add on any +fly speed bonuses/powers that your build may have. But let’s face it, that’s not why you get Afterburner. Instead, you take Hover, Fly and Afterburner, and you can 1 slot all of them if you like (Hover and Afterburner are good LotG mules, Fly is a good KB protection mule). Then with Steam/Jump Pack, Fly, and Afterburner, you will hit 87.95 mph easily. Swift (Enhanceable): +35% to run speed, +13.65% to fly speed Fly (Enhanceable): +136.5% to fly speed Fly (Not Enhanceable): +80% to fly speed, +100% to fly speed, -101% to fly speed (net: +79%) Afterburner (Enhanceable): +14.32 mph to max fly speed (capped at +29.32 mph) Base Steam/Jump Pack Net Bonus (%) Net Total (mph) Afterburner +14.32 max speed +300% +300% +57.27 Fly Speed 21.48 mph 100% 21.48 Swift +13.65% +300% +54.6% 11.73 Fly (Enh) +136.5% +300% +546% 117.27 Fly (not Enh) +79% +79% 16.98 Total Fly Speed 779.6% 167.44 So, there you have it; with no Flight Enhancements (it would be pointless since Jump Pack already maxes out the strength), we can hit an uncapped speed of 167.44 mph, unfortunately we are hard-capped at 87.95 mph. If Afterburner did not have a hard cap of 87.95, then this combo would increase the +max fly speed by 57.27 mph which would cap the flight speed max at 115.90 mph. One final note on Hover + Afterburner, it’s a pretty nifty defensive move and any movement speed set bonuses will still count. So, if you chase the Movement Speed set bonuses, just know every 7.5% is an extra +1.61 mph. If you can achieve +106% to Fly/Movement Speed bonuses, you could hit the 87.95 mph hard cap with just Hover and Afterburner. Chasing that number would be foolish, but it’s completely reasonable to get 5 of the +7.5% to Movement Speed bonuses (Performance Shifter, Gaussian, Aegis all get this with 2 slots). That number would boost your Fly Speed by 37.5% which equates to +8.05 mph. That gets you to 73.26 mph with Afterburner, Hover and Steam/Jump Pack. Conclusion: Buy both Steam Jump and Jump Pack to maximize your flight speed without any enhancements. Also, don't take Fly if you don't have Afterburner. What else can you do with flying?!? I did a little more research and wanted to share what I found. For instance, Group Fly is panned as a bad power. Maybe it is, but it is a travel power and I figure I should at least share what it can do as well as what it can do with a Steam/Jump Pack. It's worth mentioning, Group Fly says in its short description that it does -ACC, yet when I look in the combat attributes there are no debuffs to To-Hit or Accuracy, so it must be a typo. Group Fly (Enhanceable): 60 foot radius; 255 Max targets hit, +68.25% to fly speed Base Steam/Jump Pack Net Bonus (%) Net Total (mph) Fly Speed 21.48 mph 100% 21.48 Swift +13.65% +300% +54.6% 11.73 Group Fly +68.25% +300% +273% 58.64 Total Fly Speed 427.6% 91.85 The combination of Steam/Jump Pack with Group Fly will result in granting you and your team max fly speed (58.63 mph). You can also use the Group Fly + Afterburner + Jump Pack combination to cap your fly speed at 87.95 mph, unfortunately when you activate Afterburner, the Fly effects are no longer given to your teammates. Consider this as an endurance hungry replacement for Fly, while providing some team utility (although it might be unwanted team utility at times). The P2W Vendor offers 6 variants of the same temporary fly power: Small Longbow Jetpack, Longbow Jetpack, LKT-1700 Rocket Pack, Jet Pack, Holiday Rocket Pack, and Goldbricker Rocket Pack. They each cost 50k influence for 30 minutes of flight usage. You can purchase up to 10 each for a total of 30 hours of usage (3 Million influence). These temporary powers do the following: Jet Pack (not enhanceable): +136.5% to fly speed, +80% to fly speed (ignores buffs and enhancements), +100% to fly speed (ignores buffs and enhancements), -180% to fly speed (ignores buffs and enhancements). As a net, this power is a +136.5% to fly speed that can be buffed, while the un-buffed portions are a net 0% to fly speed. The main difference between a Jet Pack (or variant) and Fly, is that Fly is maxed out at 58.63 mph right away, whereas a Jet Pack will come up just short (if no enhancements, buffs, nor set bonuses, then the fly speed is 53.73 mph). With minimal effort, we can reach the 58.63 mph capped fly speed. There are only two reasons to consider taking a P2W Jet Pack (or variant). The first is to be able to fly at max speeds (58.63 mph) while not having to take the Fly pool (perhaps you took Leaping pool, now you can use Combat Jumping with Jet Pack to make a ghetto-Hover). The other reason to take a P2W Jet Pack is if you want to take Air Superiority from the Fly Pool and want Afterburner for ultra-max fly speed (87.95 mph), but can't afford to take 4 powers from the Fly Pool (Afterburner requires at least 2 powers from Air Superiority, Hover, and Fly). So the solution becomes taking Afterburner with a P2W Jet Pack to achieve your 87.95 mph ultra-max fly speed, while retaining Hover for general combat and Air Superiority for an attack. Let's look at how the numbers work for the P2W Jet Packs. Base Steam/Jump Pack Net Bonus (%) Net Total (mph) Afterburner +14.32 max speed +300% +300% +57.27 Fly Speed 21.48 mph 100% 21.48 Swift +13.65% +300% +54.6% 11.73 Jet Pack (takes buffs) 136.5% +300% +546% 117.27 Jet Pack (ignore buffs) +0% 0% 0 Total Fly Speed +700.6% 150.47 Here we show that Afterburner + Jump Pack + Jet Pack will equal the ultra-max fly speed of 87.95 mph, as its theoretical 150.47 mph is capped. What can you do with running? There are many run powers available to you that will buff your base run speed. Swift (Enhanceable): +35% to run speed, +13.65% to fly speed Sprint (Enhanceable): +50% to run speed Sprint (ignores buffs and enhancements): +50% to run speed Ninja/Beast Run (Free at P2W, not enhanceable): +140% to run speed, +137% to jump speed Super Speed/Speed of Sound (Enhanceable): +350% to run speed Base Empowerment - Increase Run Speed: +20% to run speed To cap our run speed we need to achieve +546% to run speed (92.5/14.32). We can get there with minimal effort from Super Speed, as all you need is to put a Level 50 Run IO in Swift and Super Speed (350%+35%)*(100%+42.4%) = 385%*142.4% = +548.24% (92.8 mph, capped at 92.5 mph). Now let’s assume we don’t want Super Speed (or its soon to be variant, Speed of Sound). What can we achieve with Ninja/Beast Run and the other available inherent powers? Base +5 Level 50 IO + T4 Alpha (Agility/Musculature) Net Bonus (%) Net Total (mph) Run Speed 14.32 mph 100% 14.32 Swift +35% +86% +65.1% 7.67 Sprint (Enh) +50% +86% +93% 10.95 Sprint (not Enh) +50% +50% 7.159 Ninja/Beast Run +140% +140% 20.05 Temp: +Run Speed +20% +20% 2.86 Total 468.1% 67.02 Above I have slotted Swift and Sprint with a +5 Boosted Level 50 Run IO (+53%) and included a T4 Alpha incarnate (either Agility or Musculature) which will enhance our run powers by an extra 33% (86% in total). The temp bonus shown comes from a Base Empowerment station which grants a +20% to run speed buff for 90 minutes of in-game time. In the end, we are far under the max run speed cap (72.5% of the cap). It’s decent, but it’s no super speed. Things do get interesting if you have a +Special power, like Power Boost or Clarion Radial. The +Specials will include a +X% Strength to Run Speed, which means it will buff Swift, Sprint (the enhanceable portion), and Ninja/Beast Run. A */Energy Blaster can use Power Boost to increase the strength of their run speed by 78.672%. That would boost Swift, Sprint, and Ninja/Beast Run to do an extra 3.94 mph, 5.63 mph and 15.77 mph, respectively. That extra 25.34 mph will get you right near the run speed cap with 92.37 mph. If you want to pursue taxing yourself for the sake of running fast without Super Speed, you can chase the five Gift of the Ancients: +7.5% Run Speed bonus, the easy to get five +7.5% Movement Speed set bonuses, and the soon to arrive Synapse’s Shock: +15% Run Speed bonus. That is a +90% run speed bonus, which equates to +12.87 mph. That will get you to 79.91 mph. Conclusion: If you want to run as fast as possible, just get Super Speed. If you are good with running closer to max Jump Speed numbers, then Ninja/Beast Run with Sprint can get you close to that number (if you enhance, have a T4 Alpha, the Base Empowerment buff, and set bonuses). What can you do with jumping? There are some jump powers available to you that will buff your base jump speed. Hurdle (Enhanceable): +124.5% to jump speed, +166.8% to jump height Ninja/Beast Run (free at P2W, not enhanceable): +140% to run speed, +137% to jump speed Super Jump/Mighty Leap (Enhanceable): +249% to jump speed, +2780% to jump height Base Empowerment – Increase Jump Speed: +20% strength to jump speed/height To cap our jump speed we need to achieve +446% to jump speed (78.18/14.32). We can get there with minimal effort from Super Jump, as all you need is to put a Level 50 Jump IO in Hurdle and Super Jump (249%+124.5%)*(100%+42.4%) = 373.5%*142.4% = +531.86% (90.47 mph, capped at 78.18 mph). Now let’s assume we don’t want Super Jump (or its variant, Mighty Leap). What can we achieve with Ninja/Beast Run and the other available inherent powers? Base +5 Level 50 IO + T4 Alpha (Agility/Spiritual) + Increase Jump Speed Net Bonus (%) Net Total (mph) Jump Speed 14.32 mph 100% 14.32 Hurdle +124.5% +106% +256.47% 36.72 Ninja/Beast Run +137% +20% +164.4% 23.54 Total 520.87% 74.58 Above I have slotted Hurdle with a +5 Boosted Level 50 Run IO (+53%) and included a T4 Alpha incarnate (either Agility or Spiritual) which will enhance our jump powers by an extra 33% (86% in total). I also show a Base Empowerment temporary buff called Increased Jump Speed, which provides a +20% strength to jump speed for 90 minutes of in-game time. Here, we are so close to the cap for jump speed that set bonuses would likely put us over the 78.18 mph cap (4 of the 7.5% Movement Speed bonuses will do the trick). Conclusion: You can replace Super Jump with Ninja/Beast Run with proper investment. You can cap your jump speed at 78.18 mph with the Base Empowerment temporary buff and a T4 Alpha that boosts jump speed. Even without the Alpha, you can get to 74.07 mph with five of the +7.5% to Movement Speed buffs and the temp buff. You’ll also notice it is easier (less investment) to go faster jumping as opposed to running (5 less enhancement boosts, no need to use Sprint). Also, use of the Steam/Jump Pack will help you reach the same jump heights as Super Jump. Summary: Get both Steam Jump and Jump Pack, and either Ninja Run or Beast Run If you want flight, decide if you want Afterburner or not. If you want Afterburner, get Fly (you will reach 87.95 mph, easily) If you don’t want Afterburner, don't take Fly (you will cap Hover at 58.63 mph, easily) If you want to run fast, take Super Speed. Otherwise, you can achieve approximately 75% of what Super Speed can do with a semi-invested build using Ninja/Beast Run and Sprint. If you want to jump fast, no need for Super Jump. You can cap your jump speed and height with Ninja/Beast Run and Steam/Jump Pack with investments. Even without a T4 Alpha, you can hit 95% of what Super Jump does with that same combo (74.07 mph vs. 78.18 mph). Possible Future Topics: Below are some possible future updates to this guide. I have information on them, but I think most of the teleportation information has already been covered and well known, while the P2W powers are not going to be very popular as they lock out your power tray. I might speak to the P2W powers with the caveat that they should just be supplemental (like a non-flyer takes a fly travel power, or a non-speedster/jumper takes the animal travel power): Incorporating Teleportation (but I don’t think it’s in much demand) Teleporting Tips (Enter Base with Passcode Macros, P2W Teleporters, etc) P2W’s other Travel Powers (Void Skiff and variants, Coyote/Panther) Revision History:
  5. Mayhem missions are great, aren't they? It's incredibly cathartic to be able to wander through a neighborhood and bust stuff up—sort of the City of Heroes equivalent of popping bubble wrap. And what's more, there's a contact, Lord Schweinzer, who will give you access to all the Mayhem missions without having to complete five newspaper missions first, if you earn the "Hero Slayer" badge. "Hero Slayer" requires defeating 25 heroes, of the sort found in Mayhem Missions, tip missions, the Lord Recluse Strike Force, and a few other places. It can take forever to grind those out if you're just relying on those missions, even with the occasional LRSF thrown in. But someone told me about a really speedy way to get it, and I tested it, and it works. So, here it is for you! Go to Pocket D and have Null change your Alignment to Hero or Vigilante. Go to Brickstown and talk to contact Dakota Berg, who offers part 4 of the "Who Will Die" signature story arc. He's the red storybook icon east of the hospital. You must be at least level 30 to do this. Do the first two missions of the arc at -1/x1 for speed. When you get to mission 3, set it to -1/x8. (If your character class isn't good at damage, you might want to bring a damage-class along to help with this.) This mission spawns bunches of dream-ghost-images of Malaise and Aurora, who count as "heroes" for purposes of the badge. Defeat them until you get the "Bloody Hands" badge; it shouldn't take too long. You can then quit the TF, go back to Pocket D, and have Null change you back to Rogue or Villain. "Bloody Hands" will become "Hero Slayer," and you should get Lord Schweinzer as a contact as soon as the alignment switch completes. This also offers a speedy route for heroes or vigilantes to get the "Invader"/"Task Force Commander" accolade power if they don't want to have to do all the Task Forces to obtain it. Just get "Bloody Hands," then change to Rogue and get the exploration badges from all the Mayhem missions. (You don't even have to complete them; just go into each mission, get the badge, then exit and drop the mission.) Once you have all of them, you will get "Invader," which will magically change to "Task Force Commander" when you return to Paragon City. (Sadly, there isn't any similarly speedy way to unlock the equivalent badge for the all-Safeguard-missions contact, Villain Disruptor. You just have to grind those out, though the Statesman (Miss Liberty) Task Force can certainly help.)
  6. Silencing/Modifying specific game sounds | Pt. I Revived from the archived forums: "How to silence specific game sounds" - By Impkin I pulled these posts from the archived forums. Impkin's instructions are largely intact and I cleaned and dredged through the thread down to the files identified up to the last post. If you returning to the thread and just want to jump straight to the sounds: Sounds Location and file names | Pt. I - Bases and Emotes Sounds Location and file names | Pt. II - Enviro and UI Sounds Location and file names | Pt. III - Powers: Air Superiority - Hasten Sounds Location and file names | Pt. IV - Powers: Havoc - Psionics Sounds Location and file names | Pt. V - Powers: Radiation - Willpower Sounds Location and file names | Pt. VI - Systems User-Created Sound Mods The Philotic Knight's Short Visual Guide OK, OK! I get it. So how do I silence a sound? These instructions are meant for anyone with minimal Windows knowledge. I want to provide enough information so that every CoH player can improve their personal game play experience. Do not be daunted by the post's length. If you can play CoH you can do this. The way to kill any game sound is to put another sound file in the correct directory with the name of the sound file used to make that noise. This replacement file must be in the Ogg Vorbis format and it can not be of zero length. In other words, to kill a sound you replace it with one second of silence. Where do I get one second of silence in the *.ogg format? However you want to. How I did it was to use a free program called Audacity. I got it here: http://audacity.sourceforge.net/ Run Audacity. Click on the "Generate" menu. Choose "Silence". It should have created 30 seconds of silence. Use your mouse and highlight about one second. This doesn't have to be exact. Click on the "Edit" menu. Choose "Trim". There is also a button following the "Cut", "Copy", "Paste" buttons called "Trim outside selection" that does the same thing. Click on the "File" menu. Choose "Export As Ogg Vorbis..." Call the file whatever you want and save it anyplace you want. I recommend calling it "silence.ogg" and saving it to the Desktop. You will be copying this file to folders you create and renaming it so keep that in mind when deciding what to call it and where to save it. Exit Audacity. You won't need to use Audacity again (for this) unless there is something wrong with that "silence.ogg" you just made. I have attached two files to this post: '_silence.ogg' and 'bloop.ogg'. I use the 'bloop' file to verify the sound I'm replacing is the one I'm looking for, since it's a lot easier to notice than silence. OK, now that I have a silent sound what do I do with it? You need to know where to copy it and what to rename it as so the game will use your silent sound file instead of the default sound file. The base location for all your silenced sound files is: C:\Program Files\City of Heroes\data\sound\ogg\ This assumes that you installed the game to its default directory. If you installed it someplace else then you should know enough to adapt these instructions to fit your custom installation. *You are not making any changes to any files owned/installed by CoH*. Simply put: if any of the following folders already exist then you or a 3rd party put them there. If you do not see the folders, you or the 3rd party would need to create them as follows: Open the "City of Heroes" folder and create a new folder called "data". Open the "data" folder you just created and add a new folder called "sound". Open the "sound" folder you just created and add a new folder called "ogg". You now have your base file location set. The sounds will be grouped in sub-folders inside the "ogg" folder. Each sound you wish to silence will go in a sub-folder. The name of the sub-folder depends on the sound. The information provided for a specific sound assumes you have already created the above base folder. The "Folder name:" provided here is located in the "C:\Program Files\City of Heroes\data\sound\ogg\" folder. The name of the folder is where you copy your "silence.ogg" file to. The "File name:" provided here is what you need to rename that copy of your "silence.ogg" file to. That is all there is to it. The next time you launch CoH that sound will not be made. If CoH is running while you do this (not recommended), exit completely (quit to desktop, not the log-in screen) first. Example: Description: Targeting Drone loop Folder name: weapons File name: targetdrone_loop.ogg To silence this sound you copy your "silence.ogg" file to a folder called "weapons". If you have never silenced a sound that goes in the "weapons" folder then you will need to make a "weapons" folder first. Once you copy your "silence.ogg" into the "weapons" folder you then rename it to "targetdrone_loop.ogg". Just to give you an idea of what you should see, here is my data\ogg folder\sub-folders: Specific how-to: If you hold down the "Ctrl" key you can click on and drag the "silence.ogg" file to the "weapons" folder you created. It will make a copy. You can also right-click on "silence.ogg" and pick "Copy". You then right-click on an empty spot in the open "weapons" folder/window and pick "Paste". To rename the "silence.ogg" file you copied into the "weapons" folder right-click on the file and choose "Rename" (or highlight it and press the "F2" key). Type "targetdrone_loop.ogg". I did what you said, but now CoH doesn't work right! How do I undo this? If you followed instructions then it will work. If something isn't working as you expect then something was not done right. Try again. Go slower. Follow the instructions more carefully. If the sound you expected to be silenced is still making noise then either the description was misunderstood or the wrong folder/file name has been posted. The quickest and easiest way to undo this customization is to rename the "data" folder you made. I use "_data". Or just delete it. If you suspect that your customizations are causing problems playing CoH then undo them. What happens the next time there is an update or a patch? One of the great things about CoH is it keeps improving. Should the name of a folder or file change in a future patch the game would default back to playing the intended sound. If just the sound was changed (the folder and file name remain the same) a customized client would still play the silenced sound. If one wished to hear the changed sound they could either disable the "data" folder or the specific sound file by renaming it. A comment about courtesy. If you found the sound bothersome then most likely so do other people. This customization *only* affects your client. Other players will still hear the sound(s) unless they also customized their clients. Be courteous to your fellow players. Just because you aren't bothered by keeping a power running all the time now because you silenced it doesn't mean you should keep it running when you don't need it. You obviously didn't like hearing that noise. Why inflict it on others when there is no reason to? Turn off your powers when you are just standing around chatting, training, buying, etc. Giving credit where credit is due. This isn't my brain-child. Someone explained the concept to me over a year ago. I am sorry that I do not remember who they are. All I've done is come up with the format to present this information and the how-to steps for enabling all players to benefit from it should they wish to. A special THANK YOU! to the sound designers. A big concern of mine is that this thread might be taken wrong. What I hope y'all take from this is that setting the volume low or muting the sound entirely simply isn't an option. Different people are sensitive to different things. That's all there is to this thread. Half of the game experience is auditory. You have the most wonderful toy box. Thank you for sharing your toys with us! _silence.ogg Bloop.ogg Silence-Bloop_test.zip
  7. It feels time to construct a thread to share some experiences about the AT after playing it for the better part of a year. When I first came to HC, probably right around this time, I wasn't sure exactly of what I wanted to play. I created a bunch of ATs and recreated old characters. I'm sure many of you understand. I saw the Sentinel and it got me curious. It was new, not many people knew anything about it, and it seemed like a challenge to play/build. I had tried to play Dual Pistols a few times but it never worked out for me. I didn't really care for it on Blasters (still don't) so I tried it on Corruptors/Defenders. My support sets always felt too busy for me to really enjoy Dual Pistols. Well, Sentinels come along and many of the armor sets are fairly hands off allowing me to fully focus on the attacks. YAY! Right off the bat... I want to try to keep bias to a minimum. Its not possible to fully remove my own bias, but unchecked bias helps absolutely no one. Unchecked bias is a very common lens to view the Sentinel through. 500lb Gorillas... Damage. The Sentinel is a damage AT. It isn't a tanker, it isn't an off-tank, nor is it a support set. Its a damage AT. Its a damage AT that incorporates some group support through its inherent but that is subject to change. When it comes to damage the Sentinel is often compared to entire ATs with little regard for any component pieces. It is, possibly unfairly, compared to ATs in light of recent changes to those groups as well. This is where the unchecked bias becomes a problem. I think the disparities are blown way out of proportion. I think that people's unchecked bias doesn't allow them to go past a certain point with the AT and then make sweeping comments about it as a whole. Make no mistake, there is some truth in those arguments, but they can get distorted very quickly. Metrics... Let's note that Mids just isn't accurate for all things for just a moment. When I just jumped into the game to check the info screen on one of my characters I noted a 43 damage difference between the game and the planner. Doesn't sound like much, but this exacerbates the unchecked bias. Let's talk ranged damage scalars for just a moment. AT/Class Scalar (ranged) Blaster 1.125 Corruptor 0.75 Defender 0.65 Sentinel 0.95 When you step back and look at the numbers as they are it doesn't look so bad does it? However, this isn't the full story either. Inherent Mechanics: An Ugly Monster of Unchecked Bias... Corruptors, Defenders, and Blasters have inherents. Corruptor Scourge grants an increasing chance to double damage when health goes below a threshold. Defenders gain bonus damage while solo. Blasters gain damage while attacking. The 3 ATs previously mentioned all have fairly straight forward inherents. These make great sounding boards for arguments on effectiveness in a vacuum. The Sentinel inherent is far more complicated than it needs to be. It is confusing, sometimes counterproductive, removes a sense of player agency, and is difficult to quantify. It is no wonder to me why some people dislike the AT or are adverse to playing it. Opportunity as a mechanic is not easy to use nor is it easy to understand. What's it do though? Opportunity will always impose a minor resistance and defense debuff on enemies struck by the Sentinel. There is no thought or action required. If you successfully hit, then the target gets a debuff pairing (-resistance and defense). This effect does not stack from the caster and it can be resisted. It will work alongside other sources of the same debuffs. So additional resistance or defense debuffing still build from the caster as normal. Against most content this translates into more damage not only from the Sentinel but by teammates too. Everyone gets to take advantage so the Sentinel functions like a Bard might from other games. You multiply damage and no one ever recognizes your contribution. That's the passive portion of the inherent. The activated portion is a separate mechanic and has multiple parts. Confused? Good, because this part may cross your eyes. I'll try to keep at a 30,000ft level. Sentinels have a 3rd bar called "Opportunity". Its a meter that functions like a Dominator's inherent "Domination". Hell, when you fill the bar near max you glow... just like a Dominator. Unlike the Dominator, this meter does not hit a "perma" status. Some builds can create situations where Opportunity's meter mechanic feels more like a Brute's Fury. ...Crap, I said I would try to keep this simple, but it just isn't. So all attacks have a specific amount of meter attached to it. For example, all T1 attacks grant +8 meter to the bar. This has been consistent across every single primary set I have tested. T9 powers can grant 30+ meter. Many of the single target attacks grant +13 meter. Cones can generate 16-18 and TAoEs can range 18-20's. The exact amount of meter generated is not uniform across the sets. Generally, if an attack has a longer set of recharge and/or animation it will trend towards more meter. For ease of use though, it is pretty consistent to observe all T1's as granting +8 and virtually all other single target attacks as granting +13 (includes the T2). At 90 meter the T1 and T2 attack choices will gain a ring. The T1 power will always trigger "Offensive Opportunity". The T2 power will always trigger "Defensive Opportunity". There is a catch... You have to successfully hit first. If you miss the attack Opportunity remains full until you successfully land attack or leave combat. Technically, if you miss the chance to trigger the inherent's active mechanic you just continue to build meter until you spend it. What activing Opportunity does (general): Once triggered, Opportunity will last 15 seconds. The effect below will last until the target is defeated. The specific modes are independent of the target's state. Regardless of hitting the T1 or T2, the target struck will receive a -20% resistance debuff. This debuff can be resisted and it stacks with all other -resistance sources. In other words, it is its own source. This debuff allows all other teammate striking the target to gain a damage boost. Bard complex, no one cares that they are doing upto 20% more damage and that you were the cause of it. Offensive Mode: This grants a proc-like effect that lasts for 15 seconds. The effect applies to all attacks dealt during the duration. The effect cannot be enhanced and functions off a percentage of your base damage. So the weaker the attack the smaller the effect's hit. AoE attacks can spread more damage during the duration. Defensive Mode: Its similar to Offensive Mode but applies a minor health and endurance restore for the same duration. Once again, this is tied to all successful hits and can apply to AoE powers. The game will directly tell you how much health you gain but the combat window will only say "you also gain some endurance". You do in fact gain endurance. The endurance feature is the strongest perk of this effect as endurance is a much smaller pool than health. Even at low levels I have found the endurance restore to achieve a state of neutral drain. That was tested without any endurance reduction in attacks or toggles. The higher in level you get and the more end drain you apply the hard it is to maintain that equilibrium. However, once you start modifying endurance spend in attacks and toggles, the perk starts to pay you BACK endurance spent. The faster your recharge, the more frequently you hit, and the more frequently you hit successfully the more endurance you restore. Crap on the healing effect all you want, but the endurance restore can be very powerful for an inherent if you bother to pay attention. Should you focus on one opportunity or both? That's a great question and it is impossible to answer in a vacuum. Offensive Opportunity cannot be enhanced meaning that the more you push your own ED cap on damage modification the less it contributes. Still, Offensive Opportunity is usually a positive DPS gain but it can be so relatively minor that you can skip it. Just how good this effect becomes is very related to how good the carrier power is and whether or not it holds any significance to your attack cycle. It is possible to net a tiny fraction (or sometimes even lose) of DPS triggering Offensive Opportunity by using a T1 power with no other enhancement beyond accuracy. If you treat the T1 as a regular part of your routine, then the effect becomes just added damage. Still, it isn't so significant that you stress about it. Same goes for Defensive Opportunity. Defensive Opportunity's strongest benefit is probably the endurance gain. That can have noticeable effect during the entire leveling spectrum, but its contribution can drop off sharply with a well designed build. Still, some secondaries do struggle with recovery and the T2 can benefit those (more on this later). My advice is this... run both the T1 and T2 to explore the options while leveling. Worry less about it once you hit 50 and just use the best attack out of the two if you need to prune a pick/slots. The strongest aspect of the activated inherent is that -20% resistance which is available in either mode. How to Use Opportunity Organically... Simply don't worry about it. That's the easiest way to view it with a full build. I spent an awful lot of time linking the animation, recharges, and meter values of the attacks I use in my characters. I could tell you the average expected time in seconds it takes for my Dual Pistols Sentinel to hit 90% meter. I've designed the attack sequence to include Opportunity without much thought on my part. All I need is the muscle memory of what powers to click and that's it. Basically what I do is I tag the T1 or T2 at the end of my attack sequence. I generally try to limit my attacks cycles to just one of the two, but not all primaries can or should do that. If you would generally use a concept of T1 (or T2) -> T3 -> T1 (or T2) -> T4, just reverse it. T4 -> T1 (or T2) -> T3 -> T1 (or T2). Doing that will usually result in triggering Opportunity at the soonest moment without much worry. Sometimes you'll miss and that sucks. Still, if you try to trigger Opportunity as close to 90% of the meter as possible you can usually improve the overall uptime of the effect. Once the duration ends you rebuild as fast as possible (more on this later). You rinse and repeat. Why does the above work the way it does? I've found that I can often achieve 90% meter by the time I hit that T3 power on the 3rd sweep of the routine. This means that when the T1 (or T2 - these can be interchangeable for the purpose of this discussion) is used next it will automatically trigger the inherent once the target is hit. If you run the reverse of the routine what happens is you often generate 90% opportunity during the use of the T1. This will NOT trigger the inherent. The T1 cannot be the power that gets you to 90%+ meter. It has to come AFTER that condition. If the T1 is the power that generates you're 90% meter condition, then the next attack will go beyond 100% (since it almost always grants +13 meter). That delays the triggering of the Inherent by 1.188 to 2.64 (or higher) seconds. I've almost always had positive DPS gains doing this but some primaries might not pull it off. Still, it is worth exploring as an option. You could also completely ignore this advice and do what you want. Opportunity, AoE, and the ATO... The previous commentary is focused on single target. However, what about AoE? This is a big can of worms. There are a wide range of ways to build your Sentinel, but I'll still share some my findings on what works for me. I tend to prefer both ATOs in AoE powers. Superior Sentinel's Ward has good set bonuses, but the proc is total crap in difficult content. The absorb shield it provides is affected by the purple patch and therefore its benefit is severely reduced. I've see it proc for as little as +14 Absorb against +4 enemies. I've seen it grant well over +1000 when I shot at a level 1 Hellion in Atlas Park at level 50. Do not take this set for the proc. However, the proc does check per target in AoEs. I have not noticed it stacking with itself but it can have a high chance to go off in an AoE. Its not great, but it is something. Superior Opportunity Strikes is also good for set bonuses. The proc can be total crap in single target situations, but it can have potential in AoE. The proc is similar to the Ward one. It will check against enemies but doesn't appear to stack effect. You can turn an AoE power from generating +18 opportunity to generating +37.5. It can make your T9's grant you half a bar. It can trigger again if activated against a large group and you get lucky. The other night I had back to back procs. My bar filled to max, I ran Opportunity, and when it ended I filled to max in a span of less than 10 seconds. Many, many months ago, I saw someone talking about Sentinel opportunity working like being a ranged Brute. They just kept filling their bar over and over. AoE is how you do that. You could slot the Strikes set in any AoE you prefer or even a T9. The full 6pc set has 100% recharge modification. I have a Sentinel with this set in the T9. That power has a 23 second cool down due to the set and global recharge (185%). Hitting 10 targets with that power has a pretty good chance of granting significant meter. Several other Sentinels I have run the set in their 10 target TAoEs and in teams I notice a significant uptime on Opportunity. Pairing this strategy with taking the T1 to trigger Offensive Opportunity can allow a person to have significant uptime on the bonus damage. Even if that damage effect is low, it still applies to all attacks. To recap, I tend to find that in fast moving group scenarios the Sentinel can potentially hammer out a lot of Opportunity use due to the above strategy. Single target is far more difficult to optimize. This is largely due to the Strikes ATO having a PPM value of 1 (the basic version) or a PPM value of 2 (superior) depending on version used. I have only had success triggering that proc in very select powers within specific primaries. For example, Sonic's Screech or Psionic Blast's Scramble Thoughts trend towards higher than proc chances than many other powers. Slotting that ATO in a T1 power that has a 1 second animation plus 4 second recharge will likely land you around the default proc chance of 5%. It may trigger so rarely in quickly available powers that you'd think it is totally useless. For single target, I'd agree. Try to find space in AoE if you bother with the proc or otherwise its value is pretty much garbage. Most Sentinel primaries can easily rebuild opportunity meter within 13 seconds in their single target chains when considering higher states of recharge. Even without that, you could potentially hit 50% uptime. The longer your attack chains lag the greater the gap gets. With AoE powers and the ATO the difference in uptime can be significantly less. Food for thought. I've noted before that Sentinels aim to pick up a lot of pennies. The pennies being bits of damage that are available in various forms to offset the perception of the AT being "low damage". Playing with Opportunity uptime is one way to do that. Its not the only way to do it, and can pair with others.
  8. Prior Information Lore: In Issue 22: Death Incarnate, picks up after the conclusion of the main storyline in Dark Astoria. It pits you against Diabolique, a powerful Praetorian who fled to Primal Earth after the events of First Ward and who threatens to become a walking avatar of death. Though Mot, one of the ancient gods of the Banished Pantheon, is successfully contained, a cleanup operation undertaken by the Freedom Phalanx and the Vindicators has gone awry, and both groups have been captured. Diabolique plans to use their great power to fuel a ritual that will allow her to absorb the power of Mot, becoming an unstoppable force of destruction and death. Under the guidance of the Dream Doctor, the founder of the Midnight Squad, you are sent to put an end to this ritual by any means necessary, even if that means descending into the Maw of Mot and fighting Diabolique in the depths where she works her spell Dilemma Diabolique Incarnate Trial Personnel Needed: League of 8-16 characters Character Level: 50 Trial Level Shift: Bosses (+3), Enemies (+1 to +2) Alpha Slot: Can be unlocked here Incarnate Slot Experience: Earn Judgment, Interface, Lore, and Destiny slot experience (if Alpha Slot already unlocked) Stage 1: Spine Breaking The trial starts on a bone path leading into a plateau of the cemetery. Along the path are four Repulsive Spines protected by Banished Pantheon. The best way to do this badge is to start by clearing around each of the four spines (see below for a map) Once all spines are cleared have everyone split up the party four people per spine (this may vary depending on your team makeup and damage output) Once everyone is at a spine each group should start to destroy the spines taking them to ~20% before giving the go ahead to finish them off. If done within one minute (60 Seconds) you will be awarded the Spinebreaker Badge at the end of the trial (Under Achievements) Stage 2: A Hero’s Rescue Once your team has finished breaking the spines you will receive a pop up in orange letters saying Badge Challenge Completed. You may now move on to the next part directly Northeast of the Northern spine across the spine bridge. There you will be given ample time to buff up. Once you are able to start freeing the Freedom Phalanx and The Vindicators your map will change (see map below) In order to get the badge Sentinel Smasher you will need to free each of the heroes starting on your left with Valkyrie/Positron they spawn in the same spot it is just random which one you get . By freeing either one the Sentinel of Mot will no longer be able to boost its defense and regeneration. As well as stopping Sentinel of Mot from using the bonus power of a Targeted AoE Damage Debuff. Moving North from Valkyrie/Positron will be Aurora Borealis or Manticore. Again this is random but both heroes spawn in the same place. Upon freeing either hero the Sentinel of Mot will no longer have bonus range and chance to hit. As well as the bonus power they grant which is a targeted AoE weaken, which lowers healing, recharge, range and chance to hit. Moving slightly Southeast on the map you will find Ms. Liberty or Synapse. As before you will get either hero; the spawn point is the same.Upon freeing either hero the Sentinel of Mot will no longer have the boost of recharge rate and damage. As well as the bonus power they grant which is a targeted AoE endurance drain.Moving due South and slightly West you will find Back Alley Brawler or Mynx. As with all the others either hero will spawn in the same location. Upon freeing either hero the Sentinel of Mot will no longer get a boost in damage and recharge rate. As well as the bonus power they grant which is a targeted AoE fear. Upon clearing the last captive hero proceeds to the front of the Maw of Mot (big giant head). Once the party has assembled and buffed up the Sentinel of Mot will appear. It is at the point your primary tank should walk towards the beast and be ready to taunt him. There are a few key things to remember during this fight. First if you have characters that like to fly up high in the air have them hover on the ground so that Sentinel of Mot’s stomach juices do not hit your members that are on the ground. Secondly your Primary tank that has Sentinel of Mot’s aggro should be on the lookout for white patches on the ground and pull him away from those. Otherwise Mot will gain a massive defense and regeneration buff. Third Mot will be reinforced by Banished Pantheon every 30 seconds if your party is struggling to stay alive it can be a good idea to some scrappers or blasters to deal with them when they spawn .Finally the party should refrain from using lore pets at this time.Once the party has beaten Mot an orange pop up will come across your screen saying Badge Challenge Completed. The badge awarded is. Stage 3: The Descent Once you have defeated the Sentinel of Mot at this time have all party members proceed into the big head you all gathered at to defeat Mot. You will be teleported inside where the party should stay as a tight unit and defeat the on-coming waves of Banished Pantheon. The goal here is to survive for five minutes. As a group this should not be too difficult however do be aware that if your team wipe here the trial is over and you will be awarded 0 badges and 0 rewards. Note: while during this phase You suffer continuous damage from the stomach of Mot's digestive acids. As well as a new wave of Banished Pantheon will spawn every 30 seconds. You can only be rez’ed via inspirations and powers there is no hospital at this point. Tip: It is best to let the waves come to you as opposed to the tanks going out to gather the mobs. After five minutes have passed. Dream Doctor determines Diabolique's location. She is performing her ritual in a shadow world that mirrors this one. He hastily prepares a spell to safely shift you to the shadow world. Stage 4: Diabolique Just as Dream Doctor completes his spell, Mot unleashes a corrosive burst that kills you outright. This fate is not true death, though. Dream Doctor shields you from that by shifting you to the shadow world at the last moment.Here you are restored to full fighting form and ready to confront Diabolique and the two captured heroes. During this battle Diabolique is accompanied by either Citadel or Infernal as well as Numina or Swan. As before with the Sentinel of Mot they grant Diabolique bonus resistance and defense from Citadel or Infernal. As well as Numina or Swan granting Diabolique chance to hit and range. However the captive heroes do not grant Diabolique extra powers like before during the fight with the Sentinel of Mot. Note: You may have Sister Psyche or Luminary they will give Diabolique regeneration and resistance. Once you and your party are standing up right again your blasters should take positions near the Lifegiving Essences (Green Orbs) After all buffs have been cast and lore pets have been brought out. Primary tank should get Diabolique’s aggro. If you happen to have a second tank have them lead away the two captive heroes that accompany Diabolique. This way your AoE characters do not accidentally kill them thus denying you one of the two remaining badges needed for Master of Dilemma of Diabolique. When the fight has started your blasters should kill the Lifegiving Essences as fast as they can. These Lifegiving Essences will spawn every 30 seconds upon which time Diabolique will consume them giving her a massive regeneration buff per each one consumed. When one is killed they will grant the party healing over time effect to all living characters. Now that the fight has started the party is limited in the amount of deaths allowed during this part. The party as a whole is allowed 20 deaths during this fight. If you go down early, get back up as soon as you can. As before there is no hospital anymore you can only be rez’ed by inspirations and powers. If your party exceeds the 20 death limit the trial fails and all rewards and badges are lost. If your party manages to kill all the Lifegiving Essences and Diabolique whoever landed the killing blow will be featured in the cut cinematic. After the cut cinematic the party will be awarded the final three badges. As well as Two Empyrean Merits upon successful completion of the Trial once per 20 hour period.Any successive completion of the Trial within that 20 hour window will instead award one Empyrean Merit. This functionality is essentially the Incarnate Trial version of Merit Reward Diminishing Returns. An Astral Merit will also be awarded immediately for freeing the fourth hero during Stage 2. An Astral Merit will be awarded immediately for defeating the Sentinel of Mut during Stage 2. An Astral Merit will be awarded immediately for completing the objectives of Stage 3. An Astral Merit will be awarded immediately for defeating Diabolique during Stage 4. An additional Astral Merit can be rewarded at the end of the trial for running as an Open League. An additional Astral Merit can be earned if the requirements for the Spinebreaker badge are fulfilled, even if you already have the badge. It is awarded at the end of the trial. An additional Astral Merit can be earned if the requirements for the Sentinel Smasher badge are fulfilled, even if you already have the badge. It is awarded at the end of the trial. An additional Astral Merit can be earned if the requirements for the Sacrificial Lamb badge are fulfilled, even if you already have the badge. It is awarded at the end of the trial. An additional Astral Merit can be earned if the requirements for the Life and Death badge are fulfilled, even if you already have the badge. It is awarded at the end of the trial. A random Rare Incarnate Component is awarded the first time the Master of Dilemma Diabolique badge.
  9. THE COMPLETE NEWCOMER'S GUIDE TO CITY OF HEROES INTRODUCTION TO THE GAME or JUST WHAT IS THIS "CITY OF HEROES" THING, ANYWAY? City of Heroes can be a little confusing if you're just getting into it. Many of the guides on this forum (including most of my own) are aimed at people who already have some passing familiarity with the game. The wikis (Homecoming and Paragon) are great for looking up specific things, but they don't provide much in the way of an overview. That's why I'm writing these guides. If you're thinking of starting playing—maybe the recent one-year anniversary of Homecoming piqued your curiosity, or maybe a friend who already plays invited you—then this will hopefully give you a good place to start. WHAT IS CITY OF HEROES? City of Heroes is a Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game, or MMORPG. This is an Internet-based game in which multiple players can get together and adventure, playing the roles of superheroes or villains fighting against criminals, villains, heroes, and other adversaries. Characters gain experience by defeating adversaries, or by completing missions that take place on instanced maps (which some might call "dungeons" in the old RPG parlance). As characters gain experience, they can "level up," increasing their ability to take and give damage and gaining additional powers that let them do it in new ways. WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CITY OF HEROES AND CITY OF VILLAINS? AND WHAT'S GOING ROGUE? City of Heroes was the original game in which characters played superheroes. City of Villains was an expansion added later on, in which characters could play villains in a different part of the world. (Although it was marketed as a separate game for a while, it was always just another part of the same game—as demonstrated by the way NCSoft eventually made both games free to anyone who owned one or the other.) Going Rogue was a new expansion added shortly before the original game shut down, in which players could take on the role of characters from the Praetorian "mirror universe" which features in a number of City of Heroes/Villains storylines. For simplicity, I'l refer to all three under the umbrella name City of Heroes in this guide. If you're just getting into City of Heroes, you should probably wait to play a Going Rogue character until you're more familiar with the original game. It was designed as an "advanced" setting offering greater challenges for experienced players. CAN I "WIN" CITY OF HEROES? As an MMORPG, City of Heroes does not have a single finite narrative the way single-player games do, with a defined beginning, progression, and conclusion. Instead, character progression is more open-ended. There are many narrative story arcs characters can take part in as they level up, but there's no "end" for a character to reach—no specific point where you can say you've "won." Players are free to set their own goals, of course; many players consider their character "finished" when they have leveled up all the way and have all their powers unlocked and enhanced for maximum effect, but they can still have plenty of fun playing those "finished" characters even after that. There are also plenty of achievements and badges to collect. DO I HAVE TO TEAM UP WITH OTHER PEOPLE? Like all MMOs, City of Heroes is made to promote teaming up. A good team-up, with characters who complement each others' abilities, can be a lot of fun. However, there are some times you just want to be by yourself. Fortunately, City of Heroes characters are balanced enough that it's possible to play nearly any well-built character solo through at least some content. The best soloing classes will be both tough and capable of dealing good damage: Brutes, Scrappers, Tankers, and Sentinels, for example. "Squishier" damage classes like Blasters, Corrupters, and Stalkers can solo nearly as well if they're careful; support classes like Defenders and Controllers won't do as much damage but can still adventure solo through most content, albeit a bit more slowly. Not all content can be soloed by all classes—archvillains and monsters need a lot of damage to put down. But almost every class can do at least some things by themselves, if the character is built well—that is, if their player chooses the right powers and upgrades them in the right ways. HOW DIFFICULT IS CITY OF HEROES? The game can seem fairly complex at first, and there's a bit of a learning curve. (That's why I'm writing these newcomer's guides, to try to provide a grounding in basic concepts that you can build on as you learn more.) But once you start to pick it up, you'll find it gets significantly easier. Some higher-level content can be especially challenging, but by the time you get there you should be able to play well enough to deal with it. As for how difficult individual missions are for your hero or villain character to complete, that's largely up to you. There is a system of difficulty control built into the game that will let you choose how tough or easy you want your missions to be, and whether you want just a few or a whole lot of enemies to appear in them. If you're having too much trouble, you can lower the difficulty (though you'll get less XP for defeating less difficult enemies). Or if you want more of a challenge (and more XP), you can ramp it up. In the game, this system is called "Notoriety." You'll sometimes also hear it referred to as "Reputation" by veteran players, as that's what it used to be called back in the old live days. DOES CITY OF HEROES HAVE "LOOT"? Veterans of other MMOs may be concerned about "loot"—valuable items that enemies may drop, or that you may have to do specific quests to obtain, that you may lose if your character dies and someone loots their corpse. When City of Heroes originally launched, one of the most appealing elements was the near-complete absence of this factor. And while more loot-like items or powers have been added to the game since, there is still nothing you could lose or have taken from you if you should be defeated, and the very rarest items in the game are still within pretty easy reach of any player who knows how to get them. There is a currency system in City of Heroes, called "Influence" on the hero side, "Infamy" for villains, and "Information" for Praetorians, abbreviated universally as "Inf". This currency actually doesn't have anything to do with financial money; heroes and villains are assumed to be just as rich or poor as they want to be. Instead, it's supposedly tied to how renowned the hero or villain is. It can be earned through adventuring, or by selling things on the in-game market. (It can also be earned by "farming" easily-repeated content, or by converting and reselling certain crafted items, but those are more advanced topics.) In the "live" version of the game, Inf prices of rare items on the in-game market could and often did go through the roof, but Homecoming's economy has price controls that keep everything within a more affordable range. Super-rare items do cost a lot more money than a new player would have, but they can still be obtained with sufficient time and effort put in. There are also a few secondary forms of reward currency, called "Merits," that are earned via completing certain types of content and can be used to buy certain rare items, but that's a more advanced topic to go into later. DOES CITY OF HEROES HAVE GUILDS? Yes! Although the City of Heroes version of them is called "supergroups." These are organizations that characters can join to play alongside friends and players of other like-minded characters. Being part of a supergroup means you can see which other players in the group are online and what they're doing right now. It also means you have access to the supergroup base, which includes amenities like teleporters, item storage, access to trainers or vendors, and so on. Supergroup bases used to have their own in-game currency called "Prestige" that characters would build up by playing, and could be spent to afford better bases. However, in Homecoming, all base items are now free, which means that it's possible to build some very impressive bases. There used to be two separate forms of supergroup—supergroups for heroes, villain groups for villains. However, in Homecoming, both heroic and villainous characters can belong to the same group, with access to the same base. DOES CITY OF HEROES HAVE PVP (PLAYER-VS-PLAYER) COMBAT? Yes and no. The vast majority of content in the game for both heroes and villains is PVE, player-vs-environment, in which human players cooperate or play singly against computer-controlled enemies. However, there are four "PvP Zones," which are areas of the game where players from both sides can enter and clash. Some of them have useful temporary powers offered as rewards to entice players into them. There is also an arena where players can set up PvP matches against other players. (There also used to be a specialized form of PvP called "base raids," where supergroups could raid other supergroups' bases, but that was taken out of the game when supergroup base construction was made free.) There are also several co-op zones, where players from both hero and villain factions can team up to fight common enemies in PvE. No player is ever forced to engage in PvP, apart from being required to enter those PVP zones if you want to obtain those useful temporary powers. In fact, it's pretty rare for much PvP combat to happen at all, outside of the "unofficial PvP server," Indomitable. DOES CITY OF HEROES HOMECOMING COST MONEY TO PLAY? No. The game is made available completely free to all players, and things in the game that used to cost real-world money are now either free or bought with the in-game currency Inf instead. (One of the in-game vendors is called the "P2W Store," a name that often confuses newcomers because "P2W" usually refers to paying real money for in-game advantages, but this is just a little inside joke; the store only deals in Inf.) In fact, anyone charging real money for anything within the game is against the Code of Conduct, and if you see someone making such an offer you should report it to the game masters right away. The Homecoming servers do cost money to host, and there are some other expenses involved, but these are paid for strictly through voluntary donations, and Homecoming is careful never to accept more donations than necessary to meet those costs. A donation window opens on the last Sunday of every month, and closes as soon as enough donations have come in from players—an hour or two at most, and often just a matter of minutes. IS PLAYING CITY OF HEROES LEGAL? If you're really concerned about the legality of something, you should ask a real lawyer, which I am not. I can't give you legal advice. That said, to this layperson it seems highly unlikely you would get in trouble for playing it. There are so many players that it would cost NCSoft a small fortune to sue them all, even if there was an incentive to. It's far likelier that the people operating the Homecoming server itself (and the various other independent server efforts like Rebirth, Thunderspy, etc.) would be the ones to get in trouble—and if they were going to get in trouble over it, they probably would have by now. In fact, Homecoming's administrators have been engaged in talks with NCSoft for several months to establish legitimacy for this new version of the game. Both sides are being very tight-lipped about the progress of the negotiations, but at least they do still seem to be going on. Homecoming passing its one-year anniversary without any significant trouble seems to be a pretty good sign. Whether you want to get started in the game before those negotiations conclude successfully is up to you. The most you're likely to lose if things don't work out is all the time and effort you put into your characters—the same thing the people who played the game originally lost when NCSoft first closed it down. The difference is, you're not also pouring monthly subscription fees into it! WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HOMECOMING, REBIRTH, AND THE OTHER NEW CITY OF HEROES SERVERS? All of these different servers forked the City of Heroes codebase that was originally leaked and took it in different directions. Some of them run servers as close as possible to the version that existed on the day the original ("live") version of the game closed down. Others (including Homecoming) developed new code on top of it, including their own new power sets or character classes. This MassivelyOP article discusses differences between different City of Heroes server projects that existed as of May, 2020. Otherwise, if you want to find out more about the non-Homecoming servers, Google is your friend. HOW DO I GET STARTED PLAYING CITY OF HEROES ON HOMECOMING? Glad you asked! Go to the "Getting Started" section of the Homecoming Forum and follow the instructions on installing the game and creating your accounts. And once you've got the game installed, go to my next guide and I'll walk you through the process of logging in and character creation.
  10. THE COMPLETE NEWCOMER'S GUIDE TO CITY OF HEROES STARTING OUT WITH YOUR FIRST CHARACTER or I JUST FLEW INTO THE CITY, AND BOY ARE MY ARMS TIRED Welcome, at last, to the City of Heroes (or Villains)! In previous guides, I've gone over basic facts about the game, how to create your character, and some of the terminology you'll encounter as you play. If you're following along, you should have just completed the tutorial, and have emerged anew into the city with all its wonders. Let's get you started adventuring, shall we? First, a couple of caveats. This advice only covers starting out in the City of Heroes or City of Villains factions. Things work a little differently in Going Rogue, which is part of why I suggested you not create your first character over there. By the time you're ready for Going Rogue, you should have a better handle on how things work in general, and have an easier time starting in an environment that isn't as friendly to new players. Also, this advice is only meant for your first character. Once you get more experienced, with future characters you may want to skip over a lot of it. But to get a good jump on the learning curve, you should start with the basics. Learn to walk before you run, and other clichés like that. Also, I would recommend doing your first few missions solo, so you can move at your own pace and not have someone else dragging you along at their speed—although if a friend invited you to the game, it seems likely they might want to show you the ropes themselves, so you should certainly let them help you out. This advice isn't meant to be comprehensive, by the way; I'm not going to cover all of the different tabs in the options menu, or tell you how to do everything. A lot of that stuff, you'll learn better by doing it for yourself. The Homecoming Wiki, ParagonWiki, the in-game /help channel, and the Homecoming Discord server are all good sources of help to go to when you need to know something I'm not covering. I'm just going to give you the very basics, and you can have the joy of discovering other stuff as you go along. Let's begin. HELP ME! On arriving in Paragon City or the Rogue Isles, one of the first pop-up windows you get prompts you to set yourself as "Helper" or "Help Me!" Choosing one of those titles will cause a title to appear over your name when other people see it over your head, saying either "Helper" or "Help Me!" and will also color your character name a particular way so it's easier for such folks to recognize. I highly recommend that you set yourself as "Help Me!," at least at first. This tells everyone you meet that you're brand new to the game, and they may be more inclined to offer friendly advice and assistance. Likewise, if you see someone else who has "Helper" over their name, that means they consciously chose to mark themselves as someone newbies could approach with questions, so it won't bother them if you go up and ask them to help you with something. If you made a mistake, or should feel you don't need help anymore, you can change this setting at any time just by pressing "H" to bring up the help screen and picking another option from the drop-down. This title system is also how people can tag themselves as "roleplayers," meaning that they're more likely to be playing their characters in-character. If that sounds like fun to you, you may want to change to that setting later on. But for now, you should probably stick with "Help Me!" until you learn the ropes. YOUR GLOBAL CHAT HANDLE AND YOU The next thing you might want to do is change your global chat handle. Your global chat handle, or "global" for short, is a handle people can use to message or email you regardless of which character you're logged into. They can also add you to their global friends list, which will let them see where you're logged in and what character you're playing (if you haven't turned on "hide" to make yourself invisible). Global handles are also used for emailing items or Inf from one character to another. By default, your global chat handle will be set to the name of your first character, but that may not be what you want to keep it set to. You can change this handle once, by clicking Menu at the top right, then Global Chat Handle (X) about 2/3 of the way down the list of options. After you've changed it, you can come back to this menu option to be reminded of what it is, but if you need to change it again after that you'll need to ask a Game Master for help. So double-check what you typed before you click the submit button. TRAINING UP Now that you've got your help status and global chat handle set, it's time to train up. Go talk to the trainer. In Atlas Park, that will be Ms. Liberty. (There's another trainer, Back Alley Brawler, over near the west end of the zone, but Ms. Liberty is right up the steps from where new characters begin.) In Mercy Island, that will be Arbiter Richard. You can easily locate the trainer on your map (hit "M" to open it and use the slide on the right side to zoom in) by their icon, a white circle with a green silhouette of a person in it. The tutorial ends by giving you enough XP to reach level 2, so you'll be able to train up immediately and select a new power from the choices given. Every time you level up, you'll go to the nearest trainer and choose more powers, or more Enhancement slots for your existing powers, so you'll be doing this a lot. Don't worry that you might make the "wrong" choice and somehow "mess up" your character. The choices you make for skills and Enhancement slots aren't permanent. As you continue to play, you'll be given several opportunities per character to "respec"—that is, respecify your power and enhancement choices. If you use up all those chances, you can buy further additional chances pretty inexpensively on the auction house. You can't change your Origin, character archetype, or what primary and secondary power sets you chose, but you will be able to change what powers you picked from those sets when, and how the slots are distributed among them. In fact, you should probably just accept that you will want to respec your character sooner or later, just because you can't fully understand what all the powers do or how much enhancement you should put into them until you've tried them out. So for right now, just pick whatever power looks good to you and put whatever slots you want to into them. There's no wrong way to make your first character; it's all a learning experience. PLAY TO WIN WITH PAY 2 WIN The P2W Store has a number of free items that new players may find very helpful. Remember, even though it's called "P2W," that's just a developer in-joke; there are no real monetary costs involved. You can find the P2W by looking for dollar-sign icons on your map; it will be one of those. (In fact, there's also a P2W store in the Outbreak/Breakout tutorials; if you're reading through this guide before you play through the tutorial, you could also go ahead and grab all these things while you're in it.) I would recommend stopping by the store and picking these free powers up on every character as soon as you make them: The Origin-bonus Blackwand (if your character is Magic, Mutant, or Natural Origin) or the Origin-bonus Nemesis Staff (if your character is Science, Technology, or Natural; Natural Origin can choose which of the two they want to take the bonus on) Two powers out of: Sands of Mu, Ghost-Slaying Axe, or non-Origin-bonus Blackwand/Nemesis Staff Either Jump Pack or Steam Jump Either Beast Run or Ninja Run Whichever Buff Pet best fits your character's concept Inner Inspiration, Secondary Mutation, or Mystic Fortune (I'd recommend Inner Inspiration, as it provides three medium or large Inspirations per use, very handy when starting the game) The five free Prestige Enhancements, which you can slot into your first few attack powers to add a good chunk of damage, recharge rate, and some useful procs (chances for the power to cause some extra effect). You can come back and get other powers that cost Inf later on, when you actually have some Inf. I actually wouldn't recommend taking the XP boost options to start, because those options cut down on the amount of Inf you get, and you don't currently have any. Also, you're still learning the game, so perhaps you don't want to level too quickly just yet. ARRANGING YOUR POWER TRAYS You've just picked up a bunch of extra powers—so you may now be wondering where they are. When you buy a power in the P2W Store, it doesn't automatically add itself to your tray the way your powers do when you train. You're going to have to drag those powers down to your tray—and to do that, you'll want to make some room. When you start out, you just get one tray of ten power slots, numbered 1 through 0. But when you get more powers, you're going to need more places to put them. At the far right, just above your power tray, you should see a + sign and then a triangle. Click the triangle, and another power tray will appear above your first one. Click it one more time, and you'll get a third tray. (And the triangle reverses, meaning that you can click it again to drop back to one tray.) These trays will all start out with the number "1" on the left end and show the exact same powers, but click the triangle to the right of the "1" and it will change to the number "2". You'll probably want to make the middle tray "2" and the top tray "3". You can have up to 9 trays full of 10 icons each; the same power icon can be in more than one tray, but you can't put one power in the same tray twice. Next, click "Powers" at the left, just above your first tray slot. That will open your powers window, and along the right side you'll see all those powers you got from the P2W. Drag them one at a time into spaces where you want them on your tray. Note that you can hotkey the powers in your first tray by pressing numbers 1 through 0, and hotkey the powers in your second and third tray by pressing Alt+ or Ctrl+ the number, respectively. If that's still not enough trays for you, you can add even more. Click the + and you'll see a floating tray appear in the upper left of your screen. Change it to show power tray 4, then drag it to where you want it, and click + again if you want another. You can change the shape of floating trays by right-clicking on them, and choosing one of the options. If you choose Horizontal or Vertical, you can actually bend the tray into an "L" shape by dragging it against the edge of the screen. Play around with these extra trays and see how you want them. By the time you reach level 50, you'll probably have enough powers and macros to fill all 9 possible power trays. Powers in these floating trays can't be hotkeyed, so if you prefer using keys to clicking, you'll want to put your most-often-used powers in the three basic trays, while moving less-often-used ones to the floaters. SPEAKING TO YOUR FIRST CONTACT Next, it's time to get your first real mission! Go talk to the contact the tutorial assigned you, and take their first mission. (You can actually talk to any of the beginning contacts, even the ones the tutorial didn't give you, but it's probably best to keep things simple and go with that one.) They'll have a mission for you, which will send you to speak to someone else, defeat enemies, or enter a door elsewhere in the starting zone. If it's very far away, you can use the run and jump powers you got from the P2W store to help you get there more quickly. After you complete the mission, you'll need to come back to the contact and talk to them again to take another mission. At some point, probably after another mission or two, they should let you call them from your contact screen after future missions, so you don't have to run all the way back every time. The contact will offer you several missions as part of a single arc—a series of related missions that tell a story over the course of running them. When the arc finishes, you'll get an XP bonus and several Reward Merits, and you'll probably level up once or twice during that time as well. Most contacts offer one or two arcs, as well as a few stand-alone missions, all of which are good for earning some more XP. ARE THINGS TOO TOUGH? HERE'S HOW TO FIX THAT Not all beginning characters are created equal, and sometimes you can run up against enemies who are too challenging for you, even if they're just the same level as you. Fortunately, there's a way built into the game to fix that—though it's located in an odd place in the game's interface. On the left side of your screen, in the text entry field under the chat window, there's a round button with a speech balloon in it. Clicking that button brings up a menu. Most of the items in the menu are chat-related options, but at the very bottom is Set Notoriety. Choose that, and another menu opens up, letting you select what level of enemies you'll face, how many members the game should think are on your team, whether you want there to be Boss class enemies when you're soloing, and whether you want to face any Archvillains when soloing. The level indicator is probably set to +0, meaning that you will face mainly enemies of your own level or one higher. You can change it as low as -1, to make enemies one level lower than or the same level as you, so they'll be easier to hit and won't do as much damage to you. You can also set "Solo Bosses" to "No" and any enemy who would have been a tougher, more challenging Boss type will be a Lieutenant instead. ("Elite Bosses," a special kind of Boss, will still be Elite Bosses, though.) But note that reducing the difficulty also reduces the amount of XP you get from enemies. The chat options menu seems like a strange place to put mission difficulty settings, but it's a side-effect of some of the changes Homecoming's developers made to make things simpler for the players. In the live version of the game, the only way to change difficulty was by by talking to a Hero Corps analyst (one of the light-and-dark-blue-clad heroes, like the one standing just northeast of City Hall in Atlas) or Fortunata Fateweaver in person. (And you can still change the difficulty settings that way as well, if you like.) But to let players change the difficulty immediately from wherever their characters are, the options had to be added to a menu, and there aren't a whole lot of options menus in the game that can be opened with just one click. The chat options menu was apparently the only one players could quickly open up if they needed to make changes on the spur of the moment. TWINSHOT AND DR. GRAVES When you reach level 5, you will be given one of these two contacts: Twinshot on the hero side, Dr. Graves on the villain side. These contracts will introduce you to a series of further tutorial arcs (at levels 5, 10, and 15) that will walk you through some additional explanation of the game, so you should definitely do their missions on your first character. You will already know some of the things they go over (how to train up or use transit lines, for example), but on the whole, the repetition doesn't hurt. You probably won't want to do these contacts' arcs on other characters, but they'll help you learn even more about the game by doing. And they're pretty amusingly written, as well. WHAT ABOUT "DEATH FROM BELOW"? As you adventure through Atlas Park or Mercy Island, you'll probably see Death from Below (DFB) advertised multiple times on the LFG or Broadcast chat channels. Death from Below is an entry-level trial, available separately for both heroes and villains, in which you face several archvillains and will undoubtedly gain a lot of XP (especially if you have the Double XP booster enabled). It's a pretty common way to jump characters past the very first few levels so they can move on to other zones and start doing higher-level content immediately. On your first character, I would not recommend jumping into one of these until after you've completed at least the first Twinshot or Dr. Graves arc. While Death From Below is a lot of fun, it can also cause you to outlevel the very entry-level content that will demonstrate to you how to play the game, while the enemies are still relatively weak and don't have many special abilities that make them harder for you to handle. Once you know more about how to play the game, that's not an issue, and you can court Death from Below to your heart's content. (In fact, after you complete the level 5 Twinshot/Dr. Graves arc, doing a DFB at that point would probably level you up enough that you can immediately start the level 10 arc next.) But I would strongly recommend playing out those introductory arcs first. VIGILANTE, ROGUE, AND YOU One other thing you might want to change right away is your character's alignment. There are four basic alignments in City of Heroes/Villains. Hero and Villain are the basic default alignments for starting on the Hero (blue) or Villain (red) side of the game. However, there are also two in-between alignments—Vigilante on the blue side, and Rogue on the red side. Each of these alignments is treated as Hero or Villain in terms of the main content they can do and the badges and Accolades they can get (as well as the sides they fight on in PVP zones), but they also get limited access to the other side's content. Both Vigilante and Rogue can travel anywhere in both Paragon City and the Rogue Isles. They can join teams doing missions or Task/Strike Forces/Trials on the opposite side (Vigilante can join Villain teams; Rogue can join Hero teams), and can participate in those missions, but they can't speak to most opposing contacts themselves. They can speak to Detective or Broker contacts to get a police radio or newspaper, and they can also start Task Forces, Strike Forces, or Trials from either side. If all this sounds too complicated to you, feel free to ignore it until later on. There's no reason you have to be anything other than the straight Hero or Villain you start out as. However, once you've learned your way around the game a little, you might want to go ahead and swap to one of those in-between alignments—especially if you start out as a Villain. The blue side has a lot more players than the red side, so if you're a Villain who wants to team up, you may have to go Rogue in order to find other people to team with. (The Rogue alignment has no connection to the Going Rogue expansion, by the way, and characters who start out in the Praetorian (gold) setting can't change alignment until they leave Praetoria at level 20.) It used to be that you had to wait until level 20 to change sides, and it was a slow, laborious process involving doing ten Tip missions followed by an alignment mission to change or confirm your alignment. However, Homecoming added a contact called Null the Gull—a seagull who sits on top of a truck on the villain side of the Pocket D dance club. If you can travel safely to Pocket D, you can change your alignment to any of the other three alignments at any time. Some players do this immediately on each new character they make so they have access to that much more content while leveling up. HELP, I'M STUCK! WHAT CAN I DO? In a previous guide, I already mentioned The Homecoming Wiki, ParagonWiki, the in-game /help channel, and the Homecoming Discord server as places you could look for more information or help from fellow players about things that aren't clear. (Or look for some player with "Helper" floating over their head.) But sometimes that kind of help isn't enough. City of Heroes isn't perfect; it does have its share of game-breaking bugs that crop up from time to time. Sometimes an enemy may get stuck in a wall or ceiling so you can't damage it, but you need to defeat it to complete the mission. Or sometimes you just can't find the last objective and are not sure if something's wrong with the mission. If you need actual help with the game, then you'll need to find a Game Master (GM). The easiest way to do that is to type "/petition (whatever your problem is)" from the chat window. (For example, "/petition Enemy stuck in wall, can't complete mission".) Then select the category and type a brief description of your problem. The petition will immediately be sent to the Game Masters' ticket queue, and if there's a GM currently on duty, they will be pinged to respond to it. (You can also file a ticket into the same system using Homecoming's support webpage, which also permits attaching screenshots and such if you have any that are relevant.) However, there won't always be a Game Master on duty to answer the petition. To see if there is, you can go to the Discord server I linked above and check the sidebar on the right side of the screen (in the desktop version). There will be categories of GM listed there, including possibly "On-Duty Game Master." If the category does not exist, there aren't any GMs currently on duty. Unfortunately, as a volunteer effort, Homecoming's GM coverage can be a bit spotty—especially late at night, or during business hours on weekdays. If there's no GM on duty, it could be a while before they can respond to your ticket. If your problem is urgent, you can try messaging or tagging one of the GMs who shows the green dot of being logged into Discord and see if they can help you, but bear in mind that they may not be in any position to help; they might be nowhere near their computer and just logged into Discord from their phone. If worst comes to worst, you have two choices: automatically completing the mission, or resetting the mission and doing it over. AUTOCOMPLETING OR RESETTING A MISSION Once every three days, City of Heroes will let you complete a mission automatically—that is, make the contact mark the mission completed without you actually meeting its goals. This can be useful if you're stuck and there's no GM around to help you get past it. All you need to do is call the contact, and choose "Complete the current mission from this contact." You should only use this as a last resort, however, because you won't be able to do it again for another three days. To reset a mission, so you can go through it again and hope it doesn't get stuck this time, first exit the mission. Then you need to select another mission from your list of missions, from some other contact, and set it as your active mission. (If you're high enough level to get these, a newspaper or radio mission or a tip mission would work, since those are easy to obtain.) When you set the new mission as your active mission, the game will warn you that you're about to abandon all progress on that other mission. Tell it to proceed, then after the new mission is selected, you can select the other mission again and begin it again. Alternately, you can just log out of the game and log back in, and all your progress on the mission will be reset. Also, if you call or visit the contact as if you were autocompleting the mission, there should also be a choice to abandon the mission. This will usually let you call and accept the same mission again. In addition to resetting stuck missions, this will also let you apply a different Difficulty (Notoriety) level to the mission, if you had the wrong one set before you started it. To reset a Task Force or Strike Force mission, all members of the team have to log out, wait for two minutes, then log back in. It can be necessary to do this if a Task Force mission begins repeating after a player quits the TF. There's no other real way to get the TF kicked back into gear when that happens. CONCLUSION AND FURTHER ADVICE Congratulations! You've taken your first few steps into a larger world. Though things start off pretty simple, as you continue to level up the game will get increasingly complex, with new systems becoming available to you. Fortunately, many of these new systems include tutorial or introductory missions, or else have guides available elsewhere on the forum—and by the time you need those guides, hopefully the rest of the game will have started making enough sense to you that they'll be easier to follow. As for where you go from here—why not join a Death from Below trial now that you've finished your first few missions? Or when you get to level 8, see if you can get on a Positron Task Force (if you're a Hero, Vigilante, or Rogue; Villains have to wait for level 15 to do Virgil Tarikoss's Strike Force). Join a team of people doing missions and see how the game works in a group. If you need extra Inf to build up your character, check out the techniques I suggest in my guide to making fast money through Enhancement conversion. It takes a bit of work, but it's still possible to make tens of millions of Inf in a relatively short time, even starting from nothing at all. Once you have more cash, you can go and check out those powers that cost big money in the P2W store. You might want to check out the rest of my guides, too. When you get to King's Row or Port Oakes, speak to the Detective or Broker contact there to get access to the police radio/newspaper random mission system. When it's safe to enter Steel Canyon or Cap au Diable, you should run by that university and speak to the contact who will walk you through a tutorial on how the in-game crafting system works. When you reach level 20, you can start doing Tip Missions for extra merits, or to change your alignment—or you can speak to Null the Gull in Pocket D (the seagull on top of a truck in the red side of the club) to change your alignment at any time. And when you reach level 50, there's the further complexity of the Incarnate system to explore… When it comes time to respec your character, don't forget to take a screenshot of the way your power trays are arranged. (You can use Windows Key + Shift + S to open the Windows snipping tool to capture the trays, then paste the image into a paint program.) The respec will reset the positions of all your power icons, so you'll want that reminder of how they were originally set up so you can drag them back into place. Whatever you do, have fun with it! If you get frustrated, it's okay to seek help from other players or GMs. You're doing this to have fun, so it should be fun for you. And if you have any questions these guides didn't answer, or you think I got something wrong, please leave a comment under the relevant guide. If there's a mistake or an omission, I'll be happy to fix it, and I'm sure the discussion will also be useful to future new players who read these threads. I'll see you in the City of Heroes (or Villains)!
  11. THE COMPLETE NEWCOMER'S GUIDE TO CITY OF HEROES BASIC TERMINOLOGY AND CONCEPTS or HOW DO I SHOT WEB? Before I go over how to spend your new character's first day in City of Heroes, there are a few concepts I should introduce to make things go easier. These are things you'll encounter in your first hours playing the game, but will be dealing with all throughout the course of it, so getting an idea of what they mean now will help you start off on the right foot. I'll try to keep these explanations simple, because you really will learn a lot more from experience. EXPERIENCE POINTS Since you'll be learning from experience, we'll start your learning with…experience! Experience Points, that is; usually abbreviated to "XP." These points are how the game charts your progress as you defeat bad (or good) guys and complete missions. After you collect a certain amount of XP, you will "level up"—that is, graduate to the next character level, so you can go to a trainer and improve your powers. You'll also be greeted with a nifty chime and visual effect celebrating your ascendancy, and have a large set of Inspirations automatically applied to you. (Including an Awaken, so if you're currently face-down from having been defeated when it happens, you'll immediately be brought back to life.) If you're on a team, these things will call your level-up to your teammates' attention, and they may congratulate you. (Because of that chime, leveling up is also referred to as a "ding," and it's not uncommon for people who level up to shout "Ding!" or "Ding <level number>!" when it happens, or use the term as a verb. "When I ding 50...") The amount of XP required to level up scales up as you level up. At level 1 or 2, it just requires defeating an enemy or two, or just a few, to do it. By the time you're in your 40s, you'll have to defeat hundreds of them (as well as obtain XP from other sources). Also, the amount of XP you get from individual defeats scales up level by level. There are charts out there giving the exact details of how many enemy defeats it takes per level if you care to look for them, but most players don't really worry about that. They track their progress by the graphical representation in the upper right corner of the screen, in the same place as their Health and Endurance bars. To the right of the Health and Endurance bars is a dial with ten wedge-shaped segments (often referred to as "bubbles" or "bubs"). Below the Health and End bars is an XP bar. The bar starts out empty, but will fill with pink as you defeat enemies and earn XP. Each filled bar represents one filled bubble, and you must fill ten bubbles to advance to the next level. (Since filling one bar amounts to a bubble, sometimes players will talk about needing "two more bubs," or they may say "two more bars.") PATROL XP AND XP DEBT Did you know you can earn XP for not playing your character? In the picture above, you'll note that part of the XP bar is blue, and there are two blue bubbles after the filled pink ones. This blue segment is called Patrol XP. It's a sort of XP bonus you get for staying logged out over long periods of time—approximately one full bar per day. When you next adventure, that blue bar will add to the amount of regular XP you earn until it is used up. Each time you earn one experience point, one of the Patrol experience points will convert into a regular one, meaning that you'll earn XP twice as fast until you use it up. (Patrol XP only counts toward XP from enemy defeats, not from other sources such as end-of-mission XP bonuses.) You won't encounter the other kind of XP modifier until you reach level 10. That is XP debt. When you're defeated after level 10, you'll get a form of negative XP added onto your XP bar, called XP Debt—the brown segment in the picture above. This debt works just like patrol XP, but in reverse: out of every two XP you earn, one will be deducted from the XP debt until the debt is gone. There are ways to work off debt faster, but in actuality they hardly matter, because most of the time you'll hardly even notice your XP debt before it's worked off by defeating a few enemies on your way to the next level. You will earn half as much debt for being defeated within a mission as you would for being defeated within a regular map zone. Back when City of Heroes was first launched, the way of thinking in MMO design was that there should be some sort of extra punishment for being defeated in battle—be that making you have to go find your corpse to get your stuff back, or tacking an XP penalty onto you for it. In those days, you would get a half-bar of debt for being defeated inside a mission, or a whole bar for being defeated outside. Many players would groan about it—but some would intentionally get defeated multiple times to slow down their leveling progress so they could experience more content without outleveling it. Those days are long gone. Now you can simply choose to turn off XP gain with a switch in the options menu if you want to slow down your leveling—and there's a flashback system for going back to play content you missed, so you don't even have to do that. And the amount of XP Debt you get for defeats has been vastly reduced. (Also, "In my day, we had to earn XP uphill both ways, in the snow...") XP Debt and Patrol XP cancel each other out. If you have Patrol XP when you're defeated after level 10, the amount of debt will subtract from the Patrol XP instead of adding the brown segment. Also, if you log out with debt, the next time you log in that debt will be reduced by the amount of Patrol XP you would have earned in that time. INFLUENCE, INFAMY, AND INFORMATION Besides XP, the other thing you'll earn from defeating enemies is the game's main system of currency, Inf. Depending on which side your character starts out, Inf may stand for Influence (for heroes), Infamy (for villains), or Information (for Praetorians). The different names are just for thematic purposes, because it's actually the exact same currency—if your character switches sides from hero to villain, they will have the same amount of Infamy as they did Influence before the change. Inf is actually not meant to represent material wealth, but rather how well-regarded your character is in the overall heroing, villainous, or Praetorian community. At the time City of Heroes was launched, "reputation currency" was a nifty new idea in some science-fictional and philosophical circles (for example, it featured heavily in Cory Doctorow's 2003 novel Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom). It's easy to see why the game developers went that route, since it offered a way to avoid the mercenary connotations that would arise out of heroes having to earn real money for their heroing work in order to upgrade their powers. Also, it gives players more control over their characters' backstories. If they want to say their character lives in a penthouse, or they want them to live just up the alley from where Skulls and Hellions mug people, that's entirely up to them. It doesn't make a difference to the game either way. In any case, as you defeat enemies, you will earn both XP and Inf. Inf can be used at vendors or auction houses to buy things including Enhancements and Inspirations (more on those shortly) to power up your characters. You can also use the game's email system to email Inf to other people, or to yourself if you want to be able to move it from character to character or simply keep it in storage. Your character can't have more than 2 billion Inf in its wallet at any one time; any amount you earn over that is simply lost. If you approach that 2 billion Inf cap, you'll probably want to email yourself a few hundred million to clear room for more. (It may seem unimaginable to you right now that you could ever have two billion Inf, but you'll get there.) There is a free XP booster you can get at the P2W store that will increase the amount of XP you earn. However, it will also cut the amount of Inf you earn by the same percentage—so if you double your XP, you won't earn any Inf from adventuring at all. As you're just starting out in the game, you might want to leave that alone for now. There are also other (and faster) ways to earn Inf than just adventuring. In fact, I cover a method that will let you earn your first million or so Inf within just an hour of gameplay in another of my guides. But that's one of those advanced guides that assumes a little more game knowledge than someone just starting out might have, so it might be best to save that one until you've played the game a little and understand a little more. ENHANCEMENTS It probably won't come as a surprise that Enhancements are one of the more complicated elements of City of Heroes. Enhancements are the way you upgrade and customize your powers—and there are a whole lot of different kinds of them. Fortunately, you won't encounter most of those kinds until you've had more experience in the game, so I won't cover those in any detail. But even going over the kinds you'll run into when you start out will be complicated enough. If you've already gone through the tutorial for that character you created in the previous guide, you'll have been introduced to Enhancements already. They fit into spaces on your powers, that you add to your powers as you level up. A power starts with just one slot, and you can add up to five, for a total of six. When City of Heroes launched, first there were just three fundamental categories of Enhancement. Training Enhancements (or Trainings) are low-level Enhancements, that dropped from defeated enemies at levels 1-14. Dual-Origin Enhancements (abbreviated as DOs) started dropping at level 15 (as well as being available for purchase in stores at that level). They are twice as effective as Trainings, and each one can be used by characters who have one of two particular Origins. For example, one variety of DO can be used by Mutant or Magic characters, another can be used by Magic or Natural characters, another by Natural or Technology, and so on. Single-Origin Enhancements (SOs) are twice as effective as DOs (hence, four times as effective as Trainings) and started dropping (and selling) at level 25, and can be used by characters of that one specific Origin that they're meant for. As you level up, these Enhancements will become less effective and eventually expire. You can slot them starting three levels below the level of the Enhancement. (For example, you can slot a level 15 DO when your character is level 12.) As long as the Enhancement is higher than your character's level, the number will be colored green. When it is exactly equal to your character's level, it will be colored white. When it is up to 3 levels lower than your character, it is colored yellow. If it is more than 3 levels higher or lower than your character's level, the Enhancement will be colored red, and you can't slot it (and if it's one you slotted already and outleveled, it just won't do anything for the power it's in until it's replaced with a higher-level Enhancement). To make the Enhancements last longer, you can combine Enhancements that are less than 3 levels higher than you are, to bump them up one more level in effectiveness. Even so, in days of old, it was not uncommon for a teammate to say, "Hold up, guys, all my Enhancements just went red," and for them have to spend five or ten minutes at a store hastily buying and slotting new ones. And they would have to do this every five levels. Fortunately, as time went on, the developers introduced new kinds of Enhancement to the game, including Invention Enhancements that don't expire. However, you probably won't be making much use of those until you get into your level 20s. Invention Enhancements can be kind of complicated, but you shouldn't worry about those when you're just getting into the game. By the time you've leveled up to the point where Invention Enhancements will be a good option for your character, you'll be better able to understand the other guides that discuss those in more detail. As a just-starting player, most of the Enhancements you'll be dealing with right now until you reach level 12 will be Trainings. These are the ones that will drop when you defeat some enemies. You should slot ones you can use and sell ones you can't—or just sell all of them to get a little extra money you can use for other things. I wouldn't really suggest buying more, though. To be honest, as little as Trainings do, it's almost not worth messing with them at all. At low levels, your character gets some automatic buffs that make the Enhancements a lot less important; these buffs dwindle and go away by level 20. Incidentally, this whole business may be just about to change. Since Invention Enhancements have effectively rendered Trainings and DOs obsolete, a patch currently testing on the open beta server will make SO Enhancements available starting at level 5. (And once it goes live, I'll have to update this section of my guide.) That will make your Enhancement drops much more effective. INSPIRATIONS As you adventure, you will also have Inspirations drop from defeated enemies, or be available to purchase in the same stores that sell Inspirations. Inspirations are temporary power-ups you can use at any time to boost your damage, accuracy, defense, and other statistics, or to recover health or Endurance. Inspirations are square tokens that show up in a tray above your power trays, where you can click one to use it up. The basic Inspirations you receive at first will be a solid color with a particular logo on them representing their effect, and they come in three sizes with different level of effectiveness. The small size is the only one you can purchase directly from vendors; you can get larger ones from higher-level enemies or the auction house, among other places. Players often refer to Inspirations as "candy," or by the color of the inspiration ("greens," "blues," etc.). When you start out, you'll only be able to hold three Inspirations in your tray, but as you level up you'll get more space. Inspirations can make the difference between failure and success. It's not uncommon for players to go by the vendor and pick up whole trays full of purple (Defense) Inspirations before going into particularly challenging missions. One type of Inspiration, Awakens, will let you resurrect ("rez") yourself after having been defeated, though they leave you vulnerable for a good amount of time so be sure you're in a safe place before you use them. There are a few other types of Inspiration beyond just the basic, that you will be able to get later on. Don't be afraid to use your Inspirations. You can only get more Inspirations from defeating enemies if you have empty space in your tray for them to drop into. It's tempting to save Inspirations, especially bigger ones, for later on when you think you might need them. However, if you use them as often as possible, you get the benefit of them right away and make room for more to come to you later—or for teammates to pass them to you if they see you need them. If you keep your Inspiration tray full all the time, you're passing up many chances to get more. INVENTION SALVAGE At some point, the game will notify you that you've just received your first piece of invention salvage from a defeated enemy. Invention salvage is used in City of Heroes's crafting system, where you can build Invention Enhancements out of pieces you pick up or buy at auction. For now, you should probably just hold onto it. You can learn more about crafting Inventions by taking the tutorial offered by an NPC at the universities in Steel Canyon or Cap au Diable. REWARD MERITS You will receive your first few reward merits early on, after you complete your first mission story arcs. (I'll discuss those in the next guide, about starting off your adventures in Paragon City.) Reward Merits are a system of tokens that are awarded for certain accomplishments in the game, such as completing story arcs or Task/Strike Forces, or visiting all the exploration badges in a zone. You can use them at Reward Merit Vendors to purchase various items such as Enhancements or Recipes. You will probably want to save these Merits up at first, as most of the things you could buy with them aren't that useful at lower levels. In a couple of my other guides, I do discuss things you can buy with them in more detail, as well as how to use them to make money. You may want to get a little more experience at playing the game before you dive too deeply into those, however. There are other types of Merits in the game (Hero/Villain, Vanguard, Empyrean, etc.) but you won't encounter those until considerably later on. CONCLUSION Hopefully, I haven't confused you too badly. In the next guide, I will offer advice for getting started on your first day in Paragon City or the Rogue Isles.
  12. Homecoming Ouro Reward merits Hero&Villain 2020-04.pdf Here is the updated merit reward amounts for Ouro arcs for Hero and Villain sides. Sorry for the PDF, this data will be formatted to a more useful way at a later time. Homecoming has previously adjusted merit reward amounts vs Live based on average time to complete the arc. _ Edit: Date added. This was not an adjustment of merit amounts, just a listing long overdue of the amounts HC has had since day 1.
  13. Table of contents: Commonly Asked Questions Common Mistakes What is Bodyguard Mode (BGM) Power Bar Set Up Example Builds Helpful links In Closing Commonly Asked Questions Q: What is the most common reason people do not play Masterminds? A: The most obvious reason is due to the lack of info of masterminds. The second most common issue is other players giving masterminds a hard time due to pets getting in the way. Pets were fixed in Page 4 of CoX Homecoming Q: If you were to give advice to a new mastermind player what would it be? A: The best advice I could give is that bodyguard mode is a life saver. Q: What are the highest DPS pets? A: Robots. However Thugs can easily contend for highest DPS Common Mistakes The biggest and possibly the most prevalent mistake is a mastermind who does not micromanage each pet. Newer mastermind players do not know when or how to use BGM (Bodyguard Mode) Newer mastermind players do not know when or how to use BGM (Bodyguard Mode) Masterminds not using the IO Auras for pets Call to Arms: Defense Bonus Aura for Pets Expedient Reinforcement: Resist Bonus Aura for Pets Sovereign Right: Resistance Bonus Command of the Mastermind: Recharge/Pet Defense Bonus Aura. Mark of Supremacy: Endurance/Pet+Resist all + Regen Aura. Edict of the Master: +Defense Bonus Setting up your num pad to micromanage your pets https://cityofheroes.fandom.com/wiki/Mastermind_Numpad_Pet_Controls Treating each pet as separate parts. You should be treating each as a separate entity that works by itself. Newer MMs may find this hard at first however with time it will be easier. What is Bodyguard Mode (BGM) Bodyguard mode(BGM) a stance to put your pets in that will turn you into a sudo-tank. You can set BGM by selecting the Defensive Stance and the Follow all pets within Supremacy range will be set to BGM and they will be damage mitigators. Defensive/Stay and Defensive/Goto work as well. Each pet takes one 'share' of the damage, and the Mastermind himself takes two 'shares'. This is in addition to any damage that the pets themselves might incur from Area attacks. Example: If a Mastermind has 3 pets set to Def/Fol, and he gets hit with a 100 point attack, each pet will take 20 points of the damage, and he himself will take 40 points. Example 2: If a Mastermind has 3 pets set to Def/Fol, and he gets hit with an Area Effect attack for 10 points of damage, then each pet will take 2 points of damage, and he himself will take 4 points. Pets that were also in the Area of Effect will take an additional 10 points each, as normal. This in effect turns your mastermind into a sudo-tank as long as your pets are alive. Power Bar Set-up Num Pad Method There are several ways to set up your power bars on masterminds. The first option you can do is to set up your num pad as a way to control your pets. This option tends to be the most common among masterminds. http://web.archive.org/web/20120904222729/http://boards.cityofheroes.com/showthread.php?t=117256 Multi Bar Method If you do not have a num pad the next option is to set up separate bars for each group of pets (see below for example) Multi Bar Individual Method The third most common way seen by masterminds is swapping to individual commands you can do this by summoning pets-clicking Options- Show Individual Pet Commands then placing the commands in their respective power trays. (see below for example) All Pets One Bar Method The fourth and probably the most common way for beginner Masterminds is to control all the pets at once. This is the suboptimal method to control the pets due to the fact that in a team masterminds pets can sometimes aggo more than what is intended. The other reason that controlling pets this way is a suboptimal method is because pets tend to get in the way when your team needs to click a door or a glowie. At the end of the day it is best for each mastermind player to find their own bar set up that is right for them. Be it any of the methods above a combination of them or their own unique style. Example builds Some things I look for personally in a build are ranged defenses. Part of the reason for this is because if your pets die they can easily be resummoned where as if you die then you are taking time out of someone else’s attack pattern to rez you. With high ranged defense you should be over top of your group and be playing field general with your pets while also providing the Debuffs/Heals/Buffs to your team and allies. Lets now take a look at a few builds that can accomplish this goal of high ranged defense. Above is an example of a Demons Thermal Soul Mastermind lv 1- Summon demonlings- Superior Command of the Mastermind: Rech/Pet +AoE Defense Aura Superior command of the mastermind Dam/End Superior Command of the Mastermind Acc/Dam Edict of the Master Defense Bonus Edict of the Master Scc/Dam Edict of the Master Dam/End Lv 1- Health Preventive Med Chance for +Absorb Panacea +Hit Points/End Lv 1- Stamina- Power Trans Chance to Heal Self Power Trans EndMod Lv 1- Warmth- Miracle heal/end Miracle End/reach Miracle heal/reach Miracle Heal/End/Reach Miracle Heal Miracle +Recovery Lv 2- Fire Shield- Steadfast Protection Res/end Steadfast Protection Res/+Def 3% Steadfast Protection Knockback Protection Lv 4- Cauterize- Numi Heal/End Numi End/Reach Numi Heal/Reach Numi Heal/End/Rech Numi Heal Numi +Regen/+Recovery Lv 6= Enchant Demon Rech IO Lv 8- Hasten- 2 Reach IO Lv 10- Gladiator’s Armor End/Res Gladiator’s Armor Rech/Res Gladiator’s Rech/End Armor Gladiator’s Res/Reach/End Armor Gladiator’s Armor Res Gladiator’s Armor TP Protection +3% Def (All) Lv 12- Summon Demons- Expedient Ref Acc/Rech Expedient Ref Acc/Dam Expedient Ref Dam/End Expedient Ref Acc/Dam/Rech Expedient Ref End/Dam/Rech Expedient Ref Res Bonus Aura for Pets Lv 14- Fly- Blessing of the Zephyr Knockback proc (4points) Run,Jump,Fly,Range/End Lv 16- Hover- Blessing of the Zephyr Knockback proc (4points) Run,Jump,Fly,Range/End- LotG Global Rech LotGDef/End Reactive Def Scaling Res Damage Lv 18- Hell on Earth Soulbound Alleg Chance for Build UP Sover Right Res Bonus Lv 20- Thaw- Reactive Armor Res Reactive Armor End Reactive Armor Res/End Lv 22- Kick- Sudden Acc Knockback to Knockdown Lv 24- Tough- Reactive Armor Res Reactive Armor End Reactive Armor Res/End Lv 26- LotG Global Rech LotGDef/End LotG Def Shield Wall +Res 5% Res (all) Lv 28- Summon Demon Prince Sup Entomb Acc/Hold Sup Entomb Hold/Rech Sup Entomb End/Rech Sup Entomb Acc/Hold/End/Rech Sup Entomb Rech/Chance for +Absorb Call to Arms Def Bonus Aura for Pets Lv 30- Forge Gaus’s Syncho ToHitBuff Gaus’s SynchoToHitBuff/Rech Gaus’s Syncho ToHitBuff/Rech/End Gaus’s Syncho Rech/End Gaus’s SynchoToHitBuff/End Gaus’s Syncho Chance for Build Up Lv 32- Abyssal Empowerment- Rech IO Lv 35- Stealth LotG Global Rech LotGDef/End LotG Def Lv 38- Melt Armor- Achilles’ Heel Def Debuff Achilles’ Heel Def Debuff/Rech Achilles’ Heel Chance for Res Debuff Lv 41- Heat Exhaustion- Rech IO Lv 44- Dark Embrace- UnGuard Res UnGuard +Max HP Impervium Armor Psi Res Aegis Psionic/Status Res Impervious Skin Status Res Lv 47- Soul Tentacles- Artillery Acc/Dam Artillery Dam/End Artillery Dam/Rech Artillery Acc/Dam/Rech Artillery Acc/Rech/Range Artillery End/Reach/Range Lv 49- Invisibility- LotG Def/End Reactive Def/End This build in the hands of someone willing to manage their pets will quickly come to find out that they should not get into melee range of things and to hover overhead throwing out their shields as well as Warmth and Cauterize to keep both their pets and team alive. This is a great general build for anyone looking to play with a team or large group while at the same time be perfectly fine solo’ing AVs. In a pinch this build can also do a low end Fire Farm due to Demons casting Def to Fire/Cold shields however you may find yourself healing your pets and resummoning them than you are actually throwing your debuffs out. When fighting an AV or in team play your opening attack may change a bit or it may look like Set pets to petcom_all Defensive as well as petcom_all Follow Move pets to location safe from the fight to start using petcom_all GoTo Cast Farsight on as many targets as possible do not be afraid to get in close to cast this to help your melee fighters as well as yourself. Distortion Field into Time Crawl this holds any adds around and or slows them so your AoE can do its job Remember you are not the damage and are more commanding your pets from the air or the ground Move pets using petcom_(pets name) GoTo into place that have Hell on Earth on them This will allow Hell on Earth to Proc more consistently Cast Mending on that target as often as possible Soul Tentacles and reposition pets closer By now Hell on earth is either down or just about which means its time to let bodyguard do its job Build 2 is a Robotics/Time/Soul Build this time focused on being a well rounded high defense focused debuffer. lv 1- Battle Drones- Superior Command of the Mastermind: Rech/Pet +AoE Defense Aura Superior command of the mastermind Dam/End Superior Command of the Mastermind Acc/Dam Superior Mark of Supremacy Dam Superior Mark of Supremacy Acc/Dam/End Lv 1- Health Preventive Med Chance for +Absorb Panacea +Hit Points/End Lv 1- Stamina- Power Trans Chance to Heal Self Power Trans EndMod Lv 1- Time Crawl - Pacing of the Turtle Acc/Slow PotT Dam/Slow PofT Acc/End PotT Acc/End PotT Range/Slow PotTEnd.Rech/slow PotT Chance of -Rech Lv 2- Temporal Mending - Miracle End/Rech Miracle Heal/Rech MiracleHeal/End/Rech Miracle Heal Miracle +Recovery Lv 4- Time Juncture - Deflated Ego ToHitDebuff Deflated Ego ToHitDebuff/Rech Deflated EgoChance for Recovery Debuff Lv 6= Equip Robot- Rech IO Lv 8- Hover- Blessing of the Zephyr Knockback proc (4points) Run,Jump,Fly,Range/End LotG Global Rech LotGDef/End LotG Def Lv 10- Boxing- Stupefy Acc/Rech Stupefy End/Stun Stupefy Acc/End Stupefy Stun/Range Stupefy Acc.Stun/Rech Stupefy Chance of Knockback Lv 12- Protector Bots - Superior Command of the Mastermind Acc/Da, Superior Command of the Mastermind End/Pet +Res+Regen Lv 14- Fly- Blessing of the Zephyr Knockback proc (4points) Run,Jump,Fly,Range/End Lv 16- Distortion Field - Sup Entomb Acc/Hold Sup Entomb Hold/Rech Sup Entomb End/Rech Sup Entomb Acc/Hold/End/Rech Sup Entomb Rech/Chance for Sup Entomb Acc/Hold/End/Rech Lv 18- Hasten- 2 IO Rech Lv 20- Time Stop- Basilisk Gaze Chance For Rech Slow Basilisk Gaze Rch/Hold Ghost Widow Chance For Dam(Psionics) Lv 22- Tough- GladtArmor TP Proc +3%Def(all) Impervious Skin Res/End Impervious Skin Status Res Lv 24- Weave - LotG Global Rech LotGDef/End LotG Def Shield Wall +Res Reactive Def Scaling Res Damage Lv 26- Assault Bot- SoulBound Chance for Build Up Call to Arms Acc/Dam Call to Arms Dam/End Call to Arms Acc/Dam/Rech Call to ArmsEnd/Dam/Rech Call to Arms Def Bonus Aura for Pets Lv 28- Farsight- LotG Global Rech LotG Def Lv 30- Stealth - LotG Def/End LotG Def/Rech LotG Def/End?rech LotG Def LotG Global Rech Lv 32- Upgrade Robot- Rech IO Lv 35- Slowed Response -Achilles’ Heel Def Debuff/Rech Achilles’ Heel Chance for Res Debuff Lv 38- Chrono Shift- PrefShift Chance for +End PrefShift EndMod Lv 41- Dark Embrace- UnGuard Res UnGuard +Max HP Steadfast Proc Knockback Protection Lv 44- Soul Tentacles- GravAnchor Immob GravAnchor Immob/Rech GravAnchor Acc/Immob/Rech GravAnchor Chance For Hold Lv 47- LotG Global Rech Blessing of the Zephyr Knockback proc (4points) Run,Jump,Fly,Range/End Lv 49- Invisibility- LotG Def/End Reactive Def/End In this Robotics/Time/Soul build you will still play as a field general however with your defense being as well rounded as they are you can survive in melee to get in and throw Farsight on your tanks/scrappers/brutes/and stalker in team play. If you are solo your opening rotation may look something like this Set all pets to petcom_all aggressive on chosen target This will force them to attack the nearest thing. You should then quickly set your pets to BGM after they fire their first power During these fights pets dying is not bad so long as you are quick about resummoning them. Cast Farsight (this is your bread and butter power.) Cast Distortion Field into Time Crawl this holds any adds around and or slows them so your AoE can do its job Tab to the next group repeat your Robots should have things from this point. Set pets to petcom_all Passive petcom_all GoTo and send them near you Move to re-set where pets are attacking Repeat step 1-5 as needed till trash mobs are dead. If you are fighting an AV the attack pattern changes slightly Set pets to BGM Move your pets using petcom_goto to keep them out of the AV’s alpha. Cast Farsight Cast Distortion Field into Time Crawl this holds any adds around and or slows them. Cast Chrono Shift on as many allies as you can. Time Mend any ally that needs it after the opening of the AV If you have Vanguard Medal use it If the AV is not dead by this point Cast Soul Tentacles as well as Distortion Felid and Time Crawl Move your pets inwards so they can use smash as needed If you are ever at a loss for what to build for on a Mastermind the is Positional Def (ranged is preferable this way you can stay out of harm's way and let your pets work in BGM). If you find yourself over capped in one or more positional defenses it's not a bad idea to look into taking the Ghost Widow Patron set as opposed to Black Scorpion the opposite also is true if you find yourself lacking Scorpion Shield works just as well as Dark Embrace. Helpful links https://www.reddit.com/r/Cityofheroes/comments/bn51p3/helpful_mousecentric_mastermind_binds_that_i_want/ https://cityofheroes.fandom.com/wiki/Mastermind_Numpad_Pet_Controls In Closing In closing the most daunting thing about masterminds is knowing you are not the damage and also not the primary debuffer/healer your role is a jack of all trades master of none. Masterminds are one of if not the hardest AT to master and at the same time one of the most rewarding experiences in the game to master. There is no such thing as a bad set for masterminds so feel free to open up and try things like Ninjas Electrical Affinity. Finally a good mastermind is someone who can keep their pets controlled while still maintaining productivity of attacking. You never notice a great mastermind however everyone remembers a bad mastermind.
  14. THE COMPLETE NEWCOMER'S GUIDE TO CITY OF HEROES LOGGING IN AND CHARACTER CREATION or WELCOME TO PARAGON CITY, WE HOPE YOU ENJOY YOUR STAY! I've become pretty well known around here for writing guides at the drop of a hat. But on looking over these guides lately, I realized that most of them tend to assume a certain level of knowledge from having played City of Heroes some already. Which means that they might not necessarily be all that useful to someone who only just started playing the game, because there's a lot to internalize. We veteran players sometimes forget just how overwhelming it can all be when starting out. So I'm going to use my amazing tech support empathy powers to try to put myself in the shoes of someone who just got City of Heroes installed for the very first time, and is looking at their screen in puzzlement over what to do. This guide will cover the early steps of logging in and creating a character; I plan to write later guides that will cover other aspects of the early stages of the game. WHERE ELSE TO FIND HELP Before I get into the nitty gritty, let me go over a couple of other great resources for new or puzzled players. For starters, a new wiki specifically dedicated to Homecoming only just launched. It is still in the process of being updated to reflect the changes Homecoming makes from the original "live" version, so it may not be entirely accurate just yet, but volunteers are working on it. If there's something you don't understand, just look it up there and see what it says. Homecoming Wiki's content is derived from ParagonWiki. Because it captures how the game was at the time it shut down, ParagonWiki is not completely accurate to the new changes Homecoming has incorporated (most notably, new Archetypes, power sets, and Enhancement sets Homecoming has added; the Incarnate system and other formerly premium or veteran reward items that have been made free; or some badges that have been moved to Echo zones), but it still does a great job covering basic concepts. (In Googling CoH, you may also run across a "City of Heroes Fandom Wiki." This was a predecessor to ParagonWiki and was no longer updated consistently once ParagonWiki launched, so is even less accurate than ParagonWiki. It may also have some still-accurate information, but it will also have a lot of extraneous detail that is no longer correct and was removed in ParagonWiki. In comparison to the other two sources just mentioned, I can't really recommend the Fandom Wiki.) Another great resource is these very forums, on which you're reading this guide right now. There are plenty of other guides you can read (including mine!), though you may need a little more experience under your belt before you can fully understand them. And then there's other players themselves. One of the best things about City of Heroes is that so many of its players are willing and eager to help. You can ask in the /help channel in-game, or go to the Homecoming Discord server and ask questions on #in-game-help or #new-players and plenty of people will be happy to help out. This is also where you can find on-duty GMs (which I'll talk more about later in a future guide). Now, let's move on to what to do after you've first launched the game. GETTING STARTED Assuming you were able to install and launch the game, and get the splash screen, you may be presented with your first major hurdle: you try to log into the game, and it doesn't take your ID and password. This is because the game actually needs its own separate account—it doesn't use the forum account login. If you haven't created one yet, go to the game account creation page and make one. Once you have that, you can go ahead and log into the game with it. Welcome to Paragon City (or the Rogue Isles)! CHOOSING YOUR SERVER Once you've successfully logged in, the first screen you'll see will ask you to select a server. Homecoming has five servers: Excelsior, Everlasting, Indomitable, Torchbearer, Reunion. If you were invited by a friend who already plays on one of those servers, then you already know which server you want to choose. If not, read on. Reunion is hosted on a server in Germany (rEUnion, get it?); the other four are hosted in Canada. If you're in the EU or a compatible time zone, you might be able to find more players awake and active on Reunion at the same time as you are. You probably won't see a difference in play performance regardless of which hosting locale you use; City of Heroes was originally designed to be playable over dial-up Internet, so a high ping won't really matter too much. Torchbearer was the first Homecoming server to come online; it and Excelsior are the two highest-population servers, if you want to be sure of finding a lot of people to play with. Everlasting is the "unofficial RP server" (like Virtue was back in the days of live). Indomitable is the "unofficial PVP server." Don't worry too much that you might pick the "wrong" server. You can transfer up to five characters from one server to another at any given time, and you get your five transfer tokens refreshed every three days. Server transfer is usually instantaneous. So if you decide you want to switch to some other server later on, it's really pretty easy. CHOOSING A SETTING AND ORIGIN After you pick a server, you'll be presented with a screen listing ten empty character slots full of exciting possibility! You can make a new character either by clicking on one of those slots, or by clicking the button with a silhouette and a + sign on it at the top left, right next to "Slots Used: 0/1000". Farther right along the top are buttons to let you move characters to a different server, change a character's name, or delete a character—all grayed out right now because you don't actually have any characters yet. You can't play the game without a character, so go ahead and make one! Note that if you should decide you made a mistake at any point during the character creation process, before you've finalized the character and entered the game, you can always click the "back" arrow to go back and change it. Once you've entered the game, however, all your choices for this character are locked in. After you click the button or slot to start the character creation process, the next screen will present two options for setting at the top, and five options for Origin along the bottom. I'll cover the setting options first. You have two settings in which you can make a character: "City of Heroes: Freedom" is the basic heroes-or-villains game, in which you create a noble hero or an evil villain. "Going Rogue" was a much later expansion, in which you create a character from the Praetorian "Mirror Universe" who gets their start fighting crime (or the dystopian government) in that setting before moving over to Paragon City at level 20. As a new player, you are strongly advised to choose the "City of Heroes: Freedom" option, not the "Going Rogue" option, for two reasons: First, "Going Rogue" assumes you've had a good deal of experience with the game already, and starts out with a lot tougher enemies and missions to handle. Second, the Praetorian setting is strongly steeped in the storylines and mythology of the basic City of Heroes setting, and the story arcs there won't mean as much to you without having encountered Praetorians from the hero/villain side first. Which one you actually do choose is, of course, strictly up to you. Apart from starting in different worlds, the only major difference in character creation is that the hero and villain "epic" Archetypes—Peacebringer, Warshade, Arachnos Soldier, and Arachnos Widow—are available in "Freedom," but not in "Going Rogue." Your character's Origin used to be a lot more important than it is now. In the live version of the game, Origin controlled where you could obtain Enhancements you could use, which stores you needed to unlock, and so on. However, in Homecoming's version of the game, since all types of Origin Enhancement are available at every store, all stores are unlocked, and few people even bother using Origin Enhancements anymore anyway, Origin has very little significance beyond a roleplaying hook. Choose whichever option makes the most sense to your character's backstory and move on. But do remember that you can't change your Origin after you finish character creation; you would have to make a new character to have a different Origin. And there's one more option down at the bottom of the screen, which you can do either now or in subsequent screens: type your character's name, and click the magnifying glass to see if that name is already taken. If it isn't taken yet, the game will reserve it for you. (Remember not to use the name of an existing character from somewhere else like a comic book or movie; that would violate Homecoming's terms of service. and will probably be reset to a generic name when a GM notices it.) Once you're finished here, click the "Next" arrow at the bottom right. CHOOSING A CHARACTER CLASS The next screen will invite you to choose a character class category. Do you want to tank (that is, be the tough, hard-to-damage one who draws fire away from squishier sorts), deal melee damage, deal ranged damage, handle crowd control, provide buff/debuff/heal support, or work with pets? Choosing one of these categories will narrow down the character class choices you get on the next screen. However, you do not have to pick one of these. If you just click "next" without choosing one, you'll see a list of all available character classes. The character classes are pretty self-explanatory, thanks to the description and charts that clicking on one brings up, so I won't cover them in any detail. However, I do want to touch on the epic archetypes—Peacebringer and Warshade on the hero side; Arachnos Widow and Arachnos Soldier on the villain side. These classes were originally gated so that only players who had already gotten a character to level 50 could choose them. Then that was dropped to level 20. Now anyone can make one—but I would strongly advise that they not be your first ever character pick. As with "Going Rogue," these classes assume a certain level of experience playing basic characters. Also, since they were originally meant for people who already knew full well how to play the game, they don't get offered the introductory tutorial at the end of the character creation process—and as a brand new player, you definitely do want the tutorial. (And they are also locked into starting as heroes or villains, respectively—though they can immediately change their alignment by visiting a contact in Pocket D afterward if they want.) Some character classes are more complicated to play than others. If you're just learning the game, you might want to start with one of the sturdier damage-dealing types, like Scrappers, Brutes, Sentinels, or Tankers—or possibly one of the "squishier" damage-dealers like Blasters or Stalkers. These characters are all pretty simple to play, because their powers are aimed mainly at putting enemies flat on the ground while keeping yourself relatively safe. They are also good for playing by yourself, since they don't have powers that rely on having teammates. I recommend soloing at least your first few missions, so you can take your time and learn how the game works without worrying you might be slowing someone else down. Support and control classes like Defenders, Corruptors, Controllers, Dominators, and Masterminds can be a little more complex, with more complicated powers, and you might want to be sure you have a good handle on how the rest of the game works before you try out one of them. Of course, which class you do choose is entirely up to you, in the end; if you prefer more esoteric playstyles than just hitting or shooting things, you might prefer a support and control class even with that complexity. But again, I'd suggest you make that your second character, after you've gotten the hang of City of Heroes itself from playing a simpler one. Once you've made your selection, click "Next" again. CHOOSING YOUR POWERS Now you come to a screen where you can choose your character's primary power set and your first power from it. For the primary set, you can choose to start with either the first or the second power from the list. You can add more powers as you level up. Clicking on a power set will let you mouse over the power names at right and see how they're described. After you make your selection, click "Next" and you'll get to pick your secondary power set. This screen works just the same way as the primary, but you will automatically start with the first power from this set, whatever it is. Note that once you've finished creating your character, you cannot change your primary or secondary power set if you respec (that is, respecify your power choices, which you'll be given chances to do later in the game)—those sets are locked in. A character respec can only change which powers you take, in what order, how you slot them up, and what power pools or epic pool you choose later on. But don't agonize too much over your choices—remember, you've got a thousand character slots available, so if this one doesn't work out, you can always just make another. THE COSTUME DESIGNER Once you've chosen your powers, you're introduced to the costume designer. I won't cover this in detail, because it's pretty self-explanatory—it's easy to see what things do just by clicking on them. First you choose your character's body type: male, female, or "huge" (male). (There's no huge female type, alas.) You can adjust sliders or use one of the presets to adjust your character's body shape. Then clicking "next" takes you into the costume designer itself, where you can play paper dolls with your character to your heart's content. It's not at all unusual to spend hours fiddling with the costume designer before you ever start playing the game. When the game was first launched, City of Heroes's costume designer was renowned for the amazing number of possibilities it offered, and it's still pretty darned impressive even now—especially since all the costume options that used to be locked or limited to the paid expansions are now unlocked and freely available. And after you design your costume and auras, you get to customize how your powers look. A few key points: first, no matter how tempting it is, don't make an exact carbon-copy of some existing superhero you're fond of. That would violate the game's terms of service. When a gamemaster sees it (or some player sees it and reports it to the gamemasters), it will probably be reset to a generic outfit. Second, you can save your costume and power customization choices at any time to files in your game installation directory, which can then be loaded into other characters or extra costume slots. Your character will start out with a number of costume slots unlocked, and costume changes are free until your character reaches level 10. So if you want to go ahead and design several different outfits for your character, you can talk to a trainer and load those files into your spare slots as soon as you enter the game. FILLING OUT YOUR CHARACTER CARD After you've finished designing your character's costume and powers (and how long did it take you?), clicking "Next" brings you to a screen where you enter some information about your character. There are two fields you can fill out: your character's battle cry, and the description. Don't worry about making a mistake here; you can always come back and change these at any time from within the game. The battle cry is some inspiring or evocative catchphrase your character is prone to shout out at odd moments, like "It's clobberin' time!" or "Spooooon!" from the comic books. You'll be able to hit the F10 key any time you feel like it to shout that phrase out in chat. The description is your character's backstory and biography, which other players will be able to view when they meet your character in-game. Alas, you only get 1023 characters in which to cover your character's life history, but that doesn't mean you can't make a go of it anyway. (This field is, of course, completely optional; the vast majority of characters you'll run into in the game don't have anything written here. However, it's a great chance for people who enjoy roleplaying to give a sketch of what their character is like and otherwise show off their creativity.) The text editor for the description field is kind of limited, and trying to go back and change or add to early parts of a long description can make it act oddly. I would recommend writing up your bio in text via Notepad or some other text editor, then copying and pasting it into the description field when you're done. CHOOSING A TUTORIAL After you're finished with this card, clicking "next" brings up a question box, asking if you would like to play the tutorial. As a new, first-time player, I highly recommend you click "Yes". If you do, you will be given a choice of three tutorials: "Outbreak" is the game's original tutorial for beginning heroes, and selecting it will set your character's alignment to "Hero." "Breakout" is the original tutorial for beginning villains, and will set your character to "Villain." "Galaxy City" is a new beginning tutorial implemented late in the game, which will ask your character to make the moral choice to become a hero or villain along the way. If you selected "no," the game will then ask if your character is a hero or villain. (If you chose one of the epic archetypes, then clicking "next" will just skip right to the "are you ready to complete the character creation process" question.) I would personally recommend selecting the Outbreak or Breakout tutorial for your first character, because those tutorials provide a better introduction to and grounding in the way the game works in general. You can try the "Galaxy City" tutorial with another character, if you want. But definitely pick one of them, regardless, because as a new player they will be very helpful in explaining the basic mechanics of the game. After you answer these questions, the game will ask if you want to complete the character creation process and enter the game. If you say "no," it will put you back on the character card screen, and you can click the "back" arrow to go back and revisit earlier choices. If you say "yes," then away into the tutorial you go. See you in Paragon City or the Rogue Isles! CONCLUSION I hope this guide has helped you get through the process of creating and designing your first City of Heroes or Villains character. Let's move on to some basic terminology and concepts before we kick off your first day in the big City.
  15. A COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO THE INCARNATE SYSTEM or “WHY ARE INCARNATES SUCH SNAPPY DRESSERS?” The Incarnate endgame power system is one of the more confusing systems that the Homecoming version of City of Heroes has to offer—and while there are a number of great guides for it out there (most notably "Incarnates Made Easy" by @jimjimjimmeh) it seems to me that none of them do much more than scratch the surface. A number of times in-game, I’ve had to explain the system to new Incarnates in depth, and my experiences there showed me that the newly Incarnated often have a lot of questions where the answers aren’t usually all in one place. So I’m going to try to change that. This guide will go over how to use the Incarnate powers window, and offer suggestions for how to proceed once you hit level 50. If any other experienced players disagree with my advice (and I’m sure some will), I invite them to offer alternatives in follow-up comments. And yes, I recognize this guide is very, very long. (It came to 48 pages when I typed the draft in Google Docs, albeit at 18 point font size.) But the Incarnate system is very, very complicated, and I figured it was best to put down everything I knew about it because I can't tell what bit of information might be crucial to someone else. If you want a shorter, basic overview, that guide I linked a couple paragraphs back is a very good one—but this guide is meant to be comprehensive. (Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the answer to the question posed in the alternate title is, “Because they have so many awesome Threads!”) WHAT ARE INCARNATES AND WHY DO YOU WANT THEM? In deference to @TheSwamper, who asked those questions in another Incarnate guide thread, here’s a brief explanation of what Incarnates are all about. The Incarnate system, explained in-game as a way to become a god-like being yourself, is the post-level-50 endgame power and content system that NCSoft implemented in the final days of the live version of City of Heroes. In the lore of the game, you’re assumed to go right on leveling up to outright genuine godhood, in the years or decades after the time period covered by the game ends (you see a “flash-forward” memory of yourself as a god, who the game’s various archvillains are completely unable to damage, as part of the Incarnate introductory arc in Ouroboros), but the game just follows you a smidgen of the way there—but as far as these powers are concerned, a smidgen is quite enough. As for why you “want” them, well, you’re going to be given them whether you want them or not. You can always ignore these new powers, of course, but I find that they add a little extra zest to playing my level 50s through 45+ content, and are a great way to make an old character seem suddenly fresh and new again in some ways. And if nothing else, being able to be effectively level 50+1 in regular content is a great reward for the effort you put into getting all the way to 50. So, why not go for it? The answer to that rhetorical question seems be largely, “Because I don’t understand what the hell it even is.” And that’s what this guide is intended to explain, in detail—as well as the answer to TheSwamper’s third question, “How do I get started earning them?” WHY IS THE INCARNATE SYSTEM SO CONFUSING? To understand why the Incarnate system is such a god-awful (Incarnate-awful?) mess, you have to know a little of the system’s history. I think that there are two main reasons the Incarnate system is the way it is. The first is that the system was introduced very late in the life cycle of the live version of the game, just a few issues before it was closed down for good. City of Heroes has had a history of introducing clunky and overly complex systems early on, then gradually streamlining and simplifying them over time. (Case in point: sidekicking. Ask anyone who was around in the early days about the amount of fiddling around it took to organize the right quantities of people at the right levels to sidekick or exemplar people when sidekicks and exemplars needed one mentor per sidekick. But now, it's all entirely automatic.) The Incarnate system simply didn’t get enough time for the developers to be able to do those sorts of revisions. The other reason has to do with how the Incarnate system was engineered in the first place. If you look at the write-up for the Incarnate system in live on ParagonWiki, you’ll see that there were some key differences from how the system now works. In particular, back then Incarnate XP and threads could only be ground out via Trials, and there were a number of more grindy ways to unlock slots. The Incarnate system was largely locked behind NCSoft’s "VIP" paywall, as yet another way to try to pry money out of its free-to-play playerbase. When SCORE made the game completely free to play and made free-by-default most of the things that had required grinding to unlock, it left some holes and rough edges in the Incarnate system—for example, the Empyrean and Astral Merit Vendors who had once resided on Ouroboros had pretty much their entire inventory of unlockable costume parts and other oddments incorporated into the costume designer’s free selection or otherwise made free. With nothing left to sell, those vendors disappeared, replaced by a new one whose main function is to convert between Empyreans and Astrals—and there's nearly nothing else you can actually do with Empyreans and Astrals anymore. SCORE is a small group of volunteers who have a limited amount of time to devote to working on the game, and don’t have the resources that a commercial game developer like NCSoft had. When it came to removing the paywall, my surmise is that that they saw that redesigning the system from the ground up would take many more man-hours than they had, so they settled for patching over things as best they could. This is why we still have two separate systems of largely incompatible Incarnate crafting components, and two sets of Incarnate merits that actually can’t be used for very much. (More on that later.) Given the level of manpower SCORE had, and all the other things they had to fix and update, I think that going this route was absolutely the right decision at the time. It’s not exactly the only clunky thing about the revival, after all—just look at the entirely empty Kallisti Wharf, for example. Perhaps someday, after enough other issues are ironed out, the SCORE and Homecoming developers will be able to take another look at Incarnates. But for now, we have what we have, and I’m going to try to help you make some sense of it. UNDERSTANDING THE INCARNATE POWERS WINDOW For this next section, you might want to have the game open and the Incarnate window available so you can follow along with me as I describe what you’re going to see. I would suggest beginning by pasting this macro into your game: /macro INC "windowtoggle Incarnate" This will create a button that will open the Incarnate window with one click, instead of having to open the Powers window and click the “Incarnate” link on top of that. It’s a lot more convenient if you’re going in and out of that window all the time—as you will be, once you start working with it. The Incarnate window has three main tabs: Equip, Create, and Convert. EQUIP This window shows all of your Incarnate power slots, which if any you’ve unlocked, and what percentage you’ve unlocked of any that haven’t been yet. Clicking on each power slot shows you a list on the right-hand side of any currently-available powers you might have in that category. After you create a new Incarnate power, you do have to come here and slot the new version of it before you have access to it. There’s a 5-minute cooldown on slotting new powers. Display Name notes below that this cooldown applies to any member of your team being attacked or activating powers. In my experience, that timer may reset after you change zones; I have been able to craft and slot new powers immediately after exiting completed Incarnate trials. CREATE This tab is one of the least intuitive parts of the whole City of Heroes user interface. On the left side are a list of categories for the different Incarnate powers. If you click on one, it expands to a list of the different types of that power. If you click on one of those types, in the middle you’ll see what looks like a stylized tree diagram with various Christmas tree ornaments on it—one at the bottom, two on the second row up, four on the third row up, and two on the top row again. On the right, you’ll see one or more “recipes”—lists of components that you need to create that particular power. Drag the bottom of this screen down to make it taller so you have room for more recipes to fit, and click on “Alpha”. Select one of the Alpha powers, and click on the single orb at the bottom of the tree. On the right-hand side, you should see two recipes—one using Shard-based components, the other using Thread-based components. I’ll go into more detail on that in the section on crafting Alphas, later. Whether you’re talking about Shards or Threads, there are four different rarity levels of Incarnate components: Common, Uncommon, Rare, and Very Rare. Each recipe uses two Common components, then one more component that is a different rarity depending on how high up the tree it is. The one at the very bottom uses three Common components, the two on the next level use two Common and one Uncommon, and so on. Also, each level above the first uses the power below it as a component. If you’re crafting a Tier 2 Incarnate ability, the Tier 1 ability you already have is one of the ingredients. The Tier 3 ability uses the Tier 2 below it as an ingredient. (So, if you’re planning on a specific Tier 3, you need to craft the Tier 2 on the same side of the tree as it is.) The Tier 4 ability uses any two Tier 3 abilities—so to craft a Tier 4, you actually have to craft your way up to possessing two separate Tier 3s. It doesn’t matter which two; there are six separate Tier 4 recipes representing each possible combination of two Tier 3s. The recipes are also crafted from this window—when you have all the ingredients, the recipe lights up, and there's a button you can click to create the power. If there are multiple recipes, as for Tier 4 powers, you just scroll down until you see the one that's lit up. CONVERT This screen allows you to create Incarnate components out of Shards, Threads, or Empyrean Merits, as well as “sidegrade” components to other components. I’ll go over what each section lets you do. INCARNATE SHARD This is the section for conversion of Incarnate Shards into other items. Common components cost 4 Shards, and Uncommon components cost a Common component plus 8 Shards for a total of 12 Shards. The only Rare component is a Notice of the Well, and it costs 4 Uncommon components, plus 40 Shards, for a total of 88 Shards—and 12.5 million Inf to boot. And the only Very Rare component, Favor of the Well, requires 2 Notices plus 32 Shards—a whopping 208 Incarnate Shards if you actually bothered to craft one from scratch—but you’ll probably almost never need to do that. Notices of the Well are given out one per week as rewards for the Weekly Strike Target Task or Strike Force (see the section below about building your Alpha), so there’s no point in spending 88 shards and 12.5 million Inf on one. And while it’s possible that you might want to craft a Favor of the Well, you’ll probably do it with two Notices you got from previous weeks’ WSTs so only have to pay 32 Shards. And maybe by the time you have two Notices, you’d have that many Shards to spend on it. Or you could skip the question entirely by using Thread-based components to make your Tier 4 Alpha. The next section, “Breakdown,” lets you turn a Shard-based component back into Shards, but you’ll only get a quarter or less of the Shards used to build it, so it doesn’t really seem like the wisest possible choice. Finally, “Upgrade” lets you convert 10 Shards to 10 Threads once every 20 hours, 10 Shards to 5 Threads at any time, a Notice of the Well to 40 Incarnate Threads, or a Favor of the Well into 100 Incarnate Threads. (I’m not really sure how that qualifies as an “Upgrade,” but whatever.) INCARNATE THREAD Just like the Shard section, the next section of the menu deals with converting Incarnate Threads into Thread-based components. I’ll go into more detail about these in the section discussing crafting powers from them. For now, it’s enough to know that these are the components you get from specifically Incarnate content—Incarnate Trials, the Apex and Tin Mage task forces, Dark Astoria missions, and so on. Also, from Vet Levels 1 to 11, you will get 8 installments of 120 Threads each time you level up (skipping the times you get Empyrean Merits for leveling; see below). The Common, Uncommon, Rare, and Very Rare sections work about the same as in Shards. Common components cost 20 Threads, Uncommon cost 60, Rare cost 4 Uncommon, 100 Threads (so 340 Threads in all) plus 25 million Inf, and Very Rare cost 4 Rare components (1360 Threads) plus 100 million Inf. But once again, you’re unlikely ever to craft a Rare or Very Rare component from other components. This is partly because you have a decent chance of getting some of these components as rewards for doing Incarnate content, but mainly because there’s a simpler way to make them—and I’ll be covering that in the next section. The final option under Incarnate Thread is “Incarnate XP,” which will let you exchange a single Thread for 50,000 Physical or Psychic Incarnate XP, used for unlocking your slots. This might have been a good deal back in Live, where you couldn’t easily get Incarnate XP outside of Trials, but Homecoming lets you get it along with regular XP once you hit 50. And 50,000 Incarnate XP is about what you’d get from just three or four good-sized mob spawns. So, it really doesn’t seem worth it now. Save your Threads and grind out the levels; it really won’t take all that long. ASTRAL MERITS, EMPYREAN MERITS These two sections deal with the same thing: converting Astral and Empyrean Merits into other things. Astral Merits are the Merits awarded for completing individual segments of Incarnate Trials, and each one can be converted to 4 Threads. (Also, 5 Astral Merits can be converted to 1 Empyrean Merit, but that’s done through the vendor Luna on Ouroboros, not through this control panel.) Empyrean Merits have more conversion options, though. You can convert one of them to 20 Threads—or you can convert 8 of them to a Rare component or 30 to a Very Rare component. Note that the game will actually give you Empyrean Merits as you level up, every 3 Vet levels, at the same time as it awards you one of the old Veteran Rewards badges from back in the day. Every 3 levels, from Vet level 3 to 24, you’ll get 20 Empyrean Merits when you level up. From 27 to 48, it’s 15 Merits, 51 to 69 is 10 Merits, and 72 to 99 is 5 Merits every three levels. So, by the time you hit Vet Level 9, you’d have enough Empyreans to craft two Very Rare components, or one Very Rare and three Rare with a little left over. You can also get 4 Empyrean Merits for a successful Hamidon Raid, or obtain them from various other Incarnate content. As I mentioned above, Astral and Empyrean Merits used to have merit vendors on Ouroboros, where you could trade Astrals and Empyreans for costume parts, auras, unlocks, Inspirations, and other rewards. (The complete list is here, if you’re curious. How many of those costume parts and auras do you recognize from the costume creator now?) But all the costume stuff was rolled into the freely unlocked stuff from the costume creator, and the Inspirations were changed to sell for Threads rather than Merits. (And the unlocks you could buy were largely unlocked for free with Homecoming!) In the end, there’s now only one Empyrean/Astral vendor left on Ouroboros—Luna, just to the right of the big building with the shards in it. She’ll convert Astral and Empyrean Merits back and forth, and sell super Inspirations at 10 Threads each and up. You can also convert Astral and Empyrean Merits to Reward Merits at any Reward Merit Vendor, or convert 50 Empyreans to 1 Transcendent Merit and back to make it easier to email them to your other characters. I’d strongly not recommend converting Empyreans to Reward Merits, by the way. Reward Merits are easy to come by, but Empyreans are much rarer, and you can’t convert Reward merits back into Empyreans. If you reach the point where you don’t need any more Empyreans on that character, you can always change them to Transcendents and give your other characters an Incarnate head start with them. COMMON, UNCOMMON, RARE, VERY RARE The final four sections are named for the rarity levels of the Incarnate components, and they include options to Sidegrade, Downgrade, or Breakdown Thread-based components of those rarities. Sidegrading costs a number of Threads to change a component into another component of the same rarity—useful if you have an extra of something but need something else to make your chosen recipe. Downgrading turns a component in one of the next rarity level down—but you don’t get any Threads back for it. As with the Shard option, Breakdown dismantles a component into a number of Threads—but you only get a fraction of the cost to create that component back. THE INCARNATE PROCESS The process of building Incarnate powers is pretty simple once you understand it, but a little hard to understand at first when the user interface is so confusing. You get Shards and Threads from mob drops, Threads and Empyreans from Vet level-ups, Astrals, Empyreans, and components from events, and you use all this stuff to build your way up each power tree, twice—you make your first Tier 3 to use, then your second Tier 3 to convert into a Tier 4. It just takes a while to grind out enough components to make everything—which process I’ll go over in a later section. It’s worth noting that, unlike the powers you get when you level up, you aren’t locked into the first Incarnate power you build. In fact, by the time you reach Vet level 99 and stop getting any further Empyrean Merits from leveling, you’ll have gotten enough drops to have built several powers for each slot if you wanted. For example, my Tanker and Brute have both Resilient and Spiritual Alphas at Tier 4, and can swap them out depending on whether they want to be tougher or recharge faster in the mission they’re doing. And all my characters have Incandescence Destiny because I find its fast-recharge Assemble-the-Team effect really useful, but some also have one of the other Destinies for times when they might want to buff people rather than teleport them. So, don’t be afraid to experiment with multiple powers, especially if you might need to use more than one in different situations. THE INCARNATE POWERS I’m going to run down the various slots and powers now, with commentary and recommendation on each. I’m going to cheat a little, and instead of giving the statistics for each one, I’ll just point you at the Paragonwiki pages which have nicely organized charts. As far as I know, even though a lot of stuff about the Incarnate system has changed from live, the abilities of the Incarnate powers should still be mostly identical. There’s no need for me to waste time and effort reinventing the wheel. The thing you should consider in picking a particular option for any of the Incarnate powers is not simply what the Tier 1 version of the power provides—look at both Tier 4 versions of it, too. It’s possible that even if the Tier 1 isn’t useful to you, the Tier 4 might just include the specific other things that you need. In addition to reading the wiki pages, you can also see what any given power does by mousing over it in the Incarnate powers window. ALPHA SLOT ABILITIES The Alpha slot is the only Incarnate slot that you can build from either Shards or Threads, because it was intended to be the one slot freely available to people who didn't pay to unlock the full Thread-based Incarnate system. As I'll explain later, I recommend building it from Shards as much as possible and saving the Threads for other slots. The Alpha slot is an always-on power that functions, essentially, as an extra Enhancement tacked onto to all of your powers that can use that particular category of Enhancement, and partly ignoring the effects of Enhancement Diversification that cap Enhancement of your powers at set limits. Any and all of your powers that can slot that category of Enhancement benefit from this extra Enhancement, while powers that can’t do not. An Alpha that boosts Range doesn’t just make your blasts shoot farther, it also lets you teleport farther if you have Teleport, and recall friends from farther away with Recall Friend. (Maybe even from all the way across Independence Port!) But it doesn’t do anything for your melee attacks, unless they can also be slotted with Range for some reason. Also, it will not affect powers that do not take Enhancements, such as temp powers, prestige powers, other Incarnate powers, etc. These powers each enhance one attribute at Tier 1—Damage, Endurance Modification, Healing, etc.—but at Tier 4, they can either enhance three attributes extremely well, or six attributes moderately well. Any given attribute only seems to show up in two powers—one as the Tier 1 ability, and another as a secondary ability from later Tiers. For example, Agility boosts Endurance Modification at Tier 1, and Recharge Rate in later Tiers. Spiritual boosts Recharge Rate in Tier 1. Musculature boosts Endurance Modification in later tiers. And so on. A Controller who is considering taking the Intuition Alpha because of its boost to Hold Duration might also want to look at Nerve, which primarily boosts Accuracy but also boosts Hold Duration and Confusion later on. If you’re picking an Alpha, try to find the Alpha that enhances the most things you do use, and the fewest things you don’t. My Tanker took Resilient Radial Paragon, because it boosted Damage Resistance and Taunt. It also boosted a few other things, which I don't much use, but it was worth having for the two things that it did. The Alpha Slot also offers a Level Shift with Tier 3 and 4 versions of the power, which makes you effectively one level higher than your “current” level. This Level Shift applies to any City of Heroes content when exemplared to level 45 or higher. I’ll have more to say about that in the section on advice for new Incarnates. JUDGEMENT SLOT ABILITIES Judgement is, not to put too fine a point on it, a nuke. It’s a high-damage, high-number-of-targets attack that can go off every couple of minutes. It can provide a nifty complement to the rest of your powers, particularly in regard to softening up huge crowds of adversaries. But which one do you want? There are a number of elements to consider. For one thing, there’s thematic appropriateness. My Fire/Fire Tanker and Brute both took Pyronic, because shooting a fireball was perfectly in keeping with their other talents for fire. Ditto my Dark/Dark Controller with Void, and my Empathy/Electric Defender with Ion. On the other hand, there are other things to look at as well. For example, there’s the type of damage. Do you want a most-often-resisted Smashing or Lethal damage, like Mighty or Vorpal have? Or one of the less commonly resisted elemental attacks, like all the rest? And then there’s the pattern of the attacks. Mighty and Void are both PBAoE attacks, Cryonic and Vorpal are cones, Pyronic is a ranged AoE, and Ion is a chained lightning attack that jumps from target to nearby target until it runs out or hits its target limit. So, if your target is a melee class and often surrounded by mobs, you might prefer to consider one of the PBAoEs rather than a cone. My Fire/Kinetic Controller, who often has to run into the middle of enemies to Fulcrum Shift them, went with Mighty, which not only does some decent damage but can be taken with a knock-up effect that makes it harder for the enemies to damage him before he can get out of range. Or, if you’re a min-maxer, Ion is probably the one you want regardless. It’s got high damage, hits an extremely high number of targets at the higher tiers, and you don’t particularly need to worry about where you aim it as long as you shoot it at any mob who’s near any other mobs—it chain-jumps from one to the next until it hits its max number of targets or runs out of nearby mobs. A lot of people complain that it’s overpowered; it’s certainly by far the most common Judgement you see in use. (If you see the words “Ion Judgement Jump” appearing over a lot of enemies’ heads at once, someone just used it.) Judgement is a click power. When you equip it on the Incarnate Equip tab, it creates a new power in your Powers window, which you can then drag to your preferred spot on your control panel. INTERFACE SLOT ABILITIES The Interface power adds an inherent proc to all damaging attacks, for debuffs, extra damage, or other effects. Most Interface power trees have two potential effects you can choose to concentrate on, and the two Tier 4 power options each do a lot of one effect and a little of the other. The debuffs can stack on a single mob up to 4 times, whether from one or multiple characters with the same Interface. My Fire/Fire Tanker and Brute went with Reactive, because a little extra fire damage and damage resistance debuffing was in keeping with their theme—they burn stuff. But see what works better for you. Note that a lot of the debuff effects you get are fairly small—for example, Reactive only offers a 2.5% Damage Resistance debuff for ten seconds, which even stacked the maximum of 4 times only amounts to 10%—so going with Radial Flawless Interface that has the higher chance for the damage-over-time proc might be more effective at helping to kill things all in all. I've heard reports that this slot may be bugged, and the 75% proc is the only one that actually goes off. I'm not sure of the truth of those, however. LORE SLOT ABILITIES Lore powers are Mastermind-style summonable pets that will stay around for 3 to 5 minutes, and have a 15-minute recharge time (meaning it’ll be at least 10 minutes after they go away that you can summon them again). There is a wide variety of pets available, encompassing all kinds of damage and all kinds of secondary effects. Unlike temp power pets, Lore pets will change zones with you. Lore pets use the same control panel as Mastermind pets, meaning you can set them to Aggressive, Defensive, or Passive modes, and order them to attack your target. Unlike Mastermind pets, you can't drag Inspirations onto them, though. In practical use, Lore pets are handy companions for adventuring, especially if you solo a lot. They can make clearing "defeat all" missions a little easier, as well as giving a boost against archvillains and monsters. They also figure into Hamidon raids; as soon as all the mitos are down, the raid leader will call for everyone to pop Lores and set them to Aggressive. And there is a specific time within the BAF Trial they should be saved for. The left (Core) side of the Lore power tree focuses on damage, with Minion, Lieutenant, and Boss pets that have primarily damaging powers. The right (Radial) side of the tree features a support pet. The right-side tier 4 power’s support Lieutenant has no damaging attacks, but is also intangible so it can’t be attacked by enemies. I will usually take the Core (damage) side on support characters like Controllers or Defenders, and those (like Tankers) who are tough enough not to need any extra support but could benefit from damaging things faster. But my characters who are chiefly damaging and a little squishier, like Brutes, Blasters, etc. will go with the Radial (support) side for a little extra healing and buffing power. As for just which Lore pet to get, much like with Judgement it comes down to a question of what’s more thematically appropriate vs. what’s more powerful. If you’re a Demons Mastermind and want to take the Demons Lore set to match, then go right ahead. If you’re looking for the most useful abilities, you might want to check out this list that @CR Miss on the Guides forums has been working on. Cimerorans have a reputation for having the highest single-target damage attacks, though they use the most-commonly-resisted Lethal damage type. The Immunes Surgeon from the support side of the tree has some nice healing abilities that can be helpful if you’re a Fire Brute doing an AE farm. Storms and Polar Lights have some decent AoE. Longbow has a giant robot with some good AoE and a -regen attack. (Also, Longbow has a giant frigging robot.) I’ve heard good things about Banished Pantheon, too. As with any other Incarnate power, you need not limit yourself to only one. You’ll get enough components, Threads, and Merits over time that you can experiment with multiple different Lore sets, or you can pick different ones for different characters and see how you like them all. At Tier 3 and 4, Lore applies an Incarnate Level Shift—a +1 to your level that only applies when doing Incarnate content, such as the Trials or Dark Astoria missions (though oddly enough, not Apex/Tin Mage for some reason). I’ll have more to say about in the section on advice for new Incarnates. DESTINY SLOT ABILITIES Destiny powers are click-to-cast AoE buff auras that mostly emanate from the caster to cover a wide radius. They have a variety of useful effects that are at their strongest in the first thirty seconds after being cast, then gradually fade over time. Higher levels of these buffs may increase radius or buff duration, or add additional buffs or other effects. Most of these are pretty straightforward buffs. Ageless boosts Recharge Rate and Endurance Reduction, sort of like a wide-area Speed Boost but without the bump to running speeds. Barrier gives everyone bubbles that boost Defense and Damage Resistance, and a couple of the higher-tier abilities are noteworthy for rezzing either one or two fallen allies—pretty handy for a power that’s up every couple of minutes. Clarion provides hugely powerful mez protection, and is often useful in cases where powerful mezzes are things to worry about—avoiding getting stunned by Romulus’s Nictus self-rez in the Imperious Task Force, for example, or in Rikti Mothership raids to protect against Rikti Mages, or in Hamidon raids to guard against mito-mezzes. Rebirth is a wide-area mega-heal. But I think one of the most generally useful Destiny powers, both as an Incarnate power and in the game in general, is Incandescence. Not to be confused with the Incandescent Strike Kheldian ability, the Incandescence Destiny is a whole-league version of Assemble the Team that fires off instantaneously and is available every two minutes. In addition to teleporting everyone to the target location, it also knocks back and stuns nearby foes, improves the effectiveness of heal powers, and has various other buffs at higher levels. This power is particularly useful in certain Incarnate Trials (such as in pulling the whole league out of the green disentigration beam in the Keyes Reactor Trial), but it’s extremely handy in general in pretty much any teaming or league situation. In Hamidon raids it’s useful for transporting everyone to the giant monster “walls” to take them down until Hamidon spawns, and gathering them all at the “safety rock” afterward to prepare to go in. In Rikti Mothership raids it can be useful in the event of the league taking significant casualties—instead of rezzing everyone one by one, have them all go to the hospital and fire off Incandescence a few seconds later. In the Justin Augustine Task Force, huge amounts of travel time can be saved by one team member with Incandescence going on ahead to where the next hunt will be while everyone else works on the current one, then porting them there when it’s done. And, of course, it’s even better than Assemble the Team for stealthing to the end of missions and porting everyone else there—there’s no excessively long casting time during which enemies can interrupt you, and you don’t have to wait a half hour for it to recharge. And since it’s up so often, you can use it in any circumstance (for example, fixing team splits, or porting everyone else to the mission door if you get there first) rather than saving it for when you might really need it. For these reasons, I suggest that everyone should craft at least the 60-Thread Tier 1 version of Incandescence even if they mainly use some other Destiny—it’s just super-useful having that on-demand Assemble the Team effect. Plus, thanks to its knockback and stuns, Incandescence can also be used offensively. You just pick up your entire team and throw it into a group of enemies, and the enemies get knocked back and stunned while your team gets buffed. You want to be careful how you do this, though—since Incandescence can’t be slotted, there’s no way to turn its Knockback into Knockdown. So you want to try to position the teleport target to knock enemies into a corner if possible, or against a wall—don’t scatter them every which way and make it harder for your Tanker to get aggro control. If you’re going to do this on a team, you should definitely let people know at the start that you’re inclined to use Incandescence offensively, and if they don’t want to be yanked around (and particularly if they're squishy) they should make sure that “prompt team teleport” is turned on. It might also be useful to warn them that an Incandescence is incoming before you cast it. And, of course, if people react badly to the idea, just don’t do it. At Tier 3 and 4, Destiny applies an Incarnate Level Shift—a +1 to your level that only applies when doing Incarnate content, such as the Trials or Dark Astoria missions (though oddly enough, not Apex/Tin Mage for some reason). I’ll have more to say about in the section on advice for new Incarnates. HYBRID SLOT ABILITIES Finally, Hybrid powers are two-in-one—they include an inherent ability from being slotted, as well as 0-Endurance timed toggles that don’t shut off if you get mezzed. The toggles will run for up to two minutes, then take two minutes to recharge. They can buff damage, regeneration, control, or the rest of the team, with various differentiated abilities as you climb the Tier tree. The Hybrid abilities that offer extra damage to controlled enemies include some interesting pop-ups over affected enemies. If you’re wondering why you saw “WAYLAY!” over an enemy’s head, that’s why. Again, take whichever one of these has good synergy with the other powers you already have. For my Tanker and Brute that was Melee, given its buffs to regeneration, Resist Damage, and Defense, and the taunt aura effect of the Radial branch of the tree. My controllers took the Control power, and my Defender took Support. Now that I’ve gone over the Incarnate control panel and slots, the next section of this guide will cover my advice to new players just getting into Incarnate abilities. Again, if you experienced Incarnates disagree with any of this, please discuss it in the comments—having different points of view available will help those new to the system decide for themselves. FIRST STEPS FOR NEW INCARNATES Welcome to level 50! You’re about to take your first steps into a much larger world. Here’s my advice on the best way to go about building up your Incarnate powers. You may choose to go about it some other way, of course; there are plenty of good ways to do it—but understanding the way I recommend should help you to work out for yourself which other way you might prefer. STEP ONE: CHECK YOUR BUILD Your Incarnate powers, when you have them, will sit on top of your normal build and make an already good build even better—so to start, make sure you already have a good build. If you leveled to 50 without any goals in mind, this is a good time to look back at your character, decide what you want your build to do, and respec into it. The best way to plan out a respec, in my opinion, is with the new Mids' Reborn: Hero Designer utility. The most recent version includes the new Sentinel class, new Enhancement sets, and all the new and newly-proliferated power sets for all the character classes. It will let you play with builds, and see what slotting particular Enhancement sets into them can do for you. I personally like to spec out my builds with it beforehand and build my character into them on the way up, but not everyone does it that way. So, go ahead—make a good build and respec into it. (Remember to take a screenshot of your power trays before you do the respec, for reference when you’re rebuilding your trays afterward.) Slot ATOs or Winter Super Pack Enhancements and catalyze them; slot purples; slot Overwhelming Force into a damage aura or other AoE power…go wild! You’re level 50, you deserve it. If you don’t quite have the money for that yet, you can still spec out your planned build and slot cheaper sets or common IOs until you can afford the more expensive ones. But you’re level 50 now, you make the most Inf per mob defeat of any level in the game, and you can no longer disable earning Influence for double XP—so you will have it sooner or later. (And that’s leaving aside methods of specifically grinding for loot, such as AE farming or Enhancement conversion.) And thanks to the way the Homecoming market works now, even the most expensive purples are still much more affordable than they ever were under Live. So, you’ve got options, if you care to use them. STEP TWO: BUILD YOUR ALPHA If you looked at that Paragonwiki page I recommended earlier, you will have noticed several ways of unlocking the Incarnate system, including doing Mender Ramiel’s arc, buying Incarnate XP with Threads, or outright buying the unlock from a vendor with Astral Merits. Which of those would I recommend? Well…none of them, actually. One of the changes Homecoming implemented was automatically unlocking the Incarnate system once you train up to level 50—no Mender Ramiel arc completion required (though you certainly can still do it if you want to see the story play out). Once you train, you’ll immediately start earning Incarnate XP—and not just from special Incarnate content, either, but from ordinary adventuring. The first batch of Incarnate XP will go toward unlocking your Alpha slot, and it unlocks pretty quickly—do a Task Force of any reasonable length, or even just get in a Rikti Mothership raid, and you’ll almost certainly have it unlocked by the time you’re done. And the other slots will follow that—a little more slowly, but keep adventuring and they’ll be done before you know it. The vendor who sold Alpha unlocks with Astral Merits no longer exists. You can still buy Incarnate XP with Threads (as I discussed in the description of the Incarnate power panel options), but really, I don’t recommend it. Unlocking all the slots doesn’t take long at all, so just grind a little more, and keep more Threads to spend on your power picks. SHARD-BASED COMPONENTS: HOW TO GET THEM While you’re unlocking your Alpha, you should also be thinking about building it. As a reminder, Alpha Slot powers can be built with either Shards or Threads. This is one of the more confusing aspects of the Incarnate power window, because the default window size is just small enough to show only one recipe and the scrollbar on the right indicating there are more recipes below can be very hard to notice. But both sets of recipes are there; you just have to scroll down to get to the Thread-based ones. You can, if you choose, apply the methods of gaining Thread-based stuff that I’ll cover in a later section for the other Incarnate power slots, and build the Alpha out of them, too. But I would tend to recommend using Shards as much as possible for the Alpha. You’re going to get Shard drops anyway, and they’re honestly not good for much other than the Alpha. You can convert 10 of them at a time into 10 Threads once a day, and 10 of them into 5 Threads at any time, but there’s not a lot else they’re really good for. So you might as well build as much of your Alpha with them as possible, and save your Threads for the other six slots. If you want to build out all your slots as fast as possible, that would be the best use of your resources. As for how you get Shards, you’ll get one if you do Mender Ramiel’s arc—it’s still available even if you no longer need to do it to unlock Incarnate abilities—and you’ll get them as occasional random drops during your other adventuring—along with Incarnate Threads. So, the main thing you need to do is any content you want to, and the drops will come. (Since you have a small chance of a drop with each enemy you defeat, things where you defeat large numbers of enemies quickly are particularly good for getting large quantities of Shards and Threads quickly: AE farms, Mothership Raids, etc. Note that enemies must con at least white (that is, be the same level as you) to have a chance of dropping Incarnate stuff. So, doing missions at -1 or +0 (once you've gotten your first Level Shift) full of blues and greens won't be all that helpful for building out your Incarnate powers.) You might specifically want to do Rikti Mothership Raids to buy the Gr’ai Matter component at the Vanguard crafting table, and also do the Level 50 Task/Strike Forces—Imperious, Lady Grey, Miss Liberty, Lord Recluse—because these Task Forces give you the choice of a Shard-based Incarnate component on completion. Every component you get means that you are spending 4 fewer dropped Shards on what you need to craft the power—and you’ll have the chance of getting Shards from drops while doing them. You can only choose the component reward once every 18 hours, but you could certainly do the Task Forces once a day, and a single MSR could buy you several days’ worth of Gr’ai Matter. Apart from that, you can grind for Shard (and Thread) drops the same way you’d grind for XP and Inf, if you do or have a friend who does AE fire farms. LEVEL SHIFTING AND YOU Your first big goal should be to get your Alpha to at least Tier 3, because Tier 3 Alpha is where you get your first Incarnate Level Shift. The Level Shift is an odd little benefit of the Incarnate system, and it effectively makes your character one level higher than the game treats them. When you’re level “50+1,” level 50 mobs will be blue to you—but if you’re at +0 notoriety, the game will still give you those blue level 50 mobs in your missions, not white level 51s. You’ll keep this Level Shift as long as you aren’t exemplared below level 45, and this first one from the Alpha will apply to all content in the game that you can play at those levels. The Level Shifts from Lore and Destiny will apply to special Incarnate content only, such as the Incarnate Trials and Dark Astoria zone and missions (though oddly enough, not the Apex and Tin Mage Task Forces for some reason). I’ll touch on those again in the section on Thread-based powers. WEEKLY STRIKE TARGET And then there’s the Weekly Strike Target TF or SF, a rotating selection of Task and Strike forces which grants double Reward Merits but also awards a huge XP bonus if you’re not an Incarnate yet, or a Notice of the Well Shard component if you are level fifty with your Alpha slot unlocked. You have to have your Alpha unlocked to receive a Notice. You can only get one Strike Target reward per week, across any of the targets, so if you know you’re just about to hit 50, you might want to hold off on doing it until you can get your Alpha slot unlocked before you start it. The Notice of the Well that the WST awards you is a crucial component to crafting your Tier 3 Alpha—and it’s expensive enough to craft that you really want to make sure you get all the free ones you can. And another reason I suggest being sure to craft the Alpha with Shards is that you’re going to get that Notice of the Well anyway if you do the Weekly for the double Merit reward, so why not be able to use it? (You can break the Notice of the Well down into 40 Threads, and you probably should do that for future Notices once you’re finished building all the Alphas you want. But it’ll be a lot more efficient to build your T3 Alphas with them first.) THE TIER 4 ALPHA: SHARDS VS THREADS When I recommended using Shards to build your Alpha, I did make an exception for Tier 4. That’s because for Tier 4 you need a Favor of the Well, which takes two Notices and 32 Shards to make. Now, if you’ve been playing at level 50 for a while before getting into this Incarnate thing, you might very well have multiple Notices of the Well and bunches of Shards sitting around, but if you haven’t, you’re only going to be able to get one Notice per week going forward—so do you really want to wait two more weeks to craft your Tier 4? I don’t think so. Fortunately, crafting a Tier 4 Alpha with Thread-based components is just as easy for the Alpha as it is for the other powers I’ll discuss. So you can just do that and call it good. (By the same token, if you’re ready to craft the second Tier 3 you’ll need for that Tier 4 before you’re eligible to get another Notice from a WST, you may want to do that with Threads, too.) STEP THREE: BUILD LORE, DESTINY, AND THE OTHER THREAD-BASED SLOTS You don’t actually have to wait until you’ve built your Alpha to start on your Thread-based slots; you can work on both at the same time if and as you get enough Shards and Threads for them. But using Shards to build the Alpha means you can devote more Threads to the other slots, and you should certainly do so if you can. If you like, you can actually get started before you’ve even got the slots unlocked. You can craft Incarnate powers as soon as you have the components for them; you just can’t slot them until the slots are unlocked. So if you’re doing a lot of Incarnate Trials early on while you’re still unlocking the slots, you might want to make note of what components you’re going to need, so you can pick them from the reward rolls at the end of the Trials and work toward having the right ones to make the powers you want. And if you want to build them early so you're ready to drop them in as soon as they open up, that will be just fine. I would recommend that, apart from the Alpha, the first two Incarnate slots you should work on are Lore and Destiny. The reason is, those slots provide the Incarnate Level Shifts at Tier 3, making you that much more effective in Incarnate Trials (which I’ll discuss in a moment). Once you have all three, you’ll be at level 53, which means you’ll be on a more even footing with the level 54 mobs in most Incarnate Trials and other Incarnate content. That means you’ll be a more effective fighter in those trials, and those trials will be more likely to be successful. After you get those Level Shifts, you can build out the remaining powers in whatever order you like. You’ll probably want to get them all to Tier 3 before you start moving any up to Tier 4, though. THREAD-BASED COMPONENTS: HOW TO GET THEM There are three major sources of Thread-based components: Incarnate missions, such as those in Dark Astoria; Incarnate Task Forces, like Apex or Tin Mage; and Incarnate Trials, like Behavioral Adjustment Facility or Lambda Complex. INCARNATE MISSIONS Incarnate Missions are probably the simplest way for solo players to get their hands on Shard-based components. They are awarded at the end of Incarnate story arcs, including when the arcs are replayed via Ouroboros. As this guide by @ElPuerco indicates , the Dark Astoria introductory arc can be soloed at the lowest difficulty in about fifteen minutes, thus providing several components over the course of one hour of play. If you don’t enjoy having to depend on a large team of people not to screw things up for everybody else, and are of a class that solos easily, this might be the best course for you—especially after you’ve gotten your Incarnate level shifts and are at +3 and can do these missions at a Notoriety of -1, so you’ll be 3 or 4 levels higher than all the enemies. If you haven’t done this arc yet, and can gather a team of other people who also haven’t done it, you’ll be able to simultaneously complete the first few missions in the arc, then do the final mission once for each team member so each of you on the team gets as many components as there are team members who have the arc available. In Ouroboros, it runs Task Force style so there’s only one chance to run the final mission for everyone. INCARNATE TASK FORCES The next step up from those missions is doing the Incarnate Task Forces, of which there are only two—Apex and Tin Mage. These run similarly to all the other Task Forces, being primarily missions where you go places, click glowies, and defeat things. At the end of each of them, you’re awarded a choice of Incarnate Thread-based component. Also, if you earn the optional objective badges and “Master Of” badge for each, those should come with extra components, too. Unlike previous Task Forces, these do have specific Incarnate requirements—you have to have your Alpha unlocked and slotted in order to be able to participate meaningfully. If you don’t, you’re penalized 4 levels, meaning you’re going to be effectively level 46 while doing a 50+ Task Force, and will probably be dead weight at best. So if you don’t have your Alpha yet, you might want to focus on those Shard-based components I discuss above until you have at least the first Tier of it. INCARNATE TRIALS The main way of getting Incarnate components for most will be the series of Incarnate Trials that players get together and run. These trials usually call for leagues of 16 to 24 players, and take place over the course of a single mission in which players must complete several sets of challenges successfully in order to finish and win a Thread-based component. While going into great detail about these is beyond the scope of this guide, I can at least cover the basics of getting started in them. Incarnate Trials disable most of your temp or Day Job powers, though they don’t disable Accolade Powers. Interestingly enough, they also don’t disable many of the temp powers you get from Super Packs. You might lose your Resuscitator or Revive Ally powers, but any charge of the Super Pack “Restore” power you get will be right there for you to use at need. (So you may want to save those along and not use them in regular content.) Incarnate Trials usually form up in places where both Heroes and Villains can mingle, since both are eligible to participate in said trials. The most popular spot seems to be Pocket D, though you’ll also see some form up in Ouroboros. If you want to get in on such a trial, you might want to hang out in one of those places while you wait, and also watch the LFG channel just in case a trial starts forming up in another instance of the zone you’re in. Most pre-Incarnate Task Forces and Trials offer few challenges more stringent than going places, defeating bunches of enemies, and clicking on glowies. (You don’t even have to click on them simultaneously anymore, since Homecoming did away with that requirement.) However, most Incarnate Trials are considerably more nuanced—and more challenging. Goals vary by the individual Trial, but can include things like killing more than one archvillain simultaneously, killing enemies next to an archvillain to render it vulnerable, dragging an archvillain to a particular spot so other players can use temp powers on something there, and so on. At the simplest end of the trial spectrum are the Lambda Complex (LAM), Behavioral Adjustment Facility (BAF), and the (slightly more complicated) Keyes Reactor Trial. These are also the trials you see run the most often (to the chagrin of those who prefer some of the other, more complex ones). LAM is pretty basic—you just collect two sets of temp powers, then use them in a fight against the AV Marauder. It’s basic enough that a lot of people are bored of it, which is probably why it doesn’t get run as often as some of the other simple ones. (I would advise to stay away from “speed LAMs,” which is where you only bother collecting one set of the temp powers and disregard the other. It can be faster, but it can also be chancier because without the time boost from getting the second temps, you can run out of time to get enough of the first—and without using the second temp power, you can be overwhelmed by adds if you don’t kill Marauder fast enough. Maybe you’ll want to do things that way when you’re more experienced, but it’s just too easy for those to fail when inexperienced people are involved, resulting in a lot of frustration for all concerned.) BAF is probably the one that gets run more than any other, because it’s simple and short but also has some nice challenges (including defeating two different AVs twice each). It’s generally pretty hard to fail a BAF. If you’re just getting into Incarnate Trials, you should probably get your feet wet with these. Keyes is more complex, and has more of a requirement that its leaders know what they’re doing. There are a few aspects of the trial that are counterintuitive and require explanation (like the need not to damage the AV, Antimatter, until a certain point), and a few people who don’t know what they’re doing during the final AV fight can easily torpedo the trial for everybody. It’s worth noting that the Praetorian AVs from these trials do count toward the Dimensional Warder badge. If you do Maria Jenkins’s arc and then a BAF and a Keyes to get Siege and Antimatter, you will have that badge without having to do Tina McIntyre’s arc as well. Before doing these or any other Incarnate Trial, I would recommend that you review the write-up on ParagonWiki about the trial in question—but also pay attention to the trial leader. Are they willing to explain to newbies how this particular trial works (preferably while the team is forming up ahead of the event itself)? Do they seem to have a plan in mind for how to handle it? If not, you might be best off to bow out, at least until you have more experience with the trial yourself. My first Homecoming experience with the Keyes came from a so-called leader who had basically no instructions or guidance for the rest of the league, and just trusted everyone to know what to do already and work it out for themselves. It was such a disaster that it put me off trying another one for weeks. But if the leader does have it together, and is issuing orders, and the more experienced players don't seem to have any problem with them, you should follow those orders to the best of your abilities even if they don't seem to make any sense. There may be things they just haven't had time to explain yet. And once in a very great while, you might just run across a leader who has it so together that they make even the most complex trials seem simple without even trying. If you run across any amazing Incarnate Trial leaders like that, I recommend that you friend them, global-friend them if they’ll let you, and see if they have a global channel where they organize their trials. Good leaders are so rare, you definitely shouldn’t let them get away. You’ll get a choice of Thread-based component on successful completion of a trial—hopefully a Very Rare, possibly a Rare, more likely an Uncommon, or probably a Common. When you’re given the choice, you may want to pop up your Incarnate powers window and see which components you need to make the next power you want so you’ll know which one you should choose. (Unless it’s a Common, in which case you can pick pretty much any at random because you’ll probably need it sooner or later.) You can exit the trial and the window will stay open if you haven't yet made your choice. You will also get Astral Merits from completing specific challenges within Incarnate Trials, and an Empyrean merit at the end. You can also convert 5 Astral Merits into 1 Empyrean Merit at Luna on Ouroboros (which is really about the only useful thing you can do with Astral Merits). Earning the optional badges and Master Of from Incarnate Trials will earn you additional components and Astral Merits, which is nice if you're just starting out. Also, you shouldn't just limit yourself to those three. The other Incarnate Trials do get run from time to time, and are often very interesting—especially if you have one of those aforementioned amazingly good leaders at the helm. So, if you see one being announced on LFG, don't be afraid to jump in. The final Trial, Magisterium, does require that your character has their Lore and Destiny slots unlocked, but also offers a higher-than-usual chance of Rare or Very Rare components at the end. FURTHER INCARNATE PROGRESSION However you get components—be it missions, Task Forces, or Trials—the more of them you get, the more quickly you’re going to level up your Incarnate powers. I would strongly recommend saving the Threads and Empyrean Merits you get for leveling against the proverbial rainy day, and scooping as many components as you can from game content instead. Every Rare component you get saves you 8 Empyreans, and every Very Rare saves you 30. And as rarely as those two drop, you’ll have to do a lot of stuff to earn any. After you stop getting Threads as level-up rewards at Vet Level 11, you’re hardly ever going to get so many Threads at once again (save for converting Notices of the Well, at least), and those Empyreans slack off into a trickle as you near Vet Level 99. The farther you can stretch those threads and Merits, the more quickly you can build up all the Incarnate powers you need. Remember, you’re going to have to build Tier 1 through Tier 3 twice for each power before you can build its Tier 4. Another reason to save Empyreans is that, after you finish getting everything you could want to Tier 4, you can convert 50 of them into one Transcendent Merit for easier emailing to your other characters, to give them a head-start on building up their own Incarnate powers. But you have to have at least 50 to make the conversion—otherwise, you’re going to have to compose and send one email for each and every Empyrean you have. CLOSING THOUGHTS I hope that this guide has helped fill in some of the gaps in your Incarnate knowledge, and given you some ideas about how to use this system going forward. If there's anything that's still unclear, please let me know in the comments. If I didn't do a good enough job explaining something, I'll be happy to go back and expand the section to cover it better. Likewise, if I made any factual errors or mistakes, please tell me about those and I'll fix them. And, as previously stated, if you disagree with my opinions about anything, I'd love to have a discussion for the further elucidation of the people who come to read this later. Thanks for reading, and I'll see you in the City of Heroes!
  16. The Auction House (AH), or Black Market, or Wentworth’s, or Trading House is a mass of incandescent gas, a gigantic nuclear furnace, where hydrogen is turned into helium at temperatures of millions of degrees. Oh wait, that’s the Sun. The AH is actually a giant accounting machine, matching up buy orders and sell orders from players and taking its cut in the process. Sorry, that’s not nearly as interesting. This guide is about how the AH is SUPPOSED to work, in an ideal Platonic universe. However, I would be remiss in my duties if I didn’t discuss the elephant in the room. THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM There are significant bugs in the AH system, and the worst part is that it is not clear exactly what the extent of those bugs are. The primary bug that I am aware of is the “display bug,” where a specific item displays an incorrect “Last 5”, number of bids, and number of offers. (I’ll explain these terms shortly). This bug is not common, and it does not appear to be constant, but it shows up periodically and it shows up on some particular items with regularity. If the “Last 5” looks like it is abnormally low, or abnormally high, it is likely that the bug is in effect. Until/unless this gets fixed, you must always take the information given with a grain of salt. MOST of the time it will be correct, but sometimes it is not only incorrect, but it is hilariously incorrect. If something looks too good to be true, it probably is. There’s a second elephant, but I’ll address that later. SOME QUICK DEFINITIONS A “bid” is an order to buy something, and in this game, it is an order to buy something at a specific price. That can either be a noun (“I put in a bid for XYZ at 10mm inf”) or a verb (“I bid 10mm for XYZ”). An “outstanding bid” is not one that is particularly noteworthy; it is one that has not been filled yet. Something that is confusing about the AH interface is that when you want to place a bid, you have to press the button that says “Make Offer”. Anyway, “bid” means “buy”. An “offer” is an order to sell something, and again, in this game it is an order to sell something at a specific price. You can “make an offer” or offer something. “Offer” means “sell”. To “hit the bid” is to sell something into someone else’s bid. To “lift the offer” is to buy something from someone else’s offer. Let’s give an example. Let’s pick a mythological lvl 53 Ribosome. Person A wants to buy one and has a bid of 10mm inf in the AH. Person B owns one and wants to sell it, and has offered it at 50mm inf. At this moment, there is one bid and one offer, and there is no trade since the order to buy is less than the order to sell. Now Person C enters the AH. She also owns a lvl 53 Ribosome and wants to sell it. She can either offer it at a level of her choosing, or she can sell it into the best available bid in the market. If she hits the bid, then she sells to Person A at 10mm, which is the only outstanding bid. But let's assume she decides to list it and offer at 40mm. Now Person D enters the market, and he wants to buy. He can put in a bid that is below the lowest offer, but let's assume he lifts the offer and buys the cheapest available item. That's the one that belongs to person C. Now there are only two items left in the queue: one bid at 10mm, and one offered at 50mm. That difference between the 10mm bid and the 50mm offer is known as the “bid-offer spread”. WHAT IS THE AH? The AH is a player-driven exchange, where people can anonymously buy and sell specific items to each other at various prices. This differs from vendors, where players can buy or sell items at specific prices in unrestricted amounts. Want to buy a small luck inspiration from a nurse? Buy as many as you want! They will cost you 50 inf each time, and each time you buy one, that inf gets deleted from the economic system, and a small luck inspiration is created and put into your inventory. Want to buy a small luck inspiration from the AH? It may cost you more or less than 50 inf, depending on what you bid, and where it is offered, and if in fact any are offered at all. When you buy one, your inf gets transferred to the seller (less a transaction fee, which is deleted from the system) and you receive the inspiration. Nothing is created – the inspiration gets transferred, and so does the inf. However, the transaction fee gets deleted from the system. THE AH INTERFACE First you need to access the AH. In the olden days, you had to trek over to Wentworth’s on blue side or the Black Market on red side or the Trading House/Underground Trader on gold side and open up the interface. Nowadays in the wonder of this golden age, you can open up the trading interface with the command “/AH” or “/auctionhouse” or probably a few other ways. You cannot open the interface in an instance, meaning you can’t open it during a mission or when you are in a base. That’s a technological issue, and as awesome as that would be to open the AH interface in your base, it’s probably not going to be possible any time soon. Of course you can still go to Wentworth’s or the Black Market, and remember that those are locations that lead to day job badges and accolades. Once you open the interface, you will see it is divided into three sections horizontally. The top section is the search section, where you can specify what you are looking for. It’s mostly self-explanatory. The text box allows you to input what you are looking for, and if you have auto-complete checked it’s pretty good. Want a luck charm? Start typing “lu” and “luck” autocompletes. The “Levels” interface on the left are best used if you are looking for a specific level or range of levels in a recipe or enhancement. They default to a minimum of 1 and a maximum of 53. If you change them they will stay at the new levels, so be sure to change them back when you are done searching otherwise you might get confused when things stop showing up because they are out of the prescribed level range. I never use the “Rarity” or “Origin” options, but I guess you could if you wanted. The “For sale” and “Bidding” buttons will restrict the interface to only show items that have outstanding offers and bids respectively on them. The middle section is the menu of all items and is divided in half vertically. On the left side is the index of all items available by category. If there is a [+] next to the name, that means if you click on it, it will expand and show a sub-index of items. Play around with it. Later, this guide will go into each section in detail. On the right side is an expanded view of the items within the selected category that meet the restrictions you set in the search section. The bottom section is your inventory. There are six tabs that show, in order, All, Stored, Selling, Sold, Bidding, Bought. There is also a running total of your inf. Helpful hint: if you want to monitor your inf total during regular play, you can set up a window. In the regular interface, click Powers, Combat Attributes and the Combat Attributes window will open. Select Base and at the bottom it will show your inf total. Right click on your inf and you can Monitor your inf in a window that you can reposition on your interface. You can actually monitor a lot of things, so if you didn’t know you could do this, you’re welcome! Ok, now that we have the interface open, let’s go to an item. We already started to look at luck charms, so let’s go there. In the middle right, the Luck Charm icon shows with certain pieces of information: 10652389 for sale 1085 bidding 420 on 2020-04-28 42 on 2020-04-28 42 on 2020-04-28 42 on 2020-04-28 42 on 2020-04-28 There is also an area where you can put in a bid, choose how many you want to bid on (up to 10) and click the “Make Offer” button to register your bid. Yes, yes, it’s confusing that you have to click a button that says “Offer” to make a bid. The for sale and bidding numbers are self-explanatory and represent real bids and offers that are already in the system. You don’t have any idea at what level those bids or offers are at. Every bid could be at 1, and every offer could be at 2bn. The 420, 42, 42, 42, 42 numbers are what I refer to as “Last 5” and they represent the last five trades that occurred with a date stamp. Those are actual trades that have occurred. If a block of 10 trade all at the same price to the same buyer and the same seller, it only prints as one trade. So the last 5 listed above could represent a total of 5 luck charms trading, or a total of 50, or somewhere in between. Now is the time I remind you of the elephant in the room and again warn you that this information may be entirely false due to the display bug. I will additionally warn you that even if it is true, you have no idea what the quality is of those bids or those offers. Those 1,085 bids may all be really strong high bids, or they may all be for 1 inf. A large number of bids does not necessarily represent any high bids. In fact, those bids may all be the same and they may be all by the same person. Similarly, you don’t really know where those offers are. However, you do know that they are real offers; there are actual items for sale and you can buy them for the right price. There is also a smaller elephant in the room. Another bug is that sometimes the information of last 5 doesn’t come up at all and says something like “no information available”. In that case, the almost universal work-around is to put in a low bid on the item, like 1 inf. That puts the item in your inventory section at the bottom and there you can refresh it to get a current and hopefully accurate picture. POOLING AND SEEDING Now is as good a time as any to talk about seeded items and pooled items. If you switch from luck charms to another piece of common salvage like inanimate carbon rods and you do it quickly enough that no trades have occurred, you will notice that the for sale, bidding, and last 5 numbers are identical. That is because the Homecoming devs made certain things in the AH fungible, or exchangeable, or poolable. "Fungible" is a funny term that is usually used in finance; it does not mean "like the Devouring Earth"! But in this case it's exactly the right word. When anyone offers a piece of common salvage, no matter what type, the system puts it in a pool of “common salvage”. When anyone buys a piece of specific common salvage, it comes out of that pool. What was a luck charm can become an inanimate carbon rod. This is tremendously useful, and helps keep anyone from manipulating specific markets. Common salvage, uncommon salvage, rare salvage all have their own pools. Every set IO recipe, no matter what level, is in its own pool. You can sell a Luck of the Gambler proc recipe at level 25 and buy it back at level 50. However, the different set pieces are in different pools; you can’t sell a LotG end/rech recipe and buy the proc from the same pool. Every crafted set IO, no matter what level, is in its own pool. This leads to a variety of strategies. If you want to buy a recipe in order to craft it and sell it, you probably want to choose the lowest level, since that will have the cheapest crafting costs. So you can buy a level 25 recipe, craft it, sell the IO that someone else may be buying as a level 50 IO. One other important thing to know about fungibility is that crafted IOs and attuned IOs all share the same bucket. If you want an attuned IO, one way to get it is to buy a crafted IO, buy a catalyst, and attune the IO yourself. Or, you can buy an attuned IO directly from the pool for the same price and save yourself the price of a catalyst. You can actually even sell a crafted IO and buy it back from the pool as an attuned at the same price. Oh, I almost forgot about seeding. Another thing the Homecoming team did in order to make things easier and to keep people from manipulating markets is they offered a large number of items at a fixed price. Those seeded prices are: 10,000 for common salvage; 100,000 for uncommon salvage; 1,000,000 for rare salvage; and 50,000 for brainstorm ideas. Initially there were 10mm of each put into the market. You can consider these to be price caps; no one can stop you from bidding 2mm on a piece of common salvage, but you will essentially always be able to buy it for 10k or less. BIDDING AND OFFERING IN THE AH In order to bid on something, as mentioned above, you want to select the item and then in the box put in the price you wish to pay and the number of items you wish to buy (1-10). If you want to buy more than 10 items, you need to put in more than one bid. Bidding is free and has no consequences. This means you can put in a bid and if it doesn’t transact (because there is no item offered at that price or lower), you can retract the bid with no penalties. This means you can “bid creep”, or offer progressively higher bids for an item until you buy it. In theory, you could bid creep by 1 inf at a time until you hit the exact offering price, but ain’t nobody got time for that. In order to offer something, you need to actually own it. If you open the AH interface and drag the item from your inventory into the AH, it will be moved onto the Stored tab on the bottom. There are three buttons: Find, Post, and Get, and there is a text box where you can input a number. The Find button should pull up and refresh the current info on the item, showing number of bids, offers, and last 5 trades. If it does not, try it again until it refreshes. The Get button will take it out of the AH ad put in back into your personal inventory. You use the Post button in order to put in your actual sell order: input the price at which you are willing to sell the item and press Post. When you post an offer, you will pay the first of two potential fees. The first fee (“posting fee”) is 5% of the amount you are posting the item for; the number will show up beneath the price window. This amount is a minimum of 5 inf, nonrefundable, and mandatory. If you don’t have that amount of inf in your possession, you cannot post the trade. If you later decide you want to take down your offer, you can, but you eat the posting fee. The second fee is assessed when/if your item is purchased by someone else. The amount of the second fee (“sales fee”) is equal to 10% of the final sale price, less the amount you already paid as posting fee. The net result is that you always pay a total of 10% of the sales price, which is deleted from the economy, and you receive 90% of the sales price, which goes into your account balance. Note that since there is a 2bn inf cap on every character, if claiming a sale would put you over the cap, you are not able to claim the proceeds of that sale. HOW DO TRADES OCCUR? It’s a secret! According to the employees: “At Wentworth's we use a 'secret bid' auction. To make a long story short, you set the price for your item, but the Buyer does not see it. The Buyer bids what he wishes to pay and if he meets, or exceeds, your requested price he will receive the item. You may even receive more than you asked for! In order to help the Buyer with a bid, there is a history of how much that item has sold for in the past.” When a new bid or offer enters the system, the AH checks to see if there is a bid higher than or equal to the lowest offer. If so, a trade prints and the bidder receives the item that is offered at the lowest price. The bidder pays the amount he bid, even if it was higher than what the offer was. The seller receives 90% of the amount the bidder paid, no matter whether or not it was higher than what she asked for. Let’s give an example: There are three bids in the AH: 100, 120, 150; and there are three offers in the AH: 200, 250, 300. This is in equilibrium, since every bid is less than every offer. If this were not true, then a trade would have already transacted. Nothing is going to happen in equilibrium. Now let’s say a bid for 125 enters the system. Since this is lower than the lowest outstanding offer (“LOO”) of 200, it’s not good enough to trade. It goes into the queue. Let’s say an offer at 225 enters the system. Since this is higher than the highest outstanding bid (“HOB”) of 150, it’s also not good enough to trade. It goes into the queue. Now someone bids 300 for this item. Now we’re cooking! At 300, the bid is higher than or equal to every offer in the queue, but the trade goes to the LOO, which is the offer at 200. The bidder receives the item. The bidder has no idea where the item was listed, just that it was less than or equal to 300. The seller at 200 sells their item and receives net total of 90% of 300, or 270. Since their posting fee was 10 (5% of 200), and their total fee was 30 (10% of 300), the sale will tell them that they sold the item for 300, and paid 20 in incremental fees. The trade is printed to the last 5 at 300. The 300 bid and the 200 offer are removed from the queue. The queue now has bids of 100, 120, 125, 150 and offers of 225, 250, 300. Next, a seller comes in and dumps the item for 5. 5 is lower than every bid in the queue, but the trade crosses with the HOB which happens to be 150. The bidder receives the item, and has no idea where it was listed, just that it was less than his bid of 150. The seller at 5 sells their item and receives net total of 90% of 150, or 135. Since their posting fee was 5 (which is the minimum posting fee), the sale will tell them they sold the item for 150, and paid 10 in additional fees. The trade is printed at 150 in the last 5, the 150 bid and 5 offer are removed from the queue, and the queue now has bids of 100, 120, 125 and offers of 225, 250, 300. I like to think of this visually as a set of goalposts, where the left goal post is the highest outstanding bid, and the right post is the lowest outstanding offer. If you are looking from increasing prices from left to right, where each vertical line is a bid or an offer, it might look something like this: |||||________||||| There may be more than one bid or offer at any vertical line, and they may not be evenly spaced. Maybe a better way to look at it is with + representing bids, H representing the highest outstanding bid, L representing the lowest outstanding offer, and – representing offers. Then it would look something like: ++++H_______L---- In order for a trade to occur, it has to enter the system outside of the goalposts, either on the high side or the low side. New orders can come in and narrow the goalposts, but as long as there is even 1 inf of difference between the HOB and the LOO, no trade will occur. Without a little sleuthing work, you really don't know what other people are bidding or offering, and since any given queue of bids and offers may be huge and complex, it's often difficult to suss out what the rest of the book looks like. There are, however, a few ways that I will discuss in a later section on strategy. Some common questions: "I've had an outstanding offer at 1mm for days now, and I see the last 5 has trades that printed at over 1mm. Is that normal?" Yes, probably. In order for you to trade, your offer has to be the cheapest one in the book when a bid comes in. In this case, it is very likely that there were other people who were offering at prices under 1mm, and people came in with bids of over 1mm. The highest bid matches up with the lowest offer when there is a cross, and the trade prints at the level of the bid. This is probably working as intended. "I've had an outstanding bid at 1mm for days now, and I see the last 5 has trades that printed at under 1mm. Is that normal?" Nope, not at all. That shouldn't happen, since every trade prints at the level of the bid, and if trades are printing below your bid, then something is wrong. That is probably due to the elephant in the room display bug. However, I wouldn't write off the possibility that there are other glitches in the system that keep it from operating the way it should. "What happens when there are ties? Like if I have more than one bid at the same price, or if five people are offering at the same level? How does the system choose which trade happens?" I honestly don't know. Anecdotally, it doesn't seem to be purely random; it also doesn't appear to be time stamped, although I have noticed that, in general, earlier orders tend to execute before later orders. I would love to hear from a dev on this topic. Regardless, we know that the real tie-breaker is price. An item offered at 999,999 will always sell before one listed at 1mm, and a bid of 1,000,001 will always buy before one at 1mm. Or at least that's the way it's supposed to work. "What happens when there are block bids or offers? What's the allocation process?" Boy you ask good questions. Let's go back to our queue of {B: 100, 120, 125; O: 225, 250, 300}. Let's look at four independent scenarios (these don't all happen in order): 1. An offer of 2x @ 120 comes in. The system looks at the highest bid and sees that it crosses, so one trades there. at 125 Then it looks at the next highest bid and, yup, that crosses too, so the second trades at 120. The queue now looks like {B: 100; O: 225, 250, 300} and two trades print in the last 5 at 125 and 120 respectively. 2. An offer of 2x @ 125 comes in. Does the highest bid cross? Yes and it trades at 125, but the second does not and it gets added to the queue which looks like {B: 100, 120; O: 125, 225, 250, 300}. The goalposts just got narrower. One trade prints in the last 5 at 125. 3. A bid of 2x @ 275 comes in. First, the offer at 225 fills, then the offer at 250 fills. Both of those trades, however, transact at 275, since the bid determines the price paid. So even though the sellers at 225 and 250 both go filled at the same price of 275, the 225 offer executes first. The queue now looks like {B: 100, 120, 125; O: 300}. Two trades print in the last 5, since they were allocated to two different sellers, but they both print at 275. 4. A bid of 2x @ 235 comes in. The offer at 225 fills, but the next best offer is too high to fill. One trade prints at 235, and the extra bid joins the queue, which now looks like {B: 100, 120, 125, 235; O: 250, 300}. the goalposts got narrower. If this seems confusing, let me know and I can change the language. But there is a simple process that the AH is supposed to follow. More to come later and I'll do some editing and cleaning. I'm a little guided out at the moment. All commentary welcomed, especially if I got something wrong. All questions answered to the best of my ability.
  17. More than just a Ninja - A Guide to Stalkers Index Introduction AT Powers inherent to Stalkers Primaries Secondaries Basic slotting Combat, Tricks Beginer Nin/Nin Build The ATO Synergy Advanced slotting Incarnates Advanced Nin/Nin Build Introduction Hello all, i have played a Stalker back in the day and was thrilled to play one here on homecoming. I mostly played on redside only before the ATs and alingnments allowed everyone to switch side and go rogue. Stalkers used to be good in PvP and bad on allmost everything else. After the introduction of the Bane i felt like the Stalkers are obsolete now. Maybe a lot of people think the same. because i have the impression that scrappers and blasters are regarded as the Damage gods and no one speaks about Stalkers anymore. Well i can asure you, that Stalkers are the real Damage gods and that is thanks to the Stalker revamp in issue 22. A lot of people have missed it like me. I was really surprised by the new System off Assassin's Focus. It is amazing how well a Stalker is doing in issue 25. Now what made me sit down and write this guide was the fact, that a lot of people in this forum seem to ask the same questions or just go on to create a Ninja/Ninja Stalker, don't get the AT and just quit like: “A Stalker? Yeah i made me a Ninja, too.“ But Stalkers can be so much more... Before we go into real stuff now let me clarify that i am writing this guide on my personel experience and this is my opinion. If you don't agree with me, that is totally fine. If i did something fundamentally wrong i will be glad to learn something new. Also i used Paragon Wiki for a lot of the informations, it was and still is one of the best sources of information for this game.
  18. Advanced Architect Entertainment Tips & Tricks Just a brief rundown of some tricks to enhance your Story Arcs that you won't find in the Mission Architect Creator. For most of the Mission Arc Creator, there are tips above the text windows that give you a brief description and example. They are pretty self explanatory, but for a more in-depth description, visit the link by@Charlie for more information. PERSONALIZED CODES These codes will return a word based on the Player speaking to the contact. $name $level $class $supergroup: will display “No Supergroup” if unaffiliated $sirmam or SirMam $heshe or $HeShe $hishers or $HisHers $himher or $HimHer HTML TAGS You can also use basic HTML codes to enhance your text. Not all text can be enhanced however. Navigator Windows displaying the Mission Title and Objectives cannot be enhanced. And although the preview will show enhanced text for the Story Description, it will not be enhanced in the search window unfortunately. <br> will force a return starting the next line. <color #ffff00>Yellow Text</color> will return Yellow Text <b>Bold Text</b> will return Bold Text <i>Italics Text</i> will return Italics Text If you combine them <b><color #ffff00><i>Combo Text</i></color></b> will return Combo Text. Make sure to cancel out the codes in the exact reverse order. In this case, we do bold, color, and italics. Close them with italics, color, bold. UNKNOWN OR HARD-TO-FIND RESOURCES Contacts There are some Objects you can use as contacts that you won't find in the Contacts/Objects. These objects you have to search in Standard Contacts/All. Aspect of the Pillar - An Ouroboros Crystal Golden Roller - a car Locker - a set of lockers Medicine Cabinet - a cabinet of medical supplies you'd see in a doctor's office Number 204 - a giant spider bot Slot Machine Televisioin - A TV on cinderblocks surrounded by trash The Radio - a boombox radio Twilight's Son - a Nova (squid form) Kheldian In addition, this is also where you'll find the most mundane of NPC's all the way up to the Signature Heroes and Villains. Maps The more popular and/or unique maps. Atta Cave: Unique Maps - Caves (Unique) - Trolls Cavern of the Transcendence Trial Map: Unique Maps - Caves (Unique) - Batzul Hell Tyrant's Throne Room and Lava Pits: Unique Maps - Caves (Unique) - Tyrant's Lair The small space meteor: Unique Maps - Unique - Shiva Fragment The caved-in tunnel: Unique Maps - Unique - Road Tunnel CoV's Breakout Tutorial: Unique Maps - Unique - The Zig Breakout A giant space map in fog: Unique Maps - Unique - Space Island Hope this information helps you creative people out there!
  19. GETTING AROUND THE CITIES OF HEROES AND VILLAINS or YOU'RE REALLY GOING PLACES NOW! City of Heroes and Villains is huge and pretty complicated, and there are lots of different zones to explore. What’s more, a lot of mission chains, Task Forces, and Strike Forces like to send you willy-nilly from one zone to another. But if you think travel is confusing now, you should have been here when the game was new. In the very early days of City of Heroes, inter-zone travel took a lot longer. There were two different, unlinked transit lines, and certain zones that were intentionally not part of them. For example, to get from Atlas Park to Firebase Zulu, you would have to take the transit line to Steel Canyon or Skyway City or Independence Port, cross the zone under your own power to get to the other transit line, take that to Talos Island, cross Talos Island to take the ferry to Peregrine Island, and then cross Peregrine Island to get to the Portal Corps building to reach Firebase Zulu. (And there were Shadow Shard Task Forces that were sadistic enough to send you from the Shadow Shard to Atlas Park and back.) There were supergroup bases that could save you some time, if sufficient effort had been put into getting as many teleport beacons as possible, but even those could only go so far. Now, years later, there are a wide variety of transport systems, shortcuts, long-distance teleports, and alternate routes. People who’ve played City of Heroes for a while have developed a feel for how to get from one place to another as quickly as possible, and can be off and running as soon as the next task force mission is up. However, newbies and those whose old City memories are still hazy can be left confused in the dust trying to work out how to get to from Peregrine Island to Independence Port before the rest of the team has already finished the mission there. This guide will serve as a handy reference to help people find the fastest way from one zone to another, and possibly even suggest some new ways of getting from place to place you hadn't considered before. A quick tip: if you need to get from one zone to another, hit Ctrl-F and search this guide on the zone names to find where I mention them. For most transit methods, I'll list all the reachable zones. (With the exception of supergroup base teleporters, because that would be nearly all of them.) Although there are many places you can cut through that offer exits to multiple parts of Paragon City or the Rogue Isles, they aren’t used as much for getting around as they used to be. The most popular methods for getting from place to place—Ouroboros, teleporters (supergroup, Pocket D, mission), and the LFG queue—will work from practically anywhere, saving time over the need to travel to specific locations in the world to get to other ones. Combined with the transit lines and TUNNEL system, these methods mean there is no longer much need to go to a particular location just to take a shortcut to another—but I include them here for the sake of completeness. THE MAP (NOT THE TERRITORY) First, the basics. The City of Heroes map display has two tabs. You’re probably most familiar with the right-hand “Zone” tab showing the region you’re currently in—either the current city zone, or the instanced mission map. However, you may not have paid any attention to the second tab, “City,” to the left, which gives an overview of the city area you’re currently in and shows how all the zones connect to each other. You can use the map of the current region to see all the exits from the zone you’re currently in. Most exits will appear as either green dots for normal zones, or red dots for hazard zones (some of which will have a black and yellow striped border around them, just to emphasize their hazardous nature). However, some exits have custom icons (such as the exit to Studio 55 in Pocket D). You can mouse over each icon to get a tooltip with the exit’s destination. Clicking on an exit will put an icon on the navigation display compass to show you which direction to go to get there. The overview tab can be useful in planning your trip—if you need to go to a zone for which none of the teleport or shortcut methods given below will work, you’ll need to get to the closest connecting zone and travel to the exit. It can also be helpful to know how the city is laid out in case you have business in adjoining zones. (In days of old, before Galaxy City was destroyed, people used to hold lap races from zone to zone around the inner loop of the city.) If either map is too small to make out the details, even zoomed in, you can drag the corner of the map out to make it bigger, which will make everything on the map window bigger as well. If you haven’t yet, I would also advise you to install the most recent Vidiotmaps add-on pack, which adds locations of badges, plaques, Shadow Shard gravity geysers, zone events, and other useful information to the map. It may be helpful to refer to these maps as you read descriptions of the transit lines and shortcuts in the remainder of this guide. TRANSIT LINES: MONORAIL (PARAGON CITY), BLACK HELICOPTER LINE AND FERRY (ROGUE ISLES) Formerly divided into Yellow and Green transit lines, the monorail has long been one of the primary means of getting around Paragon City. As noted above, it was originally two different routes where you had to physically cross some of the zones to change lines, but NCSoft eventually gave in to player complaints and unified the transit lines so you could travel to any station from any other station. Black Helicopter Transport and the Rogue Isles Ferry are the Rogue Isles equivalent to the monorail, and work the same way: you can hop any black helicopter or ferry to any destination they offer. The ferry was originally divided into multiple routes, but like the monorail they were eventually combined together. The monorail, helicopter, and ferry can all be used for “board transit” mission locations, where you have to use a transit line to get to the mission instance. MONORAIL DESTINATIONS Atlas Park Kings Row Steel Canyon (north and south) Skyway City (north and south) Talos Island Independence Port (north and south) Croatoa Brickstown Founders’ Falls BLACK HELICOPTER DESTINATIONS Mercy Island (north and south) Port Oakes Cap au Diable Sharkhead Isle Nerva Archipelago (north and south) St. Martial Grandville (north and south) ROGUE ISLES FERRY DESTINATIONS Mercy Island Port Oakes (east and west) Cap au Diable (north and south) Sharkhead Isle Nerva Archipelago St. Martial Grandville SHIPS AND SUBS In addition to the transit line, there are a few ships and submarines that serve as adjuncts to the stations and take you places they don’t reach. These include the ferry that connects Talos Island and Peregrine Island, the smuggler’s ship that connects Talos Island, Striga Island, and Independence Port, and the submarine that links Peregrine Island, Kallisti Wharf, The Abyss, and Grandville. These can be located as green or red exit dots on the map display. As with any exit that connects to multiple destinations, the smuggler ship and submarine can also be used for many “board transit” missions. TUNNEL SYSTEM In the very last update before City of Heroes shut down, NCSoft introduced the TUNNEL System, a system of dimensional portals connecting various destinations in Paragon City, the Rogue Isles, and Praetoria. Characters of Hero and Villain alignment who use the TUNNEL will not have access to the opposite alignment’s zones, but Vigilantes and Rogues will have access to both. All alignments can access the Praetoria zones. Thanks to the TUNNEL, characters can now hop straight from Atlas Park to Firebase Zulu should they want to. In many places that have both TUNNEL and Monorail or Black Helicopter/Ferry links, the TUNNEL is placed conveniently to the other transit system so it’s very easy to switch back and forth. TUNNEL DESTINATIONS Atlas Park Mercy Island Imperial City Underground Imperial Cap au Diable Talos Island First Ward Night Ward Nerva Archipelago Founders Falls Peregrine Island Firebase Zulu Dark Astoria SUPERGROUP BASES Back on Live, a well-equipped supergroup base was pretty rare, because it required a lot of time and dedication on the part of supergroup members to grind out enough prestige to grow and power the base to become big enough to support the best amenities—including teleporters that could put you in nearly any zone accessible to your character. However, in Homecoming, the whole prestige grind is one of the time sinks that SCORE got rid of. Now all base items are free, and prestige is no longer even a thing. This means that anyone who cares to put in the time and effort can build just as good a base for themselves and their own alts as they like—which includes getting all the teleporters to all the available zones. (Also, heroes and villains can share the same Supergroup, so bases can offer ports to all available destinations for both heroes and villains.) Relatively few zones are unavailable as base teleports: PVP zones, the Hive, the Abyss, the Shadow Shard, Cimerora, and various other extremely distant locales. Getting to any zone on offer from a SG base is usually as simple as going into the base, finding the teleporter room, and choosing the destination from the list. A well-arranged base will make it easy to see at a glance which zones are assigned to which teleporter. This is one of the absolute best ways to get to nearly any zone you need to reach. The only drawbacks are that sometimes the teleport location it lands you in is fairly remote from where you wanted to go, and some zones aren’t accessible that way at all. You aren’t limited to just your own SG base, either. Many supergroups make their bases available for use by the general public as a public service. If you don’t have access to or just don’t feel like building a good SG base yourself, you could check out one of those. To get in, you just have to enter their password at the base entrance or when using the Supergroup Base Teleport prestige or Day Job power—or plug it into one of the base teleport macros below. On Torchbearer, base WARPZONE-4141 is a small room with teleporters conveniently arranged by destination category. TORCHCS-5949 is a much larger base with many amenities available. If you play on a different server, check in its forum or channel on the Discord to find out about any similar bases available there. If you know of such a base, feel free to leave the passcode and server name in the comments, and I may add it to a future update. BASE TELEPORTERS There are a couple of different Supergroup Base teleport powers available. One of these is a Prestige power, available from the P2W store for 1 million Inf. This power can be fired off every thirty minutes. There is also a Day Job Accolade power that can be earned by spending time logged out at the base entrance when you have both the Patroller and Monitor Duty badges. Both of these powers require you to stand still for ten seconds or so as you use them, during which time the power can be interrupted by attacks or other effects. However, there is actually a faster way to get to any given supergroup base, with the use of the /enter_base_from_passcode command. If you type that slash command, followed by a base password, it will teleport you to that base instantaneously, with no execution time or cooldown. (And no 1 million Inf purchase fee, either.) If you want to add this command to one of your trays in the form of a macro, just type something like /macro WARP enter_base_from_passcode WARPZONE-4141 If you’d like to create a nicer-looking macro using a power icon image, you could use this instead: /macroimage DayJob_Teleport Superbase_Teleport enter_base_from_passcode WARPZONE-4141 Substitute the passcode for your own base, if you prefer. Your SG leader should be able to tell you what it is. If you’re the leader, you can simply set it for yourself with the command /sgpasscode [word] where [word] is the word you want to use. (The game adds the 4-digit number itself.) If you don’t know the passcode to your own base, you can at least use someone else’s base for convenient teleporter access while using the P2W store power to get to your own. (SCORE lead developer Leandro has said this command was never actually intended for player use, and will eventually be removed. So, enjoy it while you can; I'll remove it from the guide when it no longer works.) OUROBOROS Ouroboros is the “flashback” system that lets characters play through content they’ve outleveled. It’s located in a zone outside the normal timestream, and characters gain a teleport power allowing them to access that zone upon doing a mission arc or gaining a badge associated with time travel. (This includes the exploration badge within that zone itself, which is why people often ask for someone to summon an Ouroboros portal for them to let them go there and get it for themselves.) Characters must be at least level 14 before they can use the Ouroboros Teleporter to reach Ouroboros. The main exit from Ouroboros leads back to a number of zones in Paragon City and the Rogue Islands, and will also work for most “board transit” missions, meaning that players often find it most efficient to throw down an Ouro portal to avoid having to travel cross-zone to a tram station. (There are some “board transit” missions, such as the one in the Market Crash trial, that it won’t work for, but for those you can exit to Talos Island and come out very near the tram station there.) Heroes and Villains won’t be able to exit to each others’ zones, but Vigilantes and Rogues can exit to any. In a portal at the back of Ouroboros is another exit to the five Echoes of old zones that Ouroboros hosts: Atlas Park, Galaxy City, Faultline, Dark Astoria, and the Rikti Crash Site. These Echoes depict the original versions of zones that were removed or considerably changed with new Issues that came out, including containing the original badges and plaques from those zones (and replacing them with new ones in the new versions of the zones). The newest Vidiotmaps contains updated badge and plaque locations for all of those zones. The Echoes of Galaxy City and Dark Astoria can also be reached from supergroup teleporters—and characters below level 14 can teleport in from the base and use the exit in that zone to reach Ouroboros and get the badge and teleporter power that way (though they still can’t pass through that teleporter themselves until they hit level 14). Because Ouroboros makes it so easy to get from distant zones back to more central areas, the Ouroboros teleport power is often employed as a shortcut to get home from places like the Hive or Cimerora back to those zones in Paragon City or the Rogue Isles. It’s worth noting, however, that there is a way to use Ouroboros to get to zones that are not listed on Ouroboros’s exit. All you have to do is flash back to a mission arc belonging to such a contact, use the crystal to teleport to that contact, then quit the Ouroboros task force. Of course, there are enough other methods of speedy travel that it would probably be far simpler to use one of those than to go through the effort of clicking through an Ouroboros arc. Nonetheless, it’s good to know the option exists. OUROBOROS EXIT DESTINATIONS Atlas Park Cap Au Diable Talos Island Sharkhead Isle Independence Port Nerva Archipelago St. Martial Founders’ Falls Grandville Peregrine Island OUROBOROS ECHOES Echo: Atlas Park Echo: Galaxy City Echo: Faultline Echo: Dark Astoria Echo: Rikti Crash Site VANGUARD BASE (RIKTI WAR ZONE) Another co-op zone with multiple exits is the Vanguard Base in the Rikti War Zone. Heroes and villains have the option of three exits each (not counting the Crey's Folly zone exit a few hundred yards away) and Vigilantes and Rogues can take all six. This base has a lot of amenities, including a hospital, merit vendor, trainer, Enhancement store, supergroup base entrance, and even crafting tables, making it a great place to hang out—especially since it's in the zone where Rikti Mothership Raids are formed up. VANGUARD BASE EXITS Atlas Park Founders Falls Peregrine Island Cap au Diable St. Martial Grandville There is also a map exit to Crey’s Folly in the southeast part of the Rikti War Zone. THE MIDNIGHTER CLUB Best known as the place you can get to Cimerora from, this base offers three zone exits to Paragon City and one to the Rogue Isles that characters can use as their alignments permit. To have access, you either need to do the Midnighter story arc, launched from a contact inside the Steel Canyon or Cap Au Diable University, or go to Night Ward and enter the front door of the big spooky mansion to get the House Hunter badge. MIDNIGHTER CLUB EXITS Steel Canyon Croatoa Founders Falls Cap au Diable And, of course, there’s the exit to Cimerora through the crystal at the center. POCKET D Pocket D is probably the best-known co-op zone. It has all the amenities except crafting tables, plus a P2W Store and access to Null the Gull to change alignments or disable unwanted buff effects. There's even an Architect Entertainment annex built right in. You can get here from the entrances in any of the zones listed below (just look for the green dot on your map), or you can buy a Pocket D teleport power with a 30-minute cooldown from the P2W store (or get it free for hanging out in Pocket D for a couple of hours). Since the LFG teleport system can launch trials from anywhere (see below), this makes Pocket D a great place to form up any trial, Task Force, or Strike Force. Participants can make sure they're the right alignment, have the double-XP buff filled up, or even disable the Speed Buff run-speed effect if there's a Kinetic on the team and the trial involves lots of caves or catwalks. Then, when they're ready, the leader queues them up and they teleport to the contact or directly into the trial. (Pocket D is also one of the main places Incarnate Trials form up.) Plus, there are the eight exits available: four to Paragon City, three to the Rogue Isles, and one to Praetoria. Characters may take any exit their alignment permits—and can change their alignment at Null the Gull if they need to. POCKET D EXITS King’s Row Faultline Talos Island Founders’ Falls Port Oakes Sharkhead Isle St. Martial Studio 55 (Imperial City, Praetoria) PARAGON DANCE PARTY Back in the early days of the game, some of the Cryptic devs thought they’d do something nice for the roleplaying community, so on their own time and without official sanction they coded up a little dance club and tucked it in. It wasn’t anything fancy—just a reskin over a room from the warehouse tileset—but it proved so popular that it wasn’t too much longer before Pocket D was commissioned as an official, sanctioned dance club. PDP wasn’t popular with only the RPers, though. At the time, the transit lines were still split, so you had to travel the length of Steel, Skyway, or Independence Port to get from one line to the other. Since PDP had exits to Talos Island and Independence Port, and its Steel Canyon entrance was a lot closer to the south transit line than the other line all the way across the zone, the traffic between exits by shortcut-takers soon dwarfed the traffic on the dance floors. There was no zone map and the exits weren’t marked, but it wasn’t hard to memorize which one was which. When Pocket D was added, NCSoft removed the old Paragon Dance Party—but during the six-year interim when the game was being developed in secret by fans, the nostalgics in SCORE added it back in. So, you can still visit it, or use it as a shortcut if you like, even now. Of course, now that the transit lines are merged, there isn’t much call for taking that kind of shortcut anymore. And since Pocket D has a lot more amenities than this little dark empty warehouse, you don’t find too many people stopping here anymore. But it’s still a nice quiet spot to hang out, craft, and, yes, roleplay. PARAGON DANCE PARTY EXITS West: Independence Port North: Steel Canyon East: Talos Island GETTING AROUND THE SHADOW SHARD The Shadow Shard was Cryptic’s first attempt at creating real endgame content for City of Heroes, and the huge zones full of floating islands and gravity geysers present a number of travel questions all their own. The Shadow Shard is made up of four huge zones connected serially, with an exit in the east end of each zone leading to an entrance in the west end of the next: Firebase Zulu links to the Cascade Archipelago, which links to the Chantry, which links to the Storm Palace. These connections are in the form of green “vines” with swirly portals in the end. The military base at the west end of the Firebase Zulu zone also has exits that lead directly to the west end of each of the other three zones. These are circular clickable portals at the point of exit from the base, each labeled with the name of its zone. Those portals come out in little glowy balls near the swirly-vine entrance to the previous zone. (And there’s also a third exit to from Zulu to the Cascade Archipelago, from a cave in the Firebase Zulu military base that leads to a secret base, “Mole Point Charlie,” in the very middle.) There’s no “ground” in the Shadow Shard; if you fall off an island and can’t catch yourself with flight or teleport powers, you’ll be teleported back to the west end of the zone you’re in, near the swirly vine and glowy ball exits back to the previous zone and to Firebase Zulu. If you want to get to the east end of the zone you’re in, all you need to do, then, is drop into space and land at the west end, take the glowy ball portal back to Firebase Zulu, and then take the Firebase Zulu zone portal to whichever zone is east of your current zone. Then go back through the swirly vine, and that will take you to the east end of the previous zone. This can be particularly useful on Justin Augustine’s Task Force, which sometimes sends you to destinations on the east end of the Chantry. To get there, all you need to do is take the portal to Firebase Zulu, take the portal to the Storm Palace, and then take the vine back to the Chantry. Travel from place to place within the Shadow Shard zones themselves is accomplished by means of the “gravity geysers,” blue glowy fountains of mist that will fling you across great distances. (It is permissible to shout “Wheeeeeee!!!” at the top of your lungs as you hurtle through the air.) Vidiotmaps marks the location and direction of all geysers, which can be extremely useful when using them for travel. When using the gravity geysers for travel, you need to disable any powers that affect your movement rate, such as Super Speed, Super Jump, or Combat Jumping. Even then, sometimes the geysers can miss their target, so be ready to click on a flight power or temp power if you need to catch yourself before you fall out of the map. You can, of course, simply use flight or teleport powers to avoid geyser travel altogether—the Rocket Board and other non-combat flight powers are especially useful in this regard—but the geysers actually can get you across the zones fairly quickly if you’re any good at using them. I used to race against characters who habitually used the geysers, and they often beat my speed flying in a straight line. If you’re doing Shard missions or Task Forces on a full team, making sure that every team member has Team Transport can be a great way to avoid the question of geysers altogether—the half-hour cooldown for the first member’s TT power should be over by the time everyone else has had their turn. Mission Transporter plus Assemble the Team or Incandescence Destiny can also be useful, for missions in the same zone. The Rocket Board, Team Transport, and other useful prestige/temp powers can be purchased from the P2W store (of which there is one in Firebase Zulu, another one in Mole Point Charlie, and a third one next to the Enhancement vendor near Justin Augustine). THE LFG QUEUE TELEPORTER One of the most unexpectedly useful newer additions to City of Heroes is the LFG Queue. This is the panel you use in queueing up for Death From Below, Summer Blockbuster, and all the Incarnate Trials, among others. It lists all such Trials and Task/Strike Forces available to you based on your current level and alignment, so that you can choose the one you want to join and queue yourself or your team up for it. But it can also be spectacularly useful in helping you get around. Before the LFQ Queue, any Task Force, Strike Force, or Trial could only be started by visiting a specific contact to ask them for the mission. Some of these contacts are quite remote, and sometimes getting everybody there would be its own “trial”. But now, in addition to letting you queue directly into trials that don’t start from contacts, the LFG teleporter can send you and your entire team to the location of Task/Strike Force or Trial contacts. Or, if you’re soloing, it can send just you. The LFG Queue is supposed to work by you indicating you want to take part in a trial and waiting, and then whenever enough people are interested the trial starts. In practice, almost nobody actually uses it that way (perhaps because when you’re queued for a trial that might never happen, you can’t join any other teams or do much of anything else). So people form full trial teams and then queue them up so that they all hop into the trial right away. If you decide you want to start with a team smaller than the Task Force or Trial's maximum, and don’t want to wait for anyone else to decide to join you, you select the radio button at the lower right, to lock the trial for your group and begin with just the team members you have—and that’s also the key for using the LFG Queue to get from place to place. All you need to do is select a Task Force, Strike Force, or Trial that starts at a contact, lock the trial for your group, and queue up. The teleporter will then send you to that contact—but you’re not under any obligation to do their Task Force when you get there unless you want to talk to them and select the first mission. Once you arrive at the contact, you can go wherever you want from there. Of course, you do have to know where the Task Force contact actually is to know where porting to them will take you, but that’s the kind of thing you pick up with experience. Note that this will not work if you’re on a Task Force or Ouroboros mission already. Or, rather, it will work, but it will also remove you from that Task Force, so it kind of defeats the purpose of using it for that. This power will work best when used solo, because you only have to queue for yourself. If you’re on a team, all members of it have to be in the same zone, and they need to know what you’re doing so they don’t get confused and turn down the invitation to queue. But if you explain ahead of time, and everyone’s in the same place, it’s a great way to get your whole team from one place to another—for example, if you decide to form up your Task Force or Trial team in Pocket D, as I suggested in that section above. (Though sometimes when you travel this way, the game may give the team leadership star to some other team member when you arrive, and you’ll have to ask for it back.) There is no cooldown on this power; you can use it as often as you need to. It can even work to get you out of places where other teleport methods are disabled, such as PVP zones. I like to use LFG teleport when I hear of a Task Force forming that I’d like to be on—particularly when that’s Imperious’s Task Force, because of how annoying it is to travel to Cimerora the “normal” way, but it’s also nice for TF contacts who are some distance away from the nearest transit, like Moonfire or Hess. I’ll ask if there’s an opening, then ask them to wait thirty seconds before inviting me while I use the LFG Queue to teleport to the contact. That way I’m there immediately; I don’t have to mess around with traveling to the right zone and then making my way to the contact in the usual way. While not meant to be an exhaustive list, here are a few of the more useful Task Force contacts for LFG teleportation. Note that these will only be available to you if your character meets the level and alignment requirements to participate in the TF in question. Citadel (Citadel’s Children). All the Task Force Commander contacts are located across from a trainer and near a supergroup base exit, but Citadel is unique in that he is also positioned right next to the tram and TUNNEL. If you want to catch the tram or TUNNEL, Citadel’s your best bet. Katie Hannon (A Tangled Plot). If you want to get to a giant monster war in the north end of Croatoa, or see if Sally is available to be bopped on the nose, LFGporting to Katie will put you convenient to both of them. Note that you do have to have done the last Croatoa story arc to have unlocked her to be able to port to her. Maj. Richard Flagg (Terror Volta (3)). Maj. Flagg is located right by the middle Portal Corps building, so if you have business there, or need to be on the northeast end of Peregrine Island for other reasons (doing the Maria Jenkins arc, talking to Detective Selnum, starting the Dark Astoria content, heading north to hunt Rikti monkeys, etc.), this is the fastest way to get there. Imperious (Time’s Arrow). If you’re sick and tired of having to find a university and then change zones three more times to get to Cimerora, LFG queueing will seem like a gift from the (Roman) gods. There is no supergroup base teleport beacon for Cimerora, so this is just about the only fast way to get there. (You do have to have Cimerora unlocked for this Task Force to be available to select, of course.) Lady Grey (The Lady Grey Task Force). This is your instant port to the Vanguard base, where you can make use of all the amenities I described in the earlier section. (This is particularly useful given that the supergroup base teleport beacon to RWZ puts you way out in the middle of nowhere.) It’s also a speedy way to get there when you hear of a Mothership Raid forming up…except that the port may put you in the wrong instance of the RWZ for the raid, so be sure and check the /search window to see if you’re in the same instance where all the other people are, and if not, head to your alignment’s exit and quickly zone out and back into the right one. Mairenn MacGregor (Descent to the Hydra). This contact is located right next to the Atlas Park sewer entrance. If you want to go where all the people forming up DFBs hang out, or otherwise have a reason to want to get to the Sewer or Abandoned Sewer right away, this is who you’d pick. The Woodsman (Prisoners of Eden). If you’re wanting to get to a Hamidon Raid, this is the closest teleport destination to the Hive. (The supergroup base Eden teleporter will put you here, too, but using the LFG port means one fewer zone transition.) Ada Wellington (Market Crash). This puts you a lot closer to the university than the Kallisti Wharf supergroup base teleporter. With the single exception of using a Wentworth's teleporter to get to Steel Canyon (see below), this is the closest teleport destination to any university, if you’re looking to use the crafting tables or park for a Day Job. (This university doesn't have a Midnighter Club entrance, though.) And it’s a co-op zone, so is available to all alignments. Sara Moore (The Legend of Ruladak). Of all the Shadow Shard Task Force contacts, Sara Moore is especially worth mentioning for being located within Mole Point Charlie, the secret military base in the heart of the Cascade Archipelago. If you’re doing the Shadow Shard story arcs, you’ll be required to travel here several times—to visit the mole point, to carry fedexes to the contacts, and to return to the contacts once or twice after you run their earliest missions. And the first time, you’re expected to travel the long way, rather than using the secret portal in Firebase Zulu. But don’t mess with the gravity geysers, and don’t spend long minutes flying or teleporting across the zone. Just choose Sara Moore from the LFG list, queue, and there you are. (Also, you’ll be sent on a fedex to Justin Augustine, another Shard TF contact. Just use LFG to get to him, too, and save yourself yet more travel time.) (Props to Hedgefund, whose own LFG teleporter travel guide turned me on to this technique.) FIND A CONTACT TELEPORTER Your contacts list has a similar teleporter to the LFG Queue built into it, though this one isn’t quite as useful. If you open the contacts list, at the top you’ll see a blue button marked “Find Contact.” If you choose this, you can flip through all the remaining contacts available to you at your level. If you haven’t spoken to them yet, the window will say that you don’t know the contact, and will offer to teleport you to them. This makes it easy for you to find new content that you haven’t done yet if all your other contacts don’t have anything interesting to offer you. However, the teleporter will only work once per unknown contact. If you’ve used it already, the system considers you to know the contact now, and only allows you to select them from this point forward. Hence, it’s not exactly the most useful thing in terms of getting to the same place more than once. That being said, it can be useful in particular circumstances, if you should have the need to teleport to a given contact once. For example, if you need to unlock Cimerora in a hurry, you don’t have to take the time to find the nearest TUNNEL and take it to Night Ward, then find the mansion. Instead, simply teleport to Fireball or Trilogy from the “Find Contact” function. That will put you in the catacombs underneath the mansion in Night Ward. Go through the set of double doors with the Midnighter Medic standing next to them, then go out the front door, and you’ll have the House Hunter and Midnighter badges and be good to go. MISSION TELEPORTER and TEAM TRANSPORT I’ve already mentioned a couple of the teleport powers available from P2W—the Supergroup Base teleporter and the Pocket D teleporter. But there are a couple of other P2W store powers that can be particularly useful in getting from place to place as well. These two powers are effectively the same thing; they both have a 30-minute cooldown and will both teleport you to the currently selected door mission. It’s just that the Mission Teleporter only works on you and costs 1 million Inf, but the Team Transporter transports any team member in range and costs 10 millon Inf. (You can also use the Team Transporter solo.) Note that Team Transporter fires off in pulses; if you miss the first transport window, wait ten seconds or so and you’ll get another. Their use for getting to missions in distant zones (and in the Shadow Shard, as mentioned above) is obvious, but you can also use them as methods of zone transportation if you can call a contact giving missions where you want to go. Just get a mission there and use the teleporter. You can then call the contact back and drop the mission, if you don’t feel like doing it. Honorable mention goes to Assemble the Team and the Incarnate Incandescence Destiny power, for making it possible for you to port the rest of the team to the mission if they're in the same zone when you get to the door. At 10 million Inf, the Team Transporter is one of the most expensive powers available from P2W, but the first time a Shadow Shard Task Force sends you to Paragon City, then sends you back to the Shadow Shard again, you'll agree it's worth every penny. (All the more so because those Task Forces usually repeat this particular trick multiple times. That's part of why the Dr. Quaterfield TF used to take over eight hours to complete, but can now be done in about three.) If you have trouble affording that amount, this other guide I wrote could help with that. AUCTIONHOUSE TELEPORTERS In the I25+ version of City of Heroes, you can now access the auctionhouse anywhere you are (outside of a mission or supergroup base) thanks to the /AH command. But in the old "Live" version of the game, this command was a tier 8 Veteran Reward. If you couldn't use it yet, you had to travel to where one of the auctionhouses was physically located to be able to place and check bids. To make this easier, there were various teleport powers you could obtain that would take you to an auctionhouse when you fired them off. These powers are still in the game—and while they may no longer be necessary in order to trade, they can still be very useful in getting around. There are two different varieties of these powers you can obtain. Under the "Fixed Price" category, the auctionhouse sells teleporters that will take you to each different variety of auctionhouse in the game—the Consignment House, the Black Market, the Trading House, or the Underground Trader. They cost 10,000 Inf each. Due to a bug the way the game stands right now, you can buy more t han one charge—but you might as well not, because the power itself will be deleted when you use it no matter how many charges you have on it. Still, 10,000 Inf is practically a pittance, so you might as well grab one. (The Auctionhouse lists teleporter Inspirations, too, but these apparently no longer exist in the game. The only one you can actually buy is the round power icon.) The other variety comes from the Day Trader Day Job, which you obtain by logging your character out at an auctionhouse location. While you're logged out, you'll slowly earn uses of an Auctionhouse teleporter power (which you can have multiple charges on). Once you earn the Day Trader badge for having spent 100 hours logged out there, you'll earn those uses faster. This is one of the only Day Job powers you can earn without needing an Accolade, and if you'd like to have an extra way to get around the city that you can use even when LFG is unavailable to you, you might as well get in the habit of logging out at an auctionhouse. Using any auctionhouse teleport power means you cannot use any other such power for 30 minutes. LONG RANGE TELEPORT I’ve not had any experience with this, the final power from the Teleportation pool, as I’ve never been moved to take it on any characters, but as I understand it, it works more or less like the transit system—firing it off gives you a list of zones you can teleport to, depending on your alignment and where you currently are. I imagine it could be convenient to have, and maybe thematically relevant to a character for RP purposes—but look at what you’ve just read in this guide. There are already so many ways to get somewhere else quickly for free, why would you spend one of your precious 24 power slots on something like that? YOU CAN’T GET THERE FROM HERE So, with all these teleport powers at hand, where can’t you easily get from somewhere else? Not so many places. Really, there are only a handful of zones that can only be reached by going through a door from another zone. There are the Sewer and Abandoned Sewer, and the network of troll tunnels under the Hollows where the Cavern of Transcendence is. There are the PVP zones, and extreme hazard zones like the Hive and the Abyss. For those, you need to know what they’re connected to and where to go to get there. And you’ll learn those things the longer you adventure in the game. But for the rest, getting to any particular zone should simply be a matter of choosing whichever method is most easily available to you and using it. Hopefully, this guide gave you some good ideas of where to start. TRAVEL PLANNING It's beyond the scope of this guide to go into too much detail on where within a zone any given travel method will put you, but as you spend time traveling around, you'll start to learn these things for yourself from experience. And when you do, you'll find you can start making decisions of which method to used based on where it puts you. For example, if you ask a Task Force teammate who's gone on ahead what part of Steel Canyon a mission is in and they say "in the southwest, near the Perez Park entrance," you'll know that the closest exit to that part of the zone would be to take a Consignment House Teleporter to Wentworth's—you'd have to cross the whole width of the zone if you took the south tram line, and the supergroup base teleporter puts you all the way across the zone in the northeast. (And the LFG porter would kick you off the TF, so that's not even an option.) In big zones like Independence Port, this sort of planning can make a considerable difference. In any case, once you've been able to put some time into learning these ways to get around, before too long you'll find that you're now one of those people with the expertise to leave their less-savvy teammates in the dust. If and when that happens, be sure to message those teammates the link to this guide! As always, if I made any mistakes, left anything out, or you have other useful advice to add, please hit that reply button and let me know! I will update the guide as necessary. Thanks for reading my guide, and thanks for any feedback you have to offer.
  20. A REWARD MERIT VENDOR PRIMER or HOW TO WIN ON THE MERITS Sometimes it looks like an ATM; sometimes it looks like a person. But either way, the Reward Merit Vendor always sells the same things. A few of them are good deals, or are necessary for transferring large amounts of particular kinds of merits from one character to another. But the vast majority of things that the Reward Merit Vendor sells (Recipes, Enhancements, etc.) are actually not good deals, and you should definitely leave alone. In this guide, I will tell you what everything is, and why you usually shouldn't buy it. You see, most things on the Reward Merit vendor actually aren't intended to be good deals. They're intended to provide a price ceiling on sales of those things in the Auction House. If the prices in the Auction House should ever become ridiculously high, the Reward Merit Vendor provides an alternate way people can get those items. But the AH prices would have to be ridiculously high for the Reward Merit Vendor listing to be a good deal. DISCLAIMER: As with any guide that quotes current market prices, the accuracy of this guide is subject to change should market conditions dramatically change. Always verify current prices on the market before you follow any advice from a marketing guide. CONVERTING MERITS TO INF WITH ENHANCEMENT CONVERTERS OR BOOSTERS As I'll explain shortly, you can convert Inf(luence/amy/ormation) to Reward Merits just by turning in a million Inf to get one Reward Merit. (Or you can do it 10 at a time.) But the only way to turn Reward Merits into cash is by buying something with Reward Merits that you can sell in the Auction House. Exactly what will get you the most Inf for Merits can vary depending on current going rates, but it's nearly always going to be Enhancement Converters or Enhancement Boosters. (Other potential candidates can include Enhancement Catalysts or Unslotters, so you might want to check the current AH prices for those as well and do a little bit of division to work out what the most Inf per merit is. But you won't usually go wrong with Converters or Boosters.) Converters are nearly always in high demand (because they're crucial to a particular method of earning Inf quickly), so you can list them for 1 Inf each to take the current high bid, and usually get a good chunk of money fast. Likewise, Enhancement Boosters are in high demand because it takes 25 to 30 of them to boost a single Enhancement set out to +5, and some people will boost every Enhancement they slot rather than Attuning. Converters can get as cheap as 70,000 Inf or as high as 100,000 Inf (or more) each, but they're usually going to go for 80,000 to 90,000 (at least as of the time this guide was written). Enhancement Boosters fluctuate more widely, between 1 and 2 million many times. So, let's do a little math. Say that you bought 3 Converters for 1 Merit, listed them on the market for 1 Inf to make an instant sale, and they sold for 80,000 Inf each. That works out to 240,000 Inf, or 216,000 Inf after the market takes its 10% cut. If they sold for 90,000, that would be 270,000 Inf, or 243,000 after fees. Multiply that by 100 (as most Recipes and Enhancements cost 100 Reward Merits each), and you get 21.6 to 24.3 million. Say that you bought an Enhancement Booster for 5 Merits and placed it on the Auction House for 1 Inf to make an instant sale, and it sold for 1,000,000 Inf. That works out to 200,000 Inf per Merit, or 180,000 after the market's 10% cut. I just tried selling a few Boosters for 1 Inf myself and they sold for about 1.25 million Inf each—225,000 Inf per Merit, or 22.5 million per 100 Merits. It seems unlikely that you'd get as high as 2 million Inf unless you set your asking price higher and waited for demand to go up—which you could certainly do if you weren't in a hurry for the money. But if you are in a hurry, 1 to 1.25 million per Booster listed for 1 Inf is still a decent rate of return considering that you only have to sell 1/15 as many items as if you were doing Converters. (Now, you could list the Converters or Boosters for a higher price than 1 Inf, to make sure you get at least 90,000 Inf per Converter, or at least 1.5 million Inf per Booster, for example—but due to the way the Auction House works, everyone who priced theirs lower than you will get to sell theirs first. The price probably will rise high enough that yours will sell eventually, but if you're in a hurry you might not want to wait that long. And that's another reason I suggest going with high-volume items like Converters or Boosters—so many people want them that you're still going to get a quite decent rate of return on a listed-for-1-Inf instant sale, rather than encountering a lowball bid that gives you much less than you'd expect. That being said, if you do have plenty of time—you're going to be spending all day at work or school, or will be away for the weekend, or whatever—it might not hurt to try placing a few higher-priced sale listings and see how many of them move by the time you get back.) UPDATE: In a comment below, @seebs points out that there's actually another lucrative Merits-to-Inf conversion option, at least in certain circumstances: certain Uncommon recipes. If you spend 20 Merits on a level 10 Steadfast Protection Resistance/Defense IO and craft it for a few thousand Inf, it could sell for around 6 million Inf (5,400,000 Inf after the auctionhouse fee). That works out to 270,000 Inf per Merit, which beats out Converters and Boosters—though you may need to wait a while for the Enhancements to sell, whereas with Converters or Boosters you can get the money immediately. So, as a rule of thumb, you should only pay 100 Reward Merits for a Recipe or Enhancement from the Reward Merit Vendor if the price for that particular Recipe or Enhancement is over 22 million on the Auction House. (Which it nearly never is. Most ATO Enhancements tend to go for 7 to 10 million Inf each, for example. But there are a few exceptions, which I'll cover as we get to them.) If the thing is significantly cheaper than 22 million, then it would be a better deal to turn Reward Merits into Inf by selling Converters or Boosters, and buy the thing with the Inf you get instead. (Unless, of course, that thing isn't actually available on the Auction House, in which case getting it for Merits is going to be the only way to get it quickly at all.) ADDRESSING OBJECTIONS Now, some people may complain that they don't want to have to go through the inconvenience of selling 100 Merits' worth of Converters—but honestly, it's not really all that hard, or time-consuming. You just drag the Converters from your Salvage window into the Auction House, choose "10" when it asks how many you want—then the "10" will be autofilled from then on, so you just need to drag, drop, and click 29 more times. Then you can go to the first stored batch of Converters, fill in "1" for the amount, and then just click on "Post" on the top row repeatedly until all the rows are gone. It's a little repetitive, maybe, but I bet it won't even take you one whole minute to do. And they should sell instantly at that price, so then it's just a matter of clicking "Get All Inf" to pull down the cash. Plus, if you're just buying one ATO, you don't even have to sell all 100 Merits' worth. Maybe you just sell 40 or 50 Merits' worth, that should get you more than enough cash for a single ATO. And, of course, Boosters represent another comparable Merits-to-Inf conversion mechanism that will land you about the same amount of Inf per Merit but with considerably less clicking and dragging involved. My one caveat is that Booster prices may be a little more prone to fluctuation than those of Converters, just because they don't move at quite the same volume of sales. Thus, I still recommend Converters as the most consistently reliable way to get a good Inf return for your Merit investment. You see, Converters are in such high supply (from folks converting Merits to Inf, or selling off Super Pack contents for profit) and high demand (from folks converting Uncommon Enhancements into Rare Enhancements to turn a profit, as explained in the guide linked above) that their prices are generally stable. They tend to fluctuate within a 20,000-Inf range, but rarely go below that range. (I have standing bids for Enhancement Converters at 70,000 Inf on some of my characters, and they go days or even weeks between any of them coming in. The price just doesn't fall that far that often.) This means that you can list your Enhancement Converters at 1 Inf each for a quick sale and still be practically certain you'll get about the same amount of Inf as the previous listings in the sale history, without falling victim to a lowball bid. (There are no 100% certainties in the market, but this one's pretty close.) Enhancement Boosters are more likely to have lowball bids, but even their lowball bids are generally still a decent amount of Inf per Merit. In the interest of full disclosure, I'll admit that I don't usually actually sell most of the Converters that I buy for Merits, because I make enough money through using them to convert Enhancements that I don't have to. (Though given how many clicks it can take to get a profitable conversion, I may not be that much better off than Converter sellers in that respect.) But apart from Converters and Boosters, the other types of special salvage just aren't in as high a demand, and you can't be as sure there isn't a lowball bid lurking out there that would give you a lot less Inf per Merit than you expect if you list low for a quick sale—and if you list at a higher price for a better profit, who knows how long it will take before that sale comes in? As I already said, it would be a good idea to check the current market going rates for the various different types of special salvage and do the division to see which option is likely to offer a better deal at any given time. You might even try listing one of each type of Salvage at 1 Inf to see how much the current highest low bid is, and work your math on those figures, before you decide which one to start buying and selling in bulk at any given time. As I point out in the disclaimer above, the accuracy of this information is subject to change if market conditions change, so always verify current prices on the Auction House before you risk any Inf or Merits. REWARD MERIT VENDOR CATEGORIES Now I'm going to list off all the categories you'll find in the Reward Merit Vendor, and what's under each one. Note that what categories you see in the store depends on your level; level 1 characters only get the Conversion and Salvage lists. Note that above the categories, there is a slider that goes from level 1 to level 50. Some options aren't available above or below certain levels, so if there's a particular level of item you need, you'll have to slide the slider to the right place for it. INF. TO REWARD MERITS As mentioned above, you can turn 1 million Inf into 1 Reward Merit, or 10 million into 10 Reward Merits. However, this is a bad deal, because the most you could get for turning that Merit back into Inf is around 250,000 Inf. So you're losing 75% of your Inf's value right there. There's nothing you can get with Reward Merits that you couldn't get more cheaply with Inf instead, particularly at that exchange rate—so it's better to let your Inf stay Inf. If you're about to hit the 2 billion per character Inf cap, then just email some of it to an alt, or stick it in Auction House bids for items that will never come in, like level 53 Hami-Os. Converting it to Merits is a losing proposition. VANGUARD TO REWARD MERITS This is used for converting the Vanguard Merits you get from Rikti Mothership Raids (and, less frequently, defeating individual Rikti) into Reward Merits. The conversion rate is 30 Vanguard Merits to 1 Reward Merit (or you can do 300 Vanguard to 10 Reward, also). The conversion rate used to be 10:1, but that was a relic of the days when the codebase was used to run a private, much lower-population server, where it wasn't as easy to get Mothership Raids together. Even at 30:1, a MSR is still a better Reward Merit per minute return than many Task or Strike Forces–the 900 to 1200 Vanguard Merits you'll get from a just-over-half-hour Mothership Raid will convert into 30 to 40 Reward Merits. So this conversion isn't actually a bad deal. That being said, there are a lot of nifty things you can buy with plain old Vanguard Merits at the special Vanguard crafting tables, such as the Gr'ai Matter Shard-based component if you're working on your Incarnate Alpha. And you can convert them to Reward Merits any time you need to, but you can't convert Reward Merits back to Vanguard Merits again. So, unless you're in an immediate Reward Merit crunch, you might as well let them stay Vanguard Merits until you need to change them (unless you're approaching the 10,000 Vanguard Merit cap, of course). ASTRAL/EMPYREAN TO REWARD MERITS This option will let you change the Astral or Empyrean Merits you get from doing Incarnate content into Reward Merits, at a rate of 2 Reward Merits per Astral or 10 per Empyrean. (Since you can convert 5 Astral Merits to 1 Empyrean Merit via Luna on Ouroboros, this means the exchange rate stays consistent between the two.) The thing is, that's not necessarily a good idea. There's no way to convert Reward merits back to Astral or Empyrean Merits. Also, while Reward Merits are easy to come by, Astrals and Empyreans are considerably harder. Once you convert those Incarnate Merits away, you can't get them back again—but if you've already bought all your Incarnate powers, you can email the unneeded Empyrean Merits to your other characters, with the help of another conversion option a little further down this menu. That's a much better use for leftover Astral or Empyrean Merits that you no longer need. REWARD TO HERO/VILLAIN MERITS, AND VICE VERSA The email system City of Heroes uses has the annoying limitation that if you want to email items to different characters or people, you have to do it one at a time. Which includes Reward Merits. Emailing dozens of Reward Merits one Merit at a time could drive you nuts, but fortunately you don't have to. You can convert 50 Reward Merits into 1 Hero or Villain Merit, then email that Hero or Villain Merit to your global so you can claim it from an alt. You'll still have to send multiple emails if you're wanting to move hundreds of Merits—but at least you won't have to send hundreds of emails. (If you want to move fewer than 50 Merits, and earning enough to hit 50 isn't an option, you can always convert them into Inf by selling Converters or Boosters, and then email that instead.) Incidentally, it doesn't matter whether you use Hero or Villain Merits. Anyone of any alignment can claim and convert either kind back. However, you can only send them to your own global, not to anyone else's. (On the live version of the game, Hero and Villain Merits used to be the rewards for doing Alignment Missions, and had their own Merit Vendors. But that all went by the wayside when SCORE simplified everything down.) EMPYREAN TO TRANSCENDENT MERITS, AND VICE VERSA This is that option I was mentioning for sending your spare Empyrean Merits to other characters a couple of sections back. Just as with the Reward to Hero/Villain Merits conversion, you can convert 50 Empyrean Merits to 1 Transcendent Merit, which you can then mail to your global for another alt to claim and convert back. (As with Hero/Villain Merits, you can only send them to your own global.) ENHANCEMENTS The next category of purchases from the Merit Vendor is Enhancements. ARCHETYPE ORIGIN ENHANCEMENTS These are the Enhancements that come in the Heroes and Villains or Vigilantes and Rogues Super Packs available for 10 million Inf each under Special Salvage in the Auction House. They're all available for 100 Reward Merits each. As noted above, that's usually a terrible deal, because their going rate on the Auction House is less than half the Inf you'd get from selling 100 Merits' worth of Enhancement Converters. The only time I'd buy an ATO for Merits would be if I needed a specific one to complete a set and there weren't many for sale—and even then, it would be cheaper to buy another of the set that was more common and use Converters to convert in-set until I got the one I wanted. (Or even buy a random Super Pack and convert the Enhancement in that across archetypes then archetype sets until i got the one I wanted.) Of course, that only tells half the story. Many times, the ATO you want simply can't be had on the market at all, even to the point of no Enhancements in the entire set being available. That's one circumstance where it wouldn't be such a bad idea to buy it with Reward Merits if you need to—but if you don't mind a little tedium, you can still get those ATOs more cheaply in Inf than the equivalent cost in Merits. If you have the money (or can convert Reward Merits into the money), take 10 Million Inf and buy a Heroes and Villains or Vigilantes and Rogues Super Pack, from the Salvage -> Special category of the Auction House. You'll probably get at least 1 random ATO in it. (Or you might get two, or you might get none. If you get none, you'll just have to try again.) If the ATO is of the set you want, you got lucky. If not, use Enhancement Converters to convert by Rarity: Archetype Enhancement, until you get one of the two sets of the Archetype you want. (You've got 1 in 12.5 odds.) If the one you get is in the set you want, great. If not, convert one more time by Type: (whatever the Archetype you're going for is), and it will automatically turn into an Enhancement from the other ATO set for that Archetype. Then you can convert within the set until you get the exact one you want. (If you happen to hit upon one of the two Brute ATO sets along the way, though, you'd be better served to sell that and start over with a new Super Pack. The Brute sets tend to sell for so much that it would practically be throwing money away not to cash them in.) As long as you didn't have to spend more than 150 Converters all in all, you still saved money over the Merit cost. Yes, that could be tedious and fiddly. But on the other hand, if you enjoy pumping quarters into a slot machine and pulling the lever until you get a good result, you might discover this is that very same kind of fun—and doesn't cost you any quarters. EVENT ENHANCEMENTS This is where you can get the Hold, Melee, PBAoE, Ranged, and Targeted AoE sets that come out of the 25 million Inf Lords of Winter Super Pack, as well as the Overwhelming Force Universal Damage set from Summer Blockbuster. They're all priced at the same 100 Merits each. Overwhelming Force is another terrible deal, as it generally goes for 6 to 8 million Inf per Enhancement on the AH, but the Winter sets are a rare case where buying them for Reward Merits actually might not be a bad deal. Most of the Winter set IOs are priced above 20 million Inf on the Auction House, since the Super Packs they come from are too. So, if you're slotting something out with a Winter IO set, it might be less hassle to buy them for Reward Merits than to try to get them for cash. (Especially if there aren't many of them even available on the Auction House at the time.) You might lose a little value, but probably not enough to worry about. That said, you might still be better off to convert those Reward Merits to Inf, or use any Inf you already have on hand, to buy Winter Super Packs instead. Buy as many Super Packs as you need Winter Enhancements, then Convert any Winter Enhancement that isn't the set you want until it is the set you want. There are so few Winter Enhancement sets that it won't take too many conversions to get there, plus you'll get all the other stuff that came in those Super Packs for "free". SINGLE ORIGIN ENHANCEMENTS This option will let you buy any regular Single Origin Enhancement for 1 Reward Merit each. They're only available starting from level 20; if you move the slider below that, the option disappears. I suppose if you want to get your hands on them fast, without having to travel to a store, the convenience is worth something—but in a store, individual SOs are a lot cheaper than the 200,000+ Inf you'd get from selling one Merit's worth of Converters. And, of course, level 20 is 5 levels earlier than SOs are available in stores—so if you're level 17 and want to tide yourself over until you can start using IOs, that might be worth 1 Merit per SO to you. RECIPE Here you can buy Recipes for various types of craftable Enhancements for Reward Merits (though, generally, you shouldn't). Whether you buy them with Merits or not, remember that these are just the recipes, not the finished Enhancements. You're going to have additional costs of salvage and crafting to to take into account to get an Enhancement out of them. In the case of purple recipes, that could run to 2 million Inf per IO. IO SET These are the standard yellow and orange Invention Set Recipes that drop from adventuring or can be found in the Auction House. They are available only within the level ranges of the set in question—so if you want to buy a Kinetic Combat Recipe, for example, you'll need to move the level slider back down to 40. Orange Recipes are 50 Merits each; yellow Recipes are 20 Merits each. At first glance, it seems the price has to be ridiculously high on the Auction House for it to be a better bargain to buy for Merits. How many yellow Recipes regularly sell for 5 million Inf, and how many orange sell for 12 million Inf? But then again, as I noted above, certain yellow Recipes actually might be worth buying, if the crafted Enhancement sells for over 5 million Inf. For example, level 10 Steadfast Protection Resistance/Defense IOs cost very little to build, but were selling for around 6 million Inf as of the time I updated this guide with that suggestion. So, take a look at the auction house and see if any other Uncommon IOs are selling for enough to make snagging them worthwhile. (If any crafted orange Enhancements are going for over 12 million, they could also be a good deal—but this seems unlikely, given that the most expensive ordinary Rares tend to top out at around 7 to 8 million. Plus, they'll cost a lot more to craft, requiring Rare salvage as they do.) PVP IO SET These are the sets that used to drop only during PVP but can now be found in PVE content as well. Weirdly, these sets are orange on the Auction House, but show up as purple in the Merit Vendor. But whatever the reason for the color change, these are available at whatever level you can move the slider to, starting at level 10. Remember that PVP set bonuses will apply through the entire level range they're available without needing to be Attuned—so if you buy them at 50, don't Attune them. If you slot them when you're lower than 50 and Attune them so they will level up with you, when you get to 50 you'll want to unslot and sell them, then re-buy un-Attuned ones you can plus up. And I'm probably sounding like a broken record here, but again, these are way overpriced in Merits compared to their Inf cost on the Auction House. PVP recipes might get as high as 12 to 15 million Inf, but they don't usually reach the 22 million required for 100 merits to be a better deal. STANDARD INVENTION ENHANCEMENTS These are the very same recipes you can buy from your workbench, if you haven't memorized them yet. No matter what level you buy, 10 to 50, each recipe always costs 5 Reward Merits. And, again: buying these is not a good value for the Merits. From a workbench, a level 50 Common Damage IO recipe costs 464,000 Inf. 5 Reward Merits' worth of Converters would net you over 1 million Inf, even after AH fees. And the lower level and cheaper a recipe is, the worse the deal it is. Would you pay 5 Merits for a level 10 Damage IO recipe that you could buy for 1,700 Inf? I don't think so. And the recipes are usually even cheaper on the Auction House. VERY RARE IO SET These are your purple sets, only available at level 50. Like the PVP sets, these keep their set bonuses all the way down without having to be Attuned, so be sure to Boost the Enhancements after you craft them instead. Like the Winter Enhancements, these might be worth buying for Merits. Some of the more popular ones, like Hecatomb, do have Recipe prices 20 million Inf and up on the Auction House, which means that any extra amount you'd be paying in Merits probably isn't enough to worry over. But others, like Coercive Persuasion, only cost half that. Sometimes you might even be able to buy the crafted Enhancement for less in Inf than the Recipe would cost in equivalent Merits. However, bear in mind that the Auction House sale history can be deceptive in items with that low a sales volume. Often, it will only show the times someone popped a recipe up with a low asking price and the highest lowball bid got it, and you'll find out if you place your own bids and creep up by millions that there are not currently any recipes available near those prices. (If you know well before level 50 that you're going to slot a particular purple set, and you have the cash on hand, you'd be best served to place a few high lowball bids of your own and see how many of them you can win by the time you're 50 and able to slot them.) Remember the rule of thumb: if something costs very much less than 22 million Inf, it's a better deal to buy it with Inf instead. So, check the prices on the Auction House—and even try placing a few test bids, if you have the cash on hand—before you decide to spend your Merits this way. If the particular purple Recipe or Enhancement that you want can't be had for love or Influence, you might think that buying the recipe with Reward Merits is not a bad deal. 100 Merits is cheaper than not being able to get it at all. And that is true. However, there's one more thing you should try first: find some purple Recipe or Enhancement that is still available. It doesn't matter what set it's in. Buy and craft that Recipe or Enhancement, then stock up on Enhancement converters and convert it until it becomes the specific purple set and Enhancement you want. (For more details on how conversion works, see this other guide of mine.) There are few enough purple sets that it won't take very long to get to the right set, and you'll probably still end up spending less in Inf for the recipe and converters than 100 Reward Merits would convert to. REWARD ROLLS In this section, you can spend Merits to roll random items. For 1 Merit, you can get a random large Inspiration. (Bearing in mind that you're spending 250,000 Inf worth of Merits on that random Inspiration, and you can probably buy the specific one you want from the Auction House for much less than that.) For 5 Merits, you can get a random rare Salvage of various types or level ranges (spending over 1 million Inf worth of Merits on something that will only sell for around 450,000 to 600,000 Inf in the market). Or for 10 Merits, you can get a random rare Recipe at various level ranges—bearing in mind that you're spending 2.5 million Inf worth of Merits on something that will probably only be worth a few hundred or thousand Inf on the Auction House. Seriously, what is the point of this? SALVAGE In this section, you can buy Enhancement Boosters, Enhancement Catalysts, Enhancement Converters, and Enhancement Unslotters. Given that all of these items are so inexpensive individually, prices fluctuate; they may or may not be a good deal at any given moment, but they're so cheap that it's usually not worth worrying about it. If you need a bunch of Enhancement Boosters, and you have the Merits to spare, you might as well go for it. (Also, remember that the only thing you should be buying Catalysts for in any case is turning ATOs into their Superior versions; using them to Attune ordinary Enhancements is a waste of money when you could simply sell the un-Attuned Enhancement and buy the Attuned version from the Auction House for the same price.) Enhancement Converters and Enhancement Boosters are, as I've noted, usually the thing that selling gives you the most Inf per Merit. That being the case, they're the only two items in the store that I can unreservedly recommend purchasing with Merits. Since they're what you would use to turn Merits into Inf, then by definition you can't get a better Merit-to-Inf deal. BUT WHY CAN'T I WASTE MY MONEY? Actually, you can. If you have a compelling need for some item, and don't want to mess with selling Converters or Boosters or waiting for an AH bid to come in, you are certainly free to ignore my advice and spend the Merits. They're your Merits; you earned them. Do whatever you want with them. There are some times when convenience may outweigh wanting to fiddle around for several minutes in the name of saving a little value here and there—especially if what you're after can't be had on the Auction House right now. But if you're going to do that, you should do it in full awareness that this isn't the cheapest way to get the stuff you want, and you're consciously making the decision to spend more than if you bought in Inf—not just doing it because you didn't know any better. I hope you'll find this guide helpful in navigating the various options available in the Reward Merit Vendor stores, and in deciding exactly how those Merits can be best spent. If you have any questions or comments, please let me know in the replies below!
  21. KnightSoul

    Guide Index

    Last Update: 8/112019 (Internal links repaired. Please notify me if any are still faulty.) This is an index of Player Guides, for players, by players. Thank you to everyone that contributes. This is a resurrection of Zombie Man's pre-shutdown Guide to Guides. You can find The undead Guide to the Guides (Zombie Man 4-21-12, [i23]) on the web archive. Its full of all the pre-shutdown guides that countless players wrote and an excellent resource. This Index will be focused on the material written for the I26 Homecoming servers. [glow=yellow,2,300]Mirrors to be found at <placeholder> and <web.archive placeholder>.[/glow] Information on contributing is in section one, the first linked post. This post contains the links to the Index subsections below, allowing quick navigation to the links to the guides. Click the header to be on your way. I. Introduction: The Guide Index. II. Before You Start -Preparing to Play Manuals, New Player's Guides, Account Information, Overviews. Homecoming - What's new with City of Heroes Homecoming Account Info Beginner Guides Tips Guideposts for long range planning Character Creation Names and Titles Rolling Role-Players Origins Alternative Characters Costume Hero/Villain Planners III. Archetypes, Powersets, Powers and Builds Guide to Archetype and Powersets Heroes (Blaster, Controller, Defender, Scrapper, Tanker, Kheldian) Villains (Brute, Corruptor, Dominator, Mastermind, Stalker, Soldiers of Arachnos) New (Sentinel) Pool Powers Travel Powers Other Pool Powers Ancillary/Patron Pool Powers Specific Powers & Character Concepts What Archetypes Can Do Powers used by Several ATs Character Concepts In General Incarnate System General Incarnate Powers and Slots IV. Operating Your Game - How To Make Things Go Commands User Interface Binds & Macros How To Bind & Macro Binds for Specific Purposes Travel Binds Remapping V. Communicating With Others Playing Nicely Know Where and How to Speak Understanding One Another Sying it With Style VI. Combat Mechanics Introduction to Combat Defense, Accuracy, and To-Hit Damage, Experience, Rewards and Leveling Health and Endurance Other Combat Mechanics Control, Aggro and Strategy Pulling Managing Aggro VII. Foes Combating the Environment (PvE) Giant Monsters ArchVillains and the Hero class Foes in General and other Specific Foes Combating Other Players (PvP) VIII. Missions Contacts, Difficulty, and Missions in General Mayhem and Safeguard, Schemes and Policebands Specific Missions Trials, Raids, Events, and Task/Strike -Forces Hero Content Villain Content Shared Content Respecification Trials The Hamidon Raids Lord Recluse Strike Force Miss Liberty Task Force Ouroboros and Flashback Going Rogue and Praetoria Alignment System IX. Teams, Groups, and Bases Teaming How to form a team How to run a team- leader tips Team Strategy Knowing Your Teammates Capabilities Voice Communication Super (Villain) Groups and Bases Creating a group Creating a Base Base Salvage and Crafting (Not applicable in the Homecoming fork.) X Powers -Enhancements and Respecification Enhancements Respecification XI. Inventions - Enhancements, Recipes, "Loot" and the Market Inventions in General Invention Salvage, Recipes, and Drops The Consignment Markets and Economy XII. Other Game Systems Badges Setting Badge Title How to Get a Specific Badge How to get a Specific Badge Set Badge Lists Badge Trackers Arena and Gladiator Day Jobs Mission Architect XIII. The In-Game World - Tale of Three Cities Background, Storybook, and Lore Areas and Zones and other Places Finding Yourself Hero Zones Villain Zones Praetorian Zones Shared Zones XIV. The Out of Character Experience Community History, Customs and Culture Leading by (Bad) Example Comic Books and "The Industry" XV. Looking Under the Hood - Advanced Mechanics 3rd Party Customization (maps, graphics, sounds, fonts, icons) Screenshots, Demos, Videos Computers & PeripheralsHomecoming Development XVI. Getting Help and Other Resources Official Channels Using the Homecoming Forums Other Websites with Guides and Further Information
  22. I've been playing a fair number of teleporting toons and have used some binds that used to be quite popular. I am writing this guide to help you take advantage of them as well. Teleport and Mystic Flight There are two main teleportation binds that I use. You know how you have to use the power tray's [Teleport] button, then click into the game world somewhere? One of them removes the need to activate that button! Instead, you can just hold Shift when you Left Click to teleport yourself immediately. This isn't just easier when travelling. This opens up Teleport as a useful combat tool, allowing you to blink around a room during a fight. I've used this to move around a big room when my party needed me to be somewhere, and to save time when quickly escaping combat. If you use Sorcery's Mystic Flight you can also bind [Translocation] in the same way, but I personally feel the benefits are smaller. The binds are in a box at the bottom of this post. Recall Friend Ever drop in combat only to find the enemies standing on top of you, making you unable to revive easily? Back in the day a large number of Defenders would use [Recall Friend] to pull downed teammates out of combat. This would allow the teammate to use Awaken or other weak forms of revive without the fear of the same enemies that just killed them. Additionally, I often use Recall Friend to help my teammates reach the door of a Mission more quickly. To lessen the annoyance factor of someone immediately going to the hospital or complaining about being recalled unexpectedly, I created a bind that adds a private message to the person you're teleporting. This common courtesy also cuts down on the occasional teammate that doesn't realize they split the party complaining about you reuniting them. The bind is in a box at the bottom of this post. How to re-bind them: You can just copy any of these three (including the slash symbol at the beginning) by highlighting them and using Ctrl+C on your keyboard. Then, open the game. Get ready to type just like you were going to say something in the chat. (Maybe hit Enter, maybe click into the chat bar, whatever you usually do to talk in game.) Paste the bind into the chat bar by hitting Ctrl+V on your keyboard. You should see the copied text appear in the chat bar. Then, hit Enter like you're trying to say the text in chat. It doesn't matter if you correctly type the bind or not, you won't see anything until you try the bind out, so immediately try the bind out! Here are the binds: Teleport /bind lshift+lbutton powexecname teleport Mystic Flight /bind lshift+lbutton powexecname translocation Recall Friend /macro RF "tell $target, I'm about to move you to my location.$$powexecname recall friend"
  23. So you wanna be a healer an Empath. Many would tell you that Empathy isn't needed anymore, that heals are bad, debuffs are king, and that Empaths are squishy. Well I'm here to set the record straight. #1 - An Empath isn't a Healer Empathy has some of the strongest buffs in the game: Fortitude Fortitude can be active on up to 7 teammates at once, and when used with Power Boost (from Soul Mastery) can softcap up to 4 teammates by itself. 5 if you pick Clarion Radial. It also increases Damage and To-Hit. When you see Fortitude available, find someone that doesn't have it on and cast it. When you see it almost about to recharge, find someone that doesn't have it on and get ready to cast it. This is Empathy's most pivotal power and utilizing it well is the key to playing Empathy optimally. Recovery Aura Our first RA power is an excellent tool for teammates who aren't fully optimized yet (most people aren't) and to make your build easily endurance stable. On a high recharge build this has a 3/4 uptime. Regeneration Aura This lets Regen do the work so we don't have to spend time healing those slight dips, thus giving us more time to Blast and debuff with Sonic. It's also very helpful in encounters where enemy AoE's bypass defenses. On a high recharge build this has a 3/4 uptime. Clear Mind While it's situational, CM can be very helpful in some scenarios (squishies getting aggro from CC'ers, the final fight in the ITF, and more). Adrenalin Boost This multi-purpose buff can be used in the following ways: Letting your teammate nuke more often, keeping an ally endurance stable (if he was out of range of your RA), and keeping a tank alive in difficult encounters. #2 - Heals and Rez are still useful Sometimes squishies get themselves in over their heads, sometimes the tank is not well built, sometimes boss mechanics bypass defenses. Heals are great for what I like to call Crisis Management. When defenses fail, when human error takes center stage, Empathy shines by having some of the strongest Crisis Management tools in its heals and a rez. Teammate ran off and is starting to die? Super Speed+Stealth to his location and Power Boost+Heal Other+Fortitude him, then super speed back to the main squad. Marauder getting ready to slam your team in Lambda? Prepare with Power Boost and immediately Healing Aura after the strike. Someone went down? Power Boost, Vengeance, Resurrect, and Fortitude. Now everyone's safe and sound. #3 - No debuffs? Sonic Attack to the rescue! Sonic Attack is the perfect pairing with Empathy. The biggest hole in Empathy's arsenal is the inability to debuff hard targets like AV's. No -res or -regen. Sonic Attack has a ton of -res, so much that -regen becomes less of a necessity. Shriek This is our "must-pick" tier 1 attack and is one we'll be using very often in our attack chain. Scream One of the two optional blast picks for Sonic, the other being Shout. I like Scream over Shout because it doesn't root you into place as much (giving you more time to react) and applies its damage+debuff instantly instead of at the end of the animation. Screech Screech is a long duration -res debuff power disguised as a CC. It can be used as a CC, in fact you do want to use it against problematic targets (surgeons and sappers) but to get the most use out of it you want it in your attack chain against hard targets. Howl Spamming Howl is a nice way to spend your time when you're not buffing, if your team is a bit slow on the AoE front you can help them get there faster by debuffing the mobs. In most cases you'll want to only cast this once and then start focusing on the bosses. Dreadful Wail Well now nukes are crashless. So that's nice. Dreadful Wail deals decent damage by itself, but its -res debuff lasts a very long time and the power can accept a -res proc as well (which, thanks to its cooldown will have a very high chance to proc). So you wanna use this whenever possible, whether it be on an AV as an opener or on a pack to help your teammates or Judgement melt it down. Oh it also stuns, so after you nuke, rest assured you won't start getting hit by everything. Attack Chains Hard Targets: Screech>Scream>Shriek>Scream Soft targets: Scream>Shriek #4 - Empaths aren't squishy Regeneration Aura, a self heal, and a high uptime on Power Boost means we have pretty good survivability, and my build also has ranged defense softcapped most of the time. Combined with Hover (which gets higher speed with Power Boost) and hardcapped S/L resists we can tank most encounters. Add in Clarion to give you extra +Special and CC protection, and Support Hybrid for a bit of extra defense and to give more support to our lore pets in an AV's damage phase. Power Boost is incredible as it gives us better heals, better defenses, better CC, better Fortitude, and better Hover Speed. With that out of the way, let's showcase our build: Hero Plan by Mids' Reborn : Hero Designer 2.6.0.1 https://github.com/ImaginaryDevelopment/imaginary-hero-designer Click this DataLink to open the build! Auroxis: Level 50 Science Defender Primary Power Set: Empathy Secondary Power Set: Sonic Attack Power Pool: Speed Power Pool: Leadership Power Pool: Flight Power Pool: Fighting Ancillary Pool: Soul Mastery Hero Profile: Level 1: Healing Aura -- Prv-Absorb%(A), Prv-Heal/Rchg/EndRdx(3), Prv-Heal/Rchg(3), Prv-EndRdx/Rchg(5), Prv-Heal/EndRdx(5), Prv-Heal(7) Level 1: Shriek -- SprDfnBst-Acc/Dmg(A), SprDfnBst-Dmg/Rchg(7), SprDfnBst-Dmg/EndRdx/Rchg(9), SprDfnBst-Acc/Dmg/EndRdx(9), SprDfnBst-Acc/Dmg/EndRdx/Rchg(11), SprDfnBst-Rchg/Heal%(19) Level 2: Heal Other -- Pnc-Heal(A), Pnc-Heal/EndRedux/Rchg(19), Pnc-Heal/Rchg(21), Pnc-EndRdx/Rchg(21), Pnc-Heal/EndRedux(23) Level 4: Scream -- Apc-Dam%(A), Apc-Dmg/EndRdx(11), Apc-Acc/Rchg(17), Apc-Acc/Dmg/Rchg(27), Apc-Dmg/Rchg(29), GldJvl-Dam%(29) Level 6: Resurrect -- RechRdx-I(A) Level 8: Clear Mind -- RechRdx-I(A) Level 10: Hasten -- RechRdx-I(A) Level 12: Fortitude -- LucoftheG-Def/Rchg+(A), RedFrt-Def(13), RedFrt-Def/Rchg(13), RedFrt-EndRdx/Rchg(15), RedFrt-Def/EndRdx(15), RedFrt-Def/EndRdx/Rchg(17) Level 14: Super Speed -- BlsoftheZ-ResKB(A) Level 16: Maneuvers -- LucoftheG-Def/Rchg+(A), RedFrt-Def(25), RedFrt-EndRdx/Rchg(25), RedFrt-Def/EndRdx(33), RedFrt-Def/EndRdx/Rchg(36), RedFrt-EndRdx(37) Level 18: Recovery Aura -- RechRdx-I(A), RechRdx-I(23) Level 20: Assault -- EndRdx-I(A) Level 22: Vengeance -- LucoftheG-Def/Rchg+(A) Level 24: Howl -- SprVglAss-Rchg/+Absorb(A), SprVglAss-Acc/Dmg/EndRdx/Rchg(33), SprVglAss-Acc/Dmg/EndRdx(34), VglAss-Acc/Dmg(34), VglAss-Dmg/Rchg(34), VglAss-Dmg/EndRdx/Rchg(45) Level 26: Regeneration Aura -- NmnCnv-Regen/Rcvry+(A), NmnCnv-Heal(27), NmnCnv-Heal/EndRdx/Rchg(31), NmnCnv-Heal/EndRdx(37), NmnCnv-Heal/Rchg(43), NmnCnv-EndRdx/Rchg(43) Level 28: Hover -- LucoftheG-Def/Rchg+(A), BlsoftheZ-Travel/EndRdx(31), BlsoftheZ-Travel(31), Rct-ResDam%(48) Level 30: Boxing -- Empty(A) Level 32: Adrenalin Boost -- Pnc-Heal(A), Pnc-Heal/EndRedux/Rchg(33), Pnc-Heal/Rchg(40), Pnc-EndRdx/Rchg(42), Pnc-Heal/EndRedux(42) Level 35: Screech -- AbsAmz-ToHitDeb%(A), AbsAmz-EndRdx/Stun(36), AbsAmz-Acc/Rchg(36), AbsAmz-Acc/Stun/Rchg(37), AbsAmz-Stun/Rchg(40), GldJvl-Dam%(46) Level 38: Dreadful Wail -- Arm-Dam%(A), Arm-Dmg/EndRdx(39), Arm-Acc/Rchg(39), Arm-Acc/Dmg/Rchg(39), Arm-Dmg/Rchg(40), FuroftheG-ResDeb%(45) Level 41: Dark Embrace -- GldArm-3defTpProc(A), GldArm-ResDam(42), GldArm-RechRes(43), GldArm-RechEnd(46), GldArm-End/Res(46), GldArm-Res/Rech/End(48) Level 44: Power Boost -- RechRdx-I(A), RechRdx-I(45) Level 47: Tough -- StdPrt-ResDam/Def+(A), UnbGrd-Max HP%(48) Level 49: Weave -- LucoftheG-Def/Rchg+(A), ShlWal-ResDam/Re TP(50), ShlWal-Def(50), ShlWal-Def/EndRdx(50) Level 1: Brawl -- Empty(A) Level 1: Prestige Power Dash -- Empty(A) Level 1: Prestige Power Slide -- Empty(A) Level 1: Prestige Power Quick -- Empty(A) Level 1: Prestige Power Rush -- Empty(A) Level 1: Prestige Power Surge -- Clr-Stlth(A) Level 1: Sprint -- Run-I(A) Level 1: Vigilance Level 2: Rest -- Empty(A) Level 4: Ninja Run Level 2: Swift -- Flight-I(A) Level 2: Health -- Pnc-Heal/+End(A) Level 2: Hurdle -- Jump-I(A) Level 2: Stamina -- EndMod-I(A) Level 0: Task Force Commander Level 0: The Atlas Medallion Level 0: Freedom Phalanx Reserve Level 0: Portal Jockey Level 50: Void Radial Final Judgement Level 50: Support Core Embodiment Level 50: Spiritual Core Paragon Level 50: Clarion Radial Epiphany Level 50: Degenerative Radial Flawless Interface Level 50: Banished Pantheon Core Superior Ally ------------
  24. Background: The original draft of this is up on reddit, but I figured not everyone is on reddit, and I DO need to start posting here more. This is NOT be a detailed power-per-power analysis. This is more HOW TO PICK a secondary based on how it will feel to play than HOW TO PLAY it. This is math light - I've purposely abstracted most of it out, and am not addressing DPA. Players that are interested in DPA usually know their way around a build and won't find much in a guide like this. 🙂 Dominator Secondary general info: Most sets have the following: a weak ranged attack, a weak melee attack, a mid-damage ranged attack, a mid-damage melee attack, aim/buildup/power boost/etc., a cone attack*, a pbaoe, a snipe or utility and a heavy melee OR heavy range attack. The caveat for cones is that there are a couple things I treat as cones that aren't actually cones but that function the same way in play and have similar damage #s : earth's short range aoe Fissure and Martial's Trick Shot. Psi, fire and thorns have a faster animating and recharging T1 that does less damage than the other sets. Insta-snipe: Domination: All sets with snipe can have access to insta for the first 15 seconds of domination (+25% tohit, you only need +22%). Outside of Domination: None : Fire and Psi will need to rely on Domination and some combination of team buffs/tactics/yellow inspirations to get insta-snipes. Aim (Savage, Thorns) : Neither of the sets with aim have a snipe. Power-Boost/Gather Shadows (Dark, Earth, Energy, Ice): Earth and Ice lack a snipe. Dark & Energy can get insta-snipe during powerboost by slotting tactics with 1 SO (20% tohit) and using the Kismet +6% proc. Build-Up (Elec, Rad) : Will require +tohit slotting (>30% worth) or Kismet +6% tohit proc to get build-up (and Rad's Fusion) up to 22%. Envenomed Blades: MA has what looks to be an OP version of fiery embrace that provides a base of 12% tohit that can be made very close to perma. With ~35% tohit slotted and the kismet proc, MA can have insta-snipe almost permanently. The Secondaries: Dark Assault power-boost with a damage bonus, two medium blasts (exact same damage), one of which has a small heal on it, and a heavy melee, and a snipe with access to insta. It does not have a medium melee attack. The secondary effect of -tohit can be useful if you are close to the defense cap, or keep it stacked heavily with the aoes. It seems to favor being in melee and using your ranged attacks there, or going in and out if you use the cone (which is very thin). Earth Assault power boost, TWO heavy melee attacks, a short range aoe that works great in melee, and an aura that slows and does damage. This set heavily favors melee. Electricity Assault build-up, a faster/weaker weak melee, no heavy ranged attack, the weakest heavy melee attack (with a small pbaoe damage component), a snipe with access to insta, and the voltaic sentinel pet. Aside from pairing with elec/, I haven't found much use for the end draining secondary effect. It seems to slightly favor melee. Energy Assault power boost, the strongest heavy melee attack, two big range attacks, snipe with access to insta with tactics+proc during power boost, and no cone. Must love KB. With insta-snipe, it has 3 very powerful ranged attacks, and lends itself best of all the dominator sets to being ranged. Fire Assault fiery embrace and consume, the strongest heavy range attack, a snipe with NO access to insta, and trades the secondary utility effects on powers for slightly more damage on all attacks. It favors melee, or moving in and out if you take the cone. Icy Assault power boost, its mid strength range attack is faster and weaker than normal, a heavy ranged attack [edited], NO snipe, and a slow aura that does no damage. There doesn't seem to be anything special about it beyond the aura (and good DPA), so I would only play ice if I were going to take Chilling Embrace. The secondary slowing effect does exist, but takes several hits to be noticeable (and, in my experience, generally isn't except for the occasional boss). It favors melee (imho) due to chilling embrace. Martial Assault a weird fiery embrace clone that seems to need balancing/nerfing, its weak melee attack is a cone "for free", trick shot instead of a cone, a snipe with the best access to insta, a heavy ranged attack and caltrops. Maybe the lack of secondary effects is why Envenomed Blades is so strong? It lends itself very well to ranged play, or melee play using ranged attacks. Psionic Assault drain psyche instead of buildup/etc., TWO medium ranged attacks (one of which immobilizes), the largest cone, the best pbaoe (same size but 16 targets instead of 10), NO heavy melee OR ranged attack, and a snipe with NO access to insta. Like Icy, the secondary effect of -recharge can be difficult to observe in action, but it's there! This set favors moving in and out of melee to maximize - you want to take advantage of the cone, pbaoe and drain psyche since your single target attacks are lacking. Radioactive Assault a version of build up with much less ToHit (not super relevant), faster/weaker weak melee, TWO heavy melee attacks, the heaviest damage pbaoe (if the #s are correct), and a snipe with access to insta. The secondary contamination effect is "free" damage, and the -def on all the attacks is always appreciated. It favors melee. Savage Assault aim, improved weak and medium melee attacks (if the damage #s are correct in game), a self heal, a heavy ranged attack, and a second medium melee attack that teleports you to the target with bonus damage based on distance (??). It favors melee and gives you a great tool for jumping back into the fight if you have jumped out to use the cone. Thorny Assault aim, a short, wide arc cone, a heavy melee that is a cone, a heavy ranged, caltrops and extra damage (like fire, from dots). Somewhere between Earth and a set like psi or fire that favors actively moving in and out of combat. Melee attack chain options, vaguely ranked: The sets with heavy ranged attacks can and should use those, as they do about the same damage as T2 melee attacks. T1 & T2 ranged attacks should be avoided unless needed to fill out a chain, as they are lower damage than T1 melees. Counting heavy ranged attacks as T2 melees (roughly the same damage), and not counting snipes in sets that cannot insta them without insps we have: Martial: T1, T1+cone, T2, S Ice: T1, T2, T2 Psi: T1+KB, T2 Fire : T2, T2, Dark : T1, T3, S Thorns: T2, T2, T3(Cone) Elec : weak T1, T2, T3(with small pbaoe), S Earth : T1, T3, T3 Energy: T2, T2, T3, S Savage: weak T2, T2, T2+port, T3 Rad: weird T1, T2, T3, T3, S Ranged attack chain options: If you really want to play permanently at range (it's discouraged by many vet dom players, myself included, but it IS viable, and I'm attempting two different pure ranged builds currently), here are the ranged attack chain options: Worst: Earth: T1,T2 Rad: T1, T3, Cone Average: Psi: fast T1, T2, T2+immob, Cone Thorns: Fast T1, T2, T4 Elec: T1,T2,S, Cone Ice: T1, Weak T2, T4, Cone Decent: Dark: T1, T2, T2+Heal,S, Cone Fire: fast T1, T4, S, Cone Savage: T1, T4, S, Cone Best?: Martial: T1, trick shot, T4, S (best uptime) Energy: T1, T2, T3, T4,S It's also worth noting that the Grav primary has extra T2 & T4 ranged attacks (Lift & Propel), not even counting the bonus damage from impact. And Propel has the recharge of a T2… Mind's Levitation weaker than Lift. Notes : I have not addressed the epic sets but, especially given you can start them at 35, they can really fill out a hole in a secondary - something like taking Energy Transfer at 35 in lieu of a snipe can make a set that was lacking a solid melee chain work much better, or Bile Spray or Fire Ball instead of snipe on a /psi or /fire to give you a second aoe to fire off before you jump in…lots of options here. The way I build is to choose a power-set combo that seems to have interesting mechanical synergy or an engaging or fun playstyle - also likely rooted in synergy. Plenty of others go theme or story first, or just pick a combo for the cool visuals - I think all these are great ways to build a character, and hopefully this mini-guide is helpful to some of you. Background: On live I played plant/fire, elec/ice and ice/psi deep into incarnate content. All were 100% viable - I used the fire snipe in melee range without insta too! I also had grav/energy, ice/thorn, earth/elec, and dark/psi up to at least 50+1 and some incarnate content. Currently I am playing dark/savage, grav/martial, elec/rad, ice/earth & earth/energy, all in the 33-40 range. EDIT: I'll add some thoughts on the beta changes eventually, especially if they go live. I may add some DPA and attack chain stuff then as well, but that's not something I stress about.
  25. One thing I'd really like to work on, if possible, is to create a group repository of information on Sentinels as a whole, explaining what makes a strong pairing from each primary to each secondary and all of the pool powers, as well as what distinguishes Sentinels from Scrappers and Blasters. I understand that this is a big undertaking, but I think it could be extremely helpful to new players. I have some thoughts on these subjects, but the fact of the matter is, I didn't play CoX live at a very high level of proficiency and there are limits to how much I've experienced in Sentinel as-is. I will say that i would like to avoid contributions from people who are of the position that there is no such thing as a weak choice of powerset in CoX, or of the position that any powerset is so bad it should not be taken by anyone with an interest in m making the most of their characters. I believe it is possible and responsible to speak in general terms about average player performance and also support a diversity of interests. There is no wrong way to play, but I want players to be reasonably well-informed going into their choices -- at least, if they want to be. Some enjoy the discovery! I think the best way to create such a project would be for people to submit "sets" of opinions, where they analyze multiple different powersets in compare and contrast, so that we can get a feel for each reviewer's independently, then have a "czar" for that powerset synthesize all the submissions into something that succinctly reflects the consensus and any important divergences thereof. However, that assumes a large interest in this project. I don't know if anyone else would be interested in contribution. Also, accepting general feedback at this stage. Post inspired in part by @oldskool and their excellent comments in various threads. Set Sign-Up Sheet List of posters reviewing what powersets. Set Name Reviewer 1 Reviewer 2 Reviewer 3 Reviewer 4 Primaries Archery @drbuzzard @oldskool Assault Rifle @oldskool @Sunsette Beam Rifle @Sunsette [X] Dark Blast @drbuzzard @oldskool Dual Pistols @oldskool [X] Energy Blast @Sunsette [X] Electric Blast Fire Blast @drbuzzard Ice Blast Psychic Blast @drbuzzard @oldskool Radiation Blast Sonic Attack Water Blast @drbuzzard Secondaries Bio Armor @drbuzzard Dark Armor @oldskool Electric Armor @Hopeling[X] Energy Aura @Sunsette [X] Fiery Aura @drbuzzard Ice Armor Invulnerability @Sunsette [X] Ninjitsu @drbuzzard @oldskool [X] Radiation Armor @Destlin Regeneration Super Reflexes @Sunsette [X] @drbuzzard Willpower @drbuzzard @oldskool [X] Epic Pools Dark Mastery Electricity Mastery @Sunsette Fire Mastery @Sunsette Ice Mastery @Sunsette Ninja Tool Mastery Psionic Mastery @Sunsette Leviathan Mastery Mace Mastery Mu Mastery Soul Mastery Utility Pools Concealment @Sunsette Fighting @Sunsette Flight @Sunsette Leadership @Sunsette Leaping @Sunsette Medicine @Sunsette Presence @Sunsette Sorcery @Sunsette Speed @Sunsette Teleportation @Sunsette We can have more reviewers than four, but I chose not to assume everyone in the world ever would want to participate in this. I'll increase the number of slots if necessary. I intend to do the synthesizing of reviews into a coherent whole and will also be doing primary reviews on a number of sets; please feel free to keep me honest and call me on my shit if you think I've done a poor job somewhere. I'm initially going to be conservative on picking sets and stick to ones I feel I have a very, very strong grasp on; I'll branch out to ones I feel I have an OK grasp on if we have a lot of holes. If you're interested in submitting a review, this is the current format. Submissions are not yet open, but will be soon barring major disagreements. Set Review Format (Tentative) Powerset Name Basic Qualities:0 If damage primary: High/Med/Low Single-Target Damage1, High/Med/Low AoE Damage2 (# Cones/# Spheres/# PBAoEs)3, High/Med/Low Control4 If survival secondary: High/Med/Low HP/Healing5, High/Med/Low Defense6, High/Med/Low Resistance7, High/Med/Low "Clicky-ness"8. If pool: The main purpose of this pool. Special Qualities: For primaries, list secondary effects here: knockback, knockdown, stun, -regen, -res, -def, etc. Do not include the benefits of Passive or Active Opportunity. For secondaries, list things that aren't defense, resistance, healing, absorbs, or max HP here. So +recharge, defense debuff resistance, any notable mez protection the set lacks or is weak in, etc. If pool: Can skip Other: Anything else that you think should be noted about this powerset. Significant changes in this powerset from their implementation on other archetypes should go here. Beginner's Notes: Any powers or strategies that are especially beneficial to low level or new players to this set. This is a good place to put down slotting ideas for before level 50 (keep it to under 10 million inf. costs please) as well as early level rotations. Skippables/Must-Haves: For primaries or secondaries, list the powers that typically are considered optional or bad. For pools, list powers that are the strongest in the set. Whenever possible, please explain your reasoning. Advanced Slotting: L50 builds. (sky's the limit for budget). Whenever possible, please explain your reasoning. This will probably be a pretty long section that needs subdivisions, I'll work on this some more. Base Rotation: The standard attack rotation leveling up or at early 50s, for people to refine. Note any cooldown benchmarks that may be necessary for a specific rotation if it requires over 70% or so enhancement or global recharge. Complementary Choices: Suggest any primary, secondary, or pool (save ones that are mutually exclusive with this one) that synergizes with this one, and explain why. Ex: Energy Blast synergizes well with pools that contain an AoE immobilize with knockback protection and a strong melee attack to make the most of position with Nova; Dark Blast synergizes well with Dark Mastery to completely floor the opponents' accuracy. Whenever possible, please explain your reasoning. Incarnates: Would skip this for pool powers generally speaking, but incarnate powers that pair notably well with this powerset. Whenever possible, please explain your reasoning. 0 All measures assuming fully geared and incarnated at 50; this is just so we have an empirical baseline. 1 High: ST damage of approximately ≥230+ DPS. // Medium: ST damage of approximately 190 DPS. // Low: ST damage of approximately ≤160 DPS. If damage type is mostly Smashing or Lethal, consider it one tier lower. 2 High: Has 3+ AoEs. // Medium: Has 2 AoEs. // Low: Has 1 AoE. If damage type is mostly Smashing or Lethal, consider it as having one fewer AoE. 3 The breakdown of the number and type of each AoE type. 4 High: Reliably reduces incoming damage from the average pack of enemies by 50% or more. // Medium: Reliably reduces incoming damage from the average pack of enemies by about a third or a quarter. // Low: Controls can be beneficial sometimes but not to be relied upon. 5 High: Unaided, can heal or absorb a third of base Max HP (400) every 10 seconds or less. // Medium: Unaided, can heal or absorb a third of base Max HP (400) every 20 seconds or so. // Low: Unaided, can heal or absorb a third of base Max HP (400) every 40 seconds or more. Does not include the benefits of Defensive Opportunity. 6 Use values derived from Reistorm's chart located here. High: Gets S/L/E or all Positional to ≥32.5%. // Medium: Gets some of S/L/E or Positional to ≥32.5%, or gets all of S/L/E to 20%+. // Low: Any other result. 7 Use values derived from Reistorm's chart located here. High: Gets S/L to ≥45% or S/L/E to ≥30%. // Medium: Gets S/L or E o to ≥45%, or gets all to 20+%. // Low: Any other result. 8 High: Has 2+ abilities with an enhanced cooldown of a minute or less used frequently. // Medium: Has an ability virtually used on 'autocast' or an ability with an enhanced cooldown of a minute or less that otherwise needs to be frequently used for a non-healing purpose. // Low: Active abilities with enhanced cooldowns of a minute or less are rarely used for any purpose but an emergency heal. Outline (Tentative) Why Play a Sentinel? Seize the Opportunity: Sentinel Basics The Never-Ending Battle: Attack and Defense Mechanics Zoom and Enhance: Enhancement Mechanics Four-Color Fantasy: Leveling Red, Blue, Gold, and Black Primary Colors: Blast Powerset Reviews Secondary Strategies: Defensive Powerset Reviews Fly Like an Eagle: Utility Pool Reviews EPIC!: Epic Pool Reviews The Alpha and the Omega: Incarnate Mechanics A Few Provisos: Badges, Macros, and other Miscellany At the moment these are all things I intend to write myself, but I will gladly take volunteers for any sections.
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