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About Me

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  1. 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.
  2. Thought I would be fun to make a semi-chronological list of the pvp trends on Homecoming thus far, as well as reasons why they are popular and their originators to help out people who may be new to the scene. This list is made up of stuff that may have originated in the zone, but was good/cool enough to be proliferated and used in organized 8v8 pvp! Additionally, feel free to correct me or add your suggestions lol. Homecoming Begins 2019: The Ice/Plant Blasters Blaster: Ice Blast Originators: Dan, Silit, Nojiyo, bp, Everyone who wanted to play blaster Reason: A high amount of damage procs and be slotted, increasing damage by close to 150-300 points of extra damage, long cooldowns made sure these procs always fired and short, non-rooting animation allowed for a smooth attack chain. Blaster: Plant Manipulation Originators: Dan, Silit, Nojiyo, bp, Everyone who wanted to play blaster Reason: The Toxins power added extra damage to each attack fired (like +100 dmg), Strangler hits really hard and can be slotted for procs. June-ish 2019: Psi Blaster Primary, Trick Arrow Secondary, Psionic Melee Stalkers Blaster: Psychic Blast Originators: Can't remember the first psi blasters to pop up, I remember hp on Unrivaled though Reason: Range, Will Domination hits really hard, delayed damage and you can time attacks to hit at the same time. Blaster: Trick Arrow Originators: I think Silit had a Ice/TA, but I remember seeing a proliferation of Psi/TA blasters around this time. some gymnast! Reason: TA has web arrow which can stop all vertical movement. Additionally has some cool buffs with Gymnastics and Eagle Eye etc. Stalker: Psionic Melee Originators: Void, Unholy, Gore, Me kinda I was at least at the first kickball lolol Reason: Greater Psi Blade takes both Hold and Melee damage procs, allowing you to hit for over 1000 damage in a single hit sometimes. July-August-ish 2019: Poisons, Beams, Martial Combat, Gravity Defender/Corruptor/Mastermind: Poison Originators: Mez played a Poison MM I think, then Mallex made a post about it and played a /poison defender. Reason: Huge resistance debuff from Envenom, Weaken caused the Emps to heal for like 500 damage absorb pain lololol Blaster/Corruptor: Beam Rifle Originators: I remember Mez running around in zones with one and being kinda laughed at but now there are a lot of beams with puns for names. Dan, Silit too! Naturalizer Reason: Multiple beams can work together on a Disintegrated target, Lancer shot hits for a bunch and stuns. Blaster: Martial Combat Originators: Me!! Reasons: You teleport and look cool with your scythe circle aura. Also it can give you a free heal+break free combo power. But mostly to be stylish. Controller: Gravity Originators: I honestly saw Epsylon with his Grav/TA in zones then saw it in 8v8's with PONED, Dan, on Empathys, Dexington, barrier Reasons: Dimension Shift allows for a seconds phase that has some interesting interactions (e.g. you can still get nature buffs while in it). September 2019: Nature (buff gathers) and Fire Blasters Defender/Corruptor: Nature Affinity Originators: Macskull, Vinnie, Void etc. saved it for this timepoint because its used as a mass buff gather now Reasons: Wild Bastion gives +Absorb shield to the team, Overgrowth is literally so ridiculous, basically a Build Up level team damage buff that lasts for a whole minute, with multiple natures you're almost at the damage cap. Blaster/Corruptor: Fire Blast Originators: I saw MJB with a fire blaster at one of the recent kickballs Reasons: The snipe changes allows fire to have another hard hitting attack to fill out the attack chain, generally fast animating powers and dots. October 2019: Forcefields and Rogue-ing Defender/Controller: Forcefield Originators: Gravity Boots! Reasons: You get a cage, a super annoying repel, and a surprising amount of people don't have enough knockback protection Anyone who does damage: Rogue-ing Originators: Like, everyone Reasons: While a clean spike can evaporate a target, putting damage on multiple people messes with emp healing and spike timing of the other team. With enough offense, sometime 2-3 people will be dead at once! November 2019: Earth/Fire Dominators and Storms? Dominator: Earth Control/Fiery Assault Originators: No idea who was the first one but there's a consistent number at kickballs now. Meatloaf23 Reasons: Earth control has a high damage, relatively fast activation hold with fossilize. Fiery assault is the damage secondary for dominators with a long lasting damage buff of Embrace of Fire and the usual fire attacks of Blaze and Blazing Bolt. Defender/Corruptor/Controller: Storm Summoning Originators: I remember someone running a Storm back over the summer. But recently Justin has been griefing M3z with his grav/storm controller and its super funny to see him get mad on his stream (M3z Mad- "Gorillas" 3:20:40) and there's been at least 1 showing up to kickballs. Reasons: Hurricane -range. Maybe O2 boost if you're paying attention to your team. January 2020: Mystic Flight/Translocation and Hibernate Power Pool: Sorcery- Mystic Flight/Translocation Originators: Xhiggy/Ravenfrost/Kenician etc.,basically a lot of healers. Reasons: A two in one power that used as a survival strategy for healers in pvp. Usually used to teleport straight up to distance yourself from the fight and get out of range of blasters after using a big heal like absorb/share pain. Epic Pool: Hibernate Originators: Been around a while, then fell out of favor, and is now back. Reasons: Was once thought to be a less useful version of phase shift due to lag time of damage and not being able to be healed when activated. Now I guess more people are using it if they have high recharge stat so its up more than phase shift. Always Fashionable: Empathy! Defender/Controller: Empathy Originators: Xhiggy, yay Xhiggy! and Dan/Lib lol Reasons: You heal people, be a bro, be empathy. Currently not Trendy (sorry) Masterminds: You don't have a sugar daddy. Brutes/Scrapper/Tanker: Is not perfect, is not beautiful, does not look like Linda Evangelista I'll try to update as more trends appear lol.
  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. 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 Croatoa arc. 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 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 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 and Umai, 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 (40-44) 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. 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 and touching the crystal in the centre of the hallway and 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 and never touch it again! 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. If you get desperate 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) 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! (I'll work on a redside version and an incarnate/at-50 version in due time)
  4. 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 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. You or the 3rd party would need to handle it on your own. 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
  5. 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. 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 recombine them with Enhancement Boosters to plus them up instead. 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. But on the other hand, if the particular purple Recipe or Enhancement that you want can't be had for love or Influence, buying the recipe with Reward Merits is not a bad deal. 100 Merits is cheaper than not being able to get it at all. 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!
  6. A POWERLEVELING PRIMER or TAKING THE SPEEDY WAY TO LEVEL 50 About fifteen issues ago, I wrote a powerleveling guide for City of Heroes (which I called an "XP Gain/Debt Loss Guide" because "powerleveling" was kind of a dirty word back then). I’ve been looking at going back and revising it, but so much has changed since those days (and so many of those techniques no longer work) that I realized it would actually be less trouble just to start fresh. If you do go back and reread that old guide, you’ll probably be struck by just how fiddly some of those methods were. For example, if you had just the right mix of character levels, you could arrange sidekick levels in Task Forces so you could be sidekicked as low as possible to earn as much XP as possible—which doesn’t work so much now that everyone is automatically set to the same level on a Task Force. Also, any given method would only work for just so long before the devs caught on and did their best to nerf it out of existence in the name of “game balance.” By comparison, powerleveling now is a whole lot simpler—and a lot easier. The Homecoming team doesn’t seem as eager to nerf it away as the old live devs. There are just a few key things you need to know if you want to level your character as high as possible as quickly as possible. Please note: I strongly recommend playing your first few characters through the game the long way. The longer leveling curve gives you plenty of time to learn how things work and explore all the fun content on the way up. With Ouroboros, you can always go back to revisit the content you missed, but there’s no substitute for experience when it comes to knowing what you’re doing. And as difficult as some of the post-level-50 Incarnate content can be, your other teammates won’t thank you if you’re the one who caused a team or league wipe, or cost them badges, because you didn’t know what you were doing. TEMP POWERS FOR POWERLEVELING To begin with, here are a couple of useful temporary powers that will give you a boost to your leveling speed. XP BOOSTS You can adjust your XP rate using the XP boost options available at the P2W store. These are options to boost your XP gain by 25%, 50%, or 100%. If you’re wanting to level up fast, that’s clearly the way to go. The boost comes in one-hour chunks, and you can have up to eight hours of it at a time. Each boost will also cut the amount of Inf you gain by the same percentage. If you are earning 100% extra XP, you are earning zero percent Inf. Folks who aren’t so good at earning cash by other means may want to leave this alone—but if you’re adept at marketeering or farming, knock yourself out. XP boosts only work until you hit level 50, at which point they are no longer available to purchase. You can check how much time you have left on your XP boost by opening your Powers window and right-clicking the icon for it. You should always check before you begin a Task Force or other lengthy event. If you run out in the middle of a TF, most P2W vendors won't talk to you until the TF is over; however, the P2W in Pocket D will still talk to you. EXPERIENCED Another handy temp power is Experienced. This power immediately provides 5 bubbles of Patrol XP—the blue XP bubbles that you can also get for staying logged out for long periods of time. These bubbles boost the amount of XP you get from critter defeats by 50%. That is, if defeating an enemy usually gives you 100 XP, defeating it while you have Patrol XP gives you 150 XP, deducting 50 of that from your Patrol XP. Patrol XP also applies toward any XP debt from player defeats before it starts adding debt to your regular XP. During anniversary months or other special events, new characters may get 5 charges of this power for free; apart from that, the only way to obtain it is as part of the 10 million or 25 million Inf Super Packs listed under Special Salvage on the Auction House. (It can’t be bought separately, or transferred once someone has it.) Experienced doesn’t come in every pack, but if you build up enough Inf to buy those packs in bulk, you’ll end up with a good number of charges of it over time. You’ll get the most benefit out of this power if you hold off on using it until at least level 30 or so, when the amount of enemy defeats needed per XP bubble start going way up. But if you have it, you can use it at any time (that it’s off cooldown, at least). Note that you can only have a total of 10 Patrol XP bubbles from any source at any time—so if you have more than 5 bubbles, don’t use another Experienced yet. Hence, if using both 100% XP Boost and Experienced/Patrol XP, you will earn 3x the normal XP rate for mob defeats (just 2X normal for end of mission bonuses and other XP sources). You will be amazed at how fast you level just playing normally. But if you want to get the most out of these powers, here are some play techniques I recommend. DEFENSE, OFFENSE, AND SURVIVAL AMPLIFIER These powers provide one-hour buffs to the relevant combat stats. Their prices scale up exponentially as character level increases, starting out at 1,000 Inf per hour at level 1 and capping out at 2.5 million per hour at level 50. This means they're most worthwhile at lower levels when your character is fairly low-powered, but even higher-level characters may find them worth buying if they can afford them. Note that, like the XP Buff, these take effect immediately upon purchase, so don’t just buy them haphazardly thinking to save them for when you need them. But, like XP Booster, you might want to purchase a few hours right when you start a Task Force. These powers can be handy for the low end of powerleveling, when you have no or weak Enhancements; since they last an hour, one purchase could see you through a dozen or so levels. Like Experienced, you can also obtain them from Super Packs, but you may want to save any you get that way for use later on, when they're much more expensive. There are a number of other temp or prestige powers available at P2W that can also be super-useful to players starting out. See my guide to the P2W store for more information on those. TEAMING STRATEGIES This section will cover some of the best ways to maximize the amount of XP you're earning while you're using XP boosts or stocking up on Patrol XP. Because XP multipliers and number of mobs increases with bigger teams, the best way to earn XP as fast as possible is to be on as large a team as possible, defeating as many higher-level enemies as possible. The ideal team for the fastest XP gain would be putting your low level character on a full team led by a level 50+1 character, fighting enemies at level +4 difficulty. If there are enough 50+1s on the team to handle the enemies, lower-level characters can just soak it up even if they can’t hit a darned thing themselves. However, remember that this relies on your teammates being willing to carry you. It's always best to ask, meekly, if they're okay with you leeching XP. Most of the time, they probably will be, especially if you've got good buffs, debuffs, heals, etc. so you can carry some weight without having to be able hit bad guys. But don't just assume, and don't give them any grief if they say no. Nobody owes you powerleveling. (You can also run x8 difficulty missions all by yourself if you're a tough character like a Tanker, Brute, or Scrapper who can handle many mobs beating on them, but that doesn't also give the per-team-member XP multiplier.) There are a couple of main ways of getting on such a team: joining or forming a pick-up group, or joining or forming a Task Force or Trial. I'll cover these below. PICK-UP GROUPS Pick-up groups can be good ways to earn XP fast, especially if they're being run by a level 50+1. They also come with no real obligation to hang around for a particular period of time: you can join for a couple missions if and as you have the time, then go off and do other things. A good way to get on such a team would be to hang around in Peregrine Island, Grandville, Rikti War Zone, or other level 50 areas, and keep an eye on the /broadcast and /lfg channels to see if anyone is looking for more teammates. Or you could try to put such a team together yourself, giving the star to one of the level 50+1s. If you do ask to join such a team, try not to make a nuisance of yourself about it. If no one bites, there may just not be any pick-up groups looking for openings right now. TASK FORCES/STRIKE FORCES/TRIALS Task/Strike Forces and Trials are one of the easiest ways to put together large teams, take down large numbers of tough enemies, and even get some Reward Merits along the way for your trouble. TF/SF/Trials are generally easy to form up, because everyone knows what to expect, how long they’re going to take, and that they can expect a big reward at the end. (All the more from Weekly Strike Targets, which provide double merits and a valuable piece of Incarnate Salvage (or a huge XP bonus to characters who aren’t Incarnate yet).) Choosing the right mission difficulty for your Task Force can either help or hinder your leveling speed. Higher-level mobs are worth more XP, but they can also be much harder to kill. Always take into account the composition of the team. At lower levels, you’re not going to have very good Enhancements, and Exemplared higher-level characters will have their Enhancement effectiveness slashed considerably, so I would suggest not going any higher than +0 or +1 at most until you hit level 22 and can get SOs or decent common IOs, and +2 thereafter at least until you hit the 40s. (The Imperious Task Force can be an exception; I’ll say more about that a little later.) Thanks to the XP boosts, you could practically go from level 1 to 50 on nothing but trials and TFs. For example, when I start a new hero-side character, I usually put double-XP on and then go through Death From Below once or twice, to reach at least level 8. From there, I go straight to Positron, and do all the “Task Force Commander” Task Forces up through Numina, followed by a few Imperious Task Forces and possibly some Rikti Mothership Raids. I’m level 50 before I know it, often just over the course of a day or two. If I ever hit a stretch where I don’t have quite enough XP to get to the next Task Force, I will fill in with one of the other TFs or trials, like Moonfire or Hess, Market Crash, Summer Blockbuster, or a Respec Trial. I might also do the Abandoned Sewer Trial or Eden Trial for variety, or the Shadow Shard TFs if I can find enough people willing to do them; I’ll also be sure to do whatever the current Weekly Strike Target is for that big XP bonus. Although I haven’t done much on villain-side yet, there’s no reason it shouldn’t work the same way, with the various Strike Forces available over there. And, of course, Vigilantes and Rogues have access to all Task/Strike Force missions available to either side. (Praetorian alignment doesn’t have access to Task/Strike Forces until they pick an alignment at level 20, at which time they can do all of those accessible to whatever side(s) that alignment permits.) DEATH FROM BELOW Here’s a word or two about Death From Below, which is the go-to trial for low-level characters who want to get their first jump on earning lots of XP. Hardly a moment goes by you don’t hear someone broadcasting about one forming up in Atlas Park. You actually don’t have to be in any particular spot to launch it, though a lot of the time you can find them forming up just inside the Atlas Park sewer entrance. Each time you run DFB, it gives a decent chunk of XP, five SO Enhancements in your Origin, and a choice of four temporary buffs that last for a few days or until you reach Level 22, whichever comes first. There are also two badges that can be earned by defeating the Vahzilok boss before any of his adds, and the Lost boss after all of his adds. As I mentioned, I usually just run DFB once, to level high enough to start the first Positron Task Force and go from there. However, you could certainly run it four times, once for each buff, or even more. However, the amount of XP you get per run starts to fall off after you hit level 10, and drops sharply by the time you reach level 20, to prevent people from doing nothing but grinding DFB all the way to level 50. There’s a lot of other fun content out there; go and do it! RIKTI MOTHERSHIP RAIDS There are two types of Rikti Mothership Raids: the zone event and the instanced trial. The zone event can be open to anyone within the 50-person-limit Rikti War Zone area, whereas the instanced trial is for up to a six-team league and requires a minimum level of 35 from all members to start. The Mothership Raid can be a good way to powerlevel, even starting all the way down at level 1 for the zone event. As long as you’re sidekicked up to survivability, you can hang out in the bowl and soak up XP from your teammates killing off all those level 54 Rikti. However, if you’re going to try to get in at low levels, check with the raid organizer first. Some organizers won’t allow characters below level 35 to join, because such a character isn’t going to be able to contribute meaningfully to the success of the raid. The more dead weight on a raid, the fewer Rikti will get defeated, and the fewer Vanguard Reward Merits will be earned. You don’t want to join only to get kicked in the middle of the event. At level 35, you should be sure to do the mission arc for Levantera that involves talking to a bunch of people and defeating five Rikti. (You don’t need to do the second arc, involving various instanced missions to fight Rikti and rescue Temblor and Fusionette.) This will get you the Member of Vanguard badge, that will let you earn Vanguard Merits for Rikti defeated on the raid. If you get it while a raid is going on, your teammates on the raid can easily handle the defeat five Rikti mission for you while you’re still back at the Vanguard base. If you’re at least level 35, a Mothership Raid can be a good way to earn a decent chunk of XP, especially if you make sure your XP boost is full before you start. It will also earn you around a thousand Vanguard Merits per half-hour run, which can be converted to about 33 Reward Merits or used to buy handy items at the Vanguard Crafting Table. IMPERIOUS TASK FORCE The ITF can also be a good means of powerleveling if you’re at least level 35. You’re mostly just facing wave upon wave of ancient Roman soldiers, who mostly just do lethal damage, with a few Warshades and Nictus here and there. On a good team, you can mow them down with ease, and gain at least a level or two by the end of the event. You do need to get the Midnighter badge to enter Cimerora, either by doing one of the introductory arcs or by visiting the mansion in Night Ward. Once you have it, you can instantly teleport to Cimerora just by queuing and locking the “Time’s Arrow” Task Force. (See this guide to getting around for full details on how to do that.) For the best XP, you need to be sure that you’re doing a “kill-most” ITF, rather than a speed run. A speed run is intended to get through the TF for the merit reward as quickly as possible, and can easily be done in 15 minutes or less. But to grind out the most XP, you want to take your time and defeat as many enemies as you possibly can. For the very best XP, make sure that as many members of the team as possible are level 50+1 with the Incarnate Alpha boost, and have one of them lead and set the difficulty to +4. You may not be able to hit much yourself, but your teammates will handle that, and you’ll rake in XP by the bucket. (And remember what I said above about asking nicely if you can leech XP.) But even setting the diff lower will still result in a good haul, as long as your team is able to defeat the mobs easily. FARMING This is probably the most common way people powerlevel. I’m not going to go in-depth about how to farm here; there are plenty of other great guides for that. But I can give you a decent overview. In case you didn’t know, farming is when you do the same content over and over, for the purpose of gaining lots of XP or Inf. Some people will keep certain plot arc missions as handy reusable farms for specific enemy types (Council are a fave), but probably most farming is done via Architect Entertainment farming maps. Even though AE awards XP at only 50% of the rate of adventuring within official content, AE missions can be packed full enough of readily-defeated enemies to overcome that drawback for many. Some farmers will request “door sitters”—people to join their team and wait at the entrance of a farm while they go do their thing, so that the XP multiplier improves and they can get the best personal XP rate. If you’re looking for a door-sitting slot, your best bet is to sit in an AE in a lowbie zone like Atlas and wait for someone to make the request. You can try broadcasting or posting to /lfg requests to join such a team yourself, but don’t make a nuisance of yourself about it. If you making a farming-capable character yourself, you may be able to trade favors with other farmers—get them to farm you up in return for you doing the same for one of their alts at need. Or, if you have the ability to run two instances of City of Heroes, you could dual-box with two separate accounts of your own, making a farmer on each account and using it to farm-level someone from the other account. (Bear in mind, dual-boxing is only permissible when the server has below 1,500 accounts logged in.) If you’re looking to make a character to run a fire farm (one of the most popular AE farm types), you’ll probably want to go with a Fire/Spines Brute, or Fire/Radiation Melee if you just don’t like how spines look. Any melee set with decent AoE will be good in a farm, even the classic Fire/Fire. You can also farm with Fire Scrappers and to a certain extent Tankers (they’re very tough, but don’t damage as fast), and even Fire/Kinetic Controllers can be built with farming in mind. When you farm, Inspirations will drop like crazy, so use them like crazy if you want to stay alive. From experience, farming can be kind of boring, but on the other hand there can also be a sort of soothing “zen” about defeating the same enemies over and over and over again, lather rinse repeat. It doesn’t require a whole lot of attention, so you can do it while you’re thinking about other things, or watching TV, or whatever. And even if you’re soloing, it can be a decent way to powerlevel yourself once you get the hang of it. But it's not required, by any means; as I mentioned above, doing task forces on double XP can be very nearly as fast, and a lot more fun besides. Once you’ve hit level 50, you can also choose to turn off XP and just farm for Inf. Inf farming can be pretty lucrative in its own right. SLOTTING STRATEGIES Powerleveling isn't just a matter of leveling and training up. There's also slotting up involved, too—enhancing your powers so that they will be more effective on tougher enemies. But how and when to slot? Here are my suggestions. COMMON IO ENHANCEMENTS When to slot Common IOs is a bit of a balance; they don't need to be replaced, but at the lower levels you'll be leveling so fast that if you fill too many slots it won't be long before you'll want to replace them with better ones. Luckily, if you have the recipes memorized on at least one of your characters, you can craft them for next to nothing; your only real limitation is how much storage room you have in your supergroup base (or your character's 70 Enhancement Tray slots if you don't have a SG base). I would suggest crafting or buying a just handful of the most-used types of Common IO (Damage, Accuracy, Recharge Rate, Endurance Reduction, Healing, Run Speed) at level 10, for slotting after you finish your Death From Below. Craft or buy a few more of those at levels 15 and 20, which you can stick into empty slots, but you're probably not going to want to bother replacing all the level 10s just yet. Then craft a bunch more at level 25, that you can use to replace the lower-level ones. Those are very nearly as effective as SOs, so you can keep them as they are for a while. You probably should concentrate on replacing them with Attuned IO sets from here on out, rather than continuing to upgrade everything through commons to level 50. Having all these Enhancements crafted ahead of time means that when you level, you can pop into your base and grab as many IOs as you need, rather than having to spend a bunch of time crafting or buying all new ones and slowing yourself and everyone else down as you sprint to level 50. RARER ENHANCEMENTS Common IO are great for getting started, but over time, if you want your character to be at their best, you're going to want to replace them with Attuned Enhancement sets for the long haul. By the time you're 50, you should be full up on ATOs, special sets like Overwhelming Force or Winter-Os, and the higher-end Invention Origin sets (Uncommon, Rare, Very Rare, PVP). You'll have to wait to get Very Rare, Superior ATO, and Level 50 PVP sets until you hit level 50, but there's no reason you couldn't work on slotting everything else in Attuned form along the way so it can level up with you to level 50. The best way to go about this is to plan your build ahead of time using Mids, so that you can place bids on the Auction House for the specific recipes or Enhancements that you want, and hope that they'll come in by the time you can use them. This is especially worth doing for purple (Very Rare) sets, since you'll have all the way up to level 50 for the bids to go through. You may also want to buy or craft some "filler" IO sets to stand in for those level-50-only sets until you reach 50 and can slot them; then you can pop those fillers out and sell them or pass them on to the next character you make. If you slotted and Attuned any PVP sets on the way up, at level 50 you'll want to pop them out and sell them, then re-buy the non-Attuned level 50 version so you can Boost it to 50+5. Also remember to boost purple IO sets; do not Attune them. (Purple and PVP sets will act as if they're Attuned, providing their set bonuses as low as they're available.) CONCLUSION This guide sure was a lot shorter than the last powerleveling guide I wrote, wasn’t it? Even leaving aside all the old FAQ stuff about why people would want to powerlevel, there really aren’t all that many secrets to know anymore now that the Homecoming devs are only nerfing things when they get ridiculous (like people taking DFB all the way to level 50). Just remember to respect the other players, and always ask nicely if they mind when you know you're not going to be a very effective member of the team. Hopefully, knowing how to level as quickly as possible will enhance your enjoyment of the game—but also, remember that nobody says you have to powerlevel. You’re free to leave double XP boosts off and take your time, leveling as quickly or as slowly as you want. Isn’t it fun to have a choice? If I made any mistakes, or left out any good methods of powerleveling, please let me know in the comments. If there’s anything really big that I forgot to mention, I’ll be happy to incorporate it into the guide. Thanks for reading! If you liked this guide, please check out my others.
  7. Between the forums and the Discord channel, I see a lot of folks confused about setting up base teleporters. It's easy to do once you understand the principles, but since there are things that aren't self-evident, I decided to put together a little guide. (With pictures and everything! Ooh! Ahh!) I've separated my lame jokes from the main text by using a different font color for your convenience. ;D Contents: The Basics The Components Setting Up a Zone Teleporter Setting Up an In-Base Teleporter Troubleshooting Tips, Tricks, & Tidbits #1: The Basics (or, What's All This Hullaballoo About Teleporters, Now?) Base teleporters are, in the simplest terms, a base item you can click that will move your character to somewhere else. Because real heroes & villains don't take cabs, and car insurance in Paragon is just outrageous. What base teleporters can do: They can transport a player to any city/hazard/trial zone that has a beacon and matches their alignment. They can transport a player to another spot within the base, a new function since the old days that's super-cool. What base teleporters cannot do: They cannot transport you to zones you can't access. (i.e., Heroes can't go to villain zones or vice-versa, and low-level Praetorians can't go to Primal Earth.) Silly baby goldsiders, you can't escape Cole's utopia that easily, muahaha! They cannot transport you from city zones into the base. (Though, as noted by justicebeliever--thanks!--you can get a base teleporter power by collecting badges or purchasing it from the P2W vendor.) They cannot change where you zone in to the base when you use a base portal, or make it so different people will zone into the base in different spots. No making the peons turn up in the back alley by the dumpster while the CEO shows up in the penthouse suite; sorry. A note on "Secret Entrance" Portals: Despite being a type of portal, the "secret entrance" is an entirely different beast than a teleporter, with different rules. The secret entrance cannot be deleted. So much for that Poe-themed base idea. There can be only one secret entrance. ...#highlander... If you ever see more than one, it's a glitch; leaving the base empty of people for 20 minutes should reset it. Though the secret entrance can be moved anywhere in the base, the entrance room can't be resized or deleted. Typing /stuck will return you to the secret entrance. Anyone entering the base through the secret entrance will always be facing south. And it just goes south from there! Haha! A-haha...ha...*cough* 😒 Leaving via the secret entrance will return you to the zone you were in before you entered the base. Déjà vu, or a glitch in the Matrix? You decide. If you entered using a base portal, you'll reappear beside it; if you entered any other way, you'll reappear at the zone's designated teleport spot. (Thanks to justicebeliever for the clarification. :) ) Okay, so now that we know what teleporters are and aren't, how do they work? #2: The Components (or, 'Porters & Beacons & 'Port Points, Oh My) Regular teleporters (i.e., the "teleport to zone" types from the live era) have two parts: Teleporter Beacon (the thing you click) (the place you go) Arcane Example: Tech Example: PI Paragon's VP of Engineering, Karen, agreed to be in these photos to provide a sense of scale. She's a shapeshifter and a bit of a clothes-horse, but so dependable and dedicated--I never see her leave her office! For in-base teleporters, there's one other component, a teleport point...but we'll come back to that in a bit. #3: Setting Up a Zone Teleporter (or, Transportation by IKEA) To make a working zone teleporter, all you need is a teleport device and a beacon of the same style placed within range. That's it! Back in my day, we only had one basic and one advanced 'porter for each style...and you needed a special Transportation Room and enough power to run the thing...and even then, the basic 'porters would only go to two places, uphill, BOTH WAYS! These young whipper-snappers and their free, pretty, 10-destination porters don't know how good they have it! Muttergrumblemumumble... (I'm totally kidding about the grumbling, to be clear. They can pry the new porters from my cold dead hands.) The beacons, up to ten per teleporter, can be placed anywhere...above the porter, behind it, buried in the floor, wherever...as long as they are within range. You can tell if a beacon is in range in two ways: Click on the beacon, and make sure there's a yellow box around the teleporter (or vice versa). -or- Click on either the beacon or teleporter, and check the object description box (the "Info" tab for beacons, or the "Aux" tab for the teleporter). The attached items should be listed. #4: Setting Up an In-Base Teleporter (or, "But I Don't Wanna Go Outside, Mom!") For teleporting to another area within the base, there's one more piece you need: a teleport point. Regular beacons teleport you to zone points the game already knows how to find. So, to make an in-base teleporter work, you need to explain to the game where you want people to end up. That's where this tab comes in: Currently, there are ten points available to place inside your base. When placed, they look like this: VP Karen not included. So, let's say you want to teleport from your office to your bathroom. When you gotta go, you gotta go, amirite? To do that: In your office, put a teleport device. In your office, put an Aleph beacon. In your bathroom, put the Aleph teleport point. (Teleport points don't have a style, and can be used with either arcane or tech devices.) And voila, you can teleport directly from the office to the potty. Base Teleporters: Bringing you proper hydration without fear since 2019. Note, the above setup will only get you to the bathroom. If you want to teleport back, you'll need to repeat the steps above, except in the opposite direction and using a second teleport point. #5: Troubleshooting (or, LIEZ!! It doesn't work!! UR AY FRAUD AN SHUD B ASHAYMED!!) I hope that amused someone because typing like that made me die a little inside. If you've placed a teleporter and it doesn't work the way it should, there are a few things to check: Did the beacon connect to the wrong teleporter? If you have two teleporters close together, the beacon may have linked to a different one than you expected. And next thing you know, the teleporter and the beacon are arguing about infidelity on Dr. Phil. Are you trying to connect more than ten destinations to a single porter? Any beyond ten won't connect. That's what happens when you let the henchmen do the math. Are you using a functional teleporter? As one might imagine, teleporters labeled as inactive or destroyed won't work, but it's an easy mis-click. Now where do I get a portal repair tech at 3 AM on a Saturday?!? The second-most common problem: Is your character the right alignment to see the zones in question? A villain character can't go to hero zones, and vice versa, so the list will be blank even if the beacons are connected and working properly. Nice try, Lord Recluse. And--*drum roll*-- the biggie: Is your beacon the same style as your teleporter? Items from the tech tab will not connect to items from the arcane tab; the styles must match. Arcane & tech elements in the same teleporter ensemble is so last season. Remember... goes with goes with #6: Tips, Tricks, & Tidbits (or, Things You Wish You'd Known Before Wasting That Last 3 Hours) The order zones appear in any teleport listing is according to the zone's ID number in the internal database. The only way you can affect the list order is to link beacons to separate teleporters. We won't discuss how long I tried to alphabetize the teleport beacons before I learned this. I (like a number of other folks, it seems) like to set up my zone 'porters with one for blueside city zones, one for blueside hazard/trial zones, one for redside zones, and one for everything else (although our current base has them split up slightly more for aesthetic reasons). If you aren't sure/can't remember which zones are which, this wiki page may help; it has zones separated by alignment, and you can sort the list by type or level. None of the teleporters are tintable, except the Oranbegan Portal in the Arcane tab. That one lets you recolor the runes that circle around the edge of the portal. I see a red portal and I want to paint it black... There are currently no doors in the base builder that open/close...but you can simulate one using in-base teleporters. You'll need two teleporters (the Interdimensional Shard is a popular choice because it's small), two beacons, and two teleport points. Place the Shards as far inside your doors as you like, as long as enough sticks out for people to click on. Place Beacon A on one side of the door, and Point A on the other...then place Beacon B on that side, and Point B back on the original side, as noted in this high-quality illustration: [Point A, Beacon B, Teleporter] {[DOOR(S)]} [Point B, Beacon A, Teleporter] Great, there goes our whole graphic design budget. Note, you'll want to use two teleporters and make sure your beacons connect the way you intend, because otherwise both destinations would show up on the same teleport list, and someone could inadvertently teleport to where they already are. Ha ha, suckers. Er, I mean... :-X Whatever direction you're facing when you click an in-base teleport point, that's the same way you'll be facing when you come out the other side. (As ajax34i observes, the points -- and the Secret Entrance, for that matter -- do have directional arrows you can see using the Hidden Markers option...but they don't seem to actually be correct or do anything.) Turn around, bright eyes... Since you're actually teleporting instead of using the door like a door, you have the option of putting the "other side of the door" anywhere in the base you like. It doesn't have to be physically near the original door. And they'll never know they've been fooled! MUAHAHAHA!! ...well, unless they look at the map. If devious hidden doors are your jam, you can easily bury your teleporter almost all the way inside pretty much anything...secret door hidden in the bookshelf, anyone? From Catgoyle: "For semi-secret in-base teleports, the globes are about the right size to fit the "interdimensional shard" into (and I hide the beacon under the floor -- enable room clipping)." Just make sure Alfred doesn't set it off accidentally while dusting Wayne Manor. There's no way to re-name the in-base teleport points. What you see is what you get. Fun Fact: I learned that the point names are letters in the Hebrew alphabet. Thanks, Google! Clicking a teleporter always brings up a pop-up destination menu, even if you only link one beacon. At present, there's no way to make it click-and-go like mission doors. Some of the flatter teleporters (the Carnival of Light portal, etc.) are difficult to select once they've been placed. In addition to the usual camera angle shuffle, it can help to hold shift, which helps you click objects hidden behind other things. If all else fails, you can choose "Current Room," sell off the portal, and start over. If a sound/visual effect remains after you delete a teleporter, leaving the base for 20 minutes should reset the map. Anybody else entering the base in that time will prevent the reset; stowaways walk the plank. WanderingAries adds that if you've read all this and decided it's too much work, you can always coalition with someone who's built zone teleporters already and use theirs. 😉 So there you have it, everything you need to be a physics-defying location hopper. Did I leave anything out? Did something get added/changed since this post was written? Did I...*GASP*...get something wrong? Or worse yet...HAVE A TYPO?!?!? :-[ Let me know, and I'll get it fixed. Happy base building!
  8. Is there anyone playing a Claws/Fire scrapper that can share a build or someone experienced one to make an AoE focused build?
  9. Recharge Guide Everything you need to know about Recharge…and then some By Bopper Written: 17 Nov 2019 Updated: N/A The purpose of this guide is to teach you everything you need to know about recharge. I have broken up this guide into chapters in an effort build up your understanding on how recharge works. My methods for building up your knowledge will be a bit backwards. Normally in a textbook, you will be given a formula, the formula will be derived, then you will see examples on how to use the formula. Instead, Chapter 1 will show you examples with step-by-step solutions in hopes of learning and observing all the details that goes into solving the Recharge Problem. In Chapter 2, I will introduce formulas that could be used for solving the examples from Chapter 1 in hopes that you can apply those formulas for your own needs. In Chapter 3, I introduce a new technique for solving the Recharge Problem that is faster and easier to implement, although it has its limitations. At that point, you will have all the knowledge you need to know. But if you would like to read on, Chapter 4 provides additional formulas that apply to the Recharge Problem that could be useful to you. Finally, Chapter 5 (not complete), will be additional examples that I will solve by request. If you have a specific problem and are having trouble, you can mention it in the comments and I will attempt to solve it and provide the solution in this chapter. If you prefer the PDF version or Word document version (they are much more readable than the forum's formatting), they are attached below. RechargeGuide.pdf RechargeGuide.docx Background information: I have discussed this topic previously, which you can check out here.
  10. Do you suffer from altitis? Do you have a minutes-long ritual to set up up your 100th alt to have the *exact* same settings as your 10th allt? Here is a guide for you! In this guide, I’ll show the steps to create a custom window or popmenu (your choice) that allows you to copy your custom binds, options, and window settings for each new alt in less than five mouse/keyboard clicks. Basically, on create, each alt will have a window or custom popmenu. So you can load up your custom binds, custom macros, chat channels, saved options, and saved windows all in one spot. Prerequisites: - Basic knowledge of how to create and use *.txt bind files (guide here) - Basic knowledge of popmenus and/or how to create custom windows (here is a link to my steps on custom windows how. See section below on how to bind a key to a popmenu). - Basic knowledge of how to set window UI scaling (here is my quick version how-to) - A saved default options.txt file and .wdw file from the COH Options window that you want loaded for all your alts - Generic custom binds text file. I use a pared down version of Shenanigunner’s GABB.txt file - Generic custom macros text file. For this example, I’ll call it genMacros.txt (here is a how-to) - Generic custom channels text file. For all the custom channels you want your new alt to join immediately OPTION 1: Steps for creating a custom popmenu This option can be helpful if you don't want a persistent window on your UI. - Create a Setup.mnu file in your City of Heroes \data\texts\English\Menus directory location (note you need the extra line at the start of the file) like this: - Login to COH. In your new alt, bind a key to the Setup menu: /bind shift+S popmenu Setup (this should be same as the name of the Setup.mnu file) - Use your bind key and select all the setup options you want - Quit and restart the game. On login to your alt, all options should take into effect. (Bind_load and Bind used as commands in the menu shouldn't work until you do so.) OPTION 2: Steps for creating a custom Window To make my guide simpler, I've assumed you already created a custom Window and simply want to add the Setup menu options. If you have not created and tested a custom window, I recommend you do so first and test that your custom window works. - In your COH \data\texts\English\Menus directory, open the existing .mnu file you created (see link above on creating custom windows if you need help on how to do this) - Edit the file so it has a new submenu, called “Setup”. In this example, the new submenu is BELOW the “Divider” command: - Save your .mnu file and exit. - Exit and close CoH if you had it running. Restart CoH. - After restarting and logging in, you should see the new menu option. Each time you create a character, that option will be there for them to easily load up your custom UI, macros, channels, and keybinds. - Quit and restart the game. On login to your alt, all options should take into effect. (Bind_load and Bind used as commands in the menu shouldn't work until you do so.) Disclaimers: While I tested the popMenu and customWindow options, I haven’t tested the macros and channels options. Also, I have tried to consolidate this guide to the absolute minimum new information you need to get started. So I have not recreated the information found in the links I posted in the prerequisites. Feel free to ask for clarification if you try and it doesn’t work for you.
  11. 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.
  12. This is an update/addendum to my old Issue 18 guide, mostly with new information to account for changes since i18. Information in the old guide should still be current unless superseded in this addendum. I may update this as I think of more to add. This addendum assumes you have read the Issue 18 guide linked above. Incarnate powers and the greatly relaxed alignment system are the main highlights of what's changed since i18. The general gist of how a Hamidon raid operates and the strategies have not changed greatly, but it is generally easier nowadays, given a similar level of experience in raiders. Quick Recap The Hamidon raid is a multi-team task characterized by some special mechanics. Hamidon appears as a giant single-celled organism with a nucleus in the middle surrounded by three rings of protective mitochondria. The ultimate goal is to defeat the nucleus. However, the mitochondria, which come in three varieties and are usually identified by their colours, pose a serious threat. Mitochondria Antibodies, which are yellow, fire large, devastating AoE blasts that stun and cause knockback. Mitochondria Electrolytes, which are blue, shoot chaining blasts that cause fear and drain endurance. Mending Mitochondria, which are green, send healing pulses to mitos and Hamidon itself and also deals toxic damage and debuff healing and regeneration. Yellows are the primary threat and are vulnerable mainly to melee attacks. Blues are vulnerable to ranged attacks. Greens are virtually invulnerable until locked down by holds, after which they quickly crumble. Hamidon itself has very high resistance and fires large, hard-hitting AoE blasts that cause stun/KB, mildly debuff healing and regeneration, and also drain a little endurance. Hamidon and its mitochondria ignore traditional defence and resistance. Instead, only the special inspiration Essence of the Earth, dropped by monsters that inhabit the zones Hamidon is found in, provides protection -- an EoE provides, for one minute, full Hamidon resistance and lowers yellow and Hamidon damage down to a manageable level. When Hamidon reaches certain health thresholds (75%, 50%, and 25%) for the first time, it will spawn a new set of mitochondria on top of any that has still not been defeated. These spawn events are called 'blooms'. The canonical strategy for defeating Hamidon, therefore, is to clear out the initial set of mitochondria, reduce Hamidon down to 75%, break off to engage and clear out the bloom (allowing Hamidon to heal back to full), and so on for the next two blooms before finally finishing off Hamidon. This mechanic has been copied in some later content, such as the Lord Winter trial. This addendum uses some jargon from Virtue that may be unfamiliar to many. Tanks or taunters are responsible for drawing the attention of Hamidon or yellow mitos, preferably from a range away from others. Spikers are meleers who descend en masse on yellows to rapidly defeat them. Assaulters are ranged attackers who neutralize blue mitos. Control means using holds to lock down green mitos in order to shut down their regenerating shields. Rewards Hamidon raid now grants, on completion, 80 merits, 4 Empyrean merits (which convert to 40 merits), or a random Hamidon enhancement (HO). The Emp merits and HO may only be chosen once every 18 hours, while the merit option is subject to diminishing returns (halved each time) within that same timeframe. Raids in both the Hive and the Abyss are considered the same activity and share the same timer. To qualify for the reward window, your team (not league) must have dealt damage to the Hamidon nucleus; you need not have personally damaged Hamidon, so a Hamidon tank with no ranged attack who taunts from a range will still get credit as long as their team as a whole has dealt damage. You can run two back-to-back raids, keep the second reward window up for 18 hours, and claim a full reward again after the time has elapsed. It is possible (if a hassle) to continue playing with the reward window up through most content. Note that another reward window will replace the old one, so avoid participating in tasks that open a reward window (e.g. incarnate trials and certain task forces, missions, and zone events). Hamidon's mitos used to be a good source of rare salvage drops, but this appears to have changed, and now they mostly drop common salvage. Because of their high enemy rank, Hamidon buds have decent enhancement converter and catalyst drop rates. Variation in strategies since i18 In general, some of the finer details of Hamidon raid mechanics are less relevant thanks to increased player power level. A brute-force approach can overpower many of the obstacles that were once a challenge. Green heals on yellows come in pulses, and it is trivial these days for a less-than-full team of spikers to output enough damage so that redirecting green heals elsewhere is less essential. The wide availability of long-lasting destiny buffs also reduces the threat posed by Hamidon blasts and removes a need for the Hamidon tank to stay at range. Raid groups with experienced yellow tanks may also skip the step of assignment, which was a lengthy part of pre-launch preparations. Instead, the raid leader could trust that yellow tanks have enough situational awareness to react in a timely fashion and that the rest of the raid group have the wherewithal to survive stray yellow blasts. The need for coordination and leadership is less stringent now with the league system allowing a raid leader to micromanage everything. The league can simply be told to follow a designated leader for yellows, blues, and greens respectively. The availability of the /ah command opens up the market in a raid, both as a storage place and as a means to acquire more inspirations. Be aware that EoE prices tend to spike during raids. Enterprising raiders might consider setting out low bids ahead of time to ensure a ready supply of EoEs, which reduces dependence on monster hunts yielding enough drops. Required roles 1 Hamidon tank 2-6 yellow tanks 3+ spikers 3+ assaulters 4+ control specialists 1-2+ support The above forms the core of what I think of as the bare minimum to pull off a Hamidon raid that is not an exercise in sheer frustration. Obviously, the more you have, the better it is likely to go. Typically, a raid will not need more than one Hamidon tank and six yellow tanks. If a raid group is low on yellow tanks, each may have to take on two or three yellows simultaneously. In a pinch, the Hamidon tank can also take on a yellow. In general, the fewer people you have, the more they'll have to take on dual duties. Spikers may split up and solo a yellow each to alleviate the burden on the tanks. Support should assist with assault and control when buffs are on cooldown. I'm usually comfortable with starting a raid if I have 20 or more people able to fill the above required roles. When a raid has 30 or more people, I become open to skipping the last two blooms depending on DPS. The more people are level 50+1 with all incarnate slots filled, the smoother a raid should be. Experience level of participating players is probably the most important factor. If no one knows what they're doing, then even a full league may run into trouble. While some ATs are more suitable than others, there is no hard restriction on the AT to perform each role. A tank does not have to be a tanker or brute. I myself have done Hamidon tanking as a tanker, brute, scrapper, stalker, and defender. Yellow tanking is best done by a tanker, brute, or scrapper because of their access to an autohit taunt power. However, any AT may take on yellow aggro by attacking them in melee, as long as splash damage on spikers is deemed an acceptable tradeoff. Regarding leagues When you try to invite people to a league, sometimes you may get the message, "Could not invite <Name>, BlockingAccept". This doesn't mean what it sounds like. They have not blocked anything. Simply send another invite. When you invite someone to a league, occasionally it may fail to actually put them on a team despite them appearing as such in the league UI. They will not get team credit for tasks or receive teamwide buffs. If the team or league is overfilled with someone glitched in this manner, it will glitch out the league UI. One method to check is to ask each individual to check their team window to make sure they are on a team. The team leader should have received the message, "Name was unable to join your team", and the victim should have also received the message "You were unable to join Name's team". You may also use /search to see if anyone on the league and in the zone is unteamed. This glitched state can be fixed by moving them to another team (and back) by dragging them in the league window, or you can kick them or ask them to quit and reinvite them. Sometimes, the league window may spontaneously become unpinnable and stretched out horizontally instead of rescaling vertically as normal. At the bottom right corner of the window, there are two arrows to readjust the league window. The right arrow stretches the window horizontally and the down arrow vertically. This adjustment should allow the league window to be pinnable again. If someone joins the league and appears to be in a locked team, they may still be on a TF, Ouroboros flashback, or AE arc. They will have to quit and be reinvited. A league is just a convenient assemblage of multiple teams. It does not replace team mechanics (although powers that target a friendly PC like recall friend and vengeance can work on leaguemates). Defeat credit is still only shared teamwide, as are team buffs. It is best not to leave someone solo on a league (unless that is what you want). You may reorganize teams by dragging bars around in the league window. Check to see that each team is led by a level 50, or the rest of the team will be exemped to a lower level. You may allow the team itself to resolve the issue, or you could move the team leader to another team, which will automatically pass the star to the next person in the team list (the order of which may not match the league display). You could also appoint new team leaders by dragging the desired person to an empty space in the league window (only possible if the league has 5 or fewer teams) and then dragging each member of the old team to the newly opened team. Note that the league UI may decide to flip the team order while you're doing this. There is no known slash command for most league operations, so the GUI is the only way to accomplish most tasks. There is no way to league-invite someone if they are not physically present or have not recently spoken. You can get around that by ensuring your own team has an open spot and then using the team invite command /invite to add them to your team. They can be moved after. An alternative is to (temporarily) add them as a server friend (/friend <name>) and then use the right-click context menu to send a league invite. Someone who is not in the same zone cannot be moved. If they happen to be a team leader, you cannot alter their team. There's not much you can do about it other than waiting or removing them from the league. If, when you try to move a player, you receive the message, " Player can't be moved to that team. The team may be full, locked, or you may have moved another player too recently and need to wait briefly before making another move." and none of the suggested reasons is true, that may mean that the player has the team leader on ignore. A league can have at most 48 members, while the Hive and the Abyss have a zone cap of 50. It's an unfortunate mismatch that means around two people may be left on their own. A raid leader could consider splitting the main league (e.g. two leagues of 25 each or capping the league at about 42 to allow an overflow team to form) or even forgoing leagues at all and coordinating the raid the old-fashioned way. Or the unteamed could just curse their luck and follow along. You can invite a whole team to a league, assuming you have enough space left. Mobility The Hamidon protoplasm is normally blanketed in a slow/interrupting effect. However, area effects appear to be bugged and apply inconsistently, so there is no longer a reliable jump height buff within the goo. Fortunately, jetpacks are cheap and accessible. Hamidon Buds Hamidon Buds have made a return. When Hamidon's body despawns, remnants called Hamidon Buds spawn randomly at players in the zone and as such may appear quite far from the main raid group, depending on player position. All Buds need to be cleared for Hamidon to spawn again. A thorough post-raid sweep is recommended if a subsequent raid is to follow. Incarnate powers The Hamidon nucleus and the monsters in the zones are levelless, but the mitos are level 50. Therefore, having an alpha level shift provides a noticeable benefit. For example, a yellow mito deals 521.6 upfront and 41.34x5 DoT damage to a level 50 character without an Essence of the Earth active. For a level 50 character with an alpha level shift, the damage goes down to 469.44 upfront and 37.2x5 DoT. Destiny is a game changer, though some are less useful than others. Barrier core has almost no noticeable benefit, as Hamidon raid mechanics almost entirely negates defence and resistance. Green mitos deal toxic damage, but the damage from green blasts alone is seldom a great threat in a Hamidon raid. Barrier radial's areal rez may come in handy situationally, though there are better uses for the slot. Rebirth core is simply outclassed by rebirth radial, as many ATs have low HP caps that don't benefit from a buff to max HP. Increasing max HP indirectly increases regen, but the amount from rebirth core is negligible compared to what rebirth radial grants. Rebirth core epiphany gives 374.8 max HP for the first 10 seconds, 160.62 for 30 seconds, 107.08 for one minute, and 53.54 for two minutes. My willpower tanker, as an example, has 3180 HP and 2.9%/s (about 92 HP/s) regen assuming one target in range for Rise to the Challenge and no debuffs. Rebirth core epiphany will hardcap the HP and raise regen to about 102 HP/s, so roughly an increase of 10 HP/s in the first 10 seconds. On the other hand, in the last 60 seconds alone, rebirth radial epiphany grants more than 15 HP/s. It's not even a contest. The timely use of rebirth radial aids in survival greatly and reduce dependence on EoEs. In short, rebirth radial is probably the best destiny power for a Hamidon raid. Ageless is probably the most popular destiny power, so in a raid setting, plenty of it should be going around, which will largely nullify the endurance drain from blue mitos. The extra recharge is also quite handy. Clarion helps cope with the mez effect from blue mitos and yellow and Hamidon blasts. This in combination with EoEs can allow a raid to endure enough yellow blasts from multiple blooms to finish off Hamidon. More on this later. Incandescence is situational. It can be used for emergency evacuation or when the raid needs to regroup. The healing buff roughly negates one green blast. It's not much, but there may be some limited benefit for the Hamidon tank, at the expense of staying ungrouped to avoid porting team/league mates along. There's not much to say about interface other than the fact that in a raid setting, it's likely that at least one person will have degenerative interface slotted. The consequence is that Hamidon's max HP can no longer be taken to be a constant, so the base numbers for the health thresholds will fluctuate. Raid leaders will have to use their own discretion as to when to call a bloom. Lore adds a lot of damage and is highly helpful in a DPS push through one or more blooms. Make sure to order lore pets to attack Hamidon and/or set them to aggressive. Of note, the highest damage lore type is Banished Pantheon core branch, while Longbow Cataphract from Longbow core has a large regeneration debuff. Assault and support hybrid may be saved for a DPS push as well. Melee hybrid can be of use in personal survival. Non-melee support for Mitochondria Antibodies (yellows) Yellow mitos have capped defence to attacks tagged ranged and AoE. There are a few nonpositional attacks that bypass that defence. Examples include blind from illusion control and mesmerize, dominate, and levitate from mind control, fortunatas, or defenders/corruptors with psychic mastery epic pool. These powers are not high damage but may come in handy when melee needs just a bit of help. Enough ToHit buffs, e.g. aim after power build up, may allow ranged attacks have a non-negligible chance of hitting. It's not an optimal use of resources, but it is an option. Fulcrum shift may be cast off a yellow mito to boost meleers in range. It is not necessary for the kin to be in melee range, though being so will give an extra boost. Autohit debuffs like enervating field can be applied on a yellow mito to lower its resistance. Absorb Hamidon ignores absorb shields. Power analysis Dark armour, with enough knockback protection, can survive tanking Hamidon for extended periods, potentially indefinitely, without EoEs or external buffs. Dark regeneration is not affected by the heal debuffs from Hamidon and green blasts. The main drawback is that missing can be deadly. It's possible to sandwich oneself in range of Hamidon and a low green mito to ensure two targets to use dark regeneration off. The spot can be tricky to find in a timely fashion, however. Siphon life from dark melee (and less reliably, radiation siphon from radiation melee) can further supplement the healing. Sets with capped or near-capped toxic resistance, such as stone armour and radiation armour, make excellent green aggro absorbers. Once yellows are out of the picture, they may stand or hover next to greens nearest the Hamidon tank to shield them from green blasts. Summons are great for absorbing green blasts as well. Carrion creepers from plant control is exceptional for this purpose. The downside is that pets also serve as jumping points for blue contagion, though this is usually much less of an issue than green or yellow blasts. Kinetics is highly beneficial in a Hamidon raid, because with Hamidon's high resistance, damage buffs add more damage than resistance debuffs. Kins should spam fulcrum shift and siphon power off Hamidon as much as possible. Something to note is that only the resistance component of increase density is AoE; the stun and KB protection still applies only to a single target. Skipping bloom(s) When Hamidon is defeated, all mitos despawn, so it is not necessary to clear every bloom, and a strong enough raid group can power through with sheer DPS and momentum. The key to a successful push is a judicial use of buffs and EoEs. A 100% push, sometimes called a Hamikaze, is the most risky and involves going straight for Hamidon without defeating any mito. By the end of the attack, there will be four sets of mitos. Failure to defeat Hamidon at this point essentially means a failed raid, as a quadruple bloom is simply not worth trying to recover from. A somewhat safer alternative is to clear the initial set of mitos and then take Hamidon from 100% to 0. Destiny and aura buffs and EoEs should be used for right around the time of the first bloom to spawn. A triple bloom is perhaps salvageable but almost never worth the effort to clean up. A 50% push is a compromise between speed and recoverability. This involves clearing the starting set of mitos, taking Hamidon down to 75%, clearing that bloom, and then taking down Hamidon. There will be a double bloom by the end. It's possible for a raid to wipe here, but cleaning up the aftermath is not especially difficult, though it can be rough if the raid is short on people or resources, or if morale takes a heavy hit from repeated wipes, and people start leaving. A 25% push skips the final bloom and was a reasonably safe option even back in Issue 18. Even if it fails, there is not much difference from the traditional method of clearing every bloom. Hamidon doesn't spawn a bloom immediately upon reaching a health threshold. There's often a slight, unpredictable delay, the length of which can vary. It takes a further moment for the newly spawned mitos to begin to react. The length of this indeterminate window can sometimes be a decisive factor in the success or failure of a push. Failure is generally the consequence of yellow blasts incapacitating the raid with stacking knockback and stuns and outright defeating players who have not activated an EoE. For extra safety, a raid may trade off a little DPS by sending the yellow aggro management team to disengage from Hamidon and get in position to intercept yellow blasts right before the first bloom. A yellow tank may in some cases have to manage up to six or more yellows at once in a triple bloom, which can be overwhelming, but they only have to last long enough to DPS to finish its job. Some stray yellow fire is difficult to avoid, but clarion, rebirth, and EoEs should suffice if DPS is sufficient. Clearing a double bloom A double bloom takes more coordination to clean up. Spike teams should focus on the same targets at a time. Sometimes it may be helpful to call a retreat to regroup and reapply aura buffs. Every mito defeated makes it progressively easier. The large amount of green blasts is devastating for the Hamidon tank, as EoEs do not protect against them. It is inadvisable for the tank to stay in range. A hit-and-run approach is likely to be safer: i.e., the tank should get in range to taunt and/or attack Hamidon and dart out of the protoplasm, only going back in occasionally to repeat the process. They should take care not to get too far, or Hamidon will aggro on another target. Clearing a triple bloom In a triple bloom, the protoplasm is too deadly to enter at all. The sheer amount of blue and green blasts will immediately incapacitate and defeat any who gets in range. The yellow blasts will lock anyone down with chain stuns and knockback. Yellow tanks will need mez protection buffs, and the raid should focus on chipping away at the yellows one at a time. Be prepared for many wipes without making much progress. Many if not most raid groups will find a triple bloom simply too much to clear. It's okay to cut your losses and try again elsewhere and/or elsewhen. Clearing a quadruple bloom? If any group manages this, I'd love to hear about it. Please record the attempt. Hamidon spawn RNG It takes between 5-50 monsters to spawn Hamidon. Sometimes the RNG leans more towards the latter, making the monster hunt long and tedious. At the entrance to the Hive, there are police drones that you can pull monsters to. Droning monsters counts towards spawning Hamidon. Hive/Abyss comparison Now that the alignment system has been greatly relaxed, most characters can go to both the Hive and the Abyss for Hamidon raiding, so how do they compare? Unfortunately, since devs hated villains, the Hive is the better choice. The Abyss is a more graphically intensive zone, so raid lag tends to be worse there. Monster density there is lower, with no monster walls as in the Hive, so monster hunts tend to take longer. There is a lack of drones to expedite a slow hunt, and that also means the hospital and the entrance to the zone is unguarded. Verticality is also more of an issue in the Abyss, with a lot of nooks and crannies for Hamidon buds to hide in and slow to navigate for nonflyers. HOs vs IOs With the introduction of enhancement boosters, IOs have further edged out the position HOs used to occupy. A level 50+5 dual IO is about equivalent to an equal-level dual HO. HOs can be combined to reach 50++, at which point they are slightly better. The difference is minor, only about 3% for Schedule A and 2% for Schedule B (defence, ToHit, resistance, range). Triple HOs are much better for powers that can make use of all three enhancement types. Examples include enzyme exposure (-ToHit/-defence/-endurance) in a power like radiation infection in the radiation emission powerset and membrane exposure (+ToHit/+defence/+recharge) in powers like mind link in Arachnos Widows and fortitude in empathy. No IO can replicate the effect. There are some movement powers that increase more than one type of travel speed and do not take universal travel set pieces (e.g. swift, qucikness, lightning reflexes, sprint). It is possible to slot a microfilament (+travel/-endurance) here. This is also an effect that no IO can replicate..
  13. 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
  14. Someone in Help Chat was asking today how to set up a group of objects that were identical, but had differing text on interacting with each one; back on Live I'd gotten close, but decided to have another look at my ancient arc ("Apocalypse Cow") to see if I could improve it. And I've found a work around that does exactly that! Step 1.) Add as many mission options as you want objects in the set; in this case note we have 10 "Bookcase". We want to do this because as far as I know, there's no way in the editor to have a single set with 10 random outcomes. So instead we're going to have 10 unique items, with unique text, and have the random placement shuffle them for us instead, Step 2.) But if we name all 10 "Bookcase", we'll get error messages as they can't have identical names. The name is what appears in the target window, and has no other interactivity as such, so this is the best place to fudge it; Add an extra empty space to each name. So the first is indeed "Bookcase", but the last in that list is really "Bookcase_________" You can just keep pressing space until the orange Error message top right disappears, no need to be too formal with counting them! HOWEVER: It doesn't handle said spaces very well, each time you close and re-open the gump, it resets to "Bookcase_" and then generates an error when you try to run it, as other items are also likely to be "Bookcase_" To prevent that, you have to do the renaming in a single run and then save. If you come back again, you'll need to reset every item you open the options for. Step 3.) Choose the objects you want to be the Essential to complete the mission, and select them as such under Settings. Now the "Navigation Text" is what you displayed on the in game mission compass; however as each object is unique, having information in the (Plural) line won't work. Fortunately however if the text lines in (Singular) are identical, it'l show just X of one target. In this case, we would see a mission for "X of Copy of Genetic Data". Ideally then we want to write them all as a plural, but in the singular line. It should be "Copies of Genetic Data" in all of them. Or what ever you want it to be! (If you have just one target out of 10 to complete it, like my original version did, that line should indeed just be "Copy of Genetic Data") Step 4.) Save the Arc and attempt to test it. If it pops up with a Detail error, one or more of the Collection Names has reset the number of spaces after it, and you'll need to pop back, add them again and immediately save once more. When the arc launches without error, you should be safe to Publish it. For those wanting to see how it works in practice, Mission 3 in my arc of "Apocalypse Cow" is the one with randomised bookcases as shown above. Each one has a unique, and terrible cow pun... gotta cowlect them all!
  15. 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"
  16. 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.
  17. 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 Core Paragon, because it boosted Damage Resistance and Taunt. It also boosted Immobilize, which I don’t use, but I sure do use Damage Resistance and Taunt. I didn’t deem it worth losing a chunk of the Damage Resistance bonus to also boost Intangibility, Stun, and To-Hit Buffs with Resilent Radial Paragon, because my Tanker doesn’t use Intangibility or Stun either, and my accuracy is good enough already that I don’t need to boost To-Hit Buffs. 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!
  18. There are a few invention origin enhancements that give you an instant boost to a stat, or add a special effect to an attack. Even if you're not super-mega-tricked out with IOs at level 50, there are a lot that add a lot to your build, starting at about level 10. Always buy them attuned from Wentworths/The Black Market/The Trading Post - You can access this by typing /ah in most outdoor areas, and in Pocket D. The reason for this is that they scale with your level, meaning you only need to buy them once. Most are a few million inf. The IOs have a bonus that affects you - if you add Steadfast Protection into a power that gives allies more resistance, they won't get the +3% defence from it, only you. There are a small number that specifically only affects your pets, but they are very clearly labelled. IOs also have a level limit, normally between 10 and 30. If you go three levels below the level of the enhancement, the bonus shuts off. How do I get a few million inf? Here is a guide. Here is another. Others exist. If you run story arcs or task/strike forces you get reward merits. You can go to a merit vendor and buy stuff through it. Generally, for a bit of cheap cash you can buy enhancement converters and sell them on the auction house, but if you're really clever you can craft cheap enhancements and convert them into ones that sell for a better price. You might not be super-rich, but you'll have enough to afford what you need as you're levelling. Survival The Fighting power pool gives you access to Tough, which takes resistance slots. Combat Jumping, Hover, Stealth and Afterburner all take defence slots. Health can take Healing slots. Steadfast Protection (cheap) Damage Resistance Slot +3% defence Gladiator's Armour (expensive) Damage Resistance Slot +3% defence Unbreakable Guard Damage Resistance Slot +7.5% hit points Reactive Defences Defence Slot +3-13% scaling damage resistance this gets higher as you lose hit points Shield Wall Defence Slot 5% damage resistance Preventative Medicine Healing Slot Chance for Absorb shield the chance increases as you lose hit points Panacea Healing Slot Chance for small (5%?) heal this also does the same for endurance and is worth taking for that reason alone Put in as many as you can fit into your build. 6% defence is better than it sounds, and Preventative Medicine and Reactive Defences have a really nice synergy that if you get injured you get harder to take down. Additional ones dealing specifically with psionic damage: Impervium Armor Damage Resistance Slot +6% Psi resistance - not unique, you can have 5 of them Aegis Damage Resistance Slot +3% Psi resistance - unique, you can only have 1 Status effect resistance helps you recover from holds, sleeps etc slightly sooner but they do not prevent them from happening: Impervious Skin Damage Resistance Slot +7.5% Aegis Damage Resistance Slot +20% There are also several +steath enhancements. I recommend the Celerity one, slotted into Sprint - it turns it into a low-grade stealth power which is good for travelling round unmolested. Additionally, there are three knockback protection enhancements in the Karma, Blessing of the Zephyr and Steadfast Protection sets. There are several "chance to heal" and a couple of "chance for absorb" powers... the heal is only around 5%, but the absorb is about 15. I don't regret putting the absorb proc in my hold power, but it's also something I could live without. It's also worth going for the accolade passive bonuses which can give you 15% extra hit points. With those and Unbreakable Guard, you've got yourself +22.5% hit points, which is pretty notable. There are a number of enhancements that increase your health regeneration... I'm slightly apprehensive to recommend these as they have a much more significant impact on archetypes that don't have problems surviving, but Regenerative Tissue gives you 25% Regeneration, which the highest you can get from a single IO. This will help you recover between fights a bit faster and stay upright in longer fights, but probably isn't enough to keep you from dropping without other methods of protecting yourself. Recharge This is global recharge - it makes almost all your powers recharge faster. For reference, Hasten gives you +70% recharge. Luck of the Gambler Defence Slot +7.5% recharge - you can have up to five of these, giving you a +32.5% recharge bonus as well as enhancing defence. If you have any defence powers, this is a very good use of a slot. Force Feedback Knockback Slot Chance for +100% recharge for 5 seconds - if you have a lot of knockback powers, this can help keep your recharge generally quite high. For Kheldians, energy blasters, force field controllers, fortunatas etc, this can be quite noticeable. It seems that some powers that pulse knockback regularly have a disproportionately high proc rate because of the number of checks they make. Endurance As a general rule: put an endurance reduction enhancement into the three attacks you use most often. Even if you run a lot of toggles, you might be better slotting your attacks for EndRed because of how often you use them than just doing the toggles. Panacea Healing Slot Chance for small (5%?) endurance boost. Miracle Healing Slot +15% endurance recovery. Numina's Convalescence Healing Slot +10% endurance recovery. Performance Shifter Endurance Modification Slot Chance for 7.5% endurance boost. You can put the Healing ones in Health and Performance Shifter in Stamina. Panacea and Performance Shifter are the best value mathematically. All four are more powerful than standard IOs under most circumstances. Damage and Extra Effects There are a few Chance for Build Up procs, which give you a damage and ToHit bonus for five seconds. Gaussian's is the only one I'd bother with - I'd usually put it in Build Up to make it even more build-uppy, but if you team a lot or are a Mastermind or Crab Spider you can slot it into Tactics as having more teammates means it'll go off more often and you can kind of treat it like a critical hit mechanic. I have it in Build Up on my Stalker and Tactics on my Widow. There are a variety of damage procs you can put into your powers. These are a chance to do a set amount of additional damage. I'm not going to list them all, because you can look them up on the auction house and there are a lot of them. Check what enhancement sets a power can take on the enhancement screen and then use the filters to find a proc that suits your power. They generally start at level 10 for ATOs, 20 for control powers and 30 for attacks. Some general advice: Generally speaking, a power that does very low damage is a good candidate for a proc as you'll get more bang for your buck than you would adding another damage enhancement. If it does very low damage, adding an enhancement is still only enhancing a very small number, but a proc will add a flat amount of damage. You can add it to some powers that do no damage, turning them into a weak attack. It's also a way of sneaking round the diminishing returns of multiple enhancements, so you can add even more damage to an already very high damage attack. AoEs have a lower chance for it to trigger on each enemy to compensate for the fact that it hits a lot of targets. If you put a proc in a power with a slow recharge, it's almost guaranteed to go off, which is a good way of adding damage to things like nuke attacks or AoE holds with long cooldowns. There are also procs for status effects like hold and disorient, but they tend to be low duration - the one I would recommend is Contagious Confusion which has a chance to confuse a fairly high number of targets within a fairly high radius without drawing aggro. It is quite expensive, though. Sudden Acceleration has an enhancement that converts knockback to knockdown, which can turn annoying powers like Gale or Bonfire into very powerful control powers. The (expensive) Ragnarok set has a Chance for Knockdown proc that you can put into a power like Caltrops, which can make it into a more useful control power. Pets There are several enhancements that add to the survivability and utility of your pets - note that they affect your pets, not you. Masterminds will get the most use out of them, but certain other builds (crab spiders etc) may also see a lot of benefit. These create an aura around the player, so keep your pets close: Edict of the Master, Call to Arms and (Superior) Command of the Mastermind (MM's only) add pet defence Sovereign Right, Expedient Reinforcement and (Superior) Mark of Supremacy (MM's only) add pet damage resistance Smaller bonuses (probably not worth it unless you have slots to spare): Soulbound Allegiance Pet Damage adds a chance for your pet to get a Build Up effect Commanding Presence Pet Damage resist taunts/placates Be warned, though, slotting for pets is often tight so you may want to think carefully about these. Archetype Origin Enhancements Each archetype has two sets of enhancements unique to them, and each of those sets has one enhancement with a special effect. You can take them all at level 10 and then upgrade them at level 50. In most cases, they slot into an attack, although Masterminds have to put them in pets. Unless specified, they only trigger when the attack they're slotted into is used. Some are very, very good, some are nice but you can skip them until much later. The set bonuses for the ATOs are almost always very good, so definitely think about them later on. The following are noteworthy: Both Stalker ATOs are very powerful. Slot the Chance to Hide one in Assassin's Strike for double criticals and the Chance to Recharge Build Up anywhere it fits, then put Gaussian's Synchronized Fire-Control Chance for Build Up in Build Up itself for double build up a few times a minute. Get them as soon as you can afford them. The Form Empowerment one for Kheldians is a flat upgrade - get it when you can afford it. The other one you can leave until later. The Scrapper ones are a flat upgrade - get them when you can afford them. The Brute ones are a milder flat upgrade - get them when you can afford them. The Soldiers of Arachnos fear proc works well in an AoE. Their toxic damage works like a global proc - it can go off in any damage power. Get the toxic damage one as soon as you can afford it. Get the fear proc one eventually and put it into an AoE attack for some damage mitigation. Controllers have an energy font and Dominators have a fiery orb, which are small, short-duration pets that lots of people find underwhelming. Apparently they work best in AoE status effect powers. Tankers with lots of resistance can probably skip the Chance for Res one, although the Absorb one is pretty good for anyone. Defence-based tankers should take both. If, like me, you left Live before the IO system came into full force, you might think "fizzle this shizzle, it's all too complicated" - it's not that bad, and hopefully this will help you get started. Any questions, please @ me and I'll try to help. Thanks to Veelectric Boogaloo for pointing out the Mez resistence and regen IOs and Erydanus for the specifics of the Stalker ATO.
  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 and another one in Mole Point Charlie). 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. 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 with a hold on it, 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.
  21. I am of the opinion that Radiation Armor is the best set in the game when IO sets are added to it. Stone Armor has more mitigation potential, but the usability of the set is diminished by the penalties and lack of mobility in Granite armor. Plus, your costume is ugly in Granite form. Dark and Electric come close to Radiation in terms of mitigation, but lack the utilities and QOL benefits provided by Radiation Armor. For the sake of comparison, all powers are assumed to be slotted with 3 standard level 50 IOs, except inherent fitness only receiving 1 IO. Skip to the first reply if you just want to look at the example builds. Key Powers - Particle Shielding: This is Radiation Armor's best power. It provides an unenhanceable 50% recovery bonus for 1 minute, an enhanceable regeneration bonus, and a fairly large (1100+) absorb shield. The only downside is the absorb bonus is not enhanced by healing bonuses from your Alpha slot. With enough recharge bonus, the cooldown can be brought down close to 30 seconds, making the regeneration buff practically permanent. If the shielding is counted as healing for the sake of comparison, combined healing so far (inherent Health + Particle Shielding) is around 60 HP/s before IO set bonuses, Willpower needs about 3 targets in range to achieve the same HP/s. If the shielding is counted as temporary health, it is about the same amount as Invulnerability and Stone Armor's bonuses of ~1120 HP. - Gamma Boost: When at full health and unenhanced, this power provides about a 36% bonus to recovery. For comparison, Willpower provides 30% base. Combining Particle Shielding with Gamma Boost results in the highest recovery available on Tankers. Endurance should not be a problem for you once you get Particle Shielding down to around 60 seconds recharge. - Beta Decay: An auto-hit aura that gives you recharge bonus and debuffs defense so you can hit things easier. Auto-hit means it will keep enemies around you taunted, when other sets often have an accuracy check on their taunt auras. - Radiation Therapy: At first glance, this may look like Soul Drain. However, it should be noted it heals for a large chunk and small amount of health with no targets hit, plus it heals for the same small amount for each target hit. In addition, it performs a regeneration debuff on all targets hit. Radiation Therapy can potentially heal for around 400 + 80 + 80/target, and have about a 16 second cooldown. Combined with the healing from above, that puts Radiation Armor around 90 HP/s effective healing with no targets hit, which is equivalent to Willpower with 8 enemies in range. - Ground Zero: The damage on this isn't important. The fact it hits up to 30 targets makes this power stand out. Effectively, you get a PBAoE taunt that puts you on the threat table of more than the target cap. This is extremely useful in situations where your team is swarmed, like ITF or LGTF. As enemies targeting you die off, the enemies you hit with Ground Zero start attacking you instead of allies. - Meltdown: This is a great emergency click power in the game if you choose to use it. The crash only takes 10% of your endurance instead of 100%, unlike most other crashes. Personally, I skip it, but you may want it. Brute builds sometimes take it and rotate between Meltdown and Rune of Protection for a constant +~20% resistance to all damage. TL;DR: Radiation Armor has the potential to get more endurance recovery than any other Tanker, rivals Willpower's healing, and has effectively the same health pool as Invulnerability and Willpower, before Incarnate powers. It has amazing aggro management and an emergency power that won't kill you. IO Slotting and Builds - Defense or Resistance? If you can't afford very rare sets or ATOs, go for S/L defense and recharge bonus. Use Rune of Protection and/or Meltdown to shore up your resists when needed. An example build is below. If you can afford very rare sets and ATOs, get as much resistance as you can while using pool powers and global IOs to fill in your defense. Rely on teammates to soft-cap, or don't worry about defense because you don't really need it with all of your effective healing and 90% resists to the most important damage types. A build with 90% S/L/F/E/T and 75% C/N/P is provided below. - Slotting Toggles: Don't worry about endurance reduction. Your recovery is so high that only TW can come close to pushing the limits of what Radiation Armor's recovery provides. - Suggested Secondaries: Anything can work with Radiation Armor. You can go for damage or control, though I prefer the latter on my Tanker so I'm filling the role better. Knockdowns provide a great way to control groups and keep them from attacking you and your teammates. Converting a knockback to a knockdown is also an option to make sets like Energy Melee tolerable. Notable sets with AoE knockdowns include Battle Axe, Electrical, Ice, Kinetic, Psionic, Super Strength, and War Mace. Super Strength and Electrical Melee both have AoE disorients and AoE knockdowns they can use frequently to keep enemies under control effects. Ice Melee has additional control in the form of slow effects and a sleep effect. Defense debuff sets help your teammates hit more often, but are is rarely needed at 50 due to IO sets and the vast amount of defense debuffs others on your team may have. Any of the "bladed" weapon sets debuff defense, plus several other sets, including Radiation Melee. Don't forget you already have a defense debuff in the form of Beta Decay. Dark Melee debuffs to-hit, which is equivalent to adding defense to yourself. Super Strength and Titan Weapons are go-to sets for dealing damage. If you want to make a DPS Tanker, they should be more viable after the upcoming buff. - Suggested Epic Pools: Your Epic pool choice may depend on your secondary and how many power selections you have free. Adding an extra AoE or control effect can help round out your build or provide some usefulness outside of just tanking things. Take fewer attacks from your secondary if you want more options at 50. You don't need every attack to be a tank. Earth Mastery gives you an AoE sleep, which is useful if your group pulls more than they can handle. Hit a cluster of enemies with this, then tank another cluster to lighten the pressure on your squishies. Mu Mastery gives you two targeted AoE abilities, which can act as a ranged AoE taunt, while dealing some damage or immobilizing a group. Pyre Mastery has a great AoE resistance debuff, as well as a targeted AoE power. Anything with a hold effect can be useful for shutting down an Immunes Surgeon from range, or stacking holds on Hamidon encounters. This also gives you access to IO sets with some great bonuses that are hard to otherwise obtain.
  22. 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!
  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. Time Manipulation Guide by Bopper Written: 30 July 2019 Last updated: 2 August 2019 (Information that might help new Time Manipulation players for any archetype) A Quick Note from the Author Introduction Links to City of Data Information So that covers the majority of the details you would want for Time Manipulation. Now, I will spend some time talking about each power including some anecdotes of what I like to do with them and also provide some opinions. Basically, if you don’t care about what I think, now is the time to check out. My Summarized Opinion of Time Manipulation More Opinions, Broken Up by Powers Concluding Remarks Revision History Not a Guide Writer!
  25. Looking for a Brute Spines Fire Guide to make a farmer for the comic map
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