Perfect Ten: Helpful tips for returning to City of Heroes in 2019

    
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With the (community-led) rebirth of City of Heroes in 2019, a rather interesting problem has arisen for this superhero title: Namely, players who never tried out this game before are getting their first experience with the game without realizing that this is a pre-World of Warcraft MMO that operates in a different way than modern gamers might expect.

Since the game’s been offline since 2012 and some of the guides and instructional videos have fallen by the wayside, finding useful tips for getting into City of Heroes isn’t as easy as you might expect. With that in mind, the Massively OP team put its head together and drafted up a list of pointers that we ourselves would want to know if we were coming to the game fresh to play on one of the (multiple) new player-led servers.

So whether you’re a pro or a novice at being a virtual caped crusader, here are 10 helpful City of Heroes tips to get the most out of your experience!

Make the best-looking character ever!

Everyone knows that the real game is won or lost on the character creation screen because here is where you’ll either fashion an eye-catching masterpiece or an actual moving dumpster fire. Take some pointers from costuming pros and color matching experts when it comes time to fashion your next amazing outfit. Or just make a chicken.

Expect a different flow of combat

Coming from modern MMORPGs or other superhero games like Champions Online and DC Universe Online, City of Heroes’ combat may come as a shock. It’s much slower and more strategic, with long skill cooldowns and frequent pauses to watch your character perform animations during inductions. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a lot of fun, but this game definitely comes from a different era and design direction than most have experienced. Making the mental shift to be able to enjoy it is key.

Embrace the team-up

Maybe you’re not prone to team up in your online games, and trust me, I get that. However, there’s something about City of Heroes that not only makes it much easier to get into but almost an addicting activity.

With sidekicking and mentoring (having the game artificially level you up and down to match a teammate for on-level content), there’s virtually no barrier to grouping. And finding a team isn’t that difficult; either you can sign up with the LFG tool or just scan the ever-busy LFG channel for a like-minded team. This is a game where people want to play together, and that becomes infectious.

Get a handle on your archetype

There are many, many powersets and archetypes in the current City of Heroes build, and the choice can seem almost overwhelming. Fortunately, there are (at least) two places to do some quick research on your own: the old (archived) City of Heroes archetype forums and the newer Homecoming discussion boards. Most of the individual server Discords have build discussion chat rooms too. Before you know it, you’ll be building the hero of your dreams!

Badge like a pro

If you didn’t know, badges are City of Heroes’ achievement system that sometimes offer fun rewards (like special titles and powers) for completing sets. Some players are hooked on “badging,” and if that’s you, then you’ll want to download the Vidiot Map Pack (or look each zone map up on the wiki) to help you find them with minimal fuss.

Feast on these random tips!

  • Typing “/ah” will bring up the auction house from pretty much anywhere in the game. You should note that the current AH organizes its goods a little differently than it did back in the day.
  • You can change your costume at any level trainer NPC, but to modify your body, you’ll need to find a special tailor NPC.
  • Looking for a character build planner? There’s a tool for that! As an alternative, Pine’s character planner is top-notch stuff for folks playing on post-i24 builds.
  • Any veteran CoH player knows how to wield the power of binds to maximum effect, and you should as well. Here’s a quick-and-dirty guide on setting these up, and here’s a thread with all sorts of clever tricks for using binds.

Make best friends with Paragon Wiki

Yes, there’s a City of Heroes wiki, and yes, it’s amazingly informative. Fans have kept this site online and updated even in the dark years since the shutdown, and it should be your first stop to trying to answer any question that you may have about the game.

Where the 'hood at.

Choose your alignment

No matter what archetype you roll, you ultimately have the choice to pick whether you want to be a pure hero, pure villain, a vigilante, or a rogue in your alignment. The alignment system is a little confusing at the onset, and it’s been made a bit simpler on post-i24 builds like the one Homecoming’s servers use. Since the system does confer special rewards – and can allow your character to move easily between the sides for questing and grouping – you would do well to dig into this thread to learn more about it.

Don’t miss the best mission arcs in the game

It can be very tempting to spend all your time in City of Heroes doing nothing but grouping and running random trials and mission architect farms, but if you do that, you’d be missing out on some truly incredible (and rewarding) missions in the game. This thread lists some of the “don’t miss” story arcs that everyone should experience at least once — and contacts that want to give you really useful stuff.

Figure out your enhancement plan

Enhancements are pretty much the main “gear” of City of Heroes, and debate and theorycrafting has raged on over the years as to what constitutes the best and smartest selection of these as you level up, especially when you’re new to the game and not swimming in inf just yet. This particular thread mulls over the virtues of SOs, DOs, and IOs for optimal progression.

Get a handle on Incarnates

This level 50 endgame content might be a little mystifying for first-timers (or even folks who left the game before Paragon Studios implemented the Incarnate system), which is why the following video is a boon to the ignorant:

Share your favorite tips in the comments!

Everyone likes a good list, and we are no different! Perfect Ten takes an MMO topic and divvies it up into 10 delicious, entertaining, and often informative segments for your snacking pleasure. Got a good idea for a list? Email us at justin@massivelyop.com or eliot@massivelyop.com with the subject line “Perfect Ten.”
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ogged451

My Crab Spider is developing nicely. Finally got to 50 last Sunday, by now I’m level shifted, have hybrid unlocked and most of my set IO work done (hurray for 30 enhancement converters for 10 merits 😀)
Next week I’m gonna work on the Incarnate shifts and the two purple sets I need to finish the IOs.

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Dug From The Earth

Anyone know if there is a guide out there that lists all story arcs, the level range you can do them at, the contact that starts them (and the zone they are in), and how you get introduced to that contact?

My biggest issue is just tracking them down so that I dont miss them. Yeah, I can do them via Ouro.. but its a bigger pain trying to find groups for story missions that way.

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BigAngry

Yep! Paragon wiki has a list of all of ’em.

Here are the hero arcs.

Here’re the villain arcs.

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Mykal Quinn

Do note that those lists are not complete tho.

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BigAngry

Tip for the Market on the Homecoming servers:

Salvage, recipes, and enhancements all exist in a fungible state once they’re put up on the market. Salvage becomes its rarity, ie a piece of Iron, when put up on the market, will exist at once as ALL common salvage. An uncommon Data drive will exist at once as ALL uncommon salvage, and a Deific Weapon will exist at once as ALL rare salvage. If you put up a Deific Weapon, and someone wants a Page of the Malleus Mundi, your Deific Weapon becomes one, you get the money, and the buyer gets a Page of the Malleus Mundi.

Recipes exist as every level that the recipe can be, at once. So if you have a level 25 Recipe: Luck of the Gambler Def/EndRedux, and put it up on the market, it will exist as a level 25-53 recipe.

Set IO Enhancements are the same way, BUT, they exist as all levels AND the Attuned Set IO as well, a feature that Leandro’s SCORE team put in, meaning that the enhancements level up and down with you. It normally takes an Enhancement Catalyst, a high level drop, to convert a Set IO into an Attuned Set IO, and those tend to run in the millions each, but, now that you know that the Attuned Set IOs are included in the fungibility of regular Set IOs, you don’t have to spend any money on them!

This has been i25 Market Fungibility with Professor BA.

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Dug From The Earth

Wow… did not know this.

Im torn though, because it seems both good and bad.

For more common items, like common salvage, a system like this makes sense. Almost in a “recycle” way.

However, with Recipes, which just arent based on rarity, but ALSO level, it just seems so very flawed. How so? Simple.

It means that a noob player who gets lucky and gets a very rare level 10 recipe, can turn around and sell it for millions of influence on the market because a level 50 player is looking for a level 50 version of that recipe.

it means that the more people that realize this system is in place means the more likely that when a lower level recipe gets put on the market, it will have a price geared towards max level players buying it.

it means that If you want to deck you level 20 character out with some low level recipe sets, its likely going to cost you an absurd amount. Making recipes next to impossible to use until you hit max level and can farm millions of influence at the drop of a hat.

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BigAngry

The higher level characters would have WAY more inf than the lower level characters just from drops and inf gained at level 50, though. Also, very, very, very few sets exist at level 10 and level 50. It’s usually 10-25 or 30, and 25-50 for the next step up.

Also, not sure if it was clear enough, but recipes don’t exist as EVERY recipe/rarity, just that particular one, from min to max. So lv25 Recipe: LotG Def/End becomes LotG Def/End lv25-50, and nothing else.

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

Last night I finished decking out my top three toons and my husband’s main with mid-level crafted IOs. I expected everything to be much more expensive, but because of the flow of the economy right now, and because things like orange salvage are still going for 1m inf to fund this, I actually saved money over using SOs and can keep using double exp buffs. When I’m 50 and rich, yes, I’ll do sets, but don’t discount 25, 30, and 35 IOs for when you’re leveling up. (And remember you can slot 25s at 22!)

One note for the market: Put in a ton of bids at low to reasonable prices for what you need and then walk away for a few days. Bid on both the recipes (at a lower price than buying from the Uni) and the finished product to cover your bases. You’ll probably snag most of what you need overnight and pick up a lot of the IOs cheaper than crafting them would’ve cost. If this is already working (because of people grinding crafting badges, I assume), and it is, it’ll keep working a long time as people respec into set IOs and dump their low IOs. On live, it was even cost effective to do this with lower IOs, since you could sometimes get 10s cheaper than TOs.

This is common knowledge to old hats, but new folks might be looking at the market and cost of everything and despairing. You really don’t even need IOs at all, and the set IOs are not something you should feel obligated to do on every toon, so don’t freak out. Just sell your salvage and recipes as you go and it really should fund you for a long time.

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xpsync

Perfect example of me playing and reading chat it’s a constant wtf is that now? lmao, SOs, IOs, TOs, we need an acronym page, this game has so many.

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

Hehe sorry :D
TO – training enhancement (newbie enhancements)
DO – dual origin enhancement (avail at level 12)
SO – single origin enhancement (avail at level 22)
IO – invention origin enhancement (crafted, never lose power)
inf – infamy/influence/information (money)

Rundown here and here!

xpsync
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xpsync

:) thanks!

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Castagere Shaikura

Wow, this is what I needed to. Thank you, Bree, Also could you make a list for the different salvage pricing. It’s hard to figure out how to list them. I took your advice for the white salvage and it all sold. But what about the yellow salvage?

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

Oh yeah! I answered in the podcast post but that post is days old. :D “My personal strategy is to put up white for 4999, yellow for 1499, and orange for 999999. The past few days, whites have dropped a bit, so that might not stick. Yellows vendor for 1k, so if it drops much lower than that, it won’t be worth auctioning them.” Converters are trending way down too – they were 1m, then 500k, now they aren’t going fast for 200k. But still nothing to scoff at. :D

Edit: See, this is how fast stuff is moving. Just this evening, the white salv market has collapsed and stuff is going for less than a third what it was yesterday. So definitely don’t follow my plan to the letter. I’ll have to watch it a bit myself to figure out where the new overnight normal is.

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Castagere Shaikura

Thank you so much.

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Castagere Shaikura

Yeah, I totally forgot about the stores for Magic and other origins for buying enhancements too. I get a lot of drops I can’t use for my chosen origin.

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IronSalamander8 .

The combat is rough at low levels. I love the game but this is something that I feel needs to be stressed. It isn’t an action combat system, it’s very much in the same vein as EQ1, WoW, etc. but has better flow barring the lack of abilities at lower levels. I wish we had a couple of extra starting attacks based on our powerset(s).

The rest button is your friend but beware of using it if you haven’t cleared nearby mobs. Depending on your powersets you may have endurance problems or be absolutely fine. You have to watch both the blue and green bars a lot but your focus may well be on one over the other. For example my main, an Invuln Tanker, hardly ever ahs to watch the health bar (green) after getting all my defensive powers but the endurance bar (blue) can be a harsh mistress.

I recommend keeping your inspiration tray open most of the time and always in battle. Don’t be afraid to use them and depending on your AT and powersets you’ll be wanting certain kinds over others. As you level up the tray gets larger so makes this decision easier too. As stated earlier you can combine 3 into another type of the same quality by right clicking and selecting.

Soloing is generally viable but grouping can be really fun. CoX tends to be more forgiving than EQ on such things and many characters can rez, plus you can keep rez candy on you if you want. Some classes, like Fire Tankers, can self-rezz and cause some damage against the enemies that brought them down!

Health and Stamina were made inherent a long time ago, slotting these up a bit (thanks to ED I recommend no more than 3 slots each total), can help. My Tanker has 3 End Mod enhancements slotted into stamina and it’s a massive help. Health aids both in and out of battle regeneration but again, don’t go above 3 slots and other powers will generally have a higher priority.

As Justin points out: do the story arcs as often as you can. They’re pretty cool with some good humor often present, they get you badges that can help earn accolades (permanent stat boosts), and are just fun. If you miss some, and with the bonus XP it’s easy to miss some as you level fast, get that Ouroborous badge and use the flashback system to get them done!

The difficulty can be altered heavily. I tend to keep it at default but add bosses to solo missions as fighting +4s, even with accuracy slotted and using stuff like Rage’s to hit bonus can be a frustrating experience, especially at lower levels. You can leave it at +0 and ramp up the group size while soloing if you like though. The fact you can dial the difficulty to personal taste for missions is a fantastic feature.

I could on but a lot of this has been touched on already!

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GoldenHornet

“I wish we had a couple of extra starting attacks based on our powerset(s)”

As soon as you arrive in the first proper zone (not the tutorial zones) go find the Pay2Win vendor. You can pick up a variety of freebie extras including Veteran Reward attacks like Sands of Mu, Nemesis Staff, Blackwand that are great for padding out the early levels.
https://paragonwiki.com/wiki/Veteran_Reward_Powers

Also you should check your powers tab for your origin power which is pretty powerful at low levels
https://paragonwiki.com/wiki/Origin_Powers

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IronSalamander8 .

Yeah I know about those. The origin power was added after awhile, can’t remember exactly when but it’s fairly generic if effective. It wasn’t in at launch but I think it was added before CoV.

The former veteran powers you can get at the p2w vendor do help too of course but brand new players aren’t going to know about those and I don’t believe you can use them in the tutorial zone as you have to end it before accessing the vendor.

I’m talking more of a couple of attacks that fit directly into a power set the player chooses so low levels, especially for new players in the tutorial zones, has an easier experience in combat early on. I’m always worried that someone will jump in that knows little, sees that they have 1 attack plus brawl and may or may not find their origin attack ability, and just leave in frustration. Plus brawl feels weird when you have a different melee set, it doesn’t BOOM! for example like other super strength attacks. That last bit is personal preference of course.

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

Zoning us out of the tutorial at level 4 instead of 2 would be a big help along these lines, IMO. Double the powers.

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Crowe

And you can do that by visiting the P2W vendor and getting the 100% XP buff. In the Galaxy City version of the tutorial, it’s right next to the trainer that levels you up. When you zone in to the event, it’s quite possible to exit to AP at level 4 depending on where you are in the event when join.

Bree Royce
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Bree Royce

Ah yeah the Galaxy City tutorial is one I never bother with since it takes forever (and longer than forever if no one else is around or you’re playing support). I’d never tell a newbie to do that, and if the newbie doesn’t know to get the free attacks from the P2W vendor he won’t know to get the XP buff, so this doesn’t really solve the problem.

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xpsync

I’ve read it time and time again “combat is rough at low levels” and now i get that, later on the options really open up and you can dramatically alter your combat theme, technique, style?

I did a respec and all along my mm/bm was ok to me, figuring one of my alts would do a take over but, as an example i would not dare do a group of triple up red with yellow double up and standard’s in the streets you know those groups, after respect i mopped the floor with them, sure it was a challenge, took a bit of time and strategy (love that), but pulled it off, where before that was pretty much a instant trip to the hospital.

I was still in the groove of what i was doing in the teens as the options were so limited, then power leveling in a group effectively i never had much time to get to know my character. Not sure it’s going to be a fav of favs yet, but it certainly changed my tune for the better, like where i feel the power with it now.

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IronSalamander8 .

It does get much better at later levels, you get more powers, you can slot recharge enhancements to speed their cool downs up, you can use haste (although perma-haste got nipped by ED years ago), and of course you can change your spec to adjust for sidekicking. I’m used to the low level combat but it can be irksome for new people, especially without auto-attack.

One thing I do on tankers is you set yourself up to solo early, so lots of attacks, less defenses, and then at a certain point respec so you get taunt and defenses early when scaling down so you can handle lots of mobs at an earlier point in your level scheme and attacking is less important than surviving and holding aggro.

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Doubleplusgood

I agree on the low level endurance problems. I made a Crab spider that is level 25 and I have lots and lots of toggle powers to buff the team but I can’t even run one of them without running out of endurance. so for now I don’t even turn my toggles on. sorry team! but I think in the end its a good thing. you should be weaker at lower levels and grow stronger as you level up. it gives you a goal to work towards which for me now is buying endurance modifiers for my buff toggles so I can actually use them.

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IronSalamander8 .

My main is an Invuln Tanker so I have 4 toggles up for battle; Temporary Invulnerability, Unyielding, and Invincibility, and Combat Jumping (from the leaping pool). I turn off sprint in missions to preserve endurance, even with my 3 IOs in Stamina and Invincibility is off while traveling as it works best when surrounded by mobs anyway. They all (barring combat jumping) have endurance reducers slotted and it still can be rough. I use blue candy (endurance inspirations) more than any other kind!

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Skoryy

Adding to ‘Embrace the team-up‘: Support and crowd control are legit options! Support does more than heal, the buffs and debuffs you can bring to the party are often huge force multipliers. And crowd control is incredibly nice to bring along when dealing with the masses of mooks you’ll be encountering in eight-man teams.

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Hikari Kenzaki

At least on the Homecoming servers, your character starts out with 6 costume slots.

You can make any changes you want prior to level 10 for free.

So get in there and make a few more costumes BEFORE you start leveling.

TheQuinch
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TheQuinch

Let’s see… eat your candy {inspirations} or give it away. They drop very frequently, so there’s no need to hoard them, and they tend to make fighting easier. It’s a very useful habit to develop early in the game. It’s also possible to set up binds to eat specific types, so there’s less need for pixelhunting in the middle of a fight.

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Doubleplusgood

I keep my inspiration tray open/displayed so I can see what I have and use them whenever needed. It is good to keep one awaken and a break free though just in case of an emergency

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BigAngry

Don’t forget that you can convert 3 of the same inspiration into a different kind! Also don’t forget to enable dual and team inspirations at the P2W vendor for i25 servers!

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Castagere Shaikura

Awesome Justin
The Auction house I completely forgot about and how to launch it. New players should really learn this one. My salvage tab was completely full and didn’t remember what to do with it. I started out with 60k influence and right now I’m close to 2 million from selling salvage.

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Legend Of Vinny T

Expect a different flow of combat, supplemental: Out-of-combat health regeneration was never really a thing in CoH, so always have some green chips with you, and make sure the coast is really clear before using Rest. This is doubly true if you’re leveling a Blaster.