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

This was once controversial!

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 or with the subject line “Perfect Ten.”
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