Working As Intended: Yes, you can make money as a newbie in City of Heroes


Something I’ve heard over and over from commenters and even newbies in City of Heroes Homecoming ever since the official license was announced is that it’s just too hard to make any money at the start of the current game. And while they’re wrong, they’re also right! If you play the game with no forewarning about lucrative content, with XP buffs on and influence off, trying to cram in SOs from level 2, on a DO-drop budget, all without any auction hall tomfoolery, then you’re right. You won’t have enough money playing that way. So don’t play that way!

There are surely hundreds of money-making guides for this game, many of which worked only when people didn’t widely deploy them, and others of which are just a bit too esoteric for a newbie or rely on your having a betting pool to start with. So I’m going to give you one dead-simple guide to starting up with absolutely nothing and making a couple million inf for a few minutes of easy and basic play that even my kids can do. Yes, this is a basic Merits-to-Converters method, but I’m not going to tell you to just “get some Merits and sell some Converters” because if you’re a true newbie, that means nothing to you. It may even sound scary! So let me walk you through how to make some easy money by just playing the game – the smart way.

First, you’re going to start up a new character. If you’re reading this while double-XP is still live on Indomitable, roll there (you can always move later). I’d pick a Brute because they’re fast and powerful, but any character will do. You don’t even have to keep it. Either way, skip the tutorial and go villainside/Redside for maximum profits.

Since you’ve skipped the tutorial, you’ll emerge at level 1 on Mercy Island. Find Kalinda. Take her Take out Operative Burch mission.

Run toward the mission, but before you jump into the Arachnos helicopter, click on the P2W Field Agent standing nearby. From the P2W Field Agent, pick up the following (all free):

  • One each of the five Prestige Enhancements
  • Blackwand and Nemesis Staff according to your origin
  • Steam Jump and Athletic Run
  • Inner Inspiration
  • Double XP 1 Hour (x8)

Before you leave, pull the new skills out of your powers tab and into your active tray. Use the Inner Inspiration skill. Type /ah to bring up the Auction Hall and place all three newly created inspirations in the “stored” bin there. We’re not selling, just storing for now (you’ll get tier 1 inspirations as you play; use those liberally). Then press Enhancements/Manage and slot your damage skill with one of the freebie Prestige Enhancements.

Now enter and complete the Take Out Operative Burch mission, using your character skills as well as Blackwand and Nemesis Staff to supplement. If you’re running out of Endurance, keep Athletic Run off when you’re fighting and just use it while traveling.

When you’ve finished and exited the mission, run over to the Arbiter and level up to 3. Take another damage skill, then put one slot apiece for your damage skills, and slot in three more freebie Prestige Enhancements.

Click on Kalinda again; take and complete Jump Down a Snake Hole aka Defeat Sapphus & his Guards.

When you’re back from that mission, level up to 4 at the Arbiter, take a third damage attack, and slot it with your last Prestige Enhancement. At this point on a Brute, you should have three attack skills with five total Prestige Enhancements between them.

Take and complete Eliminate the Infected from Kalinda.

Now you should be around level 5 and have 7 Reward Merits in your Salvage bin, plus potentially some junk salvage and junk enhancements. You could stop there and cash out, but I like to get to level 6 so that I can use the character to hold a name for a year. A few more missions and we can double our inf haul too. So let’s do that!

Call Kalinda in your Contacts tab and do the next three missions back to back (you can return to the Arbiter to level up in between these missions as needed, but I don’t bother until I’m done):

  • Mop up the stragglers aka Defeat all Snakes in area
  • Get the Snakes out aka Defeat all Snakes in lab
  • Take down Syrus aka Defeat Syrus and his guards

At the completion of the Syrus mission, you should be around level 7 with 15 Reward Merits. Now you can return to the Arbiter, level up, and sell any dropped DO enhancements at the Quartermaster. Hit the /ah and offer up any salvage and those tier 2/3 inspirations we stored earlier. No big deal if they don’t sell right away or for much because we’re almost home now!

Find the Merit Vendor on the Mercy Island map and run to it. From that vendor, buy 45 Enhancement Converters (each Reward Merit buys 3 Converters). They’ll land in your Salvage bin. Open up the /ah and put up one or two Converters for offer; 60k apiece is usually the bare minimum nowadays. They’ll sell quickly. Use that cash to then sell the rest. This should net you at least 2.5M inf, which should be more than enough to fund a character with SOs or (better yet) some IOs to get you into the 20s (but that’s a guide for another day and not everyone would agree with me).

Note, you might find that on Homecoming, it might be wiser to choose Enhancement Unslotters (one Merit per two Unslotters) instead of Enhancement Converters, as their price fluctuates more wildly and can be more lucrative (closer to 3M inf for your 15 Merits) if you’re playing at a time when they’re going for 100K inf (or you’re patient). If you need money right now, Converters will sell faster and more reliably.

I ran this last night on a Mace/Shield Brute to time the whole thing, and even slopping along at lazy speed, it still took me only 21 minutes from character load in to cash out. And in fact, I made 3M inf off that run because my character happened to get an orange salvage drop at random. Sometimes you get lucky! And don’t forget, this is just starter inf; when you’re deep into the endgame, this kind of money will seem insignificant.

So now you can either keep this character and play Redside, move the toon Blueside through Pocket D’s Null the Gull, or stash the character as a name mule and then just mail your @globalhandle all the money and let it fund another toon. Ideally, you’ll never need to do this more than once, as you’ll score salvage and recipe drops and find much better and faster ways to make cash as you play the game. And the best part is, all you had to do was some short missions and some basic marketing – the trick is just choosing the most lucrative newbie content. And unfortunately, the early arcs for Heroes and Praetorians just aren’t as lucrative in terms of merits.

Of course, it still might be faster to just stand in Atlas Park and ask someone to take pity on a noob and send you a few million. But less fun!

As I said, there are gobs of ways to go about this; feel free to drop your system down in the comments. I like having a few methods on hand in case the devs change up Merits or I’m bored in the future!

The MMORPG genre might be “working as intended,” but it can be so much more. Join Massively Overpowered Editor-in-Chief Bree Royce in her Working As Intended column for editorials about and meanderings through MMO design, ancient history, and wishful thinking. Armchair not included.
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