City of Heroes/Villains - Talk Me Into or Out Of It

I know there was thread here about all the ins and outs of this game, but that was more of a community thread for people who were already playing.

Here’s the thing … when City of Heroes first came out, I thought it looked like the best game ever created, and I so wanted it just so I could design my own superhero. Alas, at the time my computer was no where near able to run it.

Since then I have upgraded, but I hesitated buying because it was a little passe by then, so it managed to slip under the radar. But it’s always been in the back of my head. Now I see at the mall, they usually have Heroes/Villains packaged together for a relatively decent price.

My only qualm in whether or not I want to drop coin on it is that I really don’t feel like paying for another monthly subscription to anything right now.

Is the game enjoyable as a single player dealio? Is the subscription thing still in effect? If I do happen to decide to subscribe, is it worth it? Is there still a community for the game out there?
So … with all that in mind: should I go ahead and pick this game up after work tonight or not?

The subscription thing is always in effect. I’m a little surprised you need to ask, but I suppose if you’re not used to MMOs it’s unusual. $15/month, with discounts if you purchase longer chunks of time.

If you’re only interested in soloing, it certainly is possible. I play by myself the majority of the time and usually don’t have much trouble; with a few exceptions, the game scales its difficulty toward the size of your group.

That said, if you’re going into an MMO expecting to not interact with others, you may want to think carefully about putting the money down, as that’s half the fun. I like playing by myself and being able to set my own pace without waiting on anyone, but teams provide infinitely more entertainment, and I probably wouldn’t have last as long in the game as I have without friends to play it alongside.

There’s still a very big community for the game. It’s not the biggest game out there, but it’s far from dead, and in fact with NCSoft’s purchase of the game in the last year, they’ve been doing a stellar job of getting new developers for the game and putting plans into motion. It’s already a better game from when I began playing last December, and as I understand it it used to be far worse. It’s a very good game, not without its flaws, but still one of the better MMOs I’ve seen.

So I guess, then, the answer to my question, which I didn’t make very clear is that this is an MMO - period.

There is no stand alone single player campaign sort of thing? Or if it is, it’s hardly worth it?

Never been much of an MMO’er.

It’s possible to solo about 90% of the game. The other 10 or so is comprised of trials, taskforces, giant monsters, archvillains, and the occasional elite boss that is too difficult to take down alone. I solo quite a bit myself even though it’s an MMO, going it alone allows me to play at my own pace but being an MMO I can join others or just socialize under Atlas whenver I want.

For easiest soloing, you’ll want a Tank or Scrapper for Heroes; Brute or Mastermind for Villains. Masterminds are capable of brining along their own little army. At the opposite end of the spectrum are support archetypes such as Defenders and Controllers. They can solo but it takes a while; they really shine in a group.

Heroes and Villains merged a while back so if you get one you’ll have access to the other. Getting the Good vs. Evil Edition grants special powers for free that others have to pay a small fee for.

Well, there are story arcs and missions and such that you can do by yourself or as a team. Some are pretty engaging, too. But yes, it’s entirely online, and while missions are instanced, meaning you are the only player in there (or your team are the only players if you’re in one), in the regular areas there’s plenty of other players around. It’s possible to play entirely by yourself, never speaking to anyone, but that sort of defeats the purpose of an MMO in my mind.

Personally, I find it a very fun game. The gameplay is fun if repetitive, the graphics are engaging, the plots are entertaining, and I can choose how much I want to interact with people depending on my mood.

If you absolutely want an open-ended sandbox game, like Morrowind or GTA4 but with superheros, City of Heroes is really your only bet. MMOs provide a game experience, apart from the social aspect, that you don’t get much in single-player games. But if you have no interest in the social aspect at all, it’s hard to say whether or not it’d be worth the monthly fee for you.

ETA: It is possible to get a trial and play for 14 days free. You can see how much you like it that way.


Thanks for the tips. I might just try out the trial deal.

When you do the trial, you’re welcome to pick any character you like; there are no really bad builds. However, I’d follow Lute’s suggestions and go with a Scrapper, Tanker, or Brute (Masterminds are complex and best played once you’re familiar with the game). They’re very straightforward melee Archetypes with good survivability and very easy to play solo, Scrappers and Brutes more so than Tankers. It’s a good way to introduce yourself to the game.

If you want to try and team, most of us are on Virtue for heroes and Protector for Villians.

I seldom team with anyone but Brainiac4, and some of my duo characters he hasn’t pulled out their teammate for months and I solo them. It is slower, and you need to watch your build - but its possible - you can’t access all the content - some missions do require teams.

OK. I’ve downloaded the free trial version; I’m on day 2 of 14.

So far I’m liking it, and if I can figure out how to get more out of the game, I’m inclined to buy in and subscribe.

The thing is … I’m a bit lost. I can figure out how to get where I need to go, and I can beat pretty much everything I’ve come up against so far. My biggest squick, is … how the hell do I know what’s worth buying from a trainer. Every time I’ve bought an enhancement that I thought I could use, I couldn’t. And it ended up being wasted.

Secondly, I found a salvage thingie and I had no idea what to do with it other than sell it. So I did. I don’t think I was supposed to.

But I’m sure all of that kind of stuff I could probably figure out with some documentation – if I buy the game outright. That is, from the store with discs and everything as opposed to just registering my trial (I want the discs).
Now … how the hell do I hook up with everybody else from here who plays? And … do you really want a level 5 scrapper fucking up the works?

Anyhoo … cool game.
ETA: I’ve got 2 diff characters right now a kung-fu guy named Bat Jack and a fire throwing mutant named Inferno Jack – if that matters.

Hover over a power you want to enhance and it’ll tell you what you can put in there.

When you start getting Invention recipes, you make inventions with salvage you acquired, either from drops or purchasing at an auction house.

Thanks to idiot influence spammers, those on trial accounts cannot build teams the standard way. You either wait until someone invites you or walk up to a random person and ask if they have any open spots.

A sewer team would.

Salvage? If it’s not worth 5,000, sell it. (Yes, it’s more complicated than that, but you’ll pick it up. This is a starting rule of thumb.)

Go into the enhancements screen. Hover over the power. It’ll tell you what can fit in the slots.

Also, there is a help option in the menu. Try Help Enhancements.

As far as being level 5? Guess what? Doesn’t matter. That’s the nice thing about City of Heroes… if you can’t be Batman… you can be someone’s sidekick.

It’s nearly impossible to screw things up badly in City of Heroes. Selling salvage and buying the wrong enhancements is not a big deal. The fact of the matter is that unless you have someone bankrolling you salvage isn’t going to have value for you for a long time yet (you’ll get a message when you can start making some use of it and walk through a tutorial about it). And enhancements at level 5 are barely worth looking at so you haven’t hurt yourself by getting the wrong one.

At level 5 the bulk of the population has moved to the Hollows and they hang out in that zone until they’re about level twelve (when travel powers kick in). Personally I usually followed my contacts according to whim since I didn’t see a huge difference in going to King’s Row and fighting around there or going to the Hollows and following the same chain of missions. Since you’ve just started I’d say it’s Hollows time: more people, an arc you can follow even if no one ever does the last mission (very cool but technically complicated and requires eight people who will work together), and some popular missions that people are always looking for help with.

Enhancements are funny and probably more complicated than they should be for a game that does so well with stripping away the junk of most MMO’s. There’s exceptions to most of the rules I’m going to give you here but this is the basic run down. Each power can be boosted certain ways and the power screen will say what they can take. The enhancements have a type and level. Type (training which can be used by anyone, double origin which can be used by two different origins, and single origin) can be thought of as the base strength of the enhancement. Right now the ones you get typically are training which offer something like a 5% basic boost. The level modifies that value depending on how offset from your level it is. Enhancements can only be used within ±3 levels of your level. So if you’re level 5 you can use a level 8 or a level 2 but you can’t use a level 1 or 10. You want enhancements that are higher than your level since they’ll be a bit better than normal.

Now I’m going to give you the only peice of character building advice I will ever offer anyone. My rule when I played CoH was “There are no useless powers,” and while a lot of people say power X or power Y is “useless” I’ve found that tends to be more of a factor of their inability to think outside of their narrow playstyle. What I will tell you is this: right now you need to invest in a power pool. You need to get one power from Teleport, Superspeed, Super Jump, or Flight. I know it stings when you’re a new player but it’s better to pull off that bandaid as soon as possible so that when you reach level 12 you can take your primary travel power.

Pool abilities which open up at level 6 are available to everyone but you must have one of the first two powers in the set to get the third and the third is unavailable until level 12. For the travel pools that is what lets you get around the city quickly and safely. Especially as a new player you need one of them. I won’t presume to tell you which pool or even which power since I’ve used them all very effectively (yes, including Hover which is guarenteed to disappoint every new player who takes it). Decide which one matches what you want to do and go for it.

I got my first lvl 50, a controller, almost totally solo. Even as part of a supergroup I did most of my missions alone. When I faced aboss I couldn’t beat alone I was always able to ask “Anyone got time to give me a hand with this guy?” and get help. Controllers don’t do a lot of damage at first but once they get going they can be devastating.

If the OP decides to give it a try, I’d suggest posting what their character name is and server. If I’m on line I’d be happy to help if he or she gets overwhelmed.

Little bit of clearing up, travel powers (as well as all other tier three pool powers) are not available until 14.

Also, if you need a hand on Virtue, Protector, Victory, or Justice servers, I’ll be happy to lend a hand. My global is @Doc Finn.

I stopped playing about a year ago after I squeezed as much as I could out of the game. It’s good to know those brain cells will be recovered. :slight_smile:

My characters …

Bat Jack and Inferno Jack on Victory.

Then I didn’t realized I couldn’t cross servers with my character, so I created another Bat Jack on Virtue, that one isn’t even level 5 yet. I haven’t been on today (too much football and baseball to pay attention to).

I imagine I’ll try to get my worth out of the free 14 days after work most days – say around 6:00 Eastern.

If anyone sees me floundering around out there, feel free to throw me a bone.

My user name is JackMikeBats if that helps track me down.

If you decide to register, you can pay $9.99 (I think) to transfer to a different server. I did that once to bring an alt to Virtue from Champion.

Enhancements have levels, and the level number has a color code that tells how it will work for you:

White: The enhancement is your level, and will work at its base effectiveness if you have a power that accepts it. A Training Origin (TO) damage enhancement, for example, will add 8.33% to the damage of an attack power you slot it in.

Green: The enhancement is 1-3 levels higher than your level. If you have a power that takes that type, you can slot it, and it will work better than its base effectiveness. A green damage TO will add more than 8.33% damage to an attack power.

Yellow: The enhancement is 1-3 levels lower than your level. If you have a power that takes that type, you can slot it, but it won’t work at full effectiveness. A green damage TO will add less than 8.33% damage to an attack power.

Red: The enhancement is more than 3 levels away from your level. You can’t slot it. If it’s already slotted, and turns red when you level, you have outleveled it, and you will no longer gain any benefit from it. (You can combine it with another enhancement of the same type, which adds one level to the higher of the two, or simply replace it.)

(Invention Origin (IO) enhancements are different; you can use any IO that’s no more than 3 levels higher than you, and they never stop working. Like other enhancements, the level number will be red if its level is too high for you to slot. You can’t buy them from stores, though.)

Aside from enhancement levels, you can use the Enhancements screen to see lists of what types of enhancement each power can take, as E-Sabbath said.

It’s not really worth buying enhancements below level 10, IMHO. They don’t add as much to your power at that point (8.33% improvement for an even level training enhancement), and you outlevel them quickly.

Salvage is used in making things–base items, IO enhancements, a few temp powers and costume pieces, and such. Most of it is fairly worthless, and selling it is no big deal; if you need that particular piece for something later, you can buy one at the consignment house.

If you want to hang onto it until you figure out what to do with it, or if you want to check how much it’s really worth before you sell it off, there are two sets of locations you should look for: the Vault and Wentworth’s (hero)/the Black Market (villain).

The Vault is a storehouse for invention salvage. You can find them in Atlas Park, Steel Canyon, and Talos Island heroside, and in Cap Au Diable, Sharkhead, and St. Martial villainside. They’re marked on your in-game map with green dots. You can initially stash up to 30 pieces of salvage in the Vault, as I recall, and that number increases with level.

Wentworth’s/Black Market are the player marketplaces, found in the same zones as the Vaults. You can put things up for sale, or post bids on items you want. If you want to check the value of something you have, put it in a transaction slot and click the “More” button. This will expand a section that shows the last 5 items of that type that were sold, with prices and dates. If you decide to sell the item, you fill in the asking price and put it up for bids, and the market will charge you 10% of your total asking price (this is non-refundable). You can also store items in your transaction slots–each one will hold up to 10 pieces of a particular type of salvage, or one of any other item you can put in it.

I’ve got several characters on Virtue that are around level 6, so holler if you need help.

And I prefer to solo, too, but just for the heck of it I created a healer Defender, knowing I’d have to depend on teams. I’m lovin’ it! I level like crazy and never have to fire a shot. Contrary to what I was expecting, I’ve been in about 10 pick-up groups, and all have them have been terrific.

I have one of those myself, with Dark Blast as the secondary. I gave him Hover to keep out of range of melee mobs and Air Superiority to knock down flying mobs that get close. As I said above: support ATs can solo, they just take longer.