City of Villains, the first expansion to City of Heroes
, was released on October 31st 2005, with the pre-order head start beginning on October 27th 2005. It gave players 4 new character slots per server, bringing the total up to 12, and added the Villain faction, with 5 new archetypes, 7 new city zones, 3 pvp zones, supergroup bases and prestige. It also featured improved graphics, including depth of field, bloom
, ragdoll physics
, and higher texture quality. As of September of 2006, the Villain-only features of the expansion
have been rolled into the base City of Heroes game, buying one or the other will get you access to all the features of both.
Official website http://www.cityofheroes.com/en.html
Archetypes and Powers
Similar to City of Heroes, Villains chose archetypes
to determine their "role" or "class", each of them having their own primary and secondary powersets, and all of them having access to common pool powers like travel. In City of Villains however, the archetypes have less of a clearly defined team role, all of them being focused on doing damage first and foremost. This gives solo players a lot more options, and makes for interesting team dynamics. On May 20th 2008, Villains were given access to two Epic Archetypes, which just like for heroes, unlock upon getting a villain to level 50, the max level.
Brutes are melee damage dealers who are highly survivable. Their inherent power is Fury, which gives them a higher damage bonus the longer they're in the fight. Any attacks on or by the Brute, hit or missed, will build fury, and Brutes love to keep their fury bar filled, steamrolling from group to group to keep their damage maxed. Their primary powersets are melee attacks, and their secondaries are defensive armors. Brutes excel at solo play, but can also team up just as easily. Many teams will have the Brute "tank" as they can withstand the most damage, and will usually be leading the charge anyways.
|Primary Powersets||Secondary powersets|
|Battle Axe||Dark Armor|
|Dark Melee||Energy Aura|
|Dual Blades||Fiery Aura|
|Energy Melee||Shield Defense|
|Fiery Melee||Stone Armor|
|Stone Melee||Super Reflexes|
|War Mace|| |
Corruptors are ranged damage dealers, as well as healers and buffer/debuffers. Their inherent power is Scourge, which lets them score critical hits for double damage the lower their target is on hit points. As the enemy dips below 50% HP, the chance to Scourge rises, making Corruptors great assets when going against tough enemies like Heroes and Archvillains, due to Scourge's ability to double their damage output for roughly half the fight. Their primary powersets are ranged damage, with their secondaries giving them heals, buffs, debuffs, or any mix of the three. Corruptors are an invaluable asset to any team, but may be more of a challenge to solo.
|Primary Powersets||Secondary Powersets|
|Assault Rifle||Dark Miasma|
|Dual Pistols||Pain Domination|
|Electrical Blast||Radiation Emission|
|Energy Blast||Sonic Resonance|
|Fire Blast||Storm Summoning|
|Ice Blast||Thermal Radiation|
|Sonic Attacks ||Trick Arrow|
Dominators are damage dealers with a heavy emphasis on the use of crowd control. Their inherent power is Domination, a click power that will protect them from incoming controls, and will increase the duration of their own controls by 50%, and make them dominate and control stronger opponents more easily. Domination lasts 90 seconds, and must be built up first by attacking to build the Domination bar to at least 90%. Their primary powersets focus on crowd control, with their secondary sets being melee/range hybrid "assault" sets. Many players feel Dominators are the hardest archetype to play successfully, but they're easily one of the more powerful in capable hands. They are best on large teams, but can solo relatively safely as most of the time their foes won't be able to attack back.
|Primary Powersets||Secondary Powersets|
|Earth Control||Earth Assault|
|Fire Control||Electricity Assault|
|Gravity Control||Energy Assault|
|Ice Control||Fiery Assault|
|Mind Control||Icy Assault|
|Plant Control||Psionic Assault|
| ||Thorny Assault|
Masterminds are a unique pet class, with summoned pets filling the damage dealing or tanking role, and the Mastermind themselves healing/buffing them, and debuffing enemies. Their inherent power is Supremacy, an accuracy and damage buff to all henchmen within 60 feet of the Mastermind, as long as they are in line of sight. Their primary powersets give them access to 3 tiers of pets as they advance in levels, with the first being available at creation, the second unlocking at level 12, and the 3rd at level 26. Additionally they get a second and third Tier 1 henchman at levels 6 and 18, and a second Tier 2 henchman at level 24, making 6 henchmen total by level 26. The primary also has 2 henchman upgrade powers, 3 token attacks for the Mastermind themselves, and one wild card power, which may be another unique pet, or some kind of buff for a current henchman. Their secondaries are similar to Corruptor secondaries, and are meant to keep their henchmen and their teammates alive, and weaken enemies. Masterminds are the easiest class to play out of the gate, and as a result are the first Villain most people will make. Some like Robots
are more hands off, but others like Ninjas require constant micromanagement of stances and positioning.
|Primary Powersets||Secondary Powersets|
| ||Thermal Radiation|
| ||Trick Arrow|
Stalkers are invisible until they strike, and are used primarily as high-burst melee damage dealers. Their inherent power is Assassination, which lets them score critical hits when hidden, and lets their unique Assassin's Strike power reach full effectiveness. After a successful Assassin's Strike, a Stalker cannot become hidden again until 8 seconds have passed without attacking or being attacked. If the target is still alive, all enemies within 30 feet of the target will become demoralized, lowering their chance to hit, and have a chance to become terrified and unable to attack. Their primary powerset is a melee attack set, with the secondary being defensive armors. Stalkers are capable melee fighters, but due to their lower hit points, they can be somewhat fragile in longer fights. They gain the ability to Placate a target at level 12, which will make their target stop attacking them and lose aggro, and instantly turns the stalker hidden for a quick Assassin's Strike. All Stalker secondary powersets give them Hide for free, it costs nothing to run, and grants them a slight defense bonus on top of invisibility.
|Primary Powersets||Secondary Powersets|
|Dark Melee||Energy Aura|
|Energy Melee||Super Reflexes|
|Ninja Blade|| |
Soldiers of Arachnos
Soldiers of Arachnos are the Villain Epic Archetypes, they are fairly unique in that they play one way until level 24, and then are forced to choose one of 2 paths to specialize in. Their inherent power is Conditioning, which starts them out with higher health regeneration and endurance recovery than a standard villain. Soldiers of Arachnos also grow stronger the more of them there are on a team, with strong leadership abilities, and depending on the type of soldier and path taken, the ability to fill multiple roles. As of Issue 13 (December 2nd 2008) it is possible to have two build per character, which is especially useful for Soldiers of Arachnos, allowing them to have a build for each path, changing to suit their team situation.
Arachnos Soldiers start as Wolf Spiders, using rifle and grenade attacks as their primary, with training and gadgets as their secondary. At level 24 they can either become Bane Spiders, fierce mace wielding executioners, or Crab Spiders, ranged attackers who draw their power from a 4 legged backpack that can shoot lasers and grenades. Both have access to pets through the Call Reinforcements power, though Crab Spiders get access to Spiderlings as well.
Arachnos Widows start as Blood Widows, melee fighters with claw attacks and ranged poison darts as their primary, and teamwork as their secondary. At level 24 they can either become Night Widows, stealthy melee attackers with claw attacks, smoke grenades, and placate. Or they can go down the path of the Fortunata, powerful psychic ranged attackers with light control abilities. Widows don't get any pets of their own, but they can further increase their team's defense through their unique Mind Link power.
The Rogue Isles
City of Villains also introduced an entirely new setting, a small cluster of islands off the coast of the United States
, northwest of Bermuda, known as the Rogue Isles (Etoile Islands). The Rogue Isles are the home to Arachnos, taken over by Lord Recluse
in the 1960s and set up as their base of operations just outside of US jurisdiction. Players will start out freshly broken out of Zigursky Penitentiary
, and then transported to the Rogue Isles
, where they will progress as follows Mercy Island
- Level 1-10 Port Oakes
- Level 5-15 Cap Au Diable
- Level 15-20 Sharkhead Isle
- Level 20-25Nerva Archipelago
- Level 25-40 St. Martial
- Level 35-40 Grandville
- Level 40-50
Additionally, there are cooperative and player vs. player ( PvP
) zones as well as a special raid zone. In coop zones, heroes and villains can team up together to complete missions and task/strike forces, but must remain in the zone. There are also PvE missions in the PvP zones, which can help earn bonuses for your faction in PvP, and each has it's own unique mini-game that can earn you special temporary powers, such as Nukes.
Co-Operative Zones - Cimerora and Rikti War Zone
There are only 2 co-op zones at the moment, both of which starting at level 35 and scaling all the way to level 50. They each have a repeatable mission contact, and a task/strike force, as well as their own story arcs. Rikti War Zone also has a special raid event, where players can destroy Rikti pylons around the map to drop the shields on the crashed Rikti ship. Once the shields are down, players can fight on top of the ship, planting bombs to extend shield downtime, and fighting off level 54 Rikti. There is also a Rikti giant monster in the center of the ship for heroes and villains brave enough to challenge him. Rikti War Zone also has it's own currency known as Vanguard Merits, which you get for killing Rikti, and can spend on Vanguard weapon models and costume parts for your character. They cannot be sold or traded, and there are even some helpful temporary powers for sale. The Rikti Ship Raid is a great way to earn merits quickly on a good team.
Raid Zone - The Abyss
The Abyss is a level 45 raid zone, the home of the Hamidon for villains, the original end game raid boss from City of Heroes. To spawn the Hamidon, villains must kill the Giant Monsters of the Devouring Earth around the Abyss, doing so will collect them Essence of the Earth inspirations, which are the only things that can resist direct damage from the Hamidon. Once he is spawned, it will take around 50 villains to defeat the Hamidon, with the fight taking place in 4 phases, which involve the clearing of Hamidon's various types of mitochondria, and then finally attacking Hamidon himself. Killing the Hamidon will get you your choice of either a unique Hamidon Origin enhancement for your character, or Reward Merits.
Bloody Bay - Level 15-25 PvP
Bloody Bay is the first PvP zone, it's zone event is the Shiva Strike. A scientist will ask you to collect samples from the 6 crashed meteors around Bloody Bay, for which you'll have to fight off the Shivans nearby and scan them, but watch out, as players from the opposing faction can kill you and steal your samples. Once all 6 samples are collected, you'll need to take over a firebase by destroying it's defenses. Firebases can be found around the map, and are guarded by 8 npc turrets. Once all 8 turrets
are dead, you can use the computer inside to convert your 6 ore samples to 1. Now all you have to do is return to the scientist and he will grant you the Shivan Shard temporary power. Shivan Shard is a 5 use power that will let you summon your own Shivan pet to help you in combat, a favorite of many against Heroes and Archvillains due to their high damage and defense debuffs.
Siren's Call - Level 20-30 PvP
Siren's Call is the middle of the road PvP zone, it has no real special event, but it's a constant struggle for control between heroes and villains. Upon entering, you will be assigned a bounty of the opposite faction, with points awarded for killing them based on how many of your faction they've taken out. As well as the bounties, there are npc battles going on at hotspots around the map. Taking out bounties and fighting at hotspots will help push your side to victory, which will unlock a special vendor in your base that sells various temporary powers.
Warburg - Level 30-38 Free for All PvP
Warburg is the only Free for All PvP zone, where anything goes, and anyone not on your team is an enemy. It's zone event is the Missile Launch, where you must go into the underground tunnel network beneath Warburg and rescue scientists from the vicious Arachnoids. When you rescue a scientist, you can then have them follow you, and a waypoint will appear on your map. If you take the scientist to this waypoint they will give you 1 of 3 parts to a missile launch code, but watch out, other players can kill you and steal your code pieces. Once you gather 3 codes, you can go back underground and find one of the launch computers marked on your map. Launch computers come in 3 types, Biological Payload, Chemical Payload, and Nuclear Payload
, each missile having a different effect. After you've chosen your payload at a launch computer, you will have 5 minutes to get to the missile and launch it into space. After you launch the missile, you get a temporary power for a missile strike with the payload you chose, one time use, but you can carry one of each at a time. These are great to stock up on for when you get into a pinch, and are usually used alongside Shivans.
Recluse's Victory - Level 40-50 PvP
Recluse's Victory is the endgame PvP zone, set in an alternate future version of the Hero starter area, Atlas Park
. Heroes and Villains battle over control over the zone by taking pillboxes around the map with the aid of Elite Boss level heavies, 3 per side of which are scattered around the map. Pillboxes start out as neutral turrets that you must destroy to take control of the pillbox, once you've taken control, it will light up the color of your faction, and attack only members of the opposing faction. Once you've captured 4 pillboxes, reinforcements for the other side will arrive, in the form of 2 or 3 Signature Heroes/Archvillains, which will help them take that pillbox back unless defeated. Once a side manages to capture 6 pillboxes, they are considered the winner, and the zone will shift in appearance to reflect their victory. After the zone is won, there is a 5 minute period to gain more points for the winning team, if a side manages to gain 1000 points before dimensional reversion, they will be awarded a mini-heavy temporary power. The Mini-heavy is a one time use Boss level version of the Elite Boss Heavies, only they can be used at any time. Harder to get and not as powerful as Shivans, these pets can still be quite a help.
Structure and Leveling
The structure of City of Villains is very simple, one thing will always lead you to another, and there's not many dead areas where you're left without something to do, or wondering what is next. The basic breakdown is as follows
As early as level 5, you can meet your first Broker. A broker will hand you a Newspaper
, which you can then read to browse available missions. Newspaper missions are randomly generated and have 4 types of objectives, Defeat, Kidnap, Steal, and Heist
. A Defeat mission will have you defeat a named boss and his minions, a Kidnap
has you finding a victim to kidnap, killing whoever is holding them, and escorting them out, Steal missions have you infiltrating an enemy hideout to steal something, and Heists are bank
/pawn shop/jewelery store/ casino
robberies. After 3 newspaper missions (5 after level 20) you're told to return to your Broker, who will then give you a Mayhem Mission.
Mayhem Missions are invasions of Paragon City, the City of Heroes. You will be shipped off to an instance of a Hero zone appropriate for your level range and populated with enemies like police and Longbow. Your mission is to rob the zone's bank, and cause as much destruction as you possibly can on the way there. Once you enter, you and your team have 15 minutes to rob the bank, you get time extensions for causing mayhem like killing police, taking out Longbow patrols, destroying cars, and completing side missions. Once you actually make your way to the bank you'll have to bust open the vault and steal the cash, which will alert a Paragon Hero. You then have to defeat the Hero to complete the mission, which will grant you a temporary power, such as a jet pack, or debt protection. Once you're finished with the mission, return to your Broker to get introduced to a new Contact.
Contacts are like Brokers with missions of their own, their missions aren't randomly generated, and are usually part of a Story Arc. Each Contact has at least one Story Arc, some can have more however, sometimes up to 3 or 4. A Story Arc is a chain of missions with an over arcing story, which upon completion you'll get a sizable experience reward as a bonus for completing. It's important to complete Story Arcs, as they are all set level ranges, and won't scale to your level once you're out of range. As you progress a Story Arc you build trust with a contact, which after a certain point they will allow you to call them instead of meeting in person. Contacts can also have non-story arc missions that are also preset in level ranges and enemy type, some of which can give you badges or temporary powers for completing.
Once you've tapped out a contact and have no more missions, it's back to where you started doing Newspaper Missions to earn a new Mayhem Mission, to get introduced to a new Contact. This is the basic structure of the game. There are also Hidden Contacts, which you cannot get from anything but meeting that contact's specific requirements. Like the Slot Machine contact who requires you have the Gangbuster badge, or Viridian, who needs you to kill 200 Council, 200 Crey, and have the Freakshow Tank, Paragon Protector, and Tsoo Sorcerer badges.
The Flashback System
Outside of the main progression of the game, is the Flashback
System. As of Issue 11 (November 28th 2007) players above level 25 are able to flashback to story arcs or badge missions they may have missed while leveling up via their supergroup base, or the special Ouroboros zone, which you have to have completed a time travel
mission to unlock the portal to. Flashback missions lower your character to the level of the story arc/mission you choose for the duration of the arc/mission and allow completionists to experience all the content they want on one character. You can bring a team along, but the entire team has to be above the level of the arc or mission you're trying to flash back to, and if someone leaves, no new members can join until after the arc or mission is over. You still gain experience
during this mode, so it's possible to avoid newspapers and mayhems past level 25 just by flashing back to older contacts you never got, and leveling up that way.
Supergroup Bases and Prestige Another thing City of Villains added were Supergroup bases and the Prestige System. Members of a supergroup can play in supergroup mode, where they can choose to wear the colors and emblem of their supergroup, but more importantly, earn Prestige for every kill or mission complete. Prestige is then used to fund Supergroup Bases, customizable hideouts with lots of useful options available to help your supergroup out in day to day play. Supergroup Bases can hold teleporters to every zone, storage for inspirations, enhancements, and salvage, medical bays to respawn in, and just decorative spaces to hang out. There's also a level 20-25 supergroup strike force available if your group has a mission computer in their base.
The Future... After being rolled into City of Heroes as one big game, City of Villains has continued to benefit from the "issue" updates that City of Heroes receives on a regular basis. In July, the games will see their second paid expansion, City of Heroes: Going Rogue , which will introduce a neutral area, and allow Heroes and Villains to switch sides, or walk the line between the two.