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City of Heroes Character Creation Guide

by: Benjamin Sell ; edited by: Michael Hartman ; updated: 4/17/2012 • Leave a comment

Our in-depth guide will help you sort through the multitude of archetype, powerset, and costume customization choices for your hero or villain. Follow the advice in our guide and get the most out of your City of Heroes or City of Villains character.

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    City of Heroes by NCsoft   The City of Heroes character creator is perhaps the most robust in all of video gaming. New players must choose between a multitude of powerset and origin options and then take on the daunting task of choosing between the nearly limitless options for customizing their character’s appearance. Even MMO veterans can find the numerous options overwhelming.

    Fortunately, we’ve created this guide to walk you through the process. From origin and power selection to character creation tips, follow the advice found here and you’ll be out blasting criminals as a hero or preying on the weak as a villain in no time.

    One general tip regarding character creation. It really helps to have a general idea for your character in mind before you begin. With all the options available, it’s easy to become overwhelmed or lost without some basic blueprint for your character in mind.

    First off, simply click the “Create Character" button in any empty character slot and you’ll be presented with the choice between creating a hero and creating a villain. This is an important decision, as the available powersets vary quite a bit between the two factions. Make sure you have a specific archetype in mind before you begin creating your character.

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    Archetype Selection

    After you’ve taken your first step down the path of righteousness or the slippery downward slope of villainy, you will arrive at the archetype selection screen. New players are limited to five archetypes (the final two are only available on accounts with at least one player at maximum level), so choose wisely. Next, you will be asked to choose an origin for your character.

    The differences between the five origins are minor, mostly affecting which enhancements can be equipped by your character and some of the missions you’ll receive later on, so if you have a strong preference, go with the origin that suits the particular character you have in mind.

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    Primary and Secondary Powersets

    City of Villains Starting Area   Next, you are asked to choose a primary powerset. Choose wisely, as you will be unable to change once you’ve selected one. I recommend checking out each powerset, reading the descriptions of the starting powers, but also the ones you will acquire down the road.

    It’s important to have powers that you think are cool to work towards. Consider what kind of fighter you want your hero or villain to be. Do you want to excel at one on one fighting or perhaps be able to decimate massed enemies with AoE damage? Make sure you choose powers that fit your personal preference.

    Once you’ve chosen your primary powerset and starting power, you’ll be taken to the secondary power pool selection screen. The key here is to choose powers that are complimentary to your primary power. If you’ve chosen a ranged primary, for example, choosing a melee defense secondary would probably be less effective than some other choices. Once again, choose carefully, as you’re stuck with the powerset you choose for the long haul.

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    Costume Customization

    City of Heroes BoomBox Emote   Next, you’re given the opportunity to tweak the physique of your hero/villain. Use the sliders to customize the height and weight of your avatar to your liking, and press the “Next" button to continue to the costume creation screen.

    This is where character creation can get really tricky. I personally always start by setting my character’s skin tone, then choosing the two main colors for his or her outfit. I recommend checking the “Copy Current Colors Across Entire Body" box at first, simply because it’s much easier to tweak individual pieces after you’ve finished the entire costume than it is to individually choose coordinating colors for every single piece you choose.

    This is your opportunity to really let your creative juices flow. No other MMO on the market offers as fantastic an opportunity to really express yourself through your character’s appearance. Don’t be afraid to experiment with shapes and sizes you don’t necessarily think will work out. If you decide you don’t like your four-foot battle ax wielding barbarian, you can always go back and tweak the height slider to raise him to a more appropriate stature.City of Heroes Screenshot  

    Once you’re satisfied with the appearance of your super-powered alter ego, press the “Next" button to continue to the superhero identity screen. Here you will be asked to choose a name for your hero and enter a character description and battle cry.

    The description and battle cry can always be changed later, but the name is permanent, so make sure you use something you can live with for the duration of your character’s existence. Naming a villain “AngryChristianBale" might be funny for a couple months, but it will leave people wondering what you were thinking in a couple months when the joke gets old.

    Now, simply press the button at the bottom right of the screen, choose whether or not to enter the tutorial zone (I recommend yes, even if you’ve done it before. It’s an easy way to get to that second primary power) and you’re off. Now get out there and wreak havoc or stand up for justice!