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Issue 20

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Issue 20, Incarnates, was a major revision to City of Heroes and City of Villains. The title references new endgame content for Incarnates; other items included are Leagues, upgrades to Looking for Group, and one new Task Force and one new Strike Force.

This article summarizes the major features in Issue 20. For more complete details, see the release date's patch notes.


Main Article: Issue 20 Badges
  • Respec Badges: Heroes and Villains who have changed alignments can now collect all six respec trial badges. No new respecs will be granted, though.
  • Unlocking the four new Incarnate Slots gives four new badges.
  • The two Incarnate Trials and the two Task/Strike Forces each give a completion badge.
  • Each Incarnate Trial has four Achievement Badges associated with them. Collecting all four of a set grants a Master of Accolade.

City Zones

Travel Improvements

Black Helicopter Line: Two Black Helicopters were added so that all major Villain city-zones now have a Black Helicopter. Additionally, two larger zones get an extra one:

Incarnate System

Features related to the Incarnate System require the City of Heroes Going Rogue expansion.

The next four Incarnate Slots are unlocked in Issue 20, including the Rare and Very Rare abilities.

Also, in I20, Shards will drop from even-con or higher enemies, for characters who have unlocked an Incarnate Slot even when exemplared under 50.

The Incarnate Task Forces (Apex and Tin Mage) both now have as a final reward: 40 Merits; 1 Shard; 2 Threads.

The new Incarnate powers are customizable.

New Incarnate Slots

The following slots are now accessible: Interface Slot, Judgement Slot, Lore Slot and Destiny Slot. All powers in all slots are accessible. Incarnate slots can be unlocked by earning Incarnate Experience from standard enemy kills inside the Incarnate Trials. Various Incarnate Trials provide Physical or Psychic Incarnate XP which unlocks one or the other tracks of slots. Incarnate XP can also be earned by sacrificing Incarnate Sub-components.

The recipes for abilities in the four new slots and the new recipes for Alpha abilities require the new components which can only be found in the Incarnate Trials. The earlier Alpha component recipes are still valid but are no longer the only way to obtain those abilities. Likewise, it is now possible to unlock the Alpha slot by earning Incarnate XP in the trials.

  • The Interface Slot Abilities are composed of a variety of powers which provide global proc debuffs which apply to all powers. These procs will be applied directly to almost every enhanceable damaging power. The debuffs from this power stack globally – that is, multiple characters with the same Interface equipped share the same debuff stack on their foes. This slot does not provide a level shift.
  • The Judgement Slot Abilities include a variety of large-scale AOE damaging powers with powerful secondary effects. Judgement powers are unaffected by standard character buffs to damage or to hit, but have a high base accuracy and are affected by global enhancements such as those provided by the Alpha and Interface slot. Judgement power damage is unaffected by archetype damage mods, and the recharge of Judgement powers cannot be buffed or debuffed. This slot does not provide a level shift.
  • The Lore Slot Abilities provide access to summonable essences of defeated Praetorian foes to fight for you. Unlike normal summon powers, these allies are controllable using the Mastermind control interface, even for non-Masterminds. The recharge of Lore powers cannot be buffed or debuffed. Rare and Very Rare powers in this slot provide an Incarnate Shift. (An Incarnate Shift is a Level Shift which only activates while participating in an Incarnate Trial.)
  • The Destiny Slot Abilities are composed of a variety of large-scale defensive AOE powers which provide healing, protection, or buffs to friendlies within a large radius. The strength and duration of these buffs is unaffected by archetype buff mods, and the recharge of Destiny powers cannot be buffed or debuffed. Rare and Very Rare powers in this slot provide an Incarnate Shift. (An Incarnate Shift is a Level Shift which only activates while participating in an Incarnate Trial.)

Missions and Story Content

Incarnate Trials

To take part in these new Incarnate Trials, a character does not need to unlock the Alpha Slot. In fact, doing these Trials provides an alternate method for unlocking the Alpha Slot.

There is no contact for these Trials. They are entered through the LFG window and the Team-Up Teleport function. Prometheus, however, is in Ouroboros to give background on these Trials and the status of the Praetorian War and the character's path of becoming an Incarnate.

Behavioral Adjustment Facility

The Behavioral Adjustment Facility (BAF) is where Mother Mayhem has been experimenting on captured Resistance fighters and mind-washing them into becoming psychic sleeper agents. These sleeper agents have been infected with a contagious psychic virus intended to spread throughout the Resistance, turning all of Emperor Cole's enemies into mindless slaves.

Nightstar and Siege, wardens of the BAF, are ready to unleash the prisoners into the general populace. They've staged a "breakout" to allow the mind-washed resistance fighters to escape into the underground tunnels of Praetoria and infect the populace.

Nightstar and Siege share a networked connection that enables them to react and move with near-perfect synchronization. The two work so well in unison that they must be defeated simultaneously.

The BAF event requires a minimum of 12 players to start the event, with a maximum of 24 players.

Lambda Sector

Within Neutropolis lies the Lambda Sector fortress, a critical component of Emperor Cole's war machinery. Emperor Cole's Olympian Guard are born, trained, and housed in Lambda Sector. It is critical that this facility be destroyed and the Olympian Guard program scrapped. Heroes want to destroy these operations, while Villains will also be there grabbing as much Incarnate-touched power as they can in the sabotage process.

If the new Incarnates succeed in infiltrating the Lambda Sector fortress, they must still face off against the cosmically empowered Marauder. Luckily, they can use the captured war material against him to help bring down the "Big Dog."

The Lambda Sector requires a minimum of 8 players to start the event, with a maximum of 16 players.

New Level 20-40 Task Forces

Though the new Incarnates are at the forefront of the fight against the Well of the Furies and Emperor Cole, even non-Incarnates are pulled into the battle.

Hero Task Force

Admiral Sutter Task Force: The Sky is Falling
In preparation for the invasion of Primal Earth, Colonel Duray of the Praetorian Army has led a special operations team to establish a bulwark in Paragon City. He has a unique ally, his Primal Earth counterpart, Colonel Duray, leader of the Sky Raiders.
The two Durays plan to strike Talos Island and Skyway City and break the spirit of the resistance against Emperor Cole. The newly risen Incarnate Heroes have their hands full facing Emperor's Cole's lieutenants in Praetoria, and they are relying on up-and-coming Heroes in this Task Force to protect our world.

Villain Strike Force

Mortimer Kal Strike Force: The Fire and the Flames
The chaos created by the Well of the Furies presents an opportunity for the Villains of the Rogue Isles to seize new Incarnate powers for themselves. The Flames of Prometheus, a legendary Incarnate artifact, can grant its owner some of the power of the Well of the Furies. However, Positron of the Freedom Phalanx guards the Flames of Prometheus. But everyone, even the mighty Positron, has a weakness to exploit with the proper leverage.
The Villains scheme will pit them against the mystical guardians of the Midnight Squad, the Circle of Thorns, the Warriors, and the heroes of the Freedom Phalanx in a bold attempt to seize the Flames of Prometheus. If they succeed, they could earn a rare reward that puts them on the path to becoming an Incarnate.
Introductory Tip Mission: Mortimer Kal needs to be unlocked as a contact first by obtaining and completing the Wizard's Weakness Tip Mission that will drop for any Villain who is Level 20-50. This Tip Mission does not count in the limitations of the Alignment Tips.

Mission Architect

  • New Praetorian Warehouse maps


Flames of Prometheus

Characters completing the new Villain Mortimer Kal Strike Force will receive a foretaste of Incarnate power with the Temporary Power, Flames of Prometheus.
Icon clue generic.png Flames of Prometheus +Max HP, +Regen, +DMG
The Flames of Prometheus have left their trace on you, giving you an early taste of the powers of the Incarnate. This manifests as a minor increase to your health and damage output. This boon is permanent until you reach security level 50, at which point your connection to the Well of the Furies will overwhelm the lingering effects of this power. However, you will be able to trade in this power at that time for a rare Notice of the Well Incarnate component once you embark on the Incarnate path, which will prove a much stronger benefit in the long run.
When that character reaches level 50, the power disappears, but they get reward badge under Accomplishments that can be traded in for a Notice of the Well.

Ouroboros Portal

To prevent an Ouroboros Portal being placed so that it blocks a zone door such as a submarine hatch, the click box of the Ouroboros portal was moved up to eye level. It is now the glowing, floating diamond that you need to click. The Portal does not block clicking ground targets anymore. Nor is it 'solid' in that Portal 'bridges' can be made any more.

Quality of Life

New Group Play Features


Issue 20 introduces Leagues to City of Heroes. A League is a much larger group of characters. Formerly, the largest team size was up to 8 characters. Now, characters can form or join groups of up to 48 characters. Leagues can be formed anywhere in Paragon City, the Rogue Isles, or Praetoria, for any purpose from attacks on the Rikti Mothership to costume contests.

Leagues are formed automatically for individuals or individual teams that enter an Incarnate Trial through the Team-Up Teleport system. Or, a whole League can be brought into an Incarnate Trial when the League Leader signs up for one.

Buffs that affect only Teammates will continue to affect just the other 7 members of the Team, even in a League. Buffs flagged to affect 'allies' will affect everyone in the League.

Leagues can also be used outside of Incarnate Trials, including but not limited to:

Team-Up Teleport and Looking For Group

Team-Up Teleporter is a way to 'sign up' for an event, and when there are enough players you all get teleported into that event (just like Arena events work). Being in a mission, in 'task force mode', in a PvP zone, or in a SuperGroup Base will prevent Team-Up Teleport from working.

Right now Team-Up Teleport is only being used for the two new Incarnate Trials (see above) for characters on the same server, but, there are plans to use it for other events in the future.

You can enter The Queue for Team-Up Teleport by clicking on the LFG (Looking For Group) 'button' atop your chat window. Then sign yourself up for the BAF or Lambda or First Available. If you're already in a team or league, then only the team leader or the league leader needs to sign your group up.

When players enter an Incarnate Trial, they will be put into a League (see above) if they weren't already formed into a league.

New Team and League UI

  • To accommodate a window with up to 48 players, the shared team and league interfaces were changed to squeeze more information into a tight space. Players have the option of switching the team window back to a UI that looks more like what it was before Issue 20.
  • Team and League windows can be scaled by grabbing and dragging their bottom corner.
  • Leaguemates can be seen on the mini-map by enabling that option on the drop-down menu of the mini-map.


  • Help Channel v. Help Window: Typing in the command line while the Help Tab is active will always be sending text to the Help Channel. These commands also send to the help channel: /h, /help, /hc, or /guide.
  • Help Window: The Help Window is no longer opened with /h or /help. It is now bound by default to the 'H' key. The help window can also be opened with /helpwindow, /toggle help, Menu > Help.
  • League Channel: A new League Channel has been added to the default list of available channels. One can directly access this channel with the /lc message command.
  • Looking For Group Channel: A new system channel for messages from the Team-Up Teleporter.

New Assets

  • New Mission Maps: The Admiral Sutter Task Force and the two new Incarnate Trials have new, unique maps.
  • New Splash Screens: New Ultra Mode splash screens are enabled. Many came from submissions by players as part of an official contest.
  • Helper/Help Me Status: Upon login to Issue 20 for the first time, players can set their 'upper title' to "Help Me!" None or "Helper." This is to distinguish newbies who need help from Vets willing to help. Help-Me!s' names turn light purple. Helpers' names turn bright yellow. The status of the title can be changed in the Help Window.
Balloon.png Welcome! This character is new and may need help in City of Heroes. You have the option to flag yourself as needing help from other players with a specially colored name and title. You also have the option to flag yourself as a Helper. Please choose:

Set Bonuses Listing

  • Under the Powers Tab of an Info Window (from /info of a targeted character or /infoself), the IO Set Bonuses are now grouped together in stacks, such as: Large Accuracy Bonus X 5.


External Links