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Power Respecification

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This article is about ways to acquire a respec and how to use them. For the slash command, see respec (Slash Command).


A Respecification (a.k.a. "Power Respecification", "respec") allows a player to respecify a character. This allows Primary and Secondary Powers, Power Pool Powers and Enhancement Slot assignments to be changed. Power set selections (both Primary and Secondary) cannot be changed.

Respecs can be gained from a number sources, including various actions taken in-game, the Paragon Market, the Paragon Rewards Program, during some special events, and finally from the developers. These are described in detail below.

Respecs are often used to trade unwanted powers for more useful ones; rearrange hard-to-obtain Enhancements between powers; and to optimise a character once they have reached level 50. Respecs are started by visiting a specific contact (in most cases), or sometimes by using the /respec command (for "free respecs").

Types and Sources of Respecs

Respecs fall into two categories: earned respecs that a character receives due to some action they choose to take; and free respecs (known as a 'freespec') awarded by the development team or certain in-game action.

Earned Respecs

A character may accrue quite a number of earned respecs. Available respecs are shown when a character logs on. A system (green) message is displayed in the chat box stating, "You have x unclaimed respecs available," where x is the number of available respecs. In addition to this, a player may have also have number of respecs they may claim for a character from their in-game mail.


An earned respec can be earned the following ways:

  1. Completing a Terra Volta Respecification Trial for heroes, or a Tree of Thorns Respecification Trial for villains. A maximum of 3 respecs can be earned by a character in this way.
  2. By placing a reward token in various slots in assorted tiers within the Paragon Rewards Program. Up to six respecs may be earned this way, and they are claimed from Account Items in-game email.
  3. By purchasing a Character Respec Token from the Paragon Market. These are claimed from Character Items in-game email.
  4. For villains and rogues only, by completing the first Patron arc and unlocking a Patron Power Pool.
  5. For Soldier of Arachnos only, by reaching Threat Level 24. This respec is mandatory and must be taken the next time that character trains.

Respec Contacts

An earned respec is used by visiting a special contact.

Free Respecs

A free respec is obtained the following ways:

  1. Often called a "freespec", these may be granted by the development team during special events or when patches significantly change the way multiple powers or power sets function.
  2. Crafting a Respec Recipe.
  3. Purchase from Candy Keeper using Candy Cane Salvage, during Winter Events. One respec per character per event can be earned.


  • No more than one freespec can be available at any given time. If a character has an unspent freespec, and another is awarded, they will not receive the new freespec.
  • If a character has an unspent freespec, the character cannot craft a Respec Recipe, nor can they claim a Holiday Respec from the Candy Keeper.
  • For the above reason, players should choose to use a freespec (if one is available), before spending an earned respec. That way they will receive another, should it be awarded.
  • A freespec can be used with the /respec command, without needing to visit a special contact.

Limitations and Respec Failures

Respecs are subject to a number of limitations and possible failures.


  • A character must be at least level three.
  • A character cannot be in strike force or task force mode. This includes all trials, strike forces, task forces, signature story arcs, mission architect missions and flashback missions,
  • A character's Origin, Archetype, primary power set, secondary power set, or Paragon Rewards Program power selections cannot be changed.
  • A power or enhancement slots cannot be taken in an order that isn't possible for a character levelling normally. An exception to this is Warshades and Peacebringers who, during a respec, may add slots to their Nova- and Dwarf-form-specific powers before the Nova and Dwarf forms themselves are available.
  • Changes are permanent! For this reason, it's often wise to plan your new build in advance. (Note: Tools such as Mids' Hero Designer can be useful here.).

Respec Failures

Sometimes, a player may receive a 'respec failed' message. These may occur for any number of reasons. The most common reasons include:

  • Not training up to the character's effective level before starting a respec
  • Being in Task Force/Strike Force mode, including Flashback and Architect missions.

If there were any un-slotted enhancements in the character's tray before the respec began, they might appear to have vanished after a respec failure. Once the respec has been successfully completed, they will be made available again.

If this occurs, players should still have a respec token, and should be able to use it after the character moves to a new zone, or if the player logs out of City of Heroes and log back in. If your character has recently advanced to a new level, you're encouraged to visit an NPC trainer before trying a new respec.

How to Respec

The process of completing a respec occurs in several stages. These are Power Selections, Enhancement Slot Selections, Slotting Enhancements, and finally Confirming. These stages are outlined below in brief.

Power Selections

Select all of your character's powers. All powers will be chosen in the order that they are available, level by level. Progress as your pick each power is shown in red at the bottom of the screen.

This stage mimics the normal training the character receives, with more powers available at later levels. The first choice mimics level 1 (character creation screen), the next choice level 2 (the first power received from a trainer), and so on.

For example, when the sixth power is selected, the powers available will be the powers available for selection with the character attained security level 10 (i.e. when he or she selected his or her sixth power).

When a respec is used, a character will be presented with the power selection screen to select his or her powers. The choice will be limited to the powers available when he or she first selected powers at level 1. After selecting a power, the character will be asked to select another power, this time with the powers available when he or she selected powers at level 2. For each subsequent power selection, the powers available will be the powers available for the next progressive level of the character.

Keep on selecting powers until no powers remain, and the respec then moves onto the next stage.

  • For a chart showing at what levels new powers become available, see Leveling Chart

Enhancement Slot Selections

In this stage, all enhancement slots are placed. Again, progress is shown in red at the bottom of the window. This reflects the training a character receives at levels where no power is granted.

At each step of this stage, either two, three or six enhancement slots are placed, depending on the effective level. Higher level powers are greyed out and cannot be slotted until the effective level they were chosen is passed.

After all enhancement slots have been placed, the respec moves to the next stage.

  • For a chart showing at what levels enhancements are slotted, see Leveling Chart

Slotting Enhancements

This stage shows a window labelled "Place Enhancements". All of the character's enhancements (slotted and unslotted) are automatically placed in the "unassigned" section.

Click and drag the desired enhancements into their respective slots. Unlike normal training, you can move slotted enhancements freely into and out of powers and slots during this stage.

You can also keep (but not slot) enhancements; just put them back into your inventory. When the respec is completed these will be available to your character in the Inventory tray.

This is the last formal stage of the respec process. It is worthwhile double-checking that you have slotted and placed all enhancements correctly before proceeding.

Click "Finish" to proceed to the final stage.

  • Note: Enhancements that remain unassigned will be lost forever once the respec is completed.

What happens to unassigned enhancements?


The player is asked to confirm and finish the respec. A dialog box appears, and this is the last chance to change any aspect of the respec.

Balloon.png WARNING!

At this point all slotted enhancements will become locked in. All unassigned enhancements will be refunded for their sell-back price in Influence. Are you sure you wish to proceed?


Click No to return the the previous stage, and Yes to complete the respec.

When you click "Yes", you will not be able to go back. Any changes are now permanent, and powers, enhancement slots, and enhancement placements are locked in place. The only way to fix errors made in the respecification process is to respec again.

A handy command to remember after a respec is /clear_tray, as this will empty out a character's trays. After a respec, the game places powers in leveling order, followed by every single temporary, accolade, inherent, etc., power that the character has access to. Since the majority of players have their powers set up in a particular way, clearing the tray allows for a much easier process of placing powers where a player wants them; additionally, it will retain any macros the player has created for that character.

Rolling Back During a Respec

At any time during the respec, clicking the "Back" button at the bottom left of the window will take you back one step, even to previous stages.

Even at the final slotting stage, clicking back enough times will eventually bring you right back to the very first step taken in the respec.

Clicking "Next" advances the respec to the next step.

Obtaining respecs: Details

This section provides more information on each type of respec found in-game.

Respec Trials

There are two sets of trials, which upon completion will allow an eligible character to choose a respec from a reward table:

Each trial has three similar versions, each with a different minimum level. These are a levels 24, 34 and 44. Throughout a character's life in the game, they may earn no more than three respecs from these trials, no matter how many or in what order they do these trials.

From levels 24-33, a character can receive one respec from completing the first trial. From levels 34-43, a character can receive another respec from completing either of the first two trials. From levels 44 and up, a character may receive their third respec from completing any of the three trials.

A character can continue to participate in as many trials as they like, and will only be able to choose the other other rewards from the reward table at the end.

See also the official articles:

Paragon Rewards Program

The Paragon Rewards Program grants a respec up to six times, by placing a Reward token in a specific slot. These are then found in the in-game Account Items email, and can be claimed by all current and future characters on the player's account. Once claimed, the respec will disappear for that character, but it will still be available for other characters on the account.

Purchased Respecs

A Character Respec Token can be purchased at any time, and in any number, from the Paragon Market. Once purchased, the token can be claimed from the in-game Character Items of the character the respec will be used on.

Please note that Character Respec Tokens can be purchased from the Character Selection window by clicking the Store icon at the top right of the window. This will take the player to the Paragon Market.

Patron Arc Respec

Each villain or rogue that completes the first Patron arc will also receive one respec. This can be used at any time thereafter, even the character does not wish to use a Patron Power Pool. Note that Patron Arc Respecifications are not lost if the character changes alignment to hero, though if the character changes to hero prior to finishing the arc, progress is halted and the respec will not be awarded until returning to villain or rogue to complete the arc.

Patron arcs can be undertaken from level 35 and onwards. Characters will receive a pop-up message from Arbiter Rein as soon as they are eligible to complete the arc, and should see him to choose a patron and then complete the arc.

Soldiers of Arachnos Respec

An Arachnos Soldier or Arachnos Widow - or collectively, Soldiers of Arachnos - receives a respec as soon as they reach Threat Level 24.

This is a mandatory respec, and must be taken the next time the character trains. It allows these archetypes to use all of the power sets that are unlocked for them at level 24.

Free Respecs

Free respecs, or "freespecs", are sometimes granted after the launch of a new Issue (major update to the game software) when significant changes to the game mechanics are made. Unlike all other sorts of respecs, these can be used from anywhere in the game world, by typing the /respec command into the chat interface.

Note: Characters can have only one of these "freespecs" available at any time. If a new one is granted before the old one is used, it will overwrite the old. Use it or lose it!

Respec Recipes

Characters may find Respec Recipes as rare drops from defeating enemies or trade them with other players either directly or through the Auction House. Crafting this recipe grants a free respec. These cannot be crafted if the character already has a free respec available.

A Respec Recipe can also be purchased from an Alignment Vendor in Fort Trident for Heroes or The Crucible for Villains, for 10 Alignment Merits.

Holiday Respecs

During the Winter Event, the Candy Keeper sells a respec option for 500 Candy Cane Salvage plus inf per character level. It cannot be purchased if the character is holding a free respec, and each character can only purchase one per event.


  • Important! Keep in mind that earned recipes are finite and free respecs are somewhat rare. If a character runs out of earned respecs, bad choices are semi-permanent!
  • It is highly suggested to test new builds on the Training Room server before actually committing to the respec on the live server.
  • The number of respecs a character has is shown each time they log into the game. A system (green text) message is displayed in the chat box stating, "You have x unclaimed respecs available," where x is the number of available respecs.
  • Because a character may have a maximum of one free respec at a time, these respecs should be used before other, more hard-earned, ones. Typing /respec on the chat command line will start a freespec, and this can be done at any time just to see if a character has one available (just exit the respec if not ready to proceed).
  • Remember that the order in which a character's powers are selected determines which powers are available when that character is exemplared or malefactored with lower-level heroes and villains. In general, the most wanted or most often-used powers should be selected first.
  • The word "respec" is often misspelled "respect" by those unfamiliar with the term, by speed touch-typists, or sometimes even by some in a deliberate satirical manner. The word is an abbreviated form of the word respecification, however, and "respec" is the correct spelling. In addition, "respec" is sometimes incorrectly expanded in-game to "respecialization", such as in the some badge text for respecs given as Veteran Rewards, leading to further confusion among players as to what "respec" is actually short for. Upon completion, your character has been "respecified" or "respecced" (some players also use the term "respec'd").
  • The names of the villain respec trial contacts, Sparcetriel, Trepsarciel, and Ractespriel, are all anagrams of "respec trial."
  • After using a respec, using the /clear_tray command will clear all power trays of powers, as they will all fill up with random powers. This allows easier power placement onto the power trays.


Badge time.png This section contains information that no longer applies to the current version of City of Heroes Freedom. It is provided for historical purposes.
  • The Veteran Rewards Program program was removed from the game with the release of City of Heroes: Freedom. It was replaced by the Paragon Rewards Program. While it was available, the Veteran rewards program awarded one respec to each character on a player's account at varying intervals. Respecs were awarded for 9, 21, 33, 45 and 69 months of membership.
  • Purchased Respecifications. Prior to the introduction of City of Heroes: Freedom, players could purchase a respec from the Character Select screen. Players selected the character they wanted to respec, then selected the "Enter Store" icon in the lower right, then followed the prompts. Cost was US$9.99. After the release of City of Heroes: Freedom, this was removed and players instead purchase a Character Respec Token from the Paragon Market.
  • Respec Recipes were added to the game with Issue 11.
  • Holiday Respecifiations were added to the game with the Winter Event 2009.

See Also