A CO Newbie Tip List for CoH Vets

Okay guys and gals.  If we all had our way, we’d much rather be playing CoH than anything else.

Unfortunately those imbeciles at NCSoft have made that impossible.

So you’ve decided to settle for a very distant second best.  Champions Online.

Here’s a list of things I’ve found through trial and error, as well as through questioning people who’ve had more actual time in-game than I have.

Please note that this is a “living document”.  So, as I find more stuff out about the game, I’ll let you know.

The Launcher

Okay, not everyone can play on a Google Fiber connection (and damn your eyes if you are!)

Anyhow, overnight on weekends, I’m playing on my laptop, tethered to my phone.  Unfortunately this is HIGHLY not-ideal for playing CO.  The reason for this?  Streaming patches (a.k.a. “On Demand Patching”).

When CoH patched, they gave you EVERYTHING.  This resulted in as longer download time, but once you were patched, you were good.

CO, in the interests of getting you into the game faster, selectively loads patches only for areas you’ve been in.  And all of the maps in the game have multiple areas.  So, when you enter an area you’ve never gone into before, the game streams the patches for that area to your computer.

For DSL and Cable (or better) connections, this is no big deal.  For “lesser” connections, it can lead to server timeouts and massive rubber-banding as the patch downloads and applies.  If you’re just exploring, and this happens in a dangerous area, you can be killed without ever seeing the enemy.  It essentially makes the game unplayable at points.

Now, there’s actually a way to stop this behavior.

When you start up the launcher, even before you log in, look in the upper right-hand corner for the Options menu item.

Click on the Options menu item and the options screen will pop up.

Check “Disable On Demand Patching” and click OK.

The next time you actually sign on, the launcher will grab EVERYTHING that needs to be applied.  This is, roughly, another 2GB or so of patches.  But there it is.

Making the game look better.



As you can see, I’ve got most of my stuff maxed out (save for Bloom which, due to it using DirectX, washes out my entire desktop).  Not everyone is going to be able to do this.  So, how do we try to make the game look better?

  1. Turn OFF “Comic-style outlining”
  2. Turn up character texture quality (max it if you can).
  3. Turn up character detail distance (again, max it if you can).
  4. If your system is still performing acceptably at this point, slowly bump up Terrain, Object and World settings until your system gets a little choppy.  Then back it down a notch.

Making CO Handle More like CoH.











On the basic tab, turn ON Invert Camera Y.  This’ll make CO’s camera system respond to mouse control more like CoH.

On the controls tab:

  1. Control scheme should stay MMO.
  2. The Keybind set should be “Like Superhero Games” (or, as it was in beta, CoH settings).
  3. Enable Over the Shoulder Camera: OFF
  4. Always face forward: OFF (will allow you to pan around your character then).
  5. For ranged damage types I’ve found that Assist target on attack works well for target swapping in a firefight once your primary target goes down.
  6. Select attacker if attacked: I have this turned off.  It COULD prove useful to someone, but I’ve found that it can be detrimental with multiple attackers.
  7. EDIT: I actually recommend you set your Auto Attack to either Toggle, Never cancels or Maintains.  This will basically set your Energy Builder primary attack to ALWAYS go off if you’re not doing anything else and have targeted an enemy.  This saves on lots and LOTS of key-presses. However, keep in mind that zoning, even from one level of a mission to the next, will cause you to have to re-toggle when first entering battle.


A Study In Interface Utility Obfuscation

In short, the Champions UI sucks.  Lots of hidden functionality and very NON-obvious/intuitive decisions here.





  1. When you completed a mission in CoH, you got an Exit button that popped up in the mission monitor.  You don’t get that here.  However, if you look on your minimap, the third icon down on the left is the SOCRATES interface.  In there is an option to exit a mission.  You can use this, even if you haven’t completed the mission.  BUT, be warned, exiting an incomplete mission resets the instance (so you get to fight all that stuff again).
  2. The SOCRATES interface is also useful for picking up and turning in missions.  You can even turn in completed missions while still in the mission instance.
  3. Below the minimap, and to the right of the Zen Store button is the Champions icon.  If you click on that, you gain access to multiple interfaces there.  Supergroup, mail, Options, etc, etc.  In short, YEP!  They condensed a HUGE number of functions down into a single button that doesn’t even LOOK like a button.
  4. One of the things about CO is that you don’t HAVE to head back to the Powerhouse and a trainer to train up.  Doing so at a Powerhouse simply gives you the option to strip off powers more cheaply later on if you decide to change your build.  On the power tray, above your block button are three mini-buttons that can be clicked on when you level up to train yourself.


In the game itself.

  1. Areas, like Canada and the Southwest have crates and cases lying around.  Clicking on them gives you random pieces of low level salvage.  But, more importantly, each one clicked boosts your crafting skill.  This is somewhat important as your crafting skill can allow you to bypass certain tedious things in some missions.  Additionally, some missions have crates in them that can only be opened by someone with 101+ crafting skill.  What’s ACTUALLY in them?  Dunno!  Making a greater attempt to bump my crafting skill now.


Sending and receiving “stuff”.

Okay.  The game gives you a couple options for this.  If you have a hideout, you have a place where you can leave stuff to be picked up by alts.

Unfortunately bank slots are NOT shared.  HOWEVER, SG storage is.

Another option is to mail it to yourself.  However you can’t merely pick up attachments on the fly.  Why?  Uh…hmm…BECAUSE!

Anyhoo, if you want to pick up items in e-mail, head to an UNTIL terminal.  Looks like a kiosk with a holographic globe and the letters UNTIL spelled out.  You can pick up your mail attachments through there.



Okay, certain pieces of content in-game are unlocked by doing other pieces of content.  And it’s NEVER obvious what controls what.  So, by turning down or abandoning a mission, you could be locking yourself out of things later on.

My *personal* opinion of this is that such things are annoying as hell!  (Actually it’s annoying enough that an eternity in The Furnace might actually cool me off some…)


Okay, ripped this next bit off from Kaiser Tarantula.

A Guide to Power Types & Terminology
Or the answer to “what the heck do you mean by ‘Lunge’?”

In CO, there are numerous powers that share similar mechanics, and are often grouped together under certain terminology.  Since this terminology can sometimes be obtuse to former CoH players (I know it was for me at first), I’ve decided to compile a list of terms that might serve as a glossary of power types.  Where possible, I’ve included the name of the power type, a few notes as to what it generally does, and some examples.

Energy Builder: A feeble-yet-rapid attack that costs no energy, and in fact generates energy for use by your other powers.  Most are combo powers (see below), and many have a special effect that can occur on the first hit of their combo.  All heroes have at least one energy builder; it’s mandatory.  Energy builders come in two flavors; melee and ranged.  A melee energy builder, when used at range, becomes a taunt that deals no damage, but still generates energy.
Examples: Ice Shards (Ice), Wield Earth (Earth), Steady Shot (Munitions)

Blast: A chargeable single-target ranged attack power that has double the range of most ranged attacks (100 feet instead of 50).  Many Blasts have a secondary status effect.  Charging up a blast increases both its damage and cost, and can also increase the proc chance of the secondary effect.
Examples: Infernal Blast (Infernal Supernatural), Ego Blast (Telepathy), Gust (Wind)

Burst: A ranged attack that explodes or bursts when it strikes the target, allowing it to affect several enemies in close proximity to one another.  Many can be charged up like a blast for greater damage at a greater cost.  Some have secondary effects beyond mere damage.
Examples: Telekinetic Burst (Telekinesis), Fire Ball (Fire), Rocket (Munitions)

Ranged Cone: A ranged attack that doesn’t just fire straight forward – it instead fans out over an arc both vertically and horizontally, producing a cone shaped area of effect with the wide-end centered on the target, and the narrowest part at you.  As a result, at longer ranges, a cone can affect several enemies at once, while up close, it might only hit just the target.  Cones are often maintained powers; they fire continuously, dealing several hits, until they run out of meter.
Examples: Shadow Embrace (Darkness), Torrent of Arrows (Archery), Crushing Wave (Force)

Cylinder: Cylinder attacks are area-of-effect attacks that fire a wide beam that penetrates through the target, potentially hitting several enemies that are lined up.  Some particularly wide cylinders can hit enemies that are closely-packed side-by-side as well.
Examples: Force Cascade (Force), Gigabolt (Electricity), Chest Beam (Power Armor)

Cone Melee: AKA Sweep or Cleave.  A melee attack that forms a short, wide cone AoE.  These are specifically intended to hit several targets in close range, and so have very wide arcs.
Examples: Frenzy (Bestial Supernatural), Dragon Kick (Unarmed), Cleave (Heavy Weapon)

Cylinder Melee: AKA Skewer or Piercing Melee A very rare instance of a cylinder area on a melee power.  Again, these have very wide cylinders to compensate for their short range, allowing them to hit several opponents, both off to the side and lined up.
Examples: Gauntlet Chainsaw (Gadgeteering), Skullcrusher (Heavy Weapon), Skewer (Heavy Weapon)

Lunge: AKA Charge or Rush A melee attack that can be launched at range, moving you directly next to the target, if it’s within range.  You deal damage on contact with the enemy, and may apply a secondary effect.  This secondary effect may get stronger, or be replaced with a more potent secondary effect, if you Lunge from a sufficient distance.
Examples: Mighty Leap (Might), Void Shift (Darkness), Pounce (Bestial Supernatural)

Combo: A click attack power that changes with each consecutive usage on a target.  Most Energy builders are combo powers that concentrate all of their damage and secondary effects in their first shot, with successive shots being weaker.  Other combo powers typically consist of 3-hit combos, with a secondary effect (or greater damage) attached to the third hit in the combo.
Examples: Defensive Combo (Might), Laser Sword (Power Armor), Blade Tempest (Dual Blades)

Ultimate Attack: Each general power family has one “ultimate” power, which is shared between all powersets in that family.  These ultimate attacks generally have long cooldowns (one or more minutes), and typically leverage mechanics common to powers in the family.
Examples: Unleashed Rage (Brick Family), Planar Fracture (Mystic Family), Mind Link (Mentalist Family), Fury of the Dragon (Martial Arts Family), Energy Storm (Energy Projector Family), Implosion Engine (Technology Family)

Active Defense: A power with a long cooldown that provides a short-lived but intense defensive boost to its user.  Generally used as last-ditch defensive measures for dealing with rough tanking situations.  Some Active Defenses inflict Breakfree damage, much like an Active Offense (see below) would.
Examples: Resurgence (Bestial Supernatural), Unbreakable (Power Armor), Field Surge (Force)

Active Offense: A power with a long cooldown that provides a substantial increase to your damage, as well as ‘inflicting’ breakfree damage: breakfree damage does not actually harm you, but it does count as taking damage for the purpose of breaking holds, roots, and other mez effects.  These are useful for those situations where an enemy has to die now, rather than later.  Many active offenses have secondary effects besides a damage boost.
Examples: Cold Sheathe (Ice), Aggressor (Might), Lock N Load (Munitions)

Slotted Passive: A power that’s always on, but requires you to place it in your Passive Slot in order to function.  You can take multiple Slotted Passive powers, but you can only ever use one at a time.  Slotted Passives come in offensive, defensive, and supportive varieties, and some take advantage of stacking mechanics; they start off weak, but under certain circumstances they build up stacks of their individual buff, making them stronger over time as a battle rages.
Examples: Electric Form (Electricity), Id Mastery (Telekinesis), Seraphim (Celestial)

Toggle: AKA Form.  Toggle powers have to be charged up to activate them, but once active they operate continuously with no intervention on the player’s behalf.  Toggles slightly reduce your energy generation in exchange for providing a potent offensive buff, usually using stack mechanics.  There is an exception, in that there is one powerset with a defensive toggle; Force.  You may take multiple Toggle powers, but may only have one running at a time.
Examples: Inertial Dampening Field (Force), Concentration (Shared among Technology powersets), Form of the Tempest (Dual Blades)

Innate Passive: AKA Energy Unlock.  A power that runs constantly once you take it, without needing to be placed into your passive slot.  These powers always provide energy under certain circumstances – what these circumstances are depends on the power in question.
Examples: Overdrive (Power Armor), Wind Reverberation (Wind), Spirit Reveberation (Darkness)

Summon: AKA Uncontrolled Pets.  Summon Powers require you to use them on a target.  The pets that spawn will attack that target relentlessly until it dies, their duration expires, or their master is defeated.  You have no control over these pets once they are summoned, and they vanish once they’ve either run out of time or defeated their target.
Examples: Summon Shadows (Darkness), Collective Will (Telepathy), Pyromancer’s Blades (Primal Sorcery)

Controllable Pets: These powers create more-or-less permanent pets that fight by your side and can be given limited orders.  They can be given orders to follow you, go to a target location, and attack a target, and some have additional custom powers that can be activated on command.  Controllable Pets last until defeated or dismissed, although some are limited to operating within their summoning circle and cannot leave it for long.  These will dissipate if you get too far away, such as changing zones.
Examples: Tyrannon’s Familiar (Sorcery sets), Attack Toys! (Gadgeteering), Arctic Beast (Ice)



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