In City of Heroes, we focus a lot on Enhancements (most comparable to “gear” for World of Warcraft players)–they are permanent boosts to a hero’s selected powers. You can boost the healing potential of your hero, their damage potential, how accurately they hit, and many other facets of their powers. We also pay a lot of attention to Inspirations–temporary, ubiquitous boosts that can be activated during battle to help you get through tight spots.
We don’t, however, pay a lot of attention to Empowerment buffs–but they are important, too!
What ARE Empowerment Buffs?
You might be thinking, “Empower-what?” Well, you can think of Empowerment Buffs as something like the Mystic Fortune buff from the Magic Pack–it’s a long-lasting buff (1 hour), much longer than an Inspiration or an ally buff, but not quite as permanent as an Enhancement. What is least known about them is how they are triggered, and it actually takes a Supergroup base to get them.
How to Get Empowerment Buffs
To receive an Empowerment Buff, you must first have access to an Empowerment Station, which is generally part of a Supergroup Base. If you’re in a Supergroup that has an Empowerment Station, you only need certain pieces of salvage to trigger the stations.
Empowerment Stations look like this (all following pictures from ParagonWiki):
Arcane Empowerment Stations
Tech Empowerment Stations
It doesn’t really matter which type (Arcane or Tech) you go with–it’s mostly a cosmetic difference to match the theme of your base. What matters is that these stations, when activated with invention salvage of varying types, can give you buffs to your resistance to damage, your attack speed, and tons of other cool effects.
Example: Endurance Drain Resistance Buff for Fighting Malta Sappers
For instance, to fight Malta (and the resident Sappers who eat your Endurance when they shoot you), you’ll definitely need the Endurance Drain Resistance bonus–just feed a Hydraulic Piston into the Empowerment Station! You might not think this helps, but it surely does–I’ve been able to make it through a whole Malta battle without having to Rest or eat Catch a Breaths like Bon Bons.
Make Sure Your Empowerment Station Is Fully Upgraded!
There are three levels of Empowerment Stations–Tier 1, 2, and 3, as I noted in the pictures above–and the Tier 3 station will give you access to all the buffs you’ll ever need. However, to be able to build a Tier 3 station, your Supergroup needs a LOT of prestige. Also, you’ll have to buy and build the other two levels of Empowerment Stations first; Tier 1 stations are used to craft Tier 2 stations, and Tier 2 stations are used to craft Tier 3 stations.
When you upgrade stations, you still have access to the previous level’s buffs, so it’s worth it to upgrade when you can.
Find out more about Empowerment Stations (and how to craft them for your Supergroup Base) here: Empowerment Base Items.
What Kind of Salvage Makes Empowerment Buffs?
Salvage of all different level ranges can make Empowerment Buffs–it just depends on what buff you’re after and what level you are. Most of the required salvage for Empowerment Buffs is common salvage, but some buffs require uncommon salvage. Also, some buffs only need one piece of salvage, some need two, and some need three.
A complete table of Empowerment Buffs and the salvage it takes to create them can be found here: Empowerment Buff Recipes and Ingredients. Depending on whether you have an Arcane or Tech Empowerment Station, the salvage recipes will vary slightly for most of the buffs.
It’s a good idea to keep a stash of common and uncommon Invention Salvage in your Supergroup Base (or on your individual characters) that matches up with your characters’ needs. For instance, if your Scrapper keeps getting knocked back all the time, making it impossible to fight, you might benefit from the Knockback Protection Empowerment Buff. Therefore, you might want to carry the salvage that the buff requires (see the list here).
Using Empowerment Buffs might require a little time investment, but if it helps you get through mission arcs full of maddening enemy attacks, it could reduce frustration by 17.5%! 😛