For anyone who’s ever made a new City of Heroes character after weeks of playing a high-level character, you know what I’m talking about when I say “the lowbie blues.” Suddenly, you’re playing a character who can’t just zip across a zone in no time, and who can’t just charge into any battle and come out alive on the other side. Lowbies are so named because they are low in levels…and low in just about everything.
I’ve built a lot of characters, and every time I build a new one, I have to remember that I’m not quite as kick-butt as usual. Lowbie characters, especially those under level 10, suffer from the following:
- Lack of quicker travel powers; Sprint is pretty much it
- Inventory size restrictions (not being able to carry as many items with you)
- Not being able to travel everywhere as safely–sometimes parts of Atlas Park are too dangerous to travel alone
- Fewer attack/defense powers
- Less hit points/strength
To offset your lowbie’s limitations, I have assembled a Lowbie Survival Kit full of helpful hints (and links to help you learn more).
Use a Booster Pack Travel Power
To help you travel through zones faster (and get to usually-unreachable areas) without having to wait for your typical travel power pools, booster-pack travel powers like Ninja Run, Beast Run, and Steam Jump can help you get around. Ninja and Beast Run both provide extra ground speed; Steam Jump provides 30 seconds of almost-flight time with every usage.
Each of the Booster Packs associated with these powers cost real money, but since they give you the travel power on every character you have (and will ever build), it benefits you in the long-term to buy the packs. You can get Ninja Run by buying the Super Booster IV: Martial Arts pack; Beast Run is available through the Animal Pack, and you can get the Steam Jump power through the Steampunk pack.
Lastly, the free Temporary Power Jet Pack can help you fly if you can’t get hold of the Steampunk Booster Pack.
Enhance All Your Powers with Training Enhancements
Lest you think that Training Enhancements are a waste of your hard-earned influence, let me tell you that at low levels (especially under 10), TEs are great for boosting your powers just enough to get you through. I notice a real difference in gameplay strength when I don’t enhance my lowbies at all, or don’t upgrade their enhancements when they level up.
Be sure to put an enhancement in every power slot you get–it will help your character out so much in the beginning. You can always replace the TEs with real Enhancements later, but they will help you live more successfully through the tough first levels.
And if the prices of TEs are a little rich for your blood, you can search on Wentworth’s to see if anyone’s selling them for a little cheaper, as well as using AE Tickets to purchase them (or selling off items at Wentworth’s so you can afford them).
Shop the Paragon Market for Extra Storage Space
As of issue 21, the Paragon Market is officially open, and is useful for spending your Paragon Points to gain access to game extras.
You can get lots of goodies like extra Character Slots and Respec Tokens, but what will be most helpful for lowbies is to increase your item storage space on your character. Upping the number of Enhancements, Recipes, Salvage, and Vault storage spaces on all characters will help your lowbie out more than you think–suddenly, you have ROOM in those expandable pockets again!
And don’t forget the XP Booster…gives you +25% XP for an hour. Not bad for a lowbie trying to level quickly!
Find and Use Temporary Powers for Attacks, Buffs/Debuffs, and Healing
Craftable Temporary Powers often drop off defeated enemies, as well as being sold through Wentworth’s–check your Recipes section (alongside your Salvage, Inspiration, and Enhancement storage windows) to see if you’ve gotten any Temporary Power recipes.
Temp Powers can be attacks, diversionary tactics, healing/rezzing aids, and even debuffs. The better the power’s effect, the less charges you get, generally. See the full list of buildable Temp Powers, below:
St. Louis Slammer (close-combat, 30 uses)
Gabriel’s Hammer (close-combat, 30 uses)
Revolver (ranged, 30 uses)
Envenomed Dagger (ranged, 30 uses)
Hand Grenades (ranged, 18 uses)
Plasmatic Taser (ranged, 24 uses)
Ethereal Shift (make yourself un-targetable for 30 seconds, 5 uses)
Backup Radio (call in a special pet to help you fight, 5 uses)
Smoke Flash (distract and Placate foes for a little bit, 10 uses)
Stun Grenades (disorient foes for a little while, 20 uses)
Med-Pack (heals 1/4 of your max hit points, 10 uses)
Recovery Serum (boosts recovery rate for a short time, 5 uses)
Resuscitator(rezzes an ally, 10 uses)
Buffs & Debuffs
Kinetic Dampener (increases your defense against Smashing and Lethal damage, and improves Energy resistance; # of charges unknown)
Jet Pack (lets you fly for 30 seconds; # of charges unknown)
Power Analyzer Mk III (view Foe Combat Attributes to know what kind of damage they’re weak to; 20 uses)
Use Available In-Game Storage Besides Your Own
If you’re not in a supergroup and don’t have access to salvage racks, enhancement tables, and inspiration holders, then the Vault Reserve and Wentworth’s are going to be invaluable to you.
Vaults are located in Atlas Park, Kings Row, Steel Canyon, Talos Island, and Pocket D. You only start out with 3 spaces in your Vault at level 1, which is why I suggested earlier that you may want to spend Paragon Points to get more storage space early on. But even if you don’t amp up your storage space prematurely, it’s a great way to hold just those few extra items you don’t want to sell yet but don’t have room to keep. (And Vaults are only for Salvage items, not Enhancements or Inspirations, fyi.)
And if your Vault is absolutely slam full of Salvage, or if you have a bunch of Enhancements and Inspirations you need to hold on to, you can actually use your Wentworth Auction Inventory to hold items temporarily. All you have to do is drag and drop the item from your storage space into the Wentworth window to store it, and then don’t put a listing price.
Wentworth buildings are located in Atlas Park, Kings Row, Steel Canyon, and Talos Island–incidentally, almost everywhere there are Vault Reserves. Like the Vaults, you only have a few auction inventory spaces in lowbie levels, but even 1 or 2 spaces can help you hold that Inspiration or Enhancement you don’t have room for.
Play AE Missions and Shop the AE Building
In the Architect Entertainment building, you can play user-created arcs, win tickets (just like at old-school arcades!), and turn those tickets in for in-game prizes. For lowbies, those prizes constitute pretty much a one-stop shop.
With enough tickets, you can buy Salvage to sell at Wentworth’s (or use to build your Temporary Powers), medium and large Inspirations, and even Training and Origin Enhancements, which you likely wouldn’t be able to get at other Stores because it wouldn’t be safe for a lowbie to travel there yet. (Not to mention that money/influence is usually at an all-time low for lowbies.)
These three categories of items are great buys for lowbies, because you can largely pick and choose what you want (except for common Salvage–your choice is randomized). You can also skirt the higher fees for these items at Wentworth’s doing it this way.
(You can also buy all kinds of Recipes at the AE Building, but you’re likely better off trying to buy them on Wentworth’s for influence rather than using AE tickets.)
Empower Your Lowbie Self with Long-Lasting Buffs
Empowerment Buffs are available only to those lowbies who are lucky enough to be in a supergroup with an Empowerment Station. But if you fall into that category, remember the Empowerment Station as a fast and relatively cheap way to get a long-lasting buff.
You only need 1 or 2 pieces of specific salvage to get any of the buffs, whose requirements differ depending on if you’re using an Arcane Station or a Tech Station. Each buff lasts much longer than an Inspiration–more along the lines of Mystic Fortune or Secondary Mutation. You can get buffs that help you with everything from your Run Speed to your Fire Resistance, from your Hold Resistance to your Knockback Increase. Very helpful for little heroes, who could use the extra help!
These tips on surviving your first few levels, from your gameplay to your in-game amenities, should help you get a good start in City of Heroes. Take it from one who’s been in the “lowbie zone” many, many times–it is a little inconvenient at first, but tips like this make it much easier.