Issue 17

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This article contains information about a major update to City of Heroes/Villains. It is provided for historical purposes.



Issue 17, titled Dark Mirror, was a major revision to City of Heroes and City of Villains. The title references a new enemy group introduced in the new story arcs and updated Positron Task Force.

This article summarizes some of the major features in Issue 17. For more complete details, see the release date's patch notes.

Ultra Mode

Main Article: Ultra Mode

Ultra Mode includes a superior graphics rendering process for players who have higher-end graphic cards. Each feature can be enabled or disabled in the graphics menu options and will be scalable. Ultra Mode works on both Macs and PCs. In specific, it offers dynamic shadows, screen-space ambient occlusion, and dynamic environment reflections (including planar reflections and environment mapping of reflective surfaces).

Ultra Mode Player Guides

Missions and Story Content

New Contacts and Arcs

Issue 17: Dark Mirror features two new Hero and two new Villain story arcs for levels 20-29. Each of these story arcs has four missions, and the story arcs highlight the Dark Mirror's sinister new enemy.

  • For Heroes
    • Field Agent Keith Nance (level 20-29) has arrived in Talos Island to investigate charges of treason. He realizes he has the wrong suspect so he needs your help to solve the case.
    • Once you've cleared things up with the government and Keith Nance, he directs you to Special Agent Jenni Adair (level 20-29) who has just come into some new information. Note that you can not start Jenni's arc without first having completed Keith's.
  • For Villains
    • Dean MacArthur (level 20-29) in Sharkhead Isle has some information on the troublesome hero, Ajax, who has been spotted in the Rogue Isles recently.
    • After you are finished with Dean MacArthur, you can look up Leonard Silmon (level 20-29), who is interested in a new group called "Mane Corp". Note that you can not start Leonard's arc without first having completed Dean's.

New Positron Task Forces

The Positron Task Force has been split into two halves and updated. The final battle of the Task Force takes place in the Faultline Dam and incorporates the new Dark Mirror enemy.

  • The new Positron Task Forces are: Rule of Three, levels 10-15 (11 Merits); and Dam Heroes, levels 11-16 (15 Merits). Each still requires 3 players to start. Unlike the original Positron Task Force, neither of these new Task Forces spawns as a 'signature' Task Force, that is, the levels of the spawns are not set to the top level of the Task Force, but instead, they will spawn at the Level of the team member who has the highest level.
  • Each Task Force now has a new badge associated it. Getting both badges awards Positron's Ally, the badge from the original TF (which is needed for the Task Force Commander Accolade). Those who have Positron's Ally and the Accolade before Issue 17 will not lose them when it goes Live.
  • The leader of the team can not start the second new Task Force without having the badge for the first new Task Force.
  • The Old Positron Task Force is now available as a flashback arc entitled "The New Recruits" (which can be soloed) under the section, Protector of the Innocents (Level 1 - 15). It's currently worth 40 Merits in Beta (was originally 66 Merits as a Task Force right before Issue 17).

Silver Mantis Strike Force

The Silver Mantis Strike Force will now be available to all Villains, not just supergroups. You now can access the Silver Mantis Strike Force via Silver Mantis, located in Sharkhead Isle. You can also run this Task Force from your supergroup computer.

Mission Quality of Life Improvements

  • Increased Mission and Arc Count: players can now have seven active missions (previously three); also they may have 5 major arcs open at once (previously two)
  • Show Last Objective: This UI improvement lets players find the last objective on a mission map, making it easier to find something missed. The last item or spawn of the last objective of a mission will 'light up' on the mission mini-map as a red arrow.
  • Cell Phones: Some legacy arcs have the contacts giving out their cell phone sooner.
  • Starting Zone Missions: Contacts in starting zones (Atlas Park, Galaxy City, Mercy Isle) should, in general, no longer send players into dangerous neighborhoods to reach low-level (1-5) missions. Travel times will often be shorter to reach these mission doors, as well.
  • Drop Mission Option: In the mission window and when contacting a contact with whom one has a standing mission, there is now an option to abandon that mission. This does not complete the mission. This is not available during "Task Force mode."
  • New Mission Mechanics: There are new mission mechanics allowing for more varied mission objectives and dialogues and choices that can be based on variables such as the gender of the character or past decisions made by the character. These appear in the new arcs of this Issue. And there is a new type of boss! (Play the new new hero and villain arcs of Issue 17 or the new Positron Task force for an encounter.)
  • Task/Strike Force Difficulty Slider: In order to prevent Master-of... Task Forces from being done too easily at a -1 Level, all Task/Strike Forces were locked to the basic +0 Notoriety level, which unfortunately prevented choosing a higher difficulty setting. Now, with Issue 17, the Difficulty Slider will again apply to Task/Strike forces. The -1 Level setting will be ignored and spawns will appear at their normal level (treated as +0). Higher difficulty settings (+1 through +4) will take effect adding 1 to 4 levels to the usual spawn level of the foes (except for special foes with locked levels, such as Level 54 Archvillains). Additionally, Team Size Setting will be in effect and foes will spawn at the size of the team or the Team Size Setting, whichever is greater. However, Allow Bosses and Allow AVs will always be locked on during Task or Strike Forces.

New Badges

Main Article: Issue 17 Badges
  • Number-of-Badges Badges: Newly available 500 Badges Earned, 750 Badges Earned, and 1,000 Badges Earned (though, not until switching sides in Going Rogue will the 1,000 Badges Earned Badge be earnable).
  • New Exploration Badges have been added to city zones bringing the number of Exploration badges per city zone (generally not hazard, pvp, nor trial zones, although the Hollows gains badges and Accolade) up to 8 for each zone. Players can earn new Accolades (and 5 Merits per Accolade) for finding all of the exploration badges in each city zone. The new exploration badges will not be needed for Base Beacons.
  • Two new Task Force badges for the new Positron Task Forces.
  • Four new arc-completion badges for the two new Hero arcs and two new Villain arcs.
  • Special defeat badge for Villains who complete Leonard Silmon's first mission selecting the in-mission dialogue challenge for 8.

Quality of Life Improvements

  • New player emotes: dig, picklock, spraypaint, jackhammer, and warmhands under interact > environment in the quickmenu; pamphlet, vendor, and batlookout (hold bat) under idle in the quickmenu.
  • New Sounds: Lots of new and updated sounds have been added to the game especially to specific objects: cars honk; citizens have footsteps and special sound FX; new player footsteps sounds depending on flooring material; etc.... Sounds now position in #D space in both playback modes and supports 5.1 Surround sound. Some sound bugs fixed and the music volume control now affects all music in the game.
  • Respec Level Counter: Now when you respec, there is a "Current Respec Level" counter in the upper right when you're picking powers.
  • Global Channel Timeout Command: New command: /chan_timeout <channel name> <duration>
  • This is a command to help Moderators manage channels. When the channel timeout is set, users that have not logged in within the duration specified will be removed from the channel
  • The duration is in days
  • Setting duration to zero means there is no limit
  • 7 is the minimum time allowed to be set
  • Only channel moderators can use this command
  • Example: The command below will kick all members of AwesomeChannel who have been logged out more than 30 days:
/chan_timeout AwesomeChannel 30
  • Show Keybind Command: New Command: /show_bind <key> shows what commands are bound to that key.
  • Apply Now Button Status: In the Options Menu, the “Apply Now” button will now change colors when you select any graphics change that has not been applied yet. Previously, some players were confused by the fact that certain changes require you to select Apply Now before they appear.
  • Chat Hidden: If a player is in a window that cannot display the Chat Window (such as the respec screen) and does not have an /afk message set, the game automatically responds to any /tell with "Chat Hidden".
  • Search Window Resizable: Previously the Search window was a fixed width often causing the Search Comments to be truncated. It is now resizable by dragging the window frame.

Arena and PvP

  • Added a button that displays the score of an Arena match while the match is still being played.
  • Exiting an arena match is now a two-step process: first you open the score window, and then choose to exit the match from there. You can no longer leave the match from just clicking on the Exit button in the navigation window.
  • The arena UI no longer resets some settings to their default values between matches during the same client session.
  • The options within the upper left master dropdown in the arena window have been broken up into multiple separate dropdowns, allowing for further player customization of match settings.
  • It is no longer possible to use Teleport Foe on enemies while they are inside Hospital recovery rooms.
  • You now respawn with full health and endurance when you spawn in a hospital in Bloody Bay, Siren's Call, Warburg, and Recluse's Victory.

Auction House UI Update

The Auction House UI gives you new options for sorting search results, your Auction House inventory is now separated by clearly marked tabs based on the item's status, the Auction House text entry box now auto-completes, and a single click on a recipe displays all salvage needed for that recipe.

The implementation of the new UI necessitated a one-time wipe of the last-five-sold history.

Invention System

  • Craftable Temporary Powers: A cleaner and more consistent way of finding and crafting temporary powers in the UI menus.
  • Recipe Splash Color: The color of the splash notices for recipe drops now correspond to the color-coded rarity of the recipe: White for common; yellow for uncommon; orange for rare; and purple for very rare.
  • Salvage Use in Recipes: The info window of a piece of salvage tells you what recipes it's used in that you own and all recipes. When selling salvage, there is a pop-up box to warn you if that salvage is used in a recipe you own.
  • Fix Unenhanceable Special IOs: The following special IO Enhancements were incorrectly being increased in effect by outside buffs and debuffs. These effects have been changed to be constant and unaffected by Buffs or Debuffs.

Mission Architect Improvements

  • Experience: Previously, if the player made any changes to make the enemies they face in Mission Architect easier, they would receive zero experience for those enemies. Adjustments have been made to allow players to handpick the powers for custom enemies and still receive experience for them, but not be able to exploit weaker enemies for unfair experience gain. Now, every power for custom critters has been weighted individually.
  • New Maps: Twenty-five new unique maps:
  • Atlas Park - Fashion Show - Atlas Park, Outdoor Maps
  • Batzul Hell - Caves, Unique
  • Bleak Future – Tech
  • Boomtown - Construction - Outdoor Maps
  • Carnival Warehouse – Warehouse
  • Cesspool – Warehouse
  • Cimerora - Battle Map – Cimerora
  • Cimerora - Sybil Temple – Cimerora
  • Cimerora - Phoebas Point – Cimerora
  • Frostfire – Office
  • Grandville - Conference Room – Grandville
  • Grandville - Main Lobby – Grandville
  • Grandville - Main Square – Grandville
  • Grandville - The Fab – Grandville
  • Little Round Top - Generic - Outdoor Maps, Rikti War Zone
  • Mercy Island - Clocktower - Outdoor Maps, Mercy Island
  • Point du Hoc - Generic - Outdoor Maps, Rikti War Zone
  • Port Oakes - Cargo Ship Yard - Outdoor Maps
  • Steel Canyon - SERAPH Lab - Outdoor Maps
  • Striga Isle - Bridge - Outdoor Maps
  • Superadine Lab – Warehouse
  • The Abyss - Outdoor Maps
  • The Bulge - Generic - Outdoor Maps, Rikti War Zone
  • Tsoo Tattoo Parlor – Warehouse
  • Vanguard Base (Interior) - Rikti War zone
  • Giant Monsters: Players can now add giant monsters to some outdoor maps:
  • Exit Mission on Complete: Players can now specify that players have to leave the mission manually on completion
  • Escort Missions: "Lead to place" technology allows players more control over escort objectives
  • More Work Space: File sizes for missions have been doubled.


  • Animated Tails: You will now be able to select tail body parts that will react to your movement and have a swaying or swishing idle animation mode. Tails have moved to a separate "Lower Body" option, meaning you can have a belt and a tail at the same time. You will need to go to a tailor to upgrade to the animated version. Additionally, if you are using a legacy static tail, the next time you visit a tailor, you will be forced to select it from its new sorting location.
  • Reflective Costumes: The following costumes have real-time reflections when the appropriate Ultra Mode options are selected: Armored Plate, Cyborg, Enforcer, Tech Sleek, Valkyrie, Vanguard, and Metallic. Players may need to re-choose those costume pieces at the tailor to upgrade to the real-time reflective textures.
  • Costume Creator Zoom: Depending on which part of your character you're costuming, the zoom button now moves the "camera" to new views and the character into new stances to better see that area of the character.

Archetypes and Powers

  • Note that when the issue goes Live, a player may have to log in a Level 20+ hero or villain to get the unlock first before being able to create an Epic Archetype. And it's been a known bug that the unlock occasionally is 'lost' which will require logging in a Level 20+ hero or villain again to re-unlock the Epic Archetype. This bug only affects character creation of the EAT -- if an EAT is already created this bug doesn't cause you don't lose access to it.
  • Mystic Fortune: The power Mystic Fortune no longer creates a pop-up accept/decline window for its target, it is now automatically granted.
  • New Craftable Temporary Powers:

Vigilance Buff

The Defender's primary focus is to protect the team. When his allies are in danger, the Defender is able to look deep within him or herself and rise to the occasion. As a Defender's teammates are in danger of being defeated, the Defender gains an Endurance Discount and can activate their powers at a reduced cost. The more teammates in trouble, the greater the discount. A defender on a small team or by himself has more freedom to concentrate on his enemies, which allows him to increase his damage output by up to 30%. Each team member reduces this by 10%, to a minimum of no buff at all.

Vigilance buff mentioned at PAXe 2010.

Email Attachments

Players can now use in-game e-mails to send Influence/Infamy to your own characters or to other players' characters via in-game e-mails. (You still cannot send Influence, Infamy, or items from a Hero to a Villain or vice versa)

Concurrent Going Rogue Updates

The Power Sets of Dual Pistols and Demon Summoning belong to Going Rogue and are not part of Issue 17. However, as part of a pre-purchase reward, these two Power Sets are being released ahead of the official Going Rogue release date. Dual Pistols was released before Issue 17, and there are some changes to Dual Pistols that will be released to Live concurrent with the Issue 17 Patch. Also, with the Issue 17 Patch, Demon Summoning will be released to Live for those who have pre-purchased Going Rogue. On Test, the two Sets are available to everyone to try out, even if they have not pre-purchased Going Rogue.

  • Dual Pistols > Hail of Bullets: Increased this power's overall average damage scale from 3.034 to 3.63 by increasing both the damage done per tick from .444 scale damage to .454 scale damage as well as increasing the chance for this power to deal damage per tick from 50% to 60%. Additionally when using this power, the user will gain a moderate bonus to their melee, ranged and AoE defense for 5 seconds. This defense bonus is unenhanceable and will only apply to the caster if it hits an enemy target within range. Specifically, Blasters gain 9.75% M/R/A, Corruptors gain 11.25% M/R/A, and Defenders gain 15% M/R/A.

Official Introduction to Dual Pistols web page

Official Introduction to Demon Summoning web page

External Links


  • Some third-party add-ons have been updated to be compliant with Issue 17 including Mid's Hero & Villain Designer, City Info Tracker, Vidiotmaps' Map Pack, and Vanden's Icon Pack. See the Community Portal page.