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City of Heroes: A Guide to Archetypes – Pt. 4

Michael Bitton Posted:
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One area that can often be confusing for new City of Heroes players is the game’s many Archetype choices. Archetypes in City of Heroes are similar in some ways to classes in other games, but due to the freedom CoH offers, it’s best to think of them as a sort of framework for what powers you’ll have available to you.

Each of the game’s fourteen Archetypes are unique even in cases where they share the same sets of powers. While a Blaster might share the same primary power sets with a Corruptor, their unique mechanics and damage scaling are entirely different. For example, a Corruptor selecting Fire Blast would only deal ~75% of the damage a Blaster would with the same powers.

Last week we covered the Kheldian Epic Archetypes added to City of Heroes in Issue 3. Today, we’ll be digging deep into Arachnos Soldiers, the Epic Archetypes added to City of Villains in Issue 12.

Before we begin, let’s talk about Epic Archetypes more broadly. Epic Archetypes aren’t any better than other ATs (Archetypes) in City of Heroes, but they’re a bit more versatile. They also require a bit more game knowledge and planning from the player. Unlike other ATs, EATs (Epic Archetypes) have significantly more powers to pick from, but they’re restricted from the same 67 Enhancement slots that other ATs get over the course of their progression. EATs also have their own storylines to follow throughout the game.

This added complexity is why both sets of Epic Archetypes were originally only unlocked once a player has reached max level (50) with a character on the associated EAT’s side. You’ll now be able to create one right away and we’re here to help you better understand what you’re getting into with these guys if you do.


Like Kheldians, the Villain Epic Archetypes are split into two separate Archetypes: the Arachnos Soldier and the Arachnos Widow. However, instead of shapeshifting into multiple forms, the VEATs each get two different specialization paths they can choose from at level 24. Once specialized, the VEAT will maintain the base powers it trained through level 24, but it will unlock additional powers exclusive to its specialization.

Another key difference between the VEATs and EATs is that Arachnos characters are limited by Arachnos specific costume items for their original costume slot. Freeform costume customization is available in all additional costume slots, but Arachnos exclusive pieces cannot be mixed into these costumes.

Both the Soldier and Widow also share the same Inherent Power called Conditioning. This power grants a higher base Regeneration and Recovery to both Archetypes.


Primary Powerset: Arachnos Soldier


  • Crab Spider Soldier
  • Bane Spider Soldier

Secondary Powerset: Training and Gadgets


  • Crab Spider Training
  • Bane Spider Training

The Arachnos Soldier is your typical gun toting character, with access to a number of different rifle abilities and a few grenades. At level 24, the Arachnos Soldier can choose either the Crab Spider or Bane Spider specialization and it’s here where things can get a bit more interesting.

The Bane Spider gains access to a wicked Arachnos mace capable of dealing some serious damage in both melee and at range with energy blasts. The Bane Spider also has access to the Stalker’s Placate and Hide (Cloaking Device). It ends up playing a bit like a Stalker with a mix of melee and ranged abilities. This specialization also has access to a significant amount of crowd control available as secondary effects of its Mace attacks (Knockback/down and Disorient) and a ranged Hold in Web Cocoon.

The Crab Spider is interesting in that its powers are primarily utilize the unique multi-arm Crab Backpack worn on its back. Like the Bane Spider, the Crab Spider can use its special gear in both ranged and melee, but it also has access to one of the game’s most powerful capstone powers, Omega Maneuver. This ability places down an object that taunts enemies to its location before exploding for a ton of damage.

The Crab Spider’s training gives it access to a number of skills that help improve its hardiness, including a heal called Serum. It also gains an additional set of pets with Summon Spiderlings, allowing the Crab Spider to be built into a sort of Mastermind character when combined with the Arachnos Disruptor Bots available in the Arachnos Soldier’s Training and Gadgets tree.

Speaking of Training and Gadgets, this is where the Arachnos Soldier (and Widow) shines. Both the Arachnos Soldier and Widow EATs are true force multipliers in City of Heroes. Each has access to a set of abilities in their secondary powersets that mimic (and can be stacked with) the power pool Leadership skills, such as Tactics, Maneuvers, and Assault. The more Soldiers or Widows on a team running these abilities, the more powerful everyone else will be. A team full of Arachnos characters can blow through anything in the game.

Needless to say, like the Kheldians, these are characters that excel in groups.


Primary Powerset: Widow Training


  • Night Widow Training
  • Fortunata Training

Secondary Powerset: Teamwork


  • Widow Teamwork
  • Fortunata Teamwork

Your basic Arachnos Widow is not much different from playing a Claws Scrapper, but specialized as a Night Widow, you’ll gain access to some powerful psychic ranged skills and the ability to attack from stealth like the Bane Spider. I never found the Night Widow particularly compelling, but it is incredibly strong. If you want to solo hard single targets like Archvillains, the Night Widow can do that.

Fortunatas, on the other hand, are like Mind/Psy Dominators that trade a bit less hard control for the ability to turn their teammates into walking gods.

Both the Night Widow and Fortunata have access to the same Leadership stacking potential the Soldiers bring to a team, but the Widow Archetypes also bring an ability called Mind Link that grants the team another huge defense buff and a massive 30% (base) bonus to Psionic resistance.

For what it’s worth, Night Widow builds require significantly less investment to get going, so if you’re going to play a Widow, it may be worth starting out as a Night Widow until you’ve built up enough of an income stream to fund your more expensive Fortunata project.


Michael Bitton

Michael Bitton / Michael began his career at the WarCry Network in 2005 as the site manager for several different WarCry fansite portals. In 2008, Michael worked for the startup magazine Massive Gamer as a columnist and online news editor. In June of 2009, Michael joined MMORPG.com as the site's Community Manager. Follow him on Twitter @eMikeB