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Respec Guide, Part One

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City of Heroes Respec Guide, Part One

MMORPG.com City of Heroes Correspondent Marjorie Rhoadhouse writes this guide to respeccing in NCsoft's superhero game. In part one, she goes over some of the terminology involved.

Presuming one of the Respec Trials is merely being considered or has already been completed, and the player has a basic idea of the changes needed to improve his character's repertoire of Powers, this guide provides the semantics about performing the Respec itself. It reveals the Respec as a feature, defines the various forms of Respecs, how to start the process, how to proceed, the do's and don'ts, and what to expect.  Part One of this Guide is devoted to terminology, clarification and details, while Part II (to be published at mid-month) shall then illustrate the process:

Powers, Pools, Sets and Builds - Interchangeable Terms?

As often as these terms are confused, one might think they're interchangeable, but they are not.

Power Sets: Each character begins the game with two Power Sets: a Primary Set and a Secondary Set. These are chosen from a variety of Sets designed for each Archetype (i.e. Tank; Scrapper; Blaster etc), and become permanent attributes from the moment the character is fully created. Power Sets can NOT be changed during a Respec. A Controller with Fire Control as his Primary and Radiation Emission as his Secondary will ALWAYS be a Fire/Rad Controller. Likewise, an Invulnerable/Super Strength Tank will NEVER be able to carry a Shield.

Individual Powers: A Respec addresses the potential for improvement WITHIN Power Sets. Individual Powers and the order in which they were chosen from both Primary and Secondary Sets --- across 50 levels --- CAN be changed. Perhaps one Power does not live up to your expectations, or you've learned another might serve better. Maybe a Power that was useful while your toon was young seems lame now. If you do a lot of exempting, or jumping through Ouroboros, you might like some of those earlier abilities back again, to assist your toon while stripped of his higher Powers.

For those Veteran Reward Powers which require a choice, it is a permanent one. Veteran Rewards cannot be altered by a Respec.

Temporary Powers are unaffected by a Respec, unless you have one that is limited by real time in-game. The time spent performing the Respec will be used against you. The time allotted may even run out and the Power will disappear.

Power Pools: Mini Power Sets, known as Power Pools, become available at Level 6 to all Hero Archetypes (with the exception of Kheldians, who are offered fewer travel power choices), and remain available through Level 50. These mini Sets include Travel Powers; Medicine; Fitness; Leadership, etc. These sets CAN be changed during a Respec. A toon with Fly can drop the Flight Pool [Set] and pick up the Teleportation Pool [Set] instead ---- or keep elements from each Set, in part or in whole.

Ssssh! Nowhere in the game is a player informed that, out of the 10 Power Pool Sets available, each toon is allowed to choose from a maximum of only four Sets. Once Individual Powers have been chosen from a total of four Sets, the rest of the Pool Power Sets are locked out. Future choices of Individual Powers may be added from the four Sets already accessed, but choices from additional Power Pool Sets will not be possible.

At Level 41, a different Power Pool becomes available. This mini Power Set is called the Epic (aka Ancillary) Pool, and offers Mastery Powers from a selection of mini Sets designed for each Archetype. Only one Set may be chosen for each toon, but the choice can be changed with every Respec. Within each of these mini Sets are several powers to chose --- or not --- as you please.

A Character's Build: Loosely speaking, the term, "Build," is often used in reference to the combination of Power Sets which define a particular character. For instance, that Controller mentioned earlier boasts a Fire/Rad Build. However, during detailed discussions, "Build" usually refers to a character's carefully selected array of Individual Powers and how they are built up by enhancements. Everyone has their own idea of what makes a good Build or a bad one, and there is no shortage of opinion and information in the forums regarding this matter. Additionally, some Builds are genuinely better suited for soloing over teaming, and vice versa, while others excel at PvE but not so much with PvP.

We now also have the term, Dual Builds, to contend with, as well as Primary Build and Secondary Build. Dual Builds were just introduced in Issue 13, providing each toon the opportunity to have two separate Builds from WITHIN the same original choice of Power Sets made at the time of character creation. The main Build, i.e. the one used most often, is referred to as the Primary Build, and is in most cases by default the original Build of the toon. It follows then that the Secondary Build is the alternate, the one a player switches to when dealing with special circumstances.

When performing a Respec on a character with a Dual Build, you must be certain the Build you wish to change is CURRENTLY ACTIVE. This is done by first visiting a trainer and switching to the desired Build. To change both Builds, you must perform two Respecs.

Respec, Free-Spec, Vet-Spec?

There are three different types of Respecs available in the game.

Respec: The traditional Respec is awarded upon completion of any of the three Respec Trials. If your toon has never done a Respec Trial and completes one, regardless of which one it is, he will get the Transmogrified Badge. For the first three times any of the Respec Trials are completed, in any combination, different Accolades will be awarded for the first, second and third successes. No matter how many times he completes the Trial, he will receive a Respec token only those first three times. These tokens stack and never expire; however they cannot be traded or sold. To claim the Respec, the token must be turned in to Jack Wolfe, inside Freedom Corps Headquarters in Galaxy City.

Respec Trials can be completed in any order, but there are minimum level requirements for each, and maximum level caps as well. Higher levels can participate but will be auto-exempted, and as such will receive no XP, only Influence and Prestige, and any Badges, Accolades, and Respec tokens due.

Free-Spec: When Powers are introduced or altered by the devs, it is sometimes accompanied by the release of "Free" Respecs (i.e. one you don't have to fight for by completing a Trial). Sometimes this is done after a major release, as in the case of Issue 13, with Dual Builds now being offered. Other times, it might be done after a patch to correct a glitch. When a Free-Spec is issued, the old one will be deleted and replaced with the new. They do not stack. No tokens are given for a Free-Spec. A system message simply appears in the opening text upon log-in, stating that you have "x" amount of Respecs to claim. This one Free Respec will be added into the count of any Veteran Reward Respecs you may have clicked on but not yet claimed, making it appear that you have more than one Free-Spec at your disposal.

Claiming a Free-Spec is easy. Unlike the other two Respecs, the Free-Spec is unencumbered by a token or contact. You simply type /respec in the chat line.

Vet-Spec: Free Respecs are also offered as Veteran Rewards to mark nine months of subscription play; and again at 21 months; 33 months; and at 45 months. (Freebie months for getting another player to subscribe to the game, don't count toward Veteran Rewards.)  These Respecs stack and never expire. Unlike true Free-Specs however, despite the lack of any token, Vet-Specs must be claimed by visiting Jack Wolfe in Galaxy City.

Prep for Part II

Before you begin the process of a Respec, take a screenshot of the way your Power buttons are arranged in the trays... because afterwards it will look as if a bomb hit them!