Guide to Enhancements FAQ


-- by ZealotOnAStick )aka Electric Tears, of Synergy on the Freedom Server)
(this page current as of 6/29/04, from this thread

Preface

This guide is intended to place the answers to very commonly and frequently asked questions regarding enhancements, stores, availability, drops, and so forth in one hopefully easy to understand place. Almost all of this information is available (and probably duplicated) elsewhere in other posts on the CoH forums, but may not be as easy to find, or may be presented in a format that can be confusing.

At the time of writing, this guide is mostly accurate (I may goof up in a spot or two). If you find a discrepancy or inaccuracy, or have additional useful information, either PM me or respond to this thread. The information presented here is collected from various sources from the beta and release boards, as well as personal in-game investigation. I'm not citing sources for the information I'm borrowing for inclusion in this guide, because quite honestly I've lost track of the original posters for much of the information from the beta boards.

I've split this guide into 6 sections:

Part 1: Basics - Enhancement Types, Combining, & the Power 10
Part 2: Selling & Origins
Part 3: Store Locations
Part 4: High Level Store Mission Info
Part 5: Enhancement Drop Info
Part 6: Appendices & Credits

Part 1: Basics - Enhancement Types, Combining, & the Power 10

Enhancement Types

There are 3 types of enhancements - Training (also referred to as Generic or TO), Dual Origin (DO) and Single Origin (SO). Well, technically, there's a 4th type, special enhancements that only drop from the Hamidon Trial, but as they're not available in stores, they won't be covered in this guide.

Training enhancements can be used by any origin. They offer a small boost (either 5% or roughly 8.33%) boost to an aspect of a power.

Dual Origin enhancements can be used by two origins (hence the name). As an example, Technology-usable DOs come in two flavors - Technology/Natural, and Technology/Science. DOs offer a moderate boost (either 10%, or roughly 16.7%) boost to an aspect of a power. This breaks down to, DOs are twice as good as TOs.

Single Origin enhancements can be used by only one origin (hence the name). SOs offer the best boost (either 20% or roughly 33.3%) possible to an aspect of a power. SOs are twice as good as DOs.

Here's a link to a handy Enhancement Reference that details which specific enhancements are which type and the effectiveness of each enhancement (% boost that your power receives) .

Endurance Reduction Enhancements and Recharge Reduction enhancements reduce the cost of time of a power, rather than adding to its effects. On these types of enhancements, the bonus amount is added to 1 and then the endurance cost or recharge time of a power is divided by that number. The formula for that is: base / (1 + bonus) = new value. As an example, a power that takes 20 endurance to use and recharges in 20 seconds, if enhanced with 2 SO endurance reduction enhancements and 2 SO reload reduction enhancements (both even with your level) would work like this: 20 / 1.66 = 12.05. So, the power would then cost 12 endurance, and reload in 12 seconds. Interrupt Time Reduction enhancements -may- work the same way, I haven't seen a definite dev statement one way or the other.

The Developers themselves have made it clear - any currently usable SO is always better than a DO, and a DO is always better than a Training. More on that below.

Combining

Enhancements of the same type and effect can be combined with one another to make a slightly stronger version of the enhancement. A combined enhancement will be listed as its level, with either 1 or 2 + signs after it. So, a level 10 enhancement that has been combined once, will be a 10+. That + means the enhancement functions as if it were 1 level higher, or a level 11. A 10++ would function as if it were a level 12. Enhancements can only be combined to end up with 2 +s. A 10++ is effectively a level 12, and cannot be combined to improve that, unless it's added to a level 12 or higher enhancement. A 10++ combined with a 12 will result in a 12+. This presumes that the combination succeeds - there is a chance that combinations will fail, and you'll just be left with the higher level enhancement in the slot. This chance of failure on combination increases with the difference in level between enhancements. You can also only combine enhancements if the result will not make the enhancement unusable to you.

With Dual Origins enhancements, you can combine different enhancements so long as they're usable by your character (as there are two kinds of DOs each origin can use, with different origin overlaps). If you're a Technology origin character, you could combine a Tech/Natural enhancement and a Tech/Science enhancement.

You can only use enhancements that are + or - 3 levels of your present level (including equal level). A level 10 can use enhancements levels 7 through 13. A level 10 will not be able to combine any level 13 enhancements (or 12+s, etc.). To combine an enhancement that is 3 levels above your current level, you need to level so it's only 2 levels above your level (and thus combinable).

Why combine enhancements? Enhancements provide the above listed boost values when they are equal to your level (white). Enhancements that are yellow (lower than your level) provide a slightly lesser boost with each level below your level. Enhancements that are green (higher than your level) provide a slightly greater boost with each level below your level.

So, say you're level 31. You have a level 29 SO, and a level 34 SO. The level 29 SO gives you a 26.6% boost, and the level 34 gives you a 38.3% boost. This works the same, whether that 34 is a plain 34, or a 32++.

Consult the Enhancement Reference page for more info on what the percentages are at different levels.

Stacking:
"Stacking" enhancements refers to putting multiple enhancements of the same type in more than one slot on a power. Enhancement bonuses are additive - meaning that the more enhancements of the same type you have in a power, the more that aspect of that power is going to be enhanced. Sometimes people ask if stacking or combining is better; if you have the slots for it, stacking is almost always better.

Let's take the basic Ice Blaster power, Ice Bolt. Let's say that you have 3 slots in the power, and you add 2 more, for a total of five. Before, when you had 3 slots, you had a training endurance reduction enhancement, a training accuracy enhancement, and a training damage enhancement. Presuming they're even level enhancements, you'll get an 8.33% bonus to accuracy and damage, and your Ice Bolt will only cost you roughly 5.5 endurance to use, rather than the base cost of 6. Now, with the two new slots, you could put in something else like Range or Recharge Reduction, or you could put in more Damage or Accuracy. Most Blasters and Scrappers slot 1 accuracy, and then primarily damage (with occasionally endurance reduction or reload) on their primary attacks. Let's say you add 2 more damage slots to your now 5 slotted Ice Bolt - you'd have 3 damage enhancements, 1 accuracy, and 1 endurance reduction. That'd give you about a 25% bonus to your damage (8.33 * 3 = 24.99).

With DO and SO enhancements, stacking them adds up quickly, and can boost a power to being 3 times more powerful than it is un-enhanced. As an example, 6 even-level SO damage enhancements would add 199.8% damage to an attack. With 6 SO +3 level damage enhancements, you can hit just shy of 330% total damage, before any debuffs, buffs, inspirations, or damage-enhancing skills such as Aim or Build Up are used!

Something to note when stacking, if you're a number-cruncher or want to keep in the best shape as you can with your powers - the penalty for below-level enhancements is double the bonus for above-level enhancements. As an example, say you have 2 SO defense enhancements - at even level, they'd both provide 20% boost to a power's defense. Added together, that's 40%. Now, if you have one enhancement that's +1 level, and another that's -1 level, that is actually slightly worse than having 2 even level enhancements. The +1 level would provide 21% boost, and the -1 level would provide 18% boost, totaling 39% together. This is a small difference, but some people seem to care.

The "Power 10" Enhancements

The "Power 10" Enhancements are the set of the most commonly sold enhancements. The power 10 are:

  • Accuracy
  • Damage
  • Defense Buff
  • End Reduction
  • Healing
  • Hold Duration
  • Range Increase
  • Recharge Reduction
  • Damage Resist
  • Disorient Duration

Power 10 Enhancements are sold in stores earlier in DO and SO forms than the other 18 enhancement types in the game. Power 10 DOs are available in stores beginning with level 15 forms (thus, usable at level 12). Power 10 SOs are available in stores beginning with level 25 forms (thus, usable at level 22). For non-Power 10 DO enhancements, you have to wait to purchase level 25 versions (usable at level 22, 10 levels later than the Power 10). Non-Power 10 SO enhancements are available in either level 30 or 35 versions, requiring you to wait until level 27, 30, or 32 to be able to buy and use them (depending on your Origin, and whether or not you have helpful higher level friends).

Part 2: Selling & Origins

Selling Enhancements

Origin matters when selling enhancements. If you want to get the most influence for the enhancements you sell, you may need to visit multiple stores. Freedom Corps stores pay the most for Training Enhancements, and Origin oriented stores pay the most for enhancements of a type they deal in.

How much of a difference is this? If you sell an enhancement at a non-optimal store, you'll get 20% of its "Sale Price" value. If you sell at an optimal store, you'll get 45% of its value. As an example, say you have a Science SO enhancement that can be bought at a store for 30,000 influence. Selling it at Orion Labs or Deimos Innovations (science-oriented stores) will get you 13,500 influence for it. Selling it at a non-science oriented store, you'll only get 6,000 influence for it.

Stores also pay more for enhancements that are a multiple of 5 - 15, 20, 25, 30, and so forth. This is presumed to simulate the greater "resale value" of an enhancement of the same level that is carried by stores.

Origin-oriented stores will pay these better prices for both Single Origin enhancements of their origin type, and for any Dual Origin enhancements that have one of the origins as their type. Image Inc., and Future Dynamics, both Natural stores, will pay more for both Tech/Natural DOs and Natural/Magic DOs, as an example.

For a breakdown of store names by origin and zone, consult this page.

For very high level heroes, there's also Ghost Falcon, who handles SO enhancements for all 5 origins.  Ghost Falcon is in Peregrine Island, a bit East-southeast of the Ferry boat that you enter Peregrine Island from.

For a list of which enhancements sell at which prices relative to each other (so you know which ones to throw away when you get full), consult this page

Part 3: Store Locations & Availability

Levels Sold/Availability

There are 5 level ranges of stores in the game. I'll call these Newbie, Low Level, Mid Level, High Level, and Epic Level.

Newbie stores are the Superpowered Field Trainer NPCs that can be found in Atlas Park and Galaxy City, off to the sides near Miss Liberty and Back Alley Brawler, one inside Freedom Corps Headquarters in Galaxy City, and two in the "origin hall" inside Paragon City Hall in Atlas Park. There is also a Freedom Corps Basic Trainer in Skyway City near Synapse and the Trainer NPC there.

Low Level stores carry level 15 and 20 enhancements - all 28 Training enhancements, and Power 10 DOs. Low Level stores are Freedom Corps Basic Training, Cooke's Electronics, Image Inc., Orion Labs, Pandora's Box, and SubGenetics. Low Levels stores are located in Steel Canyon and Skyway City. Most characters in this level range will find Steel Canyon to be the most convenient for shopping.

Mid Level stores carry level 25 and 30 enhancements - all 28 Training and DO, and Power 10 SOs. Mid Level stores are Freedom Corps Special Forces, BioTechnix, Deimos Innovations, Exarch Industries, Future Dynamics, and Tabitha Fabish. Mid Level stores are located in Independence Port and Talos Island. Talos Island is by far the most convenient zone for shopping in this level range, with the exception of Science origin stuff (Deimos is practically across the street from the Tram in IP) and perhaps Mutant.

High Level stores carry level 30, 35, and 40 enhancements - all 28 DOs and SOs, with the exception of Serafina, who only carries level 35 and 40 SOs (with the odd sole exception of Shield of Hermes - resist damage - being stocked at level 30). The High Level stores are actually NPCs that are just standing around - in a courtyard, in a tunnel, on the street, whatever. They require you to complete a mission for them before you can buy their wares. To get their mission, you must be level 30 (with the exception of Penny Preston, who doesn't seem to care what level you get her mission at). High Level Store NPCs are located in Founder's Falls (Mark IV, Agent Six, Penny Preston) and Brickstown (Serafina, Holsten Armitage).

Epic Level players have one store NPC, called Ghost Falcon. Ghost Falcon carries level 40, 45, and 50 SO enhancements for all 5 origins. Ghost Falcon also requires that you complete a mission for him before you can buy from him, like the High Level Store NPCs.

Your contacts also sell enhancements. At present in game, this isn't very useful, as they only offer Training enhancements. They'll offer one specific level when you first meet them, and then as you progress on their relationship bar, they'll add more enhancements (I think just the Power 10, as well) 5 and then 10 levels higher. Enhancements from Contacts are probably only useful at very low levels.

Some of the Dual and Single Origin enhancement names can be somewhat confusing. To find out exactly what an enhancement effect for your origin type is named, I suggest consulting Warcry's Enhancement Compendium.

Part 4: High Level Store Mission Info

*** POSSIBLE SPOILER WARNING! ***

Do NOT continue reading this unless you want to know specific information, including tips on how to complete the missions, for the high level Store NPC missions. Some of the information in this post may "spoil" story elements of the game.

Any origin can take and complete the missions (and then use the store) for NPC Stores. You don't have to JUST do your own origin store. If you want to be able to buy from other stores - maybe to help out needy level 27s, or just for the story, or for the mission and bonus XP, or to open up more stores so that you can maximize your Influence (remember you get more influence if you sell at the appropriate stores) or have to travel less when you inventory gets full, you can.

Penny Preston, Mutant Store NPC

At the time this guide is being written, Penny Preston's mission seems to be the only mission from the store NPCs that player characters can get before level 30. Penny doesn't seem to care what level you are. It has been first-hand confirmed that a character as low as level 22 can get Penny's mission. I'm not certain if there's a minimum level for Devouring Earth mobs - if there is, accepting the mission at a very low level might result in a mission with mobs in it much higher level than the character.

The Devouring Earth want Penny for some nefarious purposes. She asks you to simply go and kill all the Devouring Earth in some warehouse. The mission is very straightforward - it is a "Defeat All" type mission, and you simply must defeat all the Devouring Earth in the mission instance. If you solo, and don't have some way to resist sleep, stun, and hold effects, you'll probably want to load up on Discipline inspirations from one of your contacts. You'll want to take out the Fungoids and Herders first, and then handle the Bladegrass and Granite mobs after those are out of the way.

Penny's Dialogue will probably mention Crey's Folly (a problem if you're under level 30), but the mission is usually in a city zone or a lower level hazard zone.

Mark IV, Technology Store NPC

Mark IV is an escaped cyborg created by Crey. They did a bit too good a job on him, and he's out and trying to help the heroes of Paragon City, and wants nothing to do with Crey now (rather amusing, as high level Crey mobs spawn with relative frequency yards away from Mark IV). Mark IV is getting nervous about Crey, as they're getting close to finding him, and he wants you to erase the records of his existence from their computers. He gives you a device which he wants you to go attach to one of their mainframes, and it'll do the rest.

Mark IV's mission takes place in the Tech Lab mission tile set, with a bunch of even-level Crey mobs around in various areas. They shouldn't present too much of a problem if you just want to fight your way through and find the glowing computer. However, there's a simpler and faster way to complete the mission (2 or 3 minutes) if you have some form of stealth (Steamy Mist, Stealth, Cloaking Device, Invisibility) or know someone who does. A stealthed person can simply run or fly around and past all the Crey mobs quickly, bypassing them without having to defeat a single mob to get to the computer and erase Mark IV's records from it.

Agent Six, Natural Store NPC

Agent Six has gotten wind of some sort of plot by Nemesis, and wants your help to get photos of the plans. She gives you a little digital spy camera, and tells you that Nemesis dislikes computers, so the records will probably be in a file cabinet somewhere.

The mission is a warehouse map filled with a bunch of Nemesis, no surprise there. You can either fight through them all, clicking on the various file cabinets (there are several) until you find the right one (usually in the room farthest in, of course) . . . or, you can stealth your way through the mission sneaking around just hitting the glowy file cabinets until you get the one with the plans. This mission, like Mark IV's, can be accomplished solely with stealth, and without defeating a single villain - if you want.

Once you get photos of the plans, Agent Six congratulates you for getting the information without disturbing them (so that Nemesis will go ahead with them and can be stopped cold), and you can take pride in knowing that you've thwarted a plot to assassinate Statesman!

Serafina, Magic Store NPC

Serafina is a former Genie, now stripped of much of her powers. Somehow the Circle of Thorns has gotten Serafina's bottle, and she'd like you to get it back for her.

Serafina's mission takes place in an Oranbega underground city/cave map. Like all the missions, you can simply fight your way through if you wish. This mission can also -mostly- be accomplished by stealth. Depending on the mob spawns, there may be a couple of narrow spots where you simply can't sneak past the mobs (unless you're fully invisible) and you have to fight your way past those. Most of the mission can be snuck through with stealth however, if that is your desire. You're looking for glowing treasure chests - there will be a couple of decoys along with the one with Serafina's bottle.

Holsten Armitage, Science Store NPC

Holsten Armitage is from the future - 20 years in the future, where the Rikti have destroyed mankind. He tells you about a plot to kidnap and kill some politician (A Senator? I've spaced on the details of the name) . . . by the Rikti. He tells you it's happening right now, that they have him in the sewers, and to go and rescue him.

Holsten Armitage's mission is a typical "rescue the hostage" mission in the sewers. There are lots of Rikti in there, of a few different types. On a solo run of the mission, there were Infantry, Gunners, Guardians, Rikti Monkeys, and a Communications Officer. If you fight through the mission, try to make a point of taking out the Guardians first, else they'll toss those blasted force fields on the other Rikti. If you'd prefer to try to sneak your way through the mission with stealth, you can avoid most of them, but will have to fight at least the Communications Officer and the other Rikti very near the hostage at the end room.

Ghost Falcon, Epic Level All Origin Store NPC

Thanks Berner for the info.
Must be level 40+. Mission sends you to the Portal Corp headquarters on Perigrine Island. You enter the building and make your way to the designated portal. Once through the portal, you find yourself in an instanced outdoor zone (looks kind of like a small Brickstown). It is filled with 40+ Rikti. You have to find one blinkie, which is a bit of a needle in a haystack hunt. You do not need to defeat any of the Rikti, just find the blinkie and return to GF.

Part 5: Enhancement Drop Info

Drop Levels

  • Generics that drop from level 1 to 19 mobs will be Villain Level, VL-1, or VL-2.
  • Generics that drop from level 20 to 29 mobs will be Villain Level, VL+1, or VL-1.
  • Generics that drop from level 30 to 40 mobs will be Villain Level, VL+1, or VL+2.
  • Dual Origins that drop from level 15 to 29 mobs will be Villain Level, VL-1, or VL-2.
  • Dual Origins that drop from level 30 to 40 mobs will be Villain Level, VL+1, or VL-1.
  • Single Origins will always be Villain Level, VL-1 or VL-2.
  • Task Force rewards, Trial rewards, and Archvillain Drops may not fit these criteria.

Known Drops by Villain Group

  • Training (Generic) Enhancements drop exclusively in levels 1 to 14.
  • Level 15 to 19 Clockwork have a very rare chance of dropping a Gadget (Tech/Natural).
  • Level 15 to 19 Vahzilok have a very rare chance of dropping a Genetic Alteration (Mutant/Science).
  • Level 15 to 19 Tsoo have a very rare chance of dropping a Focusing Device (Mutant/Magic).
  • All other Level 15 to 19 villains have a very rare chance of dropping any Dual Origin Enhancement
  • Level 20 to 24 Banished Pantheon occasionally drop a Relic (Magic/Natural).
  • Level 20 to 24 Freakshow occasionally drop a Gadget (Natural/Tech).
  • Level 20 to 24 Sky Raiders occasionally drop an Invention (Tech/Science).
  • Level 20 to 24 Tsoo occasionally drop a Focus (Mutant/Magic).
  • All other Level 20 to 24 occasionally drop any Dual Origin Enhancement.
  • Level 25 to 29 5th Column occasionally drop a Focus (Mutant/Magic) and a very rare chance of dropping any Single Origin Enhancement.
  • Level 25 to 29 Devouring occasionally drop a Genetic Alteration (Science/Mutant) and a very rare chance of dropping any Single Origin Enhancement.
  • All other Level 25 to 29 are the same as 20 to 24, except for a very rare chance of dropping any Single Origin Enhancement.
  • Level 30 to 34 Freakshow occasionally drop a Gadget (Tech/Natural) or a Cybernetic (Tech).
  • Level 30 to 40 5th Column occasionally drop a Genetic Alteration (Science/Mutant) or a Secondary Mutation (Mutant).
  • Level 30 to 40 Circle of Thorns occasionally drop a Relic (Natural/Magic) or a Dimensional Entity (Magic).
  • Level 30 to 40 Crey occasionally drop an Invention (Tech/Science) or a Technique (Natural).
  • Level 30 to 40 Devouring Earth occasionally drop a Focus (Mutant/Magic) or an Experiment (Science).
  • Level 30 to 40 Nemesis occasionally drop a Gadget (Tech/Natural) or a Cybernetic (Tech).

Precise drop rates haven't been listed by the developers, but during beta, numbers listed on unformatted patch notes with the above information would seem to indicate that "very rare" is about 1 in 200 chance, "occasionally" ranges from about 1 in 40 chance to 1 in 5 chance, depending on level.

Part 6: Appendices & Credits

Appendix 1: Revision History

1.0 - First posting

1.1 - Added initial changes for Through the Looking Glass Update, including Ghost Falcon & changes to Serafina. Additional information added on FF and Brickstown contact enhancement stock. Added section on Stacking. Revised selling section. Added information on combining different overlap DOs. Added link to CoH Map Patch site. Revised bulleted sections to hopefully render better in Mozilla-based browsers. Added appendices.

Appendix 2: Notes

* This may have been fixed with the Through the Looking Glass Update. I have not yet checked with a character below level 30 after the Update went live to see if Penny Preston still gives the mission out to characters under level 30.

** Brickstown and Founder's Falls contacts offer DO enhancements (at levels that everyone is pretty much using all SOs) of the two overlap types that correspond with their specialty origin. They all seem to offer the same 6 enhancement types - Accuracy, Damage, Range, Endurance Reduction, Reload Reduction, and Damage Resistance (the old beta "Power 5" plus Damage Resistance).

Known contacts and their DO enhancement types:

  • Jenny Firkins, FF - Science/Mutant and Technology/Science
  • Phillipa Meraux, FF - Technology/Natural and Natural/Magic
  • Neal Kendrick, Brickstown - Technology/Natural and Technology/Science

I need the help of other players - next time you hit a higher level (30+) contact, check their store, and see if they sell DO or SO enhancements. If so, if you can take a few moments to note what specific enhancement types they sell, what origin(s), and the contact name and zone, and either respond to this thread or PM me, I'd be most appreciative. With your help the guide can be more accurate and helpful (credit will be given where due, of course).

Appendix 3: Credits and Thanks

Specific thanks to: Katspaws, Weap0nX, incandenza, Massive_Jotun, Mr_IronSamKidd.

Thanks to Curveball for his monumental guide to /bind, which inspired this guide.

Thanks to all the various folks during beta and release who compiled and posted the information used in crafting this guide.

Appendix 4: Reuse and Redistribution

If you find this guide to be of a lot of use and want to reprint it, turn it into a pdf file, a web page, include it in your web site, or whatever, feel free - so long as you credit me for the work put into this guide (Electric Tears, of Synergy on the Freedom Server), and post a link to the forum thread that this guide's original form is in. I'd prefer to be asked if it's ok to use this information elsewhere as a courtesy (and so I can see where it's getting around to), but it's not a requirement. Like I could stop you anyway.

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