Issue 19, Alpha Strike!, was a major revision to City of Heroes and City of Villains. The title references the Alpha Strike Task Force, which is one of the ways Level 50 characters could make themselves more powerful with the Incarnate System.
This article summarizes some of the major features in Issue 19. For more complete details, see the release date's patch notes.
- Closed Beta testing on the Going Rogue Beta Server and the European Test Server for Issue 19 was scheduled to start on the week of October 11, 2010; however, the server was not available to players until Monday, October 18, 2010.
- On Thursday, November 11, 2010, testing was opened up for Issue 19 Open Beta, though, again, server problems kept the open waves from full access until the following Monday.
- At some point in mid-November, the U.S. Test Server became Issue 19 active without any official announcement as such.
- Issue 19 was released to the Live Servers on November 30, 2010.
- Main Article: Issue 19 Badges
- New Hazard Zone Exploration Badges and Accolades.
- Praetoria was opened up to Primal Earth characters, allowing them to obtain Praetorian badges.
- Three new badges for completing Praetorian Zone Events
- Two new badges for completing the Incarnate Task Forces
- Merged Monorails, Ferries, and Black Helicopters: The Transit Authorities in Paragon City and the Rogue Isles have made major improvements to the monorail, ferry system, the Black Helicopters by merging their respective routes.
- All monorails can now travel to every monorail station on the Green and Yellow Line (the two Steel Canyon and Skyway City stations differentiated with a North v. South designation)
- All ferries can now travel to every ferry station in the Rogue Isles (zones with more than one Ferry stop are split up via direction like the monorails).
- Likewise, the Black Helicopters are now one line.
- Also, the Smuggler's Cargo Ship now shows a full selection when traveling among Talos Island, Independence Port, and Striga Isle.
- Note that the ferry between Talos and Peregrine Island is still self-contained 'warp' gate. The Smuggler's Cargo Ship is a separate entity from a ferry.
- Train Missions will appear at the top of the list of zones with a star.
- All these zone selector windows from these transports have had their GUI upgraded. Zones show their level (or the level of the neighborhood of the stop). Zones in which the character has missions will have an orange dot next to their name.
- Hospitals In All Zones: Hospital gurneys in all Trial and Hazard zones. And a nurse or medic selling inspirations in all hospitals.
- For those who have purchased Going Rogue:
- Primal Earth Characters Can Enter Praetoria: Non-Praetorians can journey to Praetoria through Pocket D. The manhole that Praetorians had been using is now a portal mounted on a wall (behind the hero-side big portal ramp). In Pocket-D, enable "Lounge" on the mini-map drop down menu for a marker.
- Praetorian Mission Difficulty Slider: Praetoria gets notoriety adjuster contacts.
Issue 19 includes two free auras for all City of Heroes players. These auras are customizable.
- Fireflies: Your character can be surrounded by glowing, tintable fireflies.
- Snow: Celebrate winter and be showered by snow.
- Overview: The long-awaited Alpha Slot, the first part of the new Incarnate system that gives high-level characters access to new powers and challenges is unveiled in Issue 19 .
- Unlocking the Alpha Slot: Unlocking the Alpha Slot is no easy task. Players must first learn what it means to exceed the definition of Hero or Villain to become an Incarnate. Mender Ramiel in Ouroboros guides players on this journey. Learn the Secret of Mender Ramiel and your involvement in his appearance from the future. Uncover what makes Player Characters different from the Incarnates, Statesman and Lord Recluse.
- Unlocking the Alpha Slot grants that character another (third) build. See Multiple Builds.
Missions and Story Content
New Incarnate Task Forces
Challenges already await new Incarnates. The Praetorians have begun their invasion of Primal Earth. Protecting Paragon City and the Rogue Isles from such overwhelming forces requires the greatest Heroes and Villains to work together. Two familiar faces will help in stopping the invasion: Apex and Tin Mage.
- Apex Task Force: Apex has joined the Vanguard, and he helps organize your team of Incarnates to stop the Praetorian initial assault. Face off against the Anti-Matter Clockwork, War Walkers, and the Arch-Villain Battle Maiden before they can destroy Paragon City. If you succeed in this battle, the war is yet to be won.
- Tin Mage Mark II Task Force: Help Tin Mage Mark II (reconstructed from the schematics of the Omega Team's Tin Mage which he left behind) coordinate an assault into Praetoria to stop the Praetorian invasion. Your team strikes into the very heart of Nova Praetoria to confront Neuron, Bobcat, and a Praetorian army.
- Characters joining these Task Forces must have the Alpha Slot unlocked.
- Characters joining these Task Forces without an Alpha Boost slotted into the Alpha Slot will be at a -4 Level penalty debuff.
- Going Rogue expansion required for these new Task Forces.
Return of an Old Task Force
- The Calvin Scott Task Force is back as a flashback arc. It exists in the 30-34 range in the Flashback Crystal as A Mind in Danger. It gives 8 Merits. And you get the Souvenir, Soul Orb, when completed.
- Two new level 20-29 arcs that take place in Paragon City or the Rogue Isles. There is alternate text for those originally from Praetoria.
- A Hero arc (Bad People, Good Intentions) investigating the medical transporters and why they aren't handed out to civilians. See Roy Cooling located outside of Vault Reserve on Talos Island. This arc expands on the new game lore of an imminent Praetorian invasion.
- A Villain arc (Old Friends, New Enemies, and New Opportunities) that has to do with finding out what exactly the Leviathan is and what its power source is. Vincent Ross stands on the beach below the Hospital in Sharkhead Isle. This arc expands on the new game lore of foreshadowing Incarnate content.
More Tip and Morality Missions
- There are many new Tips for Rogues and Vigilantes (while Tourists in the opposing zone) including several new morality missions.
- Additional Morality Missions have been created for the 40-50 level range.
- Going Rogue expansion required for these new missions.
Praetorian Zone Events
- Live events in Praetoria in which your Resistance or Loyalist character can participate and choose which side to help:
- The Protest (Nova Praetoria): The angry citizens of Praetoria are staging a protest in Nova Praetoria. Will you join them or shut them down?
- Syndicate Takedown (Imperial City): The PPD has found a cell of the Syndicate in the Agilecorp building. The two forces are at a standoff at the base of the building. If you hurry you can capture one of the Syndicate's leaders.
- The Great Escape (Neutropolis): One of the Failed Experiments has remained lucid and sane, and appears to have the ability to influence other Ghouls. Informants say he is eager to aid the Resistance in its war against the regime. Will you aid him in his escape? Or will you hunt him down now that he has escaped?
- Rewards for participation in the zone events will be based on the amount of participation, and not just damage done -- (de)buffing and heals are tracked.
- Going Rogue expansion is required to enter Praetoria in order to participate in these events. Primals visiting Praetoria may freely initiate and participate in these events.
Praetorian Perpetual Contacts
- Praetorian players have access to Repeatable Missions content provided by either the Resistance or Loyalists. At level 5 they automatically pop up to let you know you can contact them. They are phone-only contacts -- they don't appear in the zone.
- New Maps
- The Tunnels and Tech map sets of Praetoria are now available in Mission Architect. They must be purchased from a Ticket Vendor.
- In Unique -> Outdoor maps: Atlas Park Time Capsule (from the new Positron TF); Longbow Sea Base (Agincourt); Siren's Call; Siren's Call: Villain base; Sky Raider Base (Sharkhead); and Nemesis Shadow Shard Base.
- New Enemy Groups: You can now also select the Praetorian Clockwork, Destroyers, Resistance, Praetoria Police Department, Seers, Ghouls, and the Syndicate as Mission Architect NPC groups. They must be purchased from a Ticket Vendor.
- New Power Sets for Custom Critters: Electric Control and Kinetic Melee are available power sets to give to custom critters in your stories.
Fitness Power Pool is Inherent
The Fitness power pool is now an inherent power pool available to all new and existing characters starting from Level 1. Players can freely choose between any or all of the Fitness powers for available character power slots. These powers can be slotted and will accept the appropriate Enhancements.
- Further clarifications were given by Castle after the initial announcement
- Fitness Pool powers have been incorporated into Inherent powers available at Level 2 
- All characters will be granted Swift, Hurdle, Health, and Stamina.
- Existing characters with these powers selected via Pool Powers will be able to gain the powers they have not previously taken via the normal leveling process. They will not gain access to any of the Inherent fitness powers until they Respec.
- Upon using a Respec, the Fitness pool will not be selectable by the character, but instead, all 4 powers will be granted as Inherent Powers at level 2. This prevents issues with lost enhancements or slot allocation errors.
- They are still auto-powers and will be always active.
- The powers will work while in Dwarf or Nova form as a Kheldian, which is different from the Pool versions of the powers. 
- Fitness Pool powers have been incorporated into Inherent powers available at Level 2 
Alternate Power Animations
- The following power sets have new alternative animation choices for some of their powers in Issue 19. Select the animations and customize how a character fires off its powers at any Tailor. Each power that has an alternate animation can be separately chosen, just like colorization.
- The following power sets have new alternate animation choices for Issue 19:
- Ranged Sets: Dark Blast (5 powers with alternate animations), Electric Blast (5), Energy Blast (5), Fire Blast (7), Radiation Blast (6), Ice Blast (6), Psychic Blast (7), Sonic Attack (6)
- Control Sets: Mind Control (2 - Mesmerize & Terrify)
- Buff Sets: Sonic Resonance (5)
- Blaster Manipulation Sets: Mental Manipulation (3)
- Defense Sets: Regeneration (1 - Integration)
- Dominator Assault Sets: Psionic Assault (5), Icy Assault (4), Fiery Assault (5), Mental Manipulation (3), Energy Assault (3), Electricity Assault (1 - Zapp)
Quality of Life
- Log-out Option: Players can log out directly to the Character Select Screen.
- Alienware Lighting Support: In addition to the features introduced in I18 which changed the lighting to match the player's current alignment, in I19 more triggers will cause lighting FX. E.g., being low on HP will cause the keyboard to glow red and flash.
- Chat: The Help Tab can now work again as the Active Tab.
- When the /h command was changed from being the Help Channel command to the Help Window command, it caused the Help Tab to no longer work as the Active Chat channel. This caused typing with the Help Tab as Active to invoke the Help Window rather than the Help Channel, which then forced everyone to use /hc as the only way to talk in the Help Channel. Well, this has been fixed. The Help Tab can once again be set as Active and typing in the command line will automatically be parsed as using the Help Channel without the need to use /hc.
- /h is still the /help command to bring up the Help Window. /hc is still a valid way to send to the Help Channel.
- Almost everywhere INF is listed in the UI, it now has comma delimiters (1234567 now looks like 1,234,567).
- Fix: The number of maps for which a character can clear the fog of war has been increased so that any fog once cleared will remain cleared.
- Fix: Portals no longer loop their sounds while loading a mission.
- Fix: Heroes and Villains can now be on the same team, regardless of their zone. However, they must be on the same map, in order to be invited to a team.
- Fix: Praetorian Prestige bump stays with their first Super Group. Since Praetorians don't generate Prestige from levels 1 to 20, they give a 100,000 Prestige bump to a Super Group they join. Previously, when they left that Super Group, the 100,000 Prestige left with them, hurting that Super Group. And so, in Issue 19 forward, the first and only the first Super Group a Praetorian joins will get that 100,000 Prestige bump permanently. They will not lose that bump when that Praetorian leaves. And that Praetorian will not give the second or third or any other Super Group that Prestige bump. From a post by War Witch on the official forums.
- New Assets:
- New NPC Faction: Imperial Defense Force
- New maps with the new Task Forces
- Warehouses and Praetorian Tech maps have received a cosmetic upgrade as well as a few new end rooms, and their layouts have been modified.
- Goliath-Class WarWalkers
- Designers now have an interface to create zone events without the need of hard coding (similar to what led to the Mission Architect).
- Issue 19 was originally going to be called Incarnates, but the name was changed to Alpha Strike! through a comment made by Melissa Bianco (revealed at the PAX2010 Panel). Incarnates was later used as the name for Issue 20.
- Official Feature Update on cityofheroes.com
- Incarnate Overview on cityofheroes.com
- Incarnate Lore on cityofheroes.com
- Alpha Slot details on cityofheroes.com
- Info from the New York City Comic-Con Panel
- Video of the NYC Comic-Con Panel Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 of 4 parts.