Issue 23, Where Shadows Lie, was a major revision to City of Heroes Freedom. The title referenced Night Ward, the spirit realm version of the destroyed First Ward, and its dark inhabitants. This issue also set up the culmination of the Praetorian War, with a fight against Tyrant in the Magisterium Trial.
This article summarizes some of the major features in Issue 23. For more complete details, see the release date's patch notes.
- On April 6, 2012, the Beta Server was opened up for VIP Open Beta.
- Issue 23 was released to the Live Servers on Thursday, May 31, 2012.
Mission and Story Content
Night Ward is a pseudo dimension created by a small portion of the Netherworld overlapping the world of the living in First Ward. As such, it closely mirrors Praetoria’s First Ward geographically, but that is where the similarities end. The zone is packed with the spirits of the dead who are trapped between worlds. Night Ward gives both the living and the dead an opportunity to view things from the other side of the veil.
- Combat new villain groups, including the Animus Arcana, the Black Knights, the Drudges and the Spirit Stalkers, as well as new additions to existing villain groups, including the Apparitions and Talons of Vengeance.
- Fireball of the Arcane Council is looking for someone to help with tasks that they need accomplished. You can find him deep within the Midnight Mansion. His missions will educate players on the life cycle of an Animus Arcana, the living spells of Night Ward.
- Trilogy is a sentient set of books who just want to tell a classic story of good vs. evil, and make you the protagonist. Unfortunately the books don't care in what order you read them. Trilogy can be found deep within the Midnight Mansion.
- Atherton Cromwell is a Drudge within Night Ward who will offer players repeatable missions to help the Drudges with some nefarious acts.
- Sir Lionel is a Black Knight within Night Ward who will offer players repeatable missions to help keep the peace within Night Ward.
- Archmage Hellewise is now looking for superpowered beings who have achieved Security Level 29 to explore dimensional weaknesses in First Ward's Shadowed Paths! Find her in First Ward's Survivor Compound - or explore the Shadowed Paths for yourself, and figure out how to shunt between dimensions!
- Mistress Maria of the Carnival of Light has been authorized by Vanessa DeVore to release Katie Douglas from the Seer Network. She would like you to be the first face Katie sees. Her story arc is the 1st arc of 5 for Night Ward.
- Montague Castanella of the Midnight Masters requires your aid in battling the mystical forces of Night Ward. His story arc is the 2nd arc of 5 for Night Ward.
- Ward is the Overspell of the Midnight Mansion and needs your help in protecting his spell children, the Animus Arcana. His story arc is the 3rd arc of 5 for Night Ward.
- Sir Bedwyr is an exiled Black Knight who seeks your aid in combating dark forces intent on destroying the Black Knights. His story arc is the 4th arc of 5 for Night Ward.
- The Magician is a mysterious arcanist who seeks your assistance in doing battle with an ancient adversary of his. His story arc is the final arc of 5 for Night Ward.
Incarnate Arc, "The Emperor's Sword"
Incarnate Trial - The Magisterium
Praetoria’s offense has been thoroughly routed, and Emperor Cole’s regime has taken serious hits with the losses of Mother Mayhem, Antimatter, Maelstrom, and Dominatrix. Dream Doctor sends out a call to all Incarnates – the time has come to take the fight to the steps of Tyrant’s tower!
A conduit through space and time takes you to your target, but Tyrant has a final contingent of loyal followers to defend him. Praetor Sinclair has enacted a last-ditch gambit to gather an unlikely band of surprising protectors (See “The Emperor’s Sword”), while Black Swan lurks in the space between Praetoria and her pocket dimension of Shadow Earth. Fight your way through this gauntlet of opposition to reach the explosive conclusion: the final battle with Emperor Cole!
This Incarnate Trial is a knock-down drag-out final push to victory. Overcome Chimera’s motley crew, survive Black Swan’s assault, and figure out a way to sever Emperor Cole from the Well of the Furies – before he can become the Well’s one true champion!
- Prometheus features new text discussing the final assault on Tyrant and the ultimate fate of Praetoria.
- The requirements have been removed for getting Minds of Mayhem to appear as an option when telling Prometheus what the next target is.
- Completion of the Magisterium will unlock all text on Prometheus, save those sections which also require completion of the Underground.
- Prometheus will now advise players who do not qualify for any of his dialogue that they need to be level 50 VIPs with the Alpha Slot unlocked.
- Statesman and Sister Psyche have been removed from the game, except for in the tutorial and in flashback missions.
- Statesman's task force is now given out by Ms. Liberty.
- Sister Psyche's task force has been replaced with the new Penelope Yin Task Force in Independence Port.
- Note that the Sister Psyche Task Force can still be selected in the LFG queue but it will not start.
- Players can still access Sister Psyche's task force through Ouroboros.
Hybrid Incarnate Slot
The Hybrid Incarnate slot is now available! There are four new trees of powers available - Assault, Control, Melee, and Support. Each tree lends you some of the base power of the core Archetypes within City of Heroes, allowing you to broaden your character's role or further specialize with abilities that reinforce the strengths of your Archetype!
- The Assault tree gives you a chance to increase your own damage with every attack. As you climb the tree, Core abilities proc more often and increase your damage more, while Radial abilities give your damaging attacks a chance to proc extra damage.
- The Control tree gives you a chance to deal additional damage and control to controlled targets, or adds a chance to control to your damaging attacks. As you climb the tree, Core abilities improve the type of bonus damage you deal and the chance of dealing it, while Radial abilities increase the power and chance of adding control to your damaging attacks.
- The Melee tree gives you a defensive bonus for each enemy in melee combat. As you climb the tree, the types of defense provided expand, starting with a small regeneration bonus for each nearby foe and ending with a moderate regeneration, status protection, and either defense or resistance bonus for all nearby enemies. The Core tree gives you a large static amount of protection with a smaller scaling amount for each target nearby, while the Radial tree has no frontloaded component but offers defense and a taunt aura.
- The Support tree gives you and all nearby leaguemates a bonus to damage, accuracy, defense buffs and debuffs, and special effects. As you climb the tree, the strength of these bonuses increase. Core powers have double effectiveness on pets, while Radial powers have steady bonuses that are slightly higher than Core's but give pets the same values they give to players.
| Editor's Note:|
The Hybrid Slot is unlocked by gaining Advanced Psychic Incarnate Experience. When Issue 23 launched, the only method of obtaining Advanced Psychic Incarnate Experience was by running the Magisterium Incarnate Trial
- Kheldian Dwarf and Nova transformations now occur instantly, down from 2.07 seconds.
- Kheldian Dwarf and Nova transformations now have a 1 second recharge, up from 0 seconds.
- Summon Lions/Lion's Roar: This buff should now be stackable.
Talons Caves - The Talons of Vengeance have been busily converting these caverns into their lairs. But the candle-lit caverns have a darker purpose that being home to these monstrous women, they are dedicated places of worship to the All-Mother.
- All First Ward story arcs now award 7 reward merits for completion.
- Reward Merits have been added to the Spring Fling story arcs
- The Issue 22 mid-level story arcs have had their merit reward amounts increased to account for their average run-times.
- Critters are now allowed to taunt players. Taunts from critters will affect players in the same ways that taunts from players do.
- Critters should no longer try to revive defeated critters in separate groups.
- Fixed a bug that caused incorrect shape shifting with doppelgangers.
- The Paladin in Kings Row now has a limit to the number of sprockets he can summon, preventing him from completely overwhelming the zone's population if left untouched for extended periods of time.
Chainmail Armor and Leather Armor
The Chainmail Costume Set (hood, chest, gloves, pants, boots; available in shiny and dull) and the Leather Armor Costume Set (chest, gloves, pants, boots) are free to VIP subscribers with the launch of Issue 23. Free and Premium players can purchase them on the Paragon Market.
Available within the Tier 9 VIP section of the Paragon Rewards Program, the Mecha Armor set allows characters to create a new, hi-tech, armored look. This set includes a full-body costume set, a helmet and several head/helmet details, two wing types, a backpack, and five new weapon models for various power sets.
Quality of Life Updates
Inter-Dimensional Tunnel System - TUNNEL
The Carnival of Light has opened a complex network of interdimensional portals that intertwine betewen Primal Earth and Praetoria in order to help with the evacuation of Praetoria. The TUNNEL System is now open for ALL Heros and Villains (including Rogues and Vigilantes) travelling to:
- Heroes: Atlas Park, Imperial City, Underground Imperial, Talos Island, First Ward, Night Ward, Founder's Falls, Peregrine Island, Firebase Zulu and Dark Astoria.
- Villains: Mercy Island, Imperial City, Underground Imperial, Cap Au Diable, First Ward, Nerva Archipelago, Night Ward, Grandville and Dark Astoria.
- The team-up teleporter no longer removes players from their team when they decline an event and cause the event to not start due to not having enough players. Instead, all players remain on the team, but only the players that accepted the event are placed back into the queue for events. The team leader may then requeue the entire group to get the declining players back into the event.
- Fixed a bug that would cause promoting a non-team-leader to league leader to only promote that player to team leader but not also promote that player to league leader.
Mission Architect Updates
- Numerous villain groups from Issues 19 through 22 have been added to Mission Architect. These villain groups include both normal difficulty and Incarnate difficulty villains and do not require tickets to unlock. Please note that Incarnate difficulty villains cannot be used to earn Incarnate threads or XP via Mission Architect, and all trial bosses from the Incarnate groups are excluded and will not be available:
- Normal Difficulty: The Apparitions, The Awakened, Carnival of Light, Carnival of Vengeance, Carnival of War, Citizens of First Ward, Dregs, D.U.S.T., Forlorn, Midnight Masters, Rulu-Shin, The Shepherds, Talons of Vengeance
- Incarnate Difficulty: 5th Column, Arachnos, Banished Pantheon, Circle of Thorns, Knives of Artemis, Knives of Vengeance, Malta, Paragon Police, Imperial Strike Force, Imperial Defense Force, Praetorian Devouring Earth, Praetorian Warworks, Talons of Vengeance, Tsoo.
- The Runesoldier has been added to the Praetorian Resistance villain group, which still requires tickets to unlock.
- Fixed a bug that could cause monsters to spawn at unintended levels in Mission Architect.
- Mission Archtect UI scroll bars no longer cut off the bottom few critters.
- Granite Cave layouts have been added to Mission Architect.
- Main Article: Issue 23 Badges
- Revised the description of the Level 30 and Level 40 Praetorian badges to reflect the possibility that a Praetorian may not have left Praetoria to earn these levels.
- Statesman's Pal will now only be rewarded through the flashback, "A Hero's Hero"
- Positron's Pal will be awarded through running the current Maria Jenkins arc, "A Hero's Epic"
- Sister Psyche's Comrade will now only be rewarded by running Sister Psyche's arc through flashback
- The Task Force Commander accolade can be achieved by having either Sister Psyche's Comrade or Penelope Yin's Friend
- The version of Adamastor encountered in the Portal Corp. missions will now award the Keeper of Secrets badge.
- Client translation (including future content and past content) for the Vigilance and Zukunft servers ended with the launch of Issue 23, though French and German petition and Knowledge Base support will continue and the servers were not renamed (including retaining the (FR) and (DE) designations).
- The Ultimate Inspiration now has special FX when it is used.
- New chat channel, Looking For Group, available to free and VIP players.
- Free/Premium players can join supergroups regardless of Paragon Rewards tier.