Influence, Infamy, and Information are the three currencies used within City of Heroes. Influence is the currency for heroes, infamy is the currency for villains, and information is the currency of Praetorians. In terms of game mechanics, all three currencies are equivalent and are often referred to as inf.
Earning and Using Inf
Inf can be earned in several ways:
- completing missions
- defeating enemies
- selling items to stores or contacts
- selling items on the Auction House
Inf is used within the game for many purposes:
- purchasing Inspirations and Enhancements from stores or contacts
- purchasing Inspirations, Enhancements, Recipes, and Salvage from the Auction House
- fees for crafting salvage and recipes into Invention Origin Enhancements, Temporary Powers, costume pieces, and respecs in the invention system
- purchasing recipes from an invention workbench
- purchasing prestige at the Super Group Registrar at the rate of 1 million inf for 2,000 prestige
- 1 Reward Token: 25,000,000 (25 million) per character (Free players occupy this tier)
- 2 Reward Tokens: 500,000,000 (500 million) per character
- 5 Reward Tokens: 1,000,000,000 (1 billion) per character
- 8 Reward Tokens: 2,000,000,000 (2 billion) per character
VIP Players have an inf limit of 2 billion regardless of how many Reward Tokens they have earned.
Characters can continue to earn more inf beyond the cap, but it won't be recorded and the system will still see it as 2 billion. There are ways around the inf cap, such as bidding on non-existent items in the Auction House (requires an Auction House License or active subscription), or using "mules" (characters made for the sole purpose of carrying inf).
If a VIP Player with fewer than 8 reward tokens allows their subscription to lapse and they have characters with more inf than their cap allows on hand, they are allowed to keep the extra inf. However, new inf will not be earned until the character drops below their cap, either by spending it or trading it with other characters (their own via email or another player's via direct trade or email).
To the new player, or even many advanced players, it may seem confusing at first to refer to the in-game currency as "Influence", "Infamy", or "Information" rather than something more descriptive and intuitive such as "Credits", "Dollars", "Gold/Silver/Copper"
To understand what's meant by these names, a player must understand the concept of "abstraction". Like many of the aspects of game play, currency has been abstracted to provide more room for role-playing and player character development. This allows more room for a wider array of characters to interact with the in-game economy.
- The name "Influence" is an abstraction that refers to the fact that a hero's influence with the citizens of Paragon City increases with their actions.
- The name "Infamy" is an abstraction that refers to the infamy a villain earns with the citizens of the Rogue Isles for committing dastardly deeds.
- The name "Information" is an abstraction of the most valuable currency in the dimension of Praetoria, where no one knows whose side anyone is on.
As illustrative examples, consider the in-game stories behind three of the Signature Heroes.
Mynx is a young, college-age woman who was granted super-powers against her will by the corrupt Crey Corporation. As a young woman, she doesn't really have a lot of financial clout. However, her repeated service to the city has ensured that when she needs resources to help fight crime, those resources will be available to her regardless of how much money (paper currency) she has on her person or in a bank account.
- Mynx's earned Influence is primarily in the form of "good will" support available to her from her allies and the businesses located in Paragon City.
Manticore is an adult man who inherited a vast fortune and runs powerful businesses. His real identity is not particularly well known. As a more secretive hero, he's not likely to depend upon the good will of the city or his allies for support. Rather, he'll purchase it outright or use his existing financial assets to manufacture what he can't purchase.
- Manticore's Influence is primarily in the form of his vast financial assets.
Statesman is an immortal being who's been protecting the city and the world for the better part of a century. He was a wealthy man when he began his exploits as Statesman, and we can assume that he's been responsible with that wealth. He's been active in the fight against evil for so long that he's become the very epitome of heroism to many in the city.
- Statesman's Influence comprises not only the good will of the city and his extensive personal financial resources, but is also bolstered by the sheer amount of authority and expertise he wields.
This same level of abstraction can be used by players in many situations. For example, suppose a character purchases an enhancement with influence. For a partially-crazed, homeless vigilante, this might be rationalized as a gift from one of the confused but thankful people he's saved from violence. For a wealthy heiress who uses powered battle armor to fight crime, the purchase might instead be rationalized as an actual financial transaction that draws upon her considerable wealth.
Infamy is similarly abstracted, but substitutes fear and domination for good will and authority. A villain gains infamy not only by robbing a bank and stealing the cash and valuables stored there, but also by holding citizens in the grip of dread. Not only can he purchase supplies, but he can also easily extort them when he chooses.
Ultimately, this level of abstraction provides a richer role-playing experience for City of Heroes players.