Special Enhancements are usable by all character archetypes and origins, but are only obtainable by completing some very difficult-to-accomplish tasks. Currently, Special Enhancements include Hamidon Origin Enhancements, Crystal Titan Origin Enhancements, and Hydra Origin Enhancements.
Special Enhancements provide benefits much like Single-Origin Enhancements, but provide benefits to more than one aspect at a time. For example, a Special Enhancement may affect both the damage and accuracy of a power, instead of a just damage or just accuracy.
A Special Enhancement may be added to a power if any portion of the enhancement can apply to the power. However, any aspects which do not apply to the power will be ignored. For example, a Damage/Accuracy Special Enhancement may be added to Envenom, but because Envenom does no damage, the damage portion of the enhancement will be ignored. The accuracy portion, however, will function perfectly.
Special Enhancement Progression
When City of Heroes was first released, the maximum level was 40, and the Hamidon Raid (where masses of players defeat a super-Giant Monster Hamidon) was a level 40 event. The level cap was raised to 50 in Issue 1, and the Hamidon Raid was also raised to level 50. However, the Abandoned Sewers Trial (introduced in Issue 1, awarding Hydra Origin Enhancements) and the Eden Trial (introduced in Issue 2, awarding Crystal Titan Origin Enhancements) replaced the Hamidon Raid with level 40-43 Special Enhancements.
Because these Special Enhancements respect the character's level just like normal enhancements, the Hydra and Titan enhancements can be outleveled. While the Hamidon enhancements function the same way, since the Hamidon raid is now designed for level 50 characters, they can't technically be outleveled since the level cap is 50.
Additionally, Hamidon enhancements offer a higher bonus than the Hydra or Titan enhancements do. Each aspect of a +0 Hamidon enhancement offers the same bonus as a +0 SO. Hydra and Titan enhancements offer a bonus that is between a -2 and a -3 SO. (Just like normal enhancements, a difference in level between the character and the Special Enhancement, or stacking Special Enhancements, will affect the exact bonus conferred to the character's power.)
- Main article: Invention Origin Enhancements
Invention enhancements may also be called "special enhancements", but they are special in a different way than the enhancements discussed here. These Special Enhancements are obtained through trials or raids, respect the difference between your level and the level of the enhancement, and each aspect always has the same value (dependent on its Enhancement Schedule) regardless of how many aspects are present. Invention enhancements are crafted and always maintain the same bonus regardless of your level. Invention Sets may have multiple aspects, but the bonus for each aspect decreases for each aspect present.
Below is a listing of each Special Enhancement matching with their effects. In the table below, the "Hold" icon () stands in for: Confuse, Stun, Fear, Hold, Immobilize, Intangibility, and Sleep ("Mez Duration"). The "Run Speed" icon () stands in for: Flight Speed, Jump Speed, and Run Speed ("Movement Increase").
Other than enhancement value (Hamidon enhancements provide a larger bonus than the other two) and level when the enhancement is usable (Hydra and Titan enhancements are level 40-43, while Hamidon enhancements are generally level 50), all three types of Special Enhancement are identical.
Multiple Types Exploit
It was possible to achieve enhancement values unintended by the developers by exploiting the way in which the powers system handles enhancements, and the way in which Special Enhancements were permitted to be added to a given power. More information can be found at the Hamidon Origin Enhancements page. Although the exploit and quote from Castle normally pertain to Hamidon enhancements, the exploit was viable with any Special Enhancements.
Much to the astonishment of the playerbase, this long-standing exploit was fixed without any prior warning in a patch during Issue 22 beta, and went live with the issue release.