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Debt shown in maroon


When a hero or villain is defeated, he accrues experience debt, which slows his ability to reach the next level.

Debt does not accrue until the character reaches experience level ten. As the character rises in level, the amount of debt he accrues per defeat increases, as does the maximum total amount of debt he can accumulate. A character can have a maximum of five full defeats' worth of debt.

Some powers and situations reduce or even eliminate the amount of debt earned by a defeat. Most prominently, a character defeated while in an instanced mission accrues only half the normal amount of debt. Also, some resurrection effects render the revived character immune to debt for a brief period, in the event that he is immediately defeated again. In addition, if a character has Patrol Experience, it is used to pay off any debt earned up to the amount of Patrol XP the character has accumulated.

Working Off Debt

When a character has experience debt, up to half of any experience reward earned is subtracted from the reward and applied toward debt repayment. (If the amount of a character's remaining debt is less than the value of half the experience reward, only an amount equal to the character's remaining debt is subtracted from the reward and applied toward debt repayment.) The remaining experience reward is applied toward the character's advancement or converted to influence, depending on the character's current circumstances:

  • Usually, all remaining experience will be applied toward the character's next level.
  • While exemplared with the "XP While Exemplared" option set to "Double Influence, No XP", the remaining experience will be converted to additional influence earned.
  • At level 50, the remaining experience will be converted to additional inf earned.

With the introduction of Supersidekicking in Issue 16, players earn experience rewards as normal while Exemplared or Malefactored. As a result, there is currently no way to prevent debt from being payed off, nor is there a way to pay off at a higher rate during normal game play.

It is, however, possible to pay off debt while logged out by accumulating Patrol XP.

Strategic Use of Debt

Badge time.png This section contains information about changes that took place in City of Heroes Freedom. It is provided for historical purposes.

This type of debt usage is not needed anymore as XP can be turned off in the Options window.

On certain occasions, a character may not want to level up. In such cases, the player may deliberately accrue debt to slow the character's progression.

For example, a player may not want to outlevel his Contacts. He may be trying to get a specific badge mission or Story Arc from a Contact, or he may be a villain trying to unlock an unlockable CoV Contact while that Contact will still speak with him.

Since debt also counts toward debt badges, hardcore badge-collecting players may want to generate debt specifically to work on earning the debt badges.

Also, a character might want to earn badges for Accolades at a lower level to have access them in a PvP zone like Bloody Bay, as the game remembers what level the accolade was earned at, and will deny a character the use of the accolade power if it was earned it at a higher level than the level of the zone.

Additionally, debt can be used to increase the amount of inf that a character gains at each level, since he will spend more time playing between levels.

To work off debt more quickly, a character may serve as an Exemplar or Malefactor. While this arrangement exists, all experience the character earns is applied toward his debt.

It should be noted that several of these goals may be accomplished by being an Exemplar/Malefactor to a lower-level player as well, particularly the last one. Serving as an Exemplar halts a character's leveling progress completely. Debt only slows it to half speed.

Debt Table

Debt values up to date as of August 20, 2009.

Level Debt Debt Cap Level Debt Debt Cap
1 0 0 26 4,400 22,000
2 0 0 27 5,400 27,000
3 0 0 28 6,400 32,000
4 0 0 29 7,200 36,000
5 0 0 30 8,000 40,000
6 0 0 31 9,200 46,000
7 0 0 32 10,400 52,000
8 0 0 33 11,600 58,000
9 0 0 34 12,800 64,000
10 160 800 35 14,800 74,000
11 220 1,100 36 16,800 84,000
12 280 1,400 37 18,400 92,000
13 320 1,600 38 20,800 104,000
14 380 1,900 39 24,000 120,000
15 440 2,200 40 26,800 134,000
16 520 2,600 41 30,000 150,000
17 640 3,200 42 34,000 170,000
18 760 3,800 43 38,400 192,000
19 880 4,400 44 43,200 216,000
20 1,000 5,000 45 48,800 244,000
21 1400 7,000 46 55,200 276,000
22 1,800 9,000 47 61,600 308,000
23 2,200 11,000 48 69,600 348,000
24 2,800 14,000 49 79,200 396,000
25 3,400 17,000 50 88,000 440,000


  • Level at which debt starts was raised to level 10 in Issue 5
  • Debt from being defeated in a mission was halved in Issue 5
  • Debt was lowered another 20% during Issue 11