City of Heroes is a superhero MMORPG. One of the most important decisions you can make when playing is selecting your character’s archetype, as it influences their powers and playstyle. We’ve compiled and ranked all 15 archetypes for you to help you make your decision.
Disclaimer: As the original CoH has been shut down at 2012 and just recently revived by various Private servers that runs different builds and did their own changes. This review is based on Homecoming Server and I25 community-made update, some ATs may act different based on your community and server preference.
Defenders are the primary support Archetype(AT for short) and has Primary support, Secondary ranged powers. While they are extremely good support and has great buff/debuffs, some people select Emphaty out of all support and try to “healbot” it and then wonder why the AT sucks. The Defender and game mechanics favor buffs and debuffs rather than heals with the mentality of “if we get buffed through the roof and enemy gets debuffed, we deal more damage, take less damage, have more regen, endurance.” And heals doesnt really work at endgame.
Your typical tank. Has aoe taunts, a massive HP bar and gets more damage resistance/defense than other defense ATs from chosen powers. Other than it’s AoE taunt “Gauntlet” passive and a small “brusing” effect on some of the abilities, this AT doesnt have much to look at sadly. Most players who want to tank chooses Brute, some crazier ones go Provoke Mastermind route, more on that later.
13. Arachnos Widow
Did you want to be an Arachnos but didnt want to use either a rifle or a mace that can shoot lasers? Widow is for you then! The Widow cannot choose powerpools in a traditional way like most ATs. Instead, until level 24 you go Blood Widow path. At 24, you are given a free, forced respec and you either continue in Widow path and become a claw toting martial arts master as Night Widow or you become a mind wrecking psionic monstrousity known as Fortunata. Due to quirky unintutiveness of Arachnos AT mechanics like choosing a path and respeccing, especially the widow is not played much.
Wanna fly? Shoot laser from your eyes? Look cool while doing your usual hero business? Peacebringer is for you. At cost of enduring rather annoying wooooosh effects all the time at endgame, clashing class abilities, not enough slots and hard decisions of whether keep rolling with this or rerolling Warshade.
The Peacebringer is an Epic AT just like Arachnos ATs and Warshade. So forget having plethora of powerpool options. But Peacebringers are still strong even if not played that much. The strength of it lies in its flexibility. As a Peacebringer can shapeshift into Dwarf Form or Nova or stay as a human, you basically get a tank, a DPS and actually yet another DPS that tanks better than Dwarf and does more DPS than Nova so you end up going full humanform anyways. The Peacebringer, when built right, can be a real powerhouse and fulfill many roles depending on the situation. Now why is it ranked low then? Because Warshades exists.
If you got fed of faceplanting with your Blaster and wanted a little more staying power, then Sentinel is for you. Well, at cost of losing everything that makes a ranged AT. Snipes? Gone. Nukes? Gone. Instead of snipe attacks, you get a weird, mid range nonsnipe version of it. Nukes? Absolutely nerfed to oblivion and given some weird quirks that doesnt even work with rest of AT in times, depending on your power choices. Still, a correctly played Sentinel is a force to be reckoned with. Just does not really work well universally and dependant on synergizing power choices more than others. Dual Pistol/Ninjutsu is a well working example.
Stalker is your assassin wrecking ball. With the ability to turn invisible, critical hits, very good passives, you are the one sought after when there is a nasty Elite Boss or even Archvillain. The best thing is you can absolutely go Sub-Zero theme and be viable. Yes, do not dismiss Ice/Ice combo people! For an assassin AT you are extremely tanky and you may end up being the offtank or if your build allows, even main tank, while dealing absolutely monster crits. One downside, you do not get Titan Weapons.
9. Arachnos Soldier
“My superpower is my gun.” The phrase you gonna hear alot within Soldier community. You start with a rifle, you mow down enemies hard until level 24, get free, forced respec just like the Widow.
You can choose three paths in a way, actually you choose between two but your starting rifle powers are absolutely complete, instead of the usual two, a third playstyle becomes viable here.
Either you become a Crab Spider, get a backpack with arms that shoots lasers and grenades, or you become a Bane Spider, get a Mace, cloaking device and start bashing skulls WH40K style. Or, again you go Bane, but instead of picking Mace powers, you pick your Rifle powers and become whats known as “The Huntsman”. You become a badass stealth operative with a rifle in that choice.
Either Bane, Crab or Huntsman are viable choices.
This is one of the Crowd Control ATs focusing on buffing/debuffing and featuring control abilities in one hell of a great package. You dont need to tank, you dont need heals, you dont need- oh well you need damage, when you are solo. Well, in any case, you make your enemies stunlocked, slept, held or even confused and finding themselves suddenly attacking their brethen.
Excelling at team support and having plethora of options, even pets in some of the powers, you lack two things. Damage and actual direct survivability. Legend says a great build and power combos can have you effortlessly solo +4 x8 enemies, however I did not experience that yet.
The Glass Cannon. Blasters are all about damage and then doing more damage after dealing damage, and buffing themselves. They have next to no defense or survivability. Not that you build them towards survivability much. Blasters shine in teams and getting some sort of Hover/Fly is heavily recommended.
While they can not survive big hits like a Corruptor or Sentinel, they can still take some. However a Blaster usually shines in teams where they can focus on dealing damage.
If you like controlling and also doing damage, while having a kickass AT inherent clicky power that buffs you to a whole another level, a Dominator is a very powerful AT and with some power combinations, they can achieve great survivability on top of literally locking down bosses and half of the battle and then nuking them all.
The Dominator however is more selfish than Controller and focuses on personal performance than team. But hey, at least you are a solo viable AT.
The Tank that does not suck. Brutes are an interesting one to play. While having almost-Tanker survivability, can also reach ludicrous Scrapper levels of damage and even surpass it. However, Brute’s passives are a bit complicated for a new player and ends up them not utilizing right. Brute has two passives. Taunt on every attack similar to a Tank and a berserk bar that gets called Fury Bar and works exactly how you expect it to work. More you hit and get hit, more damage you do and it decays over time. Due to the Fury, your damage has a ramp-up time and you want to rush to next enemy group like a wild headless chicken.
When played right, the Brute is a sight to behold. However its for more advanced players.
Corruptor is in practice a priority-swapped Defender. However the passive and possibilities make this AT play much more different. The passive, Scourge, makes you deal critical damage on enemies as their health drains. One of the most survivable, if not the most survivable ranged AT alongside really good damage and support, this AT makes up an all-rounder flexible force multiplier on teams or make a beefy damage dealer on solo occasions, while being beginner friendly.
This is what happens when a Blaster turns full melee and gains ability to crit. If Stalker is Rogue, Brute is Berserker and Tanker is Paladin, Scrapper is a Knight or Gladiator.
With an immense focus on damage and ability to crit, Scrapper plays like a mix of Blaster and Brute. Ability to become both the main DPS and off-tank of a group, Scrapper offers solid damage and just enough survivability to plow through even thickest of lines with relative ease.
The ease of use and straightforward playstyle makes Scrappers a reliable choice for both newcomers and veterans alike.
Warshade is Peacebringer’s darker counterpart and is a very versatile AT. Just like Peacebringer, the Warshade comes with it’s own, fixed powerpools and suffers similar problems regarding power choices. Not enough slots, too many powers to choose from and there are more useful powers contesting for the same slots than Peacebringer, alongside numerous viable builds. Whereas Peacebringers are more or less played human-only, Warshades are viable in both Three-form, Bi-form and Human-form builds.
While I tested most of the other classes in Test Server, the Warshade of mine is the only truly endgame character I posess on the Live servers. To the point I actually shelled enough influence to get full set IO enhancements, three purple sets and two Archetype Origin enhancements.
The Warshade plays very differently between builds. While Threeform builds are more versatile and usually focuses on Nova damage abilities, using Dwarf form Drain and Mire buff, alongside chaining Eclipse and Mire in human form and cycling to nova to become an absolute wrecking ball, it can not reliably build “passive defenses” to survive and becomes even more reliant on enemy count than the AT already is. While in group content it does not matter that much, while soloing, having one or two strong enemies makes you unable to buff yourself as much as you could than 8 equally strong enemies and in some situations you end up taking less damage from 8 enemies than a pair.
That is where Human-form builds starts to shine. Those ones are usually more specialized in one area, such as survivability, you lack the damage potential of Nova form and utility of Dwarf. However, your survivability gets to so insane levels, you can outtank Tankers if you manage to fit Provoke into your powers, carelessly draw three groups of enemied at +4 level and be straight immortal. No amount of Tanker survivability can match your Stygian Circle, where you completely refill both health and endurance after 4 dead enemies and you can reduce it’s cooldown to less than 10 seconds, depending on your build. I did not even mention damage dealing awesomeness yet.
You basically have TWO Corruptor levels of nukes, a melee attack you can use like no tomorrow, big dark balls of doom that explodes on your enemies and if that was not enough, you get an eye beam just like peacebringers but tenfold cooler. And even if THAT was not enough, you can raise essences of your dead enemies that act as your pets, which are almost as strong as you when it comes to damage dealing.
In the end, Warshades are very versatile, different playstyles are possible. They are absolute monsters. However they are a bit complicated to play well, especially Three-form builds are.
The pet AT that becomes more tanky than even Warshades after some point, requires immense amounts of macros and keybinds to play comfortably and requires babysitting of your pets most times. However, you are able to accomplish downright badass feats with the right build that puts even the most powerful Scrapper, Warshade or Brute to shame. If there was an end-all-be-all AT, Masterminds would be those, except they have a few big disadvantages that prevents them to be one.
You get 6 pets over time to command. 3 minions, 2 lieutenants and 1 boss level. Secondary Support powers just like Corruptors and a few very weak personal attacks that you skip when playing a Mastermind because personal attacks sucks and you are better off alcollating those points to universal powerpools and your support powers anyways.
You get a few passives. Supremacy and Bodyguard Mode. Plus you can command Lore Pets just like your AT pets.
Supremacy gives your pets accuracy and damage buffs within a radius, while Bodyguard mode is activated when you put pets into Defensive stance and make them follow you, which make your pets take a portion of incoming damage for you. And that is exactly what makes Masterminds so strong and make them deserve the top spot. With 6 pets you effectively get flat, undiminshed %75 true damage reduction. And your resistance values work on top of that. You end up becoming as tanky as Tankers if not tankier to some damage types.
The fact you have 6 pets and support powersets may make you think you are reduced into some support role for your pets. No, that is actually wrong. Pets are there for you. You step up, take damage for them, make them do damage and you buff them and yourself. Remember, pets are reliant on you!
Some combinations such as Robots/Traps or Thugs/Kinetic are just so incredibly strong, that the game becomes a trivial joke after some point. While the AT is overally strong, it has it’s weaknesses. AoE attacks are your bane of existance. Your pets sometimes act incredibly stupid and the fact you are reliant on some AI to do damage for you makes things unreliable at times.
Not to mention the complicated stance/order interactions and getting the most out of your passives require rather advanced knowledge of the game. Plus, the almost-mandatory macro setting makes the AT very unfriendly to beginners.