Villain and Hero incarnate – the beginning
City of Heroes Issue 19 introduced the Incarnate system – an alternate advancement system for max level characters in the game.
Originally Incarnate was in the City of Heroes lore referring to two indivuduals, Statesman and Lord Recluse, who drank from the Well of Furies and through that action were infused by the power of the gods and significantly more powerful than humans or even other superpowered beings.
After that, the lore has extended it a bit and a few other key NPCs are also considered incarnates (Imperious, Reichsman, Tyrant, Hero 1), although some of them are alternate reality versions of the same person (Statesman).
For the incarnate system, the lore has expanded a bit further and now provides an explanation for how the players can become incarnates themselves, but without actually drinking from the Well of Furies. This alternate approach is a slower path, but safer.
The incarnate system includes 10 different slots, that step-by-step will be introduced into the game. For issue 19 this means that one of the slots are made available, the Alpha slot. Other slots will come later.
The 10 incarnate slots are called Alpha, Judgement, Interface, Lore, Destiny, Hybrid, Genesis, Stance, Vitae and Omega. The names do imply that each slot will provide a different type of functionality; it will not all be the same.
The Mender Ramiel story arc – unlocking the Alpha slot
If you do not want to learn anything at all about the story arc, skip this section to the next headline – The Alpha Slot.
The story arc to unlock the Alpha slot begins from Mender Ramiel in Ouroburos. He has come to this time from the future, and he has brought a message from your future self. The first mission takes you to a view of this future, where you rescue Mende Ramiel and give him the message that he will deliver in the past, to you in present time.
In this future, you are a much more powerful being. This is represented by “echoes” of powerful arch-villains and heroes that you have to fight your way through to get to Mender Ramiel. This you will do without really getting a scratch. It is possible to complete the mission without fighting at all also; just need to know where to find Mender Ramiel and go there directly.
After this Mender Ramiel tells you more about that there are other incarnates and that you are a person with incarnate potential. You are then sent to talk to either Lord Recluse or Statesman (depending if you are hero/vigilante or villain/rogue). This is essentially the only part of the story arc that is different for the different alignments, everything else is pretty much identical.
Through Lord Recluse/Statesman the Well of Furies itself will communicate with you; indicating that there is a villain named Trapdoor, which has an incarnate artifact in his possession. Trapdoor himself has powers that is the result of some experiments conducted by Lord Recluse to create these kind of powers, but without tapping directly into the Well itself.
And guess what next task is? Of course it is to get the artifact from Trapdoor. He is not giving it up voluntarily, so you have to defeat him. A key power that Trapdoor has is the ability to create clones of himself and regenerate health when doing so. It is only necessary to defeate the original Trapdoor through.
You will get the artifact from Trapdoor. Next you are sent to Lady Grey, who have some more information of the connection between the Well and the incarnates. She also knows another incarnate in this world, Hero 1 aka The Honoree - you will be sent on a mission to recover him. This is the toughest mission in the story arc, which includes two notable enemies to fight (Vanguard captian Holtz and The Honoree), plus a number of Crey and Rikti – with potentially a lot of Rikti, including a couple of ambushes.
After recovering The Honoree and getting a bit more insight from Lady Grey on becoming an incarnate, Mender Ramiel will send you off to Cimerora to get to a rumored Well-link, which may help you become an incarnate through a similar route like Statesman & Lord Recluse. Lady Grey also informed though that there is a slower, less direct approach also, where the incarnate powers are gained one piece at a time. This will make it less likely that the Well itself will keep less control over the Incarnates themselves, which is what has happened to Staesman and Lord Recluse.
In the Cimerora Well-candidate cave there is a Guardian and a number of “echoes” of various minions etc, that will be in the way. In order to get to the Well-room, the guardian has to be defeated.
Well inside the Well room, Menders Ramiel and Silos are also there, seeing that there is not actually a well there. You will look through the rubble in the room, only to find a shard left of the well. This is your starting point though, and you get an incarnate shard.
This is the last part of the story arc and once you have talked to Mender Ramiel after the mission, the arc is completed and the alpha slot is unlocked for you.
Of the four missions there are 3 missions with Elite Bosses in them that must be defeated (Trapdoor, Honoree + Captain Holtz, Guardian). This can make the arc challenging for some characters and it may be good to team up in order to complete it (or eat a lot of inspirations).
The Alpha slot
With the alpha slot unlocked, then comes the question what to do with it? In essence, the alpha slot will contain a kind of enhancement that includes multiple effects/benefits and which can be successively improved. These improvements apply to all powers that can be affected by this change.
The starting point is to craft a Common version of the relevant component; this will provide a single benefit in one of four areas; Cardiac (reduced endurance), Musculature (damage), Nerve (accuracy) and Spiritual (recharge time). Moving up the slot tree to uncommon, rare and very rare there will be more and larger benefits.
A common incarnate enhancement requires 3 components. Each component can be given as a reward for completing certain task forces. It is also possible to pick up incarnate shards and then combine four of the se shards to create a new component. For less common items a
There is a good section on the Going Rogue web site about the Alpha slot, well worth a read
The incarnate system is done in such a way that you can complete the tasks to put somehing in the slot withough for just about everything, as long as they enemies are level 50+. Some specific task forces will give an incarnate component as reward, but it it also possible to convert 4 shards to a common component.
At the same time as I have started with incarnate progression and unlock the ALpha slot for a few of my characters, I have also regained an interest in the IO set enhancements. Initially I used that a bit when it was introduced in issue 9, but later stopped bothering about IO sets, since I was more focusing on leveling up characters. Regular IO enhancements were good enough then.
But now that I have started playing more with the max level characters, my interest in using IO sets have also returned. That is a whole different chapter though.
There are also many other features that are interesting with Issue 19, but that will be included in other posts.