Learning The Screen Display
City of Heroes' default screen setup is fairly basic, but it can be a bit overwhelming to try to understand--there are many different windows and modules open, and half the time you're not sure what they do and don't do. To help alleviate this frustrating part of learning City of Heroes, I have created my "City of Heroes Screen Illustration Module", which will open in a new window. Click the link to get started with the illustration.
The module was created from one of my personal screenshots, and as such, it shows how my screen is designed. I have generally left everything the way it is in the default setup, except for the location of the map--I like to have my map window open at all times (because I can get lost easily), so it is detached from its default location and placed on the right side of my screen.
As you hover over each section of the screenshot, little tooltips will pop up describing what each window and module does. Some more elaboration on each section follows below:
When you click "Contacts" on your Compass & Navigational Module, your current active contacts will display. As you complete missions from your contacts, some of your active ones will become inactive, and be placed on the "Inactive" tab instead. The "Detective" tab lists contacts that are used mainly for getting Police Band Radio frequencies for doing Radio Missions in each zone (the thing that looks like the front of a car radio, above Daedalus in the screenshot, is what the Police Band Radio looks like). The "Tips" tab is where you find special missions that help you either reaffirm your heroic nature or help you turn from hero to vigilante to villain.
|Current Missions Menu|
This is where your missions will display--both your active one and any others you have waiting to be completed. From this screen, you can either "Select" a mission to complete, or "Abandon" a mission (turn it in without really doing it). Only abandon a mission if you absolutely have to--you can only abandon one every three days.
Here is where you will find the clues from your recent missions displayed. Whenever you see the white text "CLUE FOUND!" on your screen while playing a mission, you can look at this menu to see what it is. This adds storyline and interest to the game. As well as clues received during the mission, you also get a Souvenir at the end of each mission, which reminds you of what the story was about; you can review these on the "Souvenir" tab. Lastly, the "Architect Souvenirs" tab is where you will find Souvenirs from AE missions.
This is where you see all the badges you have gotten as well as the badges you can work towards getting. The "Most Recent" category is showing in this screenshot, but there are many different categories of badges available from the dropdown list--just click the blue arrow at the far right of the black bar and you will see the category list. By clicking a badge's title, you can select it as a title which will display underneath your hero's name.
This appears from your Chatbox menu, and if you're on a team, it will display the names of your team members (including yours) in a list of horizontal bars. (In this screenshot, Austara was not on a team, so her Team Menu just displays a blank window and a dropdown menu that allows you to broadcast whether you're looking for a team or not.)These teammate bars change colors with the health of your teammates--if the bar is green, your teammate is healthy. If it is yellow, your teammate is around half-health. If it is red, your teammate is in danger of being defeated; if the bar turns black, your teammate has been defeated.
When you have a power that comes on and stays on until you hit the button or click it again, that power is called a toggle. Toggle powers that are activated have a whitish-blue line that circles around them, like the first two powers on Power Tray 2 in this picture. This helps you see at a glance which powers are running, and is especially helpful if you find yourself running out of Endurance and need to cut one of them off for a little bit.
|Turning One Toggle Off|
Just before this screenshot was taken, I hit Alt and 1 to turn off the first power on Power Tray 2. When you turn a toggle power off, its icon goes very dark and is very small at first, and then the icon slowly gets bigger and brighter until it is just like the other powers again. Notice that the second toggle is still running and is not affected by the first one being turned off.
In this screenshot, you can see that the first toggle has now recharged; just before this screenshot was taken, I hit Alt and 2 to turn off the second toggle, and you can see that the second toggle is on its way to recharging.
One of the most important parts of playing City of Heroes and having fun is making sure that your screen is designed the way that you understand it best. Here’s a few things you can change about your screen:
The Placement and Size of Windows
Windows, such as the Power Tray window, the Chat window (also known affectionately as the “Chatbox”), the Health/Endurance/XP Bars, the Target Window, the Map, and the Mission window can all be rearranged as best suits you. Take a moment, if you are unsatisfied with how anything is placed, and rearrange where things are on your screen. You may want your Power Tray going vertical up the right side of your screen, your map on the left side of the screen, halfway up from the bottom, and your Chatbox beside your power tray. Alternatively, you might want to try moving your Chatbox to the bottom right and your Power Tray to the bottom left.
Also, experiment with what windows can be unattached from each other—-the map can be unattached from the Mission window, for instance. The Inspirations and Enhancements can likewise be unattached from the Power Tray window, if you prefer.
When you have finished arranging your screen the way you want it, check to be sure that you have the sizes of the windows right. Too small, and you won’t be able to access the window when you need to, and won’t be able to read much in it; too big, and it covers up a big part of your sight when you are involved in battle. Experiment with sizes on the Map and Chatbox especially, since these are your links with the rest of the zone and with players in your zone, and you'll most likely have them open all the time.
The Opacity and Color Scheme of Windows
Also, be sure that you have the opacity and color scheme the way you wish. Click “Menu” > “Options” > “Graphics and Audio” tab. Making the opacity darker on your windows will make them easier to read, but not necessarily easy to see through, especially if they cover up a lot of the area on the screen. (You can't change the opacity of your map window, by the way--place your map carefully so it doesn't block a crucial part of the battlefield!)
Changing the windows’ bar color from the standard true-blue of City of Heroes is strictly a cosmetic change. It doesn’t really affect gameplay, but it’s nice to have a custom console design! Play around with the colors (also under "Options") when you get a free minute or two, and see how you can customize your windows.