Influence is everything in City of Heroes. Well, not quite everything – it can’t buy you unique rewards, after all – but if you want to have the best enhancements while levelling your toon, it’s vital to have as much as possible. To properly equip a level 50, I am told, you’re going to need about 150 million. Now, I’m just a new player, but that seems an awful lot to me. So how to accumulate such quantities? Here’s two ways I’ve found so far.
Firstly, there’s the invention system. After level 10, characters gain the ability to create enhancements in the University (or in their super-group’s base). At level 12, the level 15 inventions become usable. The best thing about them is that they don’t degrade as the toon levels further: their bonus percentage (which is significantly better than most other enhancements) stays the same. This means they are in demand. Rather than heading straight to the University, though, I would suggest stopping at Wentworth’s. Standard level 15 invention recipes drop pretty often from mobs, so there’s usually a decent supply of them available for purchase at low prices. Given that even a basic recipe will cost several thousand influence if purchased from an invention terminal (assuming you have no badges yet, that is), picking them up from Wentworth’s at 500 or 1,000 influence apiece is obviously a better move.
The best sellers are, of course, those inventions that everyone wants. Damage, recharge reduction, healing, endurance reduction, range and movement speed are all, for example, solid money-makers. This brings us to the secondary advantage of inventing for money: while doing so, your toon will earn badges that reduce the price of the recipes bought from the terminals. Fewer trips to Wentworth’s. Can’t be bad.
Secondly, and more importantly, players can manipulate stock at Wentworth’s. Within my first week of playing the game, one of my toons was making at least 100,000 influence per day simply by buying and selling sensibly for a total of maybe 10 minutes a day. To be honest, I was shocked at how easy it is, especially considering my lack of game knowledge. I’m just working with the very basics here. The system works like this: buy low, sell high. That’s maybe overly simple… the trick is to spot the items that people want, understand why, then make your bids to ensure you always have a stock of those popular goods on sale. Elementary, I know, but that’s pretty much the whole thing.
This is where the two points converge. Certain basic invention salvage items are like gold dust because they are used in the most popular recipes. By bidding low on those, then re-selling them at a much higher price, you can very easily keep your toon in costumes, enhancements and donuts. Some examples include boresights, brass, inanimate carbon rods, luck charms, spell scrolls and spiritual essences. I would suggest buying, say, 10 brass for 250 influence each. Once they’re bought, put them up on sale at 2,000 each. That’s eight times your investment (minus the fees) for only 2,500 starting cash. Depending on your server, you might be able to get more.
I tend to do my buying when I log in and the selling when I log out. That way, I play for a while as my stock arrives, then put it up for sale to ensure I have income on my return. Obviously, as my knowledge of the game grows and my finances get even better, some of the biggest items will become available to me for reselling, and then the profits really will roll in!