It’s been 16 months since NCSoft pulled the plug on the first and IMO best SuperHero/Villain themed MMO, there is barely a week that passes without me hearing a small reference to that game in one shape or another.
Admittedly it’s more often than not @FlyinPinkMunki or myself lamenting users on mumble about the fun we had or the bizarre costumes and builds that would spring from your imagination. But excluding us lifetime fans of the game, the recent TESO launch has fling City Of Heroes into people’s minds again as the age old MMO problem of out levelling creeps into the forefront.
The mentoring system in City Of Hereos/Villains is often held up as the gold standard in how to do this correctly. The earlier system was configured so that in a team someone could be sidekicked/lackeyed to a level 1 below or equal to the player who was the exemplar/malefactor.
Best of both worlds
This worked both ways, so a level 42 character could team with a level 16 character, the sidekick would have their level raised to 1 lower than the person exemplaring, so in this case level 41. But if the lower character needed help the higher character could be the sidekick and their level lowered to match the lower level player, loosing any powers selected beyond that level so that balanced was maintained.
This system worked very well, but had some limitations, for example if you had one high levelled character but 2 lower levelled characters, an uneven number of exemplar to sidekicks the system broke unless another player of a similar level was found or the higher levelled character became the sidekick to one of the lower characters.
In the later days of the game the system was altered, so that any mentoring was performed to the level of the group leader, thus you could have a high levelled leader at say 32 and up to 7 sidekicks that would be raised to fight at level 31 (or lowered down to 32 for higher levelled characters).
This allowed for more flexible team combinations as you didn’t need to worry about an odd number of players or having staggered levels. Although some power-leveling folks were annoyed as in the previous version you could trick the system into paying out huge benefits if you had a player 3 levels below the leader, and that player sidekicked another player who would get a hard fight but high XP.