Credit to khy for this one:
Let’s take a look at Enhancements, Inventions, and all the fun that comes with them.
1) Enhancement Basics
Starting at the basics! Enhancements usually come in five ‘types’. Training, Dual-Origin, Single Origin, Hamidon (Special) Origin, and Invention.
Training enhancements can be slotted by anyone, but they are (comparatively) super weak. They usually boost most powers by 5-10% or so. They only boost one aspect of your powers.
Dual-origin enhancements are specific to two different origins, but they are TWICE as potent as Training (IE : 10-20%). For Example, a DO ‘amulet’ enhancement may only be slottable by Natural-origin or Magic-origin characters.
Single-origin enhancements can ONLY be slotted by a specific origin, but they are twice as potent as Dual-Origin. (20-40%)
Hamidon Origin enhancements (Also called ‘Special Origin’ or ‘Special Enhancements’) can be slotted by any origin, and they enhance TWO aspects of a power instead of one (Such as Damage & Accuracy, or Recharge & Endurance Reduction, etc). These can’t normally be purchased, and are found in special encounters. Each power boost is roughly the same as a Single Origin.
Invention Origin enhancements are crafted instead of found (usually) and behave differently than the other four. I’ll explain these in greater detail later on.
With all these enhancements, you can only use an enhancement that’s 3 levels above or 3 levels below you. Enhancements over 3 levels can’t be put into your powers, and below 3 levels provides ZERO effect. Enhancements get a bonus if they’re higher level than you, and are weaker if they’re lower level. So if you’re level 20, you can slot enhancements up to level 23, or down to level 17. Level 16 or lower won’t have any effect on your powers. Always keep an eye on your enhancements when you level - it can suck to have a power suddenly lose 30% of its effectiveness because you’ve outleveled your enhancements!
Training, Dual-Origin (DO), and Single-Origin (SO) enhancements can be found OR purchased from vendors - but DO and SO can only be bought at higher levels. DO enhancements start appearing on vendors at level 15, so you need to be 12 or higher to buy them. SO enhancements appear on vendors at level 25, so you need to be 22 to buy them.
Some trials and missions reward higher-quality enhancements as a bonus for being tougher. All those ‘DFB’ (Death from Below) groups you see advertised in chat are popular in part because they let low-level characters acquire random Single-Origin enhancements. Other trials, task forces, and similarly challenging content can give rewards normally only available to higher-level players, to encourage group play.
Hamidon Origins can only be found from defeating super tough fights, at the end of task forces, and similarly rare circumstances. Until Inventions came out, they were considered the best possible enhancements in the game; even now they’re very desirable since many Invention enhancements can be quite costly and rare.
Invention Origin enhancements, IOs, change things up from normal enhancements in several ways.
First, they NEVER EXPIRE when you outlevel them. Instead of expiring, they have varying power levels based on their level. A level 10 IO will give the same bonus to a power if you’re level 10, or if you’re level 50. Because of this, IOs early on are much weaker than later. You still can only slot an IO that’s at most 3 levels above you.
Low-level IOs have roughly equivalent power to training enhancements, mid-level IOs have roughly equivalent power to Dual-Origins, and so on. The highest level IOs (Level 50+) are a bit stronger than Single-Origin enhancements, making them potentially the strongest in the game. IOs won’t need replacement as often due to their inability to be outleveled, but you’ll want to replace them as you gain levels to ensure they’re giving enough of a bonus to be worth keeping. After all, a 7% boost to a power that doesn’t expire is not worth keeping over a 33% boost even if it does, right?
IOs can affect one statistic of a power, or multiple - they can be part of a ‘set’ which grants bonuses the more enhancements of that set are slotted, and in some instances do unique things like changing a knockBACK effect to a knockDOWN effect, or boosting HP/Endurance, or even granting a bonus to powers other than the one it’s slotted in.
IOs are primarily crafted. While it’s possible to get one here or there from a trial or other mission, this is very rare. Crafting is a whole system by itself, so let’s take a look at that!
2) Crafting IOs - Getting started.
So you want to craft an IO! There’s 4 things you need - The invention workbench, the invention Salvage, the invention recipe, and Inf.
Workbenches are located in very specific places, the easiest way to find them is to go to the University in Cap Au Diable or Steel Canyon. If you are in a supergroup, you can put workbenches in the SG base.
The second thing you need is salvage. Salvage drops at random from enemies you fight, the higher class of enemy (Bosses, Elite Bosses, Arch-Villains) have a higher chance to drop salvage than lower-classes (Minions and Lieutenants). Underlings can NEVER drop salvage, so don’t try farming easy-to-kill enemies that spawn infinitely. Salvage is also easy to find on the Auction House (Wentworths for Heroes, Black Market for villains).
The last thing you need is a recipe. Unlike other games, recipes for IOs are single-use . So if you want to make 3 healing IOs, you need 3 Healing recipes. Even different levels use different recipes - you could find a level 10 Healing recipe from a random drop, and purchase a level 30 healing recipe. Recipes for common IOs (Healing, Recharge, etc) can be bought from the workbench while recipes from sets have to be found at random. The AH is a great place to find the rarer recipes, or to (hopefully) get the common recipes cheaper than buying them from the workbench. If you need Inf, you can always consider selling off recipes you don’t need!
Once you have the recipe & Salvage components, go to the workbench and hit create. IOs tend to be more expensive than other enhancements because the recipe can cost influence, the salvage (if you don’t have it already) costs influence from the AH, and it costs money to craft as well . Be aware that trying to replace all your enhancements with IO can deplete your inf very, very fast!
One additional tip : If you make enough IOs of a particular type and level, you can MEMORIZE the recipe. Doing so makes it so that you no longer have to pay to purchase a recipe, and as such can craft IO’s for significantly less cost. When you craft enough of a particular IO at a specific level, you earn a badge. If you’re badge-hunting, then you can earn a total of 45 memorization badges. In addition, certain badges will grant you bonuses in the form of increasing the maximum amount of salvage or recipes you can carry!
For details on how many enhancements of a specific level you need to earn the badge, see this wiki page : https://cityofheroes.fandom.com/wiki/Memorization_Badges
3) Invention Sets
Sets are different from normal IOs in three ways : First, some sets can be ‘unique’. If a set is unique, then you can only have one enhancement in that set slotted in ANY of your powers. Other times, specific IOs from a set might be unique - such as the global recharge reduction from ‘Luck of the Draw’. The other pieces of the set aren’t unique, but the 6th piece which offers a global always-on bonus is.
Second, sets provide different bonuses for different pieces. For the ‘Panacea’ healing set as an example, there’s 6 different enhancements : Heal/Endurance, Endurance/Recharge,Heal/Recharge, Heal/Endurance/Recharge, Heal, and Boost HP/Endurance.
The first five pieces are like normal Healing, Endurance Reduction, or Recharge reduction enhancements. The 6th is a unique bonus that boosts your maximum HP and endurance. All together they boost a single power’s healing by 97.49%, reduces the recharge by 73.78%, and reduces the endurance cost by 73.78%.
Last, sets provide unique bonuses the more you slot them into a specific power. As an example, here are the bonuses for the ‘Panacea’ set I mentioned above :
2 Slotted : Gain 2.5% endurance recovery, 2.25% smash/lethal resist, and 3.75% mez resist (Immobilize, Hold, sleep, stun, etc).
3 Slotted : Gain 10% HP Regen and 10% knockback resist.
4 Slotted : Gain 1.5% max HP, 3% Fire/Cost resist, and an additional 5% mez resist.
5 Slotted : Gain 7.5% recharge reduction to all powers, and 7.5% range to all powers.
6 Slotted : Boost healing by 6%, gain 3.13% melee defense and 1.56% lethal/Smashing defense.
The important thing is these bonuses only apply if the enhancements are slotted into the SAME POWER. If you put 3 of them into ‘Heal Other’ and then 3 of them into ‘Heal Self’, you do not get all 6 of the bonuses, you only get the 2 and 3 slot ones. Put all 6 enhancements in the same power and get all 6 bonuses for maximum effect.
Now with sets being super powerful, having slot bonuses, and many times unique effects you wonder why would anyone want normal IOs or other enhancements? The tradeoff of course is since set recipes can’t be bought from the Workbench, you’re 100% reliant upon them dropping for you (rare) or buying them from the AH. Buying from the AH could be difficult and/or expensive when it comes to rare, hard-to-get and popular sets so be prepared to spend quite a lot of money or search for a while to find the recipe you want!
4) Consignments - CoH’s unique auction house system
Since the Invention system and the AH go hand-in-hand, let’s go over the consignment system a bit. The AH system is very different from what you’re used to in other games because you go in blind .
The way it works is this :
Seller puts up a recipe on the AH saying ‘Sell it for 10,000 inf.’
Buyer #1 sees the recipe is being sold, but does not see how much the recipe costs. He’ll place a bid to try to buy it for 5000 inf. This bid isn’t high enough to buy it right away, but the bid stays in the system.
Buyer #2 sees the recipe and is more impatient, he bids 100,000 inf. Since this is above Seller’s cost, Seller gets the full 100,000 and Buyer #2 gets the recipe instantly.
Buyer #1’s bid stays in the system until he either cancels it, or until someone lists another copy of the recipe for 5000 or less inf.
This can mean some difficulty in trying to know ‘what should I sell this recipe for?’ and ‘How much should I bid for this recipe?’. To help that, there is a ‘history’ where you can see how much previous items have sold for. This isn’t perfect, but it’s a good starting point. If there’s something you REALLY want, you can always place a bid, cancel if it doesn’t win, place another (higher) bid, cancel if you don’t win, and keep going until you find the price high enough to get that recipe. Keep in mind that selling an item for a large amount may get few buyers, but you might get lucky and sell for a lot of inf to an impatient person - or if it’s a very rare and sought-after recipe!
The AH lets you sell all sorts of things. Recipes, Salvage, and enhancements (Both crafted and dropped) can all be sold. If you completed a difficult trial but the enhancement you got at the end isn’t useful for you, put it up on the AH and get some cash out of it!