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  City of Heroes/Villains Targeting

Shenanigunner's Guide to Targeting
v1.21, Updated 25 July 2006

Targeting in City of Heroes and City of Villains can be an extremely useful adjunct to your character's eyesight - a bionic eye to help spot those pesky glowies, bosses, hostages and friendlies across vast and confusing outdoor maps.

If you've played very long, you've gotten an outdoor mission that you had to search and search to find the objectives... and you haven't played much longer if you've run into one in which the objectives remain stubbornly hidden, usually as the clock ticks down and your patience frays.

'Gunner to the rescue: Here's how to use the advanced targeting commands to make those hidden suckers come out and play.

Basic Targeting Commands

Okay, you probably know the targeting that's been in the game since Issue 1:





These commands, which take no arguments, will target any foe in your visible range (about 180 degrees wide and either at map limit or about 300 yards) who is, respectively, the closest, farthest, next farthest from the one currently targeted, or next closer from the current target. The first two will select only one target at any one time, while the second two will cycle through the visible foes, one in nearest to farthest order and the other the other way around.

You can do the same thing for friendlies:





Which does the same thing as above for any player or NPC that shows a blue or green reticle.

None of these command will let you target objects or NPCs with a white reticle.

Custom Targeting Commands

There are a variety of useful binds that can be written with the fixed commands, but they don't quite cover all the bases. So in Issue 4 or 5, the following custom targeting options were added:





These commands work as described above with the exception that each requires an argument to tell it what to target. The arguments are:











Some of these options are identical to the fixed targeting equivalents:

target_custom_near friend is identical to


target_custom_next enemy is identical to


and so forth. There isn't really any reason to use these longer commands in place of the fixed ones except individual preference. But you could eliminate your use of the older commands to use the more consistent and flexible custom commands all around.

The New Targeting Options

It's the other argument keywords that add new functionality. But the actual operation of these commands and their keywords is not straightforward. There is a hierarchy to the commands that is still muddy to me after much experimentation. Here, to the best of my knowledge, is an accurate description of the keyword functions:

friend will restrict targeting to any blue-reticle (other player) or green-reticle (teammate) character.

enemy will restrict targeting to any orange-reticle (foe) character.

teammate will restrict targeting to any green-reticle (teammate) character, including both your and others' pets.

notteammate will exclude all green-reticle characters from the targeting cycle.

mypet will restrict targeting to any of your own pets.

notmypet will exclude any of your own pets from the targeting cycle

You can further define what the above keywords will select with these two secondary keywords. Note that these keywords do not work reliably unless paired with one of the above primary keywords.

defeated will restrict targeting to any figure, friend, enemy or NPC with zero hit points.

alive will restrict targeting to any figure, friend, enemy or NPC with at least one hit point.

The other commands are... peculiar. Although they have individual descriptions, they do not appear to have any discernible effect on targeting. That is, if base and notbase have any real purpose at all, I've been unable to figure out what it is. I'm going to ignore them until such time as there's new data.

Note: These commands may only operate within supergroup bases. If someone wants to experiment in a base and let me know...

It is important to understand that these commands begin with an assumed "target all" and are restricted to smaller sets of targetable items by the various commands. This might seem trivial but it helps in understanding how the keywords interact and stack. For one thing, there HAS to be at least one keyword, even if it's the apparently null base. Using only that keyword makes the commands target everything targetable.

This "All"includes friends, foes, NPCs, glowies, and even clickable doorways. And this is where the custom targeting commands get really useful for hunting... but we'll get to that in a minute.

So what we have here are keywords that are actuallly restrictive instead of inclusive. By themselves, the custom targeting commands target everything. To limit the targeting to useful categories, you must restrict the targeting list. Got that?

Argument Stacking

The custom targeting commands permit more than one argument to be stacked - such as:

target_custom_near friend alive

which will target only blue- and green-reticle characters who have at least one hit point.

As nearly as I can tell, combining the pet, teammate, friend, and enemy keywords with alive and defeated works just like you think it would:

target_custom_near friend alive

will target green or blue reticle figures who have 1 hit point or more.

target_custom_near enemy defeated

will target enemies who have zero hit points.

Actually, those examples are backwards from any useful ones, so let's flip them around:

target_custom_near teammate defeated

will target the nearest teammate who's defeated and needs rez or tp out of the battle.

target_custom_near enemy alive

will target only enemies who have not been defeated - which would be useful for a grapple bind written with the custom targeting commands, since there's no point in a scrapper locking on to a defeated foe.

String Targeting

The final argument that the custom targeting commands will accept strings - any character name or part of a name. Unfortunately, this won't work with foe group names or titles, so you can't seach for "Family" or "boss," for example... wouldn't THAT be nice! However, if you're on a hunt for specific types of enemy - such as that damnable hunt for Marcone Capos to get the Gangbuster badge - you can write a quick bind with the appropriate string and greatly simplify your hunting.

If you're searching for more than one exact character name, you'll have to analyze the spread of names for each foe type to see if there's a substring that will cover them all.

All of the following are valid binds:

targetcustomnext sorc (Tsoo Sorcerers)

targetcustomnext outcast (Any Outcast minion)

targetcustomnext lead (Outcast Lieutenant or Boss)

...etc. Have fun. This is particularly useful for those with macro keyboards, where a whole slew of keys can be bound to specific searches. You'll likely need a cheat sheet to keep them straight, though.

Now let's put it together.

Advanced Targeting

Here's how to use the custom targeting command to simplify those damned hunting missions, whether they're kill-alls, hostage rescues, glowie hunts or any other mish that requires you to laboriously search the whole darned map.

Put this bind on a key you can whack almost continuously while manipulating the mouse and movement keys:

/bind ADD "targetcustomnext base"

I specify (and use) the numpad plus key because I can whack it while my hand is still on the trackball. (Yeah, I use a trackball, what's it to ya?)

You will need to be able to move, control air movement and whack this key, so choose a key or mouse button that works for you.

Now, when you're in a map that requires searching, or hunting in a zone...

  1. (Optional) Drag your targeting window to the center of the screen, either just below or just above the center of view. (Optional, but helpful.)
  2. (Optional) Make the target window large enough to see easily with the

    /windowscale target 1.5

    command. Adjust the value from 1 to 2 to find a comfortable size. You might bind thiis and the return to normal size to a pair of minor keys for convenience.
  3. Get to a good central place (among obstacles) or a high place (through jump, teleport or flight).
  4. Spin slowly while whacking the targeting key. Watch the target window carefully. When you see your desired target, freeze and cycle the targeting slowly until you have it targeted.
  5. Do whatever heroic or villainous thing you must.
  6. Repeat steps 3 through 5 as necessary throughout the map.

Substitute a character name string, as described above - and strings like "hostage" might work just fine as long as all the scared little guys have the same name - for very selective targeting.

Tips, Secret Things & a Conclusion

Some targeting is kind of subtle. Things you aren't supposed to be able to target will show odd text, and may not show a selection reticle. This includes clickable doors (which will show a white "Dr" in the target window but no reticle).

What's really odd is that that "Dr" appears sometimes on non-door items, often key bosses or figures in missions. The only way to find these objects is to hit your Follow key and let it drag you to the item, which can be dangerous if it's a purple boss. Don't complain to me if the last thing your character sees is an Aberrant's ugly face.

(Just before I wrote this, while I was testing the commands, I had a mission to find eight Lost hostages of the Rikti. It was a timed mission and I was short on time, and my search technique REALLY helped find the hostages in quick time. I could not find the last hostage... but there was a boss who targeted with this mysterious "Dr" as well as his own reticle. I ran out of time just seconds before defeating him, so I'm not sure... but I think he was the eigth hostage and that mysterious, secret "Dr" was the clue. Now, I find that useful as hell when you get one of those mysterious-objective missions... don't you?)

Now... what's REALLY odd about that "Dr" is that it's breakable. Try this: write the bind and go into any zone. Target until you get a "Dr" and you'll find that you can cycle endlessly and never lose it. However... target one and hit follow to zoom you to the door... and it's no longer targetable. Very strange. More indication that it's a bug or unintended feature.

Comments, corrections, additions and complaints to the usual address. Hope you find this a useful addition to your gameplay!