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The hero sidekick and the villain lackey, and their opposites, the exemplar and malefactor, are game features that allow low- and high-level characters to play together without completely sacrificing rewards and without enemies being vastly over- or underpowered compared to some team members. This feature is fairly rare in MMORPGs, and allows casual players to play alongside more frequent players.

How To[]

You must be on a team with the person you intend to sidekick/exemplar with. If you are in the same zone/map as the character, you can select the character in the team list, then right click and select the option in the context menu, or select the acronym below the team list. Alternately, regardless of if they are in the same zone/map as you, you can type a slash command into chat, which is explained below.


A character can sidekick (for heroes) or lackey (for villains) to any character that is at least three levels higher. The higher-level character is known as the mentor (for heroes) or boss (for villains). The mentor/boss must be at least security or threat level 10. Sidekicking raises the lower character's combat level to one level below that of his mentor. The sidekick must stay within 225 feet of his mentor to retain this effect. This is often referred to as the sidekick's "leash." If he moves too far away or enters a different map, his combat level drops to his actual level until he is again within range. Note: Inside missions, going up or down elevators or through some portals may exceed the 225 foot leash, so it is common practice to send the mentor through first.

A sidekick will not gain the same rewards from defeating enemies or completing missions as a character who is naturally at his higher level. Although the sidekick's health, power strength, and chances of hitting and getting hit are altered upward to match his new combat level, he gains the experience and influence/infamy rewards he would get if the enemies were relative to his natural level. Recipe, salvage, and enhancement drops remain based on the enemies' true levels.

For example, if a sidekick fights +2 enemies, he will get rewards as if he were fighting enemies two above his natural level. If he gains a level while sidekicked, his combat level remains the same (one below his mentor's), so he will continue to be rewarded as if he were fighting +2 enemies. This is different from normal play in that leveling mid-mission while unsidekicked means enemies become relatively weaker and less rewarding. Note that the sidekick's combat level will rise if his mentor levels mid-mission, however, and that if the sidekick's actual level rises to within two of his mentor's, all effects of sidekicking end.

Sidekicking cannot be used to satisfy level requirements on task and strike forces, or hazard and trial zone borders.

The high level character must request the low level character to be his sidekick/lackey. The chat command to request a sidekick is /sidekick name or /sk name for heroes, and /lackey name or /lk name for villains. All four commands actually work in both games, so a villain can type /sk name as well.

The reward calculations for a sidekick are applied 30 seconds after accepting or dropping the sidekick relationship. This means that if a character significantly lower than the rest of his team accepts a mentor after he enters a mission, he will not receive any experience for the first 30 seconds. On the other hand, if a sidekick or mentor quits the relationship, the sidekick has 30 seconds to find another mentor before he stops receiving experience. Some players deliberately clear an entire mission other than the last glowie or minion, drop all sidekicks, then wait 30 seconds before finishing the mission, just so the sidekicks will get the maximum possible mission reward.


A character can exemplar (for heroes) or malefactor (for villains) to any character that is at least three levels lower. The lower-level character is known as the aspirant (for heroes) and minion (for villains). Exemplaring does not have a level 10 minimum like sidekicking does. Exemplaring drops the higher character's combat level to the same as her charge. An exemplared character remains at his lower level no matter how far she is from her charge or whether they're in the same zone, unlike sidekicking.

Similar to sidekicking, exemplaring adjusts the character's level for purposes of combat and causes her to gain experience as if her enemies were relative to her actual level. Unlike sidekicking, exemplaring prevents any experience that would advance the character toward her next level. All experience the exemplar would have gained goes instead toward paying off debt, if she has any, or becomes influence if she has no debt. This increase in influence has no effect on how much prestige is gained by a character in supergroup mode. Additionally, an exemplared character will not get any enhancements or normal infamy/influence rewards from defeating enemies, although she may still get enhancements as mission rewards. Recipe, salvage, and inspiration drops remain based on the enemies' true levels.

Note! It is widely believed that an exemplared character gains full normal influence rewards in addition to any extra influence he gets from converted experience. In fact, it's even stated in several player guides, both official and unofficial. This is not true. Playing while exemplared and debt-free will not result in roughly double the usual amount of influence.

While exemplared, a character loses the use of all primary, secondary, and pool powers she gained above her exemplared combat level. (Accolade powers, temporary powers, veteran rewards and prestige powers are not affected by this, even if they have minimum levels.) The exemplar does not lose the benefits of enhancement slots gained above that level; however, all her enhancements may provide universally reduced benefits depending both on how high her actual level is and how far down she is exemplared.

Main Article: Exemplar Effects on Enhancements

Also, she may lose some or all Invention Enhancement Set bonuses she has, based on the following conditions:

  • She loses all set bonuses from all sets in any powers that become inactive, regardless of the level of the enhancements on those powers.
  • Each individual Set IO stops counting towards filling its set if she exemplars more than 3 levels below it. For example, if you have level 20, 22, 25 and 27 set enhancements from one set, then exemplar down to level 20, you will only have the first set bonus from that set (the 25 and 27 are too high), but you will still receive the (scaled down) normal benefits of those enhancements.

The lower-level character must request the higher-level character to be his exemplar/malefactor. The chat command to request an exemplar is /exemplar name or /ex name; for villains the command is /malefactor name or /mal name. As with sidekicking commands, all four can be used in both games.

PvP Zones[]

PvP zones (Bloody Bay, Siren's Call, Warburg, Recluse's Victory) automatically adjust your combat level as you enter. As long as a character is above the minimum requirement to enter a particular PvP zone, his combat level will be automatically adjusted to that zone's particular combat level. This automatically breaks any existing sidekick/exemplar pairings.

Rewards for PvE victories in PvP zones are the same as though you were sidekicked or exemplared to that zone's combat level, as explained above. Adjustments to enhancement effects and available powers are also exactly the same. The only difference is that the 30-second delay does not apply.

Task Forces/Strike Forces[]

Task forces and strike forces will auto-exemplar any characters who are above the task/strike force's level range to its maximum level, though they won't auto-sidekick characters who are below the minimum. This functions the same as PvP zones. An auto-exemplared character may still take a sidekick and may still manually exemplar to a lower-level teammate.

Rewards for automatic exemplars are the same as typical exemplaring, explained above.

Common Terms[]

Sidekick: SK (heroes)

Lackey: LK (villains)

Mentor: (heroes)

Boss: (villains)

Exemplar: Ex, Exemp, Reverse SK, RSK (heroes)

Malefactor: MF, Mal, Malf, Reverse LK, RLK (villains)

Aspirant: (heroes, possibly villains as well)

Slash Commands[]

/sidekick player_name

Aliases: sidekick, sk, lackey, lk

Invites a player to be your sidekick/lackey. Can only be sent to teammates (or ally if solo).

/exemplar player_name

Aliases: exemplar, ex, rsk, malefactor, mal, rlk

Invites a player to be your exemplar/malefactor. Can only be sent to teammates (or ally if solo).