City of Heroes Issue 13: Power and Responsibility has now been patched to the Test Server, where a small but dedicated group of people will be testing the hell out of it for a while before the gate is unlocked and Open Beta begins.

Leaking stuff from a Closed Beta is of course a major no-no, and we would not condone this from anyone. There is, however, a limited amount of access that anyone can get, simply by going through character creation. Although it's not possible to enter the game fully unless you're in the Closed Beta, costume pieces and new powersets can be examined in their current state. These are in testing, so it would be unwise to fixate on anything for now.

So far we've had a look at the Shields powerset, which is extremely cool and contains many surprises, and Pain Domination, which picks up the buffity-healy hero set Empathy, runs with it, and smashes its face into the wall repeatedly while laughing like some ice-girdled steel-toothed agony maiden from Hell's own surgical wing.

Back Alley Brawler has come up with some sweet Shield pieces, with a high degree of customization (in many cases you can choose colors and emblems) as well as exotic shields such as Ice and Fire, and unlockables, such as the high-tech Talsorian shield pictured above. There are even more models coming.

The least expected power in the Shield set was arguably Shield Charge, which is a short range teleport coupled with a knockdown-dealing superior damage cone attack. Essentially, you slam through a group of foes and smash them to the ground. Shield users also have the option to take Grant Cover, which doesn't benefit them, but protects nearby allies - surely a must for team-friendly tanks.

Pain Domination isn't a straight port of Empathy as had been feared (and in some quarters, hoped). Some powers are similar, such as the first two heals, but several are way different. World of Pain, an AoE buff to damage, resistance and ToHit, seems to replace the single-target Empathy signature buff Fortitude. There's no Recovery Aura, and instead there's a severe debuff, Anguishing Cry. We're looking forward to trying this one out eventually.

But the feature that has the boards hopping right now is a change to how powers work in PvP. Again, this isn't set in stone and we don't know all the details yet, so it would be best not to panic. It appears that in PvP, there will be no more protection against mezzes (such as sleep, hold and stun) and only resistance.

What does this mean? Well, protection works by keeping a mez from affecting you at all unless the magnitude is high enough to break it. It's like a fence: if the mez isn't high enough, it can't get over the fence while the protection is up. Resistance, by contrast, works by shortening the duration of a mez effect. With enough resistance, a mez can last for barely any time.

The problem with even short mezzes used to be that they switched off your toggle powers. Even a half-second of stun was enough to drop toggles. However, with the new change to toggle powers that means they suppress instead of switching off when you get mezzed, that won't be an issue.

Many of the community's highly experienced PvPers are very anxious about this, but in the main people are adopting a 'wait and see' policy and refusing to judge the changes before they've tried them out.

This article was originally published on Massively.