Let's Play Champions Online Pt. 6Previous Post
Let's Play Champions Online Pt. 8
Now that I’ve defeated the snowstorm, I’m at last free to explore all of Canada, experience its rich cultures, and meet its peoples. I am so taken with the land that I have decided to share with you what I learned from my time in Champions Online. If you’ve never taken the time to visit America’s neighbor to the north, then you’re in for an educational treat.
|Motto:||THIS IS NO ORDINARY STORM!|
English with “Eh?” at the end of every sentence.
|Capital:||Force Station Steelhead|
|Ethnic Groups:||70% Terrorists
12% Gadroon Frog Space Aliens
|Exports:||Slightly higher-level superheroes|
|Thing they hate the most:||Being called “America’s Neighbor to the north”.|
After touring the land, I am shocked at how inaccurate the Canadian Wikipedia entry is. I tried to fix some of the more glaring omissions (they don’t even mention the Velociraptors!) but someone keeps reverting my edits. No doubt it’s one of Dr. Destroyer’s minions.
Anyway, after my journey through Canada I thought I’d share a few snapshots of their more famous landmarks and iconic locations:
The United States is so proud of their amusing little Mt. Rushmore, but it’s nothing compared to the size and majesty of Canada’s Skull Mountain:
A Doom Telescope:
Some sort of haunted Tiberium Fields:
A good portion of Canada is being terraformed by an Alien race called the Gadroon. I know they’re evil because all space aliens are evil unless they’re superheroes, but I have to say I kind of think the Gadroon have made an improvement here:
Here is Canada’s famous haunted glacial rift:
And here is the terrorist oil pipeline / pollution factory:
While you were learning about the great land of Canada, I upgraded my powers.
|I hope for your sake you didn’t read this.|
On the downside, the items are guarded by the Hunter-Patriots, who are the predominant terrorist group in Canada. (Viper, the other major terrorist group, is smaller but better armed and equipped.) Their plans seem to be thus:
1) Groups of dudes in parkas will bury themselves in the snow, right outside of the Steelhead base.
2) When a superhero comes along, they leap out of the snow and attack.
3) They get beat up. Yay good guys.
|Out on the frozen lake, I have to fight some more Hunter-Patriots. Here is a commander kneeling on the ice, looking at me through his binoculars from ten feet away. I wonder if he’s using them backwards, “Oh! There’s a superhero, but he’s like, way off in the distance.”.|
I have to beat up a Hunter-Patriots commander, to get him to tell me about couple of super-villains I’ve passed about a half dozen times so far. Once I beat up the super-villains, they tell me their plans, and then I can go thwart those plans by beating up additional Hunter-Patriots.
|Credit where it’s due: One of the super-villains is Lynx, a cat girl. She signed on with the bad guys just because she wanted the catgirl costume / abilities, and then had second thoughts once she saw their plans. She doesn’t really want to join a terrorist group, she just wanted to be a cat girl. I liked this idea. It was humorous without being stupid nonsense, and it manages to do it without simply referencing some other, funnier fiction. I would be so much happier if the game had gone for this style of humor instead of the slapstick goofball stuff it’s usually engaged in.|
Back at base, I meet Lt. Fisher. He was out on patrol with his buddies when (and I am not making this up) Mister Zombie attacked and buried Fisher’s squad mates in the snow in an effort to create more zombies. Fisher wants me to go out and rescue his team.
I fly out and dig the soldiers out of the piles of snow just outside of base.
All of this makes a strong incentive for the player to simply hit & run the snow piles, activating them and then jumping to the next one without even looking to see what pops up. You can clear the mission in about thirty seconds, or you can spend several minutes fighting worthless zombies. This setup isn’t a terrible crime, but it’s disappointing when a game punishes you for playing your character and rewards you for acting in ways that don’t make sense.
|Left: Ravenspeaker, showing off what must be a world-class case of the goosebumps. Center: Lt. Fisher, who hangs around base coughing and asking superheroes to do his job. Right: My Heroic self. Top: Defying all expectations, the writers managed to not name this guy “Dudley”.|
Disgusted with Ravenspeaker’s laziness, apathy, and lack of pants, I take the bag of zombie bits and fly to the summoning circle.
Before I can use the summoning circle, I have to defeat Mr. Zombie:
|Wait. You “live” to kill superheroes? An odd assertion for someone named Mr. Zombie. And does fighting superheroes come up all that often? And while we’re at it: Why are you even talking in the first place?!?|
So I give Mr. Zombie a few pops in the face. Then a few more. Then a lot more. Then I look up and notice I’ve chipped off about 10% his total health. My self-healing powers allow me to keep up with him, but knocking this zombie apart is apparently a long-term project.
Eventually I manage to bring him down. Afterwards, I have to run around and do little magical arm-waving gestures around the summoning circle. Then a spirit wolf appears. Then I speak with him, and he nods his head to cleanse the zombie bits.
None of the other zombies I’ve killed have needed this treatment. And I didn’t need to drag Mr. Zombie over here for some cleansing. I don’t know. It’s all very confusing.
Making matters worse is that Mr. Zombie is the only place in the game where you can get a rare item drop which – either by bug or by design – will let you be fifty feet tall. People love to get this item and then stomp around the city. (It doesn’t make you stronger or anything, just huge and kind of in the way.) So there’s always a high-level character or two hanging out and killing Mr. Zombie as soon as he appears. Between the spirit wolf and the Mr. Zombie farmers, this quest turns into a real logjam of confusion and griefing during busy times.
Yes, I know things were so much worse back in the Everquest days and this sort of thing used to be the norm, but that’s no reason to celebrate this mess. A few very minor tweaks is all it would take to clear up this traffic jam and let everyone get back to their fun without all the headaches.
Now I have a quest to go to the site of the airplane crash and, if I understand the directions, beat up even more Hunter-Patriots in search of their secret plans. Sure enough, they are swarming the downed aircraft. I don’t understand the strategic value of a wrecked civilian aircraft, but here they are.
I work my way around the site, beating up terrorists and collecting the occasional plans. The Hunter-Patriots have five different schemes they’re working on. I don’t know what their goals are, since having goals would involve characters with coherent motivations, but at least we now have a picture of how they want to go about attaining their goals, whatever they are. Here are the plans of Canada’s most dangerous terrorist organization:
1. Bomb-laden Zambonis
2. Maple-powered Death Ray
3. Questonite curling stone cannons
4. Radioactive Loonie coins
5. Nanite-infused Poutine Gravy
1) If it’s something silly about my character, then I made it up.
2) If it’s something face-slappingly apeshit loco stupid crazy, then it’s part of the game.
In case you still doubt, I offer this screenshot:
|And you thought I was kidding. Don’t you feel silly now? Still, I bet you don’t feel half as silly as I do, since I’m the one playing this thing.|
Next Time: More Canada! Because fighting in the snowy wastes is what being a superhero is all about!
Let's Play Champions Online Pt. 6Previous Post
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