A Star is Born:
Let’s Play Champions Online Pt. 7

By Shamus
on Nov 3, 2009
Filed under:
Shamus Plays

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.

Country: Canada
Demonym: Canadian
Flag:
oh_canada.jpg
Anthem: O Canada
Motto: THIS IS NO ORDINARY STORM!
Official Languages: English
English with “Eh?” at the end of every sentence.
Capital: Force Station Steelhead
Ethnic Groups: 70% Terrorists
12% Gadroon Frog Space Aliens
8% Bigfoots
5% Zombies
4% Superheroes
1% Civilians
Major Cities: None
Imports: Superheroes
Exports: Slightly higher-level superheroes
Predominant Wildlife: Bears
Wolves
Velociraptors
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:

staronchest_place_skull_mountain.jpg

A Doom Telescope:

staronchest_place_doom_telescope.jpg

Some sort of haunted Tiberium Fields:

staronchest_place_tiberium_fields.jpg

Bigfoot Village:

staronchest_place_village.jpg

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:

staronchest_place_alien_mountain.jpg

Here is Canada’s famous haunted glacial rift:

staronchest_place_rift.jpg

And here is the terrorist oil pipeline / pollution factory:

staronchest_place_pipeline.jpg

While you were learning about the great land of Canada, I upgraded my powers.

I took the “regeneration” passive ability. If you find yourself playing the game then for the love of spandex, TAKE THIS POWER. It’s hilariously broken. As long as you have a few points in the recovery stat, you should be able to heal faster than foes damage you. I’ve been in fights with groups of same-level foes where I was able to simply hold the block button and wait for my health to fill all the way back up while the enemy pounded away at me. No other passive superpower comes even plausibly close to being this useful. (The power “invulnerability” is a distant second. The two are roughly even when fighting foes under your level, but invulnerability doesn’t help much if you start to push against foes that have a few levels on you. No other passive defensive power in the game is even worth considering. I’ve tried them. It’s not even close.

I hope for your sake you didn’t read this.
I hope for your sake you didn’t read this.
My first job is to look around just outside of base and recover items from the airliner crash. I need the black box, the passenger manifest, and the pilots log, which apparently… fell out of the plane? I was always under the impression that the black box was, you know, attached or something. I guess Canadian Airlines uses their black box as a doorstop. Whatever. Luckily, the items are all about ten steps outside of base and within twenty feet of each other. And intact.

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.”.
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.
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.

How it works is this: There are piles of snow. You click on them and wait for the progress bar to fill, after which you’ll either get a zombie or rescue a soldier. The odds of getting a soldier seems to be about 1 in 3. Fighting zombies is kind of time consuming and annoying because of the way the game clears your target when they go down and then begins regenerating their health. You have to defeat them, then stand there for a few seconds and wait for them to fall down, then re-target them and hit them a few more times to finish them off, after which you get such phenomenally low XP that it’s not even remotely worth it.

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.

<strong>Left:</strong> Ravenspeaker, showing off what must be a world-class case of the goosebumps. <strong>Center:</strong> Lt. Fisher, who hangs around base coughing and asking superheroes to do his job.  <strong>Right:</strong> My Heroic self.  <strong>Top:</strong> Defying all expectations, the writers managed to <em>not</em> name this guy “Dudley”.
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”.
Next up, Lt. Fisher hands me a bag of wriggling zombie parts. They need to be “ritually cleansed” to dispel the magic on them. Ravenspeaker set up a summoning circle to the south where you can take zombie parts to cleanse them. For some unfathomable reason, Ravenspeaker placed this circle outside of base. Ravenspeaker is about five feet away and staring into space, but apparently he’s still too busy to make another summoning circle inside of base so that mortals can use it without needing to fight armies of terrorists and zombies to reach the thing.

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. <em>Zombie</em>.  And does fighting superheroes come up all that often? And while we’re at it: Why are you even talking in the first place?!?
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?!?

staronchest_mr_zombie2.jpg
Now it’s time to fight a zombie wearing a tuxedo and a top hat in the Canadian wilderness. Who is named Mr. Zombie. And who talks. I make a slight whimpering sound as I sustain 500 points of self-esteem damage.

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.

There’s a line of heroes behind me, each with their own bag of zombie bits, each needing to have their turn with the wolf. But they can’t just talk to the wolf that I summoned. They have to stand around and wait a minute or two for the now-useless wolf to disappear. As an added bonus, it’s possible for someone to let you activate the first four totems around the circle, and then they will swoop in and activate the final one, thus securing the wolf for themselves. Then you have to wait a couple of minutes. And during that time Mr. Zombie will respawn and you might end up fighting him again.

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

Some people have trouble telling which parts of this LP are part of the game and which bits I made up. A general rule of thumb is this:

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 <em>playing</em> this thing.
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!

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20201252 comments. It's getting crowded in here.

From the Archives:

  1. Volatar says:

    This had me laughing up a NOT ORDINARY STORM! :D lol.

    also, First!

  2. ngthagg says:

    Speaking as a real Canadian, I want to clarify for your readers that these outrageous descriptions of Canada are all true. Every single word.

  3. Deoxy says:

    These Star On Chest episodes are just amazingly funny. Please keep it up.

    And my mother-in-law is Canadian…. I wish she was in to video games, just so I could have her read these, but alas, she is not (not REMOTELY. AT ALL. EVER.).

  4. Ingvar says:

    For a while, I was trying to figure out how Zamboni bomb Laden fitted in to the bin Laden family tree…

  5. krellen says:

    The Canada stat card at the top is the best part. I especially liked the Exports.

  6. Benjamin Orchard says:

    My mom is Canadian (from Alberta) so I’m laughing hysterically at this.

    Poutine must have been invented after she came to the USA in 1958 or so…

  7. Rhykker says:

    “Disgusted with Ravenspeaker’s laziness, apathy, and lack of pants…”

    Hahahahah…

    “Speaking as a real Canadian, I want to clarify for your readers that these outrageous descriptions of Canada are all true. Every single word.”

    Seconded. In fact, if anything, the Velociraptor population is *under* represented in the game.

    “Poutine must have been invented after she came to the USA in 1958 or so…”

    Poutine is a Quebec (Canada’s french province) delicacy. Fries with cheese, all topped with gravy = poutine = artery clogging goodness. I’m surprised any Americans know the term “poutine,” to be honest.

    http://www.homersteinweiss.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2007/11/poutine.jpg

  8. A Gould says:

    As a Canadian, I can second (or third or twelfth) your summary. And Poutine (a.k.a. “heart attack in a bowl”) is delicious goodness. Beware imitations, though. It’s fresh fries, gravy, and *curds*. Anyone passing off shredded cheese is not to be trusted.

  9. Rosewire says:

    If I remember correctly, the Hunter-Patriots are some sort of “Canada’s not a joke!” terrorist group. Sort of like the IRA, but much much lamer. They are pretty laughable, but they do have cyborg killing machine’s later, so cant’ laugh too much.

    As to regeneration, yah, its pretty broken. My top choices for passive defenses are Regen, Invulnerability, and Personal Force Field. At later levels, they all needed something to help them along though. On the other hand, if you play in a group regularly, you can sometimes get away with skipping a defensive passive and instead get one of the damage buff ones, which can be fun.

  10. Badger says:

    As another real life Canadian, I’d like to point out the only inaccuracy in your stats card: What we *really* dislike is being called “Just like Americans”. Except Albertans- they swell up with pride when called that.

    Otherwise, you’re pretty much right on. And lest you doubt the maple-powered death ray thing, let me assure you that our best scientists have assured us it will be ready for the Christmas shopping season this year. So watch out, because once M. Eaton offers it in his catalogue, there will be no stopping us!

  11. It looks like the national flower of Canada is the snowflake.

  12. Yar Kramer says:

    Funny, I was just thinking about the L4D campaign Crash Course, and some of Francis’s dialogue …

    Francis: Riverside? Aww, I hate Canada!
    Zoey: Canada? We’re in Pennsylvania, Francis.
    Francis: Guess I’ve been hating Riverside all this time for nothing, then!

  13. Spider Dave says:

    We Canadians try to keep the velociraptor population down by pelting them with Timbits. They’re pesky; no matter how high you build your fence, they always jump over, muck up the garden, and eat all the housepets. Sigh.
    Also, I need to make a point of going to Skull Mountain, I’ve never been. Is it anywhere near our National Igloo?

  14. Blackbird71 says:

    Oceanica Flight 408? What’s that supposed to be, LOST’s Oceanic Flight 815 divided by two (rounded of course)?

    Yes, I did read the screenshot.

    No, I actually do have a life, really. Just an occasionally boring one, I suppose.

  15. Amarsir says:

    Yeah, it wasn’t long after receiving regen that I’d moved up to fighting around +3/+4. Player reaction will be interesting when the nerfs come, but “surprised” should not be on the list of options.

    Using the summoning circle was one of the most team-oriented moments for me that the game had to offer. Realizing that random clicks weren’t working and the line was slow-moving, we banded together to share our mission clicks for the required 30 seconds. It was truly a banner moment in Superhero cooperation.

    (This is a big reason why City of Heroes is the only MMO I keep going back to. Some people claim that instances break immersion, but they beat the heck out of standing in line while 3 heros ahead of you do the same job you have.)

    And not having experienced it (to my recollection) I totally thought you were kidding with the Bomb-laden Zambonies, so good call on the screenshot.

  16. Henebry says:

    So, if I follow you, Rosenwire, in this game which treats Canada as a joke, there’s a group that wants to insist that people stop treating Canada as a joke.

    That’s pretty meta.

  17. Timaritimus says:

    Skull mountain is actually right next to the National Igloo, just past the National Portrait Galley. :P

  18. James Pope says:

    All of this nonsense would be a lot easier to take if there were just more areas to take in. Adding a few more cities to mix for alternate starting areas, and maybe some horribly mischaracterized European, African, Asian, and even Australian locations would have helped. Even if those areas were necessarily shallow and undeveloped at first, I think they’d have gone a long way towards pumping up the sort of feel I think the game seems to be working for (when it’s not being retarded.) And for love of Pete, you should be able to stay in Millenium City (or any future zones) from the beginning and level up, even if it’s easier to level up in other places. Bottlenecks should be by choice of the players, because some quests are cool and awesome, not because “I’ve got to go here, else I’m stuck fighting crap way over my level.”

  19. Alex says:

    MADE. OF. WIN.

    Seriously, your humor writing is almost always great, but this post especially reminds me of Dave Barry in his prime.

    Good stuff in the comments, too. “Heart attack in a bowl” – bwah!

  20. Deoxy says:

    “Heart attack in a bowl”? Yeah, only if you’ve never seen cheap concessions “nachos” – ultra-cheap canned chili (98% fat – no, not “98% fat FREE”) and ultra-cheap “pasteurized process cheese product” (in some places referred to as liqui-cheese, as it’s not solid at room temperature) on ultra-cheap tortilla chips (basically deep-fried card stock). Toss a bunch of jalapenos on top to mask the heart attack symptoms with nasty heartburn (as if you wouldn’t have that WITHOUT the jalapenos), and you’re good to go.

  21. J Greely says:

    Lynx is my hero. Her story is competently funny, and her voice acting actually works with the concept (something I can’t say about pretty much anyone else).

    Regeneration is a godsend for solo play, especially if you have to escort an NPC through the middle of an active Blood Moon spawn and suddenly have to fight off endless waves of zombies. (“I’m sorry, Mrs. Bigfoot, but would you mind waiting 20 minutes before we start this rescue again?”)

    I’d love it if you could take the defensive passives that are appropriate for your primary powerset, but, yeah, they mostly suck. I used last week’s free retcons to ditch the appropriate-but-crappy passives for regen and invuln (on the character with ridiculously high strength and con).

    As for the folks camping Mr. Zombie, until a few days ago I had no idea why they were there. Worse, I’d actually gotten that drop three times and vendored it because it didn’t seem to do anything. I thought it was just typical irrelevant flavor text.

    We lured some friends in for the free weekend, and one of them was Canadian, and an old-school Marvel fanboy. His adventures in Canada were frequently interrupted by giggle-fits.

    James, I agree on the need for new zones. I think they could add some great variety to the game with an outdoor non-winter zone like the Irish countryside, and a less-vertical city, perhaps Kyoto. Both areas offer a lot of rich mythology, and can easily be extended to include surrounding areas. And a moonbase; they really need a moonbase.

    Obligatory link to my latest concept character.

    -j

  22. Chuk says:

    When I’m a supervillain I’m totally getting a curling rock cannon. (I don’t curl anymore but I would if there were cannons involved.)

  23. Enas Yorl says:

    Hmm. I find the views of the Hunter Patriots intriguing and wish to subscribe to their newsletter.

  24. Lilfut says:

    Wikipedia trolls in 5… 4… 3… 2…

  25. Sam says:

    These entries make me so glad I never actually purchased the game or paid for a subscription.

  26. Ubu roi says:

    I let my sub expire; the game just didn’t excite me. But my favorite Canadian moment was walking past the guard, who was muttering something along the lines of “next American superhero that gets off the plane singing that damn song is going to get a punch in the nose!”

    Which, since I had just exited the plane and was actually singing “that damn song” at the time, immediately resulted in howls of laughter.

    But he didn’t punch me in the nose, so there.

    “When Canada is dead and gone,
    there’ll be no more Celine Dion!”

  27. Eglador says:

    The only good part about that ritual circle waiting is that CO manages to have several instances of the Canadian Wilderness running at the same time, so you only have that line of 3-6 heroes per instance waiting, and not a line of fifty and more, which is quite nice.
    On the other hand, I didn’t need to wait at all on that quest on the two characters I got high enough… maybe that was just the time, with me playing at about 1am GMT…

  28. Cragfire says:

    Next time it rains in my town, and I’m meeting friends I’ll be sure to inform them that “THIS IS NO ORDINARY STORM.”

  29. Wil K. says:

    “Disgusted with Ravenspeaker’s laziness, apathy, and lack of pants”
    Ha! He said pants!

    The population breakdown is my favourite part of the table.

  30. WILL says:

    Poutine is awesome and everyone should try it.

  31. Coffee says:

    Bonjour La Superheroes!*

    Can I get some Nanite-infused Poutine? If they want Canada to be taken seriously, they should make everyone who eats the Poutine into a super-Canuck. It would make hockey much more interesting. It would, however, create controversy over who got to wear the jeans/denim jacket combo as their official costume.

    *a Canadienne friend of mine introduced me to RBO. While I suppose it should be Les Superheroes, I was thinking of Bounjour La Police.

    Also, goddamnit, I miss poutine. I’m actually considering making my own cheese curds so I can approximate it! That has to be a real bad sign!

  32. Gordon says:

    well, all of this is giving me a feaful view of th game. I’m a City of Heroes player, but my bother is switching to Champions, so I’ve been trying to dissuade him with arguements like “City has a stronger community” “City has a stronger history,” “why would super heroes patrol the wilderness?” and “the graphics look over the top catoony.” no offense to Champions, but it always seemed to me that City takes itself a lot more seriously. this is just the final nail in the coffin.
    I’m certain that Champions has it’s merits (Nemeses, story based PVP, and bigger robots) but really, city seems more… supeheroic. disagreements commence in 3… 2… 1…

  33. Zeta Kai says:

    Hey Shamus,

    1) I think the Chainmail Bikini site is down. I’m not sure if you can do anything about that, but there you go.

    2) If you like D&D and Final Fantasy X (and I know that you do), then FFX-D20 is for you. It’s free, it’s 400+ pages, & it’s awesome.

  34. Spider Dave says:

    I must be living in the terraformed part of Canada, since it rarely snows here. I’ll keep an eye out for the alien space frogs next time I go out.

  35. Mazinja says:

    Ah, Lynx. I’m kinda hoping she appears again somewhere, possibly as a low-level hero, since she DOES claim to have been inspired by your actions (… which, as far as I can tell, involve beating on her until she stops hitting back and begins to talk). That said, I enjoyed her backstory immensely.

  36. Ell Jay says:

    Well, this got the flag right… but why do I get the feeling the real Canadian flag is nowhere to be found in the game?

  37. DKellis says:

    With the way power picks work in CO, there is no reason other than concept (and the willingness to stick to that concept despite supremely sucky gameplay) not to take Regeneration when levelling up. I’m assuming solo, since not everyone has a static team, and healing aggro is kind of broken (might have been fixed for Blood Moon; I haven’t tested yet).

    Regeneration is said to fall off drastically in utility at high levels. Since rank 2 Regeneration is still far superior to rank 3 Lightning Reflexes on my level 32 Dex/Ego Munitions gunslinger, I have to assume that “higher levels” means endgame at level 40.

    So all I have to do is save up one power pick and four advantage points by level 40, and pick the passive defense that is supposedly superior at that point. All the benefits of that defense, none of the hassle of having to retcon/respec/whatever they call it now, or the troubles of levelling with a “bad at low levels” defense.

    To be fair, it’s not that Regeneration is inherently overpowered, but that it is overpowered compared to the others, and when used with Block. The stated tradeoff is that when you’re blocking, you’re not attacking, so enemies get to damage you more. In practice, this doesn’t matter: blocking with Regeneration is the only way you can regain health consistently and noticeably in combat (the various healing devices have one-minute cooldown timers).

    I don’t know if there’s a point, numbers-wise, where the other passive defenses can ever be as useful as Regeneration. I suspect the devs will likely nerf Regeneration instead, since that point is easier to achieve.

  38. TSED says:

    PFF: I’ve never used it. I’ve never heard a good thing about it, except that it’s the best spike protection in the game.

    Invulnerability: TOTALLY better in hard content at 28 than regen. Yes, I have two different characters at those levels (3 actually). Invuln lets you walk into something like the Destroyer Factory and take hits. Regen? Regen gets you one-shotted.

    Lightning Reflexes: Actually never tried it at high levels. My LRer is 17. I NEVER take a big hard hit, it’s always dodged (and blocked). It’s the rapid-fire that gets you here.

    Regen: Works best against low, sustained damage. No spike protection. IE, against boring content. Yaaawn. Why my invuln sees three groups together he just goes “OH AWESOME AOE TIME”. My regen goes “oh frig I’ll go find something else” and his powers are otherwise superior (especially his aoes; ice vs might).

    Regen gets a LOT of use because it is the defensive that works even without having a high stat. This is where ~60% of the ‘regen is op!’ whining comes from, I suspect.

    tldr; regen only works best up until 25ish. Get a char past there and compare. Seriously.

  39. DKellis says:

    @38 TSED: Been there (several times), tried that, still think Regen is better. My spike protection is Block.

    Besides, my point is that it doesn’t matter if Regen becomes less powerful after 35 or 25 or whatever. It’s that below those levels, you may as well take Regen, since there’s no reason not to due to the way the powers system works. You’re not going to get high stats anyway at low levels, not from equipment.

  40. Joshua says:

    I actually think it’s the other passives that are brokenly bad. Invuln can be made to work at low levels if you’re a melee char and also take the Energy Block that slots Laser Knight (gives you the effect of blocking even when you’re not for a short period after using a melee power), concept-be-damned, but Lightning Reflexes is basically useless. Yes, it protects fairly well against big hits, but so does blocking; on the other hand the game constantly peppers you with little hits that LR doesn’t seem to do anything against. If you want to have trouble fighting greens and grays, then LR is for you. If Defiance actually does anything you can’t prove it by me. DKellis is right, imo, struggling through 28 levels or so until your defense actually defends you isn’t any fun; take regen and fix it later if it starts to fail you.

    As far as the idiotic Hunter Patriot plans, that’s what you get for reading the flavor text; I’ve done that mission a dozen times and I never knew that they even had specific names instead of Plan 1, Plan 2 until that screen shot.

  41. Lord Almaz says:

    You know, I’m so tempted to install this game and create a female superhero which is a horrible love child of Sailor Mercury, Etna of Disgaea, and Lara Croft, just to experience the sheer wackiness of this entire game that you keep describing. On the other hand, I could get much better wackiness from the Ratchet and Clank series.

    I bet Captain Qwark would love to tear down Mr. Zombie. Or he’d pee his pant and hide. Ha ha ha. :)

  42. Unconvention says:

    Damn you, Star on Chest, your evil powers have compelled me to start playing this game!

  43. Robyrt says:

    I just experienced this very part of the game thanks to the free weekend. It is much as described, and the concept is extremely stupid. The fun bit is that my character, misbuilt for flavor reasons, turns out to be quite playable in groups.

    Now I feel really guilty for stealing the wolf from somebody in the Mr. Zombie line – I approached from the opposite side of the mountain and didn’t know that he was tied to a specific quest!

  44. Artillery_MKV says:

    I’m still enjoying the game, and generally I find that if someone’s camping the Mr. Zombie spawn or the ritual that a polite /tell asking to team for the mish is usually accepted gladly.

    I’m not tremendous fan of the open zone stuff, but it’s starting to grow on me as we see a little more spread in character levels develop and not everyone’s in the same zone doing the same mishes.

    In discussions with folks at Cryptic I think we’ll see more serious toned content in future releases. You have to remember that the original Champions product line had a lot of this tongue-in-cheek humor in it. Of course it also had Dark Champions . . .

  45. Triggerhappy938 says:

    Now I want to brave the cold, raptor-ridden shores of Canada for of that delicious looking dish.

    Though I can just hear the reaction if the terrorists get their way.

    “THIS IS NO ORDINARY POUTINE!”

  46. Zed-F says:

    Lightning Reflexes does work, especially at high levels. The trick with it is you really need to bend your entire character around it for it to be good… but when it’s good, it’s spectacular. This means scooping up everything you can find that gives Dex and dodge/avoid bonuses and hugging them like bosom buddies, whether they are in-concept or not, and regardless of what shortfalls that leaves you with in other areas.

    Regen is great at low levels and good at medium levels. At high levels you increasingly run into enemies that can one-shot you if you don’t see their tell in time to block, which makes regen a dangerous proposition. Also, the healing starts to lose headway against incoming damage. You can still take on average-sized groups of enemies without too much trouble… but if you really want to be the tank, you’re going to be looking elsewhere.

    Invulnerability is in between; it’s not as good as regen at low levels, and it’s not as good as a really kitted out LR at stopping damage at high levels. Invulnerability requires more focus on its contributing stats than Regen does, but not to the monomanic degree that LR does, and fits into more builds than LR does on that basis.

    Bear in mind that Regen is not the only source of continuous healing in the game. Regen seems great if it’s your only real source of healing… until you compare it to a properly statted mitigation tank that avoids or is invulnerable to most of the incoming damage, and adds healing on top of that. Lacking a mitigation multiplier for other healing effects, Regen ultimately suffers.

  47. DKellis says:

    Breaking down my argument into point form:

    Point Zero: This ignores considerations of concept builds. This also assumes that you will be taking a passive defense power, rather than relying on an Energy Form for glass-cannon pure offense or whatnot.

    Point One: Regen is better for the majority of playstyles and builds at low levels than any other defensive passive, due to not needing any optimization for it to work well enough to survive. This is widely agreed.

    Point Two: In order to be better than Regen at many points in the game, Lightning Reflexes will require dedicated minmaxing and optimization (lots of Dex from Superstats and Talents and equipment, with the last also giving dodge/avoidance). Invulnerability requires less than Lightning Reflexes, but more than Regeneration. This is widely agreed.

    Point Three, from Points One and Two: Therefore, Regen is the best passive defense for levelling, until a vaguely-defined “high level” which varies according to playstyle and build.

    Point Four: Champions Online allows players to save up power picks and Advantage points to use as we see fit, in any order, whenever. If you’re entirely happy with your current bread-and-butter powers, you can go through the entire game without training up after that (it’s not common, but it’s possible).

    Point Five, from Point Four: Therefore, a character can save up one power pick and four Advantage points (ie one power and the Advantage points to rank it up to maximum) throughout the life of their character if they so wish.

    Point Six, from Points Three and Five: A player can thus take Regen at low levels for levelling, and when Regen fails to work as well anymore at high levels, they can use that power pick and Advantages to get a defensive passive that does work. This allows them to avoid the hassle of levelling with a defense that does not work well at low levels, while being able to obtain the benefits of that defense later.

    Conclusion, from Point Six, taking into account Point Zero: There is no reason not to take Regen as a defensive passive early on. Yes, it may suffer at high levels, but not in the early or mid-game, which is something all characters have to go through. It may not be the best, but it is good enough.

    If there is a flaw in my reasoning, please tell me.

  48. Ding says:

    This might be wrong, but isn’t the backstory for Lynx the same as Black Cat, a fairly major character from Spiderman? I know it’s nigh on impossible to be entirely original with a superhero genre, but it’s a shame that one of the most striking backstories is almost directly lifted from Marvel!

    It…still all looks oddly fun though, despite the absurdity.

  49. J Greely says:

    Ding, the Marvel Black Cat was a second-generation cat-burglar with no super-powers, who learned to fight so that she could take revenge on a rapist. She eventually acquired powers because she thought she was too fragile to be Spiderman’s girlfriend without them. The story goes downhill from there, leaving her with very little resemblance to Lynx.

    -j

  50. bshimoda says:

    And Lynx didn’t really want to be a super at all (hero OR villain). She just wanted the cosmetic changes so she could go to the really cool themed parties in The Valley. Unfortunately for her, she didn’t read the fine print.

  51. Ding says:

    Ah ha.

    Ding has learnt something today. :-)

  52. WJS says:

    As of now, regen heals you for much less while you’re blocking, which mitigates the whole “if I take a lot of damage, I’ll just block until I’m healed” strategy a bit. It’s still a pretty nice power though, since all the other defensives only delay your death, you’re still racing against the clock of “kill him before he kills me”. Even with the nerf, regen can allow you to hold out forever against many enemies, meaning having a low dps is not so dangerous.

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