Let's Play Champions Online Pt. 2
I’m enjoying Rutskarn’s Morrowwind series so much that I’ve decided to do one for Champions Online. This will run every Tuesday-ish until I get bored with it, people get sick of it, or I cancel my account. Or I forget. Or I die.
Starting off, I decide to create the quintessential silver-age superhero. Not one of these brooding black-caped, spike-covered, angst-ridden antiheroes like all the young people are into these days. I want someone wearing classic tights and using classic iconography. But not, you know, operating under the same silver-age idealism and respect for all life. Heavens no. I’m going to have the same approach to fighting crime as The Punisher. I’ll just be wearing stretchy clothing and a brave smile when I do my vigilante-style killing.
Looking through the powers, I discount all blade-styled weapons. Too messy. There are a couple of fighting & fisticuffs based power sets that seem to fit his style, but they’re also a little bland. (And I am already playing a couple of other melee-based characters.) Then I see Telekinesis, which is based on Ego and Constitution. Ego? I can base my abilities on the strength of my own ego? Sold!
I go for a quick run-through of the character building options and am able to craft my avatar in just under a fortnight, which is a new record for me.
|ME: Let’s see… does the nose look more heroic at 10% width or maybe a little closer to 14.5% width? MY WIFE: Are you still staring at that man?|
In keeping with his silver-age design, he’s got a chin that falls somewhere between “Jay Leno” and “bulldozer”. His suit is bright and colorful, and he’s ripped like Hercules even though his powers do not involve physical strength. In fact, I can’t think of a power more fattening than telekinesis. These days the only exercise I get is from walking to, and subsequently opening, the fridge. If I could move food with my mind and fly, then it would take me about two weeks to get to the point where I could cosplay as Castle Wulfenbach.
Thus begins the journey of Star on Chest. His Bio:
For product endorsements, public appearances, or crime fighting, please contact Champion Media Worldwide and ask to speak with his agent.
A personal message from Star on Chest: “I’ll be appearing at the grand opening of the Northwood Center Mall this weekend. Stop on by to see your favorite star-based hero in person! Autographed photos just $20! Bring a friend!”
Champions Online doesn’t have catchphrases, but if it did his would be, “Don’t you KNOW who I AM?!?”
No, wait. It won’t let me use that bio because it’s too long. Apparently the biography system is powered by Twitter. I whittle it down, but then it complains that I have profanity. After much confusion I discover it was the phrase “hero in” that was setting it off, which it was evaluating as “heroin”. The content filter was worried I was promoting the use of dangerous narcotic drugs.
Dear Young People: Heroin can reduce you to a puking husk of a glassy-eyed junkie prostitute. Eventually you’ll find yourself haggling over the price of sex because you don’t have change for a five. Please do not try heroin unless your life is already worse than that. There. That should keep the kids safe.
Anyway, I revise the bio for brevity and remove the words “hero in” so as to avoid corrupting our impressionable youth with pro-heroin propaganda.
Eventually I summon all of my strength, all of my willpower, and boldly click the start button to begin the game.
Man, I should have gone with 10% width on the nose.
|You know all those anthills you stomped on as a kid? Well, payback is a bitch.|
The city is in chaos. It’s being invaded by bug aliens known as Qualar or Quaa’lar or Qua’lor or some such piffle. Aliens run rampant through the streets and the police are fending off never-ending waves of bug man from behind hastily constructed barricades. Buildings have been smashed. Fires burn. The dead litter the sidewalks. The coffee shops are all closed.
|Oh, now I’m going to have that 80’s song stuck in my head all day. Thank you so much, game.|
I begin my life as a hero in* the midst of this destruction. My first act is to climb out of a pile of rubble. I’m not the only one, though. Apparently this rubble has been spewing out heroes in an endless stream since launch day. This rubble is the king-hell clown car of the ages. There are actually people appearing on top of me before I can even step away from the pile. This leads to that awkward moment you get in MMO games, “Pardon me miss, but it seems we’re occupying the same physical space and you haven’t even bought me a drink yet.” I step out of the transporter malfunction and greet the nearby police officer.
Time to see what’s going on around this burgh.
* This phrase is not an endorsement for heroin.
Let's Play Champions Online Pt. 2
DM of the Rings
Both a celebration and an evisceration of tabletop roleplaying games, by twisting the Lord of the Rings films into a D&D game.
A video Let's Play series I collaborated on from 2009 to 2017.
Stop Asking Me to Play Dark Souls!
An unhinged rant where I maybe slightly over-reacted to the water torture of Souls evangelism.
The plot of this game isn't just dumb, it's actively hostile to the player. This game hates you and thinks you are stupid.
Why I Hated Resident Evil 4
Ever wonder how seemingly sane people can hate popular games? It can happen!
64 thoughts on “A Star is Born:
Let’s Play Champions Online Pt. 1”
I would read a comic about Star on Chest. Or at least buy the trade.
Utter hilarity ensues.
I’m looking forward to more of this series.
I like to play as Lee Iacoca in every game.
Very funny. Keep up the good work!
I like to create super heroes who look just like my husband (i.e. long-haired computer geek with jeans & t-shirt) and name them CAPTAIN CORRECTION.
But, I definitely enjoy reading about Star On Chest and his promotion of rampant ‘hero in’.
So I’m guessing the game won’t allow female characters *at all*? As in, heroines.
You Sir are genius writer (or writing genius?)! Hilarious.
The funny thing is, when two or more people spawn at the same place – collision detection. Unlike other MMOs, CO provides full collision detection, so with two people at the same spot, both get pushed in random directions, sometimes like across the street. Every time as hilarious.
By the way: Although the ingame music is really nice and appropriate, try playing a session with something like the Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack running in the background. Now that is an epic feeling.
@Bizarre: probably not possible now, I expect Star On Chest is officially the intellectual property of Atari. Except that he already became property of NC Interactive when Shamus created him on CoH.
CoH User Agreement 6(c): Members can … create content on our servers in various forms, such as … characters … (iii) acknowledge and agree that such Member Content is the sole property of NC Interactive.
CO Terms and Conditions 18: The Site and Game are owned and operated by Cryptic … including, without limitation, any and all user accounts, titles, … characters, character names, stories, dialogue, catch phrases … and any intellectual property and other rights relating thereto
Hmm, the CO one is not quite so clear about whether user-created characters become theirs. He definitely seems to be owned by NC though.
A hero game that doesn’t allow the word hero in the bio? Crazy.
And yea, thanks for giving me that 80’s song on my mind…:P
Sounds a lot like Captain Quark (Ratchet and Clank series) even looks a bit like him as well. Seems like an interesting series even though I have no desire to play the game (I can’t justify paying $40 for a game and then $15 per month to play).
Huh? It even flags it with the space? That would explain the NPC message I saw the other day, which was something like “Amazing Man **** bunch of Viper villains in jail!” From the context, the only thing the stars could have been was “put a”; I’d assumed the designer had forgotten the space and wound up with a Spanish swear word, but if the profanity filter is that gung ho, there must be a parade of interesting censorings just waiting to happen.
Wait, the censor even applies to NPC text?? That’s a new one.
I’d change the catchphrase “Don't you KNOW who I AM?!?” to “Who the hell do you think I am?!”, but that’s just a personal taste thing :P
The ‘hero in’ thing remind me of a time when I was asking about a quest on the WoW forums. It involved finding grapes and the forum censor detected the word ‘rapes’. It was confusing to me because there was nothing telling me that it was detecting anything so only after posting did I know. I just wanted to find the g!@#$%@.
@Drue it was even funnier in the German WoW forums, because the English filter applied to them. That means the German word for “big” or “fat” (“dick”, and yes I know what that means in English) was being censored, and it was a word used very often, for example to describe damage bosses or other players do (“dicker schaden” = “big damage”).
That’s why I always turn off any kind of profanity filter if possible, it screws up too much usually, and I can handle profanity myself.
Ah let’s play’s.
I haven’t done much of the way of that recently, life has been kicking my butt to much.
But I plan some time on doing these…
It seems that the test recordings of Wizardy8 failed so badly, and Thief is simply not installed atm.
Do keep in mind that Champions Online right now is not really a finished product. It’s more like a late beta.
@The TubStar: I think that would make more sense if his character was The Goddamn Star On Chest. But that would probably get caught by the profanity filter.
Also! Seeing an exclamation mark above someone’s head makes me think that “vweet!” sound from Metal Gear Solid when you’re spotted. And I’ve never even played a single Metal Gear game!
Hehe, nice. I loved the Wulfenbach reference.
…okay, I need to start singing one of my countersongs now, or else that’s gonna be stuck in my head too, dammit.
Particle Man – the anti-song-stuck-in-head song.
I’d get the game just to make Triangle Man, but I’m sure its already taken.
You know, this post is tempting me to try out Champions Online myself – if it wasn’t a freaking MMOG which requires you to shell out $XXXX every month, I’d definitely go for it. I have great ideas for a female superhero(yes, I’m a guy, deal with it – men and women play as the opposite gender in all MMORPGs for giggles) that are sexy, cute, and innocent. ^_^
From what I’ve heard, including on this very blog, no name is “already taken” – every account can make any name it wants to. You send PMs to [email protected].
Nah, then you’re just stuck with They Might Be Giants running through your head all day.
I’ve always found the theme from “Green Acres” to be the ultimate reset song.
Go ahead. Try it. What harm could it do? ;)
That guy…is pure awesome. He LOOKS like he should be powering stuff by sheer ego, that’s for sure.
Star on Chest is still comic brilliance. I guess his campy style sort of fits the eye-burning graphics.
Yeah, I’m still hung up on the graphics. I can totally take a game with bad, low-res graphics, but something about CO’s style just makes my eyes hurt.
Thanks all, now I have Shamus’s original song running laps in my head, but it is being chased by Particle Man and Green Acres. For theatre people out there I recommend the Nutcracker Suite, because I know that one usually drowns out most everything else. I typically use the Love Boat theme, because I can never remember more than:
“The Love Boat, it is exciting and new,
The Love Boat, da da duh da da duh da da dew.
The Love Boat…”
And then all the rest of the music in my head is gone.
@locusts: I tend to use Godsmack’s Voodoo to purge songs. Tends to work pretty well for me.
Actually, character names are only unique within an account, i.e. there can be multiple characters with identical names as long as they are on different accounts (for things like tells you can use the account-wide alias everyone has to choose upon registration).
I lolled. Always a good sign. Also, the name “Star on Chest” is still and absolutely amazing superhero name.
Mmm… Castle Wulfenbach. Not a bad hero name, come to think of it. Well, except for that copyright thing.
My superhero(TM) name is “Anticlimactic Man” because nothing exciting ever happens when I show up. It’s a lame power, believe me!
Just fyi.. you know that Telekinetics is in fact more a melee weapon based power than anything else? I love it, but it isn’t really “telekinetiks”, should just be named “Mind Blade Powerset” or something like that.
@Badger / 32:
Well think of it this way, if there’s some epic cataclysm about to bring the world to an end, all you have to do is stroll in and read a magazine to avert it. *lol*
Star On Chest. Best. Hero. Ever.
I played Evony for a few weeks last spring. One of the more amusing filters I’ve ever seen: “girls” would be *****.
“Okay boys and *****, let’s make sure our archery stat is up to snuff…”
I trump all your bad songs by inflicting the following on your brain based music players
My evil deed done for the day! (aside – typing Ring 8 times in a row is HARD)
Ahh profanity filters, they’re so cute in their over-zealousness, and just like their DRM brothers, people who want to get around them will, and only people who aren’t considering them get stung.
I thoroughly approve of Star On Chest beating people up with his giant Ego however, and hope to hear more about him in the future.
Also on the copyright issues – does that mean if I make Veloxyll on CoH, and then I make Veloxyll AGAIN on CO, that I make the companies breach copyright? If I make them at the same time, who prevails :O
And god forbid we should want to discuss her ointment. :P
Nicely done, Shamus. I approve. :D
I have neither the time nor money for another MMO! Quit making me want to play this! *sobs*
(Great comic as usual!)
I think Star On Chest deserves a medal for easiest-to-remember name.
@Kristin: Evony filters the word “girls”? Evony?!?!. Evony of the preposterous busty-chested “play DISCREETLY” and “save your lover” ads? Wow.
(Mandatory link to this awesome Evony parody by Popcap: PvZ Ad)
I can honestly say that Star on Chest has both the best superhero name I’ve ever heard and the best superhero biography I’ve ever read. I could not stop laughing. I look forward to his further adventures.
You’re tempting me to once again head back into the realm of which I boldly stated I would never return. I’ll be living vicariously through your posts. I pray that they are not too entertaining, for I may end up living vicariously through my own life.
I’m really loving the game as well. I did find a couple of low level missions that got bugged but being able to switch instance and try it there really helped.
My second biggest issue is getting time that the girlfriend will let me play.
The biggest issue is of course the Nemesis! Earl Grey has sworn to defete the evils of Decafinator and free his beloved Lady Grey using the powers of a big sword and top hat.
Click here should you really wish to see him in action.
“I begin my life as a hero amidst this destruction” will solve your heroin problem.
SPELLING NAZI! Morrowind has one ‘w’. HEIL WEBSTER!
Edit: Awesome. I have a monocle now. …because I misspelled my email. Never mind. :(
@Blackbird71: I've always found the theme from “Green Acres” to be the ultimate reset song.
Go ahead. Try it. What harm could it do? ;)
I hate you forever.
Also, I may be the only 19-year-old male who has seen most of the episodes of Green Acres. *shudder*
Regarding swear filters, the one in Maplestory was pathetic. It would ignore actual cusswords (e.g. f***, iirc) and block completely random stuff. Maybe they were transliterations of Korean swears… but in any case the badly translated NPC’s were hilarious.
Star on Chest is my hero. I am naming my child after him, should said child be fortunate enough to have a lucky birthmark. That is all.
Welcome to the LP world! More audience participation!
I remember the first time I noticed that occasion in an MMO. Somebody logged in right on top of another player who happened to be standing there.
An onlooker said “There’s a girl in you.”
It was almost as memorable as the time in FFXI I trekked across the game world to get to that San d’Oria and right at the city gates there was a high level that had aggroed a newbie monster and then put his weapons away, therefore giving everyone the sight of an oversized Sheep with a camel hump slamming its heads into the buttocks of an armored man who was not taking damage but was giving a pretty good animation of this hips being pushed in the right direction considering where the heatbutts were coming from.
I’m pretty sure he was afk, but I couldn’t help but imagine this dialogue:
Sheep: *butts him* Man: Umph.
Sheep: *butts him* Man: nnnph
Sheep: *butts him* Man: quit it.
Sheep: *butts him* Man: Stooooop. You’re bothering me.
Sheep: *butts him for infinity* Man: I’m in hell.
Ego? I can base my abilities on the strength of my own ego? Sold!
Dude, you so need to play the tabletop game it’s based on. HERO system is awesome!
One of my favorite profanity filter bits was in World of Warcraft, which had vanity pets you could acquire (they didn’t do anything other than follow you around). One of them was the “Maine Coon” cat, which you couldn’t talk about in chat without it coming out as “Maine ****”.
What I found amusing about it is that it really only served to highlight the possible negative interpretation of the world. Without the filter, I’d never have made the connection.
I would totally pirate your webcomic if it wasn’t already free.
Man, Shamus, you’re making me want to resume playing my power armor hero :P
Funk: Man,. Power Armor was the first class I played. And, I guess, the second.
It’s a brutal and slightly tricky class. It’s certainly the most confusing for newcomers. The language on the description, “You work well alone or as part of a group” made me think of the WoW hunter, and how it was such a good solo class and led to low-key gameplay. The power armor and it’s multi-toggle fighting system is about as far from “simple and low-key” as you can get. There needs to be a mild warning on power armor to encourage newbies to try something else first.
I very, very nearly concluded the game was too confusing and frustrating to bother with. Then I gave fisticuffs a try and the whole thing clicked for me.
In conclusion: Hats off for getting Power Armor to work for you.
I took my power armor character to 40 in beta, via the end of beta event. Level 7 to level 40. I almost immediately logged out, logged in my supernatural/might character, and kicked robot heiney.
This character looks distinctly like Captain Smiley from Comic Jumper, a new Twisted Pixel game still in the pipes.
So he’s Deadpool, basically.
My wife and I have long-since discovered that the “song that gets other songs out of your head” is a completely individual matter. She can exorcise any annoying song by singing “What Would Bryan Boitano Do?” and I can banish the most insipid songs just by humming the Star Wars Imperial March to myself.
No need, however, since I’ve always liked that Bonnie Tyler song, though… I think I still have it on vinyl, even.
I highly recommend learning this trick, too… once you know what song you can use to drive out other songs, you are completely immune from the trick people are trying to do in this thread, of forcing your brain to pick up on a song, and start driving you mad.
I quite like how–if I’m not mistaken–you seem to have used the “metal” specular map for every single aspect of his costume. Including stuff like his cowl and cape. I’m weirdly charmed by that.
I’ve only tried the free trial. I ran a single Power Armor character to the end of the tutorial level, and then a Munitions character to the part where the chief of police wanted his soldiers to shoot at me. I wanted to do a big guns character like Cable or Warmachine or someone, but it’s not to be. The ranged combat is also kind of…not…great. I’ll have to try a melee character, because the ranged stuff was unsatisfying, only worked at really close ranges anyway, and monsters ended up getting right in my face.
One thing I don’t like about the free trial is that it doesn’t give you any opportunities to choose new things at level up. Well, okay, I suppose you get the items that go in your slots, and can boost Endurance and Recovery and Presence, but it was completely impossible for me to notice any effects. Aside from presumably greater health and damage, there’s no difference between a level 1 and a level 5 CO character. They could’ve at least let you pick an actual new power at some point, so you didn’t just have the energy builder and the tier 0 for the entire time.
I’ve been reading very briefly some articles that discuss voice in MMOs, and noting how Old Republic will have lots of it and Champions Online hardly has any. Obviously, adding voice to a Massive game is a staggeringly vast enterprise, and it seems easy to say “Well, players skip most of it anyway!” and just have text and speech bubbles. Perhaps. I think some of the best voice stuff is the incidental dialogue that you don’t have to hear, but which creates the sense that the people around you are doing something. When I played CO, it seemed weirdly quiet, because there was so little incidental noise. There was some random BGM, and the sounds of my immediate battle, but not much else. Kind of odd.
So, reading this again actually inspired me to check out how Champs Online is doing these days. It’s changed a lot in the last eight years, and I thought I’d note some of these changes here in the comments, if that’s OK.
Since Star On Chest has only just started here, you’d think there wasn’t much to say yet, but you’d be wrong! The tutorial has been reframed as a VR simulation of the invasion, which actually took place years ago. I’m not really sure why.
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