Clueless In Millennium City

My Champions Online alt-a-holicism has rapidly accelerated to an incomprehensible state of flux.   Am I bored of this game?  Not quite… but I can’t really commit to a single character, either.

To read the forums, it seems the players a whole lot whinier than usual, but I don’t think it’s the game.  I think it’s just that they’re a bunch of WoW refugees and those guys don’t have the manpower to enforce good forum etiquette.

However, there is some level of justification to the whining in that there have been pretty radical patches and a lot of the aspects of super-heroism have been well nerfed.  I am not just talking about needed changes to bring the game balance into line, it would seem that the developers are favoring mediocrity.

For example, in nerfing the “Never Strikes Twice?” advantage on Lightning Arc to be +30% damage on held targets instead of +100%.  You can spend the same amount of advantage points to get a +20% all-conditional damage boost, and so you’re basically looking at a highly conditional situation you can barely exploit in which you can get a 10% advantage out of while operating at a 20% deficit the majority of the time.


A closeup of ASCII Oakley, scourge of Snake Gulch. If you comment on the size of her guns, she'll drill ya.

This adjustment is, in one word: boring.   It is not a word you want to apply to anything in your game.  Santa’s got to be a whole lot more generous with what’s he’s got in his magic bag for the kids to be excited about what he’s giving them.

On the other hand, a lot of the adjustments were clearly needed.  Mini-mines was an instant, medium-cost Tier 2 power that was doing more damage than changed up, high-cost Tier 3 powers.   Perhaps the reason why the nerfs seem so radical is that there’s a communication problem resulting in the wrong powers getting adjusted along with the right?

I’ve got a six month subscription so, for me, the answer is easy: wait and see if they get around to realizing this on their own before those 6 months are up.  I just hope the game manages to remain afloat.

To an extent, I’m having fun.  I do enjoy thinking.  They just gave all 8 of my characters, ranging between level 12 and 29, a free full retcon.  Oh, the fun I could have playing with these!  I swear, I’m going to give myself an aneurysm trying to solve that age old question, “which, out of the infinite choices in character generation this game provides, is right for me?”


Nearly a year ago, I said I’d grab Drakensang if it came down to $20.  A Direct2Drive promotion has the game on sale for $5!  It’s downloading as I write this.

I also paused mid-completion of Chrono Cross, I should probably finish that while I’ve still a console that can read the disc.

New Hero MMORPG, Old Habits

I’ve been working hard on burning out from Champions Online so that I can get back to work on my game and, while I have not quite reached this goal, I have at least reached the level of familiar alt-a-holicism.  Today, I go over my various experiments with character concepts, so you don’t have to.

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Champions Online Launch: Not That Bad

The Champions Online launch has not been going super swimmingly, but it could be a lot worse.

Cryptic has moved well to counteract most of the damage.  Any character generated prior to the launch day patch will be allowed to rebuild their characters for free.  The day you couldn’t play is not being counted against your subscription.

However, the nerfs remain.

The primary thing adjusted were the passives – powers to be slotted and forgotten as they enhance your character in some vital area.  Those who leaned heavily on their passives are now very much feeling the pinch.  Passives are now somewhat between 40% to 60% less effective as they used to be, and consequently heroes who rely on them for survival are dying 40% to 60% faster.

I feel the nerfs were certainly necessary, as the game was quite trivial before, but the severity of the adjustment was an over-reaction.  Many players claim their heroes can no longer even survive a fight against 3  henchmen – a number whose importance is derived from Jack Emmerts previous declaration that being able to fight 3 minions in City of Heroes is an ideal balance.  It’s a fair argument – even at the most basic level, heroes should be capable of doing this fairly reliably.

It turns out that the over-severity was deliberate,  as apparently because that’s how Bill Roper sails:

The biggest thing you have to do when you’re piloting a ship this big is that you tend to have to make big course corrections.  I think the thing that players always talk about is ‘Well, why don’t you make smaller changes?  Just change it like a little bit, then a little bit.’  The only problem is, when you have a big ship, when you make a lot of small course changes you have to make a lot of them and it’s hard to see.

Where the good ship Champions Online was previously listing dangerously to Starboard, it’s now listing somewhat noticeably to Port.   As of today, developer posts reveal them working diligently to make an even more acute course correction.  Soon after launch, they raised a test server in play to get a little feedback on the kind of fixes they’re doing before just rolling them on the server.  Soon, we expect they’ll even have their patch messages half-decently documented.  It seems the developers are well underway to switching their mindsets from beta to retail.

In the meanwhile, if you were wise/lucky enough to stumble across my guide and follow it prior to launch, you’re probably doing just fine.   This is because my guide walked you away from the idea to taking a bunch of attacks, and instead focused on getting a diverse set of powers instead.  Such a move fairly assures that simply nerfing the passives wouldn’t have killed your character.

All things considered, Champions Online’s launch could have been much, much worse.  When Anarchy Online launched, it was so laggy and crash-prone that it was unplayable for weeks.  Even World of (Bloody Successful) Warcraft had to shut down sales of the game temporarily because the servers were being completely overloaded and unplayable near launch. A day of being unable to play and characters with passive power dependencies encountering difficulty is comparatively nothing.

That said, I’m definitely looking forward to that free respec.  Sure, my character plays well enough, but I think I could find an entertainment benefit by rebuilding my character in a more novel direction.  Thus, even in these trying times, there’s a certain silver lining in that I’m being granted an opportunity I would not have otherwise.