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.

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