Friday, April 15, 2011

Andy's Free-to-Play MMO Corner - Champions Online, Part 2

Welcome back. In our last adventure, Florp the Firey - the fearsome, dreadlock-wielding charred putty-hero of the day - was issued with the gripping task of talking to the mayor. We will now tune in for the heart-stopping continuation.

The mayor has left his briefcase and laptop in the Sampson building, which contain the Emergency Response Plans. Foolish mayor, his brain is obviously inferior to that of Florp, the Firey. Anyway; after venturing inside the Sampson building (whose "n" was apparently destroyed by the aliens because all it read was "Sampso," evidently), I pick up the laptop. But... hold on. I can see outside. The tutorial zone's boundaries lay ahead! Perhaps this bordeom of picking up laptops for mayors and holding down the Shift key are nearing their end! ...oh, no. It's not. Turns out the invisible walls of death have their say on the matter, that say being, "foolish human, you haven't learned how to open the mini-map yet! For shame, trying to escape like that. Off you go. Follow your orders, you sheep."

Wading through the wreckage, I find the Emergency Response Codes. I do get to fight some Qular this time - but the combat is terrible, a robotic mashing of the action key followed by blocking. However, there is a giant Qular heavy of some kind who seems to be quite the challenge - it takes one more Champion fighting alongside me before he can be bought down. That was kind of cool, I suppose. Regardless; I return to the mayor, he spouts off about how he's going to activate the response code, and I'm given the choice of four rewards. I pick "Qularr-cide" - ...maybe I can get high off of it, I 'unno.

He then tells me - I have to deliver a message to the Chief of Police! Apparently super-powered heroes are the mayor's mail carrier of choice. As boring as it sounds (and oh boy, if you think holding down the W key is boring, you're in for a treat), I do it - only getting a little lost along the way after ignoring the suggestion to open up the mini-map. I also unlock a new respawn point and level up - hooray! ...wait. No. Your Skinner Box tactics will not get to me, Champions Online. I refuse to enjoy you unless you offer me something substantial! Now then. Off for another tutorial quest, I suppose.

I find an old man sitting on a bench near the Police Chief. He's scared because he was on holiday in the city when all of a sudden an alien ran off with his passport - and it's up to me to return it!! The mundane, repetitive tasks of this game are really starting to get on my nerves. I thought the idea was that I am a super-hero? Not some... fetch-quest machine. Regardless, I set off to find the man's passport. I set an "x" on the map as instructed (let it not be said I am not a man of infinite trial-and-error learning!), and I triumphantly make my way there...

...only to be overwhelmed and killed by a plethora of Bug Keepers (the aforementioned heavy grunts). Eurgh. Okay, so things ain't going so smoothly for ol' Florp the Firey. I am humiliated by my cocky self-ashuredness, and thus I respawn; and as I'm about to start the search for the old man's passport over, the server sends out a warning message saying server maintenance will be undertaken it 10 minutes. ...let it never be said that I am not an opportunist, I take the chance to quit while I'm ahead. I leave to play some sort of manly FPS or something, and return later, when maintenance is finished. (I mean, I assume someone at Cryptic spilled Coca-Cola over the main termninals or something inconsequential, but a 2 hour shutdown is a 2 hour shutdown nontheless).

I return a mere six days later to continue in this oh so grand quest.

Join in next week for a short detour from Florp's adventure to find an old man's luggage, something a little special...

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