After about two months since launch, Champions Online finally launched their first content patch. Titled “Bloodmoon” their first event obviously is focused around Halloween. The event includes several PvP scenarios, some missions to save the soul of some super heroes, and a lot of open missions that anyone can partake in. I thought I would give my thoughts on this event in particular because it should give people a good understanding of what they might be able to expect from Champions in the future, but also to kind of give my thoughts on where the game is after a couple of months in prime time.
I think the event really came in three main parts. The PvE, PvP and then the new powerset. The PvP I probably did the least, I did just enough to be able to get the perks that would unlock the power set for me. There were actually two pieces to the PvP events. There were werewolves and zombies. The zombie part I didn’t do at all. However, from what I heard about it, I kind of like it. All the players except one start out as humans superheroes. The zombie super hero then tries to kill the human ones and as the humans die they turn into zombies. The longer you stay alive the more points you get. A really cool idea, but I just didn’t have interest myself in it.
The other PvP was open zone between werewolves and hunters. Players chose either side, and then just went out and started killing the other side. You got perks for killing 100 of the opposing side, and in order to get the unlock you actually had to do it with both sides. I am torn on this. The event turned out to be a zerg, but generally if it was one on one, the hunter almost always beat a werewolf. The two sides were fairly imbalanced. In fact, when I moved over to hunter, I could take on two or three werewolves before they would get me down, and I wouldn’t even move constantly like other hunters would. Because you had to kill 100 on each side, it also became a thing where people would just kind of die so that the other side got their numbers. Still, when all worked well, it was kind of fun when there were 15 hunters attacking 15 werewolves and I think in those few moments the event worked well. It was fun seeing the werewolves in the game too and I wonder if they will continue to exist after the event is over.
The PvE events revolved around 13 super heroes who died in the Battle of Detroit, and you the player trying to save their souls from an evil super villain who is trying to destroy them. I really liked this premise for the main reason that it was really cool to head into the lore of the super heroes of the Champions Universe. However, 13 may have been a bit much. Each hero would involve attacking and killing the zombie hero, then entering a portal and destroying the soul’s captor. The first few heroes was great fun, but then it got really old really fast. By the fifth or sixth dungeon, I would essentially just run through, ignoring the hordes of zombies and get to the final room to free the soul to get done with it. There were only like three dungeon stages to travel through so it was really repetitive, and it didn’t help that they used the same voice acting for every single super hero. You might not have noticed had they been spaced out, but doing one after the other… it just was silly. I’d rather they not have voice acting at all than having the same voice actor saying the same thing for 13 different heroes.
Once you unlocked about 7 perks, you unlocked the Celestial power set. This was the big carrot. Some players complained that it wasn’t freely available to everyone without work, but I actually liked that they made it so that you had to experience the events in order to unlock the set. Largely because if you would have just let everyone have access to it, no one would have done the events, they’d just go create a new character and then there’d be loads of celestial heroes in the newb zone and no one doing the events. But also because it does give you reason to do stuff you might not do. I for one, probably wouldn’t have done the PvP aspect of the werwolf. I probably would have fought werewolves and just have been done, but they kind of forced me into the event and I had fun doing it.
The celestial power set itself is up and down. The graphics are great looking, and the idea behind the set is cool too. Champions Online needed a true healing power set and finally there is one. However, the set itself is kind of weak, by design you really can’t be celestial only because there just isn’t enough powers compared to other sets. I do like that it not only heals but it does damage too depending on what you have selected. However, this showcases an issue in CO that you really can’t target through another player in the game. If I wanted to go from attacking to healing it is far more difficult in this game than any other game I’ve played.
Another issue that the celestial power set has showcased in the game of Champions is that I know absolutely no one to play with. My main character is now level 33 and has never needed to group to level quickly and thus I don’t have a list of friends to play with. So when I switch to a healer type character, I find myself at a disadvantage because not only do I not know anyone, no one else needs a group either to level quickly. And even worse, the LFG functionality is so deeply buried in the game that no one even knows where to look to find players even if they did want help. The inclusion of a support role into the game really emphasizes the fact that no one groups in the game which really is a shame for a genre that lives and breathes off people playing with each other.
Lastly, I wanted to talk about another thing that came up over this event. They included with the first weekend of the event a free weekend that anyone could play if they wanted to. So if you weren’t sure of the game, you could download it and give it a shot. This is really a bad sign for the game. Usually these games don’t start doing this until a couple years down the road. Yet here it is in the second month and they feel the need to do this to try to draw in more players. It actually could be an ingenious plan to try to continue the early growth that likely starts to die down after a couple of months, but if you ask me it looks bad.
I think the future of the game will be shown by the next content update. Both in how long it takes for them to release it as well as what is in it. If they don’t put the next patch out in two months again and wait longer, it isn’t looking good or if the next patch doesn’t have as much if not more than this one it doesn’t look good. And let’s also keep in mind that they have yet to announce their first expansion.