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Shamus Plays: Champions Online, Part 10

Shamus Young | 22 Sep 2010 13:00
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The cameras have a special attack where they zap you with a ribbon of film, after which your character is immobilized. The immobilization takes the form of sparkles and flashbulbs going off while you flex and pose for the cameras. And the enemies beat on you.

The fanboys are more dangerous than you'd expect for scrawny guys that hit you with big foam fingers, which ought to pose the same threat as a caged houseplant.

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I scuffle with the robots and the fanboys. Eventually I get a little spot cleared off. After making sure nobody is looking, I rescue a box of comics. One box of ten.

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Ten? Are there even ten boxes in the parking lot?

No, not as such. With other supers flying all over the place doing the same mission, competition for comics is furious. Don't do this one as part of a team, because you don't share comics. So you'll need 10xN boxes, where N is the number of people on your team. Respawn rates being what they are, you'll be at this one for quite a while on a team.

And if your team meets another team doing the same mission... Well, I hope you went with the lifetime subscription plan, because you're going to be in the parking lot for a long, long time.

A word about XP here. Earlier in the series I said that combat gave very little XP. I'm level 16, and it's just about 158,000xp from this level to the next. Each fanboy (which are admittedly a level below me) I put down is worth just 65xp. I'd have to knock out well over 2,000 of them to level. For contrast, turning in a level-appropriate quest in going to net me between 10,000xp and 15,000xp. If the quest has me fight 20 guys in the process of completing the quest (which is about what I'm doing here) then (very) roughly 8% of my XP will come from combat. Other games seem to have this inverted, and quests are just a way of organizing combat and directing you to level-appropriate foes. In the other MMO's I've played, combat seems to form a significant portion of your overall XP, perhaps even a majority. In Lord of the Rings Online, it seems like about 100 foes will advance you to the next level at this same point in the game. (A level sixteen character.) I suspect World of Warcraft isn't too different.

What's strange about this setup is that the combat in Champions Online is a blast. This is one game where I wouldn't mind grinding (fighting the same guys in the same area over and over) in order to to level. It's fun sweeping the streets, but the reward for doing so is so very tiny.

At any rate, every box of comics is near at least a couple of bad guys. So the worst thing you could do is team up for this mission. It's the new frontier in massively multiplayer gaming: Forced soloing!

I rescue the writer and artist, and gather up a big ol' stack of back comic books for the comic store. Now they won't go out of business because they're out of stock, and will be free to go out of business because of any of the other dozen or so things that are wrong with the place. So the city has that going for it now.

Let's head back to Socrates and see what the bats in his boot-drive want me to do next.

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