Shamus Plays

Shamus Plays: Champions Online, Part 12

Shamus Young | 6 Oct 2010 13:00
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Against my better judgment I am once again working for Socrates. Shockingly, my current job doesn't have me rushing to the site of a catastrophe to deal with the least pressing problem. The usual Socrates job goes something like, "Viper agents have stormed a local nursing home and are converting the residents into mildly senile cybernetic shock troopers. Please hurry there and make sure none of the Viper assault vehicles are double-parked."

But this one has me going to an area of the city and getting rid of the Viper forces I find. As always, Viper does a lot more loitering than terrorizing, but at least they're striving to be some sort of respectable threat in this city. That's gotta count for something.

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I dispense the requested supply of justice and return to Socrates. I explain how things went and Socrates thanks me for my ongoing-

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Gah! What? Who has just run up to me and begun shouting in my ear?

Ah. It's a citizen in need. Sigh.

The "help a citizen" quests. They've been patched quite a bit since I wrote this, but at the time they tended to pop up when you were turning in a quest. You'd be sitting there, considering the list of quest rewards and trying to figure out which one was the least useless, when all of a sudden the entire dialog would blink away and be replaced by a dialog with some citizen who has just run up to you.

In any case, how they work is this:

The citizen will mention that they saw some "suspicious activity," and say it happened "right over there." In this case, "right over there" means "on the other side of the city, miles away from any other meaningful quest location." There are several "help a citizen" jobs, but they all have several things in common:

1) Always involve going into some instanced map and fighting a bunch of dudes.
2) Lots and lots of combat. (And remember combat is a time-sink in this game.)
3) Usually far away.
4) They have an imposed time limit of half an hour, so you can't just take the quest when offered and plan to look into it when you're in the neighborhood.
5) They are slightly more time consuming than the average mission.
6) They are worth absolute crap for XP, usually about 1/3 to 1/4 of the yield from other level-appropriate quests.

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I borrow a pen and a notebook from the distraught citizen and then I listen carefully to his tale. I nod my head and take notes while he explains that he saw something vaguely suspicious on the far edge of the city, and then ran past the fields of burning cars, wrecked buildings, gang wars, and escaped supervillains, so that he could come here and give me this report about guys doing something that may not have been on the up-and-up. I ask a few questions and make sure I've got the details correct, and mark the location on my map. I thank the citizen for his concern and congratulate him on his keen eye and attention to detail. Clapping him on the shoulder, I send him on his way with directions to "keep safe."

And then I ball up the notepaper and toss it over my shoulder.

No story. Long travel. Dull locations. Generic premise. Crap XP. Time limit. Can't be shared with teammates. There is just very little incentive to bother with these.

Moving on, I find Corporal Antoine Harrison, another police officer in need of my help.

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"Gentlemen, I must congratulate you on your superb taste in uniform and hair colors."

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