When I play Champions Online – which is pretty much whenever I’m awake – I often try to invent justifications for doing the ridiculous things I’m doing. Sometimes I accidentally or foolishly read the mission description, but I always regret doing so because the actual text is far more preposterous than anything I could hope to dream up.

The stuff in the comic is actually lifted right out of the game. There is a mission where the bad guys have, for no apparent reason, stolen research data on holographic glasses. Stealing information does not usually cause the original owner to forget the stolen data, but there it is. For some reason we have to steal back our own research data. The data is being kept in multiple refrigerator-sized metal containers and guarded by guys in power armor. Who are in a parking lot. In a residential area of the city.

So, these guys stole data they didn’t need and then stored the data in boxes outdoors in a public place under the guard of conspicuously armed space marines, and you must steal back the data because nobody can figure out any other way to tell the difference between humans and holographically masked four-foot frog aliens.

This is what I was on about when I faulted the game for being lazy and stupid with its storytelling. I don’t object to fighting dudes in a parking lot for crates. I’m a big boy and I understand this is an MMO and that’s what you do in an MMO. I just want it to make some kind of sense. I don’t think this is an outrageous request on my part. It doesn’t need to be dark, gritty, or intensely serious. It just needs to follow some kind of basic-level coherence and not sound like the ravings of a lunatic.

Even worse: The action-based combat in Champions is so fun, I’m most likely ruined for other MMO’s.

Champions, what have you done to me!?!

Shamus Young is the guy behind this website, this book, this other webcomic, and this program.

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