Home > Champions Online > “Bleeding Moon” or “Bill Roper is Lazy”

“Bleeding Moon” or “Bill Roper is Lazy”

I haven’t been able to play Champions Online much lately. Having already bitched about how complex and involved my life is, I won’t go into why I can’t find to play it. I am beginning to get to that inevitable stage of guilt over the monthly subscriptions, because I am not getting enough bang out of my buck.

bloodmoon-headerThis morning I finally managed to log in for a few hours, partly because of the guilt, partly because Super Teammates were asking about where I had been, and partly because I really wanted to check out all the zombie-smashing goodness of the Halloween-themed Blood Moon event. I patched, loaded in my primary character and sat back to enjoy the ride.

If you are short on time, the following sentence summarizes this post. Had it not been for the saving grace that is the Nemesis system, I would have quit Champions Online today.

candyinbasementThis latest venture from the makers of the superhero simulator epitomizes all that is wrong with the MMO genre today. It is boring, it is tedious, it is designed to be a massive time sink, and it only serves to degrade the game further. The Blood Moon event’s central premise revolves around the Undying Lord Takophanes trapping the souls of 13 of Millennium’s City’s most revered heroes. The corrupted versions of these heroes are then turned loose on the city in 13 locations that look like demonic portals.

The first hero I fought was just a few blocks from the Rennaissace Center and the Super Jet. Her name is Amazing Grace. The event is set up as a public mission and it is fairly straight-forward. At the start of the event, the gate from the reset disappears and a crater appears. Zombies start crawling out of this crater. You have to kill 50 zombies (there is that arbitrary number again) and Amazing Grace’s protective shield drops. You then fight her and waves upon waves of zombies hell-bent on destruction. Once you kill Amazing Grace’s corrupted self, the portal reappears, and you can pick up a mission to go through it into Takophanes’ crypts to free her entrapped soul.

bobianidiot

You then enter the portal, and fight through a series of crypt hallways and chambers. I spotted two bugs during this process that I thought might be worth illustraring with the help of screenshots.

doorFirst, see the screenshot to the right? The door shatters and a few zombies pour into the room to fight you. Whichever lazy programmer desgined this mini-event, forgot to hide the door mesh when the door breaks. The result is that you hear the door breaking, you find its splinters littering the floor, and zombies come out of the solid door that still stands before you.

blackviodSecond, the instanced crypt is divided into three sections. You get to each subsequent section by interacting with a door that awards you with a loading screen followed by the next identical room. But once you port in, more often than not, you see a dark void having consumed the world. Only movement negates the effect.

You could argue that I am nitpicking, but the fact of the matter is that this shows a lack of commitment and polish. Polish that we have an indisputable right to as paying consumers of the game. Coupled with some of the bugs I have detailed before, and the game’s Executive Producer’s statements of late, it goes on to show how Cryptic cares more about making quick bucks and pushing out content on strict deadlines than the quality of their products or the sentiments of their customers.

The crypt finally ends in a desecrated alter. The soul of the hero you just fought on the streets above hovers in limbo, and a Harbinger of Woe, a powerful Super Villain, controls their fate. You then have to defeat this Harbinger in order to free the hero’s soul.

Sounds good on paper right? It is, and it is fun the first time around. Here is the catch: this process is repeated, without a single detail altered, for each of the 13 heroes.

12moretimes

Let’s use a bulle point list to illustrate the monotony. Anjin would be proud. For each hero:

  • There is a portal location in the city.
  • Each portal resets in the same amount of time.
  • Each portal is a public mission, divided into two stages.
  • The first part of each of these 13 missions is killing 50 zombies to spawn the boss (corrupted hero).
  • The second part of each of these 13 missions is to kill the boss.
  • In each case, when the boss is defeated, you pick up the mission to enter the crypt that conveniently opens right next to you.
  • Each crypt is exactly the same. There is zero difference between the crypts. They follow the same path, the same turns and throw the same tricks at you for each iteration.
  • Each crypt ends in a room with the hero’s trapped soul and a Harbinger of Woe.
  • Each end objective is to kill the Harbinger of Woe to save the hero.

Someone at Cryptic came up with a neat idea. Someone else decided it was so cool, it had to be endlessly replicated. Sound familiar? That is because I have commented on this trend before. The end result of this needless cloning is content that is frustrating, boring, repetitive, unimaginative and a major let down.

And don’t get me started on Takophanes himself. He respawns every six hours. He spawns in a random location. And his better drops are rare.

In short, Blood Moon, so far, is full of fail. It only serves to discredit the studio as a legitimate, respectable contender in the MMO arena.

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Categories: Champions Online
  1. November 2, 2009 at 12:42 am | #1

    It’s weird, it’s like they decided to epitomise the very worst aspects of MMO grind in an event.

    Saving grace (not Amazing Grace): the PvP zombie survival scenario is rather fun, instantly hop-into-able and only takes five minutes or so per match, the yin to the yang of absurd grind…

  2. November 2, 2009 at 7:11 am | #2

    I haven’t been impressed with the event either, and am finding the game becoming rather boring lately.

    I do agree that the zombie pvp map is fun.

  3. Jacob F
    November 2, 2009 at 1:05 pm | #3

    Why are we placing blame on Craig Zink? He is the executive producer of STO… not sure if he has anything to do with Champions Online. Perhaps you mean BILL ROPER ?

  4. Scautura
    November 2, 2009 at 1:15 pm | #4

    I don’t know why people complain about the “exact same crypt every single time” – I’ve seen 4 different designs that I remember, so either you guys are being extremely unlucky, or you’re seeing the same first portion and assuming the rest is all the same (the first portion to the first door is the same for all of them, the second part is different, and the last part is a corrupt church where you have to defeat a “boss”). Note that I’m not saying that doing 13 crypts is a good thing, it still gets monotonous. 5 or 6 would probably have been a better number, as long as they were all different.

    Also, there are times when killing 50 zombies doesn’t pop the bubble instantly, so you have to keep killing zombies until it pops – not quite identical, and adds an element of randomness. Not necessarily a good thing, however, as people get confused as to why they can’t pound on the bad guy.

  5. Amosov
    November 2, 2009 at 1:20 pm | #5

    What’s Craig Zinkievich got to do with Champions Online?

  6. November 2, 2009 at 1:34 pm | #6

    @Zoso: Yes the PvP element of this event was fun. But the whole event was marred by this catastrophe of lazy content we got subjected to in Millennium City.

    @Jacob F: You’re right. I had 45 minutes to put together this post, and I included Craig instead of Bill Roper. That mistake has now been fixed. Apologies!

    @Scautura: When you say designs, do you mean the layout of the actual crypt was different? I did 5 missions before I was done with it. The dungeons looked exactly the same, no details altered. I distinctly remember getting lost on one section because I missed a doorway to the right at least three different iterations of the dungeon. Even if the dungeon was somewhat different each iteration, you are essentially doing the same thing over and over again. If the boss didn’t unlock after 50 zombies dying, that is a design flaw. That element of randomness is just frustrating, not the kind that keeps you on your toes or challenges MMO norms.

    @Amosov: See my response to Jacob F.

  7. Pardoz
    November 2, 2009 at 10:59 pm | #7

    This smacks of Jack “Make people click 1,000 glowies for a title, that’ll make a fun holiday event” Emmert to me.

  8. November 2, 2009 at 11:03 pm | #8

    As Scautura say the crypt instances have some differences – however they are minuscle and does not really provide a different experience.

    The fallen hero/Taco design is certainly flawed, which to me is a bit surprising because they have put better effort into much of the original content.

    And as others said, the Zombie Apocalypse is good fun. I like the hunters vs werewolves PvP also (and I am not a PvPer normally), although it needs somewhat equal sides to work.

    Part of the flaw with the Fallen Hero part of the event is that I think whoever designed it did not understand player behaviour. They probably had assumed that players would play one fallen hero instance per day perhaps – the original timers were 2 hours instead of 30 minutes and the instances did not scale with player level.

    If they would have ever wanted players to play that way they should never have attached celestial powerset unlock to completing the instances or had much or any perks attached to the whole thing.

  1. November 3, 2009 at 12:10 pm | #1
  2. November 11, 2009 at 6:09 pm | #2
  3. November 18, 2009 at 7:58 am | #3
  4. April 3, 2010 at 8:34 pm | #4
  5. November 1, 2010 at 7:22 pm | #5
  6. August 10, 2011 at 9:48 pm | #6

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