4thofeleven: (Morte)
One thing you notice very quickly if you play MMOs for any length of time is how different the experience is based on the gender of your character. Playing as a female character means dealing with a lot more unwanted attention than a male character.

It’s not necessarily offensive, mind you – just irritating, dealing with a constant barrage of friend requests, guild invitations, and guys who, on seeing a woman, decide they needed to ‘protect’ you – generally by following you around, making it impossible to complete your quests by killing anything near you before you get a chance, and generally getting in the way.

At least, I’d always assumed this sort of behaviour was a response to a female avatar – I’d only ever seen this sort of thing while playing as one of my female characters in Champions Online. But now…

Well, it’s weird. I’ve been seeing the same sort of thing happen around my newest character… Zombie Abraham Lincoln.

I guess even as an undead shambling monster, Lincoln’s still popular enough people want to be his friend?
4thofeleven: (Default)
Champions Online’s giving away a free character slot if you log in this week. Yay! Now I can have a second character while still keeping a slot free for playing with the costume creator!

Now, I just have to work out which of the dozens of costumes I created I want to play… Zombie Lincoln? Captain Habsburg*? The Allied Ape**? Khepri***? Nemo 20XX? Captain Oceania****? Comrade Steel, the Russian Robot?

Too many options…

*Fighting for Truth, Justice, and the Austro-Hungarian Way!
**What if… Captain America was a gorilla? And not specifically American?
***Aka ‘Dung-Beetle Man’
****Double-Plus Good Ingsoc Hero, Citizen!

4thofeleven: (Default)
It’s occurred to me that superhero comics are, in fact, the best possible setting for an MMO, and should by all rights have been the default rather than fantasy.

First, because superheroes take place in the modern world, and a hero’s origin tends to be ‘a regular guy who suddenly got superpowers!’, the person on the global chat channel ranting about Obama/God/their parents doesn’t seem anywhere near as out of place as they would in Middle-Earth or Azeroth. You have to actually work at breaking character in a superhero world.

Second, the static nature of the world isn’t an issue. You defeat Sauron, you expect that to have an impact on the world and it’s disappointing when it doesn’t. You defeat the Joker, and you’re not really expecting him to stay in jail more than a week or so before he escapes. If anything, it feels more authentic to the source material for villains to re-spawn the minute your back is turned...
4thofeleven: (Default)
So, Champions Online is having their monthly ‘Bloodmoon’ event this weekend, where portals open across the city spewing out zombies. It’s fun, if only because it’s one of the rare times Champions actually encourages interacting with other players...

Anyway, so I’m standing around with a few other players waiting for a portal to open so we can seal it again. There’s three women there, so some guy decides he’s going to spend his time obnoxiously ‘flirting’ with each of them. His seduction technique consisting of going up to each of them, asking some variant on “You wanna date?”, them ignoring him, then moving on to the next and repeating the cycle over and over for several minutes. I don’t know if he had some sort of ‘jackass’ macro set up to automate this or what, but he kept it up for some time.

Long enough that he managed to become so engrossed in his futile campaign he complete failed to notice the portal opening behind him, and so while the rest of us took down the zombie hordes, he found himself overwhelmed and, thankfully, disposed of by them.

I found it a wonderful little example of emergent storytelling in games…
4thofeleven: (Default)
So, the high level area in Champions Online is full of vampires and werewolves to fight. That’s cool.

Sometimes, when you kill them, they drop a costume piece. That’s also cool
The thing is, the costume pieces are pretty rare, and there’s a few dozen different pieces, so getting the ones you want can take a while. As a result, they’re worth a fair bit in the auction house, and there’s almost always someone looking to trade spare parts for the ones they want.
The result, thus, is a society of superheroes who wage a constant war against the undead… for the purpose of taking their clothing (and occasionally body parts) and wearing them.

Ah, the vibrant world of an MMO…
4thofeleven: (Default)
The chat server in Champions Online keeps going down.

Normally, the zone chat is filled with sub-literate political discussions, complaints about every aspect of the game, and people who seem unaware both of the existence of the auction house and of the uselessness of most of the items they're trying to sell.

Now, the only conversations I see when I log in is the occasional NPC civilians praising my character for his heroic deeds and NPC villains vowing revenge.

It's wonderful. I hope they never fix it.
4thofeleven: (Default)
So, Champions Online has advertisments that play when loading new areas. Now, honestly, I'm not complaining - the game's free, and they're not that intrusive.

I am curious, however, as to why 90% of them seem to be for house paints.
4thofeleven: (Default)
So, I’ve finally given in to temptation and broken my strict ‘no MMO’ rule to try out Champions Online. Admittedly, when describing Champions as an MMO, I suspect the first M stands not for ‘massively’ but for ‘marginally’ – the game seems to be built around soloing, and actually interacting with other players seems to be very much optional.

Which, honestly, is what I want – as far as I’m concerned, it’s a free single player RPG where occasionally you see other people fly past and can admire their costumes. On the other hand, I can see why the game wasn’t that successful…

The free-to-play aspect is very nice – the only real limitations are only having two character slots, and being limited to pre-built classes instead of freeform character creation. There’s very few points where I felt I was limited by not being a subscriber. The developers obviously realise all computer games eventually become elaborate games of dress-up, and thus most of the premium content is alternate costume parts rather than useful in-game abilities.

On that note, the costume creator is fantastic; even without any of the premium costume parts, pretty much any superhero costume I could think of was easily made. My own character was built around the concept of ‘what would be the most awesome to a ten-year-old’, and is thus a super-hero version of Dale Russel’s hypothetical sapient dinosauroid, and I was able to create it without too much trouble – the hardest part was deciding which of the ridiculous number of horn and tail options I should use…

The real negative is the other players, honestly. Between the random people wanting to team up with you but who refuse to ever actually communicate with you when you accept them, the people who somehow made it through the tutorial without learning the most basic controls, the misogynists filling up the chat channel despite my best efforts to put them on ignore, and the scores of players whose superhero concept is some minor variant on ‘grim faced loner with a gun’… well, it all adds up to remind me why I’m unwilling to pay money for real MMOs...

On the other hand, if it wasn’t for other players, I’d have missed out on the guy whose entire character bio consisted of “BAD GUYS KILL MY PARENTS. NOW I SMASH THEM.” Unfortunately, having created such a work of genius, he somehow dropped the ball, as his actual costume failed to be a hybrid of Batman and the Incredible Hulk. Pity, really. Maybe that should be my second character...


Jul. 15th, 2011 04:36 pm
4thofeleven: (Default)
To the player twenty levels below me who challenged me to a duel, then swore at me when I killed you in two hits:

What, exactly, did you expect would happen?!


4thofeleven: (Default)
David Newgreen

August 2017

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