The Crusade has begun! Well, that’s not strictly true; the evil robot Mechanon in Champions Online has been an unseen presence pretty much from day one, with hints about it both in Millennium City and in Snake Gulch at the Southwest. (Players may be familiar with the Evil ATM Machine, which always puts a smile on my face.) But the robot-long considered an equal to the Ultimate Villain in the setting, Doctor Destroyer, has been absent. But events are happening which will lead to a big showdown with one of the top-tier supervillains in Champions.
First, though, the heroes have to deal with the opening round. The new Steel Crusade storyline takes place in Millennium City, where the police have cordoned off a section because the civilians there have begun to spontaneously combust and incinerate. Doctor Silverback and Microman need the help of heroes to try to identify the cause of this apparently contagious disease-and hopefully put a stop to it. In the process, the heroes will discover that things aren’t as obvious as it looks on the surface, and make inroads to stopping it-only to learn that, as the trope goes, “this is only the beginning”.
The missions are no great departure from your standard sort of mission. From a mechanical standpoint, they’re pretty straightforward. But if you’re playing Champions Online, you’re looking for the plot and the story. And the settings, of course. The presence of Microman is enough of a hint to tell you that in order for you to learn what’s going on, you’ll have to get small-and by “small”, I mean, “microscopic”.
I definitely got an old-school sort of vibe from the missions that take place inside the human body. You just don’t get those kind of stories in comic books anymore. There’s a host of science that would go against what’s going on here, but who cares? This is about entertainment! If you have to shrink down microscopic size to fight off nano-robots in the hypothalamus-don’t just sit there asking yourself how it’s possible. It’s a setting where dinousaurs (albeit small ones) roam an island, assorted aliens are among us-some of whom are closer than they look-and where you can have villains engaging in that time-honored trait of monologuing.
I’ve not done this arc repeatedly too much as of yet; I’ve been taking advantage of the double-xp being offered for the CO anniversary, also currently going on right now. But I’ve done it a couple of times, and enjoyed both run throughs. That said: this isn’t the end of the story. Later this month, the second part will be released, and all indications are that it will be out of this world-literally.
The best part of the Steel Crusade is that-unlike a lot of the content released for CO over the last year or two-this is a permanent addition. Not an Alert, but a constant real presence in the game. That’s honestly the best sort of news you could ask for. And other indications are that there may be more content upcoming, which-if true-will be welcome news to CO players.
The second part is released on 9/18. And if you think you’re done with Mechanon at that point, don’t you believe it. Super-villains are sore losers, and retaliation comes on 9/25.