WF: Welcome to the Queen City

Synopsis:  Vibora Bay has a problem with gangs and undead, and the hero Black Mask has decided to call in some outside help from Millennium City.  Willforge has to operate out of his comfort zone as he battles an undead assassin and a villain who’s his own gang!  Welcome to Vibora Bay, Willforge-hope you survive the experience!

I’d almost forgotten that this area of levels opened up the Vibora Bay area-at least, the “Queen City” part-in Champions Online.  Vibora Bay has a bit of a troubled history, in a meta sense.  When Champions Online was released, there were a lot of complaints about leveling, particularly in the upper levels.  (The more things change-but the queues help a lot nowadays.)  When the Vibora Bay expansion was announced, the players were happy to see content approaching-until they found out that it was going to be a paid expansion.  Keep in mind, this was before CO went freemium.

Players went ballistic.

In the end, Vibora Bay was released as a free expansion, and it wouldn’t be hard to believe that this may have been the beginning of the end of the subscription model for CO-and indeed, for its further development.  I can’t say if that’s absolutely true-after all, there were some Adventure Packs and Comic Series released before the long period of dormancy hit the game.  Plus, the freemium transition happened.  But in some ways, the whole experience feels like it tainted CO, and it never really recovered since.

While most of Vibora Bay is high-level content, there is a “crisis” of sorts that happens in the early 20 levels.  A preview of things to come, you could almost say, to give a taste of the place before the upper level content.  (Which, of course, I’ll cover at the appropriate time.)  All the missions were “blue” missions for me-I had leveled to 23 at this point-and weren’t exactly xp rich, but neither was it something to ignore.  Plus, hey, it allowed me to use the “Crisis Point” logo on my cover above one last time; while there are technically two more crises in the game, one of them is a damned rough solo, and better done with at least two, and the other seems to be queued-which nobody actually does (and people seem to hate that zone, too).

The missions for early Vibora aren’t what you would call groundbreaking, but some of the concepts are entertaining-the undead assassin’s nothing really unusual, but I liked the idea of a gang that’s actually one person (comic readers could think of him as Madrox gone evil).  The final mission in that series is set on a moving riverboat-although the map is actually static, it preserves an illusion of movement on the outside of the boat.  I’m rather fond of that sort of thing-even though there’s nothing special about the map itself, it feels more dynamic; I have similar feelings towards one of the heroic missions in Star Wars: The Old Republic, jumping from moving speeder to moving speeder.

One mission bears mentioning as one worthy of hatred.  It involved investigating suspicious crates, which supposedly have zombies waiting to pop out.  Powerful characters can be punished here:  if you can one-shot the crates, nothing ever happens.  But if you zap it with a low-damage ability for a bit-like, say, an energy builder power-then by the time the crate blows up, you can get your spawn of zombies to beat up.  If your energy builder also can one-shot the crates…well, you could be in for a long night.  It’s worse if there are other people in Vibora doing the same mission, because respawn on those crates isn’t exactly fast.  (I was fortunate; nobody was around at the time, and I think I only saw one other person in Vibora during my time there.)

My time in Vibora was far too brief, and it looks like my next move is to return to the icy cold of Canada.  I’m not far from level 24, so I’m hoping that the next series of missions will put me over.

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