Synopsis: Once upon a time, the man who would become Willforge was abducted by aliens, seeking to understand humanity and their metahuman potential. In the process, they awakened his psionic potential which he used to escape. NOW THEY WANT HIM BACK! An alien Mindhunter has been unleashed upon Millennium City with a single purpose: to recapture Willforge! Can Willforge manage to defeat an opponent who can unleash its robotic servants upon him at any time and any place?
Willforge hit level 25 in Champions Online, and that opens up what I consider the best part of the game. There may be some ranting ahead, and I’m likely preaching to the choir, but I figure I’ll mention that right off the bat.
The best part of CO is the Nemesis system. I’ve said it before, and it’s worth repeating. Once your character gets to 25, you can design a villain and minions to assist said villain (although the minions are more along the lines of “pick a type” more than a complete design like you can with the villain). You can use just about every costume part you’ve got access to; at one point, I thought that there were some that didn’t show up, but I’ve never really noticed an issue, and it may not even be an issue anymore. What IS an issue is that saved outfits from the costume creator for your hero don’t translate over to the Nemesis; nine times out of ten, your saved outfit doesn’t actually load for a Nemesis. Moral to that story: don’t bother trying to design the villain’s look in advance unless you plan to take notes as to all the options you chose, because you sure aren’t going to be able to save and use for later. I DO believe that you can design the outfit in the Nemesis creator and save it there, and have it available for future use, but I would think this only matters if you want to have the illusion of a common Nemesis between multiple characters of yours. Or if you want to share that file with others to use.
The powers available to the villain tend to go off of powersets; they don’t customize down to the gritty level like Freefrom characters, so they’re similar to Archetypes in that respect. Also regrettably, they don’t have access to all the powersets. If there’s one thing that’s virtually criminal about the Nemesis system, it’s that it has almost never been iterated upon. There were a few nods to it-there’s an endgame Nemesis Confrontation where groups can take on everyone’s Nemeses, a Nemesis can be an option for one of the Alert villains, and the Nemesis can show up in one of the Comic Series/Adventure Packs. And I think that’s about it. For the most part, the Nemesis system now is as it was upon launch.
The caveat, of course, is that adding new Nemesis content confirms that you have to a) be at level 25 minimum, and b) actually have a Nemesis. On the other hand, Nemesis alerts have done just fine with having a “generic” Nemesis show up, so I wouldn’t think that’s a big issue. And heck, the devs have been spending time on the endgame thing, so why the heck not get the Nemesis more involved? For that matter, why not improve the system further? (I expect the real reason is that all the people who worked on it in the beginning are long gone, and nobody wants to fiddle with it for fear of breaking it.)
Still, it’s a damned shame. Even City of Heroes didn’t have anything comparable; sure, you could design a personal Nemesis with the Mission Architect system, but that didn’t sent the minions out into the wider world and attack you, for example. You knew the activities of that nemesis because you designed the entire mission they would appear in. CO has more spontaneity to it in that manner.
As far as Willforge’s nemesis: I was tempted to design the actual aliens involved with his abduction, but I decided instead that I’d make another example of their experimentations-another alien that they’d worked on and sent after Willforge. Keen observers might note that there’s more than a little Roin’esh in Mindhunter, and it’s perfectly possible that it is indeed of that race-or at least, it was. What it is now is a servant of the alien abductors’ will. I may design the actual alien species if I should get to a point where I finish the Nemesis missions for Mindhunter and put him away permanently. It’ll be rough going: I went hard on Power Armor for the powerset for Mindhunter, and his robotic minions are pretty similar; I had a hard time with the first mission. This may be a false positive, though, since it’s far too easy to wind up fighting most of the room plus the Nemesis in that encounter. I imagine LOTS of characters wind up face-planting a couple of times. Willforge sure did. Well, it wouldn’t feel right if the Nemesis was a character one could just plow through-I look forward to the inevitable rematches ahead.