Synopsis: STRONGHOLD, PART ONE! Stronghold: a name to bring fear to supervillains everywhere-an inescapable prison in the heart of the Southwestern Desert. UNTIL NOW! A massive breakout of unprecedented proportions has begun, and the one thing between the super-powered criminals and the general population of the country is Willforge! But can he discover the hidden hand behind this horrific event?
It’s been a slow week or so for Willforge in Champions Online. This is, in part, due to the fact that there have been a couple other releases in the other games I play lately (the Iokath entry in Star Wars: The Old Republic, and the Escalation in Star Trek Online-comments on that will be forthcoming). So, no new levels gained, although I’m not far from 26 at this point. Plot-wise, I’ve done a chunk of the Argent pipeline missions in Canada, although there are a couple left behind because I didn’t want to skip an arc in the Desert: the Stronghold breakout.
This is a staple, sadly, in superhero MMOs. (I can’t really speak for DC Universe Online, but I’m willing to place bets they have the same issue somewhere.) There’s an open zone with a prison, and there is a massive breakout happening. City of Heroes led the way with the Zig in Brickstown, but CO really embraced it, with not just one, but TWO breakouts. There’s the jail in Millennium City, with a big hole in the freaking wall and a heap of rioting prisoners, but that’s just cake compared to what’s going on in the Desert in Stronghold.
Stronghold is supposed to be where they keep the baddest of the bad, supervillains of incredible power. Well, it also holds lesser super-villains, too; my impression is that folks in the Millennium City jail wind up here if they’ve got significant powers. But it’s really known for holding the really super-powerful, one of whom has orchestrated the breakout by mind-controlling guards. So the heroes have to-again-deal with rioting prisoners, PLUS controlled guards, and get to the bottom of the situation.
If I ever designed a superhero MMO, I’d make sure that any prison breaks are in instances and not in general zones. I know that prison-breaks are a common trope of the genre, but it’s hard to take seriously any prison that can’t hold most of its prisoners. Mass escapes should NOT be happening 24/7. It gives credence to vigilantes like Marvel’s Punisher, whose preferred method of dealing with criminals involves a bullet to the head; he doesn’t have to worry about constant recurring problems in villainy….
I think I’m also at the point where I may supplement my missioning activity with the Alert queues; not only do they give an xp boost to normal activity (at least the ones I’ll be doing-more on that when the time comes), but they also reward a decent hunk of xp all on their own. It’s getting to the point where level slow downs start happening, and this could help things out a great deal. The character should be good enough at this stage to not be a burden on a team going through the Alerts.