Synopsis: STRONGHOLD, PART TWO! The force behind the breakout is revealed! Menton, the most powerful psionic on Earth, is projecting his power from beyond the hot-sleep chamber in the Stronghold. The only way to stop him is to confront him in the deepest parts of the massive prison. Willforge must fight his way through mind-controlled guards and angry prisoners, some of whom desperately want to repay him for putting them in there! But is Willforge strong enough to even survive a direct confrontation with Menton?
Back to the Champions Online push! I’ve been sidetracked with a bit of Star Trek recently, but it’s time to have my Willforge character continue his push through CO towards level 40!
There’s quite a ways to go there, though.
My focus, as shown in the last post for CO, has been in the Southwestern Desert, and specifically Stronghold. But now I’ve reached that area where levels are a little more painful to come by, so I’ve begun to supplement my activities with the Smash Alert queues. I’ve only done a couple thus far, and they gave a great study in contrasts. First, though, a basic description: the Smash Alerts tend to follow a general pattern: beat up the trash mobs (who tend to be pretty though, but this IS group content…), enter a building, beat up more trash mobs, and then face the main villain of the piece-usually one of the major villains of CO (but not the BIG villains), such as Medusa or Kevin Poe, but sometimes a villain who is more or less unique to the Alerts-and sometimes, if you’re really lucky (or unlucky, it’s a point of view thing), you can run into the Nemesis of one of the characters in the group. Those are the ones I enjoy most, honestly, because even if the powerset for the Nemesis is a pain in the posterior, it shows off a player’s work in developing his Nemesis, and I always appreciate that. Of course, I appreciate it even more if the Nemesis that gets selected is MINE.
Obviously, the mechanics aren’t complicated. There’s not even a time limit on the Smash Alert, which you see on other Alerts (I may get to them at some point). It is, literally, just go in and smash. Which brings us to the groups. The queues usually throw together a bunch of unaligned heroes; you can do this as a premade group, I’m pretty sure, but I haven’t done that in an age. I’ve been all about the random groups, and sometimes-like in my first queue for the character-it can be pretty rough. We had people go down on occasion, and I found myself trying to use my healing power to help out-I suspect things may have gone uglier if I hadn’t. I’m no dedicated healer, but I’d picked up the power to help because I knew that crowd control abilities-one of the big groups of powers in my toolbox-were of limited use, and I’m no high DPS character. Willforge is a fairly decent all-around character, so I felt that a heal power would be of a benefit in group settings. Thing is, though, it’s not a maintain heal-which means, I don’t push the button down after targeting an ally and just watch the healing happen. It’s a “charge up and burst heal an ally” ability. One of my other telepath powers also has a minor heal on characters near the target of the damage part, but that’s a minor heal in comparison with the damage being dished out.
So, the first queue was a rough one, but we did get through it in a reasonable period of time. Then came the second queue.
That queue shows what happens when you have everything going right. One of the characters had a Tank role-which meant that a tough character can get even TOUGHER. (Willforge uses a Hybrid role, which is exactly what it sounds like-not great at any one thing.) We had a couple people in Healer roles-I’m not entirely sure how useful they actually were, though, because I was watching health bars for our tank the whole match, and his health bar never budged. We went through that Alert like your average plague. The main villain in that fight is probably still wondering what happened.
Queues can be very variable in how well they go, and these two are a decent example of the spread. Some can get worse than my first one-but not often-and some can be better than my second-but again, not often.
As far as the Desert goes, after I charged up my xp gains for an hour’s boost, I completed the Stronghold missions, including Menton, who had always been on my target list from the moment I designed this character. I also managed to hit the Area 51 region and wrap up the missions there. With those down, I believe that I’ve pretty much completed the mission arcs for that zone. There may be low level missions I missed (in fact, I’m almost sure of it), but I don’t think there are any other higher level missions waiting in the wings there. So at this point, I will be spending time in Canada and in Millennium City, before heading to the next, more monstrous zone.