WF: Well, My Old Nemesis, We Meet Again

Synopsis:  Life’s been going fine for Willforge lately.  Sure, there’s been monsters to deal with on Monster Island, and fights with forces from ARGENT and VIPER, but aside from that, things have been pretty quiet.  Sounds like it’s time for Mindhunter to make a televised appearance and force Willforge to return to Millennium City to deal with the problem!  Can Willforge keep his nemesis from destroying WCOC?

Still working my way through the early 30’s for my Champions Online character, Willforge, and I felt it was time to cash in that Nemesis Clue that opens up an important mission in the Nemesis series:  the takeover of the television station WCOC.  One thing about the Nemesis missions is that some of them are one time only events.  While you can eventually have multiple characters serving as a Nemesis for a period of time, the fact is that most of them are “introduced” in a mission that I’ll describe in a future time (that future probably isn’t as far off as one might think).  But the first Nemesis gets a number of missions all to himself-it started with the attack on the museum that kicks things off, and then proceeds to this mission.  There’s one more mission that will be on that list before we exhaust the “first Nemesis only” missions, and start going into a more shared set of missions.

These missions, incidentally, do not count what is commonly referred to as “popcorn” missions, where you encounter the Nemesis or his minions doing some nefarious deed or another.

I had worried a bit about this mission-my first encounter with the Nemesis plus his minions had gone roughly, particularly with larger groups of minions combined with attacks from Mindhunter.  But I’d since gotten that additional telepathy power that causes most hostiles problems at close range, and being able to stun them for long enough to do more damage has helped a great deal.  It’s still a bit of an issue against the heavy hitters, but that-plus a move favorable way of keeping everything from attacking me at once-made this fight a lot less brutal than the Museum fight had been.  So, huzzah!  Another mission successfully dealt with.

Monster Island has been going about as well as one can expect.  I’ve been sweeping down the southern half of the island-although not to the southwest as of yet-and I’ve started picking on VIPER thugs and bases, finally graduating from beating up Manimals.  I figure it shouldn’t be long before I start working my way through the southwest area of the island-and start up on some good old fashion alien bashing!  Unless, of course, I level enough to start looking into the next zone of interest.  Stay tuned!

WF: When Monsters Roamed The Earth!

Synopsis:  In the Pacific Ocean, there exists an island-MONSTER ISLAND!  Bureau 17 and the Champion Ironclad have reached out to Willforge for assistance dealing with a rise in activity from the natives-the Manimals-and darker forces.  Between the war between Manimals and ARGENT’s interest in the area, has Willforge bitten off more than he can chew?

Over in Champions Online, I have managed to get Willforge up and over level 30, which means a new zone is available for him to start leveling in-Monster Island!  Odds are good that this zone will be providing the meat of most of the xp as I start the push to the max level of 40 in the game (but there are two other zones that can get the attention later!).  Canada will probably still see some activity, though.  For now, though, it’s time for Willforge to deal with man/animal hybrids, the ever-present threat of ARGENT (those corporate greedheads!), on the way to somewhat larger problems.

The levels gained recently mean a new power pick for Willforge, and I wound up taking a maintained personal area of attack ability that theoretically “incapacitates” and damages enemies in its radius.  I honestly thought when I picked it up that it was a standard ranged area attack ability, and I was tempted to hop to the Powerhouse to change it-but it’s worked out nicely in tandem with some of the other powers Willforge is using, so I let it go.  I don’t believe there are likely much more in the way of powers to be gained for the character at this stage; I believe there will be another travel power coming up, and maybe one more standard power, and that will be it-so Willforge’s power picks are as set as they get without a full respec.

In addition to the Monster Island thing, I also started an attempt on the Serpent Lantern adventure pack-a series of missions that are linked together by a coherent story.  Unfortunately, Willforge hasn’t done so well in that, so I shelved the attempt until I get a few more levels under my belt.  I’m not sure that this will make a difference-one of the bosses consistently makes mincemeat out of Willforge, and let’s face it:  he’s neither a tank nor a DPS guy, so it’s looking more like I’ll just skip the Adventure Pack.  (I’m not ruling out one of the comics series, which are similar, though-they may not be as rough, and the Demonflame Adventure Pack was never on my list.)

My leveling has been supplemented by doing some Alerts, usually to refresh the xp bonus I get from them.  I could conceivably finish leveling entirely by doing Alerts and nothing else, but that’s no fun!  Particularly since there’s still two more zones to level up in and visit.  For now, continuing to fight in a land where the line between man and beast becomes blurred.  (Thanks, Dr. Moreau!)  Plus, there’s that pesky Nemesis still out there; I recently got a new Nemesis clue that should lead to a cover-worthy moment next time.

WF: Total Eclipse of the Nemesis

Synopsis:  In the wilds of Canada, dark spirits are assaulting the Hunter-Patriots.  Argent is ramping up activity in the area.  And the alien Gadroon are continuing to work a transformation to convert the environment to one of their liking.  Into all of this comes Willforge, who must stop their plans and face a super-villain who is working to increase his own power with a magical artifact that will make him unstoppable!

The Champions Online adventure continues!  I’ve had Willforge return to Canada to continue his push to level 30-he’s over halfway there, which has gone substantially faster than I remembered.  Either the slowdown is occurring later in the leveling chain, or the Alerts I’ve done to boost the xp gains have really done a benefit.  It occurs to me that there are players who exclusively level their characters through Alerts as soon as possible….

One thing that’s been scarce, though, has been Nemesis-related missions.  Some background:  once you get a Nemesis, in theory, you can be ambushed by their minions at any time-or more specifically, when you pick up one of the little boost drops that occasionally come from defeated opponents-think of them as instantly activating boosts to damage, or accuracy, or you health or energy bars.  This sometimes triggers a spawn of the Nemesis minions, and one of them should drop what is known as a “Nemesis Clue”-which enables a mission related to the Nemesis.  Often it’s just to stop the minions from doing something; sometimes you get a shot at the Nemesis.

This is sort of the theory, anyway.  There’s a few ugly things that seem to happen sometimes.  There is a timer of sorts involved, for example, so you don’t end up hit with minions within seconds of each other.  In fact, the clues have a timer, too-and I think it starts when you complete the Nemesis mission (but I can’t prove that).  That’s not a major problem.  The bigger problem is that sometimes, when the Nemesis spawns in, they suddenly spawn out before you get a chance to start fighting them-or even while you do so.  This, of course, robs you of any chance to get a Nemesis Clue.  Plus, some of the Nemesis missions are level-gated, which means if one is slated to come up, you simply won’t get a the Clue or perhaps even spawns until you get to a level which can do that mission.

This may or may not be why I’ve had but a single Nemesis mission to date-to smack the minions around a pipeline, if memory serves.  Nothing worth writing home about.

Brighter sides:  I am closing in on level 30 rapidly, and may do so by the time of my next post here.  The character arcs in Canada of late have focused on the groups from Argent, the Hunter-Patriots, and undead serving the villain Eclipse.  The next arc on my list, though, will take us away from corporate skulduggery, revolutionaries, and magic and into good old classic mad science!

 

WF: A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste

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.

WF: What a Riot!

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.

WF: Meeting One’s Nemesis

 

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.

WF: FOXBATCON!!!

Synopsis:  THERE’S SNAKES IN THEM HILLS, PART ONE!  VIPER has set up shop in Canada, and Willforge needs to find out what FOXBATCON!  Come attend the greatest convention in the world, celebrating the television show based on the greatest superhero ever to live-FOXBAT!  Bask in the awesomeness of the best of the best, and not that telepathic weenie, Willforge!  Remember:  Willforge sucks, Foxbat rocks!

The event FOXBATCON is going on at the moment for Champions Online, which is sort of their April Fool’s event.  And…well, it involves Foxbat.  That sort of tells you everything you need to know.

That said, I haven’t really been participating.  I find the “find 5 Foxbat impersonators per day, without repeating the ones you hit earlier” to be tedious, even with the help of the maps that are floating around on the web.  And the prizes aren’t really worth the tedium to me, so I just have continued on my merry way.  Of course, one can’t get away from the event entirely; special loot drops of Foxbat swag ensure that you can collect the special currency (I admit I haven’t checked item pricing, but I suspect that what is gained from these drops is a literal drop in the bucket as to what’s needed for a single item from the event), or entertaining limited use toys suitably appropriate for Foxbat (such as a trout melee weapon) .

As expected, I’ve been spending time in Canada, and after clearing off some blue level missions to clean my plate, I headed west to the VIPER compound to start hammering opponents there.  The good news is that it also threw me a lot of “help me, help me” missions.  I should elaborate:  one of the catchier things that happens in this game (at least at certain levels-I don’t think they happen at the really high levels) is that civilians will run up to your hero and give you a one-shot mission.  Kind of like your standard “kill x goons” or “find x items” or “blow this stuff up” that aren’t tied to the storylines of the game-and for that matter, don’t matter where they send you on the map.  The missions are always instanced, so no fighting off other players, and sometimes the entrances are in rather level inappropriate places (like, say, 10 levels higher).  That said, I like the feeling of spontaneity here, the idea that civilians are asking for your hero’s help.  Now, it can get annoying at times-you’re standing around talking to someone else, and you get interrupted by the big mission window to accept or decline the mission-but for the most part?  I don’t really mind it.

Anyway, the missions that were sent my way in combination with the storyline missions got me to level 24, and one more level before some of the really fun stuff happens.  I’m going to work on finishing up the VIPER stuff, and then I think I’ll be ready to return to the desert for a bit.

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.

WF: Psimon Says

Synopsis:  PSI-FI, CONCLUSION!  Mind, Inc, has been exposed as a front for the villainous organization know as PSI!  The Mayor’s daughter is in the hands of its leader, Psimon!  And only Willforge is in a position to do something about it!  Meanwhile, Willforge’s investigations into PSI reveal another corporation with dark designs.

My work in Champions Online for the character of Willforge managed to get another level, and thankfully, it was a powers level-meaning, I got a new one to add.  I’d been kicking around a healing power, but decided to go with a Block power-the telekinetic shield.  The time will be coming soon when some of the big villains will hit like a ton of bricks, and I’ll need all the help I can get on that.  The next power may or may not be a heal as well; I’ve been considering adding to crowd control abilities, but I want to avoid the traditional “sleep” power.  Plus, the mind storm power has done a good job on nailing criminals to the ground for critical moments of time, and inflicts damage too.  I’ve got a while to go before I need to make that choice, though.

My missions have gone from white (even level) to blue (-1 level) to green (-2) to…lightish blue? (-3!?) and one even went to gray-but they still give xp values for completing them, so I have done so, finishing up the PSI arc, as well as a couple involving the ARGENT group.  The ARGENT missions are worth commenting on, because of their building in Millennium City, which can be entered via a mole inside ARGENT, for two specific missions.  In one-which was the tie for me for the character’s story-we had a fight between PSI and ARGENT concerning a PSI “protopath”, someone capable of changing reality and who had been kidnapped by ARGENT.  The second featured just ARGENT meeting with VIPER (gotta love all these organizations with all capital letters), involving a trade of schematics for the super-prison Stronghold.  That snowballs into a rescue and defeat pretty much everyone involved with that caper-with the exception of a message from the most powerful psionic on the planet (note:  he’s not a good guy).

The layout for the second mission is sort of annoying, because it’s the identical layout on three separate “floors”.  You just start each floor in the opposite sides-the exit for one floor is where you enter the next.  I sort of get the impression that someone just copy/pasted this to fill in a content gap; I’ve seen better with old CoH Mission Architect missions.  The first mission at least had a bit more variety in maps, including a mindscape in Millennium City’s park.

Ah well.  They were worth xp, and that was the prime point of doing the missions.  That was also why I decided to go through the Gadroon missions as well, although they’re not earning cover status here.  No, the next cover is going to involve a new area that I’d forgotten about that opened up for Willforge; it’s time to go from dry heat to humid heat.

WF: Mental Problems

Synopsis:  PSI-FI, PART ONE!  There’s something odd going on with that new self-help sensation, Mind, Inc.  People are acting strangely, and the MCPD have asked Willforge to look into it.  What he winds up discovering is a menace from the past reborn-and a danger that affects not just the mayor of the city, but his family, too!  ALSO:  What happened when Kevin Poe escaped the massacre at Westside?  Can Willforge tie off this loose end?

In Champions Online, things may not necessarily be all they seem.  What appears to be mere pamphleteers for the seemingly benevolent organization called Mind, Inc can instead be members of a villainous organization (even if they look like little old ladies; that one mission meant more when you encountered her cat in the old tutorial).  And when said members are all psionically powered…well, is it any wonder why I chose to have Willforge work on his next level or two in Millennium City instead of putting him through more Canadian troubles?

I’ve managed to get through most of that arc-and it sort of almost immediately leads into another one, and that one sort-of-kind-of ties into one in Canada, so the path ahead seems clear, even if it doesn’t exactly follow my original plan of getting back to the Desert.  But levels start slowing down at this stage, and more missions are needed to get those levels; Canada’s going to be in the mix, one way or another.

First, though, I may finish up some missions in my Millennium City list that I’ve ignored in favor of the Mind issues; I liked them better than the aliens that are a part of the other thread in this level range.  That said, given my character’s origin of alien abduction, it sort of feels wrong to ignore them entirely-particularly since those aliens have a strong presence in Canada.  I’m not sure if I’ve already outleveled that region, though.  Choices, choices.

The character himself hasn’t picked up a new power as of yet, but his survivability has gone up since the lower levels.  Ever since that one beating I took at the hands of Irradiate waves, I’ve managed to pretty much get through missions without faceplanting against the big heavies (the one notable exception being that incident with VIPER’s prison).  As long as I don’t do something dumb like aggro multiple groups all simultaneously, I can usually get through a fight at a reasonable pace.  It may not be long before I feel the character is prepared to run a few Alerts-which will help ease some of the xp gain pains.