Archive for August, 2009

Champions head start event – Qularr invasion

August 28, 2009 2 comments

A bit later today Champions Online will go live, at least for those that have pre-ordered and are in the early access.  For those going into the early access they may find a few more Qularrs around than normal…

From the Champions Online forums (or if you start the launcher and log in):

We thought we had it under control! We thought we stopped the Qularr!

Following their defeat in Millennium City, the Qularr launched multiple strikes upon key locations around the world.

The Swarmlords, in an attempt to take advantage of the Crisis in Canada and the Desert, have ordered waves of invasion troops to attack.

In Canada, Force Station Steelhead faces a barrage of Qularr aggressors.

In the Desert, there is a growing infestation of Qularr drop ships around Project Greenskin.

And in Monster Island, the Bureau 17 soldiers are fighting off more than Manimals.

During the event players can receive some great loot and earn some really cool rewards.

Qularr Devices:
High Power Genetically Modified Qularr Swarm
High Power Qularr Hive Seed
High Power Qularr Mines
High Power Qularr Adhesive Grenades
High Power Qularr Mutagen

Qularr Upgrades/Power Replaces:
High Power Qularr Assault Rifle
High Power Qularr Mini-gun
High Power Qularr Pistol

Perks players can earn for defeating the invading Qularr.
Qularr Invasion Champions: Players will earn this perk for defeating 100 Qularr invaders.
Qularr Invasion Hero: Players will earn this reward for defeating the Qularr Swarmlord

Perk Rewards players can collect for completing the invasion perks.
Perk Action figures can be picked up at the Perk Toy Vendor in REN Center
Bug Hunter action figure
Dr. Silverback Action figure

It is nice to see that they add some extra events already. My guess is that this will happen only in the “real” zones and not the initial newbie zones – the first one already has enough Qularr anyway 🙂

Some people wonder what the idea is to have the invasion in Monster Island, which is a level 30+ area. Do they think that some people may fast level that much over the weekend? Perhaps there are some; if that makes them happy good for them.

It does not say how long the event will last. If it is only as long as early access, then the question is – early access for who? For those without early access North Americans can get into the game on September 1st, Europeans on September 4th and I believe Australians on September 9th.

In either case I don’t expect to get to higher levels in a number of months; fast leveling has never been a goal of mine. But I think it is great that they start off with an event right away. Hopefully this be something fairly regular; something similar to the Rikti invasions and Zombie attacks in another superhero themed game.

Categories: Champions Online

No more lifetime?

August 25, 2009 4 comments

Yesterday ther was a post in the Champions Online forums and also an update on the web site that their lifetime subscription offer was about to run out before September 1st and that they only had 1000 left. This was due to higher than expected demand.

I.e. there had always been an upper limit on the number of lifetime subscriptions they could sell, but they did not explicitly specify that. This has caused a number of upset posts on their forums.

Today it seems from posts that they have sold all lifetime subscriptions and that it is not possible to get it anymore. This has caused more upset posts.

I can understand if people get upset because they might have been waiting for payday and assumed that it would be available until September 1st – Cryptic people had posted that time limit in the forums at least. The newletters I have received with the offers before never specified what the limits were, only that it was limited. So legally Cryptic is probably ok, but I think may rightly be a bit upset in some cases.

There are also posts that basically say “I was just about to buy the lifetime, but since I cannot buy it I wuill cancel the game and not play it at all!”. Personally I have a hard time to consider such statements as genuine. If someone has enough faith in the game that they are going to give Cryptic the equivalent of 200 USD plus buy the game, why would they not play that game at all?

I wonder what limit they did have and how many lifetime subscriptions they have sold in total? 5000? 10000? For a game where they conder themselves successful if they reach 100.000 subscribers, that is potentially a lot of lifetime subscriptions.

Categories: Champions Online

Champions Online end of beta event

August 24, 2009 2 comments

The open beta of Champions Online ends today and with that comes a special event; Millenium City is attacked by Destroid robots. This includes hordes of smaller robots, and the occasional Mega-Destroid – giant robots attacking the city. And who can resist giant robot attacks? 🙂

Mr Mega-Destroid pops in

Mr Mega-Destroid pops in

Read more…

Categories: Champions Online

Does bug reporting bug you?

August 23, 2009 7 comments

Many MMO players have probably at some point reported a bug in an MMOG, or perhaps wanted to report a bug.

Unfortunately many MMOs seem to have quite rudimentary issue/bug reporting systems – at least when it comes to in-game support. There is maybe a /bug command which is not documented, if one is lucky there is actually a button or a menu option somewhere. If that one is triggered then there may be some categorisation options and a text field to describe the problem in.

And that’s it.

Categories for bug reporting

Categories for bug reporting

So I was very preasantly surprised when I was going to report a bug in Champions Online. There was a button for it, clearly marked “report a bug” in the help dialog window. It did provide some categories (good start) and then came the surprise – they actually provided an online bug tracking system!

Bug tracking system

Bug tracking system

Not only did it provide a list of my missions (including all completed ones) which I could select froma drop-down box, but it also provides a browse and search functionality for reported issues. I can search and see if others have reported the same. If that is the case, I can press a button to say “me too” essentially. Or you can add more info to the issue. The view also shows the status of various issues, if they are in progress or have been resolved. If your issue is not there, you can simply create a new one.

On top of that, you also have a separate dialog where you can keep track of your issues and see the status of those, update them or close them.

View for your own reported issues

View for your own reported issues

Great job Cryptic! I hope more MMOs will try to incorporate this type of functionality.

Champions Online and social networks

August 22, 2009 2 comments

Champions Online has added a set of social media settings to the game.  Essentially these settings allows certain in-game events or commands to be published to a social networking site.

Currently the game supports Twitter, Facebook, Livejournal and Raptr.

Social media settings

Social media settings

I set it up to publish status, leveling (reports every 5 levels only) and perks on Twitter for a test, which seem to work fine. It did not seem to connect properly with Raptr when I tried it and I do not have accounts on the other two. The settings are done per character.

Here is the quote from developer Coderanger on this feature:

A new feature for you guys to play with, social media integration.

To start using this system, enter /socialmedia. From this screen you can control the operation of the social media tools. Use the settings button to enroll (or un-enroll) from each service. By default, all available activity types for each service are enabled once enrolled. Uncheck any of the boxes to disable that activity type for that service.

The Status activity type is initiated by the command “/social_status Your status here”. The plan is for this to be integrated into the status box in the chat context menu, but for now the command will work.

The Screenshot activity type is initiated by the commands “/social_screenshot <optional title here>” and “/social_screenshot_ui <optional title here>”.

The Blog activity type is initiated ‘/social_blog “Title” “Body”‘.

The Level Up activity type is initiated on natural level ups (meaning those from normal XP gains, not sidekicking). For Twitter and Facebook it will post items every 5 levels. For Raptr awards will be posted for every level.

The Perk activity type is initiated by completing a rank 3 or 4 perk (those worth more then 25 points).

The Item activity type is initiated by receiving a purple item.

The Supergroup activity type is initiated by creating, joining, or leaving a supergroup (including being kicked). The posted message with include the character and supergroup name.

If you guys find any problems with it, or have suggestions for things you would like to see added please let us know.

Categories: Champions Online

First impressions of Champions Online

August 21, 2009 6 comments

It is a nice game and I have had fun and enjoyed playing it quite a bit so far.

This is my overall impression of the game. Sometimes the simple messages like this get lost when you go into analysing things too much, so I just state that part right away.

It is probably not a surprise to anyone that Champions Online is an MMO with a comic book superhero setting. That has been quite clear from Cryptic and that they wanted to combine superhero gameplay with an MMO type world. To that effect they have created a visual style intended to look very much like a 4-colour comic book, and also a gameplay that perhaps is a bit reminiscent of the “Ka-pows” and “Blam!” like the old Batman&Robin cartoons, for example.

Bongo the great fights of some invaders in the tutorial zone

Bongo the great fights of some invaders in the tutorial zone

Read more…

Categories: Champions Online

From Atys with love

August 16, 2009 7 comments

MMOs change over time; that is in their nature. But we who play those games, the players, change as well over time. I do believe that an MMO only need to be good enough in itself for us to play it – the rest depends on the players’ situation and it may very well be a matter of timing of a game works out for us. Old games may become great choices rather than always expect the good stuff to come from the new and shiny pieces.

The Saga of Ryzom is a game that I have jumped in to multiple times over the years; but it has only been with the most recent visit that I actually headed off past the newbie area. To a large extent that was a matter of timing rather than any severe flaws with the game. This time I have started to explore more of the “real” world of Ryzom and so far I like it.

Silan is the first area to visit in Saga of Ryzom

Silan is the first area to visit in Saga of Ryzom

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Categories: Saga of Ryzom

The only constant is change

August 12, 2009 2 comments

In the beginning, the universe was created. This has made a lot of people angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move.

– Douglas Adams

Sometimes we never seem to be able to be satisfied or even accept the changes that are happening in the MMOs. In one MMO forum I read a few threads, which basically had this theme:

  • A somewhat recent game feature A had been introduced, a fairly original feature also.
  • Feature A is available to most players. Some like it, some dislike it, others may be indifferent
  • Some players start to post threads that feature A must be removed from the game, or nerfed significantly, because it is ruining the game. More specifically, the players complaing says that they cannot now play the game the way they used to and find teams for that, because too many are playing feature A.
  • It was better in the older days and people should play the game it was supposed to be played then.

So in this case the complaint is essentially that there is too much content/features available and the playerbase is perceived to be too spread out by some people.

People who like to play the game the way it was before feature A want to preserve that and get rid of feature A. People who like to play feature A want to keep it of course and some were not happy with the options available before feature A.

The way I see it is that games like MMOs really have to change and renew themselves regularly – it costs too much and is too much effort to get a “perfect” feature set right from start. Truly fixed gameplay is more something to consider for less persistent game environments and games without the first one or two Ms in MMOs.

For MMOs I do think that the only constant in the games is change itself.

Categories: MMO Games

A leap of faith

August 5, 2009 3 comments

As has been seen in a few other blogs, people are commenting on Cryptic Studios’ lifetime/6 month subscription offer, which is similar to what Turbine offered when LOTRO was released.

Well, the lifetime part of the offer is what people argues about really – the 6 month option does not include any controversy. It is just a reduced price.

Contrary to the LOTRO offer, the lifetime offer seems to be offered to everyone as far as I can tell from their newsletter, not just pre-orders. But on the other hand the offer expires when the game releases (or before in the case of us in Europe). The cost is 200 USD, 220 CAN, 148 Euro or 120 GBP.

I must say that I am happy to see that we do not seem to get screwed on exchange rates here in Europe and actaully would be paying fairly close to what our North-American co-players would pay. This was not the case with LOTRO as I recall. However, the newsletter did not say whether the European prices included VAT or not. With Cryptic being an American company they probably do not follow the rules for providing consumer prices here. Anyway that remains to be seen.

Due to the time limitation set on the offer, some people consider it a scam. I do not think it is a scam, but what they are really asking here if for people to take a leap of faith because they believe in the company, not just in the game. This is really more aimed at people that want to play the games partly because it is Cryptic Studios that make them. The inclusion of Star Trek Online beta access emphasizes that in my opinion.

I must admit I am certainly in that target audience. With City of Villains/Heroes Cryptic Studios showed to me that they “get it” for a number of things in MMOs, even though there are also a number of flaws in that game as well. I have very little interest in Star Trek because of the Star Trek brand, but would certainly consider trying it out because it is Cryptic Studios making it.

I am still undecided whether I will take that offer. Over 3 years of playing City of Villains/Heroes says that it would be a good deal if Cryptic manages to keep my interest at a similar level, assuming subscription rates will be similar to other MMOs and that they will keep that payment model for a considerable time.

Given my previous history with games from SOE, Blizzard, Turbine etc I would never go for a lifetime offer because of faith any of these companies. I have not played any Bioware or Mythic games as far as I know, so no existing or future offers would cut it there either. Right now, Cryptic is the only company that has a track record for me that would make me consider that leap of faith.

Well, perhaps ArenaNet also in the unlikely event that it would be relevant, but that is another topic…

Categories: Champions Online

Outside the Great Firewall

August 1, 2009 Comments off

Today I came back from my visit to China and Beijing, which means that I can start write in the blog again and start read a number of the blogs I usually read. Blogs and in particular well-known blog sites seems to be among the internet content that gets filtered out.

Besides the content blocking and a few other reminders that the country is not really a democracy, the trip there was a great one. The people, the history and the speed of development there are quite fantastic. I might write few things about it later, although it will not have anything to do with gaming.

I can definitely consider going back to China again at some point, but for now I am also glad to be back home.

Categories: MMO Games