So there's been yet another massive patch to Champions Online that's rewritten the map. Near as I can tell it's a good thing; Westside looks to be quite a bit less monotonous, and the Power House got a kind of cool kind of weird facelift to appear more like a boutique at a mall somewhere, rather than a storage room on a spaceship. It's um... well, it's a choice.
The downside is that, once again, Cryptic seems to have something against adding new content without deleting old content and risking people having choices. Given that the small scale of the game is it's main drawback, at least in my seldom humble opinion, this practice makes very little sense to me. With all the time they've spent making minor tweaks and remodels to the existing character path, they could have made an entirely new one and allowed two different characters to not have to do the exact same thing as each other at a given level. Instead, they merely move the single path around somewhat. This works out nicely for players who only play one character a time and only make a new one every year or so, since the game plays differently each time; however, for people that would spend enough time playing the game to actually bother to spend money on it, which seems like the group they should be catering to, the game's the same size as it always was.
For example, they changed up the Tutorial so that the admittedly kind of silly Clayton Griswold mission doesn't exist anymore, and they've eliminated the save Kinetik mission which, while less silly, begged the question as to why this guy was considered a superhero. However, they've replaced both of these with absolutely nothing, simply shortening the tutorial zone by removing completely optional quests, and giving the player LESS to do. Huh?
Another casualty of the recent patch is, perhaps unsurprisingly, the entire park mission set that I spent the last two entries describing. Which was also a bit odd, but at the same time, those missions were things that you could do in the game, which has been replaced by nothing; the player is now simply sent to Westside, which HAS had some new stuff added, but which used to come after the park bit. Which, in turn, used to come after the desert bit or the Canadian bit. So now, for the second time, the point Iron Will has reached in his adventures is the point that a new player can START at, if they skip the tutorial.
None of this is to say that the changes they've made have necessarily been bad ones; indeed, they've added two new power sets that are pretty awesome, cleaned up Westside, and put a tailor in the powerhouse so that players have one major spot to go and change their characters (if they added some crafting tables, it would be one-stop shopping for everyone) all of which seem like improvements. But it'd be great if they could add new stuff without getting rid of old stuff and like, you know, begin to approach the scale of a respectable MMO. C'mon, Cryptic, let's make genuine expansion a goal for 2012, no?
Anyway, I'll be back with an actual entry with screenshots and a doofy narrative in like... some... time. Yes. Promise.