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Champions Online back on track

I decided not to rant against Vibora Bay when it was announced and I am glad I did. After weeks of almost no communication, the front page of the Champions Online site is again filled with real news. As I wrote in a previous blog, there are three things I expected from Cryptic before I would start to trust them again: honesty, apologies and recompense, although the latter was a minor point. The State of the Game of February 9 actually addressed all three.

Revelation will feature a half demon/half angel. I'll admit that I made one in the costume generator some time ago...

Chronomancer admitted that they had not tested enough and promised to improve both testing and communication. There’s a GM blog up that shows they take their promises seriously. They biggest announcement, however, was that the Vibora Bay expansion would be free. It was renamed to Revelation and it is coming somewhere in March. I think that giving an intended paid expansion for free serious recompense. At least the marketing department finally realised that they needed some good press. One may conclude they had a revelation. It does not matter whether it was realistic of Cryptic to expect that people would pay for the expansion. They put effort in the project expecting that it would have to sell itself to the players. That simply must put it on a higher level than, say, the Winter Event. If Revelation is received well, it could revitalize the game.

Meanwhile, several PvP breaking powers and advantages like Swallowtail Cut (single blade), Where is the Kaboom! (archery) and mini-drive (gadgetering) were fixed. Their overpoweredness was not caused by design, but by lack of Quality Assurance. Since Chronomancer promised better testing, there should be less overpowered abilities that make it from the test shard to live. While there will always be strong builds, the reduction of power difference between normal and pure PvP builds will increase the amount of people who play PvP: getting steamrolled drives people away, but losing a good fight will encourage people to improve.

What’s next?

The future of CO purely depends on the number of players: enough income to make a decent profit for the company will keep the game online. Good expansion followed by good press will make the game thrive, althoug the superhero genre will probably never get the same interest as Fantasy and SF. Although Cryptic has lost points with the community in the last months, they are apparently working hard to improve their reputation. I hope it will be enough. For now I will keep my eyes on any revelations about Revelation.

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