A Mild-Mannered Reporter: Rounding up May's superhero news

Flying high, trying new.
Today marks the start of a new format for A Mild-Mannered Reporter, but it's a natural segue because this is what I'd be doing anyway. Yes, it's time for a roundup of news, and over the past month, most of the news has been about two superheroic games hitting the "action" button until it falls off. It's all about Marvel Heroes and Infinite Crisis, in other words.

Not that these are the only two games that have been doing things, mind you. Both Champions Online and DC Universe Online have brought out some new content, although the volume differs. But the biggest waves are being made by games emphasizing the punching of villains with extreme prejudice. Or the punching of heroes; it's a fine line.

The point is that there is no finer time to round up superhero news, especially with the return of ComicsAlliance. So let's move on to the roundup, taking it point by point.

A crisis of origins

Rather quietly, DC Universe Online released its newest DLC, and... well... there's not much more to be said that hasn't already been said. There's a tour, it brings in new content, and it's pretty cool all around even if it does feature some irrational choices here and there. I don't mean to marginalize DCUO; it's just pretty much what it says on the tin. Good on you, guys.

Blue wolf moon... you saw me standing alone...Eventful times

Over in Champions Online, players got a dose of the Blood Moon and then a Forum Malvanum alert, which is... not nothing. However, it's a slower pace than the game needs at the moment, and there were no real surprises in either. If you've been playing CO for a significant length of time, you have probably seen the Blood Moon roll around so many times that its only real appeal is in letting you pick up stuff you don't have on an alt.

I'm not worried about the long-term ability of Cryptic to keep CO running; between its other two games, the studio can support a game that just breaks even. But I keep thinking that Cryptic really needs to announce a push, and that's just not happening. Star Trek Online timed its first expansion nicely with the release of the newest film; perhaps CO should think about something similar.

Or just doing anything, really. Inactivity is not working out well.

It's like six degrees of Kevin Bacon but stupid.A crisis of infinity

There's not really a DC Universe any longer. There's Batman, and then there are characters one or two steps removed from Batman. (If it takes more than two characters to connect someone to Batman, I don't know what to tell you.) Infinite Crisis has been showing off a lot of hero previews of late, and only a handful of them are not immediately recognizable from the bat-family. Not that Batman doesn't have a great rogue's gallery, but there are a lot of other great heroes and villains from DC.

Adding Shazam (Captain Marvel, really) is a nice touch. Adding Booster Gold or Blue Beetle would really tickle me, though. Just saying.

The other major announcement is that the game is prepared to try to make it on the Major League Gaming circuit, which is a phrase that makes me angry in literally every bone in my body. There is anger trembling in bones I didn't know I possessed. My xiphoid process is unhappy about this fact.

Ahem.

I don't blame Turbine for wanting in on the whole idea of competitive gaming, but I really prefer to have my games balanced around fun first and competition second. You might say that leads to some characters being underpowered, and I'd agree, but sometimes that's part of the charm. Not everything needs to be tuned within an inch of its life. If Gaslight Green Lantern or whatever is the worst character in the game, players who like him will probably enjoy him despite that fact.

Launch as a double entendre.Launch all the things

Do I have a lot to say about Marvel Heroes that I haven't already said? Not really, no. I think there are some major missteps in place, but as of the time you're reading this, it should be live for everyone to try, so you don't have to take my word for it and can in fact actively disagree with me on key points. I'd go so far as to encourage it.

Launch hasn't been a smooth road thus far, with early access hitting a few speed bumps along the way. We've been told that the team is looking into compensation, which should really read "we'll be compensating you guys in a couple of days." Launching MMOs has always been dicey, but it seems like recent big titles are going live with even more mess than the industry standard.

The other big dispatch has been a series of motion comics (and how is that a thing?) detailing Dr. Doom's rise to power, which is actually pretty great. It hasn't blown me away, but watching Victor Von Doom pull his plans together is always entertaining, and he's one of the few villains in the Marvel universe who can provide a fair challenge to pretty much any group of heroes at any power level.

So now you get to go unravel his plans, which at least sounds fun to me.

Comments may be left in the comment field below, just as always, or sent along to eliot@massively.com. We'll see you for the next issue in a month and possibly for some extras along the way. Don't you forget about me.

By day a mild-mannered reporter, Eliot Lefebvre spent years in City of Heroes before the world-shattering event that destroyed his home world. But he remains as intrepid as ever, traveling to other superheroic games and dispensing his unique brand of justice... or lack thereof.
This article was originally published on Massively.