Off the (fox)bat, I need to give props to Cryptic
For all of the bad mouthing the guys over at Cryptic have been getting, I feel it's pretty undeserved. Champions Online gameplay aside, I have never seen any company push out patches like these guys (except maybe Funcom, but that's a different story.)
From what I know of the closed beta and what I've seen even during the open beta, the team behind Champions iterates like a cheetah on speed. Not only do they change things in the game quickly, their changes are almost always for the better. Each time I logged into Champions, I could see another swath of problems I had with the game fixed, and I never thought anyone could turn the development process around so quickly. These guys are still on overdrive, even with the product in "gold" status and shipping out across the nation to stores. To not give props to them would be a mistake, no matter what you think of the game. Thanks for the hard work.
Ok, back to the originally scheduled program...
So after pushing through the tutorial (which I now have memorized) I got back to Canada once more. Canada's first instance is a crisis zone, as I've said before, and it comes with some of the same restrictions as the tutorial does. The instance holds a smaller amount of people than the main zones, the intense blizzard locks players into a small part of the zone, and the zone has a tightly woven storyline.
One of the first changes that I noticed were improved controller controls. The game is now properly reflecting the right button presses for controller and, even better, the hotbar reflects where your button presses will go when you pull a toggle on the controller. That's a bit hard to understand, so let me explain in pictures.
The above hotbar is the standard, default hotbar. As you can see, X, Y, and B are all set to the first three icons in the set. However, if I pull my left trigger...
The X, Y, and B now move to show that if you press them while holding down the left trigger, you'll use a different set of powers. It sounds complicated, but veterans of Phantasy Star Online
or Phantasy Star Universe
will know that it really isn't so bad. Especially so as the hotbar now shows you exactly where your buttons are bound to now.