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The Digital Continuum: Applying Foxbat liberally to Champions Online

Kyle Horner

I thought about writing about a lot of different subjects this week. I knew that I wanted to discuss Champions Online, but I couldn't decide on a topic until I played a lowbie character and re-experienced the amazing Foxbat mission in the teen levels. Then it occurred to me, that what this game sorely needs, is an event of epic proportions centered around the maniacal -- yet lovable -- super villain.

For those of you not in the know, Foxbat's profile can be found right here on the official website. The short version is that Foxbat is an ex-rich kid who had a love affair with comic books. His family lost their money, and he decided to earn it all back by becoming a highly successful super villain.

Now, you may find yourself wondering why Foxbat is so special that he deserves his own event. For starters, he's completely nuts in the most delightful of ways. Example: He wields a deadly self-made gun that shoots, uh, ping pong balls. He also once attempted to steal the Empire State building, although you can imagine how well that turned out.

I feel like Champions Online has some very generic characters that don't exactly speak strongly to many players. Foxbat isn't one of these characters, and that fact makes him a powerful implement in generating some good buzz about new game content. For John Layman, a writer with experience in funny stuff, I'm fairly positive he'd hit it out of the ball park. And for Cryptic? Injecting higher doses of textual depth to their game is nothing but good news.

Blood Moon was a rocky, if not good start and Nemesis Confrontation added in some welcome content heft. However, I'm holding Cryptic up to a higher standard than most developers -- especially when they've got deep reserves from the table top game.

For the Foxbat event to get people (both subscribers and non-subscribers) paying attention, it has to do something special. As a super villain, he's known for stealing things... so why not have the master of dastardly deeds pluck the levels out from under player's noses? Yes! Yes! Foxbat should "steal" player levels, giving them every reason to band together and pound him into the ground with all they've got.

We know there's likely to be plenty of additions to the Nemesis system in the coming months, so it's not a stretch to have Foxbat spotlight any forthcoming features. Of course, in all reality, I don't think we need any "reasons" to have fun with this character. That'd be like needing an excuse for delicious pie, to which you never truly require an reason beyond, "because it's tastily awesome."

Still, events and content expansions do definitely need to keep coming for Champions Online. Mostly because the game has a lot of credit to earn with skeptical players who're well aware of their ever growing choices in the superhero MMO market. If you were to ask me right now what game to go with, I'd say this one; that's assuming content continues to roll out at regular intervals.

Most of all, I say it because Champions Online is actually more fun to play today than it was a mere three months beyond launch.

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