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Behind the Mask: I'm raiding for Christmas

Patrick Mackey

I'm not a big fan of holiday events. For the most part, they're an excuse to grind a bunch of cosmetic stuff, such as titles/perks and costume pieces. The other possibility is random junk filling my inventory, like fireworks, candy, and other assorted goodies that just end up on the auction house. If there's any holiday missions or quests, people are more interested in doing them in the most efficient way possible, instead of killing mobs for experience.

Since I like tangible benefits, holiday events generally aren't my thing. I usually end up soloing over the season or playing with a small group of friends. Bah humbug.

The winter events in Champions Online are really no different from the events in any other game. They mostly consist of gathering presents, doing little holiday quests and getting an inventory full of random junk. But the devs included something silly that I'm looking forward to: an excuse to get teams to do the impossible.

Buckle in, guys: I'm doing Andrithal and Mandragalore this holiday season.

My hope for the holidays

It seemed a pretty innocuous thing. The Mistletoe item lets you kiss your current target, whether it be friendly or enemy. This simple item led to several interesting perks:

  • Kissable -- Be kissed under the mistletoe 10 times
  • Stolen Kisses -- Using Mistletoe, kiss the following villains: The Bronze King, Vikorin the Blind, Therakiel, Shadow Destroyer
If you aren't familiar with the endgame, those four individuals are the top-level lair bosses. NemCon is a pretty enjoyable lair that can be run without too much difficulty, making Shadow Destroyer the easiest of those on the list.

The rest, well...

Therakiel's Temple, as I've mentioned before, is extremely fun. It's a big lair that can take hours to complete, and it has some cool rewards if done on Elite difficulty. It's probably the hardest lair in the game because it has bosses that come close to raid boss design. Allowing Vlad to stand in blood makes the fight with him nearly impossible, for instance; most of the boss fights in TT have some kind of gimmick that keeps them from being button-smashing-fests like many other boss fights.

Andrithal and Mandragalore are terrible. The lairs are simply long and irritating, with huge mobs of bad guys that frequently wipe the party. I've never managed to complete them, as our team just gives up after the 3000th wipe. Some of my friends have made it to the end, and they tell me that the bosses are pretty tame compared to the irritating mob design.

Over the next week, I'm going to attempt to take another shot at Mandragalore and Andrith in order to simultaneously build a good strategy for taking down these lairs while also giving people a chance to get the Stolen Kisses perk. If you're interested, send me an an ingame email @Auspicious with some times that you'd like to do this. Keep in mind that you must have a level 40 hero and you must have the prerequisite missions done. My goal is to develop strategies for these lairs, so we'll probably be running them very slowly while I take notes.

If you'd like assistance with NemCon or Therakiel's Temple, we can also maybe work something out. I still need that accursed Dimensional Destroyer perk, after all.

What else is there to do?

The rest of the holiday event mostly consists of gathering presents... and kisses!

As mentioned above, there is a perk available for getting lots of mistletoe kisses from other players. The mistletoe item drops fairly often from various presents, along with all sorts of other holiday goodies. The main goodies to be found are action figures and costume pieces, but there are a fair number of cute consumables to be found too.

The real centerpiece of the holiday event is supposed to be the holiday Open Missions, but I feel as if this will pale in comparison to the level 40 lairs that pose an exciting challenge. This is mostly because Andrith and Mandragalore simply haven't been documented well enough to produce good information about them, especially compared to the other lairs; this makes any runs of them "new" and exciting, at least for me. If you're interested in the Open Missions, though, you'll be happy to know that healers now receive credit properly, so you can spam heals now instead of actually contributing (kidding guys!).

If you are interested in finding presents (you need that mistletoe!), remember that you don't need to go to the Christmas tree; you can hop around the zones (all of them) and grab presents scattered everywhere.

Anyway! Hopefully that's exciting enough to get you guys involved in my mad scheme to take over the world with love and write guides about about how to do it! See you next week with the results!

When he's not touring the streets of Millennium City or rolling mooks in Vibora Bay, Patrick Mackey goes Behind the Mask to bring you the nitty-gritty of the superhero world every Thursday. Whether it's expert analysis of Champions Online's game mechanics or his chronicled hatred of roleplaying vampires, Patrick holds nothing back.

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