Experience Points: Champions Online – Part 7: Endgame

This entry is part 7 of 9 in the series Experience Points

Looking over the feedback on these articles, as well as community comments on various other “second looks” on the game, I’ve started wondering what was really up with the criticism of content gaps in Champions Online. I started playing a few months after the game was released and never had this problem, so I just assumed it had been fixed. However, it seems the problem with the lack of content wasn’t missions being missing, but rather nothing pointing you in the right direction. I missed quite a few mission chains on my first playthrough, and after some talks, I realized I wasn’t the only one. Heck, I only found out this week that there was a Foxbat mission in the tutorial. It has always been there. I can only assume any supposed lack of content is mostly due to Cryptic’s poor logistics because, save for a few bottleneck moments, there really is a sufficient amount.

Now, when you talk about endgame, that’s a completely different thing. It’s easy to miss mission chains while levelling, but it’s kinda hard to completely miss stuff to do when you aren’t sent around various zones. Does Champions have endgame content? Yes. Does it have good endgame content? Not really. But that’s what this overview is for. You never know, maybe the few good things will be enough to keep you busy.

A disclaimer before I start: the Devs have said that a review of itemization (which I mentioned got broken when the Adventure Packs hit) and lairs is due in the future. How far in the future? I have no idea at the moment of writing this.

First off, the obvious endgame content are lairs. There are a total of four endgame lairs: the Mandragalore, Andrith Ruins, Nemesis Confrontation and Therakiel’s Temple. The first two were there when the game launched, and the other two were added later in the game’s lifespan.

The Mandragalore is OK, but I don’t see people run it that often. Possibly because it is almost completely underwater and melee isn’t exactly fun while swimming. It has a few internal missions you need to do, but the boss is pretty static (a problem with most CO bosses). It’s not really as epic as you’d expect something to be in a superhero game. Without going into spoiler territory, it’s just very underwhelming.

Andrith Ruins… I’m not sure I can think of anything good about this one. It’s bland and the last boss is annoying. I’ve only ever done it three times and have always regretted it.

Nemesis Confrontation I’ve already covered in Part 5.

Therakiel’s Temple is probably the best lair so far. You fight through a series of caves and crypts until you reach the Big Bad Evil Guy, Therakiel. It’s a pretty long lair, sometimes taking up to 3 or 4 hours on Elite difficulty. What sets it apart is that it isn’t a matter of you hitting stuff until it breaks. Various obstacles require coordination within your team to overcome and are completely independent of build, gear and so on. It’s just a matter of how well people work together.

The bosses also have a few tricks up their sleeve, so for most part it’s not a matter of hitting-blocking-healing until the boss dies. Some battles, like the fourth one, would benefit from an overhaul to make them more interesting, but Therakiel’s Temple is still an example of a good MMO lair.

Cosmic Villains are open world bosses who anyone can try and fight, and which respawn after a set amount of time (I think 9 hours, give or take randomness). While the Desert and an Open Mission in Millennium City have their own Cosmics, the ones who count as “endgame” would be Kigatilik in Canada and Qwyjibo and Teleiosaurus on Monster Island. Sadly, the ones on Monster Island are regularly spawn camped, so it’s rare to actually fight them in normal play. Teleiosaurus is probably the most interesting fight because it requires players to pay more attention to the battle. Kigatilik and Qwyjibo are far more static, but it’s still nice to gather up a bunch of friends and take the cosmic threats down.

Lastly, you can do daily UNITY missions, which consist of five random missions, with one special assignment after you’ve done these. The random missions are as generic as they can be, but the special assignments are actually good for the most part. Sadly, they suffer from the same problem as the nemesis missions. Since there’s a limited pool, you will soon get bored doing them over and over again. The UNITY missions award you with UNITY merits and intelligence, which you use to buy special gear. Of course, items being in the state that they are, you’re better off spending the merits on vanity pets. There is also a UNITY 2 variant in Vibora Bay, with its own set of missions and slightly more powerful gear. Both use the same merits, though, so you can do both of them every day if you want the items faster.

And, obviously, you could always start playing PvP. I won’t spend time explaining the Hero Games now, since they deserve their own article (next in line).

As you can see, endgame is not one of CO’s strong points. I honestly can’t call it anything at the moment other than a mess with two good lairs. Itemization needs fixing, lairs need to be reviewed, the Cosmics need to be rethought to be accessible for other people as well. It’s probably why a lot of people resort to PvP, RP or just rolling new alts. However, being that Therakiel’s Temple was the last lair (even considering how long it’s been since they have added it), I assume Cryptic has an idea in which direction to take new endgame content when they get around to it.

Part 1: Past and Present

Part 2: Gold and Silver

Part 3: C-Store

Part 4: Costume Creator

Part 5: Nemesis System

Part 6: Adventure Packs

Part 7: Endgame

Part 8: PvP

Part 9: Community and Communication

Experience Points is where we get to talk a bit more in-depth on games we are much more knowledgeable of through extensive playing. It’s not as much of a review as it’s our experience with the game in question

By Miodrag Kovačević

Hailing from the strange land of Serbia, often confused with Siberia, Miodrag has been playing video games, watching cartoons and soaking up trivia his whole life. His first (and to date only) console was a Sega Master System II.