With the release of Revelation, Champions Online gained a new zone,
Vibora Bay. This picturesque city is more than a charming city located
on Florida’s panhandle, a whole lot more. Vibora Bay is
filled with ancient evil, dark magic, and danger aplenty! The question
arises, how does this new zone stack up? Have no fear, my friends; your
pals at Ten Ton Hammer are here to provide their impressions of Vibora
Bay. Gumbo is optional!
Let’s begin with the basics. Vibora Bay is the newest zone
for CO and is designed for levels 37-40 after you complete the Crisis
intro. According to Cryptic, there’s a solid 20 to 30 hours
of gameplay in this mist-filled city. We’ll examine the
design of the zone, the gangs that are located there, the gameplay, and
the value (if any) Revelation adds to the overall game experience in
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style="font-weight: bold;">Zone Design
The look of Vibora Bay is very vibrant and full of character. Overall,
the city is designed in a similar vein to New Orleans, but transplanted
to Florida. There is plenty of cool architecture, from the French
Quarter feel of central Vibora Bay to the above ground cemeteries. I
have to admit that the layout and design of the zone is great. I love
checking out the various types of clubs and establishments by looking
at the large variety of signs. The city is extremely colorful, while
still maintaining an air of menace. Not an easy feat to pull off.
The sun rarely rises in Vibora Bay. In fact, I haven’t seen
it once while I’ve been trekking from one side of the city to
the other doing missions. The constant fog that hovers at the periphery
of your vision, in conjunction to the nighttime atmosphere, really
creates an aura of mystery and danger. Who knows what could be lurking
in the shadowy night in a city such as this? While being gloomy, Vibora
Bay is vibrant with life with the mobs of people walking around and the
colorful buildings and advertising.
There are a lot of interesting places just to look at in this zone. (I
really like the cemetery.) One such place is the maze, which can be
extremely frustrating to deal with. A quick note of warning about the
maze, travel powers do not work there at all. I found this out to my
detriment when I was flying over and found myself falling out of the
sky before I knew what was happening. It took me about 15 minutes to
get out of that darn place.
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The New Gangs
Since Vibora Bay is a place filled with magic, it stands to reason that
the bad guys reflect that. From werewolves (Dogz) to vampires (New
Shadows) to voodoo practitioners (Sovereign Sons), all matter of
nasties can be found in Vibora Bay.
Overall, the looks of the gangs are really well done. My personal
favorites are the Sovereign Sons. I just love the alligator headed
minions! Each gang has their own distinct look and theme. However, I
haven’t seen a new bad guy who really wowed me with his look
or any special attacks. While the new gangs look cool,
there’s really no difference in fighting them as there was in
fighting ARGENT or Viper. The best new bad guy ability I’ve
come across is from the Ulfhednar (Dogz), who summons new minions with
his howls. It would have been nice to see some new variety with some
crazy new attacks, but that’s just me.
The gameplay is standard Champions Online fare. Missions seem
to be the standard types with a few twists, such as using a device to
track the trail of a fearsome beast. It was an interesting idea, but a
little long in the application, in my opinion. A lot of the instanced
missions (crypts, warehouses, etc) seem to be designed to take a long
time to finish, which didn’t thrill me. While some instances
had a nice design, such as the Vibora Bay Crypts, others just seemed to
be created to suck time away from me. I don’t mind doing
instances that are big, but at least make them interesting. Flying down
corridors that seem to stretch for a mile with nothing to fight
doesn’t really pique my interest.
With all that I’ve said above, I don’t want you to
think the missions sucked. They didn’t. Most of the missions
were well done and in the standard CO style. Overall, it does appear
that Cryptic was right about the number of hours in gameplay you could
expect from this zone, being between 20 to 30 hours.
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Does Vibora Bay add any value to the CO experience? Well, yes and no. I
say yes in the sense that any new zone adds value to the game, and it
allows players new opportunities to adventure and new areas to explore.
It has a distinct look with new bad guys, but it is limited to the
highest level tier of characters, 37 on up. While nice for end game
characters, it would have been better if the zone had a greater level
range to it. Three levels is an awfully small window for a specific
This leads me to the no aspect, value-wise. While the zone is well
designed, it won’t bring back players who have left the game
or encourage new players to jump on board just to try out the new zone.
It’s a nice zone, but not a game changer. For a free
expansion, Vibora Bay hits the spot. If this was a paid expansion, like
it was originally intended, then I would not have been too happy.
Hopefully, they’ll expand the level range to more than three
in future updates to help broaden player options at lower levels.
Overall, Vibora Bay is an interesting zone with a unique feel to it.
Like Monster Island and Lemuria, Vibora Bay is one of the better zones
in the game, in my opinion. I love the New Orleans style to the city,
the sense of gloom and menace, and the nature and look of the bad guys.
I just wish that the bad guys had some tricks in their arsenal to make
them truly stand out. The missions, while not spectacular, are decently
done, with some exceptions. There are quite a few missions that seem to
be created just to extend my time spent in Vibora Bay. I would say that
Vibora Bay is a nice addition to the game. It’s not
spectacular, but, rather, a solid zone. For a free expansion,
it’s well done and there’s nothing to complain
about (but that hasn’t stopped people before).
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