Live Event: The Hunt for Morpheus
Faith. Once it's gone, there ain't no getting it back. No one knows this better than Morpheus. The "prophecy" didn't work out like he thought. The powers that be used this faith as a manipulation. That's gotta crush anyone's belief system. Maybe that's why Morpheus is so intent on having Neo's body. It's more than a symbol of sacrifice. It represents Morpheus' last shred of faith, and he won't... he can't let it go.
Sometimes I envy those with faith. Having some kind of hope for the future, misguided as it may be, is good for the spirit. Most of the time, it makes people do crazy, stupid things. Morpheus, it seems, is not immune to this effect. As hinted in the paper, Morpheus shows up at Club Messiah to make a speech. He intends to force the machines to return Neo's body. I chuckle to myself, but Morpheus does not share that sentiment. His words show he is serious about this. "Stress the system! Sow unbelief!" "Our first blow comes tomorrow, if they fail to bend. It will be...spectacular." This can't be good.
Today is the day Morpheus makes his move to get Neo's body back, but the first thing I notice is a sky full of helicopters. They are dropping leaflets with the message "DO NOT TRUST THE FRENCHMAN". That goes without saying, but the question is: Who then should I trust? The disseminator of this propoganda has thus far chosen to remain nameless.
Reports of "code bombs" are coming in from around the city. Morpheus is credited with the attacks. These seemingly harmless bombs apparently cause bluepills to see "the underlying RSI code structure of any redpill caught in the blast", awakening bluepills in the process. I don't know if threatening the Machines' power supply is a good strategy, especially since it also threatens the truce and the Matrix itself. All three organizations are none too happy about this. Morpheus is playing with fire.
Meanwhile, grafitti is noticed on various billboards and posters. A little research reveals that these are in fact strange encrypted messages. Bug spray billboards around the city appear to have a hidden intent as well.
The code bomb attacks are intensifying. It is obvious that Morpheus is not working alone, which has everyone concerned. Flood wants us to defuse the bombs before they go off. Ookami tries to take Morpheus out herself, but she underestimates him. It wouldn't be the first time that happened. Also, I spotted a "masked" attacker today. I wonder who that was?
Morpheus' attacks continue. With support from his "bomb pets" and certain red pills, defusing these bombs is easier said than done. Niobe tries to talk some sense into Morpheus, but he isn't hearing it. He is committed to his cause, regardless of the cost. After this short confrontation, the masked operatives show up again and attack everyone in the area. Where the hell did these guys come from?
Morpheus has a special mission for willing operatives. We take it on to see what it's all about.
The "Masked Men" are attacking in full force now. Messages found on their bodies reveal that this group prefers to live their lives in ignorance as bluepills in pods. Reminds me of our old friend Cypher. Mass awakenings from code bombs have apparently inflated their ranks, and another enemy of Morpheus is created. "Cause and effect", as the Merovingian is so fond of saying. Ookami gathers us together to learn more about this new group, and we report our findings.
The Death of Morpheus
Morpheus is dead. There's no doubt he was asking for it, but somehow, I can't believe anyone actually went through with it. A porcelain-masked Assassin pulled the trigger, and all indications are that Morpheus' emergency jack-out failed. He really is dead. Needless to say, Niobe is pissed, and so are many others. It seems Morpheus has more supporters in death than in life. The question now is: Who hired the Assassin? Intelligence points towards the Merovingian, which doesn't bode well for me, but Morpheus angered a lot of people, including these Masked Men. It could be anyone. Flood calls us together to gloat... er, discuss... Morpheus' death. While Merv doesn't take credit for it, he certainly isn't shedding any tears.
The Assassin killed Morpheus, but it is not done. When confronted by Agent Skinner, the Assassin's bullet somehow infects the agent and kills him. This guy is dangerous.
Live Event: The Hunt for Morpheus' Assassin
Redpills everywhere are being attacked by "Corrupted Ones" -- clouds of flies that have somehow pulled together and become a dangerous force. Not surprisingly, the Assassin is behind this. This guy is getting on my nerves. The Corrupted drop messages that leave no doubt as to the Assassin's responsibility for Morpheus' death.
The Merovingian has arranged a party at Club Hel, both as a reward for our efforts with the Shapers last month, as well as to discuss Morpheus' death. This is the first time I gained the much-coveted entry into the club, and I am enjoying getting up close and personal with Persephone and Ookami. Eventually, Merv himself shows up. Again, he doesn't claim responsbility for Morpheus' death, but Merv is glad Morpheus is no longer a thorn in our side. After his speech, Merv rewards us with cake, which takes the party up a notch. Ohhhh yeah.
A funeral service is being held for Morpheus at the church in Sobra Shores. Seeing the illustrious Morpheus laying on a funeral bier brings on mixed emotions. While many don't agree with his recent actions, Morpheus is first and foremost a hero. We all recognize the role he played in giving us the limited freedoms we now enjoy. It therefore causes great surprise, followed by great anger, to see his body desecrated by flies, an apparent victim of the code corruption that has filled the city. Niobe was no exception, and she is intent on destroying the Assassin.
The Corrupted continue to attack, at the same time revealing what the Assassin is thinking. He has no intention at stopping with Morpheus and Agent Skinner. He has designs on taking down the entire Matrix. The effects of his corruption are showing around the city. Can the Assassin be stopped?
The Machines have a new liaison, Agent Pace -- a female agent designed to interact with humans. Reports are she even dances at parties. Hmmm... a dancing, female agent doesn't exactly fit the profile. But hey, if she looks the part, I certainly wouldn't refuse to partake, if you know what I mean.
The Machines can't celebrate for long, because the biggest challenge to face all organizations is here. I run to a park to find my faction mates and other Merovingian operatives fighting off a Complete Corruptor, a massive conglomeration of flies. The beast resists all attacks: martial arts, guns, hacking. It appears nothing is going to take this thing down. Hordes of Corrupted surround the beast, and we eventually find that we can extract bug spray from them. This spray does limited damage to the beast, but at least it is something. After a long and arduous battle, the Complete Corruptor is defeated.
There's no rest for the weary, because we quickly find out that there's another Complete Corruptor. We rush to the location. This time we are joined by Ookami, who has found techniques for causing higher damage to the beast. I hear that Agent Pace joins the Machines, and Zion gets help with their own battles. Like the first Corruptor, this one eventually goes down.
Two down, one to go. This time all three organizations work together. This is no time for squables, and as tired as I am from fighting two beasts, I'm thankful for the extra help. Regardless, it takes a long time for the beast to go down, but he does go down.
Ookami notifies us that all of the Corruptors have been defeated, but the Assassin is no where to be found. We'll eventually get him, but that will have to wait. This has been one hell of a week. I need a long rest and a good piece of ass.
This was a good event. I stop short of calling it "great", but overall I enjoyed it. Admittedly, I am a little more critical of the event now than back then, but there were some problems. This may have been the biggest event in the game (with perhaps the exception of the End of Beta), and it was certainly the longest. At the end of 9 days, I, like my character, found myself exhausted. (I'm exhausted just from writing this report!) This also meant that large parts played out during the week, when many of us were at work, so I wasn't able to get all of the drops and rewards. As I've said before, "Live Events" are live, so timing is always important.
On the plus side, I was glad to get back to the main Paul Chadwick storyline. Morpheus' death made headlines throughout the entertainment and gaming industry. I was a little disappointed that we were given a preview of this momentous event at the end of beta, but it didn't take away from the event. There has been speculation that Morpheus is still alive, but as of this writing (10/29/2006), he hasn't returned.
The Club Hel party was a real perk. I believe this was the first time I'd been inside the club. I actually got to kiss Persephone, and like an idiot, I forgot to take a screen shot, but you can see that she "moved in" for the kiss in the system chat area. This was also the first time we experienced Merv's cake. It was an interesting experience to say the least, and I had fun showing off the effects around town.
Warner Bros. offered a "Friends and Family" trial during the event. These new players would play the part of bluepills "awakening en masse", and would hopefully bring new subscription revenue to the game. This was the first clue that sales may not have been going all that well. WB was pushing the dev team hard on this huge event and it showed. They had trouble getting the event started in time, and bugs and stability problems continued to plague the game since launch. In addition, it must have been confusing for new players to jack in to the chaos of the event. This all must have given a negative first impression to many newcomers.
By this time, many players were reaching level 50, and were left wondering what to do. I remember when one of our top faction mates hit level 50. He was beaming with joy all night. A couple of days later, he was down and complaining because the game had no "end-game content". This is my first MMO, so I didn't know what he meant at the time, but now that I've reached 50 and have played other MMOs, I know what he's talking about. Live Events were definitely the lifeblood of this game, but many players wanted more static content. After this event, I started to see faction mates leave the game. High-level content has since been added, but this continues to be a problem for MxO.
Again, I liked this event, and I liked where the story was headed. This would turn out to be the last major "Chadwick" event performed by the Live Event Team, and I thought they did a good job. Even with all of the problems, this event showed the greatness the devs had in mind for this game. It's too bad they weren't able to sustain that.
Next: Choice and Consequence...