Brainwaves From Beta: Champions Online

By Phill Cameron on August 24th, 2009 at 12:06 pm.


The Champions Online beta has been in full swing for a while now, and the current phase is a beta for pre-order folks and Fileplanet subscribers. Here are a few thoughts on the game as it stands in the weeks before release.

They stole the soul out of the rocket boots.

It doesn’t make sense. They were the one travel power I was having fun with, where there was actually an element of interaction beyond just activating the bloody things, and they just took out what made them fun and put them back on the shelf, lobotomised and drooling, to be the same as the rest. Thing is, this is a Superhero MMO. Some superheroes fly, some run really fast, some just use a really beefed up car; some are better than others. So when you make everything the same, you lose a little bit of what makes superheroes fun and unique.

Before, you’d turn the boots on, getting a low hover state. Juice them a bit more and the orange flames would become hotter, the colour slipping through orange to white to blue. You’d go from sliding around to rocketing, arms tucked at your sides as you became a living comet, complete with smoking trail. Power them a bit more and you’d eke out the last few drops of speed, bursting through the sound barrier, blistering heat on the soles of your shoes. A little more and they’d smoke. Nature’s warning sign, white and billowing from your feet. A few seconds more and they short, all propulsion lost as you plummet to the ground. It was the thrill-seekers transport of choice; treading that fine line between super speed and, well, death.

Now you just turn them on and that’s that; we have lift off. Just not, you know, any way but literal.

I tell you this to create full disclosure; Champions is fun. It’s fun in a ‘oh, that’s quite cool’ way, that moves along being just enough above mediocre, introducing just enough cool new ideas that enough people are probably going to sit up and notice for it to keep going. It’s not fun in a way where I come away knowing this is the next big step forward, innovation leaking out of its pores. It’s full of clever little ideas that make it a little more fun, make your character feel a little more like you own it. The problem is that they’re safe ideas. You can customise your character aesthetically to your heart’s content, creating anything from freaky vulture-clown to armoured psychic warrior. It’s City of Heroes character creator gone wild, dosed up on steroids so it can do things normal character creators can’t; there’s so much choice, and room for customisation, that only the things APB is doing look set to approach it.

Customising powers is mostly visual, too. You can set origin point (from four options; fist, palm, chest and head), and colour, but the idea of inventing powers seems to have remained in Cryptic’s imagination. The most you can alter your powers is in the ranks and advantages, where you can give them special qualities, like adding bleed damage to a slash attack, or turning your shadow form into a Terrifying Visage, forcing anyone in range to empty their bladders. It’s likely that the fact that all of this is an unprecedented amount of creative freedom in the MMO space, and RPG space in general, might slip under the radar because it’s not quite what we were expecting; a few levels lower than what we were promised tends to blind us from what’s really there.

It seems Champions is a set of compromises to keep the game focused and entertaining. The near limitless customisability has been reigned in, and while it still presents a startling amount of options, the promises we were given a year ago still ring in the ears. It’s a Molyneuxesque nightmare, where the product is of a high quality, just not to quite the high quality it was promised all that time ago. Similar concessions have been made; the nemesis system, previously intended to be something you created at the same time as your hero at level 1, now comes in at level 25. It’s something that makes sense, giving you time to sort yourself out before taking on, essentially, a whole other character to create and flesh out, even if it’s not you playing him, but it’s not exactly what we were told we were going to get.

While this is making it seem as though I’m both disappointed and unsatisfied with the game, there’s a lot to like, and the fact I’m still playing it after six months of beta is testament to that. The customisability that is there is excellent, leagues beyond any current MMO, and the combat has actually taken a step forward in interaction, making it play much more like an action/rpg hybrid than the usual button tapping found in MMOs. You block, and move about, and manage the constant ebb and flow of energy (read: mana/rage/endurance/etc), and it sucks you in enough that it removes some of the grind. And the relatively slow nature you pick up powers really gives you a chance to fully understand the application of the one’s you’ve already received, while at the same time allowing for a much more thought to be placed in which power you’re going to get next, to compliment what you’re already fighting with.

The other huge step, that almost goes unnoticed, is how quick the game is to reward and congratulate you. Where, in CoH, you had to do a set of quests to unlock the cloak, it’s presented (sensibly) with the rest of the options at creation. After you play through the first 5 levels of the tutorial you’re given a pat on the back and then, suddenly, miraculously, you’ve got a new power, a new superstat, a new rank, and most of all, a travel power; the thing that was the death of a good many of my CoH characters. I’d level them up to 14, pick a travel power to mess around and try it out, then start a new character to try out a different one.

That, too, has disappeared, with the advent of the Power House, an instanced zone that allows you to pick new powers and abilities, and then, wonderfully, /try them out/ before coming to a final decision. This allows you to give each travel power a try, and every time you get a power, you can give it a whirl to see if you like the effects and look of it. It makes so much sense it’s a wonder it’s not been done before.

The comparisons with City of Heroes are inevitable, but while the similarities are many, they’re only skin deep, with the tonal shift in Champions the biggest indicator that this isn’t quite the same game. Where City of Heroes was seeping fun and sillyness from its pores, Champions dials up the melodrama, making everything seem epic and larger-than-life, while keeping a tongue firmly in cheek. With quests like ‘World of Witchcraft’, and huge, roaming monsters shouting ‘Grond smash you like rival MMO!’, you can’t help but enjoy the humour, however obvious. It also seems to make a little more sense that you’re around; superheroes have been unionised, essentially given their own business, and their own place within military forces. You get sent around by the bigger superheroes, and the soldiers appreciate the help. Sure, there are hundreds of superheroes around, but the lore seems to support that idea, so it’s not quite the shock of CoH, where walking through Atlas Plaza was more than a little odd.

Being in the Beta since March, I’ve seen a lot of things. Perhaps the most impressive is how quickly Cryptic have responded to player requests and suggestions. A good deal of the more impressive changes have originated in the forums; when there’s been enough of a backlash against a new implementation, Cryptic have removed it from the game. Too much of a plea for something new, and they’ve done their best to put it in. While it’s helped bring the game to release, it bodes even better for continued support in the future, where all concerns may be met.

Playing the open beta of Champions is bitter-sweet. So much is done right, and while there are a few bugs present, this is a beta after all, and the constant development of an MMO is bound to smooth them out. It’s taken the best ideas from the recent games, like public quests and roaming missions, and implemented them in a fun way. It’s given you an unprecedented amount of customisation in your character, and it’s given you bloody travel powers at level 5, after only 30 minutes of play.

I can’t help but be slightly peeved though, because they did take all the fun out of the rocket boots.

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100 Comments »

  1. FlawedLogic says:

    For those who keep saying there’s no incentive for grouping:

    It’s true that at the early levels, there isn’t much content that’s designed specifically for groups. However, indoor missions do scale based on the size of your group, and a group can quest much faster than a solo player.

    It’s also true that, at early levels, the “tank/support/dps” dynamic isn’t very much present. This is mostly because everybody has powers chosen which allow them to solo/quest better, rather than buying group-oriented powers (which they go for later in the game, once their “core” abilities are chosen).

    HOWEVER, all this changes around level 28. (Note, by the way, that despite the game’s level cap of 40, level ~30 is not “three quarters of the way.” It’s probably more like halfway to the cap.) Around this time, the Lairs start to become available — 5-man group instances with encounters, puzzles, and bosses that require teamwork. This is the time when it becomes important to have a functional group dynamic — somebody who is capable of taking some damage and generating some threat will be vital to keep enemies off of the weaker members. Somebody who can prevent or heal damage, or a couple people who can apply holds and debuffs to the enemies will help immensely.

    During the end-of-beta event, Cryptic provided an NPC that levelled people straight to 40. When my friends and I did this, we decided it would be a good chance to try to learn how a group works in an instance. We did a few, and found that organization is critical. I was tanking, and I had to be careful about pulls, quick about threat generation, and it was a blast.

    The group dynamic is there, it’s just different from WoW’s — a “tank” is there to keep the dangerous enemies off of the rest of the group, but most henchmen can run free (and get melted quickly before dealing significant damage). I was vaulting across the room, slashing at one villain to antagonize him and punching another one 20 feet away from our healer, activating self-heals blocking strategically.

    I don’t know why they chose not to bring the group dynamic in until halfway through the levelling process — it’s led to a lot of people assuming it doesn’t exist at all — but grouping in Champions Online is important and has depth.

  2. Stromko says:

    Kanntank: I kind of like that after a certain point you’ve got a bunch of power selections left and nothing you really need from your first framework. For me it seemed to kick in before those last few, because I only picked the things from my framework that I really wanted.

    It starts off you need to work within that one framework in order to maximize the impact of your specialized stats (like Dexterity/Ego for Munitions, Strength/Con for Tank) and to unlock the higher-tier powers of that framework sooner. That’s the part where I really felt constrained and unable to make my character unique without gimping it.

    At the end of the beta when I was able to get my characters up to level 40, was when I really felt free to personalize them. My robot tank picked up various drones from the gadgeteer tree– yeah, he didn’t really have the stats to maximize this stuff (I’m assuming) since he was all about Strength and Constitution, but they really helped and it was something that maybe not every other tank was picked. He felt more unique that way.

    Meanwhile my munitions guy picked up a few power armor abilities like Invincibility to fill his passive defense slot, and a short-duration defense buff. He /definitely/ didn’t have the stats to maximize this, Invincibility scales with Constitution or Endurance or something, which Torporator did NOT have in any great amount.

    Funny that neither character felt very much stronger than they were at their previous levels (13 and 12 respectively) when they were scaled up to 40, but I suspect this is because their gear was still crap. They’d have likely doubled or tripled their primary stats if all their gear had been up to par.

    I started off really hating Champions, it felt like the game was too similiar even when I was playing wildly differing characters, but when I dug a little deeper I started to feel that that wasn’t true at all. My munitions guy was busting out with criticals constantly, he was a burst damage dynamo– but he couldn’t deal with much hurt so he had to watch out how often he busted out with all his damage. My tank was a bucket of hitpoints that could wail full-force on enemies and pause occcasionally, blocking as his drones healed him. All in all I’d say they were similar in strength, but I was playing them differently, and that’s what I wanted to see.

  3. Somedude says:

    Um, yes you can select a cape form the beginning in CO, but it’s severely limited in what you can combine it with and how you can customize said cape when compared with CoX. Honestly, I’d rather have the 20 level wait and more options than the just a formality implementation of CO. This is doubly so knowing they have plans for microtransactions.

  4. Syncfire says:

    Hmm, I think that the overwhelming comments about lack of grouping has less to do with the games mechanics and more to do with the fact that it was a short beta. I for one got it and spent most of my time building new characters, testing the character generation and deciding what I liked or didn’t like.
    For example I loved my munitions character, I thought 2-gun Mojo was a blast. Additionally the melee for that was fun too. However, I thought the fire character was gimmped from the word go. (Now I have read a number of comments in the forums that fire is actually pretty good at the higher levels, but I never really got there.) I would spend a day or so goofing off with one character, then try something else out. Becasue of that, I never did get around to grouping. Unless there was a big group of people waiting on a spawn.
    I really did like the fact that if you even got one small hit on the mob, you got credit for the kill. It made waiting for some of the “bosses” less of a toe tapping, smack the screen with you forehead ninja fest. I would give it some time to develop before dumping it just becasue of grouping reasons. I think that the content is there, most just didn’t get to it.
    Also I give Cryptic high praise for setting up a game that dosen’t require grouping. I can’t tell you how many times I have sat stewing over a PUG that falls apart, so I encourage them to provide for both types of players.

  5. Jaybonaut says:

    There is rocket boots, and there is JETBOOTS. Rocket boots jump. Jetboots fly. You picked rocket boots and expected they would act like jetboots which is a completely different power.

  6. Steve says:

    I really liked the game. I just wish they didn’t make it so graphically complicated for my computer. I had to dumb the graphics down so much to get it to work properly I couldn’t even see the game that well. Wish I could afford those super 512 or 1GB video cards :(

  7. Shoe says:

    I’ve had a lot of fun with this game. I’ll just say that the more I played it the more I liked it. I especially like their implementation of PVP, which avoids most of what goes wrong with MMO PVP. Mostly it’s 5v5 auto-arranged matches that you can queue for anywhere in the game world. Very easy to join and get going. There’s no ganking, you’re never vastly outnumbered, and the combat system is much more entertaining for PVP.

    The balance is broken at the moment, but not unplayably so. And hell, that’s fixable.

  8. NickdogV says:

    I played the open beta these past few days, and it is really a unique and fun game to play. I did not like the fact that there were people that reached level 40 the third day of the beta, but I think they fixed this in a recent patch by lowering the xp. The character creation has to be the greatest thing I’ve come across in all my experience with MMO’s. By comparing this game to the other 8 or 9 MMORPGs I have played, it is in my top 3 for sure.

  9. piisexactly3 says:

    OB was a big mistake imo, because the game was flooded with a whole bunch of people that never intended on enjoying the game, or beta testing. Plus, all of those people haven’t seen enough of the toying Cryptic has done with various aspects of the game. The XP QQ is a perfect example of this, as for most of closed and open beta XP gains were accelerated to help get people to test more than just the starting areas. Cryptic siginfigantly lowered xp gains for like a day, and half the forum posts were QQ about people canceling pre-orders over this little tweak. If these people had half a brain, theyd have stop and realized that maybe Cryptic saw that there were enough people in the 30 range to actually test the lvl 30 content, and maybe they didnt want them just skipping it over so they slowed xp for everyone. All the new people cried their eyes out and nerd raged while the people actually beta testing just continued beta testing.

    also most of the people crying about how each class feels the same didn’t bother to level past 10.

    either way there is a lot of misinformation about the game coming from these folks that confused an open beta with a launch.

  10. Champs says:

    So you just completely missed the being lvled to 40 automatically to test end game stuff didnt you. Id also guess that you didnt even bother to read any of the comments posted before yours, as that was clearly stated.
    And I gotta say, it was only fools who played for 10 minutes then stopped. They didnt even start as far as im concerned.

  11. Champs says:

    that was @ nickdog btw

  12. Ink says:

    The beta was incredibly addictive. I’ve been waiting for a classless (and I don’t mean classless like that guy who takes his shirts off in bars to impress women) MMORPG for a long time. I also found that the group content is there for the people who want it. There are plenty of opportunities to group, and anyone who complains there aren’t enough simply isn’t choosing to look. It’s that simple.

  13. Ayeohx says:

    The game is freakin awesome. You’ve got a ton of flexability in character playability and design. The grouping needs some work. Most of my team plays in the same room and we still had issues coordinating missions and such. Still, best game ever.

  14. daddycaddy says:

    i played the beta and buyed the preorder.
    im playing MMOS for a long time and i developed some but that dosent stop me to play. anyway my point its that CO its a nice game, some fixes needed offcourse specialy with the descriptions and explanations and some skills…maybe some graphic problems too BUT overall Co its a nice game to play. for me CO its a mix betwen Tabula Rasa and CoX, 2 games i liked …well i liked Tabulra Rasa more…
    it gives u the impresion of a fast paced adventure…teaming its there…i just played 3 days and i teamed everyday with nice people, no jerks…
    also what make me come to CO was the Scenaryo PVP, i didnt see it on Beta BUT there is an movie about it on CO website…and it looks so cool:)

  15. shreddi says:

    The nerf to the rocket boots could have been avoided with proper description/directions on how to use them. Damn I hate to see features go away because they have to be dumbed down for the user who doesnt read the detail. I was guilty big time. Now I have to go retract my ticket on lung attack because I didnt understand how to use. I hope they dont nerf that into a one button press skill. Cryptic put some effort into making these power and moves an art as well but we have to read how they work before saying they dont. guarantee too many people complained about the rocket boots because no one read the real purpose. So all that hard work making them cool and multi talented is nerfed down so Joe dummy (Im guilty) can press one button to make it work. Now that I understand how cool these things are when understood. Please give us an option to turn off co mode or not. Ya already wrote the code, it works bitchen, my apologies for not reading the directions Im talkin Lung thing and op is rocket boots but same problem. Please give us option for simple ver or not. default to simple if that may complaints. Dont take away a cool cool feature once its understood. On your side you need to get user freindly instructions attached to those things. thanks very much. When this is detailed, buffed out its the best game ever. Dont throw away that code. Make it an option. Thanks again

  16. Sanjassi says:

    Open beta was absolutely necessary. Without the open beta all the bugs would have happened at release, such as the patcher breaking down, half the quests in Canada being broken. Random crashes etc etc.

    After just a few days of open beta and probably some sleepless nights for the devs the game runs much better.

  17. Mister Nobody says:

    “By contrast I have heard according to friends that the game is too easy and there is little in the way of group gaming support. When running missions together it felt like just a bunch of guys who happened to be in the same area than a team co-ordinating their skills to defeat stronger foes. This naturally sounds bad to me being as an MMO is a social game.

    Anyone care to refute it for me and set my mind at ease.”

    Have you ever read a comic book? The feeling of “just a bunch of super powered guys” bundled together often happens, but only when a bigger threat appear (Example, Grond.) you will need to coordinate an effort to take it down. All characters are pretty independent, and that’s a good thing. This is a different kind of MMO, where teaming up isn’t about suport roles, but characters coming together.

  18. Jorune says:

    Personally, I feel Champions is way too much like City of Heroes. It may have some improvements over CoH, but it just a 2.0 version that can’t keep my attention just as I lost interest in CoH. I expected more instead feeling like I’m randomly running around looking for something to do.

    I will have to say that Champions graphics are much better than CoH, but I hate the “cell-shaded” line effect. Overall, I’ll sit this one out and play the “analog” table top version of Champions.

  19. Sanjassi says:

    You can disable the ‘cell-shade’. removing it also slightly improves performance.

  20. Heddal says:

    Maybe all of you should stick to COH and WOW till champions and star trek online kills em both. Try a faster computer to improve performance. To the guy who wrote the article get out and get a life. Champions rules!

  21. Jerker says:

    Eh? To me it sounds like he really enjoyed the game. With the exception of the changed/simplified rocket boots.

  22. longlostcomment says:

    I believe that a lot of people are having the wrong idea about this game. I keep seeing stuff like: lack of content, no grouping, low lvl cap, to easy, to hard.

    For those who think that there is a lack of content, you think that because you are noob and are not lookin for the content. I went through the training level the first time through and just did all the quest that were obviously givin to me by the guys with the ? over their heads. But when I went through the second time and I actually looked around a bit I found a few other quests that are not given to you by some guy, you have to FIND them *gasp*. So the content is there you just have to look for it!

    The grouping thing is BS too as there is PLENTY of grouping involved at the higher levels. It isnt extremely needed at the lower levels so I can understand how people that dont give the game some actual time could come to the conclusion that there isn’t enough group oriented missions. But trust me, PLAY THE GAME and you will find a lot more group oriented and group NEEDED missions that are VERY fun.

    For the people that say the level cap is low. I may agree with you a little bit but Cryptic has left room for growth in that area. So its not entirely that big of a deal since getting to 40 seems like its going to be quite a task. Also, I believe Cryptic has plans on increasing this cap with expansions much like WoW did.

    The people that think the game is to easy probly picked up on how to play the game faster than others and didnt bother to play past lvl 10, it gets a bit harder as you would expect. But it doesnt get to hard, I think the difficulty level is perfect since you ARE A SUPERHERO you shouldnt have to struggle with a few meaningless thugs.

    And for those who think the game is to hard, learn to play the game, its not a button masher like your use to, you have this ability called block that comes in very handy! Use it at the right times and you will find that you can take on a bit more than you think.

    Overall I think the game is awesome! It is loads of fun and I often found that in beta I would explore around the huge maps. The travel powers are great and a lot of fun to use. The character creation system is amazing! I have played all kinds of MMOs and this one is on par with CoX as far as creating a unique character if not even better. The powers look great! The gameplay and the UI are fun and easy to understand and use. ALSO you get to choose what kind of interface you want based on what you are use to playing if you pay attention when you first open the game it gives you the option to choose Fantasy, Champion, or Paragon key interfaces depending on what you are use to.

    Amazing game!

  23. Hawk3015 says:

    As a game designer I just wanted to set a couple of misconceptions straight. (putting on flame retardant suit)
    While most of y’all are exactly what design teams are looking for in expressing thoughts and concerns, there are a few that have missed the point. 1st, a reminder that beta is how we know what works and what needs to be fixed. If you are participating as a beta tester please inform us of your experience. Don’t just decide it sucks and quit. First off, you never got to see what the game would become at release, and we never got to make adjustments based on your opinions.
    2nd, the hardest (but in my opinion most important) aspect of designing adventures is that while it needs to be exciting and interactive, it also needs to “let the hero win”. At the end of the day a good writer needs to make a scenario look hopeless, but still have the hero save the day without becoming road pizza.
    Again, what I see of most of the comments here is that CO has a passionate/eager development team and a pretty solid base of players with good ideas. Hope to see you at release!

  24. Psylass says:

    Very good game already, and it’s just in beta. If you liked COH/V, you should love this. The thrills are similar, but the game looks better and is more fun. Always hated the grinding and the dumb buttons-pushing in other MMOs.
    Let downs : A little more cohesion between missions wouldn’t hurt. Balancing and mission difficulty. But that all comes down to how MMOs are evolving creatures.
    The ups : Character customization is awesome, fun and dynamic combat system (yes it needs to be perfected, but it’s beta, peeps. Took more than a year after release to the Age of Conan people to get it halfway right and CO is already almost there before launch), beautiful design and graphics without requiring you to own the hardcore gamer’s monster computer of choice.
    So yeah, since complaining is always the gamer’s national sport, I thought I’d focus on the positives as a “sold” player who pre-ordered the game and is going to wait for it in the mail expectingly.

  25. Psylass says:

    Oh yeah, and PVP is fun too. Oh yeah it needs balancing… But I’ve done a bunch of cage games and I can see where this will be mighty fun when they get it right.

  26. Zenren says:

    THIS GAME ROCKS! For five days I was enraptured. Sure it’s a bit easy, but what were you asking for, Everquest, where it took a week to level, only to lose that level if you died? Come on. As far as people in groups seeming more like a group of people than a team, well that’s the way it is in all MMOs… You obviously are expecting chemistry to occur without having to put any energy into attaining it.

  27. lvposse72 says:

    Great game, it’s about time someone made a superhero game that is true to the fans. I can’t wait for the release no more WOW lol. This game captured the true feeling of being a superhero just like the comic books. If you are a comic book fan you have to get this game. One of the most impressive points to this game is the superpowers. The verity of your powers and the combination are just like many of your comic book heroes and the way they can use them fits most of your comic book storyline. The only complaint I have is some of the controls and the fact my gamepad would not work but thats more of a MMO issue and I think after a little bit of time they can work this out. Overall I give this game a A+ and will recommend to all my comic book friend knowing how much they really want to be a superhero lol……

  28. mughzee says:

    maybe it’s because i’ve played later. but, i’m having a damn blast. Character creation is awesome, the missions are fine. they have a set that come up when you’re just in an area…missions you stumble upon that do not show up as “!” which is an incentive to explore the maps. Combet is fine too. you attack, keep you energy managed and what i really like is that you actually lock on your target and your toon will continually run around him. you can teleport in and out of combat with out delay for the blink in and out of head smacks…awesome. building your character different suits throughout the game, awesome, refitting powers, awesome, and you DO group if people aren’t it’s by choice, i’ve done enough quests in beta that i needed a team. the one thing they need to fix is some of the quest looting where if 3 of us kill a dude for a quest item, but only one gets it and the rest have to wait for respawn, so we essentially have to kill the guy three times for the team. anyway, the game is enough for me to cancel my AoC account, not even consider AION and am excited to get involved. AND also, you DO unlock/find items in game that give you new skins. I found a blade and when i went to the tailor i was able to replace my current Sword animation with the blade i found. it was pretty damn pimp. So, you start out with a costume, but you will advance in pieces and abilities.

  29. Beef Cake says:

    It’s a great game no doubt about it, but there are many things that could use improvements. Such as the teaming environment. It doesn’t feel like a team when you are on a team. They should really set Name colors to all be the same so it identifies your team mates from other players.

    Other than that, the game is fantastic. It brings a new feel to the game when considering yourself a hero. The audio confrontations really make you feel you are about to battle evil and its your duty to make sure you prevail!

    2 thumbs up from me:)

  30. scott says:

    I played the original paper/pencil game in 1985, and there are two things that (I think) are missing. 1: you can’t give yourself a weakness. In the old paper/pencil, you could make your ice character vulnerable to fire, and that would give you points to use elsewhere. 2) You could make your power focused in a weapon, and you could make that weapon vulnerable. So your gun could be targeted by an opponent. I can understand why they excluded both of those things, but they helped to give your character more “character”. I’ve played the beta long enough to spec six characters and see several maps, and I think the game looks awesome. The character creation is so much fun by itself, and the travel powers are terrific. I loved being able to create the one character I remembered from 24 years ago (a projectile attacker/acrobat with swinging ability).

  31. Tirunedeth says:

    Must say, I loved the beta. it was to short. for me, short betas lead to knee-jerk changes by devs. give the dust time to settle before making sweeping changes.

    I also suffer from alt-itis. used all my slots to try and get a feel for most of the groups of classes. for those that think specific stats are needed….make your own framework. you can do that. honestly though, just because it told me I had 0% chance to crit, it sure seemed like I could. the different frameworks gave a direction to the toons. it took it out of the cookie-cutter ‘this is the only survivable spec’ type of mentality and put the characters destiny back in my hands.

    blaster types seemed uber at lower levels and they leveled out a bit higher up.

    tank types seemed frustratingly underpowered (compared to blasters) in the early game and pick up a bit later on.

    melee toons seem to thread the above needle for the most part.

    I made a concerted effort to avoid taking the ‘must have’ powers that everyone seemed to feel were needed ie. invulnerability and regeneration, and stuck with the slotted for that framework. sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. sometimes it works only for small groups of mobs and sometimes it works only when mobbed.

    the nice thing about CO is that they are giving us the ability to change these things on the fly. this customization and the removal of the good/evil dichotomy will lead to a lasting game I believe. I think the pvp will also reflect this. it wont be the ‘I am a villain/destruction toon and rule’ or ‘I am a hero and need to beat my head against the wall to bring you down’. it will come down to ‘I rule, you suck, now respawn and come back so I can show you again how much’.

  32. SquirrellyWrath says:

    You cannot expect to be grouping right out of the gate. Regardless of how they build the game you still need players that are willing to group with you. Solo quests, some group ones, and duengeons/lairs (raids) is enough for me. This game has the very best combat and character creation in any MMO.

  33. Roger Doger says:

    customer service is dodgy. changed their advertisement with regards to lifetime/6 months subscription.

    game is good but it’s starting to leave a bad impression on some people. people say “read the forum” who has time beside eleven-teen yr olds? congrats on asking dad for the credit card and getting ‘champion’ level on the forums. rawk on! ;)

  34. jalf says:

    You cannot expect to be grouping right out of the gate. Regardless of how they build the game you still need players that are willing to group with you

    First, some of us have friends.

    Second, newbie areas are generally great places to meet players to group with. Much more so than the rest of the game.

    So yes, I can and do expect grouping right out of the gate.

  35. mughzee says:

    grouping didn’t seem like an issue to me. we would hit up an escort quest. 3 of us showed up. we invited, made teh group and our names turned blue. and what i also liked was other groups had all their names in green so you knew who was in a group, who was in your group and those around you.

    one icky thing i have come to notice is just trying to get to your friends list and chatting…it seems clunky when they are not there and you’re trying to get them in your group. i should just be able to right click on their name and add.

  36. Dobs says:

    For a more brutal perspective with no sign of mercy, check this one out. The name says it all, heh. Champions Online: The Next Hellgate London? ouchie

    http://www.gamealmighty.com/champions-online-the-next-hellgate-london

  37. Fidellius says:

    Ok main point here… This is called a OPEN BETA, Not a Released Game, the point of the Beta Phase is testing not getting free game time, If you want to contribute and help out the free time is just a benifiet, Yes there are bugs and it still needs work, however, the content complaints and group complaints are not very well placed at all again Beta Phase game. I personally give it a 7/10 I hate WoW and this game has a lot of similarities but it captured me and sucked me in, play it and go into it with a open mind, otherwise you will not enjoy it

  38. DD says:

    After playing the beta for about a week…4or6 hours a day…I gotta say I love it.

    Pros:

    Costumes and Abilities
    You can make your outfit suit your powers (whatever they might be) and trying to figure out what skills work with other skills adds a lot of depth. Ofcourse people will develop cookie-cutter builds for PVP and Hero Games but, that’s in every game.

    Items and Crafting
    Random stats on items allow you to make different types of build (presence increase pet’s health etc) allowing melee chars that choose strength(dmg) and constitution(hps) to find items to help with summoning pets. Crafting your own items from 9 different types and being able to sell them at the market place (auction house) is also a big bonus.

    PVP and PVE

    Having the traveling powers adds a new feel to how you approach single/groups of enemies. And with 3 different forms of PVP…their is something that everyone will like. Even if you normally don’t like to PVP…like me.

    Controls

    The game works great on a 360 controller…AWESOME!!!

    Cons

    Quest and Objectives

    While I do like some of the quest (having to protect a cannon and afterwards it shows the kills by everyone doing the quest) most were a boring. Atleast the action (instead of WoW/FFXI) helped to keep it from being a grind.

    Overall 8/10 AND compared to other MMOs 9/10

  39. Paulie says:

    Coming from other MMO’s that simply burned me out after extended play and required grouping (wow, war, aoc), I found CO to be quite fun and addicting. The character creation is pretty sweet and the story lines are great for those of us who want a story in a game, not just a “go here and kill this many X” for no good reason pertaining to the story lines. I thought the lore behind the game was pretty well developed (but I don’t mind reading a lot, in fact, I quite enjoy it).

    I wasnt sure I’d buy the game because there are some little nuances that were apparent, like NPC pathing and the robust graphics that require a stellar system to run at decent FPS, but I know that Cryptic is a good developer and, as with most MMO’s, the game evolves as time moves along.

    (I had to tweak the graphics down to minimum, then inch each setting one at a time to get a balance between frame rate and eye candy. I suggest turning OFF the “Comic Outlining”, and adjusting some of the smaller impact effects. Adjust to your own liking.) But Im running at x 1050 (windowed), with most settings at medium-low, and pulling about 25-45 FPS. Any lower in the settings and I wouldnt buy it right away. Looks like I need to upgrade my system some time soon. ahh, the eventual ‘push’ to do so.

    Sys specs:
    nVidia 9800GT 1GB Ram
    Intel Core2Duo E6600 (2.4ghz)
    4GB DDR2 @ 800mhz
    Seagate 7200 RPM Sata w/ 16MB buffer
    Gigabyte EP45-DS3L Mobo
    Vista Premium.
    Latest Drivers.

  40. David says:

    I like the game. I like the ability to choose from different powersets (the lack of which pretty much killed CoX for me).

    Travel powers are very cool.

    I played solo and grouped, although group with the wrong person and, as in any mmo, you’re looking at a world of hurt. :)

    Bought the lifetime sub, and am looking forward to launch.

    Cheers
    D

  41. Blast Hardcheese says:

    ARRRR! Thar be trolls in these here waters. AVAST! OFF THE PORT BOW! “Maybe all of you should stick to COH and WOW till champions and star trek online kills em both. Try a faster computer to improve performance. To the guy who wrote the article get out and get a life. Champions rules!”

    I lol’d.

  42. Doctor Mobius says:

    I have to say that overall my experience in the beta has been positive. I will admit the team dynamic is a bit lackluster, although I only played to level 15, because I kept making new characters to try.

    What I did see however was very rapid change and improvement based on player feedback. This game has an amazingly solid core, a fun interface, and of course killer character customization. With their record so far for fast responses to customer feedback, I imagine if the biggest complaint is that the game needs more team content, then that will be in the first update we see.

    More than anything else, I think “Statesman” has learned from his own mistakes in city and instead of trying to adapt his players to fit his idea of the game, he’s learning to adapt his game to fit the players.

    In short, I think the game is good and will continue to get better.

  43. Gabbo says:

    I just can’t get over the fact that I LOVED playing an MMO with a GAMEPAD. Being a long time PC gamer and MMO veteran, I would have laughed at such a thought a mere month ago. After playing the open beta, I found the combat to be an absolute blast with the gamepad. The analog movement and the redefinable keys made for extremely fun combat. It was like playing a beat-em up single-player game in an MMO environment.

    This game is a no-brainer to me since I loved CoX, but couldn’t stand the grind any longer. I was dying for the next step in Superhero RPG goodness.

    I have no doubts that it will become a great long standing MMO (at least I hope so, because I signed up for the lifetime sub). The only thing that worries me is that Bill Roper is involved with the game.

  44. Succubus Nancy says:

    In Warcraft I was warlock Bethwyn’s minion. In Age of Conan I was demonologist Reshet’s minion. I ain’t no one’s minion anymore thanks for my freedom Cryptic!

  45. LeCrasseux says:

    This game ownz :p

  46. Wulf says:

    @Grouping out of the gate.

    I was doing that, even in the tutorial area. I don’t know whether it’s because of the odd were-creatures/therians/furries stick together mindset, but as a werewolf I had a surprising amount of group invites from characters who went down a similar path. I did the starting area with one new character alongside some Tiger bloke.

    Of course, it could also be that Champions Online players are just extremely friendly and group-happy, rather than it being down to the above hypothesis. After all, this was true in City of Heroes. Anyone remember the groups of high level heroes who’d hang around in the safe-camps of dangerous areas and fight off trains of mobs chasing lower-levelled heroes in danger, and heal them up/buff them too?

    I do.

    But yes, I can’t imagine what might make a character in Champions Online unpopular, though I have noticed that the soulless clones of comic book heroes have trouble, because I think the majority just aren’t impressed by the lack of imagination (considering the amazing things the character creator can do).

    All those Supermen, Lobos, Wolverines, and so on are probably going to have more trouble than most. I mean, I don’t want to be in a group with clones because… well… oh, what fun.

    Sorry.

    So yeah, grouping seems to be healthy in Champions Online, and a friend will be joining me soon too, so I’ll probably be running through the starter area with him, it’s all good fun.

    @Dobs

    I find that reviewer incredibly dubious at best…

    I say this because the way he speaks of the game shows that his opinion comes primarily from closed beta, rather than open. And there are two problems with this:

    1) Many of the things he talks about have already been rectified by Cryptic, even by open beta, or are being actively worked on.

    2) Closed beta only had tiny play parcels, and it would’ve been impossible to formulate an opinion on a game based upon the short, timed, bi-weekly playtests that he’s built this review around.

    And despite that, he says he’s gotten his opinions from ‘a beta of the game’, instead of ‘I formulated the majority of my opinion of the game based on short, bi-weekly playtests in the closed beta. Where the game was still being actively developed by Cryptic, and it’s fair to consider that my experiences will differ from those playing the more finished, polished open beta’.

    I find any reviewer who does this questionable, to say the least. And he’s not the only one I’ve seen to do this, there are other examples of this out there (in comments and reviews), and it’s happened to other MMOs as well.

    One day, developers will learn to include a clause in their agreements that reads: “You will not review the closed beta, even after the NDA has lifted.”

  47. Sakujo says:

    The game is just too fun for me, I pre-ordered it and can’t wait to start playing tomorrow.

  48. armlesscorps says:

    Succubus Nancy I love your post

  49. Ironsides00 says:

    One of the things that makes other mmos super dull to me is that as you level, it takes longer and longer to kill a single mob. I get bored fighting the same monster for 5 minutes straight. I also get bored of being in the same “role” constantly. Sometimes I don’t feel like being a tank and I wanna do some damage. I like that in CO I don’t have to be stuck in a single role, and that I can kill a mob in like 10 seconds even at higher levels. I also like the idea of choosing what stat is primary and affects my damage output. Yeah it’s a tough choice, but that means it IS balanced. I am relieved to finally find an mmo like this. And BTW, the OPTION of grouping is loads of fun and much preferable to hitting that level 20 mark and being able to do nothing without a group.

  50. Blast Hardcheese says:

    @ Wulf

    I think you’re just being hard on him because he’s not part of the regular Hivemind.