Need A Hero: Champions Free Weekend

By Kieron Gillen on October 31st, 2009 at 10:24 am.

I admit, I do like this screenshot.

Just a hyper-quick post on this, as it had somehow slipped my mind. The recently-released Superhero MMO Champions Online is free to play this weekend. All the details are here, including their Blood Moon Halloween event. And if you want a taste of what it’s like, here’s our What I Think. Who’s still playing Champions? How’s it changed since then?

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43 Comments »

  1. Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

    Uhm…right, too bad. I guess I would finnish downloading it by Sunday evening, so…no thx, too late :)

  2. Tei says:

    Kurtz:… It’s impossible for words to describe what is necessary to those who do not know what grind means. Grind. Grind has a face… and you must make a friend of grind.

    • ChampionHyena says:

      Grind and moral terror are your friends.

      When they are not, then they are enemies to be feared.

      …the GRINDING.

    • Baris says:

      You know, I’m level 30 in the game and have not had to grind a single time, so please stop making crap up.

  3. cypher says:

    Anonymous Coward said:
    Kurtz:… It’s impossible for words to describe what is necessary to those who do not know what grind means. Grind. Grind has a face… and you must make a friend of grind.

    …yes it has a face- the face of pure evil, exra work and lazy design!

  4. Alexander Norris says:

    But is that face remarkably similar to the face of Champions Online, or are they sworn enemies?

  5. We Fly Spitfires says:

    Cool, will check it out. Thanks!

  6. Bobsy says:

    A few of the original RPS crew are still playing, and to be honest it’s only getting better. The supergroup Rock Paper Spandex is still up and running, and all you need to do is contact me or Rob for an invite – @Bobsy or @Schizoslayer.

    In terms of the game, I always said I wouldn’t force myself to keep playing, and quit the moment it stops being fun. And it’s still fun. In fact, while the general low-budget feel and obviously small dev team (I guess Cryptic have put most of their staff onto Star Trek Online by now) is a bugger, they’re moving things along at a respectable pace. New content is being added, and the game is expanding at a satisfactory (if not overwhelming) pace.

    Two big changes are worth pointing out. Sidekicking has become more useful now that you can share (almost) any mission with a team-mate. If they’re not eligable, for instance having already completed the mission or are too low-level to reach it, they can still get an xp reward for completing a friend’s mission. This makes it very easy for two people of vastly different levels to get together and get on with some super-biffage.

    There was something else important I needed to mention, and it’s totally escaped me. Bah. Anyway, give a shout to me @Bobsy for RPS-style frolics.

  7. Five says:

    Suggest you download the client from http://www.fileplanet.com/206788/200000/fileinfo/Champions-Online—Free-Trial-Client instead of Steam – the client I got from Steam was well out of date and required 2.8gb patching.

  8. PaulMorel says:

    I’m still playing this – and I don’t have a lifetime sub or anything, so it’s not out of loyalty to my investment or something…

    PvP is vastly improved since launch. It still has problems, but it is pretty cool, and you can tell that it is going to be amazing after a bit more balancing. The new PvP map, where you fight against a zombie horde is pretty sweet too.

    I don’t know what the people complaining about grinding are complaining about. If you only played during the open beta, or if you left two weeks after launch, then you miiight think that the game is grindy … but it hasn’t been grindy since then. They fixed all the major bugs, and added a ton of missions, so it’s really not a grindy game at all.

    Anyway, like I said, I’m still playing it, and that’s probably the best recommendation that I can give.

  9. Gorgeras says:

    I gave up. The auto-patcher is so slow that the weekend would have been over by the time it was finished(and I am not pissing repeating the same thing on FilePlanet, if the devs can’t be arsed updating it on Steam, tough shit).

    There appears to be absolutely no one at Cryptic working on the weekend, the community is policed by unlikable and unhelpful fanboys(no really, one even started a thread to ‘help’ people with a Vista/Win7 issue with the patcher, mentions that there is a fix and then only goes and omits to actually post the damn fix) and it’s too much hassle.

    I trawled the forums looking for help and there was fuck all. I did find something to describe Bill Roper though, I could never quite put my finger on it until one of the CO forumers mentioned it: “Shit-eating grin”.

    • Weylund says:

      I starting downloading as soon as I saw this yesterday. It’s been f**king twelve hours. It seems so petty to slam a game for a failing like this, but seriously? Two gigabytes of patches? When your download servers are clearly going to be over capacity? I’ve still got 800MB to go.

      AFTER TWELVE HOURS!

      Oh, and did I mention that every now and then I lose connection to the server? And have to click a BUTTON to reconnect? So I actually have to *watch* the damned updater. I have to watch it!

      And yet, I can’t just cancel it, can I? It would be a waste of my capped downloads to download only part of it. I have to try it, don’t I? This is frigging stupid.

  10. Wulf says:

    I still have a great deal of love for Champions Online, there have been a couple of flops, but overall it’s the most fun I’ve ever had with an MMO. Both Monster Island and Lemuria were incredibly unique as far as MMOs are concerned.

    And it’s still the only game that’s rewarded me for sitting on a giant egg.

    @Alexander Norris

    There’s no grind at all, it’s possible to play through the entire game without completing a single quest above your level and without even having to do the few lairs that require more than one person.

    Some will tell you otherwise, but frankly? They’re morons who can’t read.

    There are so many users who don’t use the Crime Computer, so many, and so many that make obvious lies about using the Crime Computer so they won’t look stupid even though quickly running their hero profile through the http://crimecomputer20.com/ website would prove otherwise. And that’s the problem. Champions Online has a very different approach to most MMOs.

    And here’s the rub: Many people will act like Pavlov’s dog, brainwashed and conditioned into believing that the World of Warcraft style of mission progression is the only one that exists. Whereas Champions takes a different route. In, say, Warcraft, when you go to the Barrens you’ll be in the Barrens for a hell of a long time, that’s really shit. But in Champions Online, the quests for every level are spread out between many zones, and as you unlock Monster Island and Lemuria, you get quests spread out across all the zones.

    But people think like this: I’ve gotten to Millennium City, therefore I’ll be in Millennium City for a while, all my questing will now be done in Millennium City.

    But that’s just not the case, again, people are bleedin’ stupid creatures.

    In fact, there have even been some fo the aforementioned stupid creatures on the forums, demanding that Warcraft-style progression is observed, so that once they reach a zone, they can stay in that zone until another level gate. Cryptic has done a pat pat, there there, here you go and put in some repeatable and some unique quests to help these people with their own personal problems, which is pretty awesome of them, but yes, the only people who’ll have a problem with the game are those who can’t get away from Warcraft-style zone progression and those who never use their Crime Computer and will even lie about it not to look moronic.

    None of my characters or alts have had to do any grinding at all, in fact, it’s a zero grinding game and there’s a mission every step of the way.

    Some people will disagree with me…

    But ask them for their hero profiles and run them through http://crimecomputer20.com/ and see for yourself. :p

    • Eplekongen says:

      Preach it!

    • Anthony Damiani says:

      The difference being that in WoW, there are more than enough quests to bring you to level, just killing things provides a reasonable fraction of your XP, and there are usually 3-4 repeatable 5-man instances that you can get a PUG together and run reasonably easily as one play-session’s worth of fun.

      In Champions, it feels like you have to do all the zones and all the quests to ding. This means there’s low replay value, and little flexibility about how you actually play.

    • Psychopomp says:

      Patronizing much, Wulf?

      Having to do damn near every last quest to level up is not good design.

    • Howl says:

      The Grind has many faces. For CO that face was an endless succession of identikit, soul-less chores for needy NPC’s. The XP rewarded for simply going out and fighting crime was so negligible that you were forced you to do these chores. To call them quests or missions is to blindly glamorise the grind.

      But that wasn’t my biggest issue with CO. It’s somehow less of a MMO than WoW, which was already shockingly un-massive. If you extrapolate the way MMO’s are going then we’ll be playing 100% single player MMO’s before long. You’ll just occasionally bump into someone in a lobby and flash your gear at them, under the misguided delusion that they actually give a shit.

    • Shadow Wulf says:

      Coming from a first time MMO player and shooter/RTS fan, I never found MMO’s to be real interesting because I thought they always seemed to drag, have pointless missions and found the whole genre as pointless because the developers will keep adding new content constantly to keep you from finishing it and you will still get sucked in no matter what. I prefer to reach an end to a game unless it’s a PVP multiplayer like Unreal Tournament or TF2. Well a Wulf pointed this game out to me, he always talked about the fantastic character creator and showed off the werewolves which we both loved and so this caught my interest.

      When I played it I spent maybe a 20 minutes on the character creator looking at most of the customization options that was available to me and I loved that I actually was able to play a character that I WANT to play as, pretty much live my child hood dream. Now I have to say that this game got me hooked like few games have before in the past, the controls were frustrating and kinda still is at times but I easily overlook it cause I can beat down villains with a character I was only able dreamed about! Ofcourse I wish Cryptic would make the Tank build stronger because characters that have long range powers have a big advantage over me but thats another story. The freedom this game gives me is just overwhelming at times and I sometimes don’t know which power I should get and will spend 15-20 minutes on deciding, sometimes I wait until I get 2 level ups just so I can purchase two powers at the same time. I love the customization where the possibilities are near endless. In fact I think I will buy myself some extra costume slots so I can have more to wear for each character, I already have 3 characters and I only been playing for a month!

      Overall I am glad that this is the first MMO that I really been drawn into, most others such as WoW I would have given up quickly. I want to thank Wulf for getting me this game, he always knows what I like in games and he knew from the start that the character creation and hardly any grinding missions was alone to draw me in.

    • armlesscorps says:

      @ Anthony :I think you have summed up there probably the main reason why I didnt enjoy the game. There didnt really seem to be much choice except just do the quests in the area, or if there were other options they werent really explained. It lacks the variety that WoW has, you can spend your time questing, pvping or doing dungeons, and all these things are presented as equally attractive options. In CO i knew I was expected to do the quests in a 1 map area until an NPC told me to go to the next area.

  11. malkav11 says:

    If they had done this a month ago, I would have been all over it, but we are in the middle of holiday frenzy now. Not to mention I’ve just resubscribed to Everquest II (of all MMOs) to play with a group from Quarter to Three.

    Anyway, I’d prefer to wait and use a proper 14-day trial in a few months. More time to convince a friend of mine that yes, he would like this game.

  12. abhishek says:

    You could try downloading the open beta client, installing that and then letting the launcher update the game. I think the total size of the update would be in the 300-500mb region, which is certainly better than getting all 2.8gb from it.

    I got the client here – http://games.on.net/file/29056/Champions_Online_Open_Beta_Client

    I tried the game last night and it was lagging terribly for me. I didn’t have Fraps turned on so i’m not sure whether it was because of my computer or latency lag. My system is a Q9550, 2x260s in sli, 4gb ram running a fully updated Vista 64, so I’m fairly sure that this game shouldn’t be a problem to run on the computer. A friend mentioned that the game has issues with the latest Nvidia drivers but I don’t think I care enough to research it, let alone rollback drivers for a weekend demo. It could be latency lag too, seeing as I live on the other side of the planet from where (I presume) their servers are located. However, I’ve played MMOs located in America before and it was never this bad. Maybe it was just their servers getting overloaded at the time. I’ll try it again some time this weekend but I have to say, my initial impressions aren’t very good.

    • Weylund says:

      Thanks. I stopped my download, went to get the open beta client (as 300-500 MB is less than 900MB, which is what I discovered I still had left a minute ago), and realized I just didn’t care enough to bother. I might pick it up in a few hours when I’m feeling less pissed off.

      Lag could be from everyone and his brother pounding the servers… malkav’s right, a 14-day trial would be the right time to actually try it out.

  13. MrMud says:

    You know, if you are gonna have a 2 days limited free trial you might want to let people download everything they need ahead of time.
    Granted I got the client from steam with 6MB/s but the patcher is so slow that it wont be finished until tomorrow.

    • Heliocentric says:

      The steam client isn’t totally patched? What justification could they have for that.

      Surely thats what steam is for.

  14. Dean says:

    The comments on level progression are interesting, as WoW did use to send you all over the place at certain levels, rather than letting you stay in one area until you’d done it all. They’ve slowly removed a lot of that and aim to eliminate it completely in Cataclysm as most players found it annoying. It also allows for a greater sense of storytelling if one quest follows on from another, telling the story of the current area you’re in. I much prefer that method to be honest.

    • Weylund says:

      Really? I might just have to install WoW again. The unnecessary going-about to different areas in the same storyline was a pain in the ass.

    • Jaxtrasi says:

      What Wulf was explaining in his patronising and offensive manner is that there is exactly enough content in the game to level you up if you do all of it. Because the in game content is poorly and illogically laid out, you have to use an external, third-party tool to find the quests you haven’t done and then go and look for them.

      This works fine for me, because that’s often how I’ll play games anyway as a completionist, but I can see it being extremely annoying for non-completionists who want to be presented with content in the way that almost all other games (not just WoW) do.

    • Dean says:

      Weylund – both expansion areas eliminate trekking all over the place entirely. They’ve prevented the problem with the original content by just requiring you to do a lot less of it, so you can skip the annoying ones. And they’ve added in a few better designed areas. But next year’s expansion, Cataclysm, is re-working all of the original quests so the progression through zones is a lot more natural. And that’ll all be do-able without the expansion too, so it’ll definitely be worth a re-install then.

  15. Torgen says:

    Downloaded from Steam last night, started patching this morning and after five minutes had 0.2% done. Saw the comments here and had Steam delete all content from my computer. Totally not worth it.

    I’ve found a way to grind out enough Turbine Points in a few hours in DDO that I can buy adventure packs for free, so I have more than enough there to keep me occupied.

  16. subedii says:

    Completely unrelated, but TF2 is back on sale again, until 8:00 PM UK time (1PM PDT)

    If you didn’t get it yesterday and still want a copy (for friend or foe), grab it while you can.

    http://www.teamfortress.com/post.php?id=3037

  17. sana says:

    Well, hooray for your version of the client needing a mere 1143 MB of patching!

    • sana says:

      Plus, I downloaded a whole 62.4 MB during the last three hours. I’m just going to assume these people are going to run another weekend without the pre-loading mayhem, like it was the case with Unreal Tournament 3.

    • MrMud says:

      Yea, this doesnt exactly reflect well on the game.

  18. Psychopomp says:

    Tried to download for about 24 hours, DC’d, had to start over, uninstalled.

  19. h4plo says:

    Incidentally, I took an almost identical screenshot as the one in the post.

    I thought it was a pretty alright game that was a little bit too content with MMO conventions for my taste. Some things – like travel powers – alleviated this, but only really served to highlight other problems with the genre. I regret spending $50 on it.

    The character creator is really cool, though.

  20. Catastrophe says:

    I made a post about this on the forums but got no shoutout /cry /sulk

  21. Christian says:

    For all of you using Steam and angered about the long patching: Try this solution from the Steam-forums (I also posted it on the official forums, and it seems to work for Steam): http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1007559

    So far it seems funny enough to keep me interested. Even thinking to buy this. Really looks like fun. But I’ve just seen the starting-area so far, and that can’t be taken as a real look on the ‘real’ game (see AOC..).

  22. Rhygadon says:

    Well, add me to the list of people who left the updater running overnight and then gave up.

    The funny thing is, this was exactly my experience with CoX (which I played for years) under Cryptic. Their updater was perversely bad, and all the solutions and workarounds came from players on the forums. Whenever they had a free weekend, the forums would be filled with people reporting that they couldn’t patch in time to get in. And it got worse when I moved outside the US — updates could take days.

    Interestingly, once NCSoft bought them out, updater performance improved tremendously and has remained good ever since.

  23. Psychopomp says:

    MMO’s on steam are fucking weird like that.

  24. Sunjammer says:

    Well, i did let that POS updater run overnight (more like overday. I started early saturday and i could only just start playing).

    I think i’m just allergic to MMOs. For every good element the game has to offer, some trope of the genre comes around to foul up the party. The experience tries to be kinetic, but the lack of responsive feedback to actions makes everything feel molasses slow.

    I did appreciate the lack of grinding, and the funneling is very effective. Then again, the funneling isn’t particularly conducive to multiplayer; Other players were around, but i wasn’t necessarily feeling their presence. It’s a very quiet world.

    You know what i’m sick and tired of? One-off fire and forget quests. This is true for Borderlands and Torchlight as well. Solid gameplay, but there is absolutely no sense of purpose other than gaining levels and loot. I miss a story told in an effective way. Quests i remember are chained and long winding with interesting objectives. Any effing time a quest log puts a number/number counter on my hud i want to just quit playing. Kill X of Y. Pick up X of Y. Use X of Y. Shoot me in the fucking face.

    This brand of MMO has serious fundamental issues from a narrative pov. They want to be effective solo experiences so they funnel the players through reams of text exposition, but also want to be effective multiplayer experiences so the solo content is absolutely forgettable. I’d love to see an MMO with some dynamic, involved storytelling designed around a multiplayer context, rather than try to shoehorn either player group.

    I will say though; All MMOs should have this level of character customization. I absolutely love the character editor!

  25. Lilo says:

    they can still get an xp reward for completing a friend’s mission