|Jan. 22nd, 2013 @ 07:03 pm Operation Post More v2.0 #2 - Champions Online thoughts|
|Champions Online for almost two months now. It's a superhero-based MMORPG from the company that first developed City of Heroes. No, I can't remember the full story of what happened. It might have something to do with the time that Cryptic was sued by Marvel Comics because players could create the likes of Wolverine and Spider-Man in CoH's costume creator, but I could be wrong.
As I said yesterday I've been trying out |
Anyway! Cryptic is behind Champions Online too, so I figured that it must do a lot of the things that I liked in CoH. And, well, even though there are bits I don't like I've still been playing it solidly for almost two months now, so they must have done something right...
Developed by: Cryptic, Published by: Perfect World Entertainment
Running since: September 2009
I've been playing since: December 2012 (lots)
...but I'm going to have to do another review later, because on reflection there's a lot of Champions Online I haven't tried yet. I have yet to get a character up to maximum level, I've hardly grouped at all, and there are these fast missions that you can queue for called Smash Alerts which I've avoided because people get irritated by clueless under-levelled newbies showing up in Smash Alerts.
If there's so much I haven't yet seen, then what have I seen to make me stick with the game solidly for two months so far? Let's start at the beginning.
1. Free to Play, or blending a steak and drinking it through a straw
Champions Online is, in theory, free-to-play, like most MMORPGs on the market today. In theory, you can also blend a steak and drink it through a straw.
Champions Online's free-to-play model gives you a very watered-down experience of the full game. You only get two character slots, you only get 10 (out of 20+) Archetypes, you don't get access to the freeform option at all (which is the game's biggest strength), and until you get one of your two characters to level 10, you don't even get the full version of the character creator! You only get a very limited set of options that are applicable to your archetype.
The idea, of course, is to get you to part with your cash to buy features of the game that you want. I started doing this, buying individual parts of the game I wanted to try. Then I realised I was being a sucker. A free-form character slot, which I was really wanting to try, costs US$50. A 3-month subscription costs less than $50 and unlocks a huge number of things, including all the other Archetypes, a lot more costume options, a lot of character slots, and all of them can be freeform.
2. Free-form characters and the costume creator
The free-form character system, if you ask me, is one of the best character-creation systems I've seen in an MMORPG. (Though my sample space iss a bit low, being limited to CoH, WOW, and CO.) With only a few limitations, you can mix powers from any powerset. Do you want to be a superhero who can fly, manipulate the wind around him, and can bash enemies around with an oversized wand? You can do that. Do you want to be telepathic telekinetic cryokinetic? You can do that too. How about a half-man half-bear who shoots people with a gun stolen from aliens? You can do that. You can even do a mini-Gundam who fights with laser swords and laser guns for great justice and the search for what it means to be a hero.
You can even create the fabled flying tankmage who can do absolutely everything.
The costume creator is not quite as hugely versatile as City of Heroes's character creator, but it is still very good. As well as half-man half-bears, you've got golden age options, silver-age options, 90s anime design options, wizardy and witchy options, halloween-y options and more besides. Though there are a lot of costume packs that you have to buy, even if you're a subscriber. Le sigh.
Best thing about the costume creator - your costume is completely independent of your gear. You can look however you like. Very important in a superhero game.
3. Enough of that, how does it play?
It's very actiony. You have a block button, which you use to block powers, and if you don't use it you will fail. A lot. You often need to pay attention to positioning. You have an Energy meter which you use powers to charge up, then spend to use on other, harder-hitting powers. Enemies, rather than dropping potions that you can use later, drop items that you pick up for an immediate boost to health or damage or whatever.
Originally Champions Online was going to be available on consoles as well and its actiony feel reflects that.
One of the biggest complaints I hear about the game is "I don't like the combat". Because it really is a whole lot more actiony and console-ish than people might be used to from other MMORPGs.
You have fewer powers / skills than you might be used to - at level 40 you'll have gotten only 14 powers. The game gets around this a bit by having chargeable powers. Tap the Fireball button and you get small fireball. Hold the button down and fully charge it, and the fireball is HUGE and hits a lot more opponents. You get multiple powers for the price of one.
The game also does with two defensive powers what City of Heroes might have done with six. In the end, you won't find the "only 14 powers" all that restrictive.
You can *also*, in a superheroy way, pick up things you find lying around to throw at your enemies. Such as cars and, if you're strong enough, tanks. My character isn't strong enough for tanks, but just the other day she picked up the bad guys' truck and threw it at them. This option was very buggy until recently, because you couldn't see what you'd just picked up, but it's been fixed. You can now clearly see that your character has just ripped that lamp-post out of the ground and is holding it up in the air.
I quite like this option now that it's been fixed. :)
I said yesterday that one of my favourite things about CoH is that it let you play the game how you wanted to. Champions Online is certainly a lot like this.
One thing that's bugged me a lot is that there is a gear treadmill and you can't ignore it. I didn't realise how much I hated the gear treadmill until I was able to get off it in CoH. I extremely dislike having a +20 Dex helmet of awesomeness and a +18 dex +18 recovery eyepiece of Freem and having to decide which is better, especially in light of the +23 Strength earpiece of Green that I just picked up.
More to come later!
As I said, I need to play the game a bit more, and group up a lot more, to get a better idea of what the game's like. Until then, I'll leave things here.
Next time, I review The Hobbit: An unexpected Journey.