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Champions Online: Free for All ― Lonely Heroes Club

 

Once upon a time, after the release of the game I tried the paying version out in a free weekend, and I wrote my first impressions about Champions Online, but that is not actual anymore. Cryptic Studios (they gave us the Star Trek MMO too) restarted the whole heroismo in a partly free version with microtransactions.

Alien mother shipWhat you basically must know about the game can be summarized in short: The game system and the setting is based on Champions PnP (Pen and Paper) superhero role-playing game, and the microtransaction model doesn’t decrease the enjoyment level.

Of course, if you pay for the game, you get more possibilities, but that doesn’t mean that you can be stronger with the bought options. For example, you can entirely customize the powers and appearance of your hero, while free players can improve their characters only in given directions. However, because only the style and the side effects (stunning, freeze, poison, etc.) make differences between the powers, paying players get no better or stronger things, but they have significantly more options.

Mentioning style… How can a superhero video game grab players who doesn’t know the original PnP role-playing game? With style, of course.

There are no Marvel or DC comics characters known by millions to make the setting unique. The gameplay is the same as offered by other MMOs and superhero games: You beat the bad guys and take the reward. Graphics is prime, but this is a requirement nowadays. What do remain, if not the style?

City02And the game is stylish, that’s a fact, or I can write that it’s rioting in cool elements. So that somewhere I can’t even interpret the abundance offered by the developers.

It’s because I have a character, it’s appearance was made unique during character creation, and I don’t wanna change it. Well, a few days ago I gave her a cape, but I don’t get used to the sight and I’m not sure I will keep it. In words, I have a unique toon and I wouldn’t buy 99 percent of the costumes in C-Store even if I could. Maybe the devices and some other things, but I don’t feel the lack of them. The only things I needed were the Inventory Slots.

After all, what is worth to pay for, is the full customization. As a free player you get only two third of the possibilities, speaking about character creation as well as the available missions. Free characters can walk through only the development line of their archetype, chosen in the first step of character creation, and there are only a few selectable powers in it. In spite of this on the paying side you don’t have to develop your character “archetipically”: you can choose your abilities from the great sum of all the powers.

CanadaAnd using these you can kill all the dumpling-headed aliens, the various gangsters of the Westside, the strange frogmen, the humanoid robots, the terrorists nestling in Canada, the slightly radiating people in the Mohave Desert, the various soldiers here and there and a lot of other foes.

Because there are plenty of foes everywhere, and it is not surprising. Think about a world where you can block a river with lightning fast supers rushing on the street or flying high in the sky. And they are really needed, because there is no Superman to grind the buglike extra terrestrials harassing people in the City Center by hundreds in the tutorial.

And he is not there in the desert to bring down all the super villains causing a nuclear disaster, because they feel themselves better in 1000 Grays of radiation. After you killed them, in the neighborhood you can find some hostile military bases, a western amusement park full of robots (terrorists reprogrammed them to attack all humans), a ghost town, and the big four-armed humanoid Gronds, who are something like natives there. And there is the Stronghold, known as the most secure prison of super villains: no one came out yet, but there is a riot inside.

Da bombThe list is endless. It is apparent, that the thirty years old Champions role-playing game with all of its setting, organizations and gangs and unique monsters, was available for the developers. And with all the adventures which are playing in this setting.

In the same area, mostly got from the same client missions are almost always connected to each other, and so they make adventures, which in the end go into a fight against some lesser or bigger super villain. Somewhere behind the whole global troubles there stands Doctor Destroyer and his companions. These latter you will defeat, they are waiting for you in a row, and finally the doc will appear too.

For all of this the central area is Millennium City, in which you can find everything you need: the sleazy docks, the ghetto full of gangs, the Chinese district, the futuristic City Center and the steampunk Renaissance Center, which is playing a central role every time, and which have the highest buildings in the city. You can fly, so height is not a problem — hell knows how high you are allowed to go, because looking down from the roof of a building in the Renaissance Center you see a city far away, covered with fog and mist, and I had no mood for going higher.

Hazardous bossTo tell something about the failures, I must mention two things. First, there is a lack of information, mostly relating the powers. I found a power which can be developed to have an Area of Effect (and maximum 3 foes in that area), but because it is a Combo Power, you need to activate it somehow. The description says “Executed when the requirements are met”, but it tells nothing else, and after an hour of deep drilling on the internet it still remained unknown for me that what those requirements would be.

Besides, the weakest point of the whole game is the lack of something like a feeling of community. In theory, you play with an MMO because you want (at least, subconsciously) to meddle into adventures with other players. But somehow in Champions Online we just get by each other. Players are talking, with some effort you can find even role-players too, and there is no lack of helpfulness — but it happened that I was invited into a party only one time during a whole month. Maybe, it is because the game is too “soloable”, but this is rather a Lonely Heroes Club than a meeting place of little super adventurer groups.

Garcius

champions online boxWhat I liked:
graphics treated with comic shader
really stylish
based on a role-playing game
smooth character development

What I didn’t like:
lack of community” feeling
lack of information

5_45

 

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