Monday, August 20, 2012

Going back to Champions Online - part 1

Champions Online is the MMO that people seem to forget exists, but still has a group of people playing it. I go back every so often to spend my built up gold on shiny costumes and play around with the character editor.

They've revamped quite a few things, and I'm starting to wonder if I can even play the game with my older characters from 3 years ago. They have this thing where they give you a quest that kinda fixes where you are and what you should be doing, especially if you are low level. Whole zones seem to have been retooled, while keeping the same shape. So I have a great deal of exploring to do. I have a bit of an off week from school, having finished some work ahead of time, and I figured, I'd spend it in Champions Online.

Consider this a 3 year progress report.

First impressions from hopping back on to CO, is that they do an excellent job telling you everything you missed from 3 years ago. They have a nice comic book style set of pages that pop up, they tell you to check out the new stuff, and they also tell you that gear has been revamped, and that new stuff you get will wildly outclass your old stuff. And so far, it is slightly better. They redid the gear system, so you have only a primary and secondary slot.

Along with powers you can specialize starting at level 10 (think a talent system) that is actually based on your primary and secondary stats. This means that an Ego hero will have talents that are different from a Strength hero. Overall, quite a bit of depth has been added to the characters.

As a free to play game, I have trouble rating this, so imagine my review is coming from someone who wants to sub into the game (this gives access to all stories and some costumes as well as custom power sets. The thing is that all of this can be "bought" if you want your silver account to have access to certain benefits without having to keep paying a monthly fee.

Where CO seems to really be trying to define itself is with costumes and powersets. Some costumes can ONLY be unlocked by playing the game, and others require money. They also have a billion and a half new movement powers which I greedily bought. Quite a few are to fit specific characters that I have made (in particular the Phoenix Flight).

The game is still fun, and they even have a new system I'll be checking out which is a sort of Dungeon Finder. Except it has different categories with different rewards. I'll get to those later. The main thing is, is that the game is similar but different. It has progressed leaps and bounds in what it can do, and might be worth another look to people who like making characters and running around with super powers.

I've always liked Champions Online, and quite frankly, they've only improved with time. Though some people will say its more of the same, I don't particularly hate this kind of gameplay. Instead I find it a great form of abnegation.

A few other notes, the game can be hard to solo. It is important to pick up defensive powers and to shield the big attacks. Playing with a friend is more fun, but then again, that's always true. I've been wanting to find a friend to play with, but most people are committed to their games already. I'll update later with my experiences rerolling a character from level 1.