Champions Online

As much as I love STO, doing the same grind day-after-day is starting to get tiresome. It’s time for a little diversification!
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For the last few days I have been poking at another Cryptic game, Champions Online. This is, of course, based off the award-winning pen-and-paper superhero RPG Champions — one of the longest running superhero RPGs still on the market, from what I know. The MMO seems to have done a good job translating it to an easily accessible medium, and creating a character from one of the preset templates is fairly intuitive. So Fungi and I decided to dive in and give it a whirl.

The interesting thing about Champions Online is that the player interface is practically identical to STO, easing the learning curve considerably. Even a lot of the emotes are the same, and the really odd part is that the chat channels cross both games. Handy though!

Since we are only three days in, we are obviously still very green. One thing that strikes me is the starting world of Millennium City feels suitably large and expansive: you can travel from the city hub to the edge of town without a loading screen. I’m not entirely sure why STO couldn’t do this when traveling between sectors; surely there are a lot more graphical objects in a city than a bunch of stars in space. It’s a relatively small thing, but removing that loading screen transition makes the whole experience a lot smoother.

Due to the nature of the genre, you’re bound to see some weird and outlandish characters in the game. As character generation goes, the toons are more cartoony than STO, and there are less detailed customization to facial features. You’re not going to be able to create anyone realistic-looking (or even good-looking….), but again that’s appropriate to the comic book genre.

As a silver (i.e. free) player, I can only make two starting toons. In no particular order, these are my two brand new superheroes:

2015-01-07_00001First up is Flashfreeze, obviously an ice-power-based hero(ine), in a suitably unrealistic costume designed for cold temperatures. 😉 I have yet to write up a full background for her, but in my mind she is normally-mild-mannered law-firm-intern Chloe Gleeson, who manifested her powers after her deadbeat supervillain dad came home to bother her and her mom.

She is teamed with Fungi’s toon Malavile, a fire-based demoness-lawyer (which I dubbed “Devil’s Advocate” — ain’t I clever?). I’m not sure how these two became a team, but come on, fire and ice is the classic combination, isn’t it? We’re still learning how to coordinate the two; in Champions Online fire-preset is classified as ranged damage, and ice-preset is tank, but against tough foes we’re “defeated” quite often. Right now Flashfreeze can’t tank very well because the mobs seem to want to go after Malavile (because she’s doing most of the damage?); this requires more investigation if these two are going to survive!

2015-01-07_00002My second toon is this guy, Fire-Ant. Right now he has wings — but he doesn’t fly — I actually wanted to get the insect legs on his back but that costume piece is not available to free players, so I may have to buy it later on.

Fire-Ant already has a background written up; without going into too much detail, he’s essentially an immoral crook who came across superpowers, but a series of coincidences and misunderstandings ruined his debut as a supervillain, and forced him into the role of a reluctant superhero. So while he enjoys the admiration of the adoring public (especially the female fans!), he’s still an immoral jackass at heart and a shameless flirt/lecher. His story is going to be around finding redemption (whether he actually wants to redeem himself or not is another story), and how he tries to act like a hero when being heroic is so against his nature.

Fire-Ant is teamed with Fungi’s other toon, Spectrella, who is a…. I’m not sure, actually, sorcery-based character? The odd combo works better than Flashfreeze and Malavile, mainly because some of Fire-Ant’s attacks actually generate Threat and he does a good job getting enemies’ attention, leaving Spectrella to smack them down from a safe distance.

As of today all these toons are only at level 10-11, with a long way to go to experience the rest of the game. I’m liking it so far though, it’s a nice, fresh diversion from STO. Hopefully at some point we will join the equivalent of guilds/fleets on Champions, and be part of a team like the Justice League or Avengers. Or X-Men. Or Legion of Losers. Either way, it should be fun!

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