With the launch of Champions just days away, I wanted to give you a heads up on a few things that will help you right out of the gate — and that you don’t want to be kicking yourself for not finding out about after you’ve been in the game for a month or two. So here goes!
1. Stats Matter
Probably one of the easiest mistakes to make right off the bat is to skim past the somewhat unwieldy stat selection screen (if you’re making a custom framework character) to get to the character editor. Be careful! Your choice of stats matters greatly in relation to your powers — this handy guide is a nice reference tool for that.
At levels 5 and 13, you get what’s known as a “super-stat” (so, two total). These two stats, whichever you choose, will be the main stats that boost your damage (as well as doing whatever the stats originally did). So you might be building an intellect hero and make intelligence a super-stat for damage, versus a Superman-type doing strength.
2. Mix-And-Match vs. Dedicated Frameworks
At the start, Champions lets you choose whether you want a character’s powers to all be in the same framework (framework=powerset in Champions parlance) as a cookie-cutter build, or if you want to mix-and-match with a custom framework. Trust me, go custom — the real joy in this game is getting to make the hero you want with the selection of powers that appeals to you.
The only thing you need to keep in mind for custom frameworks is how the power selection is handled. In each framework, powers exist in tiers — Tier 0, Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3. Everyone can always select any power that’s in any framework’s Tier 0 (provided you are at a level that you can choose new powers), but to progress up the tiers to the “better” powers means that you have to fulfill one of two requirements:
- Tier 1: That you already have 1 power from that framework, or 2 non-energy builder powers from any other framework
- Tier 2: 3 powers from that framework, or 5 non-energy builders from any other framework
- Tier 3: 5 powers from that framework, or 8 non-energy builders from any other framework
So basically, if you devote yourself to getting powers within one framework, you’re going to be able to access the top tiers of that framework more quickly than if you’re more mix-and-match — BUT after a certain point in the game, when you have 8 non-energy building powers of any kind, all tiers in all powersets will be open to you. The only question is how quickly do you want to get to the tier 3 goodies.
3. Secrets Abound In The Tutorial
You might be tempted, especially after your first run-through, to speed through the initial tutorial zone as fast as possible (and I wouldn’t blame you!). But you’d be missing out on the start of one of Champions’ fun features, the Perk system, which gives you perk points for various achievements, which can then be spent later on goodies. The tutorial has a number of perks to nab, which are unobtainable once you leave — so be sure to get them on your way! A few of the “secrets” include:
- Jump on top of one of the first crashed alien vessels (“Red Bug Down” perk)
- A cat crate hidden among the rubble that starts a quest (“Reggie’s Owner” quest)
- A mission (“Batter Up”) to save Foxbat, who’s trapped under rubble by a fountain – as an added bonus, you get to keep Foxbat’s gun when you finish the quest!
- A mission to help trapped civvies you get via radio when you’re near some cop cars
- Near Silverback (the holographic gorilla) is a cop car that gives you the “Save Kinetic” quest when you click on it
- You get a perk for doing all of the missions in the tutorial, including the semi-hidden ones
4. Customize Your Powers’ Visuals
Emanation points and hues are fun, easy ways to make your power visuals stand out from the pack. Right-click on any power on your action bar to pull up the customization screen. It’s as simple as using sliders and drop down menus to tweak your looks.
5. Get A Defensive Power As Your Third Selection
Upon exiting the first tutorial zone, you’ll get your selection of both a new power and a travel power (yay!). While it’s tempting to get something flashy for your new power, we recommend that your third power be a defensive one — most all frameworks offer a solid defensive power in their Tier 1′s.
6. The Powerhouse Is An Awesome Tool
“Try before you buy” is the motto of the powerhouse, and you best make use of it. You can do two wonderful things here:
- Pick a power and then test it out in a training room to make sure you like it — if not, you can replace it with another power as long as you’re still in the powerhouse.
- Respec your character — respecs in Champions work sort of in reverse of how you’ve been building your character. You pay some resources (money) to undo the last thing you added to your character (power, stat, advantages, whatever), and keep undoing the ones previous to that until you get to the point where you’ve undone whatever you don’t like. You can only respec up to the past 10 choices you’ve picked.
7. Judge Ye Not The Game By The Tutorial Zones
Champions actually has two tutorial zones. There’s the initial one (the alien attack), then a choice between two “crisis zones” — the desert or Canada. Both are designed to let you get your super-legs before tossing you into the main game, and unfortunately, both are lacking in comparison to what the game is like past the crisis zones. So if you feel a little… underwhelmed… by the tutorials, just know that you’re plowing through some of the dullest parts of the game.
8. Outlining: It’s Not For Everybody
Some people like Champions’ signature “outlining” visuals, some don’t. If you aren’t a fan, then hop into the options, select “visuals”, then “advanced graphics”, then deselect outlining. As a bonus, turning off outlining actually improves game performance.
9. The @ Factor
Instead of having separate servers or shards, everyone will play on the same server in Champions. Every player can choose whatever name they like for their characters, as they’ll always have an @NAME attached to the end of them in chat (but not above their heads).
The @NAME factor changes things up a bit from other MMOs. The first thing is that you will have to watch your reputation a bit more — there’s no getting away from your fixed surname, so if you’re a jerk on Wildbeast@Syp, people will still know it’s you when you’re Flutterfire@Syp (Flutterfire is copyright me, and I have a team of lawyers at my command to enforce it).
The other thing to consider is that the @NAME thing makes it a ton easier to keep track of friends — everyone plays on the same server, with a constant surname, so there’s no sweating which server (and perhaps, which friends) to be with.
10. Swinging Is Awesome
That is all.
(*Because Ysharros has a dirty mind, I have to come back and clarify: swinging the TRAVEL POWER.)