Champions Online: The Howling

kittyIt’s quite possible that this blog will quickly degenerate into a combined Champions Online/Star Wars: The Old Republic lovefest, and if that’s the case, you might want to suit up in protective gear to survive the upcoming months. The more I read about Champions, the more I’m physically angry with the world at large that it isn’t here yet. Why must waiting be such sweet sorrow?

As I’ve said previous, City of Heroes has an incredibly fond spot in my heart that will never quite go away. I loved me bright, sparkly superhero action, and for a casual gamer looking to just jump into the fray and do something fun without an hour leading up to it, this fit the bill perfectly. Even this past weekend I mulled over resubbing just to get my superhero fix, although that would mark the first time in my life I would be subbed to three MMOs (WAR, Wizard 101 and whatever). The only thing holding me back, other than my lack of gaming time, is the knowledge that it would be an extremely temporary stay, as I definitely plan to inhabit Champions Online’s universe as long as they don’t pull a Vanguard/Anarchy Online-style launch on me. I can wait, I tell myself. I can wait.

I actually played a smidgen of Champions Online at GenCon Indy, although it was a pretty brief glimpse, since I was there with my father and his friend, and didn’t want to keep them standing around. I played the western-themed area (something gulch), and the impression I got was that it was pretty fluid and very fast-paced.

The big question of “Champions Online or DC Universe Online?” doesn’t really apply to me here.  DCUO has the greater IP, to be sure, but that doesn’t always ensure a great game (see Star Wars Galaxies, Age of Conan, etc.) — and I’m a Marvel man myself.  Besides, Champions comes from Cryptic, a studio that I’ve grown to appreciate, and if City of Heroes is any great indication, Cryptic’s next foray into superhero MMOs has a huge wealth of development information at their backs.

I’m psyched over the big selling features of Champions — being able to mix-and-match powers between sets, customizing power looks, the creation of a persistent nemesis, a huge world full of lore, and multiple locations that aren’t confined to cities, offices, warehouses and caves.  The slightly cel-shaded look is dead on with the comic book theme, which will only help the game to age gracefully when it comes to graphics.

Champions is scheduled for an early 2009 release, but I really doubt we’ll see it until much later this year, judging by the amount of press they’ve been leaking out (it’s a good rule of thumb: the more info and details and interviews, the closer they are).  Beta is underway, and there’s a cool preview of the variety of costumes people have created in it on the website.  I applied a while back for a spot, but so far, no luck.

Up and atom!

5 thoughts on “Champions Online: The Howling

  1. moxie January 25, 2009 / 6:03 pm

    I too am anxiously awaiting this title. We here at Chateau Moxie love comic books and superheroes, and ADORED City of Heroes, so we are all about Champions.

    We’re DC people, but I think that Champions will win out ultimately. Cryptic did amazing work with CoH, so I’m trusting them for the next superhero MMO.

    What I would love to see from Cryptic, in order to generate more publicity and excitement for the game, is for them to release the character creater software (a la Spore and EQ2) 3-4 weeks before the actual launch. Let people play around with it for a nominal fee ($5 or so) so that come launch day, we’re not spending an hour fiddling with our costumes, coming up with names/concepts/power choices, and so on.

  2. Syp January 25, 2009 / 9:43 pm

    Moxie, you want to form a supergroup?

  3. Bleys February 2, 2009 / 1:39 pm

    I agree with you on everything. City of Heroes was great but I am holding on for Champions to get my super hero fix.

    After many years of playing the tabletop game it will be great to create your favorite character and see them in action on the screen.

  4. Looner February 3, 2009 / 2:47 am

    I have to admit that I’m a bit nervous about Champions. I enjoyed CoH quite a lot, and I’m impressed that they’re keeping the things that worked well (extensive character customization) correcting the things that failed (repetitive environments and missions, too-restrictive power options), adding some things people wanted (power customization), and adding some truly innovative features (nemesis creation).

    But despite all that, I have serious concerns about the core gameplay. Aiming at the consoles first always seems to make for a very weak PC game, and if I’m going to play a twitch game there are a million better platforms for it than an MMO. I’ve grown accustomed to a complexity level in games that requires a bare minimum of 2 12-slot action bars to work. I’m having a hard time seeing anything that will work with only 4-6 buttons not feeling dumbed down and simplistic to most MMO players.

    Perfectly willing to wait and see, but I’m worried enough about the gameplay that I’m certainly not excited about it.

  5. Steve May 13, 2009 / 4:40 pm

    If you like button mashing this is your game! If you have a 360 and LOVE to press one button over and over again to do a special move, then this is your game!
    If you want a limit of 7 powers being available for use at any time, then this is your game.

    I didnt htink it was possible, but this is a button mash MMO to include little powerups that fly out of your enemy while fighting them.

    This is the Teenaged Mutant Ninja Turtles 80’s arcade game in a MMO environment.

    I left the beta it got so bad. what I have said can be found in the standard community forums so its nothing that is not already out there.

    I wondered why Marvel pulled the liscense from them, Now I know.

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