It’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!