As I said on my podcast, I spent my MMO budget this month on a freeform character slot in Champions Online to scratch that superhero itch that’s been driving me nuts as of late. Yes, the slot is stupidly expensive, but it’s the only real alternative to subscribing if you want to recapture the real fun of building up a superhero from scratch.
My hero is Threshold, a Russian telepath. I gave her a pretty cool winter outfit theme, complete with parka and fuzzy hat. Mental powers are petty cool to mess around with, although I vaguely recall that these were the same powers I did way back when. Champions has a terrifically rich character creator, and I must’ve spent about an hour or so crafting the perfect-looking outfit. I had to disable all of the purchasable options, because they’re way too expensive and too tempting. Even so, there’s a lot to choose from that’s free.
It’s been a long, long, long time since I was last in Champions past the tutorial, and it’s amazing to me how much does come back to you. However, I did forget the colors — dang, this game is vibrant. It’s full of so many primary and bold colors that just pop out at you, and I find it kind of cheery because of that.
It looks like they’ve reordered the beginning of the game somewhat from how it used to be. After the tutorial (which is a lot shorter now), you get sent to the city for some footwork and THEN ordered to go to Canada or the desert. I think that’s a good move, getting players used to the city hub of the game right off the bat.
I’ve been experimenting with my powers and doing a little bit of retconning to pick better ones. My travel power choice was really agonizing. The game now has a ridiculous number of travel powers, seriously, like the most bizarre things ever. Scarab tunneling? Okay. The free powers are more limited, mostly superspeed, super jump, teleportation, flight, and a couple of skills that combine a lesser form of superspeed and super jump. I keep going with flight, because it’s all-around useful. Hopefully I can earn one of the other travel powers later on in the game. Would very much like to try them.
There’s a lot to figure out, especially in regards to the new alerts, fusing items together, what’s the best build for my character, the new vehicles, and so on. I don’t see me playing it more than once a week or so, but it’s a good dip-in-and-out title that has a different feel than most else out there. I do like the combat a lot, particularly when I got re-used to the whole energy-building mechanic. There are a lot of telepathy skills I’m looking forward to acquiring and trying out.
I know that Champions was really struggling as the smallest kid in Cryptic’s household, although scuttlebutt says that it’s blossoming somewhat now that it’s absorbed a portion of the City of Heroes refugees. I’m still amazed by how much I see CoH in Champions. It’s not identical, but they’re related by blood. At least the refugees have options instead of, y’know, nothing. I think it’s a good time to give CO a second look, and so far I’m quite pleased with what I’ve been finding.