ZOMG! Champions Online NDA drops

So I am the ultimate authority on everything related to Champions Online, given that I beta tested for a whole 2-day preview weekend and got a Champion almost to cap (level 11). So *anything* you want to know… I’m your source.

I know my regular readers don’t need this disclaimer, but for the random passerby, the above was sarcasm.

Anyway, I got into a preview weekend a few weeks back and created 3 different characters, the highest getting to level 11. I have not really followed the game, or hung out on forums, or anything like that, but based on my weekend I did pre-order the game and am looking forward to playing more.

If I had to sum up the game, I’d say: City of Heroes 2.0. You can see a lot of CoH in the game, but of course the Champions RPG system changes things a lot (I assume…I’m also not familiar with the Champions RPG!). If you hated City of Heroes you’ll probably hate Champions Online. If you loved CoH but are ready for a variation on a theme, then boy, are you gonna be a happy camper.

Random tips for 1st time beta testers

Character Creation: I totally missed all the goodies on my first toon. There’re some tabs at the top of the character creation window that you have to click on to change your costume. By default you see the stuff to change the avatar model itself. The legs tab doesn’t show at all and you have to click a triangle that is supposed to be an arrow to find those.

I know I know, very obvious. But the first character I made, I missed that those tabs were clickable UI bits, and I’ve seen at least one other person claim there’s no way to change legs, because he missed the triangle-arrow thingie.

During character creation you’re going to pick 2 skills. One is a low-damage “energy builder” and the other is your first powerhouse attack (that uses the energy you’re going to build). Those two skills are going to be with you for the life of the character, but every other skill you take can be unlearned, so once you get leveling, experiment with abandon.

You get travel powers at level 5 (maybe an hour in). When you go into the training hall, choose your travel power *last* before leaving. Why? Because when you return to the training hall, you can unlearn the last thing you learned for free. So you can unlearn “Tunneling” and try “Rocket Boots”. By learning a travel power last, you can try several to find one you enjoy. Rocket Boots are the fastest and I warn you: it’s hard to use anything else once you’ve enjoyed the speed of Rocket Boots.

The early game reminds me of LOTRO beginnings, if you’ve played that. You first go through a small tutorial instance. Then you travel to one of two starter areas which are also instances, but that might not be immediately evident. Player population in these was really limited in closed beta (~25 people) and you can spend a decent amount of time there. So don’t get discouraged thinking “This is it? This isn’t an MMO!” Once you defeat the Foozle of the area you’re in, the walls come down, the zone opens up and you hit much larger population zones.

If you’re going to craft, DO pick a crafting profession and level it up in that 25-man instance. There’s a LOT of low level crafting mats in there, and once you head out into the big game world, finding enough materials to get your first 50 points or so of crafting becomes tedious.

So why’d I pre-order?

I really enjoy the character creation, same as I did with CoH. I am NOT one of the “I’m sick of questing, sick of levels” MMO player contingent. If you are, then you’re going to disappointed in Champions Online, as it is absolutely about questing and gaining levels. But there are no classes, and that’s one aspect I really enjoyed. Once your character is created, you can choose skills from any power pool, so you can really customize your character in interesting ways. That said, many skills have prerequisites that nudge you towards being a bit focused. So a Martial Arts Power might have a prerequisite of 2 Martial Arts Powers or 4 Powers (Pool unspecified). That means you can take it as Power #3 if your first two Powers were also in the Martial Arts tree, but it’ll have to be your 5th Power otherwise. So by sticking to 1 or 2 Power Pools you can get higher ‘level’ Powers earlier.

Knowing myself, I see me with a bunch of low-mid level characters with bizarre skill sets. I don’t think this will be an “Achiever” game at all for me. It’s going to be about creating strange superheroes and seeing how they play.

Which leads me to my biggest concern. As far as I can tell, there is just 1 “Server” (with every normal play zone instanced and allowing ~100 players inside) and you have X character slots (I don’t recall the number. 6, 7, or 8 I think) for your account. I can easily imagine running out of character slots, which is the one thing that makes the Lifetime membership intriguing (it comes with 8 additional slots).

Sorry this is so scattered and rambly… I didn’t prepare a post in advance and I’m bashing this out while eating lunch at work. 🙂 Also why I have no art… screenies are all at home.

8 thoughts on “ZOMG! Champions Online NDA drops

  1. I’m sure they’ll have to, eventually. If they send out any kind of “Buddy Key” with the retail box, I’ll hook you up.

  2. I am a conservative guy, no superheroes for me. But I like the 1 world model, playing with everyone that plays the game is possible, beat that! I also love the naming system, which is actually almost mandatory in the 1 world model.

    BTW: Burned out from Aion this weekend, behind the pretty face and the many positive aspects of engine and client, it is still an Asian abomination that just lacks content – even if they promise to add tons of it in the EU/NA release patch 1.5…! brr I feel bad. 🙁

  3. @Longasc make an un-super hero then 🙂 Personally I loved City of Heroes so I’m grateful for this review. Ty Pete.

  4. I broke down and got a Fileplanet sub, so I’ll be in the open beta. What are your character names?

    The pre-order deal of 6 months for $60 bucks isn’t bad. That’s what I’d pay for a 360 game, and few last so many months. I doubt the game differs from typical MMOs enough for me to want to subscribe, but I’ll consider that deal if I do.

  5. Well I’m still at work and I’m pretty sure they wiped closed beta characters, so I don’t know yet. But I’ll post here or on Twitter when I have a name to share.

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