Someone on my forums asked about targeting in Champions Online — how it worked. As strange a question as it seems, the answer is somewhat interesting (I think, anyway).
So how to target a mob? Well you can click on it, of course. Or hit whatever key you have bound to “Select Enemy” and toggle through mobs in the vicinity. But there are choices beyond that. You can set an option that will have you auto-target anything that attacks you (provided, of course, you have nothing currently targeted — this option won’t switch targets on you). You can set an option that lets you target a friend, and instead of attacking your friend, you’ll attack whatever he has targeted (kind of a dynamic assist). Or you can set an option where hitting an attack key will automatically target the nearest enemy. I can’t recall seeing that last option in any other MMORPG, but I may be wrong. The other options are common enough, but it’s nice to have them all available, and all optional, in Champions Online.
Now let’s talk types of skills. I’ve found four so far.
First is the Energy Builder. This is a rapid fire, low damage attack that builds up your character’s energy (used to perform other skills). You can choose how to access this skill. You can require a key to be held down constantly while it fires, or you can choose from two ‘toggle’ variations. In the first, the skill will continue to auto-fire until you turn it off; this is a great way to draw lots of aggro if you have the ‘auto-target’ option on. Or you can choose a toggle that gets canceled when you change targets. I suggest that last option. Your energy builder will continue to fire on your current target whenever you’re not using another skill — basically it’ll work like a default auto-attack in other games.
Next skill type is what I call a standard MMO skill. You hit a button, the skills sucks down some of your energy and fires off, then a cooldown timer starts and you have to wait to use the skill again.
Skill type three is the charge up. This kind of skill gets more powerful the longer you hold down its hotkey, and only fires when you let the key back up. There’s an onscreen meter that fills up to indicate how charged the skill is. I believe some of these skills have some extra effect if you charge them to the max. With a little practice you get a feeling of how much you have to charge a skill in order to kill off a wounded baddie, without wasting the time of over-charging it.
The last skill type is what I call the Charge Down. These skills start firing as soon as you press the hotkey, and will continue to fire as long as you hold it down, or until an onscreen meter empties (essentially the charge-up meter in reverse). If you manage to get off a full ‘clip’ you’ll get some bonus effect at the end of using the skill.
I’m no CO expert, so there may be more skill types I haven’t discovered yet.
Playing different characters that use different types of skills feels a lot, well, different, and I think it’ll give some legs to Champions Online in terms of alts (or re-speccing). This is even without looking at the “Power pools” and damage types of the specific skills.
I hope anyone who knows more about the game that I do will jump in and correct anything I get wrong in these posts!