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Champions Online

*gets out a duster and wipes away some of the dust that settled on the community*

Well, it has been quite a while since anyone of us has posted anything in here, so I thought I might as well write a little something about Champions Online (CO for short), since I've (ok, the other two as well) been playing it for a month, maybe two.

First of all: If you are used to other MMORPGs like DDO for example where you execute your attacks and interactions with a (single) click, you need to get used to CO's controls. Because like in Star Trek Online, you use the number-keys on the keyboard for your attacks/powers.
But once you got used to that, it goes rather well. Another thing: your weapons are usually set by the powers you have. No searching for the "Holy Greatsword of Instant Killing +40" here.
The first thing you will encounter after setting up an account and logging in with it is - as in any other RPG - the Character Creator.
And oh my god, this game has in my opinnion the mother of character creators! Usually I am done with creating a character after 30 minutes MAX! In CO it can happen that I take more than an hour for creating my character.
But in return, you get the chance to create a completely unique character. Your character's look can range from a skinny man/woman in just their underwear to demons in heavy plate or IronMan-like Powerarmors (as seen in the following two pics).

Evidence #1: Even Demons are a welcomed help in the CO-Universe!

What is better than a Powerarmor equipped with a retractable Minigun? A Powerarmor accompanied by two mini-robots equipped with a Minigun each...

What kind of powers you got at your disposal depends though on your account type:
Silver Accounts (free accounts) can only pick a few "Archetypes" unless they spend money in the shop to unlock other Archetypes and Freeform Characters (Freeform = completely customizable in their powers) while Gold Accounts (monthly fee) get access to ALL Archetypes and Freeform Characters right from the beginning.
While the Archetypes aren't bad, they do have some disadvantages compared to Freeform characters in my opinnion.
While they do take away the figuring out of "which power should I take next" for you by having them all already defined in the Archetype itself (and I can't complain about the powers my "Inferno"-Archetype has in general), on the other hand, ranged Archetypes remain ranged and quickly have problems when Melee-Henchmen and -Villains close in on you while as a Freeform you can say "OK, my character is going to be mainly ranged, but lets put in one or two melee-powers for just in case!".
Also: Superstats (the only stats that rise with levelling up) are pre-set in an Archetype and if none of your two Superstats is called "Constitution" you run low on health damn fast depending on your Archetype (to compare: my "inferno" does not have Constitution as a Superstat and died more than 50 times on his way to lv26, while my freeform powersuit with Superstat Constitution has a total of 14 deaths so far... while also being lv26 by now)

Then there is something called "Role". Every character has a role. Like with Superstats and Powers it is pre-set for Archetypes.
The role influences melee & ranged damage, hitpoints, energy generation and some other factors which I didn't grasp yet since I didn't play a Crowd Controller or (fulltime) Healer yet.
E.g.: The role "Avenger" excels at ranged damage, but suffers a 10% (since last update, before it were 20%) penalty on hitpoints, while the "Protector" excels at hitpoints and defenses while suffering a damage penalty on his attacks. Once again the Freeform characters have an advantage to the Archetypes, since they can switch their role whenever they want to, to whatever they want to (it's as if a DnD Fighter decides in the middle of the battle to turn into a mage 'cause it fits the situation better). Personally I think that it would be a bit better if Freeform characters had to decide on their role in the character creation process and then stick to it, but I can live with the solution CO chose.

Once you're done with creating your Hero, you get into the Tutorial (which you can skip, once you completed it with at least one character) in which you get thrown right in the middle of an ongoing alien attack on Millenium City, the main "Hub" of the game with a little cutscene including voice acting for MCPD Chief Surhoff in it talking about how the chances to defend the city against the Qullar are very slim without a hero, and at that point the camera that flew over the city moves to you: the hero of the hour!
The cutscenes may not be worthy an Oscar, but they are nice and entertaining and make you part of the story.
The missions are depending on their objectives short to medium in length and most of them result in a small story arc (at least) of which you have a feeling that it again is a piece of a bigger story arc spanning through the whole game.

Like every online RPG i encountered so far, CO also has Player vs Player (PvP) elements, namely Duels (which can be declined by the challenged player since - and let's be honest about it - it can be quite annoying when a lv30+ character challenges a lv6 character fresh out of the tutorial) and the so called "Hero Games" which are to be honest quite a lot of fun, especially the "Zombie Apocalypse" mode.
In the Hero Games, every character gets temporarily to lv20 - no matter what level that character normally is! - to even out the chances a bit.
And in the Zombie Apocalypse scenario, the players first face only NPC zombies... until a player dies. Any player that dies in this scenario returns into the fight as an undead hero, fighting along with the NPC zombies against the remaining living heroes until no hero is left alive.

Another thing -which I regard as a nice touch - in CO is the travel power system. Every character has a travel power - which could be called CO's equivalent of a mount - and can choose up to 2 travel powers, the first at lv6 and the second at lv35. The list includes familiar things like flying in different versions as well as grappling hooks which make you travel around like SpiderMan or Batman to rather exotic things like short-range teleport, tunneling or rocket jumps. Travel powers are mostly a matter of concept you chose for your character (a character that looks like the Hulk's big brother would simply look a bit strange travelling via Acrobatics, right? ;) )

The last thing about CO I regard as completely unique is the Nemesis. Every character that reaches lv 25 gets his own arch-enemy, and the player once again gets confronted with this huge character creator, this time only slightly limited (you can "only" define a type of powerset, and you can't adjust the look of the Nemesis's weapons - if he/she has any). Once done creating the Nemesis and assigning a type of Minion to it you get your first mission involving your Nemesis. Afterwards you stumble over the Minions from time to time and those encounters can give you a hint that starts a Nemesis mission. Which is a VERY nice thing, since it really does make you want to think in stories for your character (like mermaidbia repeatedly pointed out to me X) ). What event made the Nemesis your character's Nemesis? Why this kind of minions?

All in all, I tend to say that CO is a very nice game with a nice world that takes itself serious... and at the same time makes fun of itself.
The graphics I admit are a matter of taste. Not everyone likes the comic-like look in a PC-game, but I like it since it perfectly fits the scenario. After all, it IS a game about comicbook-like Superheros.

Give it a try if you want. I'd say it's definetely worth playing if you enjoy stories like Batman, Spiderman or X-Men.

Have fun, whatever you play. Cya next time :3



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