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Role Playing (Games) Entertainment Games

New Champions Online Details 43

Eurogamer sat down with Bill Roper of Cryptic Studios to discuss Champions Online, their superhero MMO due out in a few months. Roper mentioned that the PC version of the game will be coming out well ahead of any console versions, and he provided some insight into the game's Nemesis system. "When you get around the mid-game, you have the ability to create your Nemesis... Then you start going on these separate Nemesis missions — you'll start getting ambushed by the minions of your Nemesis, and eventually one of these minions will kind of break down, and say 'oh no please don't, I'll tell you I'll you,' and you get a clue off him. You go through a whole series of these very Nemesis-specific quests which revolve around the things you put in about your Nemesis, but it's not always the same path that you take, there's multiple story directions that you could be going through." Examiner also spoke briefly with Randy Mosiondz, lead designer for the game, about the questing and the game environment. IGN got a look at Lemuria itself, and Cryptic posted some of the concept art.
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New Champions Online Details

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  • City of Heroes (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Jamu ( 852752 ) on Sunday March 15, 2009 @05:22AM (#27198589)
    Anyone know why Cryptic are realising a superheroes game that's going to be in direct competition with their previous superheroes game? Is City of Heroes dying?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Renraku ( 518261 )

      Actually, this is the successor for City of Heroes.

      Successors must be made into successors before they become suitable heirs for the throne. The King doesn't promote the prince to king as soon as he is born. The prince must be educated and raised before the king will step down.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Chas ( 5144 )

        Actually, this is the successor for City of Heroes.

        Actually, no it's not. It's a competing product that just happens to be built on a newer version of the same engine.

        • by Toonol ( 1057698 )
          Actually, neither of you know for sure whether it is or not. Both of you should stop saying actually, because that should be reserved for statements of fact.
          • We know for sure that the current CoH team has nothing to do with Champions Online. This is the old team, the one that screwed up while managing the game in the first few years then abandoned it for cash. Some of the players of CoH still bear a grudge from those days, and will not be trying Champions.

            CO is in no way a direct successor for CoH. It is a competitor, and one whose development team is starting out with a reputation for good programming but poor management.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Cryptic sold the CoH game and license to NCSoft. They are no longer involved in CoH, Champions is their new baby.

      They will be in direct competition with a rivals game they happened to create.

    • Re:City of Heroes (Score:4, Insightful)

      by dreampod ( 1093343 ) on Sunday March 15, 2009 @06:52AM (#27198833)
      The exact business dealings are not completely clear but the gist of it is that several years ago Cryptic started developing the Marvel MMO. Presumably because their publisher NCSoft was upset about the conflict of interests that could occur bought the City of Heroes franchise and brought most of the support team under their umbrella. Jack Emmert along with a number of senior developers and programmers took Cryptic studios and went their separate ways. For unknown reasons the Marvel MMO was cancelled, however since much of the engine and design work for a superhero MMO had already been completed, and the fact that the dev team were superhero fanatics they acquired another IP for the game. Champions was a big favourite from their old days and they were able to work out a deal to purchase it.

      City of Heroes isn't dying per se. However it is quite dated graphically, gameplay has stagnated for a long time, and the new content doesn't provide any particular difference from the old. Their subscription numbers are around 100,000 players with significant spikes briefly after each new update. This income is enough to cover their expenses but not really do much more than that. As well many choices made early in the development have hamstringed their ability to improve the engine and gameplay.

      Currently City of Heroes is trucking with a slow loss of players but maintaining historical averages. Once Champions Online and DC Universe Online release it is up in the air what will happen to City of Heroes. While the game has many loyal players, they could easily lose half their population which may make it unviable for NCSoft to continue supporting the game. Likely it would keep running, but all development would be mothballed.
      • by slaker ( 53818 )

        Historically, CoX has a very low churn rate compare to other MMOs. Many of the players are "lifers" who started when the game came out and won't be leaving until the last server is shut down.

        CoX has a very user friendly gameplay and excellent text-based chat, and those things are really appealing to some people.

        Champions, on the other hand, looks far too much like a console game for me to take it seriously.

      • by Bieeanda ( 961632 ) on Sunday March 15, 2009 @12:48PM (#27200653)
        The story I've heard is that virtually everyone stayed where the steady money was, and remained with NCsoft. The number of major developments to the game post-Cryptic don't really speak to a [skeleton] crew of new coders, especially given references to the crazy state of the code.

        Regarding competition from Champions and DCUO, it's really hard to say. CoX is a traditional MMO-styled game in tights, but the other two are very much action-RPGs with a very stylized aesthetic. They're in the same theme, and arguably the same genre, but so were Ultima Online and Everquest. UO is still ticking along even now, because there is an intense sense of ownership among players of that game-- personal housing still magnetizes the player base, which is why the newer landmass expansions include space for it. Even if it's possible to duplicate a character's identity in another game, the psychological impact of virtual uprooting is a strong deterrent to making the move. For CoX, that sense of ownership is in the character avatars themselves, their Badges (analogous to Xbox Live Achievements) and Veteran Rewards, instanced Supergroup bases and to a lesser extent, the optional value-add costume packs. The added opportunity to purchase extra character slots (and free slots earned every year of subscription) indicates that NCsoft knows exactly where the strength of their City lies in the face of competition.

      • by Phrogman ( 80473 ) on Sunday March 15, 2009 @01:26PM (#27200957) Homepage

        Well as someone who has played City of Heroes off and on since day 1, I can't say its dying at all. NCSoft is continuing to improve and expand the game - and all expansions are free of charge. The only expansion they charged for was City of Villains which was essentially a completely new game environment using similar mechanics. Both games are now merged into one.

        There are still a ton of people playing new low level alts, and the game is going strong in my opinion. The game does have an extremely low churn rate as someone noted, and its evident by the fact that so many new characters are regularly being generated and played.

        Mission Architect is coming out in the next expansion and it holds the promise to revolutionize the MMO industry in one regard: It allows players to create their own missions, their own NPC opponents, define their own story arcs and define a series of related missions, up to 5. It allows access to all of the existing NPC opponents and the modification of them to have their own powersets and appearances. Once created a mission can be uploaded so that the rest of the playerbase can try it out and rate it. The best rated missions/arcs will be examined by the devs and added to the canon of the game. There is a tremendous interest in this of course, and I think if it proves enjoyable, that this will raise the bar on MMO design considerably.

        Although its filling the Superhero MMO niche and that is not to everyone's taste, the game is a fantastic design, and very effective in what its set out to achieve. MA is just another large step in improving the game and its due out soon I believe. Its in private beta at the moment, and usually NCSoft will bring that public for a few weeks to iron out any last bugs before it goes live.

        The biggest advantage for NCSoft if they get MA working right is of course that the players will be adding to the content of the game, making it far easier to add other improvements to the game by taking off the pressure to add new missions and opponents (although of course someone will have to be fixing problems with MA in the meantime). I expect this will allow them to expand the game in other areas. They do not seem like they are slowing down at all.

        COH probably seems like its a stagnant game to many players who are not familiar with it primarily because most of the expansions (COV aside) have been offered free to the players. Thus there are no new boxes showing up on the shelves at regular intervals.

        They recently added a Mac OS/X client (well really its the Windows client with cedega back end support) that works *very well* at least in my experience. The client was available for download for free and still is. Yes, you can *buy* it and get some added in game bonuses (costume items, and a Teleport-straight-to-mission power), but you can also buy those bonuses separately for a nominal fee.

        All in all I hope Champions Online does well, and I will certainly try it. It may indeed draw a lot of the playerbase away from COH, but for the moment COH is going quite strong actually and still has a bright future in my opinion.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I'm one of the players that's currently involved in Closed Beta Testing for this on their European servers.

          Without violating the Non-Disclosure agreement (I'm posting anon as we're not allowed to admit involvement of any given named accounts) I can say this:

          The Mission Architect is part of "Issue 14" (one of the City Of Heroes free expansions).

          Generally speaking they've done a terific job on this so far. There are still a number of bugs to be worked out, naturally, but it's really coming together in terms o

        • CoH has a mac client....hmmm I may have to renew my subscription. I quit when I switched to mac.

        • by Jaeph ( 710098 )

          I came back because of the mac client, and thus far it has performed fine on my old mackbook pro (ati x1600, 2gb ram). The graphics aren't stellar, the fps dies in some of the notoriously bad areas (eg vanguard hq), there's a few glitches that force me to restart the game from time-to-time, but overall it's a pretty good experience. Most of the time it just works fine.

          Regarding the mission architect, I can't imagine that it will help much. Perhaps someone will start cranking out interesting tactical puzz

      • I disagree that 'gameplay has stagnated'. There are major expansions two or three times a year, and gameplay has changed radically several times with the introduction of inventions and flashbacks. Soon we'll have the Mission Architect, which will be a revolution for the industry, let alone the game.

        There's no disputing that CoH is dated and showing its age. But there's a lot of life in the old girl, yet.

    • I beg to differ being a COH/COV player myself ..... the player list is growing as fast as warcraft. I do find that during school hours theres few on , but truly it;s not dying...its growing.....champions might get the same use if it meets certain criteria. Ironically people like to cheat the system as much as possible by either raping missions ( otherwise known as farming) or constantly making and remaking characters.
    • by Tryle ( 1159503 )

      Using Warhammer as an example, Warhammer itself generated new interest in the MMO market that spawned NEW players, not just "stolen" players from another game [WoW].

      People need to stop thinking that the amount of MMO players is already an established limit. The pool of potential MMO gamers is continually growing and new games like this will flourish from the fresh blood of new games. Not to mention, it may jump start interest in CoH by their old players much like Warhammer did for WoW.

      Seriously, what woul

  • by Norsefire ( 1494323 ) * on Sunday March 15, 2009 @06:25AM (#27198765) Journal
    I remember this quote [flagshipped.com] from flagshipped.com:

    "I should really go into the video game market. I mean, what other market can you go in to, quit a good job, form a company and be one of the biggest contributing reasons why 100 people lose their jobs, a foreign company has to sell itself to another, and over 200,000 customers are left with $50 coasters, have to liquidate most of your assests, and STILL get a job - one that the employer is even ENTHUSIASIC about wanting you to work with them."
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      What this quote totally ignores is that the man is VERY good at one job... And useless at another.

      The job he held at Blizzard suited him. He was A list. He was the best of the best. His job at Flagship (CEO) didn't suit him. He was useless at it.

      If the top chef in the world went off to try to set up a huge chain of restaurants and failed, wouldn't you still hire him to cook meals / oversee the kitchen in your fancy up market restaurant?

      If a fantastic actor tries his hand at writing, directing and starring i

      • by Creepy ( 93888 )

        Actually, what he said is probably correct - in most cases, CEOs are very separated from day-to-day operations and have to rely on managers to relay that information. He probably didn't have a lot of control over initial quality because that wasn't his job - his job was negotiating contracts, keeping all managers on track, setting deadlines, etc.

        It's a hard call on whether he was useless as a CEO - I'd have to have a much better insider picture and also know whether Namco/Bandai forced the release date rat

    • Forget Roper. Knowing that Jack Emmert is involved is all I need to know in order to stay away from this game. He nearly ruined the original CoH before he left with his constant striving towards what HE saw as the ideal Superhero MMO, even though it was in contradiction to what the game's subscription base actually wanted.
      • by KingSkippus ( 799657 ) * on Sunday March 15, 2009 @10:23AM (#27199715) Homepage Journal

        He nearly ruined the original CoH before he left...

        Prove it.

        If you look at the actual numbers [mmogchart.com] , you'll see that City of Heroes had its highest subscriber numbers while Jack was in charge. In fact, the thing that he's criticized most for, Enhancement Diversification [slashdot.org], is widely regarded now as a necessary step for the game's gameplay systems to evolve as they have, and the game actually gained subscribers—that's right, gained subscribers—when it was released.

        Jack-bashing is very popular with City of Heroes fans, but the truth of the matter is that City of Heroes was his baby and that the game's best years financially so far have been under his reign.

        I don't mean to take away from Matt Miller's competence, because he's doing a fine job, and City of Heroes continues to be a great game. I also don't mean to imply that Jack was perfect, because I disagreed with him on one or two fundamental points. But this whole "Jack was destroying the company" line is so tired and really, it's always been nothing but a bunch of nonproductive BS propagated by fanboy forumites who don't know what they're talking about.

        As for the whole "he didn't listen to the subscribers" crap, if developers listened to everything the subscribers whined about, we'd undoubtedly have a "make me level 50" button by now, complete with purple IOs, infinite influence, the ability to take all powersets on a single character, and a power that recharges instantly that immediately defeats all enemies. PvP matches would be won based on who could hit the button first. There's a reason that developers don't jump through hoops to do everything players ask for, why all games, even City of Heroes as it exists today, are the visions of their developers (duh...). If everyone got what everyone wanted, it would effectively destroy any game.

        The funny thing is that I see plenty of posts on the City of Heroes forums making the same tired old claims that you're making about Jack about the current developers. Waaah.

  • It was (quite) a while back but I remember it being very dice heavy with an insanely complex ruleset. I think we spent more time on character creation than we did actually playing the game because no one could figure out exactly how the damned combat system worked.

    I also don't remember it being popular enough to merit its own MMO, but superhero is in these days, so why not? Between this, Marvel's MMO, DC's MMO and City of Heroes there will be plenty of competition. It will be interesting to see how it co

    • It's all perspective. I remember Champions becoming 'the game' for nearly everyone around me. Of course, at the time I was a serious RPG nerd. I worked as a games salesguy, I went home and gamed, or went to a friends house and ran huge game nights with him.

      That's the geek perspective though.

  • I mean that seriously, as opposed to in the meme-fashion. I want to find a MMO my wife and I can play together, and she only has Linux on her laptop. I dual-boot for gaming, but if she can't run it under Linux, then I'm not interested.

    At least WoW worked with Wine devs a bit to help it work under Wine, and Eve Online used to ship a Wine-wrapped client for Linux.

    We may just end up looking at something like Planeshift because it has a native Linux client.

  • I had to quit about a year ago - 'cause it was soooo grindy - basically 2 types of missions.

    of courser this was before the Evil villian expansion was available. Did that change it much?

    • heh... at the risk of starting a war, i will say it's very different now, since it sounds like you stopped playing before CoV came out? you basically had a closed-beta experience, sorry.

      Now, there's still a LOT of repetition. Oh look, we're in Building Map X again. Doing the same thing. Again. Only with higher-level baddies. Ergh...

      If they can solve that, IMNSHO, they're set. Not coincidentally, Mission Architect might go a long way towards it. It might being in the modding community, as well, with

      • by T.E.D. ( 34228 )
        I got a hero (regen scrapper - pre nerf) to about level 42 before I gave up in disgust over the grind. You say that the grind has mostly gone away now? I dunno. I tried him again during one of the free reativation weekends, and spent pretty much all my gaming time that weekend (perhaps 15 hours or so) slaughtering legions of red baddies, and didn't manage to level him once. I'm still thinking of restarting my account, but only to play with noob toons until Champions comes online. If you truly believe they
        • Second paragraph i typed :). Trying to level solo or thru standard mish chains is still a grindfest, i fear. The major changes are in the new T/SFs at the higher levels.

          Posi TF, i think, is an absolute nightmare. You basically run the same mission 10 times 'gainst the same enemies in the same awful cave map. I don't know what they were thinking on that. I can't think of a better way to kill off a new player's interest in the game :(. It needs to go.

          By contrast, the newer stuff is shorter, has some var

Thufir's a Harkonnen now.