Champions Online - First Impressions

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Champions Online - First Impressions

Postby Marcallo » Wed Aug 19, 2009 9:01 am

Since I seem to be the one on the board most actively looking into this game thought I'd post some impressions. I was always a huge fan of city of heroes, I went back and fourth to it at least 4 times since its release. I have 2 heroes at max level and a villain that was almost there. WoW always pulled me back though so in the past bunch of years CoX and WoW have been my two mainstays. There were others in the middle, but meh, obviously those didn't pan out.


So back to Champion's.

Beta Woe's - The first day of beta as usual in these games was a nightmare I think less than 1,000 people got to play. I was not one of them. Their patcher was ridiculously bad and they pushed through 4 or 5 different versions of it throughout the day. They finally got it right and are teamed up with File Planet so there will be two ways to get patches if you're one of the few who are a member of file planet. (I am)


Server Selection - So far there are no servers to speak of. There are LOTS of shards for each particular instance but nothing appears broken down into servers. If that changes on release I don't know.

Character Creation – This is where CoX really shined, and it is where CO shines as well. The first thing you can do is select an archetype. However since this is based on the heroes role-playing game you can just say screw that and create one from scratch. I chose to go with the sorcerer. He starts off with Eldritch Bolt and Eldritch blast.
I made him a tall skinny fellow with olive colored skin, a weird sort of goatee and long animalistic hair. I also gave him a nifty suit of leather armor and an arcane necklace. I’ll try and post a picture later but when I took a screen shot it only gave me an all black picture, not sure why maybe it’s NDA related.
The thing about the character creator is there’s a LOT of stuff and it’s great. But some of it doesn’t mesh very well. Like when you put horns onto someone’s head it just looks like you crazy glued some horns on it doesn’t really flow from the skull. CoX had this same issue and I don’t expect it to get resolved I think you’re just supposed to live with it.
The WINGS in CoX are also WAY better designed. Except here you don’t need to earn them they are already available. Also the cloaks aren’t as good.

Tutorial – Once you finish creating your character, which since I took my time took me over an hour, you go into the tutorial. Basically these bugs with a weird Q name are attacking Millennium city. The champions, the local superhero team, have been locked down and there’s no one to help whatever will the city do!!! Fortunately you show up on the scene fresh from wherever and are immediately recruited to help out.
The tutorial does a great job of introducing the game. The powers are interesting. You have 2 types of powers, ones that drain energy, and ones that restore it. So the ones that restore energy are still attacks, but they don’t do a lot of damage. So you use that to fill your bar, and then use your other attacks to empty it. No drinking mana potions here. Also, there are no inspirations that I’ve seen. As you kill enemies they drop little orbs, and they can heal, bolster, recharge, or strengthen you depending. There are armor upgrades in the game and it’s a bit confusing so I won’t go into it here, but you don’t slot powers, you slot the stats that affect your powers.
More Tutorial? - Basically after you finish the tutorial you are sent to… another tutorial map. Either Canada or the southwestern desert, I won’t ruin the storyline but both are interesting, I thought Canada was better.

I CAN FLY!!! – Yeah level 5 you get your travel power, and they’re all awesome. On my sorcerer guy I took a disk sort of like the acolytes have in the Malygos encounter. I made a fire chick and she can do the bobby blaze FLAME ON trick and flies like that. There are probably 20 different types of movement powers. It all comes down to super speed, jumping, or flying. They just made it so you can modify how it looks. Speaking of modifying EVERY power can have its color changed. AND you can select where it comes out of. Want your lightning bolt to fire from your forehead? Just tell it to.

That’s all for now, I only played for a few hours, but that should help you guys figure out if you’re interested in it.
Dog carcass in alley this morning, tire tread on burst stomach. This city is afraid of me. I have seen it's true face. The streets are extended gutters and the gutters are full of blood and when the drains finally scab over, all the vermin will drown. The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout "Save us!"...

...and I'll look down, and whisper "no."

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Re: Champions Online - First Impressions

Postby Sord » Wed Aug 19, 2009 1:01 pm

As you say, seems like CoX with a nice coat of polish. I loved that game super hard and like you went back to it several times. I will probably try this game out on release just for that reason. For some reason I'm always drawn to ice type powers if they have them (Ice controller and blasters in CoX, Frost mage in WoW, Frost DK... you get the picture) so I hope they have something like that for me.
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Re: Champions Online - First Impressions

Postby Marcallo » Wed Aug 19, 2009 2:19 pm

Yeah they got you covered, Ice Powers, and Ice flight to go with it. Pretty much every archetype is covered.
Dog carcass in alley this morning, tire tread on burst stomach. This city is afraid of me. I have seen it's true face. The streets are extended gutters and the gutters are full of blood and when the drains finally scab over, all the vermin will drown. The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout "Save us!"...

...and I'll look down, and whisper "no."

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Re: Champions Online - First Impressions

Postby Marcallo » Sat Aug 29, 2009 12:48 pm

Just a shot of my Sorceror from Beta. I'll post my Darkness guy I'm using in live later, he looks cooler, but this guy... pretty cool. The game is pretty, even in a resolution reduced JPEG.

Image
Dog carcass in alley this morning, tire tread on burst stomach. This city is afraid of me. I have seen it's true face. The streets are extended gutters and the gutters are full of blood and when the drains finally scab over, all the vermin will drown. The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout "Save us!"...

...and I'll look down, and whisper "no."

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Re: Champions Online - First Impressions

Postby Sord » Mon Aug 31, 2009 3:32 pm

Going to be buying this off of Steam. It says it will be available in approx. 10 hours (midnight Sept. 1st). Does anyone know if it will actually be playable at midnight?

Can't wait :D
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Re: Champions Online - First Impressions

Postby Marcallo » Mon Aug 31, 2009 4:38 pm

I imagine it should be, I already have a couple characters over level 12, but meh. Probably won't stick with it past my first month. Something just not quite jiving with me, not sure what it is yet.


/edit - I should specify I'm in the headstart because I pre-ordered from Best Buy.
Dog carcass in alley this morning, tire tread on burst stomach. This city is afraid of me. I have seen it's true face. The streets are extended gutters and the gutters are full of blood and when the drains finally scab over, all the vermin will drown. The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout "Save us!"...

...and I'll look down, and whisper "no."

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Re: Champions Online - First Impressions

Postby PopnFresh » Mon Aug 31, 2009 5:35 pm

Marcallo wrote:I imagine it should be, I already have a couple characters over level 12, but meh. Probably won't stick with it past my first month. Something just not quite jiving with me, not sure what it is yet.


/edit - I should specify I'm in the headstart because I pre-ordered from Best Buy.


Is part of it due to the general similarities to COH, or do you think it's something more/deeper?
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Re: Champions Online - First Impressions

Postby Marcallo » Tue Sep 01, 2009 7:32 am

Nothing is instanced. Well most things aren't, at this point at least. I liked how in CoH you had a really good mix of instances to run through unmolested and then you had some world content as well. Like "arrest" 30 Tsoo.

I haven't gotten to millenium city yet, that's a higher level than I've achieved so it's possible it changes at that point. Also the power structure being so open is fucking confusing. There's Gear, and the gear has stats, but it's not obvious what the stats REALLY affect. The crafting system is confusing as fuck also and there's finite resources to use for it and they're very contested over.

The game also isn't very "Friendly" that I've seen. You know that community feeling you get in Cox and Wow? It's like noone watches the chat box in Champions. I'll hold my full outlook for after it's fully live and i've gotten to play with a real player base, but for now I'm calling it a very pretty game that needs a LOT of work.
Dog carcass in alley this morning, tire tread on burst stomach. This city is afraid of me. I have seen it's true face. The streets are extended gutters and the gutters are full of blood and when the drains finally scab over, all the vermin will drown. The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout "Save us!"...

...and I'll look down, and whisper "no."

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Re: Champions Online - First Impressions

Postby Munki » Tue Sep 01, 2009 9:48 am

I just want to chime in and say CoX was never really a "friendly" game that I found. It was hard to get the time of day from strangers.

I get your meaning though (and I think it applies to WoW), I just wanted to point out that CoX had a very similar problem of people kind of just ignoring chat.

I thought they were using an instanced city scheme, similar to guild wars city shards. In other words, if there are too many people in your particular shard of the zone, just select to go to another shard that has less people?

Honestly, the missions in CoH did nothing more than give you a concentrated area of enemies / area free from other players. The instances themselves were not really that interesting. I'm also curious as to how the Open Quest stuff is working out in this game. I know in Warhammer, that was a fantastic feature, and I thought it was good that CO was adopting a similar thing.
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Re: Champions Online - First Impressions

Postby Marcallo » Tue Sep 01, 2009 10:26 am

The public quests are actually quite a bit of fun. And yes, the game doesn't have servers. To allow multiple uses of the same name they do "charactername@accountname" as your name so my archery chick is "ArrowsAngelica@marcuschaos" and that's what everyone sees. Makes sending group invites a bit interesting but it does autocomplete.

The world does seem small because of how they do the shards. At MOST there will be 100 people in a zone with you. So if you can't find a group in the shard you are in, you can pick another shard and instantly teleport to it from your world map.

The thing that annoys me the most is the gearing and crafting, it's just not clear enough. Also, archery, you would expect to be a long ranged power, works out to 75 feet. Darkness is like 150. And Melee characters can't hardly function unless they take a ranged power because nearly every group of enemies has something that flies in it.

Oh and there's no auto attack and power management is odd. You have a power pool of say 100 points (it's much more) and then you have an equilibrium point. Your power fills to that point, say 45. In order to use MOST of your abilities you'll need to use your basic attack for a second or 3 to fill your power pool past your equilibrium. Then you can fire your other powers. Most powers are also clickable, or chargeable. So for the gadget guns second ability you can tap it to do burst damage. OR you can hold it for 3 seconds and stun your enemy. you guys can try it out and see if you like it, I'm just not 100% sold yet. Giving it a fair chance though.
Dog carcass in alley this morning, tire tread on burst stomach. This city is afraid of me. I have seen it's true face. The streets are extended gutters and the gutters are full of blood and when the drains finally scab over, all the vermin will drown. The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout "Save us!"...

...and I'll look down, and whisper "no."

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Re: Champions Online - First Impressions

Postby Munki » Tue Sep 01, 2009 10:40 am

I do hope they add some form of instance eventually, although now that I think of it ... Warhammer had very few actual instances. They got all of their actual "instance" type stuff through Public Quests, which was kind of cool. I'd like to see a bit of a balance though. Like you said, having the ability to go 'in a warehouse with a bunch of badguys to beat up' would be nice.
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Re: Champions Online - First Impressions

Postby PopnFresh » Tue Sep 01, 2009 10:52 am

Marcallo wrote:Oh and there's no auto attack and power management is odd. You have a power pool of say 100 points (it's much more) and then you have an equilibrium point. Your power fills to that point, say 45. In order to use MOST of your abilities you'll need to use your basic attack for a second or 3 to fill your power pool past your equilibrium. Then you can fire your other powers. Most powers are also clickable, or chargeable. So for the gadget guns second ability you can tap it to do burst damage. OR you can hold it for 3 seconds and stun your enemy. you guys can try it out and see if you like it, I'm just not 100% sold yet. Giving it a fair chance though.


COH had no auto-attack as well, right? And I wouldn't be surprised if other high profile MMOs had a similar approach. I'm not sure about Aion. But with my beta time, the combat stuff was probably my favorite part. Though I'll backup what you said before, stuff can come off as very confusing. When an advanced tool tip takes up the entire height of the monitor, your game officially has a notable learning curve
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Re: Champions Online - First Impressions

Postby Ved » Tue Sep 01, 2009 11:03 am

Nice write up, I'll be curious to hear more impressions. a friend of mine who is playing is in the "comc book come to life, like Coh, but better camp" I do have the itch to play some kind of mmo after getting sick of running up against either stacked servers or utter morons in TF2. Maybe wow again, but I get the feeling people are burned out on it.
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Re: Champions Online - First Impressions

Postby Munki » Tue Sep 01, 2009 11:07 am

Just an interesting side note, the new Energy Management system for hunters announced for Cataclysm is very much in line with what the energy system is in CO, at least from what I'm reading. A skill that builds energy, and you weave your bigger attacks in between those. I've never played with a system like that, but it *sounds* better than having to sit around waiting for endurance to regen, which was the problem in CoX. I know all my builds as Primate always involved some sort of haste and energy building abilities to compensate for cooldowns and energy. This way sounds more like you'll be constantly engaged, which SOUNDS good on paper. I'm definitely looking forward to trying it out.
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Re: Champions Online - First Impressions

Postby Marcallo » Tue Sep 01, 2009 11:17 am

Also mobs are constantly dropping what is the equivelent of inspirations in CoH. You can't keep them, but when a mob dies if a blue thingy drops anyone nearby can fly/run/hover/tunnel/swing/teleport/flameon/hardon over to it and pick it up for a boost of endurance. Green is health, and yellow is... defense. (bet you were expecting accuracy)

There's no missing in the game either ALL your attacks hit, but the enemy can deflect or dodge some of the damage. You can as well. If you see an enemy powering up a big attack you can hit SHIFT and block the incoming attack and mitigate most of the damage. So you do need to pay attention to mob powerups. It's obvious though a box will appear over a villains head and say like BOOM or POW or even FREEM. When you see that, just wait a second and hit block. If you don't you could possibly get one shotted by a super attack.


What Derek said about tooltips is 100% accurate. It's really hard to figure out what the fuck your stats are doing. It's a common complaint on the forums as well. Also they like to randomly change around what powers do and not grand respecs it seems. I saw some sorcerers saying they got boned real hard and the developers said, "no this is what we wanted originally it's fine".

In a game like this it's hard to grant a respec though because you can take ANY power if you go far enough back you can have a completely different character all together.
Dog carcass in alley this morning, tire tread on burst stomach. This city is afraid of me. I have seen it's true face. The streets are extended gutters and the gutters are full of blood and when the drains finally scab over, all the vermin will drown. The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout "Save us!"...

...and I'll look down, and whisper "no."

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Re: Champions Online - First Impressions

Postby Munki » Tue Sep 01, 2009 11:42 am

I thought you could pay to respec at any time?

And also, I think people whining about balancing powers in beta / head start should chill a tad ;) of course they could easily do that in retail, but in beta at least... well that's what it's for.

Thankfully though, CoH was a game I didn't really care as much about min / maxing myself. It was more about making a concept and playing it for me. So as long as they don't destroy the way a power works completely (nerfing / buffing numbers is fine with me) then it's not that huge a deal to me (speaking as someone who hasn't played yet lol)

I like that you can block, that sounds neat. The game definitely sounds more involved than CoX was in terms of combat (and CoX was already pretty involved) and hopefully I like the combat. From what you've said so far it sounds pretty cool.
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Re: Champions Online - First Impressions

Postby PopnFresh » Tue Sep 01, 2009 11:44 am

Munki wrote:Just an interesting side note, the new Energy Management system for hunters announced for Cataclysm is very much in line with what the energy system is in CO, at least from what I'm reading. A skill that builds energy, and you weave your bigger attacks in between those. I've never played with a system like that, but it *sounds* better than having to sit around waiting for endurance to regen, which was the problem in CoX. I know all my builds as Primate always involved some sort of haste and energy building abilities to compensate for cooldowns and energy. This way sounds more like you'll be constantly engaged, which SOUNDS good on paper. I'm definitely looking forward to trying it out.


This also sounds like something I wouldn't be surprised to see in other high profile MMOs...
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Re: Champions Online - First Impressions

Postby Kyecsrai » Tue Sep 01, 2009 11:51 am

Munki wrote:Just an interesting side note, the new Energy Management system for hunters announced for Cataclysm is very much in line with what the energy system is in CO, at least from what I'm reading.


I was all ready to say that I'm completely done with WoW and I'm never going back, but you've managed to pique my curiosity.

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Re: Champions Online - First Impressions

Postby Sord » Tue Sep 01, 2009 1:20 pm

I'm playing through the tutorial now. Characters name is Prisoner Seventeen. It will most likely be Prisoner Seventeen@prisoner17 if I'm reading what Marc wrote correctly (it is, I just saw it in chat).

I'm not too sold on the look of the game. Its certainly got more of a comic book look and feel to it than CoX did. Not that its a bad thing, its just new and fairly unique to me.

So far gameplay feels similar to CoX but a little less annoying. I dunno yet though, I only have 2 abilities at level 2. :P
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Re: Champions Online - First Impressions

Postby Marcallo » Tue Sep 01, 2009 1:33 pm

You may only have 2 abilities at level 8 as well. Attack abilities at least. A LOT of the stuf in this game are passive powers, toggles, and shields. since there's no archetype, every character needs to be able to do everything. Batman doesn't go LFG Need a healer. He calls the avengers and they blast the shit out of everyone. Yeah the hulk may try and get up front to take the damage (mixing universes I know) but they all need to be able to fight and be self sufficient and help each other.

That's the concept champions seems to be going for. To the point where you can change your "build" on the fly and go from a defensive posture, to an offensive one, to a sort of in the middle one. Affecting how much damage you take and deal, and if you produce extra threat or less threat. so you can still say "Device girl you use your heal bots on Big Head guy while the rest of us blast away."
Dog carcass in alley this morning, tire tread on burst stomach. This city is afraid of me. I have seen it's true face. The streets are extended gutters and the gutters are full of blood and when the drains finally scab over, all the vermin will drown. The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout "Save us!"...

...and I'll look down, and whisper "no."

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Re: Champions Online - First Impressions

Postby PopnFresh » Tue Sep 01, 2009 1:48 pm

In regards to the look, I've heard that playing with the advanced settings can result in the game looking much better, but everything I've heard is basic preference type things. For example, one guy here at work couldn't stand the thick black outlines everything has, and once he found he could turn them off, really liked the way the game looked.

I have just been creating characters at lunch, not sure who I'll play since I'm still in the "dick around with character options" phase. popnfresh7000 is the username
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Re: Champions Online - First Impressions

Postby Sord » Tue Sep 01, 2009 2:30 pm

Thats what it is. The damn outlines are drving me crazy. Time to mess around with the options and figure how to turn that shit off.
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Re: Champions Online - First Impressions

Postby Marcallo » Tue Sep 01, 2009 2:31 pm

Damon, Re: Respeccing. You can respec your last 10 levels of choices. However you only pick a power every few levels. So in terms of powers you can change maybe 1 or 2 at any given time. Also currently it's near impossible to retcon more than one power because they made the prices too high. NOONE has 10 or 20 national influence or whatever they call the currency at the lower levels. However since they have a store with micropayments, I bet you'll be able to buy all the influence you need at some point.

This is all launch bullshit, and if they really do what they say then the micropayments and subscription fees are going to provide monthly or near monthly updates. i'll believe it when I see it though. This is an active development team communication wise. They talk to their fans more than most MMO's that I've seen.
Dog carcass in alley this morning, tire tread on burst stomach. This city is afraid of me. I have seen it's true face. The streets are extended gutters and the gutters are full of blood and when the drains finally scab over, all the vermin will drown. The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout "Save us!"...

...and I'll look down, and whisper "no."

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Re: Champions Online - First Impressions

Postby Sord » Tue Sep 01, 2009 2:32 pm

Found how to turn that outline shit off. Hell yes, game looks much better. :D
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Re: Champions Online - First Impressions

Postby PopnFresh » Tue Sep 01, 2009 5:10 pm

Marcallo wrote:Damon, Re: Respeccing. You can respec your last 10 levels of choices. However you only pick a power every few levels. So in terms of powers you can change maybe 1 or 2 at any given time. Also currently it's near impossible to retcon more than one power because they made the prices too high. NOONE has 10 or 20 national influence or whatever they call the currency at the lower levels. However since they have a store with micropayments, I bet you'll be able to buy all the influence you need at some point.

This is all launch bullshit, and if they really do what they say then the micropayments and subscription fees are going to provide monthly or near monthly updates. i'll believe it when I see it though. This is an active development team communication wise. They talk to their fans more than most MMO's that I've seen.


I guess using retcon like that isn't bad since it's a fake word anyway, but I fear it becoming another "literally" of the MMO community.

Just backing up the cost of respec thing, one of my producers got to level 21 (out of 40) through the headstart, hasn't spent any money, and can't afford to respec. He was probably a Sorcerer based on what Russ said above; I'm not sure his power set, just that he said they "changed all of my powers around, and the power I was building up previously is now useless because I can only charge it half way, but all of my other powers are useless because I was specifically trying to focus on that one other power." He said he was ready to cancel, not so much out of anger, just out of losing interest in the game because what he's been playing for three days is now totally different and he'd have to put up with a stretch of being gimped before he can fix the issue. His feelings about it sounded a lot like a WoW player after a patch that borks all their mods.
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