in an era when the use of original IPs is seemingly href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/69328" target="_blank">on
an upswing in the MMOG industry,
there’s still a few heavy hitters on the horizon that intend
to fully immerse players in a pre-existing setting. While perhaps not
as instantly recognizable to the world at large as Cryptic
Studios’ other upcoming title href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/117"
target="_blank"> style="font-style: italic;">Star Trek Online,
the history and lore behind href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/co" target="_blank"> style="font-style: italic;">Champions Online
harkens back to a time now decades past when tabletop gaming was king
of the multiplayer hill, super hero comics were still on the upswing,
and the idea of a fully rendered 3D game world was just a twinkle in
game developer’s eyes.
For anyone already familiar with the Champions universe, I’ll
say this much up front; you certainly won’t be disappointed
with Cryptic’s handling of the IP. Many of the names and
locations you’ll come across are pulled directly out of
Champions lore, with plenty of nutty plot twists and surprises thrown
into the mix to keep even the most diehard fans of the tabletop game
guessing. What’s more, Cryptic has cleverly selected specific
heroes, villains and locales from the known Champions universe while
still leaving plenty of room for growth with future content updates and
expansions without ever really needing to deviate into unknown
territory anytime soon.
While I would never count myself as an expert in Champions lore, for
those of you unfamiliar with the impressive depth of the setting I
decided to put together a sort of ‘crash course’ on
some of the major aspects from the universe that Cryptic Studios has
selected as focal points in the upcoming MMOG. Mind you the
following information is far from comprehensive, but will give you a
taste of things to come once CO goes live on September 1st. So strap on
a pair of +10 Squinty Goggles of Squinting, sit back and enjoy!
style="text-align: center; font-weight: bold; color: rgb(51, 51, 153);">Millennium
City – The City of the Future
style="margin: 2px; width: 210px; float: right;">
Millennium City is featured prominently in
style="font-style: italic;">Champions Online.
Rather than simply being a main city hub in the traditional MMOG sense,
this sprawling metropolis is home to Champions HQ among other notable
superbeings and, likewise, countless villainous organizations, many of
whom you’ll encounter as you venture out from the relative
safety of Renaissance Center.
Among other notable features, aspiring heroes and vigilante crime
fighters will no doubt find Renaissance Center itself the perfect place
to form teams, improve their crafting professions or even unwind at the
end of the day in Club Caprice. The Hero Games organizers have also set
up shop in the area, handily located next to the landing platform for
aircraft that can whisk you away to destinations outside the city
limits should you so desire.
But don’t let the serene setting and towering skyline of
Renaissance Center fool you – the city itself is a hotbed of
criminal activity, in spite of the increased presence of superheroes
and the monumental rebuilding efforts still underway. Numerous gangs
now vie for control over the chaotic west side and Chinatown districts,
while in the north not all is as it seems at the local headquarters of
Mind Inc. Perhaps the biggest threat the city currently faces though,
is the unsettling appearance of countless Destroids, the robotic
style="margin: 2px; width: 210px; float: left;">
It’s hard to speak about present day Millennium City without
mentioning the devastation caused by Dr. Destroyer late last century.
The city itself is built upon the wreckage of what was formerly known
as downtown Detroit, left in the wake of what was arguably the largest
threat humanity has ever faced at the hands of a single supervillain.
The year was 1992, and as legend has it Dr. Destroyer had secretly
built an enormous tractor beam that could harness vast numbers of
asteroids and send them hurtling through our atmosphere, no doubt
wiping out all signs of life in specific regions on the surface below.
While not the first of Destroyer’s plots to rule the world,
this was certainly his most deadly. Having recently suffered the loss
of his island base, Destruga, at the hands of his enemies, Destroyer
decided that the time had come to not only put an end to their constant
interference, but that it would be much easier to exact his plans for
world domination without the existence of the United States and its
numerous super heroes.
From a secret facility built beneath an abandoned factory in Detroit,
Destroyer set his plans in motion by activating his device which
brought a number of asteroids hurtling through space towards Earth.
Several heroes became aware of this threat on July 23, swiftly
formulating a plan to not only ensure that those asteroids never
reached our atmosphere, but to put an end to global threat of Destroyer
once and for all.
A team of heroes bravely ventured into space to stop the advancing
asteroids, and at first proved to be unsuccessful until a hero named
Vanguard made the ultimate sacrifice by delivering explosive charges to
the center of the cluster, obliterating the threat as well as himself
in the process. Realizing this, Destroyer simply selected another group
of asteroids, leaving humanity’s only hope in the hands of a
second team of heroes back on Earth who would attempt to deal with
Destroyer and his minions directly.
The ensuing battle would last for hours, demolishing much of the
surrounding city in the process, and is the largest confrontation of
superhumans in recorded history. Battling through countless Destroids
and even the likes of Grond and Glacier, many of the brave heroes of
Earth lost their lives in the effort before the handful that remained
eventually made their way past Destroyer’s minions.
Initially it seemed that Destroyer was simply too powerful to be
defeated, having slain 5 heroes with little effort, but as more and
more heroes arrived, the tide of battle began to shift in their favor.
It was then, at the verge of defeat that Destroyer triggered his last,
and greatest, weapon - an orbital bombardment cannon with a
beam wider than a city block struck the ground where he stood, wiping
out not only himself but over a dozen superheroes instantly. All that
remained of Destroyer was his cracked helmet, and many believed that
though countless lives were lost in the effort, the threat of Dr.
Destroyer had at long last come to an end. Or so they
Little did anyone realize at the time, but Destroyer’s deadly
beam also triggered a teleportation device that swept him away to
safety. For ten years he remained silent, allowing the world to believe
the false tales of his annihilation while he secretly began rebuilding
his army of robotic minions. Now that this silence has been broken
though, who knows what terrible devices Destroyer has managed to
create, or when he’ll strike back at humanity as he once
again attempts to take over the world?
Project Greenskin is a PRIMUS (the Paranormal Research and
Investigation Mission of the United States) installation located near
the village of Bentonville, New Mexico. It was originally built as a
base of operations for a scientific expedition of the same name to deal
with the radioactive threat of Grond, a supervillain created by an
atomic accident during testing in the area and known to go on deadly
rampages that can wipe out entire city blocks.
Online this base will serve
somewhat as a gateway to the greater southwestern desert region. Here
you’ll find various scientists and researchers collecting
data on the area immediately to the north, known as Burning Sands, and
the Irradiates and Grondlings that continually assail the
Perhaps the most notable structure of this region is the supervillain
prison known as Stronghold. Located far to the north of Project
Greenskin, this maximum-security prison has been the final destination
for many of the world’s greatest (or worst, depending on
perspective) villains ever since construction was completed in 1978.
Each cell within the prison incorporates the use of modular systems
created specifically to counter certain types of super power, with a
special cell known as the Hot Sleep chamber reserved for those villains
so powerful that standard cells are unable to contain them.
With all the attention to detail and precautionary measures in place,
it should come as no surprise that very few supervillains have ever
escaped the confines of Stronghold. That is, until recently.
Mind-controlled guards and lesser villains have begun rioting,
spreading into the area immediately surrounding the prison. Has Menton,
arguably the largest supervillain threat to the world due to his
unparalleled psionic abilities, managed to wake from his artificially
induced slumber and escape the ‘hot cell’? Do you
have what it takes to deal with this potential catastrophe?
style="margin: 2px; width: 210px; float: right;">
In 1972, the US Department of Defense began assessing known superhuman
and paranormal threats through its annual Survey of Superhuman and
Paranormal Threats to National and World Security. Known as the
Superhuman Survey for short, this analysis ranks supervillains and
supervillain teams into four distinct classes, based on threat level.
The highest threat level is known as the Omega class. These are the
absolute worst of the worst, the supervillains known not only for their
horrific deeds of the past, but more importantly for the threat they
pose to all of humanity. Here’s a quick rundown of some of
the important Omegas you might come across in CO:
Destroyer - With good reason,
Dr. Destroyer was once again placed at the top of the Omega-class
listing after a 10 year absence, a position he held nearly every year
from 1975 to 1992 until he was wrongfully thought defeated.
– Unlike Dr. Destroyer who merely wishes to conquer humanity,
Mechanon possesses an unparalleled desire to see the Earth itself
destroyed – or at least all of its organic life. The epitome
of what’s meant by “evil robot”, Mechanon
has made numerous attempts to “cleanse the planet of its
organic bacteria”, including a plot to trigger a planet-wide
nuclear holocaust, the use of a ‘technovirus’
designed to convert all plant life into various forms of metal and even
went so far as to try and melt the polar icecaps to drown all known
Perhaps the most important thing of note about Mechanon is that no one
knows for certain who built the evil machine to begin with, though much
rumor and speculation has surfaced ever since its first known
appearance in 1985. Many theorists believe that Mechanon was originally
built by the US government, while many others believe that the robot
was created by Dr. Destroyer or, worse still, that it is a deadly suit
of armor worn by Destroyer himself.
– Grond is considered a threat, not so much for his evil
plots to destroy or rule humanity, but more so due to his sheer
destructive power. When on a rampage, Grond can wipe out entire urban
districts and is nearly unstoppable by any single superhuman in
existence. He’s also more brawn than brains, and tends to be
easily manipulated by those who would use his power to suit their own
villainous purposes. For example, VIPER once convinced him to destroy a
PRIMUS headquarters in Los Angeles as a means of distracting
authorities while it committed a major technological theft across town.
– Menton strikes fear into the hearts of government officials
on a global scale not so much for acts of destruction, but of
manipulation. Due to his unparalleled psionic abilities, Menton is able
to control the minds of individuals over great distances, and as a
result is considered by many to be an even larger threat than Dr.
Destroyer, whom Menton formerly served prior to the events of 1992.
the Undying Lord –
Considered by many to be the greatest occult threat the planet
currently faces, the origins of Tokafanes (also known as the Archlich
and the King of the Throne of Human Ivory) remain shrouded in mystery.
Some believe he was once a normal human who sold his soul for power,
while others claim that he is a demon called forth from the
Tokafanes’ first known appearance was in 1987, when he
destroyed an entire town and turned its residents into zombies. What
followed was a wave of devastation that swept across the United States
in his wake, with many superheroes losing their lives in an effort to
see the Archlich defeated.
While no one knows for certain what the exact goals of the Archlich
are, many believe that he intends to destroy all living humans, turning
them into an army of undead followers. Could the recent sighting of
zombies in the Canadian wilderness near Force Station Steelhead be the
first step in a much larger, villainous plot to conquer humanity?
[Writer’s note: For further reading I highly recommend going
directly to the source - or in this case sourcebooks –
available from href="http://www.herogames.com/home.htm" target="_blank">HERO
Games. There’s a full
library worth of material to choose from, but a good starting point
would be the original href="https://www.herogames.com/viewItem.htm?itemID=229959"
target="_blank"> style="font-style: italic;">Champions
as well as href="https://www.herogames.com/viewItem.htm?itemID=76869"
target="_blank"> style="font-style: italic;">Champions Universe.]
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Champions Online Game Page.