ability to quickly adapt to a given situation is one of the major
things that sets true superheroes apart from the masses of masked
vigilantes and can be the determining factor in whether you send your
enemies off to cool their heels in Stronghold or you wind up taking a
snow nap along the shores of Big Bear Lake in the Canadian wilderness.
As superbeings continue to proliferate on both sides of the morality
fence, the tactics employed to achieve one’s goals has also
seen a dynamic shift.
Unlike traditional MMOGs, characters in Champions Online
need not conform to rigidly defined classes, or perhaps more
importantly, the standard roles typically associated with a class-based
system. As you progress and unlock new powers, talents and advantages,
you’re free to pick and choose exactly what path your
character will ultimately follow. Want to be an unstoppable melee
machine that shoots lasers out of its eyes? You can do that. Or perhaps
you want to be a supernatural being that dabbles in necromancy but is
also strong enough to pick up tanks and throw them with little effort;
you can do that too. Within the framework of available powers in the
game, the only limit truly is what your imagination can come up with.
Much like power selection, the role you assume in combat can also be
altered through the use of Builds. The system is fairly robust and
allows you to switch between offensive, defensive, balanced or support
roles at the drop of an irradiated hat. Before diving headlong into the
intricacies of what defines a given Build in CO, let’s take a
closer look at Roles.
Roles – The Basics
Roles could best be described as a set of interlocking elements that
help define how effectively you can potentially tackle a given combat
situation. If you’re familiar with the more traditional MMOG
group make-up of tanks, healers, ranged or melee DPS (damage per
second) and CC (crowd control) masters, then you could look at roles in
CO in a very similar way; the main difference being that you can
fulfill each of those archetypes within a single character if you want
You begin the game in a Balanced role, but there are three others that
can be unlocked via Perks
Offense, Defense and Support. To do so you’ll need to deal,
receive or heal 5,000 damage respectively. These tend to open up fairly
quickly, and it’s worth noting that the Support role can be
unlocked even if you don’t currently have any healing powers
selected for your character. Watch for the small green orbs, called
Boosts, which drop from fallen villains; the health gained from boosts
factors into your overall total, and is an effective means of unlocking
your support role fairly quickly.
Each of these roles will provide a specific set of benefits while
active, altering how effective certain types of powers are in combat.
Likewise, each role also has some associated disadvantages to help keep
things balanced. For example, you can deal more damage with attack
powers in an offensive role in exchange for a decrease in the
effectiveness of incoming heals, or a defensive role can help you tank
better but at the cost of increased energy decay.