Thanks to the
target="_blank">incredibly popular Queen ballad,
the term “champion” often evokes thoughts of
athletic events or epic world-spanning battles. The Merriam-Webster
Online Dictionary href="http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/champion"
target="_blank">offers one definition of champion as
“a winner of first prize or first place in
Champions are fighters, warriors, and competitors; they strive to be
the best of the best.
So when news of the super hero-themed
hit the Internet almost two years ago, I was thrilled. The veteran team
at Cryptic Studios was going to open up the world of super powered
individuals again, but this time they could go back and fix anything
they should have done better in the original href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/140"
of Heroes. Chief among my personal complaints
about the original game: Lack of super villain support from the initial
Certain that Cryptic wouldn’t make the same mistake, I
every piece of news that trickled out of Cryptic’s San
headquarter, until it was announced that super villain would again be
put on the backburner for the initial Champions release. To say I was
frustrated would be an understatement, but I actually understood why
Cryptic would make this sort of move. Many games have been released
over the years that only support a one-sided sort of environment, and
by focusing on just one side of the constant battle, Cryptic could make
the lives of would-be super heroes that much more in-depth.
So I fumed and let the feeling pass. Eventually, I felt a bit of relief
when PvP in Champions began to be readily discussed, because one of the
main reasons I wanted to play as a super villain was to get my daily
dose of PvP out of my system. In their “Meet the
interview with Combat Systems Designer Geoff Tuffli, the developer
talks about target="_blank">his excitement surrounding the PvP aspects
PvP, on the other hand, when designed correctly offers constantly
changing and evolving gameplay that can provide some incredibly
memorable encounters. There are PvP encounters I still remember five
years or more after the fact. What I like about Cryptic's approach to
PvP in Champions Online
that instead of being afraid of it, we're leveraging it where it makes
sense to make a better game for those who choose to participate in it.
And we heard more about the PvP system going into
style="font-style: italic;">Champions Online at
this year’s New York Comic-Con from Executive Producer Bill
Roper. In this video, href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/63099" target="_blank">Bill
talks about “The Arena”
where players can go in and join an “underground
where players will receive specific items and abilities for facing off
against each other. He also briefly mentions rankings and the whole
concept becoming a “sports setting.”
It’s this last comment that truly has me excited about the
PvP in Champions Online.
I hope – and I strongly emphasize the world *hope* - that
doesn’t take the lazy way out and simply design the Champions
“Arena” to function like another famous
setting in another well-populated MMO. To truly make the PvP pop in CO,
the developers are going to need to offer players a variety of formats
to compete in such as 1v1, 2v2, 4v4, and 6v6, along with some other
formats that play up to the strengths of the Champions Online combat
system. Each of these formats should have its own
to hand out to the top ten monthly combatants along with prizes and
other rewards for individuals that put some major time into their Arena
Speaking of top ten combatants, leaderboards should be included in the
official release of these PvP arenas. Every twenty-four hours, players
should be able to go online and check out where their current ranking
is compared to the overall server, the entire game, and their friends
list. Rankings should include other things besides just matches won and
lost. Damage inflicted and taken should certainly be on the list, as
well as “die hard” type lists that show players
the best death-to-kill ratio.
In general, the Cryptic developers simply need to make sure that if
they’re truly going to do PvP, they need to do it right. PvP
combatants want to know exactly how the stack up in a competition
against their friends and rivals. Guilds should be able to emerge
around the concept of “being the best PvP team” on
particular server. Even without super villains, heroes should be able
to compete – and despise – one another if their
are disrupted by an opposing team. After all, players in style="font-style: italic;">Champions Online
truly want to be champions, after all.
And you certainly have a chance to be a champion in Cryptic's game. If
you haven't already, go head over to their website and href="http://www.champions-online.com/user/register"
target="_blank">sign up for the beta test. That
way at least you can voice your opinions on PvP to the developers.
What ideas do you have to make Champions an excellent PvP game? How can
they make their arena system really stand out compared to PvP in other
games? Let us know on the forums, then make sure you come back next
week for another issue of In the Trenches.
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