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Is Champions Online just a sequel to City of Heroes? Among the mainstream games media, dubbing Champions Online CoH 2.0 has become fashionable. But in every way that two games are typically compared, Champions Online is nothing like a clone or sequel to City of Heroes despite the category and niche the two games share. Comparisons may be inevitable, but ignorance doesn't have to be. Get the facts before you weigh in on the debate with Loading... City of Heroes 2.0?
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Games journalism has its own cohort of drive-by types, eager to oversimplify to villify or otherwise create controversy where there really is none. It's become fashionable to classify Champions Online as City of Heroes 2.0, but as Sardu notes in the epic thread below, it's a lazy comparison for a variety of reasons. You might as well say World of Warcraft is EverQuest 2.0 (but you never would, since WoW created everything good and wonderful in MMO gaming, right?) or that City of Heroes is Champions Online 1.0. The comic book MMO niche is fairly tight and comparisons may be inevitable, but Champions Online differs from City of Heroes in a variety of ways.
First, the lore. Champions lore reaches back into the eighties and has the PnP HERO Games system at its core, meaning City of Heroes probably owes as much to the Champions tabletop game as Champions Online ever could. I'll steer clear of the chicken and egg argument of WAR vs. WoW fame, but suffice it to say that one of Bill Roper's biggest luxuries, to paraphrase him, is that he can reach back into the lore and rulebooks and pull out an answer for whatever design choice is vexing him.
The scope of the conflicts in these games are very different, too. While City of Heroes / City of Villains had players alternately working against each other or together against the occasional alien Rikti invasion, the individual super hero got lost in the big overarching battle. In Champions Online, the nemesis system makes the game personal in a way we really haven't seen before. The focus is on you, your struggle, and your story. Perks aren't just "badges" - they affect the kind of pop-up missions you get. If you've slain a thousand demons, an NPC might actively seek you out to instance up and deal with a particularly powerful demon boss that's terrorizing an area.
Customization is another area of Champions Online that truly has potential. And I know: like me, you probably thought that powers customization was just marketing fuzz. You won't realize this until you play for 15 or 20 levels and your player truly starts to come into his or her own, but you can truly make a powerful character that's different from any other character out there. Not just in looks, but in essential style. I feel for Bill Roper, gifted communicator that he is, because it's hard to ask gamer to trust anyone on anything these days. But resist the zeitgeist: don't judge this game until you've gotten into beta and tapped into your travel powers and added your fourth or fifth power to your arsenal. Then I dare you to look me in the eye and tell me that Champions Online is just a City of Heroes clone.
Art direction probably does more to impress today's gamer (or push them away) in the first five minutes than probably any other single attribute, and Champions Online is unlike anything you've seen before- like it or hate it. Cell shading and high-on-the-CMYK colors are prevalent in the art direction, and the stop-frame animation (like when a might-based attacker stops midway through his follow-through and holds for a fleeting instant) is reminiscent of taking in the static action sequences and lovable campiness of a classic comic book. As for costumes, it would be hard not to replicate a lot of the costume options you have in City of Heroes, seeing how CoH has been out for 5 years and has gotten a steady stream of new costume pieces, but Champs manages it well, owing in part to texture options (cloth, leather, metal) for each piece. And while we're talking about style, yes, some of the sounds are reminiscent of City of Heroes. But, honestly, how many different yet identifiable ways are there to make a lazer or punching sound effect? Cut the sound guy a break.
The one thing everyone misses in the inevitable comparison is gameplay, even apart from powers and customization. Champions Online features faster, more action-y combat where you're often dealing with a villain and his minions all at once, and you can't just mow them down with your auto-attack and one or two abilities. You have to plan out your energy builders, actively block the big incoming attacks, use upgrades and devices that suit the encounter - in short, play fast and play smart. There's much more to do - much more room for creativity - in Champions Online over City of Heroes.
Even after all of this you still believe that Champions Online is just a variation on a theme by City of Heroes, Cryptic Studios should not be looked down upon as imitators for carrying many of their CoH innovations forward into Champions Online. City of Heroes, though iterated upon successfully by NCSoft with several subsequent Issues including Architect Edition since the Korea-based publisher purchased the game, is by and large a Cryptic game. And in any way two games are usually compared - graphics, gameplay, story, character development - Champions Online is nothing like a sequel to City of Heroes.
Shayalyn's Epic Thread of the Day
From our Champions Online: General Discussion Forum
From the "Gee, This Looks Really Familiar" department...
poll in our Champions Online forum asks the question: is Champions
Online really City of Heroes 2.0? And, if so, is that a good thing or a
Help break in our shiny new community forum with your comments and vote.
Awesome Quotes from the Epic Thread
seen CO referred to as CoH 2.0 in a number of places now - even
Kotaku's write-up after the PvP event from last week states 'The basic
need-to-know info about this game is this: it's City of Heroes, only
bigger and better.'
Personally I just think its a lazy
comparison since A) CoH is the only other super hero MMO on the market
and B) That game also happened to be created by Cryptic. Any other
similarities between the two games are pretty loose at best."
Have you spotted an Epic Thread on our forums? Tell us!
4 new Ten Ton Hammer articles today! 47 in July! 812 in 2009!
New MMOG Articles At Ten Ton Hammer Today
Champions Online Power Set Interview - Power Armor and Might
Along with all of our awesome content from this last weekend’s Champions Online PvP event, the staff at Ten Ton Hammer is proud to present our last little segment on the power sets in CO. Reuben “Sardu” Waters sat down with Bill Roper to discuss the Power Armor and Might power sets. There’s definitely some intriguing options in both of these sets, so make sure you check ‘em out!
Champions Online VIP Interview - Cryptic Bucks, PvP, and More
You asked your Champions Online questions, and we got you your Champions Online answers straight from the mouth of Bill Roper! It’s been awhile since we ran our last VIP interview, so we thought it’d be good to start back up with some question on the upcoming super hero MMO. You definitely had some tough questions, but Bill was game enough to answer them all. We cover everything from new player experiences to player housing to PvP content, so sit back and enjoy!
World of Warcraft - Ulduar - Kologam Strategy
In the World of Warcraft, Ulduar is the current end game raiding
instance, and one of the bosses that must be defeated to progress is
the Giant Kologarn. Kologarn guards the way to the central ring in
Ulduar and his body will form a bridge to reach across the Shattered
Walkway so that you can gain access to the other bosses. It is
possible for Kologarn to be fought as early as the raids 3rd boss in
Ulduar or as late as the 6th depending on which optional bosses your
group chooses to fight. This guide provides all the basic strategies
you need to be aware of to defeat this boss in Ulduar. Watch for even
more information in our Ultimate Guide to Ulduar coming soon!
World of Warcraft - Say2Play Voice Recognation Software Review
Medawky delves into the newest generation of voice activation software - Say2Play. Adding another dimension of control to the game can be almost like having a 3rd hand, but do WoW players need it or want it?
DDO Unlimited Beta Keys & Store Points Giveaway
Dungeons & Dragons Online®: Eberron Unlimited™ will reintroduce classic DDO with a store-driven, subscription-free format on August 6th, but Turbine and Ten Ton Hammer are inviting you to be part of the beta test! In addition to the beta key, we are providing you with 500 points to spend at the in-game DDO store. Click the link to get yours while quantities last!
Ten Ton Hammer EVE Online Summer Giveaway
Gamers who play EVE Online are cut from a different cloth than their peers. They crave intrigue and cold calculations. They understand that a lot of planning before the battle can decide its outcome before the first shot is even fired. EVE fans are proud of their accomplishments, and Ten Ton Hammer understands that. We've teamed with CCP Games to deliver a horde of prizes for the EVE enthusiast.
Online VIP Interview - Cryptic Bucks, PvP, and More
Interview - The Spiritmaster
Online Sins of a Solar Spymaster #19: Hacking in New
Eden - Myth and Reality
Beginners Guide to Crafting in Aion
of Conan 2009 Update Tour, Part One
Intro to All Points Bulletin (APB) with
Chris "Ulric" Dye
- href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/70855">Aion href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/70855"> Flight Facts
Online Power Set Interview - Dual Blades, Single Blade,
Fighting Claws and Unarmed
Studios Developer Discusses Level vs. Skill
of Warcraft - Comparing Raid Gear
Real World News - We couldn't make this stuff up if we tried:
- (Back tomorrow, busy day today!)
Thanks for visiting the Ten Ton Hammer network!
-Jeff "Ethec" Woleslagle and the Ten Ton Hammer team
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Champions Online Game Page.