Exclusive Champions Online Interview with Lead Designer Randy Mosiondz

Questions by Cody “Micajah” Bye (Managing Editor) and Greg “Darkgolem” Stanley (Columnist)
Questions by Cody “Micajah” Bye (Managing Editor) and Greg “Darkgolem” Stanley (Columnist)

Answers by Randy Mosiondz, Lead Designer, Champions Online

Over the last few months, the Ten Ton Hammer staff has had the opportunity to see Cyptic Studio's upcoming super hero MMOG, Champions Online, in action on multiple occasions. From what we saw at the media day at Cryptic Studios to the exclusive interviews we got with the developers at GenCon to the awards we gave to the game at Leipzig, the crew here at Ten Ton Hammer can honestly say that there’s something special at work in Champions Online. While we may have had plenty of opportunities to chat with developers throughout the summer convention season, we’re still not done! Recently we had an opportunity to ask a number of questions to Lead Designer Randy Mosiondz about the general gameplay in Champions Online, and his answers were quite detailed. We hope you enjoy the interview!

Ten Ton Hammer: At this time, how do you plan to advance player characters?  For example, will it be through a skill point system, a leveling system, a combination of the two, or some other method?

There are a variety of ways to advance in Champions Online.

Randy Mosiondz: We have various types of advancement for player characters. We have a level 1-50 leveling scheme for characters in general.  As you progress in levels you will be able to buy new powers for your character and modify existing powers by applying “Advantages” to them that modify the power in different ways.  Our crafting/skill system is more use-based advancement.  There is also advancement through acquiring “Upgrades” that can be found, rewarded, or purchased throughout the game.  We also have “Perks” that can be acquired through exploration and tallied accomplishments.

Ten Ton Hammer: It’s been stated that the heroes in Champions Online will be able to create their own archnemesis – a villain that constantly wages ware against them. Does that mean there won’t be any playable villains in the immediate future for Champions Online? Why was this decision made?

Mosiondz: We are actually looking at the possibility of playing as a Nemesis!   This will allow you to take on the role of a villain and fight heroes in special scenarios.  We’re still developing the rest of the system at this time but we’ll be posting more details on our Champions Online website as they become available.

Ten Ton Hammer:  What sort of advantages and limitations for powers are planned (or are at least being considered) at this time? Might we see powers that have weaknesses, like the way Green Lantern used to be unable to use his ring against the color yellow?

Mosiondz: The Advantages system is actually a very fun component in Champions Online that allows players to customize their Powers in functional ways.  For example, you might be playing a mesmerist type character with the power to control people’s minds which allows you to turn enemies into allies.  You can then apply an Advantage that empowers your mind-controlled enemy with increased damage, resistance, and speed, making them more powerful while they are under your control.

Weaknesses are something we’re still working on, so look for more information regarding them in the future.

Sensory powers are planned for release.

Ten Ton Hammer:  Are enhanced senses planned for the release? If so, how will these be useful to the players?

Mosiondz: We do plan to have some basic sensory powers available to players.  These are mainly used to expand a character’s senses range and counter stealth abilities used by enemies.

Ten Ton Hammer: There is at least one natural disaster in the game…can you tell us what it is? Maybe give us a hint?

Mosiondz: One of the game areas called Monster Island has a very large volcano on it!  Periodically as you are uncovering various villain activities on the island you’ll hear a rumbling and see the ground shake – this is a precursor to a large scale volcanic eruption.  Watch out for falling volcanic rocks!

Ten Ton Hammer: What are the plans for combat maneuvers, such as move by, move through, haymaker, and the various martial arts? Will players be able to utilize them with the new, action-oriented combat system you’ve devised?

Mosiondz: Rather than have them as separate maneuvers we’ve incorporated some of these directly into the powers system.  The martial arts system is particularly impressive with the amount of fighting techniques you can select for your character!

Ten Ton Hammer: What sort of end-game content are you generating for players to enjoy? Will we have all the standard MMORPG content: raids, crafting, PvP, etc.?

Mosiondz: We have something we call “the Omega System” in place for end-game.  This involves some things you are familiar with from other MMOs and other things that are new.  The focus we want for the Omega system is to have activities for solo players, small teams, and large teams.  One of the ultimate goals is to become an “Omega”, one of the most powerful super-powered beings in the Champions universe!  This will be an exciting goal for anyone who plays the game!

Ten Ton Hammer: Are there plans to release the character generator early to be used pre-release?

Mosiondz: Not currently.  But we can tell you this: we’ve got one of the most detailed character creators ever developed for video games.  It is well worth waiting for!

Ten Ton Hammer: Can you give us a bit more detail on how the combat in Champions Online is going to work? Will we need to execute button combos to activate our powers? How will we know who gets the loot off the corpse of the enemy?

Mosiondz: There’s a simple combo system in place. There are basic endurance-building powers that players execute to increase their endurance which then allows them to do more powerful attacks. Combat itself involves players being very aware of their environments and actions of their enemies.  Enemies are usually found in groups ranging from henchmen to super-villains.  You have to carefully watch the most powerful enemies in a group since they have special power “shticks” that can take down unwary players who don’t react in time!  In all we’ve aimed for a much more action-oriented combat where players are constantly moving around, attacking and reacting to enemies.

Champions Online is hoping to be fun right out of the box.

When enemies are defeated, there is a search icon that shows up so you can confiscate mission objectives or acquire “Upgrades” you can utilize for your character.  The search icon shows up as bright if you can access it or dim if it other players can access it.

Ten Ton Hammer: Finally, is there anything else you’d like to tell us about Champions Online?

Mosiondz: We’re very excited with what we’ve come up with for Champions Online!  There are a lot of game-play aspects that MMO and console players will be familiar with but we’ve introduced a lot of interesting new twists as well.  The character creator and open powers system is the most flexible system out there for MMOs and we think players are going to spend a lot of time just finding the right costume and combination of powers that helps visualize the super-powered character they want to create.  The environments are gorgeous and diverse, while the action-oriented combat is fast and fun.

While we have a fun game right out of the box with lots of great game-play we are also looking towards the evolution of the game as well.  The game is built on our updated Cryptic Engine so it gives us a lot of flexibility for future expansions.  We listen to our community closely and carefully consider their feedback as we continue to develop the Champions Online Universe.  The future of the game looks very bright!

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