Exclusive Champions Online Interview with Lead Designer Randy Mosiondz

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

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

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, href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/taxonomy/term/860"
target="_blank">Champions Online, in action on
multiple occasions. From what we saw at the href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/38010" target="_blank">media
day at Cryptic Studios to the href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/41262">exclusive
interviews we got with the developers at GenCon to the href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/node/42965" target="_blank">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?

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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?

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.

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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?

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

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?

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?

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.

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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

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!

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Champions Online Game Page.

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