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Champions Online Character Creation System Preview

Posted Mon, May 04, 2009 by Sardu

Champions 1

For any MMO gamer who’s been doing their homework over the past 5 years, the first name that comes to mind whenever customization is mentioned will no doubt be Cryptic Studios. While not the sum and total of what the developer’s first impressive effort, City of Heroes, brought to the MMO table, it’s hard to deny the character creation tools raised the bar to seemingly unreachable heights. Interestingly, the industry has yet to see a true challenger in this particular arena (Cryptic’s own City of Villains not withstanding) – that is until it was announced early last year that Cryptic had begun development on Champions Online.

Like a kid in a candy store with infinite funds and a sweet tooth the size of Millennium City, I jumped at the chance to get some hands on time with Champions Online for a preview event this weekend, eager to see just how robust the character creation process is. I’ve had numerous character outlines scribbled on the corners of every spare scrap of paper in my office for months now, and couldn’t wait to see Dehydro, the coffee-addicted vampire finally come to life in glorious 3D!

 From the very first moment you log into the game, the visual elements of Champions all but leap off the screen with plenty of cool nods to the super hero genre. Character selection even incorporates a series of comic book covers, the image of your character boldly emblazoned upon the front with its current level serving as the issue number. These subtle touches are found throughout every aspect of the game that I’ve encountered so far, giving even the simple act of logging into the game a “larger than life” feel. Before you get to see the cool collection of comic covers at character select though, you’ll fist be presented with a blurred out cover bearing a giant question mark - another nice touch rather than simply providing a small “create character” button.

From here the creation process takes you through a series of screens where you start building up the basic concept of where you’d like your character to begin their adventures. One of the cool things about the way character progression seems to flow in Champions at this point is that, rather than locking players into a set progression path based on these initial choices, players will have much more control over their character’s destiny which I’ll touch on in a moment.

The first step in the process is choosing your champion’s origin. Clicking on each of the nine origins gives a brief description and shows how that particular selection will alter your starting stats for things such as constitution, endurance or recovery. Scanning through the list, many of the origins are biased towards four of the eight overall stats, with a couple that spread things out fairly evenly.

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