Champions Online Power Set Interview - Dual Blades, Single Blade, Fighting Claws and Unarmed

For the latest installment of Ten Ton Hammer’s weekly review of the Champions Online power sets, we spoke with Bill Roper about the title’s martial arts themed power sets; Dual Blades,...
For the latest installment of Ten Ton Hammer’s weekly review of the Champions Online power sets, we spoke with Bill Roper about the title’s martial arts themed power sets; Dual Blades, Single Blade, Fighting Claws and Unarmed. Each of these sets will provide some interesting options for those of you looking to get into some fast-paced martial combat, so read on to learn all the details!

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Ten Ton Hammer: What can you tell our readers about the martial arts power sets, which includes dual blades, single blade, fighting claws, and unarmed?

Bill Roper: The martial arts are a particularly fun and active set of powers, and there’s a lot that goes into them. One of the things that all the martial art school share is this concept of “momentum.” This helps you build out a sort of mixed martial arts character, because all the secondary effects of these power sets generate energy. Although we’re still finalizing all the text for these power set descriptions, I like to describe it as basically as you’re fighting these monsters you’re adding an effect onto the attack that is a “momentum counter” and the more of those you build up, the more additional energy you generate.

So the idea is that the more you attack and the more different attack types you use against your enemies, the more energy you generate. The martial arts schools are all designed around being very active. The more you do, the more you benefit from this secondary stuff.

Ten Ton Hammer: What kind of attacks can we expect from each set?

Roper: The unarmed power set is really set up to do single target attacks that are very powerful. It also does crushing damage, if players are interested in specific damage types.

The claws are using slashing damage, and they have some specific powers in this particular set that are interesting, such as Viper’s Fang. Basically, when you do the Viper’s Fang attack three times in a row, you actually do toxic damage over time. A lot of the claw attacks are built to be doing these chains of attacks on single targets. It’s really a back-and-forth sort of combat with the claws.

Because, if you’re not getting momentum to happen, you always have to go back to that energy builder, but the good thing about the martial arts is that if you’re focusing your advantages towards building that momentum, you can do more of those “alpha strikes” against the enemy and hurt them more.

Ten Ton Hammer: Do any of the other power sets have these “chain attacks?”

Roper: Single blade tends to work this way as well. There’s the normal energy builder powers, and then there’s a power called Reaper’s Caress, which is a sweeping attack. If you do that attack three times in a row, it applies a bleed to the target. Bleed is basically slashing damage over time – a physical DoT. That one doesn’t do as much damage to a single target, but it does damage more enemies in an arc in front of you.

And there are more powers that work off of these damage types, like “bleed” and “toxic” as well. We’ve gone through the core mechanics and added in a sort of “class” of damage or ability – like the bleed – in other power sets.

So for example, we can use fear or bleed or momentum and use those where we want to. You can then look through all the powers and enhancements and figure out things that might have some good synergy with your bleed martial art powers.

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Ten Ton Hammer: And what about dual blades?

Roper: Dual blades basically starts with you being able to damage multiple enemies in front of you. You’re doing less damage to a single target, but we’re letting you do that group damage all the time. You’re then basically trying to generate as much energy as you can, because you want to do the bigger strikes as soon as possible due to the smaller amount of damage you’re doing to each target.

Ten Ton Hammer: With dual blades, is the damage divided among your opponents, so if you attack a single target you’ll be doing more damage than if you attack multiple targets?

Roper: If you’re only hitting one target, you’ll be doing more damage than if you hit multiple targets, but not as much as if you were using an unarmed attack power.

If you had a single attack power that did thirty points of damage; if you were using a dual blade attack on three targets, you’d probably be doing 10-12 points of damage per target, but you’d only do 20-22 points on that single target. Those numbers are just ones that I tossed out, so players shouldn’t take those percentages as the baseline truth. *laughs*

So I’m not doing thirty basic points, but I’m also not just doing a third of the damage either.

Ten Ton Hammer: You talked about focuses recently. What are these “focuses?” Is it like switching stances between the martial arts?

Roper: Sort of. It’s a slowly generating power that you use to gain some bonuses. Think of it as focusing your “chi” in a particular area. That focus then gives you benefits to all the powers in a particular power set once it gets powered up, but it also gives you some basic bonuses as well that you can use in any of the martial arts power sets.

If I was to make an unarmed and single blade character, I may want to take both focus powers and kinda “stance dance” between those two. Or, as a player, you could look at it and think that unarmed martial arts focus is more defensive in nature, so you might just want to always keep that one on.

So maybe I’m coming in with the unarmed attacks, and then I’m doing a couple sweeping strikes with my blade, but I’m constantly working on the unarmed focus because I want those better defenses.

Ten Ton Hammer: So you’re getting the bonus to defense even if you’re using other powers besides the unarmed attacks?

Roper: That’s correct. There’s just a regular bonus that you just *get* and then other bonuses you get if using the powers from that power set.

Ten Ton Hammer: And momentum is really the overarching secondary ability that comes up with martial arts?

Roper: Right, and we really wanted it to be that way so players could use multiple martial arts abilities in their character.

I mean, there are a couple different secondary DoTs you get in some of the powers, but that’s just another sort of power ability.

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Ten Ton Hammer: In a previous interview, we talked about the ego weapon that telekinetic power set characters can wield. Those weapons can’t be applied to dual blades or single blade, can they?

Roper: You can’t have those. It’s just a telekinesis power ability. You might be able to find some other types of blades you can use that are basically “ego blades” but there isn’t a way now to use ego blades to attack your enemies with martial arts.

That is a neat idea though. We may have to look into that.

The cool thing about the power generating system that we use is that it’s really powerful and lets us do a lot of crazy things with our powers. We’ll talk about stuff, and then ask “can we do that?”

And the answer is usually “yes” but then we have to figure out how to actually achieve that goal. I think the ego blade concept is definitely possible, but I have no idea how they’d actually do it.

Ten Ton Hammer: I was looking over the “big picture’ with Champions Online the other day, and essentially at your end level players can have fourteen active powers. With that in mind, how critical is it to stay within a power set at those later levels? It seems like there are a lot of synergies, how much power is lost if you don’t get those synergies?

Roper: That’s the beauty of the system, as I think it really depends on the player. I’ve seen mixed power sets that are really good. The focused ones are very functional and very fun, but they don’t delve into the nuts and bolts.

The people that get into that and really find the synergies are going to be those players that find the really powerful builds.

The late game synergies tend to be other ways to build up endurance. I’ve built up a few characters, and if you find different ways to build up endurance in each of those characters, it works out okay. It’s not like there’s only one way to build a character and you need to do it that way.

I think our game really rewards the sort of creativity that players can find. I mean, you might make a single blade and munitions character, and those would work really well together because both of those power sets have bleed functions in them.

You can do that in other power sets as well with different abilities.

For the people that want to delve into it, there are lots of “sliders” and “knobs” that they can twist and tweak.

Ten Ton Hammer: Is energy the big resource that everyone is trying to manage at later levels? Obviously it’s the single resource everyone is drawing their powers from. Are those the players that are going to succeed; those that have good energy building and pool capacity?

Roper: I think in most games you can ask the same question. Is having a lot of mana important for a spellcaster?

Ten Ton Hammer: It can be…

Roper: It’s what powers your character. Is it going to be hugely important for your character to have a lot of it?

It depends on the character. That’s the cool thing about our system. You don’t have to necessarily pick one way to manage your energy. You might have really high endurance for a large pool or just generate energy quickly so you can do a lot of attacks.

Ten Ton Hammer: Thanks again for your time, Bill!

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