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
[Editor's Note: Some of the
following questions may be paraphrased for ease of reading. The general
point of all the questions remains the same.]
Ten Ton Hammer: How
accessible will the game be for the MMO newcomer? Are you going for a
control scheme along the standards we’re expecting these
days, or are you bringing something new to the table? Also, what kind
of customization and/or personalization are we looking at for the UI?
believe our game is really accessible for people that are new to the
MMO space. The visual elements of the UI aren’t customizable,
but the actual hot key presets you can go in and choose from various
options that include types for the classic fantasy MMO player, which is
a lot like the WoW control scheme. Or you can go in – if
you’re a big City of… player – and you
can choose an option that maps your keys like what you find in the City
You can obviously also go in and set your keybinds for everything in
the game. In fact, you can even have a left-handed keybind set. We have
a really awesome UI lead for the game, and at Cryptic the UI has really
become one of our core technologies. There’s stuff
that’s absolutely game specific – there has to be
– but the core technologies are going to span all of our
We pay a lot of attention to making sure that the game, from a UI
standpoint, is very accessible. Things appear on the screen when
players need a hint or need some encouragement on what to do next.
There’s also a tutorial that covers a lot of the core
mechanics of an MMO for players that aren’t familiar with
this sort of gameplay. That said, we really put in front of our
designers this challenge of making a tutorial that you could play
through once, learn all of the basics, and never have to go through
So we ended up with this tutorial that is like something that [the
movie director] Michael Bay might have come up with. There’s
big explosions and aliens, and you have to go through and help take
down this massive mothership that has been terrorizing the city. From
moment one in the game, you’re not only learning how to play
but also playing a part in this fun and exciting set-up.
Ten Ton Hammer: Can you
change your alignment? (cause sometimes heroes have midlife crisis too)
At launch can we expect more than just Good/Bad/Neutral alignments?
isn’t really such a thing as “alignment”
in Champions Online. There isn’t that sort of component in
the game, so players can really be anything that they want to be. That
said players are creating heroes and heroic characters, and that was
one of the biggest pieces of feedback we’ve been receiving
from beta testers, that players wanted to feel more heroic. Like they
were doing something that was important. And that’s what
we’re striving to give them.
The Champions universe has been around since 1981, so the background is
really rich. There’s actually a whole sourcebook out there
called Dark Champions, which explores this sort of gray zone, morally
influencable type of heroes. That’s something we might
introduce later, but we already see players in beta that have built
heroes that have that dark look and feel to them. They use the darkness
power set or munitions and have an ex-military sort of guy
that’s on the edge. He might be out fighting crime, but
he’s not a nice guy.
Players really tend to roleplay that out with the powers that they
choose and the costume that they create. While there isn’t
necessarily an alignment system built into the game, we find that
players who get into super hero MMOs tend to be really big roleplayers
naturally. The players have really carved out their own sense of
alignment without us having to put that into the game for them.
Ten Ton Hammer: And some
of the power sets definitely tend to lend themselves towards building
up that sort of character like darkness and even sorcery.