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Champions Online: Nemesis and Omega Interview with Bill Roper

Posted Wed, Jul 29, 2009 by Sardu

Ever since our Champions Online community site went live, the superhumans otherwise known as the Ten Ton Hammer staff have been diligently putting together an excellent collection of new player guides, but we also understand that many potential players are interested in hearing more about what type of high end content the game will feature. With that in mind, we recently sat down with Bill Roper to discuss what types of challenges await players with the Nemesis and Omega systems.

Ten Ton Hammer: You recently mentioned that the Nemesis system has returned to the beta, and I know that some aspects have changed a bit from when details first emerged last fall. Could you give our readers an overview of some of the tweaking and polishing that went into the system with the latest iteration?

Bill Roper: One of the big things we did is we lowered it from level 30 to 25, so we had to build the content to fit into those extra five levels. I think the biggest thing is that Nemesis really has gotten a lot more detailed and almost even cinematic in nature.

There are basically two types of missions you go on. One is what we call ‘popcorn’ missions that just kind of pop up anywhere. A lot of those would be ambushes, or you stumble across the minions of your nemesis doing something. Those tend to be driven more by the supporting cast that you build out for your nemesis.

Then there are also these challenge and showdown missions which are linked together. They’re very thematic, story-driven and hand-crafted to a very high degree. Within those there are a lot of different variations because we really designed them for a high amount of replayability. So certain missions you go on from challenges and showdowns, for example, they always feature your nemesis, and they’ll feature some of that supporting cast; not only the ones you’ve designed as assigned minions but also different villains that come up that are specific to the nemesis storyline that may float through parts of that whole storyline.

There are different things you’ll find, or different ‘Easter eggs’ that open on different maps depending on whether you’re going through solo, or whether you’ve got three people in your team or there are five people in your team. So there are chances for other things to happen on those maps. This encourages players to make a ‘nemesis gallery’.

When you go through and complete the storyline chain and arc that ends with putting your nemesis in Stronghold, the supervillain prison, you can then create another nemesis. It’s kind of like building out your own villain gallery of the villains you’ve made. Then as you go through another nemesis story arc it might have some of the same stories or you might have some different challenges and showdowns, but even if you get one that you’ve been on before there are different things that can happen on the map because there’s a lot of randomness inside of those maps.  So you might say, “Oh, I got this challenge or showdown again but I did that solo last time. I’ll be sure to take a team with me this time because I couldn’t get into that one area before” or “I’ve heard that there’s this cool thing that unlocks because I’ve got five players” So different villains could show up and that kind of stuff.

So a lot of it’s been putting that effort into having that randomization within the system, and having really highly crafted challenge and showdown stories that you’ll go through. I think it’s very telling that when the Nemesis guys handed it off to the sound and they saw some of the cinematic sequences – the in-game cinematics that happen in the personal storylines – they were like, “Oh man, these are like little movies!” They were really blown away with just how much work was put into them.

I’m really excited; I think the Nemesis challenges and showdowns are going to be very challenging and engaging instances for players. And the system itself is just so cool; I love the idea of being able to create a villain and then show it off to people.

I think the last part then is that we wanted to devise a system that was really fun, really engaging in and of itself at launch but then also gives us a huge foundation to be able to create new content post-launch. That’s part of the reason we want players to build up their nemesis gallery, so then we can start doing things where you have more than one nemesis so there can be new maps or missions that use that. Or if we have multiple players going into a map that all have nemeses we could do some things with that even, or whatever else we can think of past that.

I’d love to be able to have nemeses randomly appearing in other people’s missions. It would be cool to be fighting and say, “Oh wow, here’s a villain!” You’re used to fighting villains obviously but you know it’s a nemesis because they don’t play like any other villain in the game. So seeing that and then going, “Wow, who was I fighting?” and somebody else says, “Oh dude! That was my nemesis!” because they were on your team or something.

So there’s a lot of different things we can do to make the Nemesis system extensible in a lot of  different ways moving forward, but it was really important for us to have a really engaging and engrossing system in when the game launches and I think we’ve really accomplished that.


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