less than a month to go before the September 1st launch of Champions Online
and the open beta just around the corner, interest in the latest MMOG
from Cryptic Studios is at an all time high. We’ve learned
many interesting details on everything from power sets to PvP in Ten
Ton Hammer’s series of exclusive interviews
with Bill Roper, but we were also curious to learn more about grouping
opportunities in the game which is exactly what we set out to discover
in our most recent discussion.
Ton Hammer: It’s inevitable that even superbeings are going
to fall in battle from time to time. Could you give our readers an
overview of how death or defeat is handled in Champions Online?
: What we wanted to do
is really push the heroic aspects. As heroes go out and fight, they
build up what are known as Hero Stars, which are represented as part of
your hero’s portrait. Every time you gain a star
you’re actually gaining a bonus to your overall
character’s combat efficacy and abilities. You can gain up to
5 of these stars simply by going out and adventuring, completing quests
and defeating villains. When you die you lose one of the stars.
You start out at a baseline which is your character’s normal
ability level, and from there you earn these bonuses. So the penalty
for being defeated then is losing those bonuses, or that momentum that
you’ve built up.
Ton Hammer: What options do players have then upon being defeated? For
example, do you simply respawn at a set location or are you able to
select where to respawn at all?
: You do respawn at set
locations unless you have a hero with you that has the ability to bring
you back up right there using one of the resurrection powers.
Ton Hammer: Cool. Could you give us an overview of how the Sidekick
: You can basically
select any hero in the world and then right click on their portrait
once you have them targeted to bring up the sidekick option.
Essentially what you’re doing is setting one of you as the
‘champion’ for the group, which then allows you to
either sidekick down or sidekick up from there; so by setting the
group’s champion, that sets the sidekicking level. So if
I’m a level 22 hero and I’ve got a friend
who’s a level 12 hero, he can either sidekick up to my level
or I can sidekick down to his level. That allows me to go through
content with him, or he can go through content with me at my level.
Ton Hammer: Are there any set level restrictions on who
you’re able to sidekick in either direction?
: I don’t
believe we have any set restrictions going either up or down. Now, you
don’t gain additional powers, so if you’re too low
of a hero you wouldn’t have a lot of powers to contribute to
the fight. So the further you get outside each other’s level
range, the less you’re going to be able to help going up.
It’s really designed more to let players who are fairly close
to one another to be able to help out.
Ton Hammer: Once you set yourself as the Champion for a team, is it
possible to have more than one sidekick?
: The whole team can
sidekick, so everybody can play as the same level. So if I have a bunch
of missions to go on I can grab people that are different levels to
help. And there’s not a level restriction at all, so a level
5 could sidekick up to level 35 if they want, but again
they’re not going to have a lot of powers to be contributing
with. So they can be there and will have increased hitpoints, and the
powers they do have will be geared up to level 35 but they’ll
obviously be limited in terms of flexibility.
Ton Hammer: Aside from being able to tackle content with friends who
might not be at equal levels, are there any other associated bonuses
connected to the sidekick system such as an XP bonus for being the
Champion of a team or even for the lower level players being sidekicked?
: Experience gain is
still based on your actual level, so it’s just like
adventuring at your normal level only you’ll be able to take
on higher level content.