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CO: Exclusive Interview on Sidekicks, Super Groups and Supervillains

Posted Mon, Aug 10, 2009 by Sardu

With 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.



Ten 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?

Bill Roper: 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.

Ten 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?

Bill Roper: 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.

Ten Ton Hammer: Cool. Could you give us an overview of how the Sidekick system works?

Bill Roper: 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.

Ten Ton Hammer: Are there any set level restrictions on who you’re able to sidekick in either direction?

Bill Roper: 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.

Ten Ton Hammer: Once you set yourself as the Champion for a team, is it possible to have more than one sidekick?

Bill Roper: 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.

Ten 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?

Bill Roper: 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.

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