I really looked at these character models long enough to learn how to play?I really looked at these character models long enough to learn how to play?

When I first began playing
MMOGs in the early 21st century I entered Everquest without
a single clue as to what I was doing or what I was supposed to be doing. 
I spent about three hours killing skeletons and snakes outside of the
Dwarven city, and dying repeatedly because I couldn’t grasp why I
had to stay close to that area and not go venturing out on my own. 
I was a “noob” for the lack of a better term.  Heck by most
accounts, I would probably still be a noob today.  But I had fun
then, even with my lack of knowledge.

As time went on, I learned more and more
about game mechanics in Everquest, and especially with World of Warcraft,
my first true love of the genre.  I learned what stats boosted
what skills, and what gear I needed to achieve the highest amount of
damage against the dastardly trolls in Stranglethorn Vale.  The
game became less about just playing, and more about playing well…
about using my character to his fullest potential. 

I’ve been both types of player this
editorial seeks to address.  I’ve been the Conceptual Creator,
leveling a character and designing his skills and gear based on my imagination
with little regard to what is “best”.  My hunter in WoW (yep,
a noob hunter) used a staff as his melee weapon for the longest time. 
I’ve also been the Min-Maxer with three different sets of gear in
my bags for different combat situations.  I’ve written out my
desired stats and used search engines to find the best gear possible
for that outcome.  But is there a “better way to play”? 
Does it really matter if you have the optimal build if you’re having
fun whatever way you play?

In Champions Online, this disparity between
play-styles seems more pronounced than in most games on the market today. 
The reasoning behind this is pretty simple: the character creator in
Champions allows you to do precisely whatever you want.  You can
be a werewolf clown with the powers of fire, ice, and giant laser-beams
coming out of your eyeballs if you feel like that’s the way you want
to play.

But there are folks who would see such
a way of playing as folly.  They would advise you to stick to one
or two power sets at the most, and to pick this advantage or this super-stat
because they lead to having the most reliable damage output in the game. 
They’ll tell you that picking a super-stat that doesn’t coincide
with your main power-set is crazy talk… and while that it may be,
it doesn’t mean that there’s only one way to do things.

Fair enough, in CO those players that
focus on doing what’s optimum will generally have an easier time in
their fights, but the same could be said of any game.  Those players
who focus on getting the “right” gear and the right skills are always
going to have it easier than those who are reaching towards a certain
build concept.  But those players that prefer to use their imagination
and creativity in the creation of their heroes will be plenty viable
as well.  Now, I’m not advising anyone to overdo it and pick
one power from every set. In that case, there is no real concept and
certainly no min-maxing.  But I think it’s worth mentioning that
I currently have a Supernatural/Strength hero with a Super Dexterity
and Super Constitution that’s doing just fine and I’m really only
building on the concept of a werewolf with some vampire-like powers. 

He's no Onyxia... but those ping-pong balls still hurt.He's no Onyxia... but those ping-pong balls still hurt.

I even defeated Foxbat in the news studio
just fine the other day… with thanks to Resurgence (healing powers
are smart no matter who you are).  There is no real wrong way to
play Champions Online.  Before the now infamous launch day patch,
I’m sure it was much easier to just make your character in any old
way you wanted without much forethought.  Now the game’s gotten
a bit more difficult, but Wolfenstein (that’s me) is proof that you
can build on a concept and still succeed in kicking bad guy butt.  

The moral of the story is simple. 
If you want to build your character in the most efficient way possible,
go for it.  If you want to make your hero a hybrid of three different
power sets based on an idea you had in the 3rd grade for
a comic book, then do it.  And heck, you might even find some synergies
between sets that make such a character a joy to play.  Don’t
listen to anyone telling you how to play your hero.  The choice
is yours, and there is no wrong choice.

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Champions Online Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016