Continuing Ten Ton Hammer's weekly review of the style="font-style: italic;">Champions Online
power sets, we sat down with Bill Roper to discuss the more mental
power sets, specifically focusing on telekinesis, force, and telepathy.
On top of that, we also took a moment with Bill to see where the team
is at in the development of the game. It's all in our latest style="font-style: italic;">Champions Online
power set interview, so check it out!

Can you tell us a little bit
about the Force, Telepathy, and Telekinesis power sets, the themes with
them, and some of the secondary powers players can have when they pick
these powers?

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Mind over
matter indeed!

Bill Roper:
Sure. Force is almost more
kinetics than telekinetics. Force features a lot of powers that shove
people back. There is a lot of knockback involved. It’s more of a
physical presence, a kinetic power set.

Telepathy is definitely a straight mind set where you are
doing things like summoning pets you use, other illusions or creatures
of the mind, as well as some direct powers like mental bolts.

Telekinesis features a lot of what you'd expect out of this
power set, but it also has the ability to create weapons out of mental
energy. A lot of what we are putting in right now is being able to do
things like being able to pick up objects with your mind and throwing
them around.

Kinda like what href=""
target="_blank">Psylocke does in the style="font-style: italic;">X-Men? That sort of

BR:  style="font-style: italic;">Right. 

In our previous interviews,
we've always talked about the secondary powers that each of the primary
powers has. What do these mental powers have for their secondary
effects? To me, these are not as obvious as an ion charge or a fire DoT
or a fear with darkness.

One of the big things you get from Force is a lot of different
knockbacks, so when you are hitting enemies you are not only damaging
them but you have increased chances of knockback. If you tend to do
charges more than taps [hold the button and then let it go – Ed.] you
get a much higher chance of knockback. So if you want to be fighting
enemies with a force blast and don’t want to knock them back for
whatever reason, you’re tapping to do that. If you want to get them
away from you, you charge and do that.

Also, force field is a force bubble effect barrier around
other people, and you actually get energy back when you defend other
people. Force field is kind of a secondary power.

How does that work?

If I throw a force field around someone else, I get a percentage of the
damage they take on that force field as energy back. 

That way I am encouraged to defend other players, and that’s a
secondary way of me getting energy.

So essentially, you’re
taking the energy that is being dispelled into your force field and
using it for yourself?


With the ego stuff in telepathy it has different types of
damages to deal with different types of resistances, physical
resistances obviously. It also has telepathic reverberation, which
returns energy over time to enemies of the affected target. So, if I
hit an enemy with ego blast for example, it will apply telepathic
reverberation for ten seconds if they have under half their life.

So, when the enemy has half life or below, I want to make sure
I hit him with something that has telepathic reverberation so basically
I start getting back energy over time. Actually it’s for anybody who’s
in my group because they are friends of the enemy target.

What about telekinesis?

BR:  style="font-style: italic;">Telekinesis has a
couple different side effects. Some of them can shock players, like
stuns that hold them in place. The other side effect is that you can
stack effects within the power set, so you can get additional damage.

For example with ego weaponry, you can form a blade with your
skill with telekinetic energy. There a couple of other powers you can
have activated, like ego form or ego surge, which are giving you more
power or using your telekinetics to enhance your physical form. That
activates “Hidden Blade,” which creates a second blade of telekinetic
energy for additionally damage.

Basically, ego weaponry is your melee attack, but then if you
use another power to enhance yourself it enhances your attacks and
gives them alternate effects.  So, when I use ego form or ego
surge, now my ego weapon actually has a second blade. In ways you can
increase your powers by stacking powers. Of course then there is always
the fact that you can pick up and throw objects.

When I first look at these
“psychic” powers on paper, they seem like ranged powers, but talking to
you they sound like they are almost a mixed bag of ranged and melee
sort of stuff. Is that accurate?

definitely tends to be more ranged. Telekinesis has a little of both.
It does have a couple of melee components, but it is predominantly
ranged. We wanted to throw in the fact that you could use telekinetics
to shape different types of weaponry. We felt that was a pretty
important thing to do. 

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style="font-style: italic;">The
Cryptic team has to tag that pallet for an ego check before you can
throw it with your mind.

And force it seems like it
is a power people pick up to keep enemies off of them, especially with
all of the knockback components it has. 

I love characters that use force. I try to play to some degree with
each of the power sets. Force is definitely a good one to use mixed in
with other power sets, but it’s actually pretty fun by itself. You get
really into imprisoning [enemies] with force bubbles, protecting
yourself in a force shield, and throwing [enemies] around. It’s a fun
power set just in itself, but it’s also a really good secondary

Would you say that force is
one of the more active power sets? It seems very rough and tumble where
maybe you aren’t in the mix but you’re constantly doing stuff to hamper

Yeah, it’s a really active set. There is a lot of utility with that

To some degree it seems that
telepathy is not as focused on damage as some of the other sets. It
seems more like a support sort of set.

I may have misrepresented it. It has things like ego blast and psi
lash, I mean, Vader-esque stuff like choking a guy with mental powers.
It has a reasonable amount of utility. But really a lot of what it is
about is doing damage and getting guys down to tap into that telepathic

Force is maybe more of a mixed bag that has support stuff.
Telepathy I see as having maybe a little more damage than force. It’s
not one of those pure support sets like sorcery, which still has some
damage. Telepathy has a lot more damage going on.

That makes sense. Is there
anything that has been added recently that is pretty notable? Are there
things that are going into the game that are really cool? 

For example in these power sets, for telekinesis we don’t have
the actual throw in yet for beta testers. We had to do a bunch of work
to base things off of ego and then create tables on objects in the
world. Basically, right now you can pick things up physically. So if
there is a crate or a car or a piece of building that has fallen you
can try to pick them up if you are strong enough or you can destroy it
with your powers.

We had to get through and get [those objects] cataloged so you
can move them with your mind. Ego is that stat that we are checking
instead of strength to see if you can pick them up or not. So the
actual telekinesis power of picking up things in the world isn’t in
beta test yet but will be going in the next week or so.

Was that pretty intensive to get that implemented
into the game? To the lay person, it seems like it would be relatively
easy, but this is doing it at range. What was involved in this?

BR: It’s really more that it’s different.
It’s going
through the table and we have to add [the ego check]. It’s less maybe
technically difficult, but it’s filling in and tagging everything in
the world to do that. It was a lot of work that had to get done to make
it work. There was a little bit of technology and then a lot of busy
work [laughs] going in to flag everything and make sure that works. We
have to make sure we are tracking ego the same way we track strength.
It was less that we had to do a massive amount of crazy technology.
There was some technology that had to get built. It was more that we
had to go in and make sure that every single thing in the world that
was going to do that was flagged.

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Admit it:
you've always wished you could toss people with your mind.

Gotcha. Taking a step back
from the powers specifically, where are you at in the development of style="font-style: italic;">Champions Online?
Obviously, you’re set to release in the early part of September, but
you’re still adding stuff. Are there extra things you want to add in at
the end but you might not have had enough time? Where does the adding
stuff in and the complete polish phase of your production meet?

It’s doing both. A lot of the stuff that we were hoping to get in that
was kind of on the bubble because we were working on it we will now be
able to get in. Some of it was being able to have the extra time to
figure out things. A lot of it is the result of polish because polish
is us looking at it and saying, “Oh, we really need to add this.”

It’s newer technology, but we’ve really got to make sure that
we get it in. For us, it really is part of the polish pass even when
we’ve done things that are mission reworks. Things that are big things.
It’s definitely also a [situation] where we need to make sure we are
approaching it correctly and doing the things that have to get in. The
polish pass really is sometimes getting in things that a lot times look
like, “Wow! That was totally an incomplete feature or a new feature.”
We really had to figure out how we get this in and make it work.

A lot of getting those things done was ensuring that when we
went through and were doing that polish pass and [seeing] how we fix
this up and make it better. The whole team really gets involved at that
point [and they figure out] what they can throw in and get it working
correctly so it really is awesome. We can all stay on a Saturday to get
this last thing in that wasn’t really on the table before but we do
have the extra time, so we should do it. We’re able to get in some
stuff that wasn’t on the plate before but we realize we can totally
pull off with a little extra time and extra work to get it in there and
get it working. That’s been a really good thing for us.

As a player, it’s always fun to see new stuff coming
into the game. On the other hand, I was just worried that the stuff you
were adding in—they didn’t seem big, but on the other hand you were
continuing to add stuff, so I didn’t know where you were in the polish
phase compared to the development phase.  

BR: Definitely a lot of what we are doing
now is polish, which is good that we are at that point. Sometimes you
can see things and go, “Oh, why is that happening? Why are they doing
that? Where did that idea come from?” A lot of that is involved in the
actual polish portion of it.

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style="font-style: italic;">The
ability to project a force field onto anybody could shake up the holy
trinity of class archetypes.

We’re pretty lucky because the team is really dedicated to
working on the game frankly, getting in as much as we absolutely can.
What we’re seeing out of that is the fact that we’re getting a lot more
in than we even thought we were going to at the end. That was a thing I
was really happy about.

One of the guys came to me yesterday, right as I was writing
the state of the game, and said, “Oh, hey we’re going to be able to do
this cool new feature that one of the guys just decided was going to be
his personal project.” So, we’re going to have the ability for people
to update their Twitter inside the game.

That's neat. 

BR: So you’ll be able to type “/tweet”, hit
a space, and then type a 140-character message, Then, boom! It goes
right to the Twitter account. It’s his personal thing. “Yeah, I’m on
Twitter all the time, and I want to be able to be playing and update.”
That’s awesome, man!

Yeah. That’s pretty cool.

BR: It’s definitely a polishing thing, but
looking at his schedule and what he was working on, he had some extra
time and thought he’d be able to get it in for our fans. It would be
cool to throw that at the Champions,

It’s a thing where even though we are going through and
putting polish on the game, there are people in the company that are
thinking, “Oh, hey this would be really cool. What if we could do this
or do that?” It’s throwing those things in, which I think is a really
neat thing. It’s another way where everybody pitches in.

Thank you for answering these questions for

BR: You bet.

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Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016