One only has to look at screenshots of CrypticÂs upcoming MMOG Champions Online to realize that the spiritual successor to City of Heroes is something different in the realm of online gaming. There are no elves here. No orcs. No dragons to be slain or kobolds to take candles from. With that in mind, here are a few things to remember when taking your first steps out of Azeroth (or wherever you may be coming from) and into Millenium City.
CREATING YOUR HERO IS HALF THE FUN
When you log into most games to create your character, the basics involve picking a class, selecting a hair-style, and pressing play. In Champions Online, just picking your hair-style could take an hour if you wanted it to. Cryptic made a name for itself with City of HeroesÂ robust character creator, and they take it one giant super-leap further in Champions Online.
Not only will you detail your characterÂs look down to the very color of his or her fingernails, choosing from thousands of different costume and color combinations, but youÂll also have full control over each power the superhero has. There are archetypes you can choose from, but whereÂs the fun in that? When you first log into Champions, be prepared to take some time making your hero or heroine exactly as you dream them to be.
THIS AINÂT NO ORDINARY FIGHT
Once youÂve made your way past the character creation, your first steps into Millenium City wonÂt be much different than in any other game. What follows is your traditional MMOG tutorial, giving you the basics of movement, NPC interaction, and the like. But then thereÂs also a bit about combatÂ and thatÂs where youÂll really begin to notice the differences between Champions Online and other more traditional MMOGs.
Surely you still have your skills and hotbar handy, but Cryptic has made every attempt to create a unique and far more action-packed style of MMOG combat. The result is a system that will have you running and gunning, charging your eye-beams for maximum damage, and blocking the incoming swings of massive demonic behemoths. WhatÂs even more impressive is just how well the game lends itself to the Xbox 360 controller. Cryptic is simultaneously developing Champions Online for the Xbox 360 and it shows. Just plug your wired USB Xbox controller into your PC, and youÂll see what a difference a joystick makes.
EQUIPPING YOUR HERO
No MMOG is complete these days without some semblance of equipment. Players love their gear, but they also donÂt want to solely depend on it for success. Something CrypticÂs learned since creating City of Heroes is how to creatively and appropriately let superheroes collect and equip items to improve their abilities. As you complete missions and slaughter baddies, youÂll pick up plenty of odds and ends from fallen evildoers and as rewards from grateful NPCs. Just like in most every MMOG, these items can be equipped to boost the stats of your character. The only difference that may or may not be looked upon as a good thing is that the gear wonÂt alter your heroÂs appearance. The positive light on this is that at least you wonÂt have to worry about looking like a clown in a million different colorsÂ unless you want to, and if thatÂs the case you can take care of that with the costume creator.
ONE SERVER, ONE WORLD
Unless youÂre taking a trip to Millennium City from someplace like EVE Online or Guild Wars, chances are youÂre quite used to picking a server and living your characterÂs life from that point onward on that server. In doing this the game often segregates its players; friends have issues connecting to play together, and some servers will always wind up emptier than others leaving the population spread too thin. Champions Online has a solution for thatÂ one server, many different layers or instances.
Like the Guild Wars approach, players of Champions Online wonÂt have to worry about hooking up with their friends on a certain server. TheyÂll simply need to know their friendÂs Username or Hero name, and theyÂll always be able to find them. No picking servers, no worrying about which one has the best populationÂ just log in and start pummeling things with your massive rock-fists.
IN THE END, IT ALL SORT OF MATTERS
You won't find this in Azeroth.There are a million different things to learn in Champions Online, whether youÂre making your way from Azeroth, Norrath, or even Maple Story. YouÂll probably find yourself in a bit of a culture shock the first few hours in Millennium City, but hopefully weÂve given you a bit of a heads up as to what youÂre in store for. And rest assured that weÂll be with you all the way up until launch and beyond to give you the guidance and tutelage you crave.