A surprise Champion
This weekend I had pretty much planned to play a bit in The Secret World beta – and this I did, more about that in a later post. However, I also ended up playing another MMO which I had not planned at all to play – Champions Online. And I had a great time playing it!
First of all, I am a lifetime subscriber of Champions Online. Except for one character which had done some occasional visits into the game, most of my characters have between 700 and 900 days since their last activity. A post at Massively about Champions Online getting a new executive producer triggered my curiosity to see what the state of the game was, after also reading the state of the game for June 2012.
Logging into the game again was frankly a bit overwhelming – there were quite a few changes that came with the On Alert update, plus a number of changes and additions that had been made prior to that as well. Millenium City looked a bit different in some places.
With the crafting/gear revamp the crafting seems to have been simplified and actually become more meaningful – gear now can have slots and in these slots one can fuse in modifies that improve a stat of your choice, essentially. All the old gear can still be used, but it is only new gear that have slots and these seems generally to be a bit better than the old ones.
Old crafting material can be converted to the new crafting material (cores) in a single operation – this includes any old material in inventory and in the bank.
For freeform characters there seem to have been some changes and updates to how powers and stats work – there are now one primary superstat and two secondary superstats to choose from. In addition to the power selections there is also a kind of talent trees called specializations which one can assign points into.
Alerts is a neat new feature which is essentially a quick team through a team-up teleporter/dungeon finder tool. There are a couple of scenarios (e.g. bank heist, MC mayor held hostage, 2 minute showdown etc) and also a rotation of villains to encounter in each scenario. Objective are pretty simple and the whole event maybe takes between 2 and 10 minutes. Successful completion provides a reward and a boost for 1 hour of some type, e.g. XP or resources (cash).
I played a number of alerts and I typically waited less than a minute each time for a new alert to trigger. There is not a huge amount of variation though, so it is hardly something one would play all the time – more something to jump into from time to time.
In the past weeks I have played a fair amount of time in Age of Conan also and there besides being quite different games in terms of setting and mechanics, there is also a more general difference. In Age of Conan I do not often see more than a few players in a session. In Champions Online there were people around all over the place. In particular in Millenium City, but also in some other zones I visited. Age of Conan is a larger game in terms of game world, so it is perhaps more understandable. Still, Champions feels more alive. I have no clue how many people are actually playing Champions Online nowadays, but it certainly feels quite active.