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Question: What Champions Online Pricing Plan do you expect to go for?
$199.99 Lifetime ["Party of super heroes to beam down to the planet's surface, Scotty!"]
$59.99 6-mo. plan ["Dammit Jim! I'm a doctor, not a lifetime subscriber!"]
$14.99 monthly ["Analyzing planet surface to determine suitability for super hero life forms."]
Are you crazy! I haven't even tried it yet! ["Dammit, Jim! I'm a doctor, not a super hero!"]

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Author Topic: Champions Online (Cryptic's new MMO)  (Read 58028 times)
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Blackjack
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« on: February 20, 2008, 08:21:21 PM »

Cryptic launched the Champions Online site today (tentative Spring 2009 release):
http://www.champions-online.com

Screenshots here:
http://www.champions-online.com/screenshots

Jack Emmert [aka Statesman before Cryptic sold CoX to NCSOft] has a "Why Champions?" blog entry at the new site:
http://www.champions-online.com/devblog/2_20_08

The artwork seems grittier (at least one seems to suggest some sort of blood spray?), and graphically it reminds me a bit of cel shaded stuff like Silverfall and the shooter XIII.

I don't really know if this is what Marvel Universe was going to look like, and then they just shifted it to the Champions universe when Microsoft backed out.  icon_confused Perhaps this was a second project, as there never were any screenshots to show of MU.

I read pre-release features lists with a massive grain of salt, but here's what they promise. Keep your cynical hat on for now I say, especially when a features list is full of exclamation points!!!!!! Although that's in keeping with my favorite comic books!!!!!!!!!  smirk
Quote
The First True Action MMORPG
Hi-Octane Excitement: Champions Online delivers furious, fast-paced encounters previously reserved for action and fighting games. No more boring auto attacks and lengthy recharge times. Champions Online combat is instantaneous — and electrifying!

Brains required: Every enemy and super-powered threat in Champions Online has its own unique abilities and combat specialties. Use your head — or wind up dead!

Bring friends, make friends: The Champions Online universe will be jam-packed with thousands of heroes, facing thousands of threats. Join up with other heroes, create your own superteam, and prepare to take on the ultimate threats!

Be the Hero You Want To Be
Total customization, at your fingertips: Choose from hundreds of different costume pieces, colors and body types to create your character's one-of-a-kind costume and look. There are billions of possible combinations, and in a universe brimming with the fantastic and the unforgettable, you can still be completely unique!

Your powers, on your terms: There are a multitude of astonishing powers to choose from in Champions Online, and its flexible character creation system gives you total control over your hero's abilities. You can even pick the appearance of your powers. Do you want purple force fields? Green fire blasts? Jet black claws? In Champions Online, you decide! [This was something much asked for by COH fans but the answer was always that it would require too much manpower, cost too much or would require reworking the game engine - if I'm recalling it right]

Keep your enemies close: Every hero must have an archenemy. In Champions Online, you design your character's supreme adversary, choosing a name, powers and costume for a superpowered foe to bedevil your hero throughout his or her career. [pretty neat]

Bigger and better: Vanquish evil, and your successes will be rewarded with costume pieces to enhance your powers and abilities. Then customize the appearance of those rewards to your vision of your hero's look and abilities!

Vast Universe
Endless exploration: The battle against evil in Champions Online rages across the world into outer space and alternate dimensions. No other MMOG offers players the chance to explore such diverse realms — from the shining skyscrapers of Millennium City and the frozen wastes of Canada to the interstellar gladiatorial arena on the moon, the hidden underwater city of Lemuria and the foul mystical dimension known as Qliphotic.

Evil most foul: Battle supervillains, aliens, giant monsters and secret, sinister organizations. Doctor Destroyer is launching new plans to conquer the world. VIPER lurks in the shadows, seeking chances to strike at humanity. The ancient Lemurians are plotting a return to power. And Mechanon won't stop until it has wiped all organic life from the planet. Can you stop these heinous threats to humanity?

Make your mark: The story of Champions Online is constantly changing, continually evolving. Villains are defeated. Heroes rise and fall. Cities transform. Your actions may decide the future!
« Last Edit: February 24, 2008, 07:00:18 PM by Blackjack » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2008, 09:37:16 PM »

I really like the art direction and the graphics, it looks like a living comic book.
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« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2008, 10:20:19 PM »

Yeah, I just got done reading the preview in the latest GameInformer and DAMN do I want to play this!

And yes, the reason why we didn't get customizable powers in CoX was because the game engine as designed didn't support it. All the powers have their colors directly 'baked' into the animation. I didn't mind though, as I'm still a subscriber.
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« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2008, 01:34:21 AM »

Quote from: Harkonis on February 20, 2008, 09:37:16 PM

I really like the art direction and the graphics, it looks like a living comic book.

Honestly I think some of those shots look a lot like Crackdown.  Not that that is a bad thing, and the one with the tangled web stuff looks very comic book-ish and cool. 
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« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2008, 02:27:14 AM »

Speak of the devil -- I got the new Game Informer in my mailbox today, and they have a hands-on preview of this.

Some of the tidbits mentioned in the article:
-Cryptic has purchased the actual Champions pen-paper RPG, so while they're presumably going to follow its rules to a T, they don't have to be beholden to another company owning the IP rights (as they would've with Marvel).

-Cryptic is moving into publishing, and this will be their first "self-published" game. I can't help thinking that somebody (SOE perhaps?) else would handle the actual gruntwork of distribution if they intend to sell this in retail boxes.

-Combat is said to have more in common with Marvel's Ultimate Alliance console game, while supposedly keeping some of the skills/development etc. of mmorpgs. They got to play it a bit.

-This is a multiplatform title for XBox360 and PC. Apparently it's already up and playable on each system, and cross-platform compatibility is already working and also planned for launch day. So a Spring 2009 release seems genuinely possible if true.

-Microsoft now owns whatever work Cryptic did on Marvel Universe Online, so this game's engine has nothing to do with MU, or with City of Heroes

-Cryptic apparently got quite a bit of money for selling City of Heroes to NCSoft and this is helping fund this project and their two other mystery projects (Mystery #1 is really just inscrutable from the concept shots the article has; Mystery game #2 appears to be sort of a "caveman fantasy" MMO with loin cloth wearing players riding reptiles and battling dinosaurs.  saywhat

-You'll be able to create a secret identity for your character, and then set whether you want that to be revealed to the public or not. The choice affects what types of missions you get.

-The goal Emmert says is to make most of the game soloable and avoid the idea of forced teaming altogether, though it sounds like it'll be fun to team up.

-There will be loot and gadgets, and equipment you can wear. All will be toggle-able, visuals wise, if you have a look you wish to keep costume wise.

-Heroes will have customizable animations. So a robot-like hero might have a "robotic walking" animation you can select for default; a werewolf might have an animal-style animation etc. The goal seems to be to take everything about the COH costume builder to the next level as far as being able to customize everything.


**Yes, I'm still cynical about all this. I'm cynical there's a console market for MMOs, I'm cynical about how this'll play on PC because they're obviously focusing on how it'll play on an XBox360, and most MMOs that try to "break the mold" are simply not finding a mass audience so far. Still, I like what I read. smile

I played COH (COV to a lesser extent) for 3 1/2 years and loved it. But it is basically a 4 year old game with probably a 5-6 year old engine at this point. It's done a great job of keeping a steady playerbase all these years, and that's impressive.

I'm less excited about the console-ness of this than the fact it seems to be doing so many things that COH fans pleaded and begged for, but were -- repeating myself from above sorry smile -- repeatedly told it couldn't be done for whatever reason. That includes the customizable power colors, customizable animations, the idea of secret identities etc. I remember reading all of those suggestions at the COH boards over the years.

So I'm kind of keen on what they're trying to do here, but I'm just as interested in seeing how far NCSoft will go to deliver more things fans wanted but were told couldn't be done. Some of that (including the recent addition of customizable swords and assault rifles) finally went into the game.

Given this is a console-focused title and it's shooting for a far different combat feel than COH, I'm not thinking it's the COH-knockoff that my initial reaction suggested.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2008, 02:36:53 AM by Blackjack » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2008, 02:55:01 AM »

Oooo playable on the 360 and connected to PC players?
Sexy!

As mentioned earlier, I love the look and feel of this one by the screen shots.
I would like to say that it reminds me of when I first fired up CoH, but I will more than likely get a brick to the head for it.

I miss my comic books in video games.
It's been a medieval/fantasy setting dominated market for far too long.

Hope this one takes off!
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« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2008, 03:21:12 AM »

Wow. Due to this thread I'm actually intrigued now.
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« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2008, 05:45:04 AM »

Oh, I missed the debut trailer for this. It has a few glimpses of gameplay stuff, but it's "small" and kind of hard to judge how it'll play.

Anyway, here's the link (you may be prompted to get the latest Adobe Flash player, as they released an updated version in December '07 - it's a pretty quick, painless install process fwiw):

Champions Online trailer (at IGN):
http://media.video.ign.com/ev/sv.html?dlURL=xbox360movies.ign.com/xbox360/video/article/854/854253/champions_022208_01_flvlowwide.flv&object_ID=844880

If ye don't want to mess with updating the Flash player, can watch within the embedded player (even the official site is basically linking to IGN):
http://www.champions-online.com/trailer

I do think the cel shaded look is a risky decision if only because Silverfall and XIII flopped in N. America (though I'd say for a lot of reasons not having to do with the cel shaded look).

While I'd like to say that a cel shaded look can be less resource-intensive, Silverfall (which I did get and play quite a bit) wasn't what I'd call a low sys reqs kind of game.

All they'd have to do to intrigue me is have more "comic booky" interaction with the bad guys, and have mission objectives more interesting than "clicking glowies," escorts and rescues. My beef with COH for some time was "why as a super hero do I have nothing more interesting to do than beat up purse snatchers and click glowing objects?"  Tongue I think that was more a limitation of the engine, than a limitation on the dev's imaginations.

If this ends up a brainless beat-em-up done as MMO, I'll be sorely disappointed and I'll be calling for Emmert to turn in his cape.  disgust icon_lol
« Last Edit: February 24, 2008, 05:54:43 AM by Blackjack » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: February 24, 2008, 06:22:21 AM »

I feel like I'm weeding through a conspiracy video or something, but I used a free screen capture utility (EasyCapture) to capture some pixeldy screens from the Flash game trailer.

Near the end they spritz a bunch of heroes along the screen so fast you can hardly see them, so here they are caught in the act (I reduced the size a bit and adjusted color to try to make it more viewable):


This one gives a better view of a couple more alien-looking heroes on about the left half of the screen.

Note: The "glowing" guy is not a "glowing" hero -- they just glow as they get "zapped" onto that group view in the trailer. I think that one is a kid in a T-shirt and jeans. Not a real test of the costume builder.  Tongue

From the trailer footage (sorry again, awfully pixeldy)
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« Reply #9 on: February 24, 2008, 06:33:34 AM »

Sounds interesting, but, I don't think I'll ever pay 15 dollars a month on top of my Live (on the 360 of course) to play one game.

Not sure about the pc version.  Will keep a watch on this regardless.
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« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2008, 10:42:39 AM »

I know, I'm going to get it! I really hope they introduce disavantages in this game. I loved the idea of family memebers constantly showing up in missions. It really adds to the feel of you living in the universe, rather than some hero toon dropped into a villain world.
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« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2008, 01:26:46 PM »

Nice varied list of creatures there. Excellent grab!

I am SO stoked for this! Too bad it's not due out for at least a year.
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« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2008, 05:15:39 PM »

They've not said anything about pricing yet. I think they know the console market's a different beast. I'm curious to see what kind of pricing SOE's going to do with The Agency on PS3 (there though there's no regular free for the online stuff, albeit it's not as polished as XBox Live). I'm sure that's something Cryptic will be sort of watching out of the corner of their eye.

Like RTSs, I think you can certainly *do* MMOs on consoles if you adjust to the controller and playing on a big screen TV and all -- the question is whether the audience wants or needs it on that platform (other than perhaps the Final Fantasy MMO, there's no proven demand for it there imho) and whether they want to pay more fees if they already are (though that's unique to XBox Live for now). I think to some extent there's this "Well if WoW is going to blot the sun in the PC MMO market forever, then we've got to move to a platform Blizzard isn't on and see if the market's there" attitude.

If I was a publisher I'd be a little wary of all the mmorpg devs bragging about how their game is "better than, different than or not just another WoW," cause most of the ones labeled as such have gone nowhere. As Emmert said in the GDC roundtable, LOTORO's the only mmorpg to top the 100,000 market in years other than WoW, and a cynic would say it's not a whole lot terribly different than WoW (though I warmed up to LOTORO, and not WoW).

Oh well I'm rambling like always, sorry. smile I wasn't really wowed by the combat in the Champs trailer much, but it's early. COH old timers like to reflect on how that game looked/played during beta, and I gather that a year before launch it was very different from the game that launched. But I can understand they need to get the hype wagon moving early (it's their first self-published game, and I imagine to some extent Cryptic's future existence depends on this being a hit (he said in a melodramatic, comic book narrator style voice  icon_lol)

I thought it was very interesting Emmert and COH's Lead Designer (Matt Miller/Positron) were on the same GDC MMO panel. I wonder if they're still on good terms, or if it's more of an Obi Wan Kenobi/Darth Vader type of relationship.

Jack: "So we meet again, Miller."
Matt: "Once you were my teacher. Now I am the master!"
Jack: "Only a master of evil, Matt. I see you're offering sculptures of Statesman now. How duplicitous."
Matt: "Don't make me use an energy blast on you..."
« Last Edit: February 24, 2008, 05:21:01 PM by Blackjack » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2008, 06:33:32 PM »

I dug around the official Champs forums for some dev posts (their community content writer Kestrel said they'll have a 'dev tracker' post up soon). I know it's early, I just kinda like knowing what they're thinking about. And other than Emmert, we don't know anything about these guys (this isn't the COH/COV dev team). I know Emmert is big on letting dev team members interact on boards (was/is really a hallmark of COH/COV), and it seems the same way with this early on. smile

I'll keep updating this with useful posts I find so check back often. I just like digging up stuff like this and trying to make it easy to read fast. smile

* Classes of heroes
-Player post about possible classes, based on the Champions RPG types:
http://forums.champions-online.com/showthread.php?p=15235
-Dev reply:
Quote from: dev Jackalope
A few might not make it at launch because of tech, and the names above (and concepts) aren't 100% on, but it's definitely close.

Remember that players will be able to select ANYTHING in the way of powers. A class gives some added advantage to some powers, but otherwise, you're free to select anything you want. And, given the way our design is going, that just might be a good idea...

BTW, my absolute favorite characters to create were speedsters and metamorphs. Loved 'em.

* Beta test etc. [nothing to report, just seems to indicate there'll be one eventually]
http://forums.champions-online.com/showthread.php?p=3334
Quote from: community rep Sporkfire
When it comes time to sign up for Alpha and Beta, you can bet that we will make such a big hoopla about it that you won't possibly miss it

* Why teams are limited to 5 players [multi-team raids are definitely part of the game though, he says]
http://forums.champions-online.com/showthread.php?p=19071#post19071
Quote from: lead designer Arkayne
Five person teams are the optimum group size based on our data mining. Keep in mind there's a lot more complex and reactive gameplay going on in Champions Online. Having larger groups makes things difficult for our content team to balance and keep fun and is also cognitively difficult for players to keep track.

That being said we're planning on having multi-team support (a command group consisting of multiple teams of 5) so you can take down larger threats!
This seems to suggest it certainly plays differently than COH (8 player teams).

* Underwater environments
http://forums.champions-online.com/showthread.php?p=19104#post19104
Quote from: lead designer Arkayne
We will have underwater missions. As for powers, TBD (it's pretty specialized).

* Loot
http://forums.champions-online.com/showthread.php?p=19154#post19154
Quote from: dev Arkayne
"Loot" is definitely part of Champions Online but characters are not nearly as dependent on it as in other games. It's there mainly to allow additional powers and costuming customization to characters and to provide tangible player goals.

Certainly players can be happy with saving the world from villainy but sometimes you might also find use in repurposing Mechanon's robotic blaster into your upgraded suit of power armor!

* Number of available powers [player question was concerned about a limit of 10 powers per hero, but these seem to refer to direct-attack/activation things, not passives]
http://forums.champions-online.com/showthread.php?p=19171#post19171
Quote from: lead designer Arkayne
Keep in mind that there are passive powers and triggered powers in the game based on conditionals. The keymapped/button-mapped powers are only the direct trigger powers.
This seems where the console-focus comes into play. You've only got so many buttons on an XBox360 controller, and they're not going to exceed the # of attack buttons you could comfortably do with the controller. A keyboard doesn't have those limits, but the game's got to work on both.

* Crafting
http://forums.champions-online.com/showthread.php?p=24106#post24106
Quote from: lead designer Arkayne
There will definitely be crafting, focused on the main aspects of creation in the supers genre.

* Bases/housing etc.
http://forums.champions-online.com/showthread.php?p=19261
Quote from: lead designer Arkayne
Lots of awesome ideas on bases/housing here! While we do have designs for this type of feature, it is not currently planned for launch.
Not really a surprise. COH didn't have SG bases until loooong after launch.

==========
Oh it seems like Canada is a major, large zone in the game world. smile

The dev/staff types so far there seem to be:
-Arkayne (lead designer)
-Jackalope (dev) (Jack Emmert)

-Foxbat (board moderator, seems pretty funny)
-Kestrel (community content coordinator, female fwiw; seems to be in charge of the official Web site and content)
-Sporkfire (community guy, helping w/ the boards/site I imagine) [Note: this is the same Sporkfire who was once moderator/community guy for SOE's Planetside]
« Last Edit: February 24, 2008, 09:37:51 PM by Blackjack » Logged

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« Reply #14 on: February 24, 2008, 09:26:52 PM »

It's interesting (and risky) to let the players have total control over what powers to choose from, now that I think about it. The original design for CoH was that players could choose whatever powers they wanted, and as thus they could make 'tank-mages' that were nigh-indestructible, and they could make heroes that had no attack powers whatsoever (and thus were utterly gimped).

This is why you have the archetype system in place with CoX. Here's to hoping that they can do the full customization though.
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« Reply #15 on: February 28, 2008, 02:18:34 PM »

Champs site has its first "meet the dev" with the lead designer, who goes by Arkayne at their forums:

Meet the Team – Lead Designer Randy Mosiondz
http://www.champions-online.com/node/32
A few tidbits of note:
Quote
COV connection:
"I worked on the content team for City of Villains, and then switched over to Champions Online a few months after CoV was launched."

Favorite zones working on for Champions:
"Monster Island has radiation-breathing giant monsters and Millennium City has super-tech, but I'd have to go with the Moon for those galactic-level threats. Moon bases, alien invaders, interstellar portals – it has got it all!"
It's interesting but there's little about the game itself.
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« Reply #16 on: February 28, 2008, 03:31:08 PM »

dangit, why'd I have to read this thread and not ignore Champions for the next year or so?  now that I'm interested it'll be doomed to a 2010 release.
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« Reply #17 on: February 28, 2008, 05:51:27 PM »

Quote from: Blackjack on February 28, 2008, 02:18:34 PM

COV connection:
"I worked on the content team for City of Villains, and then switched over to Champions Online a few months after CoV was launched."

So that means that they've been working on Champions for quite a bit now. And that also means that they've known that the Marvel MMO has been dead for even longer.

Wow.
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« Reply #18 on: February 29, 2008, 02:58:58 AM »

Combed through a few more dev posts ah missed....

No Playstation 3 Version Planned
http://forums.champions-online.com/showthread.php?p=44132
Quote from: Arkayne
We have no current plans to develop Champions Online for the PS3.
No big surprise, given the skepticism whether the MMO model can work on consoles period, much less one with as small (for now) a user base as PS3.

Tackling "mezzing" and "rewards" concerns in PvP
http://forums.champions-online.com/showthread.php?p=21827
Quote from: Heretic (developer)
We are painfully aware of the complications mez effects can have with regards to PvP, and have been taking this into consideration with our designs.

Addressing the various avenues for exploitation of the reward system - PvP or PvE - is a major consideration we take into account in our approach. We have come up with some approaches that I am so far pretty confident will manage this kind of problem effectively.
I hope they are wise enough to avoid "one shot kill" characters like COV's Stalkers. That caused such a nightmare balancing and exploits problem in the game in PVP, and probably contributed to how little PVP action is generally going on there (such as stalkers sneaking into hospitals to camp players as they rezzed). But try to fix that (remove the Stalker's one shot kills in PVP and put guard droids everywhere to make them visible), and you just tick off the stalker players. Being mezzed and slowly killed in PVP is a lot of fun as well.  disgust

Hopefully, since they're building PVP in from scratch this time, they'll be giving thought to how PVE powers work in PVP right from the get-go.
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« Reply #19 on: March 02, 2008, 08:32:48 PM »

You can que that '80s chestnut, "You made me, promises, promises, ... that you never keeeeeep."  icon_neutral...

Endgame concerns
http://forums.champions-online.com/showthread.php?p=55297
Quote from: dev Heretic
Quote:
Originally Posted by ...
MOST of all I'd like this game to have more End Game Content that is more meaningful. I dont want to keep earning xp and influence for no reason.


Arkayne has that as one of his main focuses at the moment. It's still way too early to release details on this, but it is definitely something we are putting effort behind.

"Toggle-dropping" attacks like in COH? No
http://forums.champions-online.com/showthread.php?p=54956
Quote from: dev Heretic
We are not planning on having toggle dropping CoH-style making an appearance in CO.

It's kinda interesting that at the COH forums they're locking threads that start talking about Champions as all topics there should be about COH; at the Champs forums they sort-of do that if a thread gets carried away, but the devs really can't avoid drawing comparisons in the context of trying to describe why it'll be different.

Handling "mezz" effects differently
http://forums.champions-online.com/showthread.php?p=53743
Quote from: dev Heretic
Most of the ideas there have already been put into the design grinder way back when we first started looking at how we wanted to handle mez effects differently.

We have a mechanic that we are experimenting with internally; I expect it will still evolve somewhat (or a lot) over the remaining course of development of the project.

Exploration (very vague, it sounds like something beyond COH's exploration badges, at least)
http://forums.champions-online.com/showthread.php?p=54945
Quote from: dev Heretic
This one, however, I can shed a little light on. Yes, we are exploring possibilities to give incentive for exploration. We have some ideas that are looking promising on paper, but we're going to have to see how they unfold.

Is the game "set"? Doth we ask too much?
http://forums.champions-online.com/showthread.php?p=52550
Quote from: Jack Emmert
Is the game totally done? Well, I'm not bold enough to make that claim...we ARE reading these forums and there is time to adjust our plans to add cool things. And there's a lot of things mentioned here that are in the game already...in some form or another. At the very least, these forums give us ideas for updates & expansions!

Also, they're shooting for a T-rated game as COH was/is. For gore and skin, you'll have to find solace in Age of Conan or perhaps Requiem Bloodymare  drool Seriously, COH has a lot of kids and families playing, its probably one of the nicest things about it, and presumably they want to keep that family level appeal going with this.
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« Reply #20 on: March 04, 2008, 05:02:10 AM »

No longer must thee suffer the Blackjack Champions Digest, because they finally added a Dev Tracker to their forums:
http://forums.champions-online.com/search.php?searchid=56948

Still, they're posting like mad now. Mostly vague and trivial. One bit today...
Quote from: dev Heretic
Champions Online is planning to launch with PvP as an optional, parallel gameplay track.
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« Reply #21 on: March 04, 2008, 03:25:54 PM »

Quote from: Blackjack on March 04, 2008, 05:02:10 AM

No longer must thee suffer the Blackjack Champions Digest, because they finally added a Dev Tracker to their forums:
http://forums.champions-online.com/search.php?searchid=56948

Still, they're posting like mad now. Mostly vague and trivial. One bit today...
Quote from: dev Heretic
Champions Online is planning to launch with PvP as an optional, parallel gameplay track.

Bah I've been enjoying your MMORPG post.  Don't make me go dig this stuff up!

Has Ron put you on the payroll yet?  icon_biggrin
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« Reply #22 on: March 10, 2008, 03:11:05 PM »

I'll keep digging (and thanks for the kind comment  icon_smile). I just mean ya'll don't need me to find every dev post anymore.  icon_smile I'll still "cherry pick" the ones that seem most likely to interest people.

I ran a few tiny fan sites (Geo's Incubation Site, The Shadow's Darkstone Tomb, Ring of Red Central and 12 Angry Soldiers [devoted to a bargain game dev's military shooters]), and I sometimes miss posting news items, but I don't think my current job would let me do that regularly anymore. I just sneak in here when I should be working sometimes.  icon_wink Oddly enough, it was my dialup host that offered pretty awesome free-included Web hosting including cgi-bin access and a generous hit/bandwidth allowance. My cable provider (Cox) sux in that regard. So my fan site enthusiasm since withered away.

Well, here's an interesting tidbit. Community Guy Sporkfire said they have a Powerpoint presentation at their corporate site explaining why they believe Champion's engine database will be "improved and optimized to mitigate latency:

Lag mitigation discussion thread (with a link to the Powerpoint presentation)
http://forums.champions-online.com/showthread.php?p=74531#post74531

And dev Arkayne mentioned they'll have a Web feature up shortly explaining what the consequences of death will be in the game (I doubt they'll just parrot COH's debt system, or the "just run back from the graveyard" aspect as in WoW).

What Should the Consequences of Death Be?
http://forums.champions-online.com/showthread.php?p=75163#post75163
I'll bet this might be subject to change depending on how feedback is in the beta down the road.

I'd like to see something creatively done with it though. I'm not sure yet.But think about all the times a comic book character dies and gets resurrected.


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« Reply #23 on: March 10, 2008, 03:24:20 PM »

Keep the info coming.  You've made this my most anticipated MMO, up from being excited about zero.
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« Reply #24 on: March 11, 2008, 12:24:51 AM »

And still, I never could get a job in public relations.  icon_lol

Just a heads up -- they've locked the "suggested Q&A questions" thread and say they'll pick a lot of fan questions from that thread, and have some answers to share soon, so that'll be something to chew on.
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« Reply #25 on: March 11, 2008, 03:48:54 AM »

Quote from: Blackjack on March 10, 2008, 03:11:05 PM

Lag mitigation discussion thread (with a link to the Powerpoint presentation)
http://forums.champions-online.com/showthread.php?p=74531#post74531

Hmm, I've tried downloading that file a few times and it just says that the zip is invalid or corrupt.  I really wanted to read that, too! 
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« Reply #26 on: March 12, 2008, 08:48:10 PM »

Cryptic claims to have fixed that link (wasn't working with IE 7 in particular):
http://forums.champions-online.com/showthread.php?p=80021#post80021
Quote
Ok I fixed the link, IE7 wasn't downloading it correctly. Probably an issue with gzip transfers.
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« Reply #27 on: March 14, 2008, 09:41:31 PM »

Cryptic posted its answers to the first round of fan questions...

Ask Cryptic, March 14, 2008
http://www.champions-online.com/dev_blog/ask_Cryptic_03-14-08
The Blackjack Sniffer attempts to highlight a couple things (there were only about 4-5 questions in this round of answers)...
Quote
What will the "death penalty" be? (Hythian)

Arkayne: The "death penalty" is fairly simple, Hythian. After a player is defeated, he or she can choose to wait until another nearby player with healilng powers puts them back in the fight. Failing that, the player can choose to go to a nearby recovery point. Those points are spread throughout zones and instance maps. [I guess there are no resurrection inspirations per se in this?-bj]

Regardless of what the player chooses to do, they have to pay a small price for defeat: equipment damage. Equipment has a certain degree of durability associated with it. Whenever a player is defeated the equipment they are wearing suffers a durability loss. If the durability of an item is reduced to 0, it stops functioning until it is repaired. Equipment can be repaired for a resource cost at most hero safe areas throughout the game. [I'm not really a big fan of keeping an eye on equipment durability, not even in Diablo clones, so color me skeptical-bj  disgust]

About combat (the question is a loooooooooong one so I'm taking a shortcut here  icon_smile - bj]
Heretic: You will auto-target your opponent, but there are a couple of changes to how we are approaching player powers that should minimize the "fireball following them around corners" issue.

First, we have shortened activation times as much as possible. This makes the game feel faster and more responsive, but it also significantly reduces the frequency of projectiles following around corners.

Second, we are relying more heavily on charge-up and maintained attacks. The advantage of these type of attacks is that they give the player the opportunity to block or move to put walls and other objects in the way and close off line of sight from their attacker.
On the last point, the question was related to CoX basically treating cover as non-existent (and other heroes actually), so basically projectiles fly through/around cover, other players etc. for the most part. I think it's also a function of the relative slowness of CoX's engine though many MMOs share this type of limitation afik. Meaning the engine animates wonderfully and all, but if a bad guy fires at you, and you run around the corner, the projectile still follows through/around said corner and hits you.
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« Reply #28 on: March 14, 2008, 11:54:11 PM »

The 'problem' with Heroes as far as attacking around corners went is that many ranged attacks weren't 'instant' as far as projectile speed goes. The enemy has already made his 'attack roll' when the game starts to animate the power, and as thus if it's declared a hit, it has to show it. Yes, this causes some really goofy things when you can move at speeds close to the projectile speed (as you don't get damaged until said projectile actually hits you).

Still - sounds really cool what the devs want to do with this game.
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« Reply #29 on: March 20, 2008, 07:01:24 AM »

I'm really glad they are designing CO with loot

that was CoX's fatal flaw...without loot, a MMO just does not have that constant long-term draw to play.  it was a brilliant game in short chunks of time, but lack of loot just ruined it eventually
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« Reply #30 on: March 20, 2008, 01:49:44 PM »

Quote from: KePoW on March 20, 2008, 07:01:24 AM

I'm really glad they are designing CO with loot

that was CoX's fatal flaw...without loot, a MMO just does not have that constant long-term draw to play.  it was a brilliant game in short chunks of time, but lack of loot just ruined it eventually

CoX has loot now and it makes a huge difference to the draw to play the game.
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« Reply #31 on: March 20, 2008, 01:52:27 PM »

I would love to see a satirical MMO that actually has carrots as the primary loot incentive.
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« Reply #32 on: March 20, 2008, 02:28:55 PM »

Quote from: wonderpug on March 20, 2008, 01:52:27 PM

I would love to see a satirical MMO that actually has carrots as the primary loot incentive.

If the Bugs Bunny Looney Toons MMORPG ever comes out we might!

I'm still waiting for a full graphical sequel to Progress Quest
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« Reply #33 on: March 20, 2008, 07:40:21 PM »

Quote from: Harkonis on March 20, 2008, 01:49:44 PM

Quote from: KePoW on March 20, 2008, 07:01:24 AM

I'm really glad they are designing CO with loot

that was CoX's fatal flaw...without loot, a MMO just does not have that constant long-term draw to play.  it was a brilliant game in short chunks of time, but lack of loot just ruined it eventually

CoX has loot now and it makes a huge difference to the draw to play the game.

really???

can you explain more in detail...last time I played CoX was probably like 8-12 months ago.  I loved the game pretty much in every other way
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« Reply #34 on: March 20, 2008, 08:30:42 PM »

You can now find 'loot' recipes that give you new costume pieces (wings, things like jetpack boots, etc), as well as new power 'sets'. So instead of just slotting 1 Acc, 3 Dam, and 1 Recharge, you can now find (or buy) combo pieces that give you Acc and Dam, and if you slot 3 of the same set, you'll gain something like a 1% overall damage boost to all your powers.
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« Reply #35 on: March 24, 2008, 10:11:19 PM »

I'm not a moderator but let's talk COH/COV in that other thread (and I'll talk your ear off there since I've really fallen back in love with the game  icon_smile).

With Champs, Emmert posted a dev blog talking about how their hiring of an experienced comic book writer, and the "test" that they give prospective applicants:

Identifying with your heroes
http://www.champions-online.com/dev_blog/Identifying_with_your_heroes
Quote from: Jack Emmert
A MMORPG has much fewer lines of dialogue to develop its characters than a novel or comic book. Every single word is precious; every verb, noun, adjective, adverb must create a better understanding of a character’s motivation and personality.

When hiring for our writing position, all of the applicants had to take a test. One of the questions was:
A supervillain is monologuing his triumph to his seemingly helpless superhero nemesis. Write this monologue from two perspectives. The first – the supervillain is a cold, calculating monarch of an Eastern European nation. The second – the villain is maniacal, nearly insane.

We wanted to find someone who could, in a few words, deftly communicate the difference between the insane archvillain and the arrogant one. Most applicants were readily able to demonstrate that the one was sane and the other wasn’t, but very few illuminated the underlying motivations of each.

It's interesting stuff, but comic book fans (me included) would probably take issue with Jack's "interpretations" of various popular comic book characters' appeal/lack of appeal. But everybody has an opinion.  icon_smile

Oh they hired John Layman, and apparently he has a lot of experience writing for comic books (his own, and many for the big publishers), along with a bit of game writing experience.
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« Reply #36 on: March 28, 2008, 07:27:20 PM »

Cryptic posted a new round of Q&A from fan questions:

Ask Cryptic - March 28, 2008
http://www.champions-online.com/node/41
This is a bit tricky to do my usual cut-n-paste summaries, so I'm stitching together some things of interest:
Quote from: Jack Emmert
In Champions Online, a player selects a Fire Blast with some predetermined effects...

But Champions Online is all about customization. So a player can take that Fire Blast and, over time, add Advantages and Limitations to it. These aren't necessarily going to be identical to the ones in the HERO System, but they'll be familiar. Some Advantages can add new damage types, increase the chance of a critical, or perhaps add some new wrinkle under particular conditions (imagine a power that does something extra but only at night …)
About instances vs. outside of instances:
Quote from: Arkayne
We're putting a lot of work into our persistent environments. There are going to be large-scale threats in almost every world location that players will need to team up to take down, ranging from giant monsters to alien invaders and super-powerful villains.

Monster Island is a great example of this with a number of nasty creatures ready to challenge brave teams of heroes!
About upgrades' visual options:
Quote from: Arkayne
Upgrades come in a multitude of forms. Some are external (i.e. pieces of power armor) and others are internal (i.e. mutagen serums). The visuals vary from costume pieces to different glows, FX, etc. As players advance their heroes they can acquire upgrades with amazing new visual components to customize their hero.

Please keep in mind that these visual changes are optional, and that players can simply turn them off if they think it doesn’t suit their characters.
There's more, just highlighting some stuff.
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« Reply #37 on: April 05, 2008, 02:43:24 PM »

Emmert piped in a little on a "things CoX did wrong that Champions Online will do right" thread (as a COH-homie, I find it a little sad to be slagging a successful 4-year old game for what it is not -- if it's so awful, NCSoft wouldn't be doubling its manpower and re-investing in the game imho, they'd instead dump it in the virtual landfill with Auto Assault; but that's besides the point)....

http://forums.champions-online.com/showthread.php?p=111329#post111329
Quote from: Jack Emmert
My own perspective on this:
1. Power customization
2. Supervillains (and interesting supervillain battles at that - not just bags of hit points)
3. Something other than combat
4. Interesting rewards
5. More varied environments
The power customization is sounding more like color and some effect customization. Fans of course want to claw for custom animation of everything, but as with the Studio Formerly Known as Cryptic, they spend a lot of time backtracking from the idea of being able to customize animations or everything because of those pesky "it takes too much manpower/hours/money to do" issues.
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« Reply #38 on: April 13, 2008, 05:42:35 PM »

There was another Q&A session:

Ask Cryptic - April 11, 2008
http://www.champions-online.com/node/46
Quote
Q:Will the gameplay be more CoH, with lots of FedEx style zone traversing and hunt 50 of [insert villain name here] or more CoV, with most missions not requiring you leave the zone that your contact is in? (BanzaiBadger)

Arkayne: Gameplay in Champions Online has its own style, BanzaiBadger. The majority of gameplay is in the persistent world with occasional forays into instanced areas to take on some of the nastier villains. Every world location has distinct neighborhoods with gameplay centered in that area. Occasionally you'll get missions that take you between world locations, but those are more of the exception than the rule.

Q: If you take the villains from Batman like the Joker, Scarecrow, Two-Face, etc., DC gave them their own little personality to make them each different from the rest. Will the villains in Champions Online have their own feel to them that makes each one seem different from the others? (Aplex)

Arkayne: Champions Online has well-developed personalities for their major named characters, Aplex. Our writer John Layman has done a masterful job in creating interesting missions and dialog to flesh out their personalities. What's more, each of the big-name villains in the game has a "shtick" associated with them. A villain shtick is something players need to counter and take advantage of in order to turn the fight in their favor. Basically, whenever you encounter a new Champions Online villain, you'll have to figure out how to deal with them or you'll be in for a rough time!
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« Reply #39 on: July 25, 2008, 05:29:13 PM »

Massively.com has a writeup of Emmert's comments at GDC, about equally on COH/COV as much as on Champions:
http://www.massively.com/2008/02/22/gdc08-jack-emmert-on-cryptics-success-and-failure/

I cherry picked some stuff:
Quote
Q: How did you feel about developing Marvel Universe Online when you were essentially competing against yourself -- killing your own baby?
A: Champions Online is going to be better than City of Heroes in every way, shape, and form. It's sad, but it's evolution. We're not afraid to take up the challenge.

Q: Why are you working on Champions Online instead of continuing work on CoX?
A: NCsoft didn't want to do it. They wanted to own it.
[This was opposite of how I seemed to understand it some months ago -- that Cryptic was moving on to Champions, so NCSoft formed a new studio in order that CoX wouldn't be "orphaned" without a dev, and that all but one of the CoX devs chose to move to NCSoft's newly formed studio; I guess there really are two sides to every story - BJ]

Q: What do you think about game companies shipping games early and unfinished?
A: It's all about money. You've burned so many millions and can't simply wait to turn a profit. Waiting can also date your early content -- perhaps it was originally designed with bleeding edge technology, but if you push your launch date back a year, it won't be nearly as impressive. There's also a lot of pressure from your publisher -- they're like Uncle Scrooge. You're forced to release a game when it's "good enough" rather than "perfect."
[Devs are constantly pilloried for premature MMO-releases but I venture that most of them would keep their games in beta testing forever, if it wasn't for the Mighty Publisher and/or Investors brandishing their brass knuckles behind them at a certain date in the development timeline. I guess that won't ever change, but I think most players would argue that all the ill-will that premature releases build up isn't worth pulling in revenue some months early-BJ]

The Cryptic "Timer" only has a couple of days left on their other game announcement, which most folks are assuming is Star Trek Online (or something along those lines).
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