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Champions Online

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Champions Online is a subscription-based, superhero-themed massively multiplayer online role-playing game by former City of Heroes/Villains developer Cryptic Studios based on the Champions license. The game's rules and setting are loosely based on the HERO System ruleset.[2] The game has been released for Microsoft Windows. An Xbox 360 version of the game was in development, but was confirmed as canceled in March 2010.[3]


File:Champions ss.jpg

The game itself is action-oriented. Successful attacks and blocks increase a power meter which can then be spent to unleash more powerful actions. Death is handled in a similar manner to City of Heroes, in which a player may choose to be revived by a teammate or respawn at a neutral site, except respawning does not accrue experience debt. Instead, upon death you lose one of your five possible accrued Hero Stars. These stars are earned for staying alive while defeating NPCs. Your character gains bonuses to their effectiveness for every star earned (percentage increases to damage, healing, etc.).[2]

The game features an "orb system" where enemies defeated by the player may drop orbs that temporarily benefit the hero's powers, life, or energy.

The game includes non-combat crafting skills, such as various studies in science, arms, and magic, in which these have three other specializations players can choose under them. There are also a variety of travel powers, including swinging using webs or grappling hooks, flying, fire flying, jet-boot flying, rocket boot jumping, hover disks, super jump, super speed, teleportation, acrobatics (fast running, leaps and flips), ice sliding, earth flying, and tunneling.[4]


The action takes place in the Champions universe, featuring Champions characters as NPCs. Regions include urban sprawls, dinosaur-infested islands, underground ruins, and underwater lairs. A special region called "the underground circuit" allows player vs. player competition.[5] Also, stronghold is used for player vs. player scenarios, in which the player will take on the role of a supervillain trying to break out or a superhero trying to contain them. Each region in the game is an "instance" with up to 100 players in it at one time. The regions are reset if you leave and return, only saving "your" state of the regions at certain "save points". It is possible to revisit the same region to redo some missions again and again.

Locations include:[6]


The game features a character creation similar to City of Heroes, with additions such as the ability to edit a hero's movement animations, such as a beast-like hero opting to run and leap on all fours.[5] The player may also edit the color and firing position of their powers, such as changing a power's energy animation from red to green or changing the animation to fire from the head instead of the palms.[6]

Another difference from City of Heroes is the elimination of any character class or archetype system; characters can take any skill or power.[7] The game also supports solo play throughout a hero's career if desired.[5]

At level 25, players are able to create their own custom nemesis along with his or her minions using the same character creation system used to make your hero, with added selections specifically for the nemesis. The nemesis' minions will then ambush the player's hero, providing clues and information leading to nemesis missions and eventually a showdown with your nemesis. The level cap is 40, with special endgame content and gameplay at the cap.[5]

Heroes and villains from the Champions universe will serve as major NPCs, including the following:

File:Defender champions.jpg
Hero Appearance Hero Appearance
Cavalier Reference Nighthawk Trailer
Defender Profile Kinetik Profile
Doctor Silverback Profile Nightwind Reference
Ironclad Profile Sapphire Profile
Justiciar Profile Witchcraft Profile
Villain Appearance Villain Appearance
Talisman Profile Kigatilik Profile
Cyberlord Reference Menton Profile
Doctor Destroyer Profile Mind Slayer Profile
Foxbat Profile Teleios Article
Grond Profile Armadillo Profile
Gigaton Profile Talisman Profile


The game's announcement followed the cancellation of Cryptic's Marvel Universe Online[8] as well as the sale of their Intellectual Properties City of Heroes and City of Villains to developer and publisher NCsoft in November 2007.[9] On February 28, 2008, Cryptic announced they had purchased the entire Champions intellectual property, licensing the rights to publish the 6th edition back to former owner Hero Games. The 6th edition books will synergistically allow players to adapt their Champions Online characters to the pen-and-paper roleplaying game.[10]

On July 10, 2008, 2K Games announced they would be publishing the game.[11] Registration for the closed beta testing period was announced on October 10, 2008.[12] However, on December 17, 2008, 2K Games officially dropped the publishing of the game due to the take over of Cryptic by Atari. Atari then developed and published the game along with the ongoing development of the Star Trek Online MMO.

Release was originally set for July 14,[13] but on May 16, 2009, Cryptic announced that Champions Online would be delayed and the game was officially released September 1. Executive producer and design director Bill Roper cited that the team needed more time to implement important features that the beta test group felt were necessary at launch.[1]

As announced by Cryptic in July, 2009, the game includes Micro-Transaction purchases. Most items available for purchase are vanity items that do not affect gameplay, such as costume pieces and ingame action figures. Any items that do affect gameplay are also accessible through gameplay only. All items purchased are available to all characters on the account.[14]

On July 20, 2009, a post on the official Champions Online Discussion Forum from a Cryptic online community representative addressed the lack of any announcements regarding plans to release Champions Online on Xbox 360. It stated that "it has always been, and still remains our intent to release on consoles, and as soon as we’re able to share more information about it, we will", and alluded to unfinalized business deals with other, unspecified companies which prohibited the disclosure of more specific details. The community rep's post also noted that the Xbox 360 FAQ had been removed from the Champions Online website.[15] In a podcast interview for the gaming website dated August 28, 2009 Jack Emmert elaborated on the issue, stating that the Xbox 360 version is "ready to go" but is facing an indefinite delay while awaiting Microsoft's approval, which is not readily forthcoming due to Microsoft's indecsion on how to implement MMO's across Xbox Live.[16]

On August 17, 2009, Cryptic opened up their Beta servers for access through August 25 to allow the community to test and trial the system as well as submit bug reports, and the game officially launched September 1, 2009. Those who pre-ordered the game gained instant access to the Open Beta on August 17, and some of those who pre-ordered (depending on their retailer) also gained access to an "Early Start" on the live servers beginning on August 28.

On September 1, 2009, Champions Online became available for purchase instores as well as shipped out from online stores. Pre-Order players were given until September 4 to enter their new product key to continue playing. The purchase included one free month of play and a special item specific to the retailer.


The game uses a new game engine developed by Cryptic Studios for use in all of their new MMO projects. The characters feature a special cel-shading Cryptic Studios refers to as comic shading, which includes bump mapping and high-resolution texture mapping.[8] Hero facial animation will be stressed as well, allowing them to show emotion.[17]

The system requirements for Champions Online are as follows:[18]

Minimum Requirements Recommended Configuration
OS Windows XP SP2 / Windows Vista / Windows 7 Windows XP SP2 / Windows Vista / Windows 7
CPU 2.5 GHz Single Core or 1.8 GHz Dual Core Intel E8400 Core2Duo or Better
Memory 1GB RAM 2GB RAM or Better
Video NVIDIA GeForce 7600 / ATI Radeon X700 or HD / Intel GMA 4 NVIDIA GeForce 8800 or Better / ATI Radeon HD 3850 or Better
Sound DirectX 9.0c Compatible Soundcard DirectX Compatible Soundcard
DirectX Version 9.0c or Higher Version 9.0c or Higher
HDD 5GB Free Disk Space 5GB Free Disk Space
Network Broadband Required Broadband Required
Optical 6X DVD-ROM 6X DVD-ROM or Better



The first major update(s) will include new repeatable mission chains which include a Hidden Base in the Well's Pass area, and the Lost Caves. A new power set called the Celestial Power Set, as well as an additional room for the Powerhouse where players can try out powers against automated enemies will also be introduced.[19][20]


During an interview with Jeux Online Bill Roper talked about a new 5 man Nemesis Lair that would be released during late November.[1]


A new type of enemy that allows players throughout the game world across varying levels to fight side by side against it.[2]


"Revelation", a free expansion pack, was released in mid-March 2010. It includes new areas for characters above level 37 and Tier 4 Powers. [3]


"Serpent Lantern", a free expansion pack, was released in early June 2010. It includes a new large Mission, a difficulty slider, new powers and balancing on old powers. [4]

In Development

Series 2 Action Figures, the possible release of more zones which had to be delayed past launch..

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 Champions Online New Release Date / Champions Online Official Site (2009-05-16). Retrieved on 2009-05-16.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Ask Cryptic, March 14, 2008, Official site
  3. "Cryptic Has 'No Current Plans' For Console Champions Online"
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Game Informer, March 2008, Issue 179, p. 59
  6. 6.0 6.1 Champions Online First Details, IGN
  7. Champions Online Developer's blog: Evolution of Game Design — Rethinking Archetypes (May 23, 2008)
  8. 8.0 8.1 Game Informer, March 2008, Issue 179, p. 58
  9. ([dead link]Scholar search) NCsoft Announces New Studio in North California; Takes Full Ownership of Successful City of Heroes Property. NCsoft. Retrieved 2007-11-06 
  10. Cryptic Studios Announces Champions Online. Cryptic Studios.. “Cryptic Studios also announced today that it has acquired the Champions intellectual property (IP) from Hero Games. First published in 1981, the Champions role-playing game is one of the first RPGs to forgo the traditional dice-rolling system of character generation in favor of a point-based system. Cryptic Studios licensed back to Hero Games the rights to produce Champions RPG books, and the sixth edition of the HERO System and Champions, set to release in 2009, will include rules on how to recreate Champions Online characters and scenarios.”
  11. 2K Games to Publish Cryptic Studios' Upcoming MMO Champions Online. Cryptic Studios..
  12. Sign Up Now for Cryptic Studios’ Champions Online Closed Beta. Cryptic Studios (2008-10-13). Retrieved on 2008-10-16.
  13. Take-Two drops Champions Online. GameSpotUK (2008-21-18). Retrieved on 2008-12-21.
  14. Demystifying Micro-Transactions in Champions Online (2009-07-22). Retrieved on 2009-07-23.
  15. What's Up with Consoles (2009-07-20)..
  16. MS foot-dragging on 360 MMOs is "baffling," says Cryptic boss=2009-08-29..
  17. New Champions Online Screenshots!, Official site
  18. System Specs Revealed!, Official site
  19. State of the Game: Sept 15, 2009. Champions Online Dev Blog (2009-09-16). Retrieved on 2009-09-30.
  20. Patch Notes: September 29th, 2009. Champions Online (2009-09-29). Retrieved on 2009-09-30.

External links

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