Champions Online Wiki

Ask Cryptic is the title of a series of questions from users to the game developers, and their responses. This article documents what the developers have (and haven't) said about the game.

Character design and powers[]

  • Characters have characteristics that represent aspects of their abilities, similar to strength/dexterity/constutition [1]
  • Each costume element has up to four changeable colours, and has one changeable bump detail option. [1]
  • Some costume elements are unlockable as characters progress through the game. [2]
  • Precise numbers for game mechanics will be shown to the players. [3]
  • There is no provision for the use of player-supplied images in costumes. [4]
  • There are no cape collars due to poor interaction with long hair. [5]
  • There are makeup effects. [5]
  • There are tattoo effects and various cloak designs. [6]
  • There are animated tails. [7]
    • In various designs, but they are purely cosmetic. [8]
  • Non-human character designs are possible. [9]
    • But all designs must be bipedal. [8]
    • And, ignoring wings and tails, only two arms. [8]
  • Character stance is treated like a costume element and can be modified at any time. [8]
  • Size, face, and apparent age can be adjusted at any time. [10]
  • Gender cannot be changed after character creation. [10]
  • Eye colour is a costume option. [11]
  • The costume, power set, minions, and personality of a character's nemesis can be selected by the player. Dialog is based on the personality trait. [10]
    • Creating a nemesis is optional. Interaction with a nemesis occurs randomly. [12]
      • And only within instances. [13]
    • The personality only affects dialog, not combat. [13]
  • Secret identities are included in the game and have some kind of effect on gameplay. [10]
  • Characters can be retconned (respecced). It becomes more expensive as the character gets higher levels or the changes are more dramatic. Most but not all character choices can be changed by a retcon. [13]


  • Powers can be modified from the base values by additional advantages and limitations. [14]
    • These modifications are applied as the character gains levels. [15]
    • Not at character creation time. [9]
    • Advantages come in a wide variety of effectiveness; some simply improve the basic elements of the power they are attached to, while others add completely new effects. For example, one Advantage adds an impenetrable telekinetic force field element to a heal power when the heal target is very low on health. Other Advantages can add damage or movement snare effects, or even modify what a summon power conjures. [7]
    • Advantages may boost basic stats or change the behaviour of powers, such as changing click powers into toggles that operate for a period of time. They do not simply or conditionally increase offense and defense. [16]
  • Characters will start out relatively weak and limited, and expand their range of powers as they gain levels. [3]
  • The colour of power animations can be changed, but otherwise the animations are fixed for each power. [15]
    • Martial arts, and similar powers with no obvious colour effects, have colour trails that can be changed. [17]
  • Each Archetype gives bonuses to certain powers, but any powers can be picked. [9]
    • Archetypes are scrapped. [18]
    • Instead, characters have Roles which are a static, freely-changeable boost to certain functions (offense, defense, etc). Roles can be changed during combat, allowing characters to take on the traditional tasks of tanks/healing/dps. [19]
  • Gathering for buffs, as in City of Heroes, is not present. Buffing powers activate automatically as appropriate. [2]
  • Buffing, debuffing, healing, knockback, and mez powers are all represented. [3]
    • Healing powers come in single-target, self-target, directional area-of-effect, and whole-team variants. Advantages can change the targeting style of some powers. [16]
  • There are powers based on the use of whips and chain. [6]
    • Also swords, daggers, and dual blades. [17]
    • Some weapon types are cosmetic, some have gameplay differences. [17]
  • There are stealth powers which allow players to attempt to bypass certain spawns without fighting. [6]
  • There are some charge-up powers which make the player stationary while the power is activating, but the player can move while most powers work. [7]
  • Electricity, fire, and ice powers are included. Other types will be added after launch. [17]
  • Animal companions can be summoned. Their appearance cannot be altered. [17]
  • The emanation point of some powers can be changed. Eyes and hands are given as examples. [12]
  • Weapons drop in the world and can be equipped for different visual or gameplay effects. [12]
  • One travel power is acrobatics, which is a combination of super speed and super leaping. [13]
    • Travel powers are available at character creation time, and increase in effectiveness as characters gain levels. [19]
  • Telekinesis will act like strength at range. [16]


  • Upgrades are pieces of equipment, imbuements, special training, etc., that players use to make their character more powerful. Every upgrade has a condition associated with it. Whenever a player is defeated any upgrades the player has slotted degrade. If the condition of an upgrade is reduced to 0, it stops providing a benefit. Upgrades can be restored to full effectiveness for a resource cost at most hero safe areas throughout the game. [14]
  • Upgrades come with optional visual effects which can be added to the character's costume. [15]

Combat mechanics[]

  • Targeting is automatic; a player selects a target and power to use, and the projectile travels along the appropriate path. [14]
  • Characters have a block state which reduces incoming damage, and may have other special effects. [4]
    • This can be upgraded, which may alter the blocking animation. [7]
  • Foes can be knocked into environmental hazards, which will cause continual damage until they leave. [4]
  • Some environmental objects can be used as weapons. [5]
  • Detection by enemies is based on direction and distance, not a magic bubble around the enemy. [12]
  • There are four categories of defense. [12]
    • Resistance is for tank-type characters, able to withstand a hail of bullets, but can be knocked back and dazed by a large enough blast.
      • Now referred to as Invulnerability [16]
    • Dodge is able to avoid large blasts easily, but can be overwhelmed by large numbers of smaller, faster attacks.
      • Now referred to as Lightning Reflexes [16]
    • Forcefield degrades over time, starting out almost invulnerable and becoming less effective as the fight goes on.
    • Regeneration starts off slow, and builds up to a certain limit as the character gets hit.
    • Each category of defense is driven by a different stat. This prevents them from all being maximally effective at the same time, while allowing them to stack. [16]
  • Defense comes mostly from powers, with some minor bonuses from gear. [16]
  • Certain defenses are tuned to synergise well with certain power sets, although any combination is possible with effort. [16]
  • Every creature has a ranged attack and can hit flying people. [13]
  • There are some aesthetic client-side physics relating to animations and breakable objects. [13]
  • There are some combat server-side physics relating to the use of environmental objects as weapons. [13]
  • All movement powers have acceleration and friction behaviour, not just a fixed speed. [13]

Non-combat mechanics[]

  • There are non-combat skills which affect the combat environment. [14]
  • Crafting and exploration are present in some form. [4]
    • Crafting is not required for characters to advance. [8]
    • There are no crafting powers. [13]
    • Crafting does not advance your character. [13]
  • Missions are handed out by NPCs and computers, activated by items found on defeated foes, or triggered by exploration. [5]
  • Missions can be shared with team members. [7]

Zones and instances[]

  • There will be significant large-scale events in the persistent world, not just in instances. [15]
    • Involving large numbers of players in multiple teams. [9]
  • The majority of gameplay happens in the persistent world, with occasional instanced encounters. [20]
  • Game zones have content at all levels, rather than being associated with a specific level range. [2]


  • There are PvP areas. [8]
  • Powers mostly work the same in PvE and PvP, but some are different. [12]
    • Taunt powers work by debuffing the target until they hit you. [12]

Implementation details[]

  • The client will require DirectX 9. Additional DirectX 10 support may be added after launch. [20]
  • The game will be released for xbox360 and Windows. [4]
  • PC gameplay with an Xbox controller is planned. [10]
    • Keyboard and controller gameplay should be equivalent and both feel natural. [16]
  • User-definable keyboard interface is planned. [10]

Super groups[]

  • New super groups can be formed at level 10, and joined at any level. [16]
  • There are group-specific emblems and colours for use in costumes. [16]
  • Super groups have private chat and message systems, ranks, and a shared vault. [16]
  • There will not be a levelling system for supergroups at launch, but it may be added later. [13]


  • Champions Online does not use the point system from the HERO system, but is inspired by it. [14]
  • A variety of organisations and villain groups from the original Champions are present. [16]
  • There will be zombies. [20]
  • There will be no shared storage for characters on the same account, but items can be mailed between characters. [13]
  • There will be no shapeshifting characters are launch, but it is planned to add them later. [16]
  • Pets cannot be directly controlled, but will only attack their controller's target. They can be switched to passive or aggressive modes, or prevented from moving. [16]