|Release date||September 1, 2009|
Champions Online is a superhero-themed massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) developed by Cryptic Studios based on the Champions license. The game was released in 2009 for Microsoft Windows. The game's rules are based loosely on the HERO System ruleset.
The game will feature a character creation option, including the ability to edit a hero's movement; for instance, a wolf-like hero may opt to leap on all fours rather than on two, a robot may select robotic, jerky movement rather than humanoid, and a mentalist may opt to float inches above the ground rather than walk. The player may also edit the manifestation of their powers, including color and form; for instance, a heat ray may resemble flames or a force field may have a color specified in the editor.
Heroes will also have the option to have unique weaknesses and disadvantages, such as being extra-vulnerable to cold, in exchange for obtaining stronger powers. In addition, players will custom design their own arch-nemesis in the same fashion as their own hero (selecting a costume, their powers, their name and history), who will appear throughout their careers. If a player defeats his arch-nemesis permanently, they have the option to create a new one or finish their careers without another arch-nemesis.
One significant difference is the elimination of any character class or archetype system – all characters can take any skill or power equally. The game will also make it easier for a player to spend most of his hero's career as a solo hero if they desire.
The game features a paper-doll inventory system, and items physically appear on the character when equipped; the player may elect to remove the item from the visible GUI and still receive the effects from it.
The level cap is at 40, with special endgame content and gameplay at the cap.
The game will be action-oriented and will allow the use of a gamepad to perform actions. Attacks will be mapped to the four buttons, while defensive actions, like block, will be mapped to a shoulder button. Successful attacks and blocks will increase a power meter, which can unlock more powerful actions, which can be accessed by holding the left trigger to reveal a different button map. In addition, the game will be nearly HUD-less.
Upon death, a player may choose to be revived by a teammate or respawn at a neutral site, though the hero's upgrades are degraded when they respawn. Upgrades are anything (physical enhancements, equipment, relics, etc.) that the hero will receive during the course of his/her career. When equipment hit points reach 0, they cease to function and must be repaired.
The game features an "orb system" in which when the player takes out enemies, they may drop orbs that either benefit or deplete the hero's powers, life, or energy.
The game will also contain non-combat skills such as lockpicking and science knowledge.
The action takes place in an entire world (and beyond), set in the Champions universe, which features classic Champions characters as NPCs. The player may join various factions around the world, which unlocks faction-specific items, stores, insignias and crafting stations. Regions include urban sprawls, dinosaur-infested islands, underground ruins, and underwater lairs. A special region called "the underground circuit" allows player vs. player competition.
Named locations include:
- The Moon
- Millennium City, a high tech city built on the ruins of Detroit
- Lemuria City, an underwater city
- Qliphothic World, a mystical dimension
- Stronghold, a high level superprison buried in Devil's Head Mesa
- Unnamed frozen waste in Canada
- Monster Island
- Slither Beach
- Snake Gulch
- Area 51
In Champions Online, unlike City of Heroes/Villains, there are 18 Power Sets, which are categories of different powers.
Note: All powers and power sets are considered unfinished and are subject to change at any time.
- Dual Blades
- Fighting Claws
- Martial Arts
- Power Armor
- Single Blade
Players will be able to choose 14 powers total, from any of the aforementioned frameworks. Framework powers are set-up with four different sections: one for travel powers, one for endurance builders, one for powers that use endurance, and one to enhance powers.
The powers that use endurance in order to work are set-up as follows:
- Tier 0: no prerequisite
- Tier 1: at least 1 in framework, or any 2 arbitrary powers
- Tier 2: at least 3 in framework, or any 5 arbitrary powers
- Tier 3: at least 5 in framework, or any 8 arbitrary powers
Players will also be given "advantage points," 34 in total, in order to spend on their powers in order to upgrade them.
See also: Champions Online - Power Sets
Players will be able to choose two travel powers from the list below, the first at level 5 and another at level 35:
- Earth Flight
- Fire Flight
- Hover Disk
- Ice Slide
- Rocket Boots
- Rocket Jump
Classic heroes and villains from the Champions universe will serve as major NPCs. Listed below are characters that have been confirmed.
- Doctor Silverback
Online crossplatform gameplay
Champions Online was set to feature online cross-platform gameplay between the Xbox 360 and the PC "from day one". However, due to some business issues with Microsoft, the planned Xbox 360 version was scrapped and never released.
User created content
The game will accept user created content submissions for inclusion in the game.
The game uses an evolved version of the City of Heroes Game Tech engine. The characters feature a special cell-shading Cryptic Studios refers to as comic shading, which includes bump mapping and high-resolution texture mapping. Hero facial animation will be stressed as well, allowing them to show emotion.
The game's announcement followed the cancellation of Cryptic's Marvel Universe Online as well as the sale of their Intellectual Properties City of Heroes and City of Villains to distributor NCSoft in November 2007. 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.
On July 10, 2008 2K Games announced they would be publishing the game. Registration for the closed beta testing period was announced on October 10, 2008.
On December 17, 2008 2K games officially dropped the publishing of the game due to the take over of Cryptic by Atari. Atari will now develop and publish the game along side the Star Trek Online MMO. They are hoping to keep to the Spring 2009 release.
On April 24, 2009 Atari and Cryptic Studios announced the official release date for Champions Online as July 14, 2009.
On May 16, 2009 It was announced on the official site of Champions Online that the official release date would be changed to September 1, 2009.