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HalloweenKnight

Champions Online Isn't a Computer Version of Champions As I Would Like It

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Herogames, I'm a little disappointed in you.

 

You were given a chance to make the universe you created for Champions become a living, breathing online world with Champions Online...

 

But somewhere, somehow, someone dropped the ball.

 

I'm not here to point fingers and/or say who's to blame, and there'd be nothing to gain here by doing so anyway. But I'd like to explain a little how my wish to play a Champions computer game – one with the HERO System running it – remains unfulfilled by the reality of Champions Online.

 

Primarily, as a player of Champions and the HERO System in tabletop form since 1982 and as a Lifetime Subscriber to Champions Online, I don't feel that Champions Online is what a computer-game version of Champions should be.

 

What should have been an explosion of creative possibilities in character conception, all made possible by Champions having the HERO System as its solid rules, somehow ended up being the limited group of character “archetypes” we see in Champions Online, with nothing resembling the HERO System behind it save for some shared names in character statistics (STR, DEX, CON, etc).

 

What should have been the “design-your-own” powers that Champions players have used the HERO System to create for three decades instead became Champions Online's limited power sets, with strict rules regarding when they're available and an inability to change something so relatively simple as the power's color without paying extra for the privilege of doing so.

 

What should have been the open-ended character ideas made by Champions players and driven by the point-based HERO System instead became Champions Online's level-based character advancement. The whole reason the Champions (HERO) game system was invented 30 years ago was so that the game's characters would never be level-based to begin with.

 

I wanted a computer version of Champions. I wanted to make characters limited only by the rules of the HERO System, some “house rules” for the sake of fairness, and my own imagination...and then pit those characters against published Champions adversaries like Grond, Firewing and Dr. Destroyer. I wanted to share these adventures alongside others via the Internet.

 

But Champions Online? Not what I wanted. I tried to pretend it was, and I tried for six years. I can't pretend anymore. I'm giving up on it and dropping out. Maybe it will become something closer to what I want sometime in the future, but for now my Lifetime Subscription is going inactive.

 

I think what I wanted, and what I wanted Champions Online to be, was just a MUD or MUSH that used the HERO System. I've looked around for something like that, but I don't think anyone runs those any more.

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You do realize that Hero Games did not create Champions Online, correct?  They just licensed their IP to Cryptic (the creators of the game).  Cryptic made the game to follow the engine that they had already created, but existing within the conceptual universe/timeline of Champions (which they bought control of).

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You do realize that Hero Games did not create Champions Online, correct?  They just licensed their IP to Cryptic (the creators of the game).  Cryptic made the game to follow the engine that they had already created, but existing within the conceptual universe/timeline of Champions (which they bought control of).

 

Yes I do realize this. The same game engine that was supposed to be Marvel Universe Online, I think.

 

I'm just lamenting the fact that Cryptic's already-made engine still had little to do with the HERO System...

 

...and I so very much wish that it did.

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Any fault in this is totally on Cryptic as Simon said as I was trying to reply to this thread. I felt the same way about a computerized Champions back when they were trying to do a 2D computer RPG as indicated on this Computer Gaming World cover.

cgw4-92.jpg?height=300&width=200

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Yes I do realize this. The same game engine that was supposed to be Marvel Universe Online, I think.

 

I'm just lamenting the fact that Cryptic's already-made engine still had little to do with the HERO System...

 

...and I so very much wish that it did.

 

If you played in the Beta you would also realize that The starting zones of the North and the Desert were orignally full of quests about Wolverine and The Hulk. The whole game was a hack job designed to put something out using as many of the assets as the game already had in place.

 

Hero Games had little to no input into the game beyond supplying the IP for the game world and all of the Characters.

 

The lowest levels of the game were already in place way before Cryptic got the rights for the Champions IP. By the time beta rolled around the beta testers hated the game system, hated how it was dumbed down for a console port (that never happened). The "action" MMO was just horrible gameplay. The Graphics sucked as well.

 

so to Blame Hero games for the POS that Cryptic put out isn't really fair. If you must hate on the game go to the Perfect World forums and tell them what a crappy game they have. I am sure they know it, they got Cryptic for a song from their previous publisher.

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Yes I do realize this. The same game engine that was supposed to be Marvel Universe Online, I think.

 

I'm just lamenting the fact that Cryptic's already-made engine still had little to do with the HERO System...

 

...and I so very much wish that it did.

BTW No mmo would be able to use the whole Hero System. The game is balanced on the edge of a dime and requires a TON of GM work to make sure that Characters aren't too powerful or too whimpy. Heck, with the system CO uses they have struggled with balance issues. IMHO you will never see a PC or Console game that uses the Hero System to the extent that most people say they want. It just wouldn't work, and would be a TON of work to get it to work.

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It does make me think, if they did make Champions as a 3D extension of the tabletop game, how they would handle stuff like collateral damage to the surrounding areas?

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If you're dissatisfied with CO, I would suggest that you go take a look at the City of Titans kickstarter page. The kickstarter is over (and well over its funding goal), but it tells you about a new superhero game that's in the works. I'll be buying and trying it when it comes out. It's not going to Champions online, but it might be more to your liking.

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If you're dissatisfied with CO, I would suggest that you go take a look at the City of Titans kickstarter page. The kickstarter is over (and well over its funding goal), but it tells you about a new superhero game that's in the works. I'll be buying and trying it when it comes out. It's not going to Champions online, but it might be more to your liking.

 

That's at least a couple of years away at best. This assumes that they can get backing past the Kickstarter. Which might be problematic. Most MMO's are going Free to play and I have to wonder how many recent MMO's have paid for their development costs. Also City of Titans is billing itself as a City of Heroes clone and that property had it's own set of issues built into the game systems.

 

As for destroyable terrain, Everquest Next is going to be the first MMO with totally nukable terrain. We will see what that does to/for the gameplay. I am betting that the gameworld will exist in a state of constant leveling, with players blasting the crud out of all of the terrain that can be blasted. Who knows perhaps they have figured out how to deal with that.

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Champions Online was never meant to be an emulation of the Hero System itself. They have said that from the very beginning. It was never intended to be an emulation of the Hero System.

 

Instead, Champions Online was a game inspired by the Champions Universe setting, with some minor inspiration taken from the Hero System mechanics

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BTW No mmo would be able to use the whole Hero System. The game is balanced on the edge of a dime and requires a TON of GM work to make sure that Characters aren't too powerful or too whimpy. Heck, with the system CO uses they have struggled with balance issues. IMHO you will never see a PC or Console game that uses the Hero System to the extent that most people say they want. It just wouldn't work, and would be a TON of work to get it to work.

 

Well, they could try to capture it "in essence."

 

Most notably a computer game could give loads more granularity (multiply all stats by 10 or 100 to have greater variation between characters.)

 

Not everything would translate, but I think a game that attempted to coin itself as "a toolkit for creating balanced video games" in the spirit of HERO System could, indeed, work very well.

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Take Neverwinter Nights or Oblivion or Fallout 3, plug in HERO System mechanics, give it genre-specific assets for maps and NPC's, put together a few "Original Campaign" scenarios to start, and let people go hog wild licensing it for their own DIY Games.

Then pay me for having the idea :D

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BTW No mmo would be able to use the whole Hero System. The game is balanced on the edge of a dime and requires a TON of GM work to make sure that Characters aren't too powerful or too whimpy. Heck, with the system CO uses they have struggled with balance issues. IMHO you will never see a PC or Console game that uses the Hero System to the extent that most people say they want. It just wouldn't work, and would be a TON of work to get it to work.

 

I think a case can be made for a subset of the HERO rules being a solid base for an MMO. I agree that certain types of powers (mental, adjustment) will be hard to balance, while others (Summon, Transform, XDM) might be simply too flexible (or vague) to work. Option paralysis might also be a problem. However, I don't see these as being insurmountable obstacles. 

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Through I wonder how much influence Cryptic has on the current development of the (pen and paper) game?

I heard a lot of rumors flying around.

Just have a look at their Menton or what they did to Juryrig.....

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BotD was a 5e Book with 6e in mind. Remember that It takes time to release a MMOrpg so a year difference between BotD release and CO going live is nothing. IN fact the book Mentions Cryptic and the cover art was done by Cryptic.

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Shadow Destroyer was definitely a Cryptic creation. At the time Steve Long wrote Book Of The Destroyer he wanted to make its continuity fit more closely with what had already been written for the 5E CU, so as not to invalidate everything in print. With the updating of older material to Sixth Edition Steve followed Cryptic's revisions to the timeline more closely. BTW Champions Online has already brought the original Dr. Destroyer back into the setting.

 

For the most part Steve followed Cryptic's wishes as to how they wanted the setting presented, including changed appearances of characters conforming to Cryptic artwork, and the powers of characters in a few cases. He did make specific requests to keep some elements from established tabletop game continuity; for example, Menton's appearance, the look of the Elder Worm (and their having limbs), and the transition of Dr. Timothy Blank into King Cobra.

 

As far as Champions Online mechanics more closely reflecting HERO System, while it might have been possible to do a few things differently, I don't think any computer RPG is yet anywhere close to being able to model the flexibility of character construction this game gives us. Let alone the subtlety of character interaction and freedom of plot improvisation that comes with live tabletop gaming. That's one area of our competing hobbies where we can still be a little smug. :eg:

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... As far as Champions Online mechanics more closely reflecting HERO System, while it might have been possible to do a few things differently, I don't think any computer RPG is yet anywhere close to being able to model the flexibility of character construction this game gives us. Let alone the subtlety of character interaction and freedom of plot improvisation that comes with live tabletop gaming. That's one area of our competing hobbies where we can still be a little smug. :eg:

 

I think I'd be happy, if we could come up with a comfortable middle ground for handling the ambiguous details like handling adjustment powers based on a special effect. It need not be a real-time experience. Turn based, like our traditional combat model, would be fine and if we could have a little eye candy, so much the better.

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Ripper looked a lot better when George Perez drew him.

Everyone looked better when George Perez Drew them. Even Old Seeker... Also it was one of the few covers that had Seeker looking like a badass superhero. Dodging DrDestroyer's energy bolt, and looking like he was about to seporate DrD's head from his body.

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