By MrMiracle77 1 Comments
Upon returning in October, I was pleased to learn that a game I was previously in beta in was finally released. This would be the somewhat anticipated Champions Online, based upon the long-running pen/paper/dice rpg of the same name. Now, I wasn't able to play the beta or the actual release in the four months prior to October, as I was away from my PC during that time. Having played the beta, and knowing what sort of flaws the game had, I expected the developers to pay more attention to the interests of gamers and make this more than just City of Heroes 2.0.
Sad to say, it isn't. Champions feels like nothing more than City of Heroes 1.2. Now they have a number of things that separate this game from its predecessor. For one, you really can pick any power you want from any set, provided you meet the relatively simple prerequisite. You do have a fair degree of control over your stats, as opposed to none. You can pick up surprisingly large objects and throw them, provided you have the strength to do so. Locations of missions are marked in a manner similar to Warhammer Online, for easy completion. The game is also much more action oriented, and combat feels a lot less repetitive than CoH. The power effects are more spectacular too
So what went wrong? Where do I start.
There is no reward for social interaction in this game. You can easily blast your way to level 40 in a matter of weeks, and never write a single word to any other player. While there are 'public quests' (yet another swipe from WHO), there's only about 12 or so of them. On release, WHO had 60 for each faction. Sure, you can make supergroups, but these aren't any more beneficial than the standard guilds you find in other games.
So how about PVP? Its there. You can duel without interruption. As of the point where I left, there are 3 'hero games scenarios' that you can play. The problem is that players have already computed a few small sets of unbalanced builds that allow them to dominate in duels and pvp arenas. Unless you stick to pvp on weekday afternoons, chances are you're not going to succeed (and get the associated pvp perks) without an optimized build.
Crafting? Generic. There are three paths, but little if any difference between them. They mostly boost stats and provide a limited number of other features. The thing is, there isn't really any point to being a good crafter. Crafting is dependent on both your skill level and your character level, and one is always lower than the other. Either you haven't spent enough time disassembling unusable items to have a high skill (and can therefore only build gear that is beneath your level) or you're level is too low to use the gear that you could build.
The missions are shockingly buggy too. Enemies don't die in some, others teleport around and reset their health for no reason whatsoever.
My last and biggest gripe, though, is that it seems like the developers never really paid attention to the suggestions of the alpha and beta testers. The single biggest request by players was for some kind of morality system. Killers vs Non-killers or perhaps greater good vs morally right. Everyone was interested. Where did it go? What happened? The request was completely ignored. It seems like all the input that players really got was the standard mission survey: too hard? too easy? too boring? too fun? I remember this exact same post-mission form in the CoH beta.
I don't know why I played this game. I've learned that for $15 a month, I can grab a brand new game from Steam's bargain bin or daily special.