MMORPGs aren’t exactly scarce these days, especially in the free-to-play market. Superhero MMOs on the other hand, you really only have a couple options. City of Heroes is closing down, which leaves gamers with either Champions Online or DC Universe Online. Both games allow you to make your very own superhero and engage in action-oriented combat in a massive world. With their most recent updates they’ve even added things like vehicles and “Alerts” that function like raid-esque dungeons and lairs.
With thousands of customization options, hours of content to explore and even your own custom arch-nemesis to design and fight, Champions has plenty to offer fans of not just superheroes, but MMOs in general. I was able to ask Champions Online Executive Producer Brad Stokan a few questions about the game and where it’s headed now. Check out the full set of questions and answers down below and check out the game – it’s totally free to download and play!
David Jagneaux: First just tell me a bit about the direction the game is going and what you feel sets it apart from the rest of the Free-to-Play MMO offerings out there.
Brad Stokan: Champions Online is renowned for its immense and unparalleled character customization options, and this truly sets it apart from the crowd. In Champions, you have the freedom to assemble a totally unique hero with any combination of powers and costume parts you can imagine!
Champions has been moving in new directions since a dramatic revamp to core systems and improvement to leveling, tutorial and mission flow earlier this year. Since then we’ve added the fast-paced, strongly-themed and villain-driven content known as Alerts!
Our most recent initiative is the addition of Vehicles! From hover tanks to jet bikes, Vehicles feature all-new powerful abilities which players will soon be able to mix and match at will. Vehicles will further set Champions apart from the crowd, and continue our tradition of adding dynamic powers, fantastic visuals, and complete customization!
DJ: With City of Heroes closing down, the only other true competition for this game is DC Universe Online. What do you think separates Champions from that game?
BS: The potential for customization of your hero in Champions Online really separates us from other titles – only in Champions do you have the freedom to be the hero you want to be! This is showcased in the ability to mix and match powers, customize power effects colors and even emanation points – not to mention the literally thousands of costume options that can be combined in any number of ways!
Further, in the Champions Universe players have the freedom to shine and be the star of the show! While the Champions universe is rich in lore, players can role-play here unconstrained by complex continuity or fear of living in the shadow of an existing IP hero.
Finally, new features and content such as Alerts and our new Vehicles give Champions a uniquely colorful, visceral and action-packed play style!
DJ: What are challenges you’ve faced over the course of developing and supporting this game?
BS: The greatest ongoing challenge is the balancing act of meeting various, sometimes competing goals. Obviously, the company has financial goals to be met, the team has creative challenges they want to tackle or stories they want to tell, and the all-important player community has interests and desires we want to accommodate.
The challenge is always to find a good pace for releases, while keeping the quality high. On top of all of that, a live game is a very complicated machine that must be maintained – it requires vigilance to catch and resolve any issues that arise as soon as possible.
DJ: Has the switch to Free-to-Play been successful? More and more companies are making that move.
BS: Absolutely. Since going Free-to-Play, Champions Online can now reach an even wider audience. Free-to-Play really grants an additional layer of freedom to accommodate different types of players – from dedicated enthusiasts to casual players and many more, Free-to-Play allows each player to choose his or her level of commitment. No matter which way players choose to play, all of our content is completely accessible – with no leveling restrictions whatsoever!
DJ: If you could be a superhero in Champions Online, what would your name and powers be?
BS: I’ve got a few, but my most-played hero is Arc Hawk. The concept is a hybrid gadgets-and-technology augmented crime fighter; he’s dressed as a dark avian vigilante, and wields electricity blasts and laser sword alongside martial arts and stealth!
As for my favorite Champion and current power set, Night Hawk and his Night Avenger powers take the cake. Our team did an amazing job of introducing this beloved character in-game, alongside our first wave of vehicles, in August via an outstanding world event and instanced content. If you missed it, it’s not too late to pick up his signature powers in the Night Avenger AT, or take one of his signature Hawk Wing vehicles for a ride! We hope to see you in game!
Keep an eye on The Koalition for the next (late) episode of Free-to-Play Focus where I record some hands-on time with the game and show it off for a bit. Let us know what you thought of the interview in the comments below!