Archive for August, 2009

The opening ramble!

August 25, 2009

My first entry on this blog is devoted to my impressions at the end of the Open Beta. A lot more will follow once I actually get to play in the headstart!.

Rambling On

Rambling On

The final open beta event went well, took down 6 big robots in a raid situation, interesting, they must have tweaked it since earlier in the day it was a slideshow and later it was playable with roughly the same amount of people, I was on lowest settings both times of course.

Devs have posted that all you need to do is damage a bot a bit and you will get credit, although the game shows nowhere that you have got the credit. Apparently the reward will be given on release on your account.

On the note of the account it is important to know that I finally got a reply from a dev about the grace period. The grace period is the space of time from the end of the headstart (Friday 28 – Sunday 31) to when you have to enter the retail code from the box you get before your account is frozen. This is an important consideration for those who have pre-ordered and gotten the open beta and head start code, since all the people who pre ordered in the EU will only get their box on or around the 4th.

You can keep playing after headstart until the 6th of September before your account is frozen if you have not yet entered your code. This is great news. It means I am taking next week off, if I can get it off. I still will have to deal with my family in the week but will be playing without feeling guilty during work hours! And before you knock the guilty part: I work from home, guilt is all that keeps me from descending into MMOholic hell and losing my job.

Must say, there is SOOO much depth hiding on the edge of my testing time in beta. I only briefly adventured against some of the dastardly villain groups in the truly massive Millenium City zone (level 14+) but so much happened to tickle my MMO detail bone that I cannot wait to explore it further. I was doing the more generic K10R missions and before I knew it I was being handed “help me” letters by people held hostage, I picked up some notes on locations of warehouses where an arms deal was going down. All these extras gave me missions inside instances much like you find in CoH, only thing is the bad guys in the instances were labelled “tough” versions of the ones outside in the street and from their behaviour seemed the type that would scale in numbers to the group size, like CoH.

Pretty soon I had over 20 missions to do, both inside instances and outside in the street. Some missions hinted at costume pieces, crafting rewards and more. I even managed to pick up an item that turned me into a psychotic looking street thug, no idea what mission that was for.

One of the missions did tackle at random ended up being one where I had to gather reagents for a drug that would save some scientists, I had to kill and make this drug then distribute it, lovely stuff.

I was struck by the VERY large selection of powers that the various groups used, some of them displaying the tell tale power selection that was a signature of that group, much like the ones found in CoH. I love this since it offers me many different tactical situations and broadens the scope of the gameplay. You must remember that I am not a melee or ranged DPS player, killing things quicker than they can kill me is not my style, using terrain and my powers to good effect in different situations is, I am a pet user, crowd controller etc.

I really do not feel Champs is “MMO light”, the first 2 zones (tutorial and desert/canada) shows you so little of the true depth hiding in this game. In all the other MMOS I have played other than CoH, the beginning areas are always so complex and full of detail, almost as if the developer is trying to squish so much in there to grab the player and make the paying of subs a must. In all of these, the wider world outside the starting are suddenly felt empty and not “there” in comparison and only later through content additions and expansions were detail added to these. Yes, the much vaunted World of Warcraft was the same.

MilleniumCityFinal

In Champions the depth starts showing beyond level 15, I find this refreshing and much more hopeful, memories of stepping outside the incredible Tortage in AoC still haunt me.

In addition to this Champs strikes a good balance between the statless and almost no gear level of depth and the heavy stats and gear orientated play of more “standard” MMOs. Your stats have major impact on the damage you do BUT the 2 stats you choose as your “super stats” do this, yes you read right ANY of 2 stats you choose. A good example is Strength, most MMOS view Strength as your big melee stat. In champions strength adds a little to melee but here is the thing: if you pick Strength as one of your “super stats” then you RANGED powers, regardless of what they are will do more damage depending on how big your strength is. This is an amazing change. Thematically you can add this to the frame of your hero in any way you want. Items add to stats, so you can further increase all or some of the stats, these items do not make the game, good thing too.

So as you can see, there is a lot of depth for the min/max player to explore, there is a lot of thematic depth for the role player to explore and there is easy depth to just jump in and do stuff for the casual player.

fanboy

I might sound like a fanboy and to an extent I am, I am a fanboy of the superhero genre since it offers me the widest roleplaying options possible as well as tactical options.

Well ramble over, now the waiting begins to see what changes have been made in full release on Friday. See some of you there 😉

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