Champions Online…


…is Free To Play now (since January 25th). AND I checked it out. Champions is actually the first license in ages which I am excited about.

I guess for most people, the name Champions means nothing. But for me it is my personal roleplaying game. For many years, pen & paper roleplaying was my main thing. Of the 15 games I own, still own, hidden in my basement, Champions is the only one I guess which I discovered myself, no recommendation, and which I promoted and defended for years, without ever meeting somebody else who liked that game independent from my doing. Rolemaster was my other pet roleplaying game, but I met totally independent groups of Rolemaster player several times. Champions was my thing.

Champions Online cost nothing to play now, but is a 3.3 GB (slow) download. Last night after work, I saw the download had finished on my laptop, so I clicked install: And a few default characters from the Champions books were shown: Defender, Dr. Destroyer… And now I realised, they really made Champions into a MMO. I did not expect any connection at all. But they took look and feel, the setting, some characters, the stats…  Maybe not much, but so nostalgic for me. This feels like they made your favorite movie into a game, a movie which you discovered by yourself and nobody you ever met had heard of.

I have like 30 books or so of Champions or the Hero System to which it belongs, the main book is totally worn, almost all pages loose. This morning shortly before I checked out Champions Online for an hour, I took a massive bunch of paper out of my roleplaying box: Old Champions characters. *good times*

The game looks great, cel-shaded, very good modeling: try the muscle fader or body mass fader during character generation. Your Sims or Guitar Hero will not allow you to make 400 pound fat guys in skintight suits. Capes wave in the wind, light effects, you can change your facial expression or favorite stance.

Of course, nothing can be as wild and free as the character generation in the real pen & paper Champions (where you can simulate with the rules any wild idea you might have). So, no I cannot time travel, turn enemies into cardboard boxes, shoot magic fruit or transform enemies into any item I can think of. It’s a goddamn computer game. BUT, the 10 archetypes feel OK, especially beast and monster types. I don’t know why we need 2 of 10 classes who just use guns. There is destroyable and throwable environment.

The other players in tutorial town where I obviously still am show how flexible the character generation is (obese mutants, tiny faeries, guys with robot legs, hot zombie chicks, monsters made from rock or metal or whatever) and it looks awesome.  You can customize for example two torso layers of clothing, shirt + jacket + lower coat part each separately, change form, material and inner and outer color scheme. They really got that look of the classic cartoon superhero.

I made Tony Lukado, my fav own Champions character from back in the day: A homeless-looking guy with a floppy hat (made from demon skin, the source of his power) and stobbles. And it worked quite well! I took archetype “Grimoire” = magic user which is very close to my old character (demon magic).

I can’t access the wild unbalancing powers of my old character, everything gets pushed into 10 well-balanced drawers, and you get more powers along a linear line as you level up. But, on the other hand, you might profit from other characters, you can team up. My “mage” so to speak can’t even hit somebody. I can’t make a guy that can do everything.

Disclaimer: I am a total MMO noob so I cannot make any objective comparison. I did not notice any apparent faults, on the other hand, the quests where much better than in any other fantasy MMO I checked out, and they were quite fluent, drawing you deeper in, with follow up missions, team missions, special emergency missions… I had to cut myself loose and to remember I have work to do.

So, wanna play? 3.3 GB download, no cost to play, all game except some additional content is fully available, no limited features. Drop me a line and we meet (I can play a few minutes every few months hehehe).


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