Saturday, May 23, 2009

I sold my soul to Champions Online Beta

MMORPGs consume the soul. I have made this accusation before several times on my blog as well as many times in real life. But it is true. I mean, have you seen The Guild? To be fair, I am sure there are plenty of people who get into MMORPGs but manage to keep their sanity and their social lives. But I have always stuck to single-player RPGs with the belief that doing so allowed me to maintain some sort of moral or at least social superiority--as well as my soul. I have said, however, that there would probably be a day when I would finally give in to the demon MMO.

Well, that day has come. I have officially crossed into the world of MMORPGs. The world of "Hey, I wanted to kill that baddie" and "Well I'll just stand here until that guy respawns". The game that finally corrupted me is Champions Online, a superhero-themed MMO by the people who did City of Heroes/Villains that is still in its beta testing stage. How did I get pulled in? My brother has been in on the Champions Online beta, and he got an extra beta key which he gave to me. So not only is this my first MMO, but it is also my first time playing a game in its preview testing state. I have been dutifully reporting any bugs I find, but most of them have just been annoying little visual bugs (icons not displaying, etc.), not anything to completely disrupt the gameplay.

The playtests are only on Wednesdays and Fridays at this point, which is both good and bad. The upside is that I cannot spend my entire week glued to my computer. The downside is that this means that I feel compelled to milk the playtest sessions for everything they're worth. In other words, I stayed up until 3 am Saturday morning playing Champions Online, since they don't shut it down until midnight West Coast time. I am not accustomed to staying up that late anymore, nor am I used to sleeping in until 11:30. I've had the beta key for a week, and my soul is already being sapped away.

So far the game has been pretty cool. There are a LOT of character appearance options. The costumes can be quite detailed and elaborate--shirts, jackets, vests, tights, skirts, pants, shoes, gloves, bracers, belts, capes, wings, etc., and everything comes in multiple styles, colors, and patterns. Customization is great, but it's a bit overwhelming to the new player; I will not admit to how long it took me to design my first character, and she didn't even look very good.

The gameplay is fun. I'm still trying to get the hang of it, and I haven't yet gone far enough into the game to get more than three or four different skills. But I think my favorite thing so far--something I haven't experienced in any previous game I've played--is the travel powers. Every hero gets to choose one--flight, rocket boots, ice slide, superspeed, teleport, and more. So far, I've only tried out the teleportation and the ice sliding, and they are really fun! I'm talking real "Wheeee!" moments here. Good times.

The devs had to clear all the characters after yesterday's playtest, so we'll all be starting over with new characters on Wednesday. Sad. But that gives me four days to plan my next superhero...

8 comments:

Sebastian said...

That'll be one fresh animal sacrifice and a quart of your own blood please, leave it by the door...

Been playing MMOs and MUDs for about 12-13 years now. Lost my soul long ago.

But it's OK, you regain it after playing the same game for a few years -- it becomes more social, less competitive, and you play the game to play with friends -- community style!

The game sounds neat... throw me a beta key if you get one... :)

And don't hesitate to ask for help on how best to lose the remaining vestiges of your soul.

Eleni said...

"Just keep giving up your soul, you'll get it back eventually, I promise, heh heh heh..."

Right, I trust you. Just think, in 12-13 years, I can be just like you! Can't wait :-P

Really, I think it'll all be over when TOR comes out. Whenever that happens. KotOR took over my life for a few months and it wasn't even an MMO. And TOR is supposed to have more content than all previous BioWare games combined. *Drools*

I'll keep you in mind if I get an extra beta key.

Sebastian said...

Well, you'd be like me, but you'd still keep the bits that make you you -- like the breasts, long hair, nice legs, etc. You'd just... um... I don't know. Take on a few of my good traits that you've no doubt spent some time thinking about.

Damn, this sounds awfully self-involved...

I can't wait for TOR either, but I simply can't play two MMOs at the same time -- doesn't work. But maybe WoW will have run its course by then... we'll see :)

Eleni said...

Seb's list of the top three things that make me me:
1. Breasts
2. Long hair
3. Nice legs

Uh-huh. Once you get your foot out of your mouth, I'd recommend fleshing out that "etc." a bit.

Sebastian said...

Damn, a girl posed the exact same question at me years ago...

Um...

'Eyes'?

Eleni said...

You don't know what my eyes look like.

Strike two.

Stan said...

Love the blog, looking forward to Champions as well. Glad you experience was positive.

Eleni said...

Thanks. Yeah, I'm having fun with Champions beta, bugs and skill changes and all. Some of my builds die a lot, but it's live (and die) and learn, right?

I might at some point give the links to the "Rate My Hero" pages for my characters. It's not too exciting, though, since all you can see is the appearance and the name, not skills or anything.