How to Make Champions Online Better

By Jeff Francis
How to make Champions Online better

Superheroes are all the rage right now. Movies featuring the Marvel heroes are making billions of dollars at the box office, and DC has cornered the TV market with shows like Arrow, The Flash, and Supergirl. Stores are filled with action figures, posters, and console video games featuring iconic superheroes like Batman and Superman. Yet the world of mmorpg games has not been a rousing success for the spandex and cape genre. Many gamers still lament the loss of City of Heroes, and my favorite superhero mmo, Champions Online, seems to be in a perpetual holding pattern. Can this situation be reversed? We look at some options on how to make Champions Online better.

I've been a fan of Champions Online (which you can play for free here) ever since it first launched. Unlike most online gamers, I was actually familiar with the source material as I had played the Champions pen-and-paper role-playing game back in the 1980s. The game did catch the interest of mmo gamers for a while with it's unique cel-shading and insanely awesome character creation system. But the last few years have not been kind to the game. Some interest was piqued when it was announced that the development for the game was heading back to its original studio and that the original lead designer, Randy Mosiondz, had returned. Since then, we've only had the Supervillain Onslaught feature added and the Teleois Ascendant update. So how can we make Champions Online better?

The most obvious solution in how to make Champions Online better is for Perfect World Entertainment to hire more developers to work on the game. However, that seems unlikely as I'm sure that the current revenue is not enough to justify the expenditure. PWE has poured money into other games, such as Star Trek Online, so it's not a course of action that they have never done before. Of course, there is a world in difference between the fan base for Star Trek versus that of Champions Online. Still, having more developers would mean that new content could be worked on and released at an accelerated pace.

The main issue with Champions Online is the lack of new content. In its heyday, the mmorpg was pumping out fresh content on a regular basis. I really loved their comic series, which mimicked a series of comic books and told a story arc through multiple adventures. I think a new batch of comic series would be a good start to make Champions Online better. Such content would not have to be earth-shattering, and the developers could use already existing in-game resources to craft the missions. Even putting out a single adventure every few weeks would help generate some enthusiasm to come back to the game.

While we're still on content, another method on how to make Champions Online better would be to import the Foundry system found in the other games created by Cryptic. The Foundry allows players to create their own adventures and share them with other players. This system of user-created content helps fill the gaps left by a lack of new content from the developers. The big stumbling block for incorporating the Foundry into Champions Online is that the game's source code is different from that found in Neverwinter and Star Trek Online, the games that do have the Foundry feature. It'll be pretty expensive to update the code to get the Foundry to work, which makes it highly unlikely that it will happen.

Another method to make Champions Online better is to really upgrade the hideouts, the locations that a player can acquire to serve as their secret base of operations. The secret lair is a cornerstone of superhero lore, but the hideouts in Champions Online don't really offer much to players. There is no real functionality within them as they really only offer a place to hang out and look at the decor. I would love it if players could really customize their hideout and not just have a few choices on selecting room items. Champions Online features the best character creation system of all mmo games with a dizzying array of customization options, so why does the game not offer this same customization when it comes to the superhero's home base? My pulp-inspired hero would love to have a steampunk-themed zeppelin as a secret base. Overall, it would be nice if a player's base could be as unique as their superhero.

These are just some minor suggestions on how to make Champions Online better. There are some other things that could help the game (developer-run events, new powers, and a visual upgrade to name just a few), but we've covered the main basics. As with most online games in decay, an infusion of new content and innovative features are needed to get players excited about the game again. I hope that Champions Online rebounds as it's too good a game to fade away.


Add comments:

comments powered by Disqus