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Champions Online

A developer diary from Randy "Arkayne" Mosiondz and Victor "Sporkfire" Wachter.

When you say that any character can pick any powers the phrase "jack of many master of none" comes to mind. My question is if I choose a power outside of my "archetype" (for lack of a better word) will it just be a waste of points because I'll be spending at a premium to get a substandard version of a power? Or will my brick's fire blast be just as good as the energy projector's? (Shofu)

Arkayne: Good question, Shofu. Choosing an "archetype" gives you bonuses with certain categories of powers, not just powers listed under your archetype. For example, if you choose Brick as your focus, any defensive powers you choose are more effective because you're a Brick. Using your fire blast example, Bricks are just as effective as Mentalists when it comes to fire blasts, but Energy Projectors gain a bonus when using them because that's their focus.

The best way to look at it is that a player can select any power framework – they just get bonuses with certain types of powers depending on what type of archetypical hero they choose to be. Bricks are better at soaking up damage, Energy Projectors and Martial Artists are better at dishing out damage, etc. That doesn't mean Bricks never take offensive powers or Energy Projectors never take defensive powers – just that a player can't be the best at everything.

The "archetype" abilities aren't set in stone yet as we still have a lot of balancing and testing to do, but this should give you a general idea of what we're looking at in terms of bonuses granted by a chosen archetype.

Will you be able to add an advantage and/or limitation to a power at first level? (HeroArkham)

Arkayne: Advantages and limitations are introduced relatively early in the game so players who want to start min-maxing their powers won't have too long to wait! But we won't be throwing power advantages/limitations at players at first level; there are a lot of concepts we're going to be introducing to players at character creation and we don't want to overwhelm them with too many choices.

How varied will the inhuman (beast-man, alien, etc.) costume piece/character looks options be in CO? (Amadaeus)

Arkayne: The amount of "inhuman" costume pieces and customization options is really impressive already! So far I've seen various beast-man heads (rats, cats, bears, wolves, stag), insect heads (with different mandible and antennae options), and various monster heads (undead/alien/demon with different sizing, horn/bone options, etc.). Additionally there are a number of different "stances" players can choose from (bestial stance, for example) to complete their "inhuman" look.

What about overweight characters? (Allison)

Arkayne: Scaling will allow you to make "chunky" characters, but nothing on a massive (Blob-level) scale. There's a limit on what looks good in body scaling without adding a lot of additional costume parts to support the variance.

Will there be any "in-house" resource for the players to showcase our characters and their backgrounds, and perhaps superteams, bases, and so on? Something similar to the CREY threat pages, or the City Vault that NCsoft is planning? Can we get a larger amount of space (character limit) for in-game character background/biography? (Starhammer)

Sporkfire: Hey, Starhammer. We're currently making plans for our web integration with the game. We're looking at the best features from previous MMORPGs, community-driven data sites, social networking apps and anything else that's cool online, and we're putting together a plan to combine those features to create a useful and fun site where you can connect with your friends and show off everything you do in Champions Online.

We're planning to have everything you've come to expect from an online game's web presence, and then some. Character pages, superteam sites, game info – it will all be here! We will start rolling out these features throughout the game's beta phases, so people will have a chance to check them out and suggest what they want to see.

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