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Champions Online

Massively exclusive: Champions Online gears up for a rampage

Super-hero, Patches, Previews, News Items, Free-to-Play, Champions Online, Subscription

Hot stuff, baby, this evening.
Are you ready to go on a rampage in Champions Online? Good, because there's a big Rampage revamp on its way to the game that should provide players with a lot of new things to do. Three missions are getting a full redo with rewards and challenges tweaked, and a brand-new Rampage is being added to the game, giving veteran players a chance to group up and pit themselves against the toughest opponents Millennium City and points related has to offer.

The new Fire and Ice Rampage pits players against two villains originally designed by a player, and the title alone should give you some idea about what's coming. Meanwhile, the Gravitar, Lemurian Invasion, and Sky Carrier have been turned into proper Rampages with an updated set of items and costume pieces on offer. Check out the preview gallery, and click past the cut for all the details on this upcoming addition.

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One Shots: Gnometizers

World of Warcraft, Screenshots, Culture, Guild Wars 2, One Shots, The Secret World, Humor, Champions Online, Miscellaneous

As a former, fully recovered World of Warcraft player, I always welcome the colorful yet chunky images from Azeroth in my inbox. But reader Jon crossed a line when he decided to serve up, and I quote, "a delicious side of Gnome" in this particular picture.

I, and many like me, have been lifelong Gnomes and choose such avatars in-game to show solidarity and to deliver the comeuppance that "tallies" deserve. This screenshot is just a sad reminder that we are often portrayed as the butt of jokes and thoughtlessly killed every single day just to amuse those who had a stronger growth spurt than we.

Oh, how I do hope that Troll choked on his first bite of Gnome pie and suffered through explosive intestinal distress shortly thereafter. That's the only way they'll learn.

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A Mild-Mannered Reporter: 2013 in review for superheroes

Super-hero, City of Heroes, MMO Industry, News Items, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Marvel Heroes, Consoles, Champions Online, DC Universe Online, A Mild-Mannered Reporter

Gliding along like it was just another day.
2013 was the first year in which City of Heroes didn't exist. The masses of hero fans cried out in anticipation of a new game but found nothing. All there was to be found was a deafening silence and three other games that scratched similar itches but didn't quite manage to hit the same heights.

But we've talked about that as much as it can be discussed, and quite frankly I'm more interested in the now. We've got three titles that are still duking it out, trying to find their voices, and so forth. And then we have the header of Plan Z, which covers several different projects but at the same time serves as an interesting look at the community as a whole.

So in the wake of a quiet December, let's look back at 2013 for the major titles and for the hopefuls. It was a year in which quite a bit happened, not all of it good, but it was still one that might have a big impact on the future of the superhero MMO field.

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One Shots: All outta soul

Screenshots, Aion, Culture, One Shots, Champions Online, Allods Online, Blade & Soul, Miscellaneous

Blade and Soul
Man, there are few things worse in the gaming world than to see players of other regions get a hold of titles that have yet to make it to your neck of the woods. First comes the flush of jealousy, then the slow burn of envy, then the mountaintop proclamation of vengeance upon the studio in the middle of a rainstorm.

Reader Dynatos is one of the fortunate to be able to try out this particular game: "I've recently stepped back into Blade and Soul with the Chinese release, and while I'm not very far along into the game (it's a little tough when I don't understand the language!), I'm completely in love with the art style and combat mechanics. Here's my Kung Fu master looking at the foreboding building up the walkway -- not very inviting!"

I WILL RAIN HOT DOOM UPON YOU NCSOFT! DOOM! Er, sorry, I just advanced to stage three.

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One Shots: Breaking news

Screenshots, Age of Conan, City of Heroes, Guild Wars, Culture, One Shots, Humor, Champions Online, Miscellaneous

This just in! We've received reports that caped crusaders are beating the ever-loving crap out of a villain literally 12 feet in front of us! Seriously, if we could just turn these news cameras a little to the right, you'd see the whole thing, but for now you'll just have to take our word for it. Sponsored by Doritos.

Reader Sean submitted this particular gem: "I used to play quite a bit of Champions Online from closed beta through about four months after launch. Before the dark times. Before the patches. Here I am laying the smackdown on Foxbat during his 15 minutes of fame -- surely not what he had in mind."

Ha ha! Surely not there, Sean! Now for a word from our sponsors, and by that we mean more excellent player-submitted screenshots.

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Choose My Adventure: The weather outside is frightful

Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Super-hero, Aion, Guild Wars, PvP, PvE, Free-to-Play, Hands-On, Casual, MMOFPS, Champions Online, DC Universe Online, Choose My Adventure, Allods Online, Post-Apocalyptic, Miscellaneous, PlanetSide 2, Defiance, MMORPG, Buy-to-Play

Choose My Adventure
December is here, which means it's about time to throw some logs on the fire, grab every blanket in the house, and collapse under the mantle in a freezing, sobbing heap. This week's arctic blast has left the United States feeling a lot like Northrend, but for those of us in certain parts of the country it's just the beginning of what's sure to be a long, hellish winter.

However cold it may be outside, there's always a warm, toasty inn waiting in our favorite games. MMOs also provide sunny vistas, hot deserts, and steamy swamps, all of which make great places to escape nasty real-life weather. Even when it's cold in an MMO, it's still warm at our desks. In this edition of Choose My Adventure, I'm depending on you to help me hide from the snow that's piling up outside of my window.

You don't have to send me somewhere warm, but I'd appreciate it if you send me somewhere fun.

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Save Millennium City from Black Harlequin in Champions' Winter Event

Super-hero, Events (In-Game), Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play, Champions Online

Champions Online Christmas event
It's winter in Millennium City, which means that it's time for Champions Online's annual Winter Event. Black Harlequin is once again attempting to deliver thousands of deadly presents to city residents, and the dev team has bundled the March of the Mecha Soldiers mission into a custom alert that includes "new rewards for the defenders of Millennium City."

Players will also run across randomly spawning Christmas presents like action figure parts and various Christmas items. Be wary, though, as some of the gifts may be traps set by Black Harlequin.

A Mild-Mannered Reporter: Superhero games across November

Super-hero, Patches, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Marvel Heroes, Champions Online, A Mild-Mannered Reporter, Promotions, Infinite Crisis

You impress me, you get a masthead.
After a couple of very active months, November was a bit calmer for superheroic games as a whole. It makes sense, of course, since pretty much every game is calmer during November and December aside from sales and holiday events. But there were few big Kickstarter campaigns, a lot of updates that everyone knew were coming, and of course a very poignant anniversary for pretty much everyone reading this column today.

That having been said, the entire month was not a slow funeral dirge for the loss of City of Heroes. In fact, one game apparently decided that the otherwise quiet month was a great time to make some big changes right off the bat, so that's pretty cool. Venture on past the cut with me and we'll take a look at the superhero news from November in review... and possibly bow our heads briefly in respect for the departed.

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Perfect World ends the quarter strong, looks to Dota 2's China release

Fantasy, Perfect World International, Launches, MMO Industry, PvP, News Items, PvE, Star Trek Online, Free-to-Play, MMORTS, Champions Online, Miscellaneous, Neverwinter, MMORPG

Perfect World International
Perfect World Entertainment, the China-based publisher behind games like Perfect World International, Neverwinter, Star Trek Online, and Champions Online, ended the last financial quarter in a strong place. Citing the Chinese release of Swordsman Online and Saint Seiya Online as driving factors, Perfect World claimed $136.2 million in revenue and $19.8 million in net profit -- up from last year's marks of $114.2 million and $14.2 million respectively.

Perfect World also expressed its hope for even better quarters to come thanks to big launches in the pipeline. It is currently localizing Neverwinter for a Chinese release and will be overseeing Valve's Dota 2 as it makes its way into Chinese markets.

Champions Online previews customizable auras

Super-hero, Game Mechanics, Free-to-Play, Champions Online, Dev Diaries

Champions Online
Champions Online is promising players "thousands" of new visual customization options with its upcoming auras.

A new Cryptic dev diary gives a brief preview of the aura system, tantalizing players with the possibility of fine-tuning all sorts of special effects to give their hero a unique sparkle. Players can slot auras as either skin or cloud effects, mix-and-matching them to create all manner of combos. In addition, auras can be always on or activated in combat, and players can shift the hue of each one.

Cryptic will be giving all players a pair of free aura slots, with additional ones available for a fee. Aura items can be found as rare loot or purchased from the C-Store.

Champions Online extends automatic veteran rewards to lifetime subscribers

Super-hero, News Items, Free-to-Play, Champions Online, Promotions

I hope you had the reward of your life.
Lifetime subscriptions are tricky things. Being able to simply drop money and forever have access to a game is nice on paper, but it takes a while before it starts paying for itself, and it really comes back to bite you if you turn out to not enjoy a game's direction. Champions Online was one of the first games to offer a lifetime option, and as of today Cryptic Studios has sweetened the offer slightly by giving lifetime subscribers all of the game's veteran rewards.

As soon as you purchase a lifetime subscription, even if you've never logged into the game before, your account is eligible for every single long-term subscriber benefit. Obviously this won't have much of an impact on people who have already been lifetime subscribers since the beginning, but more recent players will benefit from an influx of new rewards. It's up to you whether or not those extra perks are worth a $300 investment in the game.

Free for All: MMOs for players with a penchant for The Wolf Among Us

World of Warcraft, Fantasy, Screenshots, Culture, Opinion, Star Trek Online, Guild Wars 2, Free-to-Play, Marvel Heroes, Free Realms, Champions Online, Free for All, EverQuest Next, WildStar, Firefall

The Wolf Among Us screenshot
Ah, graphics. It's hard to describe why we like the graphical styles we do. I like the stylings of many games, but some are just so perfect that the graphics reach beyond a visual style and become a sort of textural memory in my gamer's heart. Each year, scores of games come out, and though I enjoy many of them, most do not affect me the way the look of games like The Chronicles of Spellborn or even Free Realms does.

There are a lot of single-player titles that just blow me away as well. Recently I was absolutely transfixed by Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. I stayed up late one night to finish it, and the graphics just kept getting better the entire time. Then there's The Wolf Among Us, a new title by Telltale Games, the same studio that made The Walking Dead series. It's made me remember just how amazing graphics can be without requiring a massive gaming rig.

Did you like the look of The Wolf Among Us as well? Here are some MMOs that feel similar.

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Champions Online nerfs dodge for the sake of diversity

Super-hero, Game Mechanics, Patches, Previews, Free-to-Play, Champions Online, Dev Diaries

Champions Online nerfs dodge for the sake of diversity
Champions Online is looking to nerf -- er, re-balance -- its dodge mechanic for the sake of diverse builds.

As it stands, Cryptic noticed that the too many players were stacking dodge for its passive ability that outstripped other forms of avoidance and tanking. A new dev diary explains that while dodge tanking will still be viable, the team is looking to reduce dodge rating, keep the chance bonuses flat, and make dodge proc off of active powers. A new power, fluidity, will be introduced as a block power to help superheroes avoid being hit.

The team is also lowering the damage from critical chance in an upcoming build while raising the damage from offense to keep it from being lopsided. These changes follow significant tweaks to the game's alert system in the previous patch.

Cryptic tweaks Champions' alert system

Super-hero, Game Mechanics, MMO Industry, News Items, PvE, Free-to-Play, Champions Online, Dungeons

Cryptic tweaks Champions' alert system
Cryptic and Perfect World have patched in a significant update to Champions Online's alert system. For starters, rewards for Grab and Smash alerts have been swapped. Grabs now give XP while Smashes grant resources and a resource buff. Grab alerts will also require a level 10 character going forward, while Smashes will require a level 20 toon. This was done to prevent low-level XP seekers from signing up for something they likely won't survive.

The devs have also tweaked Champions' queue structure so that "there will always be one Grab, one Burst, and one Smash available at a time." Click through the links below for more info.

Champions Online sheds some light on how powers get designed

Super-hero, Game Mechanics, News Items, Free-to-Play, Champions Online

I don't know what power she has that makes that outfit stay in place during battle.
Superhero games are kind of into powers. It's their entire schtick. But how does a new powerset go from a vague concept to an actual set of abilities? Champions Online takes a look at this with a new development blog looking at how the Telepathy and Laser Sword mini-sets came into existence, straight from the hand of developer Chris Meyer. Meyer explains how Telepathy's revamps came about as a result of the set needing more cool stuff to do, while Laser Sword was meant as a thematic complement to a story arc.

Both sets were intended to reward players for taking multiple powers out of the same set without explicitly forcing that behavior, creating cross-power synergy and positive interactions. This also led to certain design issues, such as the initial Laser Sword design feeling clunky and not having enough options for players in terms of passive powers, something that required a reworking of the set's focus and the addition of passive powers that work with other sets as well. If this sounds fascinating to you, you can find more of the hard design details in the official blog.

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