Via Darren, the rumor arrives in the MMO blogosphere that Champions Online may be released as early as July 14th, 2009. This seems awfully soon to me, given when the project was announced. Then again, Cryptic certain had some infrastructure in place to put together a project like this long before that.
Champions Online is one of the very few upcoming MMOs that I have even a glimmer of excitement about. Many other projects are interesting, but there’s nothing else on the immediate horizon that I think I may jump on. I could certainly see myself playing a superhero MMO – just not one run by NCSoft, which is too bad because City of Heroes really is pretty solid.
Of course, it helps that I’m a fan from the old days of the Champions tabletop RPG, and own the relatively recent Hero System, 5th Edition and several sourcebooks for it. Hell, I bought some of the Champions Universe comics, back when I was still into comics.
The signature feature of Champions was that you could use the rules to essentially design your own superpowers, not just cosmetically but in terms of their functionality. This was later expanded, with the advent of the Hero System, to other genres as well, making it what we in the tabletop hobby like to call a universal RPG rule set. Recent developments in tabletop design have laid bare that claim (and not just for Hero,) but it remains one of the most flexible sets of tabletop rules ever published.
One wonders just how much of that flexibility will make it into Champions Online. My guess would be not much, although Cryptic’s talked about some things related to the cosmetic design of power effects that are impossible even in CoH’s much-lauded character customization process. A City of Heroes with even more character customization options and content that’s a bit less flat would be something that interests me.