The Champions Online End of Beta event, just extended until 5 PM tomorrow, is a lot of fun, but it’s packed with so many people that the game turns into a near-slideshow on the fairly high settings I was running at. Turned all the way down it ran fairly smoothly, even with tons of characters on screen – and turning the graphics to minimum doesn’t completely disable power effects.
The scoop is that once you finish one of the Crisis scenarios, which should happen around level 8, you can go to Millennium City. On the platform there’s a guy frantically waving his arms; he has a quick turn-in quest that will bump you to level 40, which I think is the game’s cap, for the duration of beta. You can then go to the Powerhouse and carefully select a ton of new powers. Or, you can do like I did and just pick random stuff from your framework. Which, by the way, is dumb.
You’ll need the boost; the forces of Doctor Destroyer vary in power from goon-bots all the way up to Mega-Destroids, and these last are giant robots that will taken even very large groups a nice long while to take down, at about 1.2 million hit points. And they’re surounded by whole platoons of people-sized Destroids as well.
Word from the CO forums is that anyone who helps take down a Mega-Destroid will get some freebies attached to their account at launch, including an ‘action figure,’ which I presume is going to be some kind of vanity pet.
The Powerhouse idea is both obvious and very cool. It’s an instance where the power trainers are, as well as a Danger Room-type setup where you can test your new powers out, with test dummies to shoot at and mondo lasers to take hits from. So when you level you can make your new picks, try them out, switch them for other choices, and nothing gets locked in until after you leave the instance. After that, you have to pay to respec (or ‘retcon’ in a wonderful use of comics lingo.)
I can’t wait to get started in the live game, when all this stuff actually counts. I can see, at this point, playing quite a lot of Champions Online over time; hell, I’ve probably spent six hours in the character creator alone.. Not to the exclusion of everything else, of course, but it’s definitely a game I want to both explore early in its lifetime and watch mature over the course of the next few years. So I splurged tonight for the Lifetime Subscription; Mrs. Ardwulf went with the six month package.
I figure the lifetime sub (which I think is a terrific option that more MMOs should have – I can think of three I’d sign up for, money permitting,) should allow me to play whenever I want while taking away the pressure to play to get the most out of my monthly fee, to which I’ve proven susceptible in the past.