I have no good reason for not playing a ton of Champions Online, a game I like a lot and to which I have a Lifetime Subscription. I did have a reason for stepping away when I did – my PC took a dump and was down for months, and when I came back I did so to other games. I’ve stepped in occasionally since, but the move to free-to-play provided the impetus to really take a good look around the new game.
A lot’s changed. There really wasn’t much to dislike about Champions before, but there were content issues, with stretches very lean on stuff to do. With three big scaling content packs and a complete retooling of the early game content, that’s pretty much fixed, and meanwhile there have been a lot of power tweaks, some new powers, and one or two whole new power sets.
The tutorial is essentially unchanged in any substantive way, but you can skip it now, once you’ve gone through it the first – an option I partook of on several new characters. One of these is the character pictured above, Nimbus, a scientist who ironically finds himself anointed the mystical champion of light. I also stepped back (briefly) in Sunstrike, my personal favorite Champions character.
The post-tutorial experience is completely different. Instead of shunting you away from Millennium City, the game’s hub, to Canada or the Desert, you now spend your first chunk of time in the real game in Westside until about level 15. The Westside content is fun, challenging without being frustrating, and has you working directly with the Champions themselves on various missions. It’s pretty cool so far, although I haven’t finished it.
The other character I played around with a bit was one I’d finished the tutorial with long ago but never played beyond that. I may have more to say about him later, as the Primal/Ebon Sorcery combination I’ve set up appears to kick all kinds of ass. Not so the Gadgeteer, who is pretty gimpy up to about level 8. Perhaps I just need to play him some more, since I’ve just gotten pets for the first time.
The game is also packed with new people. I counted 50+ Millennium City instances when I was in, and that’s just at a glance. No CoW’s around when I was in, but I spotted a few people who’d been about recently. I do plan to play a bunch more this weekend, so I may have more to say pretty soon.