I’ve had a love-hate relationship with Champions Online. The second attempt at a superhero MMORPG by Cryptic Studios drew me in with numerous features, advanced customization to the point of full uniqueness, a fast-paced combat style and quirky comic-inspired quests and missions. I considered it a popcorn MMORPG, a guilty pleasure that would be a great compliment to other, more fleshed out experiences I was playing.
Yet it was a full cost title that lacked content, identity and overall direction. For every aspect I enjoyed of the title, I found two that annoyed me. I ragged on the offering so hardly because I wanted to like it. I left shortly before my six month purchase ran its course. It’s F2P return perked my interest, only to send me fleeing due to losing my main character to the freemium cutoff.
After Atari abandoned Cryptic Studios, allowing Perfect World Entertainment to grab the developer at an assumed bargain price, hope returned. PWE had been looking to break into the western market the appropriate way, ie not porting Eastern titles alone, and this was a great first step. A massive development effort would be needed, but we’re seeing the fruits of that labor with On Alert.
The latest content patch adds a few new systems to the game in addition to the expected content and bug fixes. A reputation system lets gamers accumulate prestige over time, opening up new travel power options and gear. The Modification and Fusion System returns customization to the hands of players, even allowing more damage dealing stats.
Mind you, the changes put the game back on my radar. Not my plate. It’s just a step in the right direction. I need a few of these, or a giant leap.
Hit the jump for a batch of stills from the patch.