Even though I purchased the six month package for Champions Online I haven’t actively played the game in weeks. I’ve kept the client up-to-date just in case, but since I reviewed Champions Online in mid-November I haven’t put in anywhere near the time that I had previously. My absence from VioletPreston has nothing to do with being busy. The holidays didn’t stop me from logging in, neither did other video games, or even other MMOG that I play. I didn’t play Champions Online because of the game itself, no other excuses.
Plan and simple, Champions Online lost its hold on me. I continued to dive into the game, move around the world, soak up the atmosphere, read about its future and most importantly, evaluate the content beyond my reach. What I definitively learned, and I hope my review hinted at, is that the game lacks legs. The atmosphere has always been incredibly disjointed thanks to the instancing of most zones. Even though all of the settings make sense in the universe, they lack a cohesive flow. And the multitude of characters aren’t employed effectively either. Because of these continued slip-ups through the middle to later levels, Champions Online gets boiled down to its diverse arcade-y combat. In essence, it becomes a soulless experience.
Signing up for an MMOG to me is more than just playing a game, I am signing up as a partner to the company. I expect certain things from the service provider, and when I don’t see those things I can get upset, annoyed and even downright angry. Cryptic Studios has managed to make me feel almost all of these emotions. I was expecting the cast of Champions characters to be used in an intriguing way. I was hoping that the game would offer better grouping and dungeon experiences later on. I maintained a desire to play alternate characters (perhaps CO’s greatest strength), but was hamstrung by being forced to do the same content over and over. Instead of fixing these issues with content updates, Cryptic turned around and announced a premium content patch. Adding content to the end game and charging for it – that was the last straw for me.
The tragedy of all of this is that my experience has made me incredibly stand-offish to Cryptic’s just released MMORPG Star Trek Online, a title I was originally excited for. I’ll likely play it, but my experience and the handling of Champions Online to date, assured that I wouldn’t purchase an advance subscription, or even the game at launch.
My Champions Online account is subscribed for another month plus, so Cryptic can do right by me. But the outlook is grime for my Champions Online characters. It just couldn’t satisfy me in the long run.