I downloaded, installed and patched Champions Online: Free for All when it re-launched the other day, like thousands of others. Fearing the inevitable crush of the servers, I decided to sit back and enjoy War and Peace the patch notes. The reading was to hype myself up for how much the game has grown since I last logged in to Violet Preston, the gunkata assassin inspired by Equilibrium (amazing action movie) and Ultraviolet (not so much), well over a year ago. Wednesday I attempted to begin her career anew.
That’s exactly the kind of restriction gamers should be afraid of when a title changes its business model. I paid for six months of Champions Online, an early adopter no less, and now my character, albeit far from level cap, is behind bars. Since Violet was created before the re-launch, she’s a completely custom design. For better or worse, she’s an amalgamation of a few different archetypes – marksman, endurance, blade – but it’s the character I wanted to play.
I have two options, either pay to let her out of jail, which means subscribing as long as I want to use her. Or downgrade her from a Gold character – former or current subscriber – to a Silver character to match my Silver account status. The only hurdle to downgrading is being content with placing her in a specific archetype, which means ruining my movie-inspired design. I’m not about to do either, so she’s going to continue to gather dust. As is the installation of Champions Online.
Ideally, I’d like to be able to pay a one-time fee to unlock her for FFA play as she was designed. There’s just no option to do this. Or at least, not one I can find. And I’m completely willing to pay for it. I don’t think it’s asking too much of Cryptic Studios. I would see it as an olive branch from the company to former players. A way of saying thanks and tempting us to return, while still having us play by the new rules (and leeching a quick $5-$10 from us).
I bet there’s numerous former subscribers in this same boat.
You can check out the full offerings from the Champions Online Store, aka C-Store, here.