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Champions Online

Champions Online is a 3D comic-book-style MMORPG where players create their own unique superheroes and villains. Champions Online has stylish cel-shaded graphics and allows players to do battle against aliens, monsters, evil organizations, and even their fellow superheroes!

Publisher: Arc Games
Playerbase: Medium
Release Date: September 1, 2009
PvP: Arenas / Duels
Pros: +Detailed character customization. +Wide variety of powers (Archetypes) to mix and match. +Useful, but optional tutorial.
Cons: -Long grind required to acquire certain items. -Many features only available to Gold members (subscribers.) -Awkward controls.



Champions Online Overview

Champions Online: Free for All was developed by the same studio behind City of Heroes, but with significant improvements in artistic style and with the addition of a free-to-play model. Players start their adventure in Millennium City, but will soon find themselves traveling across the world and into exotic regions such as outer space and the underworld. While there is much to see and do in Champions Online, some features remain locked for Silver (free-to-play, or F2P) members.

Champions Online Key Features:

  • Create Your Champion – extensive character creation available, but only to paying members.
  • Wide Range of Powers – choose to hurl dark magic, lightning, hammers, or whatever your heart desires with the very large selection of powers.
  • We Meet Again neat Nemesis system, where you can create your very own Joker for your Batman.
  • Wide World – various areas of the world to explore, from cityscapes to outer space.
  • Creative Skills customize your Champion's stats with a wide variety of talents and skills, like Jet Boots or Hover Disk.

Champions Online Screenshots

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Champions Online Featured Video


F2P players have access to pre-made classes, while subscribers have access to additional pre-made classes and character creation, which allows for customization from the ground up of specialties, abilities and stats.

The premade classes available to F2P players are:

  • The Inferno – ranged fire-based hero that specializes in AoE attacks
  • The Glacier – ice-based tank with powerful crowd control abilities
  • The Marksman – long-range DPS that uses bows
  • The Blade – melee DPS that uses blades
  • The Soldier – long-range gunner and explosives expert
  • The Grimoire – magic-wielder, proficient in both damage dealing and healing
  • The Behemoth – powerful, durable tank
  • The Unleashed – dual-wielding melee DPS
  • The Radiant – celestial healer/buffer

Subscribers Only:

  • Specialist – proficient in both long- and short-range weapons
  • Savage – mix of man and beast, melee DPS with lifesteal
  • Void – uses dark magic to deal damage
  • Inventor – high intelligence class that creates advanced weaponry
  • Tempestuses electric magic defeat enemies
  • Devastator – uses large weapons to knock aside opponents
  • Impulse – uses raw energy to deal damage and cast shields
  • Disciple – manipulate kinetic energy to attack and create shields
  • Master – uses martial arts, speed, and size
  • Fist – uses hand-to-hand combat to deal tons of damage
  • Scourge/Cursed – uses poison magic to defeat enemies
  • Squall – uses wind/weather magic to deal damage
  • Invincible – high defense and near-invincibility, with decent damage
  • Mountain – uses earth magic to deal damage
  • Night Avenger – uses claws and other weaponry to deal damage from the shadows

Full Review

Champions Online Review

By Toan Layne

Champions Online is a 3D superhero MMORPG developed by Cryptic Studios and published by Arc Games. The game is also available on Valve's Steam. Champions Online was released into open beta on August 17, 2009 with a subscription-based model, and became free-to-play on January 25, 2011. The game was also intended for release on Xbox 360, but was canceled in March 2010. The only other comic-book-themed MMORPG on the market is DC Universe Online. Cryptic Studios originally developed City of Heroes and City of Villains, but both games were later shut down. Champions Online is Cryptic's successor to City of Heroes.

Suit Up

Champions Online is set in Champions universe, and players will be traveling throughout the world. Adventure beings in Millennium City and takes you to Canada, Africa, and several other locations. Players will take on the role of a superhero, and as such, they’ll be able to create their own unique character only if they’re willing to pay, unfortunately. The character creation screen is one big tease, as I soon found out after spending the best of 15 minutes creating my bird-masked, bone-armored, inter-dimensional samurai. Unfortunately, a lot of customization options are available only to paying customers, which leaves a very powerful character creator, significantly void of options for F2P players. Gold members (subscribers) have access to the freeform version of the character creator, which not only opens up all of the customization options, but also allows players to create a highly custom class. F2P players, or silver members, can only choose one of the archetypes as their class.

Once in-game, you’ll have a chance to watch your superhero fight the bad guys. The gameplay is fairly straight-forward, with a couple of nice touches that make it more action-like. For example, you can pick up benches, trash cans, and other pieces of the environment to throw them at enemies. Also, the combat itself is very dynamic. Players can’t just right-click on an enemy and wait for it to die. They’ll have to constantly use their abilities. The level cap is at 40, and once players hit it, their story doesn’t end. Up to, and at level cap, there are instances called lairs, which need to be tackled in a group of five. And if things get too easy, players can up the difficulty level from “normal” all the way up to “elite” for these instances.

Leveling Up

Once again, the game is split between gold and silver players. Silver players are stuck in their archetype, while gold members can fully customize their hero as they level up, having control over everything from powers to super stats. Players receive powers, super stats, talents, travel powers, Advantage Points, and costume slots as they level up. Super stats are picked at Level 6, 10 and 15, and they are applied to an existing stat, causing your character to deal extra damage/heal more/gain special passives based on that stat. For example, if you want to build a tank, you will choose Constitution as your superstat, gaining a ton of health, extra damage, and extra threat generation, based on how much Constitution you have. Having 3 super stats allows for a wide variety of builds. Talents are a way to boost stats. For example, the Mighty talent increases Strength by 8, while Covert Ops Training increases Strength, Dexterity, Constitution and Intellect by 3. You then have travel powers, which can be Flight, Superspeed, Teleportation, Swinging, Jet Boots, Fire Flight, Earth Flight, Super Jump, Acrobatics, Ice Slide, Tunneling, Rocket Jump, and Hover Disk. Finally, you have Advantage Points, which can be used to customize powers. Advantage Points can be spent on either leveling a power (increasing its numbers) or adding new effects to it, such as giving AoE to a healing spell. However, there is a maximum of 5 points/power, making the choice between an added effect and extra power harder.

We Meet Again!

Champions Online has a Nemesis system, in which you create your own arch-nemesis once you hit Level 25. That’s right, you will be able to create your own personalized enemy, with the same character creation process you used to create your hero. Unfortunately, the same limitations apply for F2P players. In any case, players will choose the nemesis’ looks, powers, type of henchmen, and personality, and they will then embark on a quest chain to face off with their nemesis. Once the nemesis is defeated, he or she is put in jail, and the player can create another nemesis. There is currently a limit of 18 nemeses, which is quite a lot of nemeses to have. Haters gonna hate, I guess.

PvP and Other Features

There are several options when it comes to PvP in Champions Online. You have the UTC Cage Match, which is a team versus team free-for-all, where you have to kill everyone that’s not a friend. You then have Zombie Apocalypse, where a team of players faces against a zombie hero player and his horde of marauding zombies. Last, but not least, you have an arena-style PvP. The PvP in Champions is a mixed bag. On the one hand you have archetype PvP, which works just fine, but on the other, you have freeform PvP, where if you do not have the right build, you will lose. A lot of players have been complaining about balance issues, which ultimately cannot be solved without redoing the whole framework of the game. Of course, PvP is not the only end-game solution. You also have instances, raids, and crafting to keep you busy.

Cash Shop

Champions Online started with a subscription-based and microtransactions model. Since going F2P, the game has went through some changes to its model. As stated above, F2P players have very limited customization options, which can be lifted either by subscribing, or by purchasing unlocks in-game. F2P players can make a freeform character for a $50 price tag, but the limits on cosmetic items are still very harsh. For example, players have one or two other options when it comes to head wear, chest plates, and pretty much everything else. Players can also buy respecs, additional character slots, character renames, and additional costume slots upon leveling.

Final Verdict – Good

The community is split when it comes to Champions Online. Some players do not mind having preset characters, while others are upset with the tight limitations on customization for F2P accounts. The game’s content can be experienced fully with a F2P account, but if you can’t make your own superhero, what’s the point, right? For the F2P experience, Champions Online gets a Good, and for the full experience it gets a Great.


Champions Online Screenshots


Champions Online Videos

System Requirements

Champions Online System Requirements

Minimum Requirements:

Operating System: Windows XP SP2 / 2000 / Vista / 7
CPU: 2.5 GHz Single Core or 1.8 GHz Dual Core
Video Card: Nvidia GeForce 7600 / ATI Radeon X700 / Intel GMA 4
Hard Disk Space: 5 GB

Recommended Requirements:

Operating System: Windows XP SP2 / Vista / 7 / 8
CPU: Intel E8400 Core2Duo or better
Video Card: Nvidia GeForce 8800 / ATI Radeon HD 3850 or better
RAM: 2 GB or better
Hard Disk Space: 5 GB


Champions Online Music & Soundtrack

Additional Info

Champions Online Additional Information

Developer: Cryptic Studios
Executive Producer: Bill Roper
Open Beta Date: August 25, 2009 - September 1, 2009

Free to Play Date: January 15, 2011

Foreign Releases

Australia: September, 10 2009

Development Background

Champions Online was announced as a response to the cancellation of City of Heroes by publisher NCsoft. An Xbox 360 release was originally planned, but was canceled in March 2010. Champions Online originally required a monthly subscription but went free-to-play on January 25, 2011.