Champions Online - post-mortem interview with Bill Roper
2010.01.02. 00:00 | szerző: Dino | InterjúIt's been four months since the launch of Cryptic Studios' new superhero MMORPG, Champions Online. Bill Roper, former vice president of Blizzard North was also part of the development team, who now acts as Ddesign Director and Executive Producer on the Champions Online project. We've asked him some questions about his experiences after the game's launch.
PC Dome: Let's start with some statistics: how many people had joined Champions Online in the first weeks and how many characters have been created within the game?
Bill Roper: We had over a million characters created within the first couple of months of the game’s release, and we’ve seen more and more people playing the game as we’ve introduced the occasional free weekend and new incentive programs. We’re constantly looking for ways to get the game out to more and more people.
Are any of the game's classes significantly more popular than the others? Are there any character features that are more preferred by the players when creating their characters?
Champions Online doesn’t have pre-defined character classes, but we certainly have found certain power sets to be very popular amongst our players. The classics such as fire and electricity are favourites, as are some of the more esoteric sets like force and gadgeteering. The best part of the system is that it’s completely open, so you can create the hero you envision as opposed to staying within a class, or even a single powerset.
What was the best feedback you received from the players after the launch?
It’s less been about a specific piece of feedback and more the consistent and constant level of communication with our community. We made some pretty big changes to the Powerhouse, for example, based on what our players wanted. They wanted to be able to not to just test out their powers before buying them, but to test them in specific situations – so we made that happen.
Can you think of anything you would do differently if you'd launch Champions Online today?
Of course! We definitely needed more time on balancing the game overall, and that caused us issues when we had to do a large shift in the experience / difficulty curve after the head start program ran. We had the experience curve very close to where we wanted it by the time the game launched to the vast majority of players, but this shift definitely caused some of our early adopters to be upset that the game play changed after it went live. We also should have done a better job with balancing powers before launch.
How did players react to the cel-shaded graphics of the game? Where did the idea of using this kind of graphics come from?
The art style was specifically chosen to reflect the nature of a four-color comic, which is what we strive to bring to life in the game. Players have reacted very well to the look of the game, really embracing the stylistic decision. There are a lot of graphic options for players, some of which lessen the graphic novel feel of the game – so it’s very tunable to your aesthetic.
What kind of new content can the players expect in December, do you plan to prepare any surprises for Christmas?
We’re constantly adding to the game at a fast and responsive pace. We just launched our Attack of the Misfit Toys event that will take us into the New Year. This event includes:
-A Special Holiday Event! Confront and defeat Black Harlequin to save the holidays for everyone. But beware, where Black Harlequin goes, the dreaded Clarence is sure to follow.
- New Costume Pieces! New robotic costume pieces, including a steampunk monocle.
- New Action Figures! Travel around outdoor zones and assemble eight new action figures.
- New Perks! Complete them all to earn special costume upgrades.
In 2010 we’re going to be doing a LOT of upgrades to the game, re-introducing some popular content, and opening up some surprises. We have a lot in the pipeline for our players as we continue to make the game bigger and better! ■