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First, we have a new Desert Crisis zone preview at Massively and a video preview on G4. From the former:
The missions in the Desert Crisis involve saving scientists from what we're pretty sure the narration at the beginning called "irridiots", which we liked to think of as really pissed off irradiated hillbillies. While most of them wield pipes, toxic sludge or just throw punches, some hold deadlier weapons like small radioactive bombs. Others have been far more exposed to radiation, making them far more monstrous and deadly. We'll admit to being beaten a couple times by these particular enemies; don't underestimate a throng of super-powered hillbillies.
So after saving scientists, disarming bombs and generally using our force powers to slap our bio-toxic foes silly, we were asked to help reboot some defense turrets around the besieged fortress. It was easy enough, although more irradiated foes were crawling around the area outside the walls. Thankfully, once a turret was reactivated, it unleashed hot high-powered justice on our attackers. Soon enough that was done and our next destination was at hand.
Then we have an interview about balancing with senior producer Chris Lena and PvP designer James Laird on Champions Online Daily News:
Cryptic developers universally say that the game's fast-paced combat and powers options will mark it out against other MMOs, and that combat is going to be a major strength once the game releases.
Laird says, (One of the things that Champions does best is give the player lots of movement and lots of defensive and offensive options. There are lots of cool abilities and powers that add choices to combat. It's a game about movement and about paying attention to what is going on around you, which is the essence of great combat.)
Lena says the developers have striven, from the beginning, to avoid simplistic power-match-ups and endless shin-kicking.
(We want the powers to play differently. We don't want all the powers to be equal. They have to be situational and that's what makes it interesting. But we're not saying that we've executed perfectly at every point in the development process. What we're saying is that we're aware of what players want, based on the feedback we're getting, and we have crack teams working on specific situations.)
Before hitting up a profile of the villain Rakshasa:
He was born Palash Krisharan to a poor family, in a small village in India. Very early on his mutant talent for illusion became apparent. As did his ability to reshape his body. It terrified his family and the local community. They cast him out to fend for himself when he was just a boy. He drifted around the country, using his abilities to steal enough to survive. Eventually he came to enjoy it and set himself up as a very successful confidence man. By the time he ran into Dr. Destroyer, he was already quite happily ensconced in a very comfortable lifestyle.
His mistake was trying to con a bunch of Destroyer's lackeys. The lackeys, realizing what was going on, captured Rakshasa . He nearly escaped them, first through illusion (and one of them is still half in love with the beautiful woman he made appear) and then by shifting his form so that he could slip out through a grate in the floor. Destroyer, however, was smarter than his lackeys. No surprise there. He sent out a minor blast, incapacitating Rakshasa.
And a new state of the game on the official website:
One of the things we're hearing is that people simply aren't aware of the significance of defensive powers. We're going to be doing more in-game to highlight this all-important aspect to building a well-rounded hero, including ensuring there is a defensive power in every single framework (some were being shared across similar disciplines, such as Martial Arts). In the meantime, we encourage our beta testers to get those defenses up.