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Would you believe I arrived back home with enough time to try out this week's archetype?

In the continuing saga of the Champions Online Premium Archetype rotation program, this week offered up The Tempest. Described as electrical ranged firepower, I was hoping it'd play out like The Inferno with bits on. I rolled myself up a new character and skipped the tutorial because I'm already quite familiar with the Inferno class. No real loss in doing that either as I'm given some equipment, perks and money that I'd have got off the tutorial anyway. Makes me wonder why I didn't try that out sooner...

So level 6 right off the bat. My basic powers are an energy builder that has a chance to put a stack of Negative Ions on the target, an energy consumer that deals more damage to targets with Negative Ion stacks with a chance to arc to others nearby, and an AoE that knocks back targets with Negative Ions as well as having a chance to put a stack on the targets. So all in all it looks set to be a slow-building AoE damage specialist. Flight is, as ever, a no brainer for a ranged DD.

Off I go do the frozen wastes and start electrocuting like there's no tomorrow, alogn with everyon else in the entire world it seems. Of all the characters I see in the Canadian Crisis, it takes until about a third of the way through for me to spot anyone who isn't a Tempest. Having played around with it, it's not hard to see why as the whole deal really is quite a lot of fun and whilst it's great DD as promised, it doesn't play like The Inferno at all aside from having to DD them before they DD yo because you're pure offense. You're not going to alphastrike someone but over time your DD will be difficult to beat. When I pick up my slotted passive power of Electrical Form (oh my, how original) it adds to the glass cannon effect with little in the way of defences but plenty in the way of increased endurance and recovery, my superstats and the pool from whence my powers come...


The electro-shock animations from the targets as they get fried are funny to watch and whilst it's not described as having a stun-like ability, there's strong hints of that occurring anyway as I pump several thousand amperes at high voltage across their vitals. The character powerset isn't hard to work out - it's mostly luck whether Ionisation kicks off or not - and quite often just flying into the centre of the group and kicking off the AoE will end the fight pretty quickly. All in all it's an archetype I'd probably have a lot of fun with later on, although I'm not sure how it's survivability would allow for soloing in the later game. That's the thorn in the Inferno's side: an inability to deal with big tough boss mobs.

Next Week

The 6th and final archetype tester comes in a couple of days with The Devestator; big melee damage damage by hitting things with a very big stick. Seems simple enough.
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Busy week with my birthday, a LAN party and now coming up a week in Norway! Hasn't been too much time to squeeze in Champions Online but I've given it a shot. After a summer of nothing much going on, come the end of autumn it seems everything and everyone in the world has activities...

Flavour of the week for free players of Champions Online was The Inventor premium archetype; a support class that offers a variety of control effects such as knockbacks and debuffs, and makes use of robotic pets to heal, help the team and do some damage. I'd really been looking forward to playing it but haven't had the time to devote as much as I'd have liked, unfortunately.

Inventor Logo

This archetype demanded a new character: something fitting and fun. With the vast majority of mechanical costume options being paid only I was rather limited in my scope but with the aid of suggestions at the LAN party, Brother Nikola was created as an Ultramarine Tech Marine from the Warhammer 40k Universe. In retrospect I should've just skipped the tutorial but other folks wanted to see how it played out so I went ahead and join in the alien invasion starting area. The basic energy builder attack has a chance for a rather nifty knockback/knock over effect which is handy for interrupting an enemy mid-attack. The energy user can either be fully charged for a single big blast or else it can be tapped which has a chance of rifing off a second tap instantly for no power cost. All in all, very nice starting powers. Intelligence and Presence are the super-stats for this archetype, much like The Grimoire silver archetype although the order of the two is reversed.

I'd heard that there was a tiny chance of the Inventor's basic weapon attack turning the opponent into a pinkn teddy bear, effectively rendering them unable to do much more than run around. I got to see it first hand within 10 minutes of starting off and mid-mission as a Qularr felt the wrath of the Emperor!

Brother Nikola
Chaos mutant, show thy true form!

Running about pewpewing things was fairly standard, all in all. The random double shots/knockdowns/teddybearing was fun though. The slotted passive is a slow regeneration that can also help your teammates, which is jolly nice. The pets start off at level 11 with Attack Toys that can produce weaker short-lives clones of themselves and toss about frag grenades. Later on, the Inventor can pick up Support Drones that can either heal or pewpew depending on what you're after. Other tricks inlude a shrink ray and the use of an orbital cannon. Definitely something that strikes me as being a lot of fun.

All in all, the Inventor is an amusing archetype to play that is more powerful than the regular silvers, as one owuld expect, but that doesn't feel quite as overpowered at The Savage or The Master. Worth a look.

Next Week

Next in the lineup is The Tempest which touts itself as a lot of ranged electrical DD, like The Inferno on crack. I doubt I'll be back in time to give it a whirl, however.
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Whilst the Halloween celebrations are going on in game in Champions Online, such as the souped-up Blood Moon event, the one-a-week free trial rotation of Gold Archetypes continues. Last week I was unimpressed by The Void, this time it's the turn of the brand new The Master.

The Master

For the purposes of testing, I decided to dig up the now-unplayable Savage I'd created a couple of weeks back and take advantage of the free respec to The Master, picking up where the character had left off with a new set of powers to buy up. It even came with a set of 3 stat-appropriate primary equip items. Naturally as a melee archetype, Teleportation was the only sane choice of travel power and I took note of the basic skill tree, particularly the super stats which are Dexterity and Constitution. The passive power is a dodge increasing ability which is the central focus of this archetype's damage mitigation: not being hit in the first place.

Time to get on and beat up some no-good gangers in Millennium City downtown! But wait, what's this? It's halloween and there's some NPCs standing around in vampire, frankenstein and witch costumes. They offer Trick or Treat, and my luck is bad as they turn into Mummies and attack me. The Master, it seems, just can't be hit and proceeds to sock'n'pow them to death with respectable, though not spectacular, DD. Shame the halloween trick or treat loot I got off their slowly cooling corpses was rubbish. When fighting multiple opponents at once, The Master is much like The Blade with leaping kicks to the face, very fast strikes that have limbs swinging and spinning wildly and then on to the next target but this time with the added bonus of being hit maybe once a fortnight, and you pile on stacking buff after stacking buff simply for smacking the bad guys in the chops. I have to admit that it's actually more fun than I thought it would be.

As I was pursuing the extorting New Purple Gang through the sewers under the park on my own, I decided to hell with it and waded in willy-nilly with little heed for my own HP. The Blade-like damage output continued with much less incoming damage to the point where once again I understood why Gold Archetypes are locked - they're overpowered compared to the free ones. Ranged types aren't a problem, just try the basic power builder from where you stand and, like the Savage, it taunts the mob: forcing it to stop shooting you at range and run right up into your oncoming roundhouse. With a spin-kick here, and fist smash there; here a corpse, there a corpse, everywhere it's corpses...

Tigron The Master

After a solid and fun session with The Master, I've come to the conclusion that the standard Silver Archetypes must've been quite a feat to put together, combining very classic powersets with absolutely terrible power progression and massive weaknesses (The Mind being the exception). Freeform players that mimic the concept fo the silver archetypes tell me they are amazed at how poor the choices the Devs made for the archetypes are and now I can see it for myself. I knew Cryptic was locking the best stuff behind a pay wall of course, I just didn't realise how far out of the way they'd had to go to make the free characters so weak...

Next Week

Next up is The Inventor, which I am looking forwards to a great deal being a big fan of playing inventor/engineer types with big robots, big guns and unusual ideas. Perhaps now I'll get the chance to play with pets, and I'll most likely roll up someone completely new for the task.
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Another week, another sampler for the cash shop archetypes in Champions Online. This time it's The Void; a mage type that uses and abuses dark energies to channel fear and suck health from it's opponents, aided by pets.

Week 2: The Void

Void Image

I've played alongside a Void before; a friend of mine splashed out on purchasing the archetype when he played CO as a Silver. I had a bit of an idea of what to expect: something akin to the unholy lovechild of an Inferno and a Glacier archetypes that combines resiliance and limited control with plenty of ranged damage. The pets part was something I wasn't sure about, none of the Silver archetypes having any of their own.

I decided I'd roll up a new character entirely for this venture, and created La Masque D'Argent as an elegant lady with a dark secret before setting off into the MCPD vs the Qularr tutorial scenario. The basic two starting powers are your standard energy builder (with added Fear effects) and a harder hitting energy consumer (with added Fear effects). Already I began to sense the control and the ranged damage themes. With Constitution and Endurance as super stats, echoing the Glacier but with the priority swapped around, the tanking and sustained combat roles were immediately apparent.

As expected, it seemed to be a bit more powerful than either of it's Silver archetypal counterparts initially. Inferno damage with Glacier control and toughness. Fear effects reduce the damage output of whatever it is that's feared, and of course Con means hitpoints and Endu means a higher max power. With the usual runaround of the tutorial area it was fun and powerful, though perhaps not quite as silly as The Savage had been last week. Minimal effort for maximum reward on the open mission to fire Ironclad up the spout of the alien mothership, and Black Talon seemed to forget it was his job to try and kill me when it came to the final confrontation. It was all very straightforwards to play: keep a bit of a distance, powerbuild for a bit, powerspend for megaDD, rinse and repeat.

Once in the Ren Cen, a good recearch specialisation was tricky to come up with; Mysticism fits the concept but Arms suits the superstats. In the end I went for mysticism for variety. Flight is a no-brainer travel power for ranged characters and I set myself up to hit Canada as I'd done previously with The Savage.

Once in Canada I found that the Void's damage dried up somewhat, dropping down to Glacier levels and I found myself hoping that it'd pick up again soon. Luckily the slotted passive power, Shadow Form, seemed to be rather good as a defensive boost. Sadly I noticed that the pet is level 17 and I wasn't really planning to play this character long enough to get that far. With low DD I decided to take the boss encounter carefully and pick off the wandering ice zombie shamans and their minions first. The nice thing about Shadow Form is that the more youg et hit, the faster you generate energy (and also heal a bit). The boss fight wasn't worth writing home about.

Void Argent

Overall it was a slow burner to begin with and perhaps it might pick up at later levels but initially at least, there isn't really any reason to spend money on this archetype over the free Glacier.

Next Week

From the 27th, it's the turn of The Master - a new unarmed combat archetype that's somewhere between a defensive brawler and a kung fu king.
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In the run up to (and including) Halloween, there's a lot going on in various MMOs. I'll be looking at what Anarchy Online will have going on for Halloween, what Rift is currently doing with its Ashes of History event and how Champions Online is doing with its current promotion. My time is currently focused on several things and I will be away for a chunk of next month so these won't be extensive and in depth analyses.

Champions Online has just kicked off a Free Archetype Rotation scheme whereby anyone can play a given premium (Gold) character Archetype for a week, with the Archetype in question rotating on a weekly basis. As a free (Silver) player, I'm interested in how the other side lives - and yes, I'm well aware that Golds mostly play the much more powerful Freeform characters not the limited Archetypes. Gold Archetypes are meant to be more powerful than Silver, as an incentive to shell out for access, and so I want to experience for myself first hand how this works out *.

Champions Logo

First of all, everyone can claim an extra character slot per account free. This is rather nice for Silvers who are limited to 2. Second, Cryptic claims that when the time for a given archetype is up you are given the option to retrain that character, either to the new tester Archetype or to one you ordinarily have access to. As yet I haven't decided if I'll do that or roll afresh to get a handle on things from the ground up.

Week 1: The Savage

One of the earliest Gold Archetypes, released shortly after the introduction of the Free For All model, The Savage was lauded as being very powerful for an Archetype. Good damage coupled with good survival, it was claimed, and made for a nice solo character. Strength and Constitution are the super stats and it fights at melee range (which suggests to me that Arms ought to be a good R&D field).

So, I rolled up an alien bioengineered tiger warrior (I don't do capes) and hit the Millenium City Crisis tutorial to really get my claws into things. Turns out, that's exactly what happened. For those first 5 levels until you reach the end and take down Black Talon, The Savage was DD on a stick. Serious amounts thereof. Even the crappy begining energy-builder claw attack was good damage let alone the bigger energy-consumer claw attack. I joined in the open mission at the end last of all and still came out at the top in terms of participation simply because of my DD. Black Talon fell before a whirlwind of claws that'd make the Tazmanian Devil blush and I wondered just how silly it'd get once I had my regeneration powers...

After the usual buzz about the Renaissance Centre pinging buildings, setting up some Arms-based Alien Metabolism research, getting a cone-AoE claw frenzy power (uh-oh) and Teleportation (a melee's best friend), it was time to hit up the Canadian Crisis. Plenty of the mobs here are ranged so I began to appreciate the mid-range 'come and say that to my face!' taunt, which cause them to stop shooting and run up right into my melee range that my basic energy builder claw attack has. When I got my passive regeneration power, things got really silly. The only time I wasn't overpowering everything in sight was when a flying ranged Freeform would swoop in as I was about to Frenzy and AoE oneshot my quest mobs from under me (it's the internet, people are dicks).

It was time for the final boss sequence and I figured I'd be cocky and just charge into the boss with no prior planning nor clearing out of adds. I still wiped the floor with everything simultaneously. Now some of the regular Silver Archetypes are great for this sort of situaiton too, but this was just silly. No wonder people complain the game is too easy if they're used to playing Freeform characters that are even more powerful than this Gold archetype...

Tigron - The Savage
The Savage: Tigron in his Battle Armour outfit after saving canada (level 10 power layout shown)

Overall it was a good laugh and I quite liked The Savage, though melee tends to irritate me in many games because of range issues that stem from desychning from the server. It was a lot more fun and less tedious than the low DD tank/brawler The Behemoth with a lot more survivability than the fast glass canon The Blade.

Next week

From October 20th, the free archetype trial switched over to The Void, which is billed as a vampiric/necromantic/tank/ranged/pet user thing. Hrm...


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