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Interview With Shannon “Poz” Posniewski

Cryptic Studios has a lot on their plate right now; they’re running Star Trek Online, in development on a new Neverwinter game, and their Superhero MMORPG Champions Online is about switch from a monthly subscription to a free-to-play model.  We were able to get a few minutes with Executive Producer Shannon “Poz” Posniewski about Champions.

PLAYER AFFINITY: A lot of people who are going to try the Free-to-play game will be new to the franchise.  For them, what is Champions Online, and how does it differ from other MMOs?

SHANNON POSNIEWSKI: Champions Online is a superhero-themed, action-oriented MMORPG. Like other games, you create your own character, go on missions, and earn abilities. One way Champions is different is that players get thousands of pieces to choose from for their costumes; you aren’t stuck in spandex, and you aren’t stuck being a human. Combat in Champions is more action-packed than in many other MMORPGs. It’s exciting, fast, rock-’em sock-’em fun.
 

Every hero also has a Nemesis. You create your Nemesis as well, choosing his name, what he and his henchmen look like, and what powers they have. Over your career, your Nemesis will come after you and you will need to thwart his evil plots. Once you finally defeat this Nemesis, another may take his place (again with your design).

In addition to all that, if you subscribe, you open up full customizability of all your powers. You get to choose exactly what abilities you want from the entire set of Champions’ powers. There are almost no restrictions; you can mix them up any way you want to make the exact hero you envision. 

Champions Online is based on the venerated Champions pen and paper game and draws from its lore. You’ll meet Defender, Dr. Destroyer, Foxbat, and other well-known personalities from there. And you’ll take part in adventures about time-travel, alternate dimensions, alien invasions, and evil scientists. It’s larger than life, heroic, and fantastic.

PLAYER AFFINITY: Cryptic was the original developer for City of Heroes, how does Champions differ from your work on that game, as well as the changes made by Paragon the current developer?

SHANNON POSNIEWSKI: Champions is much more action-oriented than other games. The basic abilities you use have no recharge timers, for example, and you can use most powers while running or flying around. Combat is much more dynamic and faster-paced.

Champions’ has a wide variety of zones. There are zones on and in volcanoes, underwater kingdoms, radioactive deserts, bayou cities, ghost towns, as well as the hyper-modern Millennium City.

If you subscribe, you can also fine-tune exactly which powers you get. This is a huge difference from other games. Some people like to get just the right mix of powers for role playing, and others like to min-max to optimize efficiency. Champions let’s you do either. 

PLAYER AFFINITY: People who are currently subscribed to the game will want to know if they’ll lose access to any content when they become “Gold Members”.  Will they have to buy anything to keep what they currently have?

SHANNON POSNIEWSKI: Subscribers won’t have to buy anything to keep what they have. In general, they won’t notice much of a difference at all except that they now get an extra 400 points to spend in the store as part of the subscription.

PLAYER AFFINITY: Silver subscribers don’t have access to the Adventure Packs.  For readers who haven’t played Champions, what are these Adventure packs?

SHANNON POSNIEWSKI: An Adventure Pack is set of themed content designed to plug seamlessly into Champions Online. Adventure Packs are three-hour stories with new locations, new missions, new villains, and special rewards. Each is a complete adventure that can be played over and over again. It scales in difficulty based on what level the player is and how many people are on the team.

Silver Players don’t get Adventure Packs for free, but they will be able to buy access them. This is a one-time purchase for each pack; all their characters will be able to play it.

PLAYER AFFINITY: A MMO changes over time in terms of features, content, and community. For people who tried Champions, but let their subscription drop, what changes have come to the game over the last year?

SHANNON POSNIEWSKI: We’ve added a ton since launch, too much to list off here. The best place to look is the full list HERE.

We’ve added an event called Blood Moon (where players become werewolves and hunters) which happens every full moon. We added Nemesis Confrontation, which pits you against your nemesis and Shadow Destroyer, one of the most powerful villains in the world of Champions. And we’ve had giant robotic teddy bears attack the city.

The Revelation expansion added a full zone: Vibora Bay. It’s a spooky city of magic and voodoo, angels, and demons. This zone has brand-new high-level missions, locations, and villains. It also has a climactic battle with Therakiel, who is trying to start the apocalypse. Along the way, we’ve added countless costume parts, perks, missions, villains, powers, and a power framework. We’ve improved the user interface, and fixed many bugs!

In the second half of this interview where we’ll discuss the new Archetypes system, and the change to Free-to Play.  Click HERE to continue.

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