Home > Champions Online > Champions Online diversifies its business model (that F-thing)

Champions Online diversifies its business model (that F-thing)

October 28, 2010

Joining a couple of the fantasy-themed MMOs that has been around a bit, Chmapions Online will now in early 2011 change to include a subscriptionless option (you know, that F-thing).

Players will be divided into Silver and Gold players, with gold being the regular subscription option pretty much and silver the new option without a subscription fee, but with some restrictions. A lot of thje info about this can be found at the Champions F2P web page.

Looking at the feature matrix the main features that the silver players will not have seem to be a number of customisation options and the adventure packs. I think this approach makes a lot of sense for Champions – the people who loves to have have a lot of customisation options and thinks that this is important is a key target audience for Champions. This is also one of the areas where the game is pretty strong.

What is also interesting is that they seem to aim to (re-)introduce archetypes, which has a reasonably fixed set of powers available to them. In a way this sounds like they are going back to the approach they had in City of Heroes, although it is probsbly not going to end up exactly like that. I think this can potentially be quite good; even in games which has a lot of customisation options (e.g. City of Heroes, Guild Wars etc) there are many players that look for something proven or that fits a certain style rather than experimenting too much themselves. Hopefully there will still be some element of choice, even if it is limited. I think this is a good move for the game.

There seem also to be some plans on changing the zones a bit – the Desert zone will not longer be one of the options available directly after the tutorial, instead one can go to Canada or to Millenium City Westside. So the early Millenium City content seems it will be dropped a few levels possibly, while some Desert content will have the levels raised a bit.

Not sure how much different the play experience will be – I’d rather see that they drop levels entirely or at least partially. But perhaps this is intended to rearrange content a bit so that some weak level ranges get a bit more variation.

Anyway, it will be interesting to see how this works out. I am quite sure that part of this plan is to have this in place by the time DC Universe Online releases .

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Categories: Champions Online
  1. Tesh
    October 28, 2010 at 06:59

    Drop levels? As in, let anyone play anywhere with anyone else? A bridge too far to cross, perhaps, but one that someone will need to do at some point, I think. It may as well be here.

  2. October 28, 2010 at 18:59

    Exactly that. Given how the new Silver option is set up I do not think that will happen though.

    A game that could potentially do that without too many issues is City of Heroes through. Part of the game is already without levels and the sidekick and autolevel systems that are in place almost eliminate all limitations usually imposed by level-based games.

  3. Tesh
    November 1, 2010 at 18:45

    I’ve toyed with level-less design before. I think it has a lot of promise, especially in MMOs, where levels usually serve to drive people apart, rather than let them play together. I’m not too familiar with CoH, but from the descriptions I’ve read, I think you’re right, it would be a good one to convert.

  4. November 1, 2010 at 21:04

    The desert area was actually my favorite starting zone, I wonder why they decided to shuffle them.

    I’ve said this several places, but the utter inability of silvers to roll custom characters has me a bit worried. I think ten dollars to add custom builds to your account would be reasonable. However, locking silvers out altogether seems like a bad idea long term. I think cobbling together custom builds is one of the most fun aspects of the current game. It’s also hard to believe that their archetypes will be as powerful as a really min-maxed custom build.

  5. November 1, 2010 at 21:05

    PS: all that said, I will certainly be checking the game out when FtP launches. It seems like the right model for the game.

  6. November 1, 2010 at 22:45

    Similar to SOE and EQ2X, I think Cryptic have felt forced to start with this approach – they are not a market or thought leader in this regard.

    Hence they probably do not have extensive research or planning behind how this should be approached, plus they do not want to spend too much money and resources on changing the game.

    Deep down inside I think the mindset is not yet that Silver players would be long term customers, but rather people that if they play long enough in the “extended trial” will feel the urge to subscribe to the game.

    A year or two from now I would not be surprised if a “free to play” option will be the norm among most western MMOs and the discussion will change to _how_ the different games and companies handle their non-subscriber customers, not that they have this option.

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