Champions Online

Moby ID: 44772


Champions Online is a Massively Multiplayer Online game based on the pen & paper role-playing universe of Champions. As such, the world tries to loosely recreate the official HERO System ruleset. Compared to other MMOs, at the beginning of the character creation process you are asked to choose from a series of power frameworks, instead of classes. These will determine what powers you can use. It is even possible to combine them in the Custom Framework option. Your abilities are determined by eight characteristics: Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Intelligence, Ego, Presence, Recovery and Endurance.

Similarly to Cryptic's previous games City of Heroes/City of Villains, the player takes the role of a superhero. The events are centered around Millennium City, an urban settlement created where once flourished Detroit, destroyed in 1992. The tutorial starts off with an invasion of Millennium City by Qularr, an alien race that tried to conquer Earth back in 1965. After completing it you gain access to five main locations: a full Millennium City, Desert, Canada, Lemuria and Monster Island. Additionally there are locations added through expansions - Champions Online: Revelation included a new city called Vibora Bay.

The game tasks you with completing different missions around the world and leveling up your character. Suffering death is not overly punitive, as it only decreases your Hero Points (or Stars), which you can gain back by defeating enemies. They only offer a bonus to combat efficacy and health regeneration speed. Besides giving you more experience points, killed enemies are also a source of boosts (orbs) that can replenish your health and energy stats or increase your battle proficiency. Fighting other players is possible in three Hero Games: UTC (an arena with two teams of five battling for supremacy), B.A.S.H. ( a free-for-all arena, where the winner is the one who earns the set number of kills first) and Apocalypse (an objective-based competition).

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Credits (Windows version)

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Average score: 71% (based on 15 ratings)


Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 3 ratings with 1 reviews)

Very beautiful adaptation of the Heroes gaming world

The Good
The number one attraction for me to this game is the extremely high level of customisation of character and costume appearance which it offers. The players in Champions Online (CO) regularly run their own costume contests and the varieties of appearance which the game offers is astounding and entertaining. You can make your superhero look like almost anything in or out of this world, within the ideas that comic book artists out of Marvel or DC might have wrought.

The other thing I liked about this game is the very attractive game world. It is funny, colourful, immersive and, most importantly for a comic based game, it is panoramic. By that I mean when you fly (and flying is an amazing and uplifting experience in this game) you really do feel you have escaped the bounds of the Earth into a vast and alternate realm.

The Bad
Very poor PvP. I believe this is more a function of the heroes gaming rules on which the entire Champions Online franchise (and even City of Heroes, the online game competitor) is based. CO did create pvp arenas of various types and sometimes to me they seem very limited. But whatever arena they built, the heroes gaming rules make Pvp somewhat uninteresting. Every shot will hit. Every freeze freezes. In the end, all the eye candy and flight extravaganzas cannot overcome a boring fight.

I note that the game's experienced players who do pvp a lot may believe me to be incorrect. To these I say, yes I believe there can be found elements of strong and engaging 1v1 PvP, especially say in blocking and healing abilities, but relatively speaking to other gaming genres, the PvP shows up poorly.

There is just not enough depth and variety of actions offered. For example, in Neverwinter Nights (NWN), a player in PvP could do almost anything with his range of abilities to bring down his opponents or cause trouble for the other side. But in CO, the short range of almost all attacks made PvP just a matter of running up and shooting each other until either of you were dead. NWN let you run, hide, stalk, knockdown, attack from the side, backstab, hope for a stun with fast attacks, go invisible, cast area of effects, summon an elemental to fight for you, group stun, perform extreme long range fire and the list goes on. It is very sad that the Heroes rulebook was applied in such a limited fashion by CO.

The Bottom Line
A once in a lifetime experience. If you ever wondered what the heroes rulebook would be like and have not experienced it in realtime, CO is an astoundingly good exposition. It is a really mindblowing game when you find yourself able to fly, run as fast as the Flash, blow away your enemies with pretty strong powers, be the Superman you always wanted to be, be the Wonder WOman, be the Evil Dr Doom - you can be any superhero or villain you want. The Joker, the Hulk, or yourvery own creation of an Iceman, super Archer, sexy Huntress, ugly Killer Clown, tiny imp dragon, werewolf big or small, alien being... Anything and everything is here for you in spades. Experience it now because free-to-play game models have now made CO available to everyone to experience.

Windows · by Hollyoake Addams (33) · 2011


Business model change

The game changed its business model from subscription based to free-to-play on January 25, 2011.

Cancelled Xbox 360 version

A Xbox 360 version was announced, but eventually cancelled.


  • Cheat Code Central
    • 2009 - Best M.M.O. Game
  • Gamespy
    • 2009 - The Anthropomorphic Enthusiasm Award


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by CalaisianMindthief.

Additional contributors: Big John WV, Patrick Bregger.

Game added January 18, 2010. Last modified March 29, 2024.