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Vicarious Existence

To blog about what is going on in the MMO genre from a casual MMO player's viewpoint.

Author: UnSub

Champions Online: Gameplay Video and All the Way with 2K

Posted by UnSub Friday July 11 2008 at 3:02AM
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Two bits of ChampO info:

1) Gamespot have an exclusive gameplay video and an article. Having looked at the video, I have to say it looks like a faster version of CoH/V, which isn't a bad thing, that sees you fighting more guys at once, which isn't a bad thing. So my summary of the video is: it's not a bad thing. But, apart from the combat moves that see the characters leap forward or do something fancy, I feel I've seen it before in CoH/V. This isn't a turn-off - I love CoH/V's combat - but I guess I was expecting a little more. We'll see when the E3 and GenCon play sessions are conducted how people feel about ChampO's combat.

2) Cryptic have announced that 2K will publish ChampO. Given the talk of Cryptic self-publishing ChampO, this gives their credibility a bit of a knock, even if it makes sense for them to take this step. More detail is needed as to what role 2K actually takes over by 'publishing' - it could just be physical box distribution worldwide, or it could be QA testing, customer service, forums management, accounts management, etc. The fact that the official ChampO mods have gone pretty silent - even Katalyst, who doesn't seem able to eat a meal without posting about it  (no doom is less important than the hamburger?) - can be taken as an ominous sign.

The forums see ex-SOE, now Cryptic CEO John Needham as being likely the one driving this kind of deal. On one hand, having 2K as a publisher means Cryptic reduces its risk, can leverage the experience of a distributor with worldwide experience and possibly has an easy inlet to getting ChampO on Steam. On the other hand, they said they were going to self-publish ChampO, 2K doesn't have the best reputation for customer service (should they be given that role) and this is 2K's first MMO, so their experience in that area is negligible. MMOs aren't like single-player games - the money isn't in the release, it's in the maintenance. 

Personally, I'm disappointed. Cryptic was looking like the the independent guys who could; now they look a lot weaker... especially since they haven't explained the decision. For a company that prides itself on talking to fans, the silence is deafening. 

UPDATE: I really should update this to say that Cryptic have clarified the situation: 2K is providing physical distribution services rather providing servers, CS, et al.