Speculating on What's Next
Now that the Blood Moon has set on Millennium City, players of Champions Online are eagerly looking toward the coming weeks to see what Cryptic team has in store for the holidays. It's been described as "huge", "shocking", "massive"...you get the idea. It's supposed to be a big deal. But other than hinting at it being a game-changer, Mr. Roper's been pretty quiet about what's coming next for Champions. This has led to dozens of speculation threads on the official forums. Here are some of the more popular ideas as far as what the community has expressed interest in seeing with the Winter Update for Champions Online.
This is far and away one of the most-wanted things on the Champions Online Winter wish list. It's been said that Cryptic has been planning new zones for some time now, and everyone's excited to see what's next. There's been talk of a moon or space-themed zone, the addition of Hudson City, another major aspect of the Champions Universe, and a number of other designs possibly coming in the future. With the somewhat subtle hype coming from the development team about the upcoming content, it's a bit hard to think there won't be a new zone coming. Of course, as with everything, only time will tell.
Before I go too far into this, I want to say that it's already been confirmed by Bill Roper that no new powersets will be coming just yet, as those take a lot of work and the team has been focusing efforts on balancing current powersets and other aspects of combat in the game. However, it's also been said that the team is looking forward to expanding the current powersets by offering more power selections within each of them and offering more abilities for players in both combat and travel; that's still completely possible of course.
With the new Celestial powerset, we've seen that the team is able to create powers that have dual-functionality (changing not only effect of the power, but also the animation, based on who you're targeting). Could this be coming for other powersets as well? Some other things that have been mentioned in the past are allowing players to run up walls or even being able to pick up enemies and maybe other players in combat.
One of the most important aspects of superheroes is their alter ego; their secret identity. The team at Cryptic acknowledges this, and is working to offer up secret identities for our heroes as a game mechanic. One of the biggest features mentioned during the initial promotion of CO was the Secret Identities system. It dropped off the table for the game's launch to give it some more time in the oven, and now that the first major update is headed our way, excitement--and speculation--surrounding the Secret IDs feature is ramping up again. We haven't been given any details as to how it'll work yet, leaving it as a bit of a mystery. Hopefully Cryptic will reveal, or even release, this potentially game-changing feature soon, as it would definitely be a great treat for the holidays.
Another thing mentioned by the team during development is that they would like to add vehicle travel some time in the future. This feature has been on everyone's minds for months, and we're looking forward to the day it finally becomes a reality (if it ever comes). There is post after post and thread after thread on the forums of everyone offering up their own ideas for how to implement vehicle travel, even making its way into one of the most frequented Winter Update speculation threads.
New Nemesis features
With the new Nemesis Confrontation update, it's clear that Cryptic is dedicated to expanding the most unique feature of Champions Online. While a major piece of content like the new Nemesis lair isn't always expected, adding smaller features like new personalities for our nemeses, new missions, or more flexible power customization would definitely be appreciated. One big change being asked for is the addition of minion customization, as right now we can only select from a few predetermined archetypes for our supervillain's lackeys.
More expansive endgame content
Yet another big positive of the new Nemesis Confrontation update is the fact that the new content ties into UNITY territory, meaning that it's strictly endgame content. This is a huge plus for the game, as there wasn't much in the way of endgame-exclusive content before. The developers have always spoken about creating a new experience out of the CO endgame to give our Champions ongoing adventures and advancement, and of course gating more content behind the level cap is the way to do it.
New PvP Scenarios
With Blood Moon, Cryptic introduced new Halloween-themed PvP scenarios. They set a great precedent, and the community is looking forward to what's next if they keep this up. The idea that the PvP would be holiday-themed adds dozens of possibilities for players to get immersed in the event while trying out new game modes.
This is a major feature of course, always on the minds and tongues of Champions Online players. All we've been told by Cryptic regarding bases is that they want to do it. Being that they don't reveal much until it's time to release it, it seems entirely possible that they've been working on it for some time now. Could it be coming in the next few weeks? Only time will tell of course, but given the nature of Cryptic's development habits, it seems just as likely as anything else.
We've been told that the coming Winter Update will be amazing. However, what that entails is still a mystery. Will the community's suggestions be heard, or will we be caught off-guard with something completely new and unexpected? It's clear that the development team and Bill Roper are dedicated to enhancing the Champions Online experience with each new update, and I have confidence that when they do finally make that big reveal for what's coming, it'll be well worth the wait.
I do want to take a moment to give kudos to Cryptic and Bill Roper for the Nemesis Confrontation update. In my last article, I expressed desires for certain additions to be made to the game, and this is definitely a step in the right direction moving forward. I made a point of mentioning the need for more meaningful team content, and tying the Nemesis system into not only team-based content, but the endgame as well, is doing exactly what I described was needed as far as enhancing the game. (Of course, I know that this is just coincidental timing and they were working on that well before my article was written.) Still, I want to be clear that I acknowledge and personally appreciate the efforts of the development team in this regard.
That said, here's hoping they keep it going to keep the game feeling fresh in the coming months and years.