In November, Pre-Alpha 1.1 testers will have the opportunity to play as Crowfall’s gigantic melee fighter called the Champion. And because there is no NDA, everyone else will have a chance to watch! They’re big, strong and pack a whollop. With a quick Reverse Chain Pull, the burly Champion can hurl himself at the enemy and then strike with powers such as Flying Neckbreaker, Massive Cleave or Whirling Pain. As an ultimate melee fighter, enemies will be doing everything they can to avoid the onslaught, for sure.
Crowfall Design Lead, Thomas Blair, expands on the Champion’s role as follows:
“The Champion should have a massive presence (literally) on the field of battle. He has the potential for incredible damage, size, and some control with his blinds and suppression effects, but the player will need to balance that with weaker defenses, increased size, higher “Here I am! Can’t miss me!” visibility and slower base movement speed.”
Many players will choose the Champion simply because they want to smash things. However, many of these players will discover their Champion will die a swift deaths because they failed to understand exactly what the nature of a Champion is. You see, the Champion is not a mindless bruiser from the wild, but is more of a well-seasoned gladiator. The Champions savage attacks must be guided by a disciplined and skilled player in order to conquer. Because of his size and lower speed, being out of position means being dead.
In their most recent update, the vision for the Champion is expanded further to highlight Creative Director, J. Todd Colemans, idea of a more civil than savage gladiator:
“Thematically, our goal with the Champion was to make him a city brute, not a wilderness savage. We wanted the feeling of having him be a knight (in name, if not in character) jumped-up from the fighting pits or the wrong side of town instead of the traditional savage born to a barbarian tribe and raised in the woods. George R.R. Martin fans may compare him to Gregor Clegane, one of many antiheroes in the epic fantasy saga A Song of Ice and Fire.”
While pure 1v1 PvP balance will not be Crowfall’s primary goal, we can expect that enemies will have tools at their disposal to counter the Champion’s advances. In group PvP, I can see teammates such as Knights and Legionnaires helping pin opponents into corridors and buildings to allow a Champion to unload its melee mayhem upon them. What I don’t see is a Champion finding success thrusting himself into a group of enemy players expecting to anything but serve as easy loot. It’s not as much about how to attack as it is when to attack.
A brief look at the Champion's armor will show that ACE is truly going for the gladiator theme here. Gigantic helmet horns, muscles peeking out from their armor and wielding huge axes, the Champion’s gear will look as savage as their fighting skills.
As an MMO player that tends to play these kinds of characters, I can’t wait to get my hands on the Champion and give it a go. Currently the next phase of Pre-Alpha is scheduled for November of this year (so close!) and over the course of the test, access will be opened up to all backers up to Alpha 2 access, which has recently been added to the Crowfall Collectors’ Edition. I'm looking forward to clashing blades once again in Pre-Alpha 1.1, reporting on the experience, and sharing it with the MMORPG.com community and beyond.