Community Announcements - Strails
Champions, we're happy to say that, this week, we're going to be removing restrictions on the costume tailor for brand-new players. A while back, we made a change where new players creating characters get a much smaller selection of costume pieces to choose from, in order to streamline character creation.

Since that change was released, we've been keeping a careful eye on this, and how it impacts player retention. After sifting through the data, it's clear that it's better to re-open the tailor, so a new player gets the full Champions experience of a nigh-limitless list of costume pieces.

This is just part of our recent focus on quality of life changes. We’ve taken a few weeks to prioritize the player experience of the core game, and find ways to make Champions a little more fun. You can think of this as a short-term Bug Stompathon, except instead of limiting ourselves to bugs, we've tackled design choices as well.

For new players, the opened tailor is going to take their breath away, and they're going to really see all the potential for costumes in Champions.

For veterans, we've already released the Resource cap increase, which is going to really help the game economy work more smoothly. This week's patch should also include a fix to the map's zoom: You've probably noticed that in larger maps like Millennium City, you can't zoom out all the way, making some missions hard to find.

One of my old bosses had something he called the "emotional to-do list" -- things that you're committed to doing, but you don't know when you'll be able to get to them. It feels good to say that, for some of these changes, the day finally came.

We’re proud of these changes, and we hope you enjoy them. Make sure to keep an eye on the forums and blogs for all the latest Champions news!

-The Champions Online team
PC Gamer

What is Batman without the Batmobile? Wonder Woman without her invisible jet? The Fantastic Four without their...wait, it's called the Fantasticar? Oh no.

In any case, a great ride adds style points to any hero, and your Champions Online character will be able to take up the fight against crime in a custom vehicle when the game's next update goes live this week.

Vehicles will be customizable, with different chassis (that grant varied stats) upon which you can apply colorful skins. Initially, you'll be able to choose between jets and hovertanks, but more models (like speeder bikes) are planned down the line. Your vehicle has several gear slots of its own that can be filled with mods, earned from the new vehicle missions.

While you're waiting for the patch to drop so you can drive (or more likely, fly) off of the lot, we've got a full tour of the showroom lined up below. These are just a few of the possible variants.

PC Gamer

Massively have pointed us to an interesting competition over in Champions Online. Cryptic are asking players to design them a new Supervillain, which will then be used as a ten-man boss in one of Champions' upcoming Alert missions.

Entering is simple process, you design your villain in the Champions costume creator, give him a power set and minion type and write a 250 word backstory. Maybe your character is neon pink assassin with the ability to read minds and breathe fire, or an impeccably suited brawler who alternates between throwing cars and flying on his home made rocket boots. These are just two of the patented ideas you'll have to defeat me in a game of Quake 3 to be legally able to use.

If you think you have what it takes to create the next Joker, Lex Luthor or Lady Stilt Man, just go over to the Champions Online forum and show them your idea. The winner gets to be a 10 man boss fight, but four runners up will also appear as supporting characters in future alerts. But if you're going to enter, please tell us in the thread, we'd love to see what you've come up with.
PC Gamer
Cryptic, the dev studio behind Champions Online, Star Trek Online and the upcoming MMO Neverwinter, has just released a notice that some of their servers that contain users' personal information were hacked in 2010 and that the encrypted data had been compromised. But the good news is that if you follow good internet practice and have changed your passwords sometime in the last two years, you probably don't have to be worried by the bleak letter that just appeared on Cryptic's website, or the cautionary email you may have just received.

In their letter and the email (which I received because my account was one of those compromised--thanks, hackers!), Cryptic stresses that they only have evidence that account names, handles, and passwords were stolen. They do not believe that billing addresses, email addresses, date of birth, or credit card information was compromised. All affected accounts have had their passwords reset--so that might be why you're having trouble logging in right now.

If you have a Crpytic account, make sure to check your junk mail inbox for a warning to see if your account information was stolen. And even if it wasn't, it's a good idea to change up your passwords--especially if you're still using the same one you did in 2010.

Nomadic former Blizzard leader Bill Roper has been promoted to leader of Disney's games business.

He replaces Bungie co-founder Alex Seropian, who held the role for one year, according to Gamasutra.

Roper joined Disney last July to head the Marvel gaming division.

But what exactly is he now leading? Disney pulled out of core gaming after Pure, Split/Second, Turok and Epic Mickey failed to set the world alight. Disney even closed Black Rock Studios and Propaganda Games as a result.

Disney's game factory now turns out less risky cash-spinners like Disney Universe, LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean and Toy Story 3 - an odd portfolio for someone like Bill Roper to manage. He was a director at Blizzard for nearly 10 years, and helped establish the Diablo, StarCraft and Warcraft series.

Bill Roper went on to make flawed but ambitious core action RPG Hellgate, and then superhero MMO Champions Online.

He then surfaced again early last year, talking about some big ideas he'd been sitting on and how he was no longer tied down. And now this - Disney.


Disney owns Marvel, and there's a persisting rumour that Brink developer Splash Damage may be doing something with the iconic superhero IP.

A multi-platform Epic Mickey 2 was also accidentally outed by a Disney newsletter last month.

It could be Roper will lead Disney's second charge into core gaming.

PC Gamer
Champions Online The Unleashed archetype
He's not a Sith Lord, he's a Cosmic Knight. Champions Online's archetypes offer players who don't play a subscription fee pre-defined builds to level with. This one is called The Unleashed, and is described as a "Militant Monk," an "Eldritch Warrior" and a "Mysterious Visitor," albeit one you're not likely to let into your house. He specialises in close range chopping with his lightsa- swords.

Champions Online is free to play, you can download the client from Champions Online site and Steam. In other news, Star Wars: The Old Republic is nearly fully operational. Bioware are set to throw the giant "ON" switch today, launching the game worldwide. You can join us on the Nightmare Lands server in Europe, and on the Crucible Pits in the US.
PC Gamer
Halloween is a time for many things. Candy, costumes, vandalism, paganism - you know, wholesome stuff. But Halloween also has its darker side. That's right: MMORPGs - perhaps the most evil, life-devouring game genre in existence. So clearly, it only makes sense that all of them would... OK, I'm done trying to make sense of this.

For some reason, MMOs take to Halloween like machete-wielding psychopaths to teenagers on camping trips. Why? Who knows? But it's stupidly fun, and you get to punch zombies in a videogame. That, like, almost never happens. Find out what the likes of WoW, Rift, World of Tanks, DC Universe, and many more are up to this Halloween after the break.

World of Warcraft -- WoW's brought back Hallow's End, which lets you "corral orphans" to earn candy currency, which is redeemable for holiday themed rewards. Or, if walking children down alleys isn't up your alley, you can light your opposing faction's Wickerman on fire and then rain on their parade with a hail of stink bombs. I guess the orphans are there to correct the karmic balance of you being such a huge jerk.
Rift -- Rift's going with the tried-and-true tradition of a real-life costume contest. Winners in each of three categories (terrifying, beautiful, and bizarre) will pick up in-game items - including an owl! Also, Trion released this new Halloween-themed trailer, which is basically the best thing.
Lord of the Rings Online -- Harvestmath is in full swing, with Mad Bilbo's Haunted Burrow is leading the charge. You can also win an Autumnfest Steed, which is great, because one can never have too many steeds. The real stars of LoTRO's show, though, are all the player-hosted events, which Turbine has kindly highlighted.
Age of Conan -- Conan's "Nights of Lost Souls" bring two solo quests and one team quest that see you hunting and ultimately having a pleasant tea party with three of the titular Lost Souls. Wait, did I say "tea party"? Silly me. But this is Conan. Honestly, what do you think you end up doing to them?
Champions Online -- This is already a game about running around in silly costumes; it may as well be Halloween year 'round. So Champions is having a real-life pumpkin-carving contest. Winner gets 1,000 promotional points, with second and third placers taking 500 a piece.
DC Universe Online -- The Scarecrow's opened his "dark lair" to all the heroes in DC land. That, er, probably wasn't the greatest idea on his part. You can probably see where this is going: Repeatedly pound the Scarecrow's face into pumpkin mush, collect tokens, and exchange them for Halloween-themed trinkets and style items.
City of Heroes -- Sure, other MMOs celebrate Halloween, but City of Heroes may just trump them all. In addition to a brand new co-op event called Dr. Kane's House of Horrors, there's a two-part (zombie apocalypse and deadly apocalypse) monster invasion event, and good old-fashioned trick-or-treating.
World of Tanks -- For many years, I've petitioned for Party City to add a tank section. Giant, soulless hunks of steel and death, after all, are people too. Until society catches up with my forward-thinking ways, however, we'll just have to make do with WoT's costume contest, which sees players send in images of themselves playing the game while in costume. Winner gets a premium account for an entire year. 

Valve has announced Steam support for free-to-play titles with immediate effect.

Five launch titles are available now: Spiral Knights, Forsaken Worlds, Champions Online: Free for All, Global Agenda: Free Agent, and Alliance of Valliant Arms (AVA).

Starting tomorrow with Spiral Knights and ending on Sunday with AVA, each one will get a 'F2P Game of the Day' slot which will see exclusive in-game extras up for grabs.

"The introduction of Free to Play games is another example of the constant evolution of Steam," commented Valve exec Jason Holtman.

"Free to Play games offer new game genres and game experiences for customers, while offering developers and publishers new revenue opportunities and the ability to reach customers in areas of the world where the traditional packaged goods model is less popular than F2P."

Press Release - Valve
Five F2P Launch Titles Offering Exclusive Content to Celebrate Launch

Valve, creators of best-selling game franchises (such as Counter-Strike, Half-Life, Left 4 Dead, Portal, and Team Fortress) and leading technologies (such as Steam and Source), today introduced support for Free to Play (F2P) Games on Steam with the launch of five F2P games.

Available immediately, the launch titles are Spiral Knights, Forsaken Worlds, Champions Online: Free for All, Global Agenda: Free Agent, and Alliance of Valliant Arms (AVA).

Beginning tomorrow (Weds) with Spiral Knights and concluding Sunday with AVA, each of the five launch titles will offer exclusive in-game content to those who try the "F2P game of the day" on Steam. In game transactions in all of the titles will be supported by Steam's micro-transaction backend system that is available to Steamworks partners and currently used in Valve's Team Fortress 2.

"The introduction of Free to Play games is another example of the constant evolution of Steam," said Jason Holtman, director of business development at Valve. "Free to Play games offer new game genres and game experiences for customers, while offering developers and publishers new revenue opportunities and the ability to reach customers in areas of the world where the traditional packaged goods model is less popular than F2P."

Specific details on the F2P games of the day and their exclusive in-game content will be made available in the coming days.

Steam is a leading platform for PC & Mac games and digital entertainment serving over 1,500 games to over 30 million active accounts worldwide. For more information, please visit
Shacknews - Steve Watts

Cryptic Studios has been acquired by the Chinese MMO maker Perfect World, reports Gamasutra. According to the report, the company paid approximately $50.3 million for the studio, and acquired a 100% equity interest in Cryptic. Atari had been looking to sell Cryptic recently, having only acquired it in 2008.

Star Trek Online, Champions Online

"This strategic acquisition will add attractive game titles to our portfolio, which will help us further penetrate into the U.S. and global online game markets," said Perfect World CEO and chairman Michael Chi. "More importantly, Cryptic Studios' highly reputable development team and its technology platform will further strength our well-established R&D capabilities. We deem this as another noteworthy achievement of our global expansion efforts."

Cryptic is best-known lately for the MMOs Champions Online and Star Trek Online. The studio is continuing development on its next RPG, a D&D-styled game titled Neverwinter.


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