So I’ve been playing Champions Online lately, mostly because I needed a bit of a change and I like being a superhero. Anyway, this time around I’ve been paying attention to more than just how my character looks and what type of powers he (actually right now she) has. I’ve started looking hard at stats, build, and gear. While you can play and have fun with just about any build it turns out the game is much easier if you pay attention and make a few careful and educated choices. So here’s a bit of a guide to making your Champion all that they can be. We’ll start with the basics and move onto an example character build. At the end I’ll list a couple of tools to help you as you make your way through the world of Champions Online.
Note: this guide is based on game play as of April 26th 2010. Patches can change things at any time and the builds I suggest today may not, in fact, work as well as intended after future patches.
Stats are more important than you might think and they’re not all as intuitive as they could be. So let’s start with a list of stats, what they mean, and what characters need them. When you’re selecting pre-configured power sets the game recommends statistics to focus on. These are generally accurate and you could do far worse than follow the advice. Still understanding these stats is important as you level up and equip your character.
Strength (STR): Strength is, pretty obviously, your characters raw physical power. This one isn’t tricky, it determines things like damage, knockback, knockback resistance, and ability to break tangible holds (it also determines how much you can pick up and how much throwing damage you can do, but that was obvious). This skill is very important for melee characters, without it you’ll really struggle with damage and that is very, very bad up close. Other than that it’s mostly good for showing off. If you’re a ranged character this should be one of the stats you worry about the least.
Constitution (CON): Con is another obvious one, it’s all about your health and how many hit points you have. Every character should worry about this at least a little but it’s very important for certain kinds of builds. If you want to be the guy in the group leading the charge you should invest in this. This is the stat of the classic tank. In my experience this is one of the best builds for a melee character, you’re always on the front line and you’re usually taking serious damage. This is also an important stat for someone who wants to solo.
Ego (EGO): Ego is one of those that’s a bit ambiguous. It’s your mental strength. In most games I would call this your characters will power. It helps determine the strength of your characters holds, the severity of your critical hits, and your chance at breaking out of Intangible holds. If you’re focused on crowd control this is the stat for. It doesn’t hurt to put some points in here for damage dealing classes, the extra crit severity is nice, but not essential.
Recovery (REC): Recovery is important in two ways. First of all it determines how quickly you generate power. So it’s important for anyone who’s going to eat up a lot of power. In fact it’s an important stat for just about anyone because power is your bread and butter, it’s what keeps you able to use those wonderful super abilities. It also determines your Equilibrium. Equilibrium is the point your power always regenerates to. To get power beyond this point requires using your energy builder skill. Pay careful attention to this stat, every character should put something into this one.
Dexterity (DEX): Dex determines your characters critical chance and effectiveness of stealth powers. This one is in some ways a companion to Ego. While Ego helps determine how much damage your crits do, this one helps determine how often you crit. Critical attacks can be very important for damage dealing classes. The stealth attribute I’d say is quite obvious, it helps determine how sneaky you are when using stealth powers.
Intelligence (INT): Intelligence is another one of those skills which can be important to anybody. It determines several things, such as pet damage, power cool-down, stealth detection, and how much energy a power costs. This one has nice features for all characters in its power cool-down and cost. Characters planning to specialize in pets should definitely invest in this stat.
Presence (PRE): This stat is important to a few types of characters. First of all it determines how much you heal, so if you want to specialize in healing invest in this. It also determines your pets heal rate, so this is another for pet based characters too. Finally this helps determine how much aggro you draw, so if you’re a tank and want to make sure you’re the center of the bad guys attention invest here.
Endurance (END): Endurance is another one of those stats you’ll definitely want to pay careful attention to. Like Recovery it also helps determine how fast you gain energy from your energy building attack. Endurance also helps determine just how much energy you have. This is critical if you’re a class the uses a lot of energy and a lot of charge up attacks. The more energy you have the more strong attacks you’ll be able to get off.
Types of Powers
The types of powers in a normal MMO can get complicated, well Champions adds a couple of new types into the mix. I’ll get more into how these types really work when I talk about character builds later on. Here are the basic types of powers though.
Note on attack powers, some of these types of attacks can be combined like an AoE with a DoT. There are ranged and close attacks and all of the following can apply to either type.
Energy Builder: An energy building attack increase your energy level but costs no power of its own. These attacks come in many types, there’s one for each power set. All of these powers are low damage.
Direct Damage (DD): These are the simplest kind of attacks. You use them and they do damage just once.
Damage Over Time (DOT): When you use these types of powers they do damage over a period of time. They usually do a lump sum first and then a smaller amount of damage every few seconds after that until they wear off.
Area of Effect (AOE): As the name suggests these powers effect an area around the target. Any enemies within that area will take damage, whether you’re currently battling them or not. There are different types of area effects. A cone AoE effects an area directly in front of you. Point blank effects the area around you. A standard AoE effects a circular area around your target.
Crowd Control (CC): This refers to a set of skills which immobilize an opponent in some way. In general there are two types of CC, holds and roots. A hold (or immobilization) keeps the target from doing anything, leaving them completely useless for a time. A root keeps a target from moving but allows them to attack. Most of these break on damage, so if you attack CC’d opponent you’ll most likely set them free, so to speak.
Buffs: Buffs allow you to improve a character in some way. Some buffs are shields, others increase stats, still others increase regeneration rates for powers. Some of these work only on you, others you can use on other members of your team. There are a lot of types of buffs and all of them have different durations on abilities. Some buffs are slotted powers (more about these under builds).
Debuffs: These are the opposite of a buff, in general they reduce energy, stats, or health. Their intention is to make a target easier to kill.
Heals: There are several types of heals. Heal over time, direct heals, life drains (both self and target). The first two act like their attack counter parts while the third is something new. A life drain takes health or energy from a target and gives it to you. You’ll even find self life drains which will allow you to convert health into power. Life drains can generally only effect the caster.
Blocks: Champions has something called an active blocking system. When you hold down your shift key you can’t attack but you take less damage and are less likely to be knocked back by enemies powers. Block powers improve and modify the players default block skill. These are slotted skills (more about this under builds).
Making Your Character
I’m not here to tell you what your character should look like and costume is usually the most time consuming part of building your characters. The first thing you pick though is your power set. There are two ways to pick, build your own or take one of the presets. If you’re new to this or don’t have a really specific set of powers in mind I recommend taking a preset.
When you pick a preset you get an innate talent. This talent determines what your characters starting stats are. This gives you +5 to most of your stats but focuses on 2 stats giving them +12. Once that’s done you’re on to your costume.
As you level up you’ll not only get new powers but new talents. These talents add bonuses to your stats. They come in several types and can increase one stat or several stats. The choices you make here are important. When you go to make these choices you need to keep in mind your build and what stats you want to focus on. Every build is different and every play style is different.
In an MMO you’ll find yourself filling many roles. Champions has a unique way of making life easy when you need to switch between roles. You may want to switch from a solo to a group role, in groups you may be a damage dealer one time and a buffer or healer another. This is where builds come into play. Builds allow you to change your characters gear, powers, role, and costume with the click of a button. It gives a whole new meaning to jack-of-all-trades when it comes to MMO’s.
As you level up you get builds which show up just above your shortcut bar, you get your first build at level 10 (which is to say you now have 2 builds to choose between). Under the menu (the one on the mini-map) there’s a builds option which brings up the builds panel, this lets you manage your builds. Builds consist of several things. Let’s look at each piece of a build.
Costume: This one is simple, you can change the costume associated with each build. I find this is a very good way to tell at a glance what build you’re in without having to look down at the tool bar. That is assuming you have enough costume slots to have one for every build.
Equipment: The simplest part of a build is equipment, you have a set of slots where you place the equipment for that build. When you switch builds it switches out your equipment too. Sadly you switch in and out of your inventory so you have to be careful when selling not to sell all the items from your other build. This allows you to focus on different stats in different builds. Although you cannot switch out talents so you can’t completely change your character.
Devices: There is also a set of device slots for each build. This is essentially the same as equipment and subject to the same problem, you have to have room in inventory.
Powers: Part of this is simple, it’s just your set of powers that are in your quick bar. If you have a build that focuses on healing and a build that focuses on damage you’ll probably want different skills in your skill bar for each. The other part is a little different. Each build has 4 slots, 2 for travel powers, 1 for block powers and one for passive powers.
Passive Powers: There are a lot of different slotted powers you can pick as you level up. You can only have one slotted power per slot for each build but you can have multiple powers available. A few examples of slotted powers are some energy forms, regeneration, and power reduction abilities. These passive powers are always on. The passive slot in the rolls allows you to switch to different passive powers. To make things more complicated each role has a different type of passive slot associated with it. So you can’t slot just any passive under just any role. Confused yet? Read on and I’ll hopefully clear things up a bit.
Roles: There are 4 roles available. You select the role for each build in the drop down right next to the name. Here’s a breakdown of the different roles.
Note: When figuring bonus hit points you subtract your base hit points (which can be found by mousing over your constitution stat) from your Guardian total hit points and multiple that number by the percentage. Then subtract or add as required.
- This is your standard role. This is where all the other builds start from, if you see a percentage in another build it modifies these base numbers.
- This role can slot any passive power.
- + 20% to all damage
- -50% to bonus hit points
- -20% to healing powers
- -20% hold and root potency
- -20% hold resistance
- Power decays at half normal rate
- No energy generated when blocking
- 1 offensive passive slot (you can only slot offensive type passives here. Duh)
- Standard damage
- +25% bonus hit points
- Standard healing and root power potency
- +20% to hold and root resistance
- Power decays at twice normal rate
- Double energy generated when blocking attacks
- increased threat generation
- 1 defensive passive slot
- -20% damage
- -25% bonus hit points
- +20% to healing power potency
- +20% to root and hold power potency
- +20% to hold and root resistance
- Power decays at half normal rate
- 1 support passive slot
These roles are what really make builds powerful. But if you don’t understand them they can get you killed (I do not recommend accidentally using Sentinel while soloing, this is very bad). Pick your role for each build carefully.
Equipment is simple once you understand stats. I’m looking for the best combination of stats for my build. I also look at the defense values since they definitely help. Although I generally don’t give up much in the way of stats to increase defensive stats. There are many pieces of equipment with special abilities. Those really come down to what you want to do and I feel they tend to work best as parts of builds since many are only useful under certain circumstances. Basically just take a look at the stats and keep in mind what you’re most interested in increasing.
This is a look at the stats of my main character, Culture Shock. Her base power set is electricity.
As you can see I put a premium on Constitution and Endurance. I do a lot of soloing so I need the hit points to keep in the fight. With my power set I use a lot of energy so I went high on Endurance. Next is recovery so I can get my power back ASAP. The others really just fall completely by the wayside, at least at level 26. Here’s a look at my talent and innate characteristics I’ve chosen.
Again the concentration on Con and End are pretty obvious. Finally here’s a look at my powers (not shown are my electric shield which replaces block and my travel power, which is flight).
There’s a pretty strong focus on offense. Sparkstorm and Gigabolt are my bread and butter powers. Electrocute comes in handy when things get a little out of control and Thunderstrike is always a nice way to start a party. This is a very effective build. As long as I’m a little careful I can solo just about anything through level 26 at least, we’ll see if this all holds up for the last 15 levels. It seems like I’ll have no problem though.
There you have it, a guide to building a successful Champions Online character.
There is an excellent quest tool which will tell you what quests you’ve missed, their level and where to get them check it out here.
If you’re looking for a character builder this is the only one I’ve found but it’s not bad. It does have a few bugs though.