So you're interested in Champions Online, but you lack a friend playing the game who could give you a trial code. You've missed out on the free weekends the game has offered, and you're not quite adventurous enough to drop the full price of the retail box sight unseen. What's to be done?
Well, as of now, the proper answer is to give the brand-new demo program a try. Following in the vein of Warhammer Online, those interested in Millenium City's superheroic population can now create two different characters and enjoy romping about in an unlimited free trial of the starting area. The opening area, in which players defend the city from an alien invasion, introduces most of the game's core mechanical concepts and allows the player to start brushing shoulders with the big names in the game's lore.
The only real limitations are the number of characters, and the hard limit of level 15, which itself takes quite a bit of work to reach in the starter zone. While it's not quite the rush of the various free-to-play weekend within the game, it keeps things nice and accessible, and should certainly help anyone curious about the gameplay get a firmer handle on Champions Online. The fact that it's on Steam as well is just icing on the cake.
[ Thanks to Edward R. for the tip! ]