Rethinking archetypes in Champions Online

Kyle Horner
K. Horner|05.24.08

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Rethinking archetypes in Champions Online

When it comes to the subject of game design evolution the lead designer for Champions Online Randy "Arkayne" Mosiondz has some very interesting things to say. He recently posted his thoughts in the newest developer blog over on the Champions Online official website and the results are quite compelling. His write-up starts out as a general discussion on the topic of initial game design and how -- even why -- it always progresses into something different along the march to completion. After a bit of pontificating on that subject, Arkane moves onto how this all ties into Champions Online, which in turn dovetails into the subject of archetypes in Cryptic's game.

It all ends up with the revelation that archetypes in Champions Online won't be playing the role they were originally intended for. The reason for the somewhat rug-tugging change comes from the community reaction to how archetypes were originally planned to function. A good developer always communicates with their players, so this is nothing new to Cryptic Studios.

Archetypes were originally designed in such a way that they made certain power selections better for one archetype (such as a tank-type) over another (such as a healer-type), which arguably made for a not-so-flexible system. It essentially would have birthed certain builds that were more effective -- and thus more desirable -- than others.

Since Champions Online is supposed to be all about flexibility -- and the archetype model does sort of impede such a thing -- the design team is going back to the drawing board. Their goal is to figure out how to give players plenty of power choices without adding any sort of restriction system to the game. It's a huge design challenge, but one that the crew over at Cryptic seem determined to solve to stay true to the ideal of the game.

We certainly wish them the best of luck, as we're very much looking forward to playing Champions Online. Thus, you can count on us keeping a massive(ly) bulging, hawk-like eye on their efforts in order to bring any updates to you as quickly as possible.
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