Massively goes to Dragon*Con: Cryptic Studios Q&A

Cryptic Studios was on-hand at this year's Dragon*Con, where they held a Q&A session regarding all things Champions Online. What follows is as much of the event as could be transcribed from the audio we brought back with us. This writeup was completed based on audio with some garbled sections. Some details may be glossed over as a result. Without further ado:

Cryptic Studios is Champions Online. This is not a product that we licensed. We actually partnered with them and purchased the intellectual property. So when all the additional supplements come out for the Champions pen and paper game, they're actually coming out with our cooperation. It's kind of jointly being developed. Cryptic Studios is now the owner of the Champions IP.

The exclamation point on the ground is a Boost. One of the things that Champions is really taking advantage of is the fact that it's gonna ship simultaneously on PC and console. We're an authorized developer on the Xbox 360. The boost that you saw Shawn pick up are kind of indicative of some of the console play mechanics. The Boost functions much like a power-up in an arcade game. But in addition to the power-ups, there is a number of loot. Occasionally, one of those exclamation points will actually have a piece of loot. In CO we have a fully integrated upgrade system with items, with advantages, a lot of things that the character can fiddle with as he upgrades his character.

Another thing that anyone who's familiar with Champions knows is it's known as a role-playing game where, unlike Dungeons and Dragons and Gamma World and many of the TSR games in the day, it allowed total character customization. And that's something that unlike many MMOs in the marketplace today we are trying to achieve with CO. That comes into not only the item system that I talked about, but you will find many elements of character creation similar to Champions. In other words, more of an a la carte system than a class-based system.

This particular environment that you see here, Snake Gulch, is what we're calling an Adventure Zone. City of Heroes had Paragon City. Everything off of it was an instance. We still have a number of instances in CO, but we have Adventure Zones. The Adventure Zones and the Action Zones are not just instances, they are open-world environments where you can interact fully with other game players. The Adventure Zones are roughly 3x the size of the Action Zones. We will have 3 specific instances in the Adventure Zones, and 1 instance in each of the Action Zones.

We are in alpha, approaching beta. Ready to release a beta to the public, but right now this training ground we're playing on is not open to the public, but there are about 250 people, friends and family, who are playing now and testing some of our early content.
Q: When will the beta be out?
A: We will announce this by the end of this year. Alpha test, closed beta, pulling from forum members. If you want to get into the closed beta, the best way is to sign up to the forums and be a positive contributor.

Q: How will you deal with lag?
A: (With regard to targeting and dealing with lag) Targeting is all calculated. It is dice rolling, it's not a locked targeting system. We still adhere to the pure dice rolling of the traditional MMO.

Groups and guilds will be supported. You can form a team with your friends up to 5 players. The whole game is soloable. Or you can form what we are tentatively calling a super-team of up to 20 heroes. There are two other sizes, and there is specific content being planned around those two sizes. Expansions are already being planned.

This character has powers from 4 different frameworks. The power colors are customizable.