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Massively interviews Bill Roper on Champions Online's Revelation update

Kyle Horner

Recently we had the chance to speak with Champions Online's executive producer Bill Roper about the forthcoming Revelation update. More specifically, we asked him about the new zone Vibora Bay, its quest structure and Cryptic's plans moving beyond the Revelation update, as well. Of course, we couldn't discuss this first major content update without asking about the decision to make it free... but you'll just have to check out our interview after the break for that part.

Massively: Is this going to be the new model moving forward for Cryptic Studios or is Revelation more of a test run?

Bill Roper: In terms of creating new content for our players to drive their heroes through, this is the model we want to be following. The goal with creating a new zone with new enemies to fight was to expand the overall experience and breadth of Champions Online. We focused on creating an alternate experience path (levels 37 – 40) and more top-end content (a repeatable end-game Lair) as well as introducing five new enemy groups. There are six new Tier 4 Meta-Powers that are themed across multiple power sets and are amongst the most powerful in the game. And of course new costumes, new perks, new places to explore, new types of missions, and more.

In terms of this being a new model for us moving forward, I don't think we'll be generating a single huge area like this again in the short term. Feedback from our players is that they want much more frequent content updates. And that's just really difficult if we're devoting so much time and resources into something the size of Revelation. Our focus in the near term will be on more focused adventure packs that can be played by heroes at nearly any level. We want to be putting out new stories and experiences that as many players can experience and that also provide alternate ways to grow your hero no matter where you are in his career.

What's the tone of Revelation thematically?

Champions Online - Revelation is set in the town of Vibora Bay. It is a city with deep roots in mysticism and a strong undercurrent of voodoo and the occult. The setting is dark and mysterious, with distinct international sights and sounds. Heroes start by facing their greatest crisis yet – the apocalypse. They will need to work with the heroes that protect Vibora Bay, The Champions, and also the greatest forces of magic on the planet to battle against the half-angel / half-demon Therakiel who is set upon the destruction of the world.

How big is Vibora Bay in both physical size and content heft?

Vibora Bay is about half the size of Millennium City, but we have much more instanced interiors than any other zone, so it plays larger than that. In terms of content, it weighs in at about 20 hours, plus our largest and most challenging Lair to date in Therakiel's Temple.

What sets Vibora Bay apart from the rest of Champions Online's zones?

It has such a different look and feel, for one. It also makes use of far more interiors than our other areas in the world, and even has an underground network of crypts to explore. Vibora Bay also has some of our best mission work in the game, has some great story twists, and is very compelling to play through.

What's the general structure of Revelation's quests? Is it a directed experience or more free-form?

It is a directed experience in most ways, but we do have some areas that heroes can simply roam through. The storyline is epic, and the scope of what heroes accomplish is awesome. We have some missions that unlike anything else we've done in Champions Online, including elements of investigation and emotional impact. We've had people in the office that, while playing through the zone for the first time, came by to specifically comment on how blown-away they were with the overall look, feel, and story.

Why the choice to make Revelation a free content upgrade?

While Revelation easily has the quantity and quality of content that you'd see in a paid downloadable content set from many other games, we really wanted to give this to our players. We know that they have been asking for alternate ways to level their heroes, and have expressed the desire for more end-game and group content. By providing a mega adventure pack to them, we hope it shows our dedication to both Champions Online and our players. We're genuinely excited that after months of work, we're going to be able to get this into their hands. It's been great to work on and we hope that our heroes have as much playing it as we have.

Thanks for your time!

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