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An interview with Champions' new Executive Producer, Shannon Posniewski

Kyle Horner

With Champions Online getting a brand new Executive Producer, you knew we had to sit down and conduct an interview. Shannon "Poz" Posniewski was gracious enough to give us some of his time, which is most certainly something he's got very little of now that he's in charge of a superhero MMO.

We discussed what exactly Poz's role as Executive Producer is, as well as what the change means for Champions Online players. Most importantly, we asked which aspects of the game needed the most love going forward.

Find all his answers below the cut.

Massively: "Executive Producer" is a title that comes with some ambiguousness. What role do you play in the continuation of Champions Online support?

Shannon Posniewski: As Executive Producer of Champs, I'm responsible for the overall health and care of the Champions Online game, including the happiness of our players. This means that I set the vision and direction of the game, schedule out updates and new features, and act as cheerleader both internally and externally.

Of course, I do all this with the support of the great Champs team. It helps a lot, though, to have a single person who make decisions final and the follows up and makes sure things get done. That's where I fit in.

How will the change from Bill Roper to yourself as Executive Producer affect Champions Online and ultimately, a player's experience?

Champions Online is moving towards an approximately monthly update schedule. Every other month, we plan to release a free "Adventure Pack", which is a complete story several hours long. These adventures will be playable by all characters above a (pretty low) level. On the off months, we'll release an update which may update powers, fix quality of life issues, and sometimes improve systems.

Since the beginning of this year, we've really turned our focus to our community. We are bringing them into the game, seeing what they want, and trying to make their experience more fun.

What areas of Champions Online do you feel needs the most attention going forward?

Significant improvements to some power frameworks are on the way. Champions Online is based on the pen and paper game Champions, which lets players mix and match abilities in nearly any way they wish. We give this same kind of flexibility in Champions Online, which can be pretty difficult to keep balanced or make work as expected. So, we'll be revamping a few of the power frameworks (Supernatural and Melee quite soon) and modifying others to fill in gaps and fix shortcomings.

There are places in the game which are a little thin on content. We'll be addressing a bit of that very soon and in the Adventure Packs we'll be filling it out across nearly all levels.

"I believe that the bedrock of games like Champions Online is the social interaction between fellow heroes, so I'll be looking to improve that side of things."

Our players have told us that they think that teaming isn't rewarded enough in Champions Online. We are finding that people aren't bothering to team and thus the game feels less social than it could. I believe that the bedrock of games like Champions Online is the social interaction between fellow heroes, so I'll be looking to improve that side of things.

All these priorities came directly from our players. We're listening to what they don't like or are having problems with and are actively trying to address it.

The community is still wondering about features such as player housing, supergroup bases and vehicles as travel powers. Are any of these features high priority?

In the immediate future, we're focusing on expanding content and the other items I described above. We've been exploring housing, bases, and vehicles, but they aren't at the very top of our list.

How do you see Champions Online's relationship with microtransactions as content beyond the Revelation update is released?

All of our monthly updates will be free. We will continue to release costume sets (and sometimes other goodies) as microtransactions.

If you could change anything about Champions Online past or present, what would it be?

Well any game developer would be crazy if they didn't say that they wished for double the development time. (And if they got that time, they'd wish for double that time!) Creating a game like Champions Online is a never-ending process. Inventing a world, writing stories, and adding features could be go on forever and you'd still feel like you've left something out. So, deciding when you're "done" is very difficult. Maybe you haven't gotten to features you think are awesome, or there's a particular story you want to tell, and you didn't have time to tell it.

But eventually you have to launch and leave some of these things behind. Luckily, Launch Day is just the start for an online game. Once it's live, we can see what resonates with its inhabitants (you!) and expand on what they (you!) like. We will continue to expand our world through story, make new systems to make it deeper, and invent new superpowers and abilities.

Thanks for you time, Shannon.

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