An adaptation of the Tabletop GameChampions, Champions Online is a 2009 Super HeroMMORPG offering a wide variety of power and costume customisation options. While the storylines and environments are usually an Homage to a Silver Age style, light-hearted and brightly-coloured, occasional Bronze Age consequences and morals are hinted at. Player characters display a range of styles, from The Cape through The Cowl to the Nineties Anti-Hero.Various departures from the Pen & Paper game are noticeable, including the absence of the concept of acquiring character flaws in order to gain extra points. However, there is a lot more power growth compared to the Pen and Paper experience.The intellectual property rights to the Champions setting are now held by Cryptic Studios (themselves recently picked up by Perfect World Enterprises), the original developers of the MMORPGCity of Heroes. They bought the setting outright rather than licensing it. The IP is licensed back to the original developers (who still own the underlying Hero System) for the Champions pen-and-paper game.As a Superhero MMO with a sense of humour about itself, there are numerous references to other works. It features just about everything on the list of comic book tropes. True to the spirit of the setting, Required Secondary Powers are not addressed directly in-game.As of January 2011 it is free to play, downloadable from its website; later in June it came to Steam along with a few other such games. Another fairly notable update came in the form of "On Alert" in April of 2012, which changed the logo, made more content available to everybody (and with it added more premium content) and added the titular alert system. The alert system is effectively a new type of mission, and one of several ways to gain the resource questionite, which can be used directly to buy some things, or traded player-to-player in an stock exchange type system for the cash store's currency, at this point Perfect World's ZEN.(In addition, several missions and bosses which were already present were edited to reward questionite—including the adventure packs, which as of that update became free for all.) In late 2012, vehicles were introduced, becoming a customizable feature in December with the Reloaded update.
This adaptation of the Champions Universe provides examples of the following tropes:
Ascended Meme - The beacons in the tutorial. You have to shut them down because they are driving the Qularr crazy. Defender explains this over and over again in his hammy speech style, while you do the work. Hilarity ensued amongst the player community. About a year and a half later, the Resistance adventure pack was introduced, in which you travel to the Mirror Universe of Multifaria. Your first mission there is to activate four beacons to drive the Karkaradons crazy. And there is also a single Qularr beacon in that room. Activating it gives you the "Beaconizer" perk with the message; "The Qularr are already crazy!"
Allegedly Free Game / Bribing Your Way to Victory - Zig-zags a bit - You can now play the entire game, including adventure packs, for free! However you can only do so using one of 10 pre-defined Archetypes (i.e., classes), which just by virtue of being rigidly defined will never be close to the power of a high-end freeform build (free-form builds also get to pick more powers over the same number of levels and get access to Tier 4 powers). For a while, there was a daily quest where you could win a freeform character slot, even as a Silver player, for nothing more than a short investment of time! It's over now, though; the only way to get a freeform slot for Silver is to buy the item from the C-store. But you can earn questionite, which you can trade in the auction house for Zen! But there are other uses for questionite, too, and the exchange rate is dismal. On the other hand, most of your usual consumables that are practically required in other F2P games aren't really necessary in CO, and the death penalty is so light that you don't need to buy health restoration items, self-rezzes or 'star refills' (death penalty eliminators)! (For that matter, you can use in-game currency to buy back stars, though not on the fly!) But you can get an edge in crafting by buying "rank up catalysts" for exorbitant amounts. So, to sum up: you can play the entire game to the level cap for free without spending a dime (averting the trope); but to do anything beyond those basic archetypes and a (relative to the paid version) tame selection of costume pieces, you're going to need to pony up (playing it straight) or spend a lot of time grinding.
Alien Invasion - Quite a few, from the tutorial onwards. One of the loading screens helpfully points out that some alien races have made contact peacefully.
Alternate Company Equivalent - By the truckload. The Champions Universe used to be described as "Silver Age Marvel with the numbers filed off", adding "Not that it's a bad thing". Specific examples include:
VIPER is Hydra. It also resembles Cobra, but predates it. Champions, in 1981, included VIPER from the start. A year later GI Joe's newest version introduced Cobra. However, in more recent years they seem to have been taking on more and more aspects of Cobra (not least with the Supreme Serpent).
Foxbat is often compared to Deadpool for his 4th wall breaking humor and loveable/laughably not-quite-evil-more-like-crazy personality, but lacks his Healing Factor, fighting skills and sociopathy and does not look one bit like him. Alternatively, due to his costumes and abilities, he was seen as an "evil" (closer to naughty) Adam West Batman.
The Invincible = IronMan. (Ironically, as a tank archetype, the Invicible generates less energy than other roles.)
The Night Avenger is specifically based off of the character Nighthawk, who is in turn Batman, although the character suggestions and powers (a vigilante/eccentric billionaire/vengeful orphan who prowls the night with gadgets) make it obvious that they're trying to make it Batman, as do the selection of jets that are CO's first available vehicles.
There are also a number of Champions characters strongly resembling non-Marvel characters:
Kinetik is Flash, freak lab-accident and lightning-themed costume and all. He is also similar to Synapse form City of Heroes, but Synapse is more closer to Miles Teg of Dune, since his powers developed as a result of torture.
Background-wise, Doctor Ka is pretty much Doctor Fate. For the costume, Shadow Destroyer looks like an Evil Twin of Doctor Fate.
Nighthawk shares a name with Marvel's Nighthawk, but was essentially Batman before appearing in-game. He gets an entire update themed around him, which in some ways does separate him, but in some cases extends the similarities with Batman, especially Year One.
Bluejay shares some character and background traits with Catwoman: She was betrayed by her former boss and became a super-thief, but is even less evil than Foxbat and willing to team up with the player to fight a more serious threat.
Kinda subverted with Psimon, who has the same name and similar powers as a DC villain, but his appearance and background are notably different. The fact that there is no copyright on the name Psimon certainly helped.
Overbrain, a Brain in a Jar, and his mutant gorilla partner Ape Plus are obviously a homage to the DC villains The Brain and Mallah.
An Adventurer Is You - Not nearly as strict as in other MMORPGs, but technically, every power set or archtype is made for a certain playing style and/or role on a team:
The Tank - The Behemoth archetype and the "Brick" sets (Might and Heavy Weapons) are mostly made for this. The Darkness set with its life draining block and the Bestial set with its passive defense Regeneration allow them to become 'Reg Tanks', healing faster than enemies can damage them (doesn't always work, though, especially not in PvP). The Master archetype and the Martial Arts sets, especially Unarmed, have the passive power Lightning Reflexes, which can make them 'Dodge Tanks'. And asside from absorbing large amounts of damage, they all can dish out a lot too. The Mountain is something of a Stone Wall, with the ability to reduce the damage output of its enemies.
The Healer - The Mind archetype/Telepathy set has healing powers, but he can't stand up to a Celestial: all of their powers can heal allies and deal damage to enemies at the same time! The Radiant free archetype (added in much later updates than the other free archetypes), uses mainly Celestial powers, becoming the only viable healer for Silver characters.
The Support Drones power from the Gadgeteering set allows you to summon two personal healing pets and many experienced Freeform players will include it in their build. But while they are pretty good at continuously healing their owner, they are rather unreliable when it comes to healing others. When an ally is near death and their owner has only so much as a scratch, guess who the drones will heal first.
The DPSer/The Nuker - About any character with any power set can be this, but those with ranged energy builders and many ranged attacks are notably better in this field, actually capable of dealing continuous streams of damage while not taking any themselves. The Inferno (Fire set), the Tempest (Electricity set) and the Disciple (melee Telekinesis) are predestined to play this role, being downright Glass Cannons. The Scourge (Infernal Supernatural set) however, avoids being outright Glass thanks to Constitution being one of its super stats, while still being able to dish out a deadly amount of damage.
The Buffer/Debuffer - Any branch of the Sorcery set can specialize in buffing and debuffing at the same time. Ironically, the Sorcery archetype, the Grimoire, is more of a Nuker/Mezzer.
The Mezzer - If a set has a power that renders the target helpless, it also has powers to exploit the situation by dealing massive damage. The best in this field are Electricity/The Tempest with Paralyze, Force/The Impulse with Hold and constant Knocks, Ice/The Glacier with Ice Cage, Telepathy/The Mind with Sleep and Sorcery/The Grimoire with Root. The Gadgeteer's Entangling Mesh and Tanglecoil Launcher and Dual Blader's stunning Dragon's Wrath are worth mentioning too.
Unfortunately, bosses are generally immune to any kind of hold, stun, or knock, making these Useless Useful Spells against them.
Though through the magic of specialization trees you can inflict a debuff to resistance on anything you try to control, succeed or fail. Take three such specializations and you can keep a pretty consistant -30% resistance on a boss by spamming otherwise ineffectual control moves. Great for maximizing team DPS in those timed alerts.
The Petmaster - The Inventor. His Attack Toys can even summon more of them on their own! Freeform Gadgeteers and Sorcerers can be build this way too and it's not uncommon for a Freeform Petmaster to have pets from both power sets.
The Jack - The Specialist was intended to be this, but fails terribly, ending up as more of a Spoony Bard. The Unleashed, however, does a much better job at this. And Freefoms, of course, which require the player to chose their powers and stats focus carefully to make the most of their potential. Indeed, with free-form, you can combine some of the basics of a DPS build with a mix of heals and defense buffs, or even use unorthodox methods such as Aura of Primal Majesty + Strength + Enrage, and you get a flat out Lightning Bruiser.
The Trapper - Mostly averted. Sorcerers can summon sigils and circles with a wide range of effects and Gadgeteers can lay mines and use their Munition Bots in stationary gun turret mode, but they can hardly specialize in this field alone.
And Your Reward Is Clothes - Costume unlocks (account-wide now, for all costumes) are one of the main draws of the game. You can also get little 'action figures' (think ''WorldOfWarcraft'''s vanity pets) to follow you around (account wide).
Animal Motifs - Many, players and NPCs alike. And, of course, VIPER.
Arch-Enemy - The nemesis system allows heroes to create a recurring enemy whose schemes they can foil again and again. However, with the current system this nemesis can suffer from Villain Decay, not growing significantly in power as the player does and merely sending occasional Mooks to annoy the player before having yet another plot foiled.
It's also worth noting that each character on an account can have eighteen separate Nemeses with only one active at any given time, meaning that each hero can have a fully fleshed out Rogues Gallery of their own to prolong villain decay, if only because the player isn't necessarily beating the exact same villain over and over again in rapid succession.
A Wizard Did It / Ghostapo - The very reason why superpowers exist in the Champions Universe: Durring WW 2, Nazi mysticans tried to summon demons to help them win the war. But the ritual failed and caused reality-altering magical energy to leak into this dimension. This event is remembered as The Return of Magic. Not only can magic be controlled by gifted humans, it can also cause a human to survive exposure to usually lethal materials, energies and radiation, granting them related or sometimes unrelated powers. But since uncontrolled magic is unpredictable, it won't always save you, or may even transform you into an insane monstrosity in the process. This is not explained in detail in the MMORPG, but in the Pen&Paper RPG's lore instead.
Uncontrolled magic is also the source of totally random supernatural incidents, such as the dead rising or extradimensional creatures (demons) entering this world through dimensional rifts. This is often caused by the mere presence of a powerful magical beeing, as they tend to unconsciously draw energy to them.
Therakiel actually does it consciously. He is making Vibora Bay a Mecca for magic users and supernatural creatures, causing the energy level in the area to rise continously in preparation for the apocalyptic final battle between heaven and hell.
Awesome but Impractical - Vehicles. They can potentially deal more damage than a character, but are rather squishy and far less versatile; requiring special "gear" and weapons, for which they have fewer slots than characters. They also have trouble dealing constant damage, due to their weapon's slow charge and reload mechanics.
To be fair, they are good for moving long distances quickly.
Badass Normal - Depending on the player's vision for the character; other examples may include many of the security, police, and military service members seen throughout the game.
Also, a few civilain NPCs and contacts actually attack enemies that come close to them, usually by throwing bottles at them, which do a surprising amount of damage.
In the Resistance adventure pack, members of the eponymous organization will take on prison security (including destroids and even superhumans) with improvised weapons made from coffee makers, duct tape, road cones, and pens.
In many cases, as a player, you're far better off with a badass normal helping you than one of the Champions, who either get in the way, stay totally out of the way, keep telling you to wait for them to catch up, spend their time sending private messages to other champions, accuse you of hogging all the kills, or lie half dead on the floor. The one thing they don't actually do a lot of is help you. On the other hand, with non-superpowered schoolgirl Taffy Winters as your sidekick, all you need to do if you are so inclined is stand and watch her own every enemy in sight.
Bad Guy Bar - Leo's Bar, in Millennium City. You can enter in disguise and quietly speak to your contacts, or simply pick up the pool table and beat up the patrons with it.
And the Dog Pound in Vibora Bay. It's a werewolf bar.
BFS - The Heavy Weapons powerset includes a couple of them. They're not quite as huge as some of the more ridiculous BFSes, but they're still pretty weighty.
Big Bad - Dr. Destroyer is behind quite a lot of things, or at least making them worse. Later on, however, it's revealed that the "Destroyer" who's making the world panic at the thought of his return is actually Shadow Destroyer, a sorcerer from the local Mirror Universe... and then, as part of that storyline, you end up freeing the real Destroyer.
In Vibora Bay and the Vibora Bay Crisis; Therakiel, a half-angel half-demon who's decided to start the End of the World as We Know It and rule the ashes left over after the Legionsof Hell face off against the forces of Heaven.
They occasionally appear as part of the scenery in science-themed areas.
A Brain in a Jar is amongst the five objects in jars found in Westside, Millenium City. Finding them all unlocks the "Jar Collector" perk.
The relatively weak but overambitious supervillain Overbrain is a brain in a floating glass sphere.
The mad geneticist Teleios uses oversized brains under glass domes mounted to floating machines as both combat drones and Wetware CPUs. Oh, and they are, like most of his Mooks, cloned from his own "perfect" DNA. One of them eventually becomes self aware and switches sides, becoming the contact for the final part of the Brain Trust mission arc, which ends with you saving this good brain in a jar from Overbrain, an evil brain in a jar. And finally, there is the final boss in Teleios Tower; an exceptionally large brain in a jar, named 'Perfection of the Mind'. It should be noted that Overbrain as well as Teleios' Cloned Brains attack with electricity instead of stereotypical Psychic Powers. But then, real brains don't have nebulous "psychic powers"; they use, among other things, electrical impulses.
The Retro Sci-Fi costume set adds a glass bubble helmet and a special head option that allows your character to BE a brain in a jar!
Foxbat thinks he's in a comic book, TV show or Video Game. When saved in the tutorial he asks the player to talk to the GM about changing his spawn point, while one of the loading screens rambles on about how Foxbat is the 'best supervillain ever', with a bit at the end about how he's smart enough that he could hack into an online game's database and change around the profile information... "Not that he would ever do so, of course."
Canada, Eh? - "It is a remote and lonely place, this frigid, frozen Canadian North." - Justiciar
The real examples of this trope are the Hunter Patriots, an equally stereotyptical and incompetent group of Anti-British terrorists. Their plans to take over Canada involve such things as bomb-laden Zambonis, questionite curling stone cannons, radioactive Loonie Coins, nanite-infused Poutine gravy and a maple-powered Death Ray.
The Cape - Many player characters. Enemy NPCs will often refer to your character as a "Cape", even if that character isn't really an example.
Ironically, villians, especialy most of the really high-ranking VIPER officers, tend to wear capes more frequently than heroes in the Champions universe.
Cardboard Prison - Both the main city prison and the super-prison Stronghold have 24-hour breakouts.
Citizen Harmon's "reeducation facility" turns out not to be the safest either. With a little help from the player, a simple riot eventually results in the breakout of the strongest imprisoned metahumans and even Doctor Destroyer himself.
Cherry Tapping - Enforced. When your strong attacks exhaust your energy bar (which will happen quickly), you are forced to rely on your Boring but Practical "energy builder" attack to replenish it. Pick an energy builder you like, because you're going to be seeing it a whole lot.
It is actually possible to avert this, for the most part. Freeform builds with energy unlock abilities and the right super stats rarely need to use their energy builder. Still, activating it will only hurt the target.
A special mention goes to Radiance, the Celestial energy builder. It doubles as a heal without energy costs when used on friendly targets, and even generate energy while healing them.
Church of Happyology - Mind Inc. is a self-help organisation which tests every new member with an electronic reader. This is so that they can pick up on any latent Psychic Powers to exploit. Them being actually just a front for the psychic villain organization PSI, which is planning to Take Over the World certainly doesn't make it better.
City of Adventure - Millennium City. Seriously, you can just be standing around doing nothing and a civilian will run up with a mission for you.
Controllable Helplessness - At the end of Aftershock, you and up to four friends get to briefly play as a King of Edom as they curb-stomp Defender and Witchcraft, though if there's only one or two of you it's more of a fair fight. Don't worry, they get better.
There are other Kings beyond those in the Cannibal Hall. All are trapped and imprisoned now, but those prisons are older then our world, and they creak and groan. Five-eyed Vulshoth lies chained within the Black Maze, and Those Who Dwell in Bleakness are chained within the Shining Darkness of a dying cosmos. Ptharr is buried at the heart of another world, and Diezzhorath is spread too thinly to act. There are others, but all share the same goal: To escape! They will claim to be demons, they will claim to be gods, but they are neither. They will promise power and anything that is desired, but all they grant is a slavery more horrible then can be imagined. For they cannot be bound by word or spell, and ignore the laws of magic and nature. They care only for their freedom and their hungers, and should they escape they will drag our world down their maw, where all that is will be devoured.
Death Is a Slap on the Wrist - The loss of one of five 'stars', which can, at 5 stars, give about a 15% boost to healing and damage, in total.
Death Ray - The fitting name of an advantage (i.e. upgrade) for the 'Experimental Blaster' power, giving it a 1% chance to one-shot enemies not labeled 'supervillain', 'legendary' or 'cosmic' (i.e. bosses). It can affect even other players in PvP.
Nemesis mission arcs always end with your arch-enemy building a Doomsday Device called a Death Ray - and you having to trash it.
Demonic Possession - Happens to a group of UNTIL troopers at the start of the Aftershock mission pack. Happens to you at the end, in a much bigger way.
What's more, players will often 'farm' these chairs to trigger Nemesis minion attacks, which happen anytime you're in combat (but don't differentiate between actual combat and attacks on destructible objects).
Difficulty Spike - When soloing, it's not uncommon to mop the floor with minions (such that you'll begin to wonder if you've found some sort of exploit) only to have the final boss ignore your most powerful attacks like they were made of butterflies and smiles and proceed to one-shot you at will.
Sometimes, the spike will be delayed until roughly halfway through the fight with the aforementioned boss, at which point, they will declare I Am Not Left-Handed or go One-Winged Angel and proceed to hand you your rear in two pieces (one on a silver platter, one in a doggie bag for you to take home).
Due to a design flaw that is still waiting to be fixed, the tutorial boss Black Talon has become a subject to this a while ago. His initial AI, which had him fight with an easily predictable pattern, has been overwritten with the Alert Black Talon's AI, making him a serious boss and allowing him to wipe the floor with unexpecting newbies via rapid spamming of powerful attack.
The game not telling new players how to block until Black Talon attacks them certainly doesn't help!
Dirty Communists - Red Winter was formerly the Soviet Union's official super team. Now they are mercs, selling their superpowered service to various villains, especially the players' Nemeses.
The Mandragalore; an ancient Lemurian Magitech cannon the size of a skyscraper, capable of sinking entire continents into the ocean.
The Ultra Coruscator. Never seen, but is said to come close to the Mandragalore.
Your Nemeses' recurring Death Rays. See 'Death Ray' above.
The Nemesis mission in which you catch your Nemesis and send them to jail for the first time is explicitly called "Doomsday device!" The actual device you catch them with couldn't even blow up your Nemesis, never mind the world.
The player is also turned into an Avatar of the Kings of Edom at the end of Aftershock, and gets to beat up the Champions!
Emote Animation - NPCs have some that are unavailable for player chars though.
Episodic Game - The Aftershock Comic Series, which released one installment each week over the month of June, is free to play for all, as is the Whiteout comic series, which debuted in winter of 2011.
Escort Mission - Ranging from tagging along while a robot dinosaur rips the enemy to shreds to desperately trying to distract gang members away from the fragile little policeman.
A special mention goes to Foxbat, who you can drag through Destroyer's Robot Factory as a bonus mission. An incredibly tedious one, that is! Foxbat is a highly squishy Leeroy, and usually needs at least one healer constantly watching over him to even have a chance of surviving.
Kinda subverted with the Zilla-expy Teleiosaurus. She is a Bonus Boss, and one of the toughest in the game. Her Atomic Breath attack is the single most powerful attack in the game, strong enogh to one-hit level 40 characters and hitting an area big enough to possibly kill a dozen of them at once! Oh, and she heals herself with every kill, so summoned pets are like pickup heals for her. Good luck. You'll need it.
The 'Teleosaurus Pheromones' device summons two Teleioraptors as pets. For a long time, it was possible to equip five of those items, resulting in ten automatically respawning dinosaurs. This was every bit as overpowered as it sounds, and fortunately one of the issues that actually got fixed recently. Only one device of the same kind can be used at a time now.
Everything's Better with Monkeys - Dr Silverback, genius scientist, celebrity, superhero contact...and Gorilla. Not to mention Qwyjibo, a forty foot gorilla with flaming head and forearms, who tragically used to be a brave and self-sacrificing warrior for the heroic side of the Manimals.
At least in his current incarnation. In his first incarnation in the Pen&Paper RPG, Qwyjibo was just another Kaiju the Qularr had set loose during their first invasion.
Evil Is Not a Toy - In one of the Nemesis missions, your Nemesis releases Ghost Veil and attempts to bargain with her. Needless to say, it doesn't work.
Evil Plan - Valerian Scarlet, herald of Therakiel, tricks you into bringing her the items she needs to start the Apocalypse, beating up the one person who might have been able to stop it and puts her in a position to steal his Flame Gem. Nice Job Breaking It, Hero indeed!
There's also Shadow Destroyer's gambit, which has allowed Therakiel to get this close to starting the Apocalypse...with the goal to intercept him at the last minute and claim rulership over this entire dimension...or at least the smoldering ruins thereof. Eep.
Experience Points - The majority of which are awarded for quest completion, with relatively piddling rewards for fighting minions.
Now Alert grinding allows one to reach the level cap and buy the best gear there is without leaving Renaissance Center, let alone ever doing a single mission.
Enemy Mine - Doctor Destroyer (the original one) in Resistence
Very briefly Ripper and some VIPER soldiers in Aftershock, if you want to.
Fake Difficulty - A rather ridiculous case: All NPCs, even civilians and mooks which are supposed to utterly lack superpowers, were given the Super Jump travel power, so players can't escape a battle by knocking them over the edge of a building or taking refuge on higher ground. Fortunately, Cryptic realized that this was not a good idea and removed the Super Jump shortly after. (Wolves (and a few other enemies) still do that; in their case, it's a jump attack, not a travel power.)
Unfortunately, Cryptic is infamous for not fixing bugs and design flaws. When it's done intentionally, to create "challenges", the result is Fake Difficulty at its worst:
Rakshasa has a power that summons a Mind Worm for every character (including pets) on the heroes' side - and also causes them to lose their target lock on him, for some inexplicable reason. It was handwaved.
Ao'Qephoth is nearly invincible due to his ridiculous regenerative abilities. These are the result of a passive power that heals 1.8% of the user's maximum HP per tick. Not much for player characters or regular bosses, but Alert bosses have over two million HP!
Luther Black, the final boss of Demonflame, summons mooks and places a buff on them that makes them gradually stronger and bigger. The problem is; this buff has no upper limit. If the buffed mook is not defeated quickly, he will grow into a game-breaking combination of Invincible Minor Minion and Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever! On top of that, the resulting lag is most likely to crash the game sooner or later! While Cryptic has not shown any intent of turning this bug into a "feature", just as little intent was shown to fix it anytime soon.
Sometimes UI lag will cause your character to stubbornly (and generally fatally) continue attacking with their energy builder despite the block button being firmly depressed.
The Sixth Ranger Traitor - Black Mask. Even in Multifaria, all Black Masks were heroes. All except him.
It's hard to tell which role Oubliette plays. She is a female version of Kinetik and apparantly mute. Might be something in between a Brute and a Dark Chick.
Some people see her as a Woobie who is forced to fight for Citizen Harmon after he killed her parents, erased her memories and gave her superpowers through cruel experiments. However, the fact that she gets beaten up over and over by players (in hope of her dropping the rare Dark Speed travel power device) alone makes her quallify as a Butt Monkey.
Partially because of how many there are, it's a rather common thing among supergroups.
Furry Fandom - Wolf-heads are popular, and there are a variety of animal heads, skins, and tails for different creatures. Not to mention Monster Island where you have Manimals both good and evil. The amount of beast-like options within the character customisation is massive, although the customisation options aren't exactly small. Strangely, there is still no bull head to allow minotaurs, despite it being one of the oldest requests for a costume part on the forums. Perhaps they want to avoid drawing comparisons to the bigdog?
From Bad to Worse - Vibora Bay Crisis: It starts with you helping to cause the Apocalypse. Yes, the "end of the world as we know it", "final battle between Heaven and Hell" Apocalypse... And by the time it's over: all of the Champions are dead, Amphibian has been mutated into a bizarre homicidal fish-creature, and it's revealed that Shadow Destroyer helped engineer the whole thing to screw Therakiel out of his Evil Plan. Yikes!
Lampshaded, like so much else, with a mission to literally collect hats (well, bandanas, actually) from each of these local gangs.
The gangs of Vibora Bay are like this too, with a Post-Apunkalyptic Werewolf gang (Dogz), a Vampire gang (New Shadows), a Voodoo gang (Sovereign Sons) and a dark magic using, demon worshipping gang (Trey Kings). The "Queen City" missions also introduced the Gemini Gang which is entirely made up of duplicates of the same man.
Genius Bruiser - It is entirely possible to make your Nemesis this by giving him/her any physical powersets (especially any of the Brick powersets), a tough/bulky looking appearance and the Mastermind personality.
Getting Crap Past the Radar - One truly amazing example is Lapis Lazuli, Sapphire's Evil Twin. She has only a handfull of spoken lines... of which two contain the word "pissed", which usually gets filtered. This game manages to get crap past its own radar!
Another less surprising example are player characters whose skin and costume are intentionally given the same color. This can lead to stripperific costumes at best, or the player of a too stripperific or fully-"nude" char getting banned at worst.
Then there's Gravitar - A scantily-clad french woman with gravity powers who sometimes straight up curses in mid-fight (albeit in text only):
Bitch, I just broke a nail!
Ghost Town - Not one but two of them on the Southwest Desert map: Burnside and the remains of an unnamed town on the eastern slopes of Atomic Wastelands.
Global Currency Exception - In addition to Resources, players can earn Snakebucks (for the Snake Gulch amusement park), Acclaim (gained in PvP, used to buy items and rewards), UNITY and Nemesis Tokens (gained by completing UNITY and Nemesis missions, respectively, used for very high level, exorbitantly priced rewards), Recognition (randomly dropped by monsters of an appropriate level), Drifter Salvage (from Lockboxes), Questionite ore...there's a lot of alternate currencies, is what we're saying.
Harmless Villain - Foxbat, most of the time. His Fanboys and Foxbattle Bots are way fiercer than he is ("Foxbat says we're not to hurt you, but when the Fox is away, the Foxbattlebots will play!") and his actions are more public nuisance than super-crime. And Bluejay, who has absolutely no intention of harming people, but unfortunately happens to be terribly accident prone. And Lynx, who only works for Overbrain to pay her debts and quits the fight once you get her down to 1/3 HP. But despite them all lacking evil intentions, they can still be challenging opponents in battle.
The Heroes Who Don't Do Anything - You have beaten up cultists and found a valuable amulet? Return it to the leader of the premier super team of the city and he'll... tell you to go off and stop someone else. Defender also has a habit of strolling in just after you've defeated a supervillain building a Doomsday Device.
To be fair, they sometimes show up to help in the endgame UNITY missions.
Also show up in force to help take down the Kings of Edom in Aftershock. Given that both them and the enemies in this sequence are several magnitudes more powerful than you, they are legitimately helpful here.
Homing Boulders - Inevitable, as nearly all ranged attacks are homing, although at least you can block between the throw and the impact.
Hulk Speak - Hulk-expy Grond, many of the evil Manimals, and the Irradiates speak like this. The latter even lampshade it in-game: "Grrr... Why radioactive mutants talk with poor syntax?"
100% Heroism Rating - Civilians will approach and mention your exploits. Sadly, this means thanking you for finishing the tutorial until the very end of your days. Over. And over. Again. Still, how would you react if you met someone who saved the world?
Sharks eat anything. Now, when a school of pirahna drop a large intact item of any sort...
In Name Only - The game mechanics are almost, but not quite, entirely unlike the original PNP game, having a fraction of its versitility and content. Only the NPCs are directly from the Champions tabletop RPG.
Interface Screw - Some instances add a creepy border around your field of vision or other effect. Suitably atmospheric.
A more unintentional, but very annoying, interface screw comes from a combination of choosing the flight power and fighting any enemy that has knockback. You quickly get knocked to the ceiling if there is one, and then you can't see any enemies, so you have no idea where they all are until you either go back down or adjust your camera angle.
Invincible Minor Minion - The Qularr Assault Ships in the tutorial. They can attack, but do it aimlessly and are no real threat.
Invulnerable Civilians - Usually played straight but very occasionally averted (sometimes by mistake - Hotdog Vendors seem to be at considerable risk.)
Antagonistic NPCs can hurt civilians, but usually only do it as part of an Escort Mission...or if certain civilians attacked them first!
Light Is Not Good - The local Knight of Cerebus, Therakiel and his Nephilim minions, are certainly a bit uglier then typical examples of this trope... but otherwise fit completely, with Therakiel calling himself "The Bright" and all of them using light-based powers.
Similarly, you can give your nemesis the Celestial powerset, which uses a lot of light based attacks.
Mana Drain - Tasers and Neutralizer Gas grenades, merrily abused by ARGENT and Security Guards.
Meaningful Name - The comic series Aftershock deals with the aftermath of both the Serpent Lantern and Demonflame adventure packs.
Meat Moss - All over the floor in Aftershock #4's second nightmare sequence.
Mirror Universe - The Multifarian Earth, with everyone who's villainous in our world being heroes, and everyone who's heroic in our world being villains. Its version of Destroyer (a.k.a. Shadow Destroyer) is the equivalent of the evil villain that destroyed Detroit, but in this world he took it over instead, and he relies more on arcane sorcery than his power armor. Oh, and underneath that costume is James Harmon IV, who is Defender in the Champions' Earth! However, Dr. Destroyer is a subversion, for he is the one and SAME Destroyer from the Champion's Earth, instead engaging in an Enemy Mine with the player.
Money Sink - Costume changes, extra bank or equipment slots and a variety of consumable devices...and, of course, the retcon system.
Mooks - Supervillains need them, therefore most supervillains have them. Mooks are the majority of enemies in this game, reaching from ordinary street thugs over terrorist, mercs and evil cultists to Mecha-Mooks, Zombies and various kinds of mutants, aliens and demons.
A special mention goes to Foxbat, whose Mooks are Fanboys attacking with foam fingers and "Foxbattle Bots" carrying spotlights, cameras and speakers.
When creating a Nemesis, you also get to chose a set of Mooks for them and a set of powers for these. Most of the Nemesis Minions are recolored versions of regular Mooks.
Most Common Superpower - The female character model in Champions Online can have the bustline tailored along with anything else. However, any attempt to create anything but a buxom female character once resulted in some ugly polygonal tearing, and pretty much every body type starts with the bust slider maxed. Since being partly fixed, there's plenty of flat-chested women running around, though some costume parts are still incompatible with anything smaller than D-cups.
My Brain Is Big - The supervillains Menton and Brain Drain have both abnormaly large, partly exposed brains and Psychic Powers. But they also subvert this trope; being actually not all that smart.
My Rules Are Not Your Rules - While it hardly makes them unfair in terms of enemy strength or general difficulty, players can only envy the NPCs for their exclusive powers—and costume pieces. However, the cases that really matter in terms of gameplay are the following:
NPCs tend to have powers that don't match their level or power set. For example: the DEMON Maleficias, dark magicans, have the Chest Beam power from the Power Armor set and the aquatic Lemurian Broodmother can shoot Fireballs.
In some cases, a power works very different depending on if a player or a NPC uses it. For example, an NPC's Lightning Arc stuns the target, Mighty Leap becomes chargable and Hurl goes as far as having even a different animation, in addition to gaining a knock back effect. The NPC version of life drain, helpfully lead into with the user yelling"Your soul will be MINE!", is a lot more powerful than the version players get; if unblocked, it can easily take out more than half of your health. ARGENT Cyborg chest beams restore their health if you don't block...the list goes on.
A number of NPC-exclusive powers, like the MP draining Neutralizer Grenade or the Empyrean Constructs' simple yet greatly envied ability to walk on the sea floor in Lemuria, are apparently "too useful" for players to have.
A blatant example is the fact that all NPCs have two basic attacks, one ranged and one melee, which the game explicitely prohibits players to have.
NPCs also get to wear a number of costume pieces - and even colors - that are not unlockable for players, and can combine them without the limitations of the player character editor.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero - The player might feel this way after releasing Dr Destroyer in Resistance. Granted, it's the lesser of two evils, but you're basically releasing a German Osama Bin Laden to fight an American Hitler.
And then there is the prologue mission arc to the Vibora Bay Apocalypse.
Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot - Rule of Cool applies: Radioactive Communist Zombies, Radioactive Sharks, Robot Sharks, Robot Pirates, Ghostly Pirates, Lizard-man Wizards, Demonic Fish-people... and that's all in one map!
Another map contains both Cowboy Robots and Cowboy Ghosts.
And yet another map contains Ninja Vampires and Two-gun rapid firing Werewolves.
On the other hand, donating to charity means your reputation isn't as good.
No OSHA Compliance - In the Lemurian Submarine area there is a glowing green radiation dump... surrounded by a number of important, unshielded contacts. A few metres away, the submarine bay doors have no safety rails.
Handwaved by one of the contacts, who mentions the radiation dump has an invisible force field over it.
Notice This - Mission items in Champions Online flash brightly. When they're not hidden in a corner that you miss.
Only Six Faces - While averted (for the most part) with the males, due to the highly versatile creator, many female faces unfortunately tend to look alike without drastic measures. Barring the inhuman ones, of course. Though this is as much a result of Beauty Is Never Tarnished as anything else, as everyone will happily make ugly males and handsome males alike but everyone wants only beautiful females.
With the facial options in the creator, you can make some rather ugly women as well. And you don't even need zombie-faces (or an Elder Worm head) for it.
Our Demons Are Different - There are Ice Demons, classic Fire Demons, Lava Demons, Water Demons, Chaos/Darkness Demons and Infernal (toxic) Demons, working for seemingly unconnected factions. Players can summon some of them via summon powers, items and devices.
To be fair, most of those demons are enslaved by either DEMON or the Crowns of Krim. Or straight up serving the Kings of Edom.
Except for when you first enter a new zone: There are the "Crisis" mission arcs you need to complete to unlock the regular version of the zones. The tutorial is actually a "Millenium City Crisis". The base you start in is pretty much in shambles until you manage to defeat the first main boss of the respective area. Once you do this, the most pressing of the locals' problems have been dealt with, the base is repaired, and the rest of the area opens up.
Status Quo gets an enormous lampshade in the Vibora Bay television studio mission. In the washroom, an NPC called Aaron Coyle is washing his hands. Among his comments are "I always feel like I'm constantly washing my hands", "I'm surprised I haven't run out of soap", and "You would think after this long my hands would be clean."
Similarly, on the jet pad next to Renaissance Centre, a couple of staff are talking and one says "When does this shift end? I feel like we've been here forever."
Player Versus Player - Combat between Heroes can be in the form of 'duels' or as part of organised 'Hero Games' team battles.
Randomly Drops - Some missions require something which every enemy in an area will drop. Others require something which only some of them may happen to have.
It gets ridiculous as one of the missions asks you to pick up a hat, a shirt and pants off a particular enemy group to use as a disguse... only to be handed a hologram device for the next mission involving Dressing as the Enemy.
Religion of Evil - The DEMON cult, which seems self-consciously devoted to all things dark, fiery and evil.
Even better, they think they're worshipping the equivalent of Satan. They're actually worshipping the anticreator.
Retcon - The comic-book-appropriate term applied to the respec system for changing powers.
Sadly changed though perhaps understandably so as non-comic book fans were getting really confused.
And then (ahem) retconned back in, with helpful little hints on the loading screens.
Send in the Clones - Teleios. The majority his Mook are cloned from his own "superior" DNA.
Mr. Gemini uses his duplication power for the same purpose.
The Roleplayer - The game has a surprisingly active and well-organized roleplaying community, and non-roleplayers tend not to mind roleplayers and vice-verse unlike a certain other game with a divided fanbase. Roleplaying hotspots include Sherrera's Bar, Carl's Gym, and Club Caprice, though it happens most anywhere.
Roleplaying is even a preset Super Group (read: guild) description.
Run Don't Walk - Can be bypassed by using a slash command or setting a key for walking, but player characters do run by default.
Schizophrenic Difficulty - The newly added alerts suffer from an instanced version of this. Since alerts choose the members of a given team randomly from all the players queued, it's entirely possible to play the same alert multiple times with the same character and be curbstomped half the time - and risk falling asleep at the keyboard the other half.
Screen Shake - For earthquakes or particularly powerful attacks.
Taken Up to Eleven when volcanoes go off on Monster Island, almost to an annoying degree. Thankfully, the effect can be disabled in the options menu.
Scunthorpe Problem - A game about superheroes won't let you use the fragment "hero in" in your biography because it spells "heroin".
Also, the language filter censors "puta", because it is apparently a rather rude Spanish term for a prostitute. Which seems reasonable until an NPC runs up to your hero and exclaims, "The city owes YOUR NAME HERE a debt of gratitude after he %$&@ stop to the alien invasion!"
Many of these ridiculous cases of censorship have been 'fixed' by now. But others remain, especially when it comes to the word ass, which is taken Up to Eleven, to the point were even NUMBERS get filtered. Just try typing 'as 5', 'a 55' or '455' and you'll see.
A bizarre addendum to the above is that even with the ass issue above, the filter still seems to be somewhat schizophrenic. A specific example being that Grasshopper is rejected, but The Grasshopper is accepted just fine, despite both containing the word ass.
Animal Crossing: In Monster Island, look for an NPC named Tim Nook who sells loan installments on a suspicious land (reminds you of a certain raccoon who forces players to buy a lot in a certain land?). Oh, and buying one loan (which is cheap) results in a perk/achievement aptly named "Manimal Crossing".
Submarine Luxurious - Averted with the Cherenkov and the Nautilus, which are suitably cramped and claustrophobic. Played so straight it hurts with the Aegir.
To be fair, the Aegir is the size of a skyscraper. An we only get to see a small part of its interior.
Stripperiffic and Most Common Super Power - Pretty much expected in the Superhero genre, played to the full with many player costumes. At least one character, Lynx, has carefully placed hair covering her top, while the default setting on the breast slider is rather larger than average.
Choosing the same color and texture for both a character's skin and Spandex can result in outfits so skimpy they barely pass as outfits—as well as fully "nude" characters, which are quick to get banned.
There are less heroines walking around in their skivvies than one would expect, but they're still common enough to justify the trope. Also, the default setting for breast size is set to max on most inbuilt body types (including, rather hilariously, the "slim" build). This might be seen as Fridge Brilliance, since by putting the slider at max, this prevents people from making breasts even larger and getting into outright Gag Boob territory.
Super Not Drowning Skills - Every hero can breathe underwater. The soldiers with wetsuits, flippers and oxygen tanks on their backs often have no mouth-pieces. This is handwaved.
Taken even further in the sewer escape in Resistance. Your in a lower level of a sewer thats gets completly filled with water while your being attacked by shark-people and have to fix the pump to drain the water.The civillians are fine after, even though you spend more time fighting and fixing than most regular humans can hold their breath.
Justified by Griz being a superhuman and the others being Destroids in disguise.
Given the net effect CO has had on CoX's subscription base (that is to say, none at all) this has become somewhat ironic.
Depends on how seriously you think the Take That was really meant. Given that the team that many of those who created CO also worked on CoX, it's probably meant primarily as a friendly jab. Of course players can take ANYTHING to Serious Business levels, so there's that too.
The player base on the forums at least seems to be welcoming to orphans from CoX now that their parent company made the decision to shut down the servers.
Throwing Down the Gauntlet - Doctor Destroyer, in Resistance: "JAMES HARMON! FACE ME!" He is already one of the world's most badass and dangerous villains when he's not taking his enemies seriously. And in this case, he was SERIOUSLY pissed!
Timed Mission - The boss battle with Luther Black at the end of Demonflame. Thankfully, you can't really lose, as Time Travel means that you can just keep trying until you win.
Also some other missions, especially open missions which take some time until they restart.
And one named Buster in Teleios Tower. He is actually a Bonus Boss. Attack him long enough and he eventually begin to fight back with completely random powers. His HP are crazy high too. But if you manage to defeat him, he drops some phat loot. Teams will often enter Teleios Tower just for a 'Buster Run'.
Transformation Trinket - You can buy Devices that allow you to transform into werewolves, vampires, demons, robots, djinns ect., which swap all your powers with specific new ones, some of which are unique and not - yet - available for player characters to learn.
And now you can get Hover Tanks, Jets and Grav Bikes (Oh my) as Devices. All of which can be upgraded with weapons and mods.
Unblockable Attack - You can block all kinds of attacks to lower the damage and prevent side effects like Knockback - except grenades! Their knockback is unblockable! You cannot block off their knock! It is unknown if this is a case of Fake Difficulty or just a glitch, but it makes fighting certain grenade-spamming ARGENT Mooks horribly tedious.
Some players love to exploit this with the Frag Grenade power in PvP.
As of November 2011, ARGENT and Viper grenades now only cause pushback.
A more intentional example of this is the VIPER Brickbuster's Cannon, which severely stunts the effectiveness of healing on yourself and reduces your defenses, even if you do block the damage burst. Best thing to do is to knock them down or out before they fire it off!
Mostly caused by A: the constant need to watch out for enemies floating just above and just below you, B: the difficulty of finding what door on a reef wall a vertical marker points at and C: the lag partially caused by mob density mentioned in A.
Also, most travel powers are useless while underwater, since to move you're relegated to either swim or swim a little faster. Running powers retain their high speed, even while swimming instead of running. Dark Speed and Light Speed even retain their aura. The best example, however, would be teleport, which works exactly like it does above-land.
Vapor Ware - Almost 20 years passed between the development of the never-released first computer game adaptation of Champions and Champions Online.
Vendor Trash - Drop rates for the least-useful equipment were significantly increased as a solution to complaints about the expensive respec system.
Villain Sue, turned Canon Sue - Madame Mayham, one of the player-created villains selected from a contest. She wears ridiculously overdesigned armor, leads a personal army of Mecha-Mooks, and claims to be the daughter of Doctor Destroyer. Regardless if this is true or not, her description informs that she is a fierce and very dangerous villainess. Furtunately, her role in the game is limited to merely being one of the (tougher) Alert bosses, preventing her from gaining as much attention and influence as usual examples.
Fridge Brilliance - She might actually be intended as a Parody Sue, or at least picked by Cryptic to be used for that purpose. Either way, as a delusional copycat fangirl, her character makes almost too much sense.
Well-Intentioned Extremist - Quite surprisingly, this seems to be avoided. Enemies seem to acknowledge their villainy and often revel in it.
A rare example is Floodgate, discribed as a violent eco-terrorist with 'hydrokinetic' powers. She is never fought or even shows her powers in-game, but becomes an ally and contact to the player instead, in order to protect her beloved ocean from reckless Lemurian rebels, the Karkaradons and the Bleak Ones.
The World Is Not Ready - Subverted. Impossible architecture exists in the centre of the re-built Detroit, and one of the splash screens explains that super-science has eliminated many diseases and greatly boosted technology.
Played straight with the acceptance of artifical and especially mechanical lifeforms as equal to humans. To blame is Mechanon.
There's also Fire Flight, the rather comical Rainbow Flight (leaving a rainbow trail), the Phoenix Flight (having the user grow fire wings and a huge blast-off effect), the Tornado Flight (having the user floating on a whirlwind) and the not chargable ones; the slow starting but in the end really fast Jet Boots and the average fast but good at cornering Jet Pack.
Not Quite Flight - There is a number of flight powers that have the character "surfing" on flying objects. These are usually faster than the Video Game Flight powers, but tend to have bad cornering.
Earth Flight rips a chunk out the ground, which you can happily levitate under you. Alternatively, attempting earth flight while in mid-air or jumping results in a storm cloud.
The aforementioned Rainbow Flight has an alternate version based on this; riding a sparkling cloud and leaving a rainbow trail behind.
Grappling-Hook Pistol - The 'swinging' power. It attaches to... air, apparently. It has also been suggested that there are simply a lot of invisible helicopters in the Champions universe. Considering not all zones are major metropolis' with an aboundance of tall buildings to swing from, this is perhaps an Acceptable Break from Reality, but though the launcher resembles the one used by more recent Batmans, the 'swing anywhere' effect is a Mythology Gag homage to Spider-Man, who's been infamously noted in earlier years to webswing where there is nothing to snag on.
In a Single Bound - The Acrobatics, Swinging, and Superjump powers let you jump over large items of varying height... and to survive the subsequent fall. Usually.
Le Parkour - What acrobatics can sometimes feel like. When you're not being shot when running along the street.
Doesn't make backflips or back-jumps any less fun to watch... at least until health hits zero.
Tunnelling, leaving a Wormsign behind you. Strangely, you can't tunnel upward or under ABOVE GROUND obstacles with it, but easly throuth thin platforms and glass while being not visible at all, except for a trail of rocks you leave behind regardless of the material you're digging through.
Oh, and if you move over an edge you could safely jump down above ground, you'll take a ridiculous amount of fall damage WHILE STILL BEING SUBMERGED!
It gets better. Popping the Ascension power- which is an ability that temporarily boosts your other powers and gives you flight- while digging allows you to dig through the skies at ridiculous speed. While remaining completely invisible to anything not explicitly anti-air.
Considering the illogical flaws and the fact that you can't use it to escape from fights, because it takes to much time to burrow into the ground and you're defenseless while trying, it is not a surprise that Tunneling is the 'Heart' amongst the travel powers.
However, it can be usefull at times, being the only 100% save stealth ability in the game.
There is a set of three special device-based travel powers you can craft, depending on the crafting profession you have. In any case, the components needed to craft them are hard to get and in masses you would never even get to see if you don't go hardcore farming for them - or buy them for horendous amounts of Global resources (i.e. Gold) you won't get an eye on without hardcore farming either.
Science allowed you to craft the 'Storm Rider' (a.k.a. Electric Flight); a Video Game Flight power with electricity arcing constantly over your hands and feet. NPC hero Celestar in Canada displays this power.
Mysticism gaves you 'Etheric Flight'; another Video Game Flight power that has you surrounded by magic circles and leaving a trail of runes behind.
And Arms let you craft the 'R.A.D. Sphere' that allows your character to curl up and roll around. This is essencially Super Speed, but also grants a defense boost.
These are all unavailable now. But similar Expy travel powers are purchasable from the Questionite Store, for relatively exorbitant amounts (depending on the exchange rate for quesionite at the time, the equivalent of roughly $10 each; travel powers in the C-store cost $5.25).