The closed beta for Champions Online has started up and I'm not in it. Like a kid who wants a puppy, all I can do is stare in from the outside, my hands plastered up against the window, my breath fogging the glass.
Cryptic has put up a "Rate my Champion!" game, which does allow us to see the characters the current testers are making and I confess I am stunned by the scarcity of anything actually resembling a superhero among them. I expected the comedy factor to be high ("Tony Shark" remains my fave, an Iron Man suit with a shark head), and I suppose we can blame the high frequency of monsters and robots on the game's broad costume design options. (It's like playing D&D, really. Players want to be "different," so they pick a nonhuman race. They don't have to think about character concept beyond "I'm the dwarf" or "I'm the orc." In CO, it is "I'm the cyborg" or "I'm the guy with the head of an alligator.") But there's also just a large number of meaningless name/look combinations: a guy in blue battle armor named Svart. Who the hell is Svart? Why should I care?
Anyhow, if you have not seen the game yet, check it out, because Svart aside, it's a very exciting project.