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Playing the metagame

Champions Online has no classes at all. Instead one can choose between different frameworks (like Fire, Martial Arts, Telepathy) that have some synergy together. However, it is perfectly possible to get powers from other frameworks as well. The only difference is that people who stick to a framework get higher level powers in their framework sooner. At high player level anyone can have any power.arenafloor

How can this possibly be balanced for Player vs. Player? Games like World of Warcraft and Warhammer Online did not try for individual balance, but for balance in team vs team. In practice, buffs and nerfs turned classes from over- to underpowered and vice versa. The amount of variables is huge even in a rigid class setting, so it will be even more difficult to create balance in Champions Online. At least, for the developers.

Like Magic

I used to play Magic: the Gathering (the first and most famous collectible cardgame). Players used a pool of thousands of cards to create a deck of 60 with which they dueled. Some cards were obviously overpowered, others only in a certain combination. Players in the tournament scene had to play the metagame in order to stay competetive. For example:

Deck A is very powerful and it will win against almost any deck.

The first time Deck A is played, it will sweep the tournament and, as a result, many players will pick it up for the next tournament. Enter deck B.

Deck B is gimmicky and the only deck it can always defeat, is Deck A.

A tournament will contain a mix of Decks A, B and O: other decks. The only way for Deck B to win the tournament is if Deck A takes care of all other decks and if Deck A players do not know about Deck B. A cycle will start with Deck A dominating, Deck B taking over, then Deck A will be played by less people and Deck O will take over again until a new powerful deck sweeps the majority. The situation is more complex in reality, but the mechanics remain the same.

Metagame in Champions Online

In M:TG the players themselves are able to balance the tournaments themselves. The developers only have to take the really overpowered cards out that slipped through Quality Assurance. If the powers in Champions Online are diverse enough, we may see a similar development and that would keep PvP in the game fresh for a very long time.

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