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Beginner Guide by Saboruto
Version: 1.0 | Updated: 09/03/09
Greetings and welcome to my Champions Online "New Player Guide"! The aim of this guide is to teach you the basics of CO's unique playstyle and mechanics, as well as to ease you into your first visit to Millennium City and the world of the Champions. I will assume for clarity's sake that this isn't your first MMORPG and that you're familiar with common terminology, but I'll try my very best to explain every concept I touch on so that even players new to the genre can find help here. The intent of this guide isn't to handhold you through character creation and the tutorial but rather to cover some of the more complex and easily missed options, challenges and content of the first part of the game. I'll explain new concepts and try to keep this as thorough and as newbie-friendly as possible, but I'm going to deliberately avoid spoilers as best I can and I'll try to keep the direct tutorial info to a minimum. Champions Online is a game that should be experienced, and I don't want to spoil anything for anyone who's going through it for the first time. Anyway, that said, welcome to Champions Online and on with the guide! ---------- Disclaimer ---------- This guide is the intellectual property of me, Daniel Jason Dyals. You are authorized to view this guide and to print it out for personal use only. This guide will only be hosted by GameFAQs and its affiliates and any other websites I explicitly authorize to host it. If you wish to host it on your website, contact me at the email address at the end of this guide. You must retain this guide in its entirety, including this disclaimer. If I find this guide being hosted on an unauthorized website, I will pursue my legal rights to the fullest extent of the law. ------------------ Character Creation ------------------ The first step on your journey to heroism is Character Creation. This is where you'll define the basics of your character as well as your character's appearance and costume. --------- Framework --------- Your first choice in the Character Creation process is your Framework. Frameworks are basic templates of powers and abilities that your hero will use throughout the game. There are many prebuilt Frameworks, or you can elect to customize your own Framework. Each premade Framework is built around a particular theme of abilities, and although each has its own particular area of specialty each Framework is exceptionally versatile and will serve you in any combat role you choose to fill. The following is a complete list of prebuilt Frameworks that you can select: Electricity - Focuses on area attacks and high-cost high-damage attacks Fire - Focuses on large burst damage and damage-over-time attacks Force - Focuses on knockback effects and defensive barriers Ice - Focuses on snares and area attacks Archery - Focuses on ranged attacks and status effects Gadgeteering - Focuses on utilitarian pets and support Munitions - Focuses on low-cost high-powered damaging attacks Power Armor - Focuses on rapid attacks and personal defense Dual Blades - Focuses on melee attacks and critical hits Fighting Claws - Focuses on bleeds and status effects Single Blade - Focuses on high-powered single-target attacks Martial Arts - Focuses on melee attacks and dodging Telekinesis - Focuses on both melee and ranged attacks Telepathy - Focuses on healing, buffing and crowd control Might - Focuses on melee attacks and knockback effects Darkness - Focuses on debuff attacks and support abilities Sorcery - Focuses on utility abilities, pets and area attacks Supernatural - Focuses on a variety of attacks and regeneration The last option on this screen allows you to design a custom Framework using attacks from any set you choose. This option is intended for those who are more experienced with the game and who understand the mechanics behind powers and stats, but feel free to experiment! If you choose this option, you'll be presented with a new screen where you can select your basic, energy-building attack and your secondary energy-using attack. Many of these abilities were designed to be used in tandem with others from the same Framework. For example, Electric Bolts from the Electricity Framework has a chance to apply the debuff "Negative Ions" to the enemy, and later abilities from Electricity can exploit this debuff to great effect. In other words, if you choose a Custom Framework, you'll need to carefully consider which powers you'll choose and how those powers will work together. Your first power selection is your Energy builder. Different Frameworks offer different attacks that can be used as Energy builders. Energy builders deal minimal damage and serve basically as your auto-attack. Melee-ranged Energy builders deal more damage than long-range Energy builders, at the cost of forcing you to stay within melee range of your opponents. None of the Energy builders deal much damage, their main purpose is to generate Energy (your blue bar) that can be used to power your more damaging attacks. As you attack with your Energy builder, your Energy bar will rapidly fill up, and you can then use that Energy for truly damaging attacks and utility powers. This is what creates Champions Online's unique flow of combat, as you weave your Energy using powers around your Energy builder. Your second Custom Framework power selection (and all other powers you'll pick up later) will use the Energy that your Energy builder generates. If you chose a premade Framework, your two starting attacks would be thematically matched, and in some cases they've been designed to work together in a unique way according to the game mechanics (as in the Electricity example in the previous paragraph), which is why it's helpful to have a strong understanding of the game's rules and mechanics before you begin experimenting with Custom Frameworks. Once you've selected powers for your Custom Framework you'll be presented with a new option to choose an Innate Talent. Talents augment your base stats, and your base stats affect your powers in many ways, which is another reason why it's helpful to have a better understanding of the game mechanics before you elect to create a Custom Framework. One helpful tip is to read the descriptions of the pre-built Frameworks, which will offer hints at which stats are important to the powers within that Framework. Players who choose a pre-built Framework will only need to truly focus on two key base stats, while players who build their own Frameworks will often value three or even four different stats. ------------------------ Gender, Body and Costume ------------------------ Once you've chosen the powers and Innate Talent for your Custom Framework or have chosen one of the pre-built Frameworks, your next option will be your character's gender. Gender has no direct effect on gameplay. In the world of Champions Online, males and females are equal in every way, so this is purely an aesthetic choice. Once you've chosen your gender, you'll be given several different preset head options which alter the appearance of your character's head and face, or you can choose to tweak individual settings by clicking on the Custom Face option. The sliders under Custom Face will alter specific areas of your character's head, and the results of these changes can be seen on the character preview on the right side of the screen. Play around with these settings or browse the premade face options until you find a combination you like. From this point forward, none of the costume and physique choices you make are carved in stone. You'll be able to visit a tailor in any zone after the tutorial to alter all of the remaining character builder options, so feel free to go crazy. It's easy to change anything you do now if you decide you don't like it later! The next group of options will allow you to customize your bodytype, in exactly the same way as the previous screen allowed you to alter your face and head. Once again, you can choose a preset model or define your own with the sliders under Custom Body. After you've set your physical parameters, you can now begin designing your costume. The costume creator in Champions Online allows you unrivaled freedom in creating a character that is uniquely your own, and you can be certain that you'll never meet another character that looks exactly like yours. You can literally spend hours wading through the various options available to you, and it's outside the scope of this guide to give an exhaustive list of all the options, but I will touch on some of the key points of the costume creator. Along the top of the screen are several tabs. From left to right these are the Head, Upper Body, Hands, Lower Body, and Mood & Stance tabs. As the names suggest, these tabs will allow you to alter those parts of your character's body and costume. Under the first four tabs you'll be presented with an almost overwhelming number of options. The dropdown menu at the top of the screen below the tabs will give you choices that completely alter that segment of your body. For example, under the Head tab, the list presents you options such as "Heads & Hairs", "Full Masks", "Half Helms", "Monstrous" and several others. If you wanted a character wearing a draping hood, you could find that option under the "Hoods" selection. Below the dropdown list and to the left are subsections of your chosen tab. Under the Head tab you'll find options for "Head Type", "Head Wear", "Hairstyle", "Eyes", "Eye Accessory", "Mouth Accessory" and more. Selecting one of those boxes will change the drop down lists presented to the right and will allow you to select from any costume pieces and design settings available for that part. Certain options in the left list will present you with a "Material Type" drop down list that allows you to select from "Cloth", "Leather", and "Metal". This doesn't actually control the type of material that costume part is made of. Instead, it alters the reflective property of that part. Cloth pieces will have a matte finish. Leather pieces will have a very subtle shine to them. Metal pieces will be highly reflective. Feel free to experiment with these settings. Below the selection boxes and drop down lists are two boxes that control the colors of your character's costume, hair, eyes, and other features. The "Shared Colors" box on the left will alter all of parts on your character that you have not previously recolored, while the box on the right will change the colors of only the costume part you've selected. The first box under "Shared Colors" is your character's skin tone, and the other three boxes represent the colors that are used throughout your costume. It's worth noting that, while the Shared Colors box only allows for three colors to be used in your costume, you can recolor each individual part separately with the box to the right of the Shared Colors box, and later altering the selections in "Shared Colors" will not change the pieces you've individually colored. Below the colored boxes are several buttons. In the "Shared Colors" box are three buttons marked "Default", "Shuffle" and "Random". The Default button will reset your color selections to the costume creator's default settings; this is helpful if you've made too many changes to your character and have become overwhelmed and want to start the coloring process over. The Shuffle button will reorder the colored boxes while keeping the same colors selected; basically, this allows you to swap the colors of your parts around without having to change each part individually. For instance, if you really like the black and white theme you've used throughout your character but you've decided that you'd rather have white be the primary color and black be the accent color, you can shuffle the colors until you're satisfied with the results. All of the parts that share a color will change to the new color automatically. The last selection, the Random button, will randomize the shared colors your costume is using. You can press this over and over until you find a color combination you particularly like. Below the individual costume part's color box are three more buttons. The second and third, "Shuffle" and "Random" work exactly the same as their counterparts under Shared Colors, except that they only alter the costume piece you're currently working on. The first button, however, is a toggle button named "Link" or "Unlink". Selecting this button will separate the tab you're currently working on from the rest of your costume. For instance, if you're under the Upper Body tab and you Unlink, you can change the shared colors box and it will only alter the colors of the costume pieces under that tab. If you want to reconnect that tab to the rest of your costume, click Link. To change a color, click on the colored box you'd like to change in either the Shared Colors box or the individual costume part's box and you'll be presented with a full spectrum of colors available for that piece. The top few color boxes in the color window are set to the "Shared Colors" selections currently active. The first long row of colors is a "smart row", it will keep track of the last several colors you've chosen from any part of your character's costume so that you can reuse that color without having to remember where it is on the grid. The rest of the rows will present various colors and hues that you can use for your costume piece. There's one option in particular under the Head tab, Eyes selection that you might easily miss. When you select the part recoloration box (not the Shared Colors box) and click a color to change its selection, you will see a slider bar at the top of the spectrum grid. This bar allows you to give your eyes a glowing effect. The higher the setting of the slider, the more intensely your eyes will glow. They glow with the color set for the iris, so if you color your eyes separately, they'll glow different colors. Certain costume pieces which would normally come as a set can be designed separately, as well. For instance, your hands can be set up so that one hand is a monstrous claw and the other is wearing a high-tech metal glove. Whenever an option is available to design a matched pair of costume pieces separately (eyes, gloves, feet, arm accessories and legs, among others), there will be a trio of radial buttons above the dropdown lists in the main box. Leaving the "Both" button selected will make it so that any changes you make to that costume part will be reflected on both sides. If you select the "Left" or "Right" buttons, you can select different costume pieces or colors for that part without altering the other part. Another point to keep in mind is that, should you want your character to wear a cape, you'll need to alter two different costume pieces for it to match up correctly. Under Upper Body > Back, you'll be given a drop down list that includes capes. If you select a cape option in this list, a new box called "Cape" will appear beneath the "Back" box to the left. Changing the "Back" settings (material type, color, etc.) will only change the top portion of your cape, the mantle. You'll have to select the "Cape" box to change the rest of the cape to match. Also, you cannot currently choose to wear a cape if you are wearing any "body armor" upper body costume parts, so if you put your character in armor the cape option won't appear for you unless you remove the armor and put on a different upper body article. Below the "Shared Colors" box are three final buttons. These are "Undo", "Redo", and "Default". "Undo" will revoke the last change you made to your costume, useful for correcting mistakes or comparing a new change to its previous version. "Redo" will put your last change back in place if you used Undo to take it out. "Default" will literally reset the entire costume and is useful if you've gotten overwhelmed and would like to start the costume creation process over. If you click "Default" and change your mind, you can Undo it to go back to the costume you were working on. There's one final tab we haven't discussed yet, the "Mood & Stance" tab. This tab has fewer options than the others. "Mood" settings will allow you to change your character's facial expression, while "Stance" will change the way he stands and runs. You can give your character a puzzled expression and have him stand idly, or you can give him a defiant expression and have him crouch down, or you can make him look angry and have him hunker down and run on all fours. The choice, as with everything else in the character creation process, is yours to play with. Once you've explored around in the costume creator and have created your perfect character, there's only one thing left to do. On the final screen of the creator you will name your character and put in the character's biography. This screen also summarizes your base stats and your Innate Talent for you. Unlike other MMORPGs, you can name your character anything you want without worrying whether the name has already been taken by another player, so be sure to pick a name that truly fits your character. Names must be no less than 3 characters and no longer than 32, and they can use any combination of letters, numbers and spaces. Hyphens, periods and apostrophes can be used, but other punctuation and special characters cannot. Once you've completely finished customizing your character, the last thing to do is click "I'm Done" at the bottom of the screen. Doing so will open a list of currently active instances of the tutorial. Choose any you like and enter the game world. Each instance is identical to every other, the only exception being the players currently active in that instance. If you have a friend in the game, he can tell you which instance he's in and you can join that one. Otherwise, you can pick one with lots of other players or one with very few players so that you can have the run of the zone. ------------ The Tutorial ------------ Once inside the tutorial, the first thing you'll learn is how to move. The following are the default basic movement keybinds: W - Move Forward S - Move Back A - Strafe Left D - Strafe Right Q - Turn Left E - Turn Right Z - Interact Spacebar - Jump Shift - Block You can alter these and many other settings under the Options menu, which can be found by clicking the Champions "C" icon next to your minimap. The first NPC standing directly in front of you will teach you how to move. You can speak to him and any other NPCs by pressing your Interact key (default F). Be sure to talk to every NPC and read every dialog option in the tutorial, as these contain valuable tips and explain many of the game's concepts. NPCs that have information for you can be found by looking for the blue lowercase "i" symbol on your minimap or by the blue and yellow stylized "i" above their heads. Mission-givers can be found by the yellow "?" on the minimap or above their heads. PLAYER TIP: Once you have the dialog window for an NPC open, you can continue to talk to them by pressing your Interact key again. (Submitted by beta tester AndrewDB) At the bottom left of the screen is the chat frame, this allows you to talk to other players or to review NPC dialog or combat text. In the bottom-center of the screen is your power tray. The first power on the tray is your Block (default Shift). The next two powers are the ones you chose at Character Creation or which came with your preset Framework. The next several empty boxes will house future powers, including the last box which will contain the travel power you'll pick up once the tutorial is over (default T). Your combat powers can be selected by clicking on them or by pressing their corresponding key (default 1-7). The bottom row is a second bar where you can place further new powers (default ALT+1-7) and your second travel power which you won't get until much later in the game (default Y). The little tab sticking up above your two bars will hold a passive power, once you get one. Finally, just below your Block power are three buttons, represented by a lightning bolt, a mask, and a gear. The lightning bolt opens your Powers frame (default P). The mask will open your Builds & Roles frame once you have access to those things (default B), and the gear opens your Inventory (default I). The bar in the bottom-right corner is your Inventory panel, where you can place your equipment and temporary powers. Clicking on any one of these empty buttons will open up your inventory frame, and the first three buttons will expand upwards until they are a 3x3 grid, as below: Utility Column --------------------- | Defense Column ----------------- | | | Offense Column ------------- | | | | | V V V --- --- --- | | | | Secondary Upgrade Row -> | 7 | 8 | 9 | --- --- --- | | | | Secondary Upgrade Row -> | 4 | 5 | 6 | --- --- --- | | | | Primary Upgrade Row -> | 1 | 2 | 3 | --- --- --- The (1) button on the bottom represents your equipped Primary Offense upgrade. (2) represents your Primary Defense upgrade, and (3) is your Primary Utility upgrade. Above these are the Secondary Offense (4, 7), Secondary Defense (5, 8) and Secondary Utility (6, 9) upgrade slots. You can have one Primary and two Secondary upgrades equipped for each type. The last 5 slots are where you place temporary powers which may give you combat abilities or be used to complete mission objectives. The large grid above these is your backpack, and the icons above your devices slots are your other bag slots. You start out with only your backpack but you can buy or create more bags after the tutorial. (Correction by live poster Gage27 here, caught a change made at the end of beta that I had missed!) Any time you're standing near an object or character you can Interact with, a button will pop up above your power row. You can either click this button or press the Interact key to begin using the object or speaking to the character. When you speak to a character, oftentimes they will have multiple conversation choices. New missions being offered will have a yellow "!" next to them, while information will have a blue "i", just as on the minimap. Other conversation options will be presented later, such as using a store or learning new crafting blueprints. Follow the directions of the NPCs in the tutorial, completing missions as they are offered to you. Once you've completed a mission, sometimes you'll have to speak to the NPC that gave you the mission to "turn in" the mission. Completing missions will grant you experience and resources (money), and occasionally the NPC will give you a new upgrade or allow you to choose from several upgrades. In this case, highlight the upgrades being offered to view their stats, and when you find one you like click on it, then complete the mission. The upgrade will appear in your backpack, from which you can double-click it to equip it if you have the correct slot empty, or you can drag it over to the correct upgrade slot to equip it as well. Very early on, you'll be presented with a mission that will require you to enter combat, so now's as good a time as any to discuss the basics of combat. -------------------------- Combat in Champions Online -------------------------- What superhero game would be complete without some super-powered fighting? Combat in CO works completely differently from any other game out there. In the upper left corner of your screen you'll see a small portrait of your character along with several bars. The green bar represents your Health, the blue bar represents your Energy, and the yellow bar and yellow hashmarks represent your experience gained toward your next level. In the middle of the Energy bar is a little marker, this represents your Equilibrium. When you're outside of combat, your Energy will naturally drift back to this Equilibrium point. If you have less Energy than your Equilibrium would dictate, you'll gain Energy while out of combat. If you have more Energy, you'll lose it. You can gain energy beyond your Equilibrium level or replenish Energy used in battle by using your "energy-builder" attack. This is your base attack and deals minimal damage, but it refills your Energy bar to its maximum very quickly. You can toggle this auto-attack on by clicking it or pressing its bound key or even by right-clicking a nearby opponent, and you'll continue to use this attack until the enemy you're targeting ties or until you turn it off again. While you're using your energy-builder, you can also intersperse other powers into the mix. Using another power while your energy-builder is on will temporarily halt your energy-builder's effects. Powers besides your energy-builder will almost always cost energy to use, and these powers are usually much stronger than your energy-builder and work quite differently. You have two choices when using an energy-using power. You can either press this power down (by holding your mouse click or by holding down the bound key) to "charge" this power, or you can instantly activate it by "tapping" the power (clicking without holding the power down or tapping the bound key). Powers have effects that vary depending on whether you tapped or charged the power. Most powers get stronger when you charge them, but charging takes time and you can't take other actions while charging. Tapping is very quick but it doesn't deal as much damage as charging, and tapping a power several times can rapidly deplete your Energy. Further, some powers change dramatically depending on whether you charge or tap them, so be sure to read your power descriptions. Blocking is another very important component of effective combat. Most attacks can be taken normally (especially from weak minions), but some attacks are devastating and should be blocked. Strong attacks of this type will normally be very visible. When an enemy is charging up an attack, a bubble will appear over the enemy's head. As the bubble fills in and outlines, the attack is about to complete. Then a comic-appropriate word will appear in the bubble, something like "BAMF!" or "ZAPP!" and the enemy's charge attack will complete. Be sure to press your Block key before the attack goes off to avoid a large amount of damage and potentially avoid negative status effects. By default, you block by throwing up an arm to deflect some of the damage, but certain powers will augment your block ability through the use of anything from fields of energy to psychic barriers. If you are attacked and an opponent manages to land a status effect on you that prevents you from being able to attack or move, you can rapidly press your power keys or your Interact key "break" the effect, gaining Energy while you attempt to break out. It's important to break out of holds as quickly as possible since you're defenseless and cannot block or attack while being held. While in combat, you can also use certain upgrades and temporary powers. To do so, click on the power you wish to use or press the corresponding keybind (default 8-0 for your primary upgrades and CTRL+1-5 for your temporary power slots). Not all primary upgrades have use effects, so read the tooltip for that upgrade to see if it can be used while in combat. And now that you know the basics of how to attack, let's go back to discussing the tutorial. --------------------- The Tutorial, Part II --------------------- Whenever you defeat an opponent, they may drop an upgrade. Also, oftentimes missions will require you to recover items from defeated opponents. When an opponent has dropped an item, a large silvery "!" will appear on their corpse. You can press your Interact key to loot the item. However, if an item has dropped for another player, the "!" that appears will be much smaller and you won't be able to loot that item since it's reserved for the other player. As I explained earlier, you can wear nine upgrades at one time. Upgrades are classified as Primary or Secondary; as Offense, Defense, or Utility; and as Science, Mysticism, or Arms. Primary upgrades are usually stronger than Secondary upgrades and sometimes have use effects on them. Offense, Defense, and Utility determine which column the upgrade will fit into and generally determine the types of use effects Primary Upgrades may have. The upgrade classifications of Science, Mysticism, and Arms mostly dictate the sorts of crafting components that upgrade will break down into and which crafters will be allowed to break it down. Don't worry if your KILLER ROBOT OF AWESOMENESS ends up wearing magic charms and amulets, that won't actually matter except as a thematic choice. In other words, even if the item doesn't necessarily fit the origin of your character, you can still wear it if it's an upgrade for you and you don't mind that it isn't of your origin. The background color of an upgrade's icon will help you visually determine what type of upgrade it is: upgrades with a red background are Offense upgrades, those with a blue background are Defense upgrades, and green backgrounds indicate Utility upgrades. An upgrade's tooltip will also tell you what type of upgrade it is. If you get lost and aren't sure where a mission is taking you, you can open your map (default M). Mission objectives will appear on the minimap and on your large map as green circles. Whatever the mission requires of you (defeating a certain enemy, finding a certain object, etc.), that objective will be found somewhere within the green circle. Once you've completed the objective of the mission, if you must speak to an NPC to turn it in the NPC will appear on your maps as a yellow "?". Besides missions given to you directly by NPCs, there are several other mission types that may take more exploration to find. Some missions will be given to you by objects in your inventory. These objects will be marked "This item begins a mission" and can be double-clicked to open a dialog box. Other missions can be found just by being in the right place. If you stray into an area with a mission such as this, a button will appear above your powers trays labeled with the name of the mission being offered to you. Click on this button to open a dialog box. Be careful, you can easily miss these types of missions if you aren't watching your screen. All of these various mission types are represented in the tutorial, so you'll need to really explore to find everything. One other type of mission that deserves to be discussed is Open Missions. Open Missions appear on your map and minimap as an icon of three stylized people wearing blue standing side by side. Open Missions run on a timer, and anyone can join these missions at any time just by going to that location on the map. If you're in the area of an Open Mission, a checklist of objectives will appear on the right side of your screen. Objectives for that mission that have already been completed will be checked off and will appear in green, while incomplete objectives will be highlighted. Follow the directions and attempt to complete the remaining objectives while assisting other players. Some Open Missions are quite difficult and you may not be able to complete them without the help of other players, but be patient and someone else will likely show up who can assist you. Once you've completed an Open Mission, a countdown timer will start. When the countdown finishes, the event will reset and start over. So, if you caught the tail end of a Mission sequence, wait around for a few moments and you'll be able to experience it from the start. One last thing, before you enter the final mission (and you'll know it's the final mission because you'll be given a warning pop-up), take the time to fully explore the Tutorial. There are four easily missed "hidden" missions that you can activate. One is found by watching your minimap for a quest icon towards the beginning of the tutorial and is a simple introduction to escorting NPCs. One is found by listening for a sound you wouldn't expect in the middle of an invasion and teaches you how to activate missions from "this item begins a mission" items in your inventory. One is found towards the end of the instance and teaches you about pop-up missions that you can find just by being in the right area. The final hidden mission is the single most important thing you'll ever do in the game, because you'll be offering your assistance to the Champions world's most esteemed, powerful, handsome and important supervillain! Yes, the one and only Foxbat, idolized by millions and loved by men, women and inanimate objects across the universe! And the only hint I can give you is to watch out for falling debris and to look over the fence. You'll probably hear him before you see him! ------------------ After the Tutorial ------------------ Once you've fully completed the tutorial, you'll be treated to a really amazing event, after which you'll be offered the choice of furthering your adventures in the frigid wilds of Canada or the hot, arid Desert. The choice is totally yours, and both areas are truly fun. Once you arrive at your new destination and speak with the contact you were given, your first action should be to visit the Powerhouse and train up your new powers. Near the helicopter that dropped you off will be a small platform which you can use to teleport directly to the Powerhouse gate. The Powerhouse entrance is a large revolving gear. Stand inside the gear and press the Interact key to enter. Once inside, you can speak with the Powerhouse employees to train your new powers, talents, and pick up your first movement power. As long as you stay inside the Powerhouse, your choices are free to be changed at any time, so experiment with the different powers and movement abilities until you find a combination you're happy with. There are also separate rooms set up to allow you to test your movement powers, defensive powers, and attacks, which will give you a chance to experiment with a build and try out new abilities before you commit to them. From here on out, you're free to explore your new environment, picking up missions and saving the day time and time again. There will be more Open Missions to participate in (and these, unlike the Open Mission in the tutorial, reward upgrades upon completion), and even a few boss fights! You'll also finally be able to pick up a crafting profession. You have three different choices: Arms, Science, and Mysticism, corresponding to the three types of upgrades you can get. Choose the one that most fits your character's statistical needs, as each focuses on different stats, as shown in the chart below: Arms Utility Major: 1) END, 2) EGO, 3) INT Utility Minor: 1) CON, 2) END, 3) EGO Defense Major: 1) CON Defense Minor: 1) STR, 2) DEX, 3) REC Offense Major: 1) STR, 2) DEX, 3) REC Offense Minor: 1) CON, 2) STR, 3) DEX Mysticism Utility Major: 1) EGO, 2) INT, 3) END Utility Minor: 1) EGO2) PRE3) INT Defense Major: 1) PRE Defense Minor: 1) EGO, 2) END, 3) INT Offense Major: 1) REC, 2) DEX, 3) STR Offense Minor: 1) PRE, 2) REC, 3) STR Science Utility Major: 1) INT, 2) END, 3) EGO Utility Minor: 1) INT, 2) END, 3) CON Defense Major: 1) PRE/CON Defense Minor: 1) INT, 2) END, 3) EGO Offense Major: 1) DEX, 2) REC, 3) STR Offense Minor: 1) REC, 2) DEX, 3) CON The subcategories under your selection (for instance: Fighting Styles, Ordnance, and Alien Biology under the Arms category) are strictly for concept flavor, and you're free to choose any of the three without any negative effects at all. If your Arms character is a natural street fighter, you'd choose Fighting Styles for appropriately named upgrades, whereas if your character is a trained military expert with access to the latest classified technology, you'd choose Ordnance. Any upgrades and one-use items you create will have names fitting your origin, but they'll be identical to upgrades created by the other subcategories. To craft items, you must first obtain raw materials. You can occasionally find resource points in the world that you can Interact with to gather small quantities of common, uncommon and rare materials, but the most reliable way of gaining materials is by breaking down unneeded upgrades of the appropriate category at a crafting station (this is called Researching). If you chose Science as your crafting specialty (for example), you can use the Research option at crafting stations to break down Science upgrades for their base components. Arms and Mysticism upgrades cannot be broken down by Science crafters, but you can trade them to other players or sell them on the auction house and obtain Science upgrades instead. Try to choose mission rewards appropriate to your craft so that you can build up a good inventory of base components. Once you've Researched upgrades for their components or obtained components through resource nodes out in the world, you can now select Development at a crafting station to turn those components into useful items and upgrades. You must first obtain the blueprints for each item or upgrade you wish to craft, and most blueprints can be purchased from the crafting trainer of your specialty. You must have a high enough skill in your specialty to learn a particular blueprint, and skill can be gained through Researching upgrades, Developing items, and even from looting components from the random resource nodes. After any significant skill gains, check in with your trainer to see what new blueprints you may have unlocked. You'll be able to craft personal one-shot healing and combat items, new upgrades and even extra bags to expand your inventory! After a certain point, you'll reach the cap for the first tier of your crafting profession (100 skill points is the first cap). You'll now need to unlock the next tier by purchasing it from your profession trainer. Crafting in Champions Online isn't strictly necessary and you can get along fine without it by purchasing what you need from the Auction and by picking up mission rewards, but it's fun and easy and really useful, so I encourage you to give it a try. ------- Credits ------- Special thanks to the following people for assisting me with this guide: Beta tester Shijeer - Too many good suggestions to mention! You have him to thank for several bits of info throughout the guide. Seriously, get to thanking! Beta tester AndrewDB - For reminding the author that the Interact key can be used to continue an NPC dialog. I can't believe I forgot to mention that! Live poster Gage27 - For catching a bit of misinformation held over from the closed beta relating to extra bag slots! Live poster Fulmens - For reminding me that the three schools of crafting each focus on different stats. Cryptic Studios - Without Cryptic, there'd be no Champions Online and no need for a CO Beginner's Guide! Also for entertaining me for three years with City of Heroes and City of Villains, and for allowing me the singular honor of beta testing this incredible game. The CO beta testers - For being such a great community! The CO live boards - For being a neverending source of entertainment. You! - For reading this behemoth of a document. My boyfriend - For being so amazing and supportive and for springing the $200 so that I could get a lifetime subscription. I love you Nate!