The first thing that meets your eye in Champions Online is the complete customisation of your character. There are so many options that the image of your in-game avatar in your mind's eye will surely become a reality, and even more items can be unlocked while playing the game. At first it might be overwhelming (providing you do not jump into the game with a "random" character, you will likely be spending at least an hour in the creation screen), but it's undoubtedly one of the best editors in the present MMOs world. It's not only about appearance either, even powers can be modified, both their hue and emanation point.
The skill choice is completely up to the player, of course you will find some predefined templates, but nothing prevents you from creating your own, mixing sorcery and martial arts, super-strength and electricity, etc.: as they say, the only limit is your imagination (but no stretching like Mr. Fantastic, they did not get that far yet). The powers can be tested inside the Powerhouse, a training facility, before you confirm them, but they can be changed later for a price, although it is quite expensive, therefore wise planning is advisable.
There are no classes in CO, you will have different builds instead, and you can assign to them different equipment and modify some powers in order to assume the usual roles (tank, healer, DPS) with but a click of the mouse.
Another interesting innovation is that you can get the travel power at level 6 as soon as you are out of the tutorial zone, so you can begin to fly around, run at hypersonic speed or burrow your way beneath the soil very quickly.
Like City of Heroes, Champions Online Gold features fast-paced combat, where it's better to act than to think. Of course, there are all the usual special effects (stun, root, damage over time, etc.), but the fights are solved in a few seconds, apart from bosses, well, super-villains, that is. There are two innovations compared to the "classic" fighting model, first, your primary method to recharge your energy bar is a power called "energy builder," a fast attack that deals little damage, but it is necessary to give you that boost to continue, the second innovation involves powers that have a continuous effect if you keep the key pressed, the most important of these is, no doubt, the block skill, which is given to every character by default. This is essential since the bosses will often "call out" some powers, i.e. an icon will appear over their head to show that they are charging a particularly powerful blow (direct, area of effect, cone, etc.)... So you'd better brace yourself!
Overall, fighting requires just a few keys, this has been obviously influenced by the fact that this won't only be a PC-title, but it's also been developed for the Xbox 360. For stats lovers, in the description of every power there is a dedicated section with all the figures, pure damage, DPS, cooldown, assorted percentages and much more.