DCUO is about as original as a Xerox of a tracing of a photograph.
I love online games, ever since I played my first MUD back in 1998, I have loved the idea of online gaming, especially the social aspects, call me a weirdo, but I don’t see much difference in the kinds of friendships you have online, and those you have offline with regular people in your own town, or school or work. They are just as shallow and pointless.
I have even made a small number of friends that, long after we both stopped playing the games we met in, we still communicate outside of games.
I love the idea of online games, I just hate the execution.
Nothing about online games has really changed since the late 1980s early 1990s. It’s all theme and variation, you might think that this is due to the intrinsic nature of games, especially the limitations of computer games, but really it has a lot more to do with the general intellectual degeneracy of content generators and providers. I say this only because, every so often, someone does come out with a really good and creative game that breaks all the rules and succeeds. DCUO might succeed, but not only does it not break all the rules, or any of them, it basically embraces the most static and mindless game model ever. Like evar.
If you have ever played card games, then here’s an analogy for you. Imagine if every single card game was exactly like 5 card draw poker, except the names and colors of the cards were different. Same exact method, strategy and rules, just different pictures. There you have the entirety of online games, same dance, different tune. Not even really that different.
Don’t get me wrong, if you have the mentality of an attention deficited 13 year old with low grade psychopathy and a penchant for wanking, this game will be right up your alley.
The graphics of the game are impressive to say the least, some of the best I have seen, and considering the level of customization of the way your character looks, it’s a bit marvelous soaring through a well designed and awesome looking Gotham or Metropolis. The areas are just massive and detailed, and even on my dinky laptop, which hardly meets the hardware requirements, the game flies with nary a glitch. If that’s all it took to be a good game, then DCUO would just PWN. Unfortunately, how a game looks is only important to newbies, and by newbies, I mean people who don’t know what a MOB is.
Character Creation In DC Universe Online
Character creation in DCUO is basically copied directly from City of Heroes, in fact, 99% of the game is stolen right from City of Heroes, and they probably stole it from some other game that I just didn’t play or hear about. It’s confusing, and there are a seeming lot of options which are, for the most part, pointless. You have classes in the most proto sense of the word, Tank, Healer, Magic Wielder which manifest as Ice/Fire tanks, Magic/Nature healers, and Mental/Gadget controllers. These classes come with mentors, one of the DC Universes heros or villains, and can be meshed with weapon skills, like Bow, Brawling, Sword, Dual Pistols and the like. The combinations are not entirely irrelevant, but obey the usual rules of RPGs. There is one thing that I particularly liked that was, to a certain degree outside the norm. It is usual in RPGs for Healer/Shaman type characters to suck really really bad at solo leveling and PVP. In DCUO, this is not the case, and to a certain degree, Magic/Nature characters have some very good advantages in both leveling and PVP, especially because quaffing has some serious limits, so getting heal pots into your tank is hard, so suddenly Magic debuffs and the ability to heal yourself play a more reasonable role.
On the whole, the only thing that is remotely good about the game is the PVP, although it falls down in the normal, “we really didn’t think this crap through” ways, at least healers can hold their own.
You’ll have to make several characters and play a bit of the mindless quest/mission system before you figure out a good combination, which in my opinion is Magic/Bow or Magic/Nature/Dual Pistol, mainly because an important aspect of play is that “mana” is regenerated not by time or quaffing, but by the number of combinations you successfully land, which is dead easy when you spam the bow/pistol ranged attack. The bow also has some pretty cool combos, though in my opinion, they are a bit cumbersome, so the argument that to be good at the game and PVP, you have to have some personal skill is accurate to a point. More or less you have to have a cool head and decent fast twitch muscle response in your index and middle finger, which I do, so I had some fun.
The thing that irritated me the most, and I never really bothered to figure it out is: I spent a good amount of time developing a visually appealling character, well dressed and totally awesome only to have its appearance modified by the eq I got, which was irritating. There is supposed to be a way to style your character, but to be honest, the whole buff/stats from eq method of enhance is about as tired as a 2 dollar whore in Texas, they could have come up with something that didn’t mess up my totally sexy character, and figuring out how to use the “styles” to get it back to the way I wanted it was too much of a waste of time. It’s a small complaint, and to be honest, one that does have a solution, i.e. said styles, so this really shouldn’t be considered a negative point against the game.
The other aspect of character creation is movement mode, the only ones really worth considering are flight and acrobatics. Nothing against super speed, just being able to fly/glide is just…BOSS! One of my very favorite things to do was to climb to the top of the highest building and glide to the boring mission destinations. This is where flying comes in, because most wank gankers will be hovering about and snag you mid glide/flight.
The acrobatics movement mode is very well done and a pleasure to use. There was a small complaint, in that sometimes it went all wonky and you gripped onto the wrong thing but that’s really more user error than anything.
Leveling Your Character in DC Universe Online
There are a few ways to level in DCUO, but it’s mainly the Quest system that we’ve all come to know and love, for nearly 30 years. When you create your character, you can pic either being a hero, or a villain (where have I seen that before?), which is cool, personally the heros are a bunch of nancy boy carebear, let’s help everyone, and the villains, while being slightly humorous follow the old school formula for villainous dialog: “something something Blood Of The Innocent, something something Rule the World!” The Joker missions were kind of fun, and the voice acting for the DC characters you interact with is pretty good, I think James Marsters is back doing Lex Luthor.
The basic idea is: Find character and interact, accept mission and find location, spend 6 hours trying to complete the very basic requirements while dodging 3-4 man wank gank squads of people 20 levels higher than you. Rinse, repeat. If you don’t like it, roll to the PVE servers.
There is apparently a level cap at thirty, wow, that is sooo…arbitrary. Maybe they got as tired of making those retarded missions as I did playing them.
Missions by name aren’t the only way to level, you also have races, which can be kind of fun but you have to practice using your movement mode to be able to win them, and some are actually very tough.
What I would have liked to see was either moving away from the level/XP system, no chance of that.
You have to watch out because sometimes you’ll be offered a mission that you just cannot complete until you level up.
PVP In DC Universe Online
PVP in DCUO is actually pretty fun once you figure it out, but don’t worry, there’s almost no way you will figure it out without some help. You class/weapon/movement mode is really important here.
The system is based on the idea of interrupting and stunning the opponent and blocking/dodging. The main idea is to wait for them to try something and stun them or interrupt their casting. It’s easier said than done. It would take a lot of time to get good at this system, I managed a few kills of people around my level, but got bored pretty quick with the lameness of the spells/skills and the monotony of it all.
One thing that is both cool and annoying about fighting in DC Universe Online is: Combos.
It’s pretty obvious that the combo system was created mainly for console versions of the game, as you will wear your mouse out really quick. It’s usually a collection of mouse button taps and holds as well as using the directional keys. Doing the combos under pressure is pretty tough at first, but pretty soon you get it down and it does become fun…for about an hour.
Summary of DC Universe Online
If you really love comics, especially DC, then you will enjoy this game a lot more for the nerd qualities. Also, the artwork is just…so hawt. All of the characters really feel right, especially the Joker and Batman, Superman is his normal lame self, and Lex Luthor is pretty spot on. As an interactive comic book, it’s pretty cool, same hollow comic storylines, glib and fatuous dialogue and the usual contrivances you get with executive driven money hungry content providers. As a game, for gameness, DCUO is an almost complete dud. Nothing you haven’t seen before, and hardly worth the effort, you’ll be bored to tears halfway through the leveling.
For the social networking aspects, DCUO basically provides a chatbox and the usual clan system, mostly populated by 12 year olds and wankers, or 12yr old wankers…whatever. It really doesn’t have anything to keep players happy for long, and for the price, $50 up front and $14 a month, it’s just a waste. The few good things, art, combos, sexy characters get old faster than Scott Baio.
I strongly recommend you pass this one up. I wish I had.