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MMORPG.com Staff Blog

The staff of MMORPG.com gets together to bring you some behind the scenes insights on stories, the industry and the site itself.

Author: staffblog

Contributors: BillMurphy,MikeB,garrett,SBFord,Grakulen,

Could the DCUO Quiet Be Good?

Posted by BillMurphy Tuesday September 14 2010 at 5:34PM
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Like many of you, I’m itching for more details on SOE’s DC Universe Online.  Having played it a bit at E3, and being a giant comic book dork, I’m anxious to know more about the character creation, the final power set listings, the complexity of the Secret Identity system, and so on and so forth.  And while I can pester and bug the developers as much as I want, they’re not going to reveal anything until they feel they’re ready.  And maybe that’s the “good” in all the silence.

Gamespot recently published a pretty lengthy review after an extended hands-on that goes a bit more into how questing and power-selection works.  Even though real concrete details about those powers weren’t given, they can’t be that much further around the bend… can they?  I mean while even I’m growing concerned about the November 2nd release date since the beta has apparently not yet begun, I suspect that even if a delay is imminent we’ll be getting our details sooner rather than later.

The game’s been in the cooker for years now.  It was largely playable at many shows all summer long.  The collector’s edition and pre-order details are locked in.  If it slips, it’s only going to slip by a few months at most, according my expert (READ: not really) brain.  And in this age of instant gratification and internet news streaming to our digital everything, I think we’ve gotten a little too accustomed to knowing all there is to know about a game for years before release. 

In this case with DCUO, we know to expect a Superhero MMO with action-based controls and huge cities to explore.  We know there will be a wide range of customization options from our looks to our weapons and powers.  We know that we can play good or evil.  We  know there will be guilds, secret identities, “dungeons”, and so forth even if we don’t know specifics.  Why can’t we be surprised by the rest as we discover it all in nearer to and at launch?

Of course, maybe the real reason I’m so antsy is because I’m worried that the reason for the silence is more about “it’s far away from finalized” than “it’s going to be awesome and we want to surprise you.”  I guess we’ll know when we know, right?

Senadina writes:

I also have that "What are they hiding?" concern. And yes, I am jaded from all the MMO releases of the last 2 years that were so much less than advertised.

I haven't lost hope in the genre yet tho...and frankly while I do want to play DCUO, especially since it is an MMO on the PS3, it is NOT my most anticipated title by a long shot. Meaning my expectations are pretty low to begin with. I hope it will be a fun, actiony game but I am  not really expecting the depth I am used to in an MMO. And that's ok in this case. If they make me feel like I am a DC hero/villian in a DC universe I will be satisfied.

Tue Sep 14 2010 10:17PM Report
fansede writes:

Unless SOE has hired a huge team of testers, I cannot imagine why they have not even started a closed beta. November is 1.5 months away.

Could there be a different marketing approach with this game? In other words, sprinkle out tidbits via facebook and fansites and then release the game. Let the purchasing public play (test?) the game and the game will be fresh for all. No more beta burnout. It could very well backfire though - because if this game is indeed released with bugs and problems, players will cry out they are paying for Beta testing.

Wed Sep 15 2010 8:40AM Report
kilun writes:

Not really having much interest in it other than the awesome trailers, I think they are still going to release on schedule.  If they do indeed release on schedule, I think it may garner a nice portion for what they expect as long as the gameplay is indeed fun like Arkham Asylum which they are comparing it too.

Wed Sep 15 2010 11:07AM Report
adam_nox writes:

one thing that concerns me is how defensive the devs get when pushed about the lack of game details and beta info.  There's problems here.  May still turn out good, but they've definitely got some sort of issues they are working out.

Wed Sep 15 2010 12:30PM Report
Master-Nala writes:

Why does a game need an excessively long beta?  We only seem to expect this in MMORPGs.  In console games (of which DCUO is one as well) and single player PC titles, it's not uncommon at all for the game to be tested by paid employees and shipped.

Balance concerns?  - lol they will be doing balancing tweaks until the game is dead.  We know that now.

Stability - I'm sure they'll do a "stress-test" but really how long do you need for that?

Fun factor - Well, if they screwed that up, 3-6 months of beta isn't really going to fix it.  The game is going to have to hook people early and at least give them enough to keep them engaged until improvement starts.

I hope beta will start soon, but I just don't see why it's considered outcome determinative on whether the game will be good. 

Wed Sep 15 2010 4:21PM Report
terroni writes:

You can always tell when a bad movie is about to be released, because you dont see any reviews before opening day.

I'm guessing the same might be true for MMOs

Wed Sep 15 2010 5:55PM Report
Shamorau writes:

i must admit concerns along the same lines. We havent heard all that much about it and i am concerned that this could be like CO. i am hoping for more than that considering its DC. i actually dont mind the lack of beta testing as more often than not it leads to mass complaints by the testers when servers go live and they lose godlike status of powers etc. if this has been tested internally cool. hopefully they make a good product for the super hero genre as i like these type of games.

Wed Sep 15 2010 8:14PM Report
RaikoLives writes:

We've HAD some positive reviews in the form of the hands-ons at the various cons throughout the last few months. I'm personally happy to be surprised by the game when it comes out. I'd like a video to show me the character creation screens, but with the negative reaction to the recent one done by TERA, if I was the devs I wouldn't bother. So many folks just hammer anything that puts its head up so I figure let the game speak for itself. The lack of beta MIGHT be a concern, since in a big, open game there's bound to be some parts that get overlooked bug-hunting-wise, but SOE are a big company. Maybe they feel they've paid enough people to test it enough in-house.

Wed Sep 15 2010 8:37PM Report
UnSub writes:

You see public betas in multiplayer games where the devs want take steps that the final product behaves the way they think it should at launch. Even console titles with multiplayer aspects are having public testing prior to launch (e.g. MAG and Halo, for instance).

 

Ultimately MMOs want players to keep paying their sub and there has been a general tendency among players to pay money to beta test a title. MMOs are a service, rather than a product that gets onto the shelf for 30 days then ignored.

 

Also, I don't think you can trust hands-on reviews at cons. The best area is shown off for 15 minutes or so per player, plus it is a rare games journalist who says, "You know what? I played Title About To Launch and it was awful. Company Who Buys Site Advertising really is putting out a dog with this one."

 

I must admit I'm surprised by the people who apparently have watched as MMOs have crashed and burned due to inadequate public testing / inadequate time to fix the issues raised by public testing, yet think that by minimising that step somehow the end product is going to be better off.

Thu Sep 16 2010 5:24AM Report
vboydjr writes:

I find it funny that people are upset and worried because there hasn't been a public beta test announced.  It is in beta, but people have to stay quiet about it most alpha beta testers know that already.  You sign this long legal binding document that prevents you from mentioning they are in beta.

No news is sometimes good news.  The only bad news would be they push back the release till January or something like that so that they can have a ton of public beta tests done.  From some (not saying sources or inside people) they have sent out beta invites to PS3 and PC people that applied for one months ago.

Thu Sep 16 2010 1:16PM Report
Axeion writes:

um why should they?Doesnt people rember a certian game in the same comic super hero theame that um hyped them selves silly?Smart to not hype this since its probly not as in depth as CoH but more console like than CO but with bit more depth than CO.

Atm im leaning tword preorder since it will ad to my station acess.If for some reson it does not ill look at if its worth the monthly or not.Least the collectors is cool if nothing else.

Thu Sep 16 2010 6:44PM Report
ShoNuff writes:

Pretty much middle of the fence on the direction marketting is taking on this one.  But having frequented the Facebook page enough and talking with the devs a number of times, I feel pretty good about my Nov 2nd preorder.

Thu Sep 16 2010 7:58PM Report
Happy_Cat writes:

Maybe the silence of the beta testers means they don't have anything to complain about. 

 

As far as the lack of info about the game, hell if they released some info then changed something about  it, everyone would jump on and cry "OMG Sony is fail".

It is easier to say something sucks and has failed rather than saying something intelligent and constructive.

Fri Sep 17 2010 7:23AM Report
gadunk writes:

They're all too busy implementing NGE into DCUO. It's a massive change but it's what the players want and will make it a better game.

Fri Sep 17 2010 1:29PM Report

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