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Sony Online Entertainment | Official Site
MMORPG | Setting:Super-Hero | Status:Final  (rel 01/11/11)  | Pub:Sony Online Entertainment
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Columns: Heroes vs. Villains

By William Murphy on December 30, 2010

Heroes vs. Villains

I recently wrote an overview of the systems in place for PvP in DCUO. I tried my damnedest to not spend too much time talking about personal opinion and instead focused on giving an informational look at what’s available for play. Now that I clawed my way painfully through an article without spending the entirety of it giving just my own feedback, I think it’s safe for me to use my weekly DCUO column to talk a bit more about PvP in SOE’s latest based on my own experiences. In the short form? I adore fighting other players in DCUO. The longer version however is a bit more layered. So sit tight and read along, won’t you?

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First of all, I should mention that I’ve been playing on both the PvE servers and the PvP. I like to weigh the balance between fighting PvP only when I want to and whenever I have to. It’s different for each game, and the beauty of beta is that I can check all the options out before launch. The first thing that anyone should know when deciding between the two is that PvP servers have a real “anything goes” feel to them. You’ll find safety in police stations and nightclubs, but that’s about it. The only other safety from other players the game offers is that of numbers.

In my experience, the PvP instances have actually been quite hectic and fun. There’s something exhilarating about combat in DCUO when it’s done competitively that takes it a notch above other MMOs. It’s hectic, it’s crazy, and when done organized it’s an absolute blast. The downside is, just like in any match-made PvP game, when it’s not organized it’s hectic, it’s crazy, and it’s an exercise in frustration. It’s like any sport or competitive team game really. If your team works well together, even if you lose, you wind up having fun. If your team runs around paying no mind to the other team members, or worse one stranger declares himself lord and master, the entire match feels like a giant CF (I’m sure you know what that acronym means). But that’s the way the cookie crumbles in most competitive gaming. Sometimes you get good teams, sometimes you don’t, and the best option is probably always to go in with an organized team of your own.

But I digress. The biggest issue I’m seeing so far in PvP instances (be they Legends or Arenas) is not bugs or even class balance. It’s the slowness at which they pop. I chalk this up to the beta populations, and the fact that on the PvE servers players seem more inclined to well… PvE. On the PvP server players don’t really seem to be doing the Arenas or Legends, because well… they can just patrol Metropolis for their bloodlust. Or maybe, and this could easily be the case as I’ve not hit the cap yet due to alt-aholism, it could be that the majority of the PvP instances happen at the cap. But in any case, I certainly hope people become more interested in the Arenas and Legends when the game goes live.

The one PvP instance that does pop right now is Legends. Presumably this is because while it’s still heroes versus villains, there’s no level brackets segregating players from one another. Because the Legends PvP levels the playing field when you take on the role of your specified hero, there’s no need to keep fights between equal (or close to it) leveled players. Luckily for me, The Batcave Legends instance happens to be my favorite because I really enjoy the two vs. two dynamic. Batman may be a tad overpowered (by a tad, I probably mean majorly) but he’s a whole lot of fun. There’s also no restriction on if you use a villain or a hero Legend. If you’re a villain that wants to play as Batman in Legends play, go for it. The Batcave itself is a lot of fun because of two defense turrets staged at the main control point (the Bat Computer) and some floating attack turrets that can be used when you’re on the losing end of the battle. Sure you get less influence than in other PvP instances because it’s just 2v2, but I like the controlled feel of just four people duking it out and strategizing.

The thing about DCUO I’m most looking forward to though? It’s got to be the Heroes versus Villains mentality that will hopefully care over onto the live PvP servers. There’s a versus chat channel that sports a whole hell of a lot of banter between the sides both competitive and generally good natured. It’s like two friends arguing over their favorite football team. PvP servers are a wild place to play. You can’t go in expecting to level painlessly through the PvE content. You have to expect road blocks, especially if you want to solo. You have to be ready to call for help from your side should you need it. And absolutely, you have to be willing to help out should you see someone call for it.

The PvP servers for me, and indeed the Villain side, will be my home come January 11th. I’ve not got a League yet, but some of us here will be forming one. And I’m looking forward, with great salivation, to the day when I can finally call a character my own and make a name for myself (hopefully not as a pin cushion) via my villainous deeds and harassing of the Heroes.

William Murphy / Bill is the Managing Editor of MMORPG.com, and lover of all things gaming. He's been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002. Be sure to follow him on Twitter for all of his pointless rambling.