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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: Plenty of Powers

By William Murphy on November 11, 2010

Plenty of Powers

I was like you once.

Once, I looked at the fact that DCUO was launching with six power sets and I nearly fainted from shock and utter horror. I started running around my town with sandwich-board sign fastened tightly to my back, my clothes reeking of wine and cheap cigarettes. The entire time I shouted, “My dear God! Why have you forsaken us?! Why have you given us only six power sets in DC Universe Online!?”


But God replied.

He/She/It /Jon Hamm said to me, “Bill. You need to chill the heck down, man. There are six power sets with two trees each. There’s also the Iconic Powers that each character can pick from as well. Oh and then there’s the travel powers, which each have their own special skills to pick from. And of course, there’s also the weapons you pick from… which each have their own powers and skills to play with and combine with your regular super powers. So yeah, you need to listen to me, Jon Hamm, and relax.”

And so I did. And I’m pretty sure that all of you worrying over how six power sets seems limiting need to take a deep breath as well. Especially since only a very few of us have any real knowledge of how the game plays and stacks up. For all I know, there could be very few power choices when compared to the wealth Champions Online launched with. But in reading our own Drew Wood’s recent hands-on preview, I feel much more assuaged knowing just how many choices beyond your basic super powers must be made.

Like any good MMO however, you will be forced to pick and choose what powers you upgrade and what powers get left for your next alt. Drew gives a good example in the Fire power set. With Fire you can pick between powers that deal with catching yourself on fire (Firestorm!) or powers that deal with setting other people on fire (also Firestorm!). Another example given by the developers themselves back at NYCC was with the Nature power set and choosing between a tree that was more like Poison Ivy’s powers, and a tree that was more about shape-shifting a la Beastboy. What SOE’s seemingly done is streamlined many of DC Universe’s (I’m gonna say it) Iconic heroes into these six main power sets. If we’re lucky, and I’m hoping we are, it should be relatively easy to build our ideal type of DC Universe inspired hero or villain.

But aside from the main power sets, what I think I’m most excited about is toying with the travel powers and attacks. In CoH and CO, travel powers are basically glorified mounts. In DCUO, they’re a real part of who your character is and what he or she can do. For instance if you pick Acrobatics, not only will you be scaling buildings and gliding around like Bats, but as you level you’ll get the chance to put points into your travel powers giving you some pretty nifty bonuses. One such bonus? How about yanking an enemy towards you at breakneck speed from a hundred feet away with a grappling hook? How about going all Michael Keaton in Gotham and using said grappling gun to zip yourself onto the top of a building?

The only thing I’m worried about is that along the timeline of leveling, I’m going to likely pick up quite a few skills and powers. The word on the street is that the system DCUO is adopting is much like the original Guild Wars in that you can only have a certain load out on your hotbar at any one time. Sure you can change it between fights and whatnot, but as a veteran of these games I supposed I’ve grown very accustomed to always having about 3,000,000 hotkeys at my disposal. Still, it worked wonders for the strategy and gameplay of Guild Wars, and so I’m reserving judgment on DCUO’s own skill bar system until I try it for myself.

But I guess that’s the moral of this whole article right? Wait and try it for yourself before crying that the sky is falling. To me the power sets proposed and all the extra choices offered by the gear system, the travel powers, and the Iconic Powers seem like more than enough customization for me. But I won’t really know for sure until I get in and tool around with it all. And that time folks? Well, that time is nearly hear if you’ve pre-ordered.

William Murphy / Bill is the Managing Editor of, 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.