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DC Universe Online Interviews: Jens Andersen & The Hand of Fate

By William Murphy on September 28, 2012

MMORPG: Let’s start with an overview of the story for this DLC, Hand of Fate. What’s going on in this version of the DC Universe?

Jens Andersen: There are lots of thing happening. In fact, there are 6 different stories in the new Operations. Three of them are for heroes and ally you with Doctor Fate. He is unraveling all kinds of arcane mysteries with the help of the players. The other three are for villains. They will find themselves working with Felix Faust – a villainous sorcerer – who is bent on obtaining more power at any cost. These adventures all start out in a private instance and then spill out onto the streets of Metropolis and Gotham City.

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MMORPG: What about the features of the update, in regards to gameplay?  What are the big new additions this time?

Jens Andersen: The biggest new addition is the Utility Belt Attachment. These new trinkets turn your existing belt into a hiding place for all kinds of items. Players will be able to load out all kinds of toys, consumables, and trinkets. They are now more free to include novelty items and useful trinkets in their loadouts because the stats that matter are on the Utility Belt Attachment itself. It really frees players up to have more options in combat and more fun when just socializing.

MMORPG: Can you give us some more details on the utility belt stuff? How’s it work? How do players obtain the items?

Jens Andersen: Utility Belt Attachments can initially be purchased off of the faction vendors. They also drop off of NPCs in the game – these are where you will find the most powerful ones. Each Utility Belt Attachment has a variety of compartments, each configured to hold a different item. So you’ll want to find the one which has the stats and load out configuration that fits your play style. Other than that, they work like the trinket and consumable slots do now – activate the slot with the item and it is used or consumed.


MMORPG: How will Doctor Fate and Felix Faust stand out from the others already available in Legends PVP?

Jens Andersen: The new legends characters introduce Hand Blasters to Legends PvP for the first time. Doctor Fate and Felix Faust are fliers and one of their primary powers as sorcerers is the summoning of minions into battle. We really wanted to make each feel like a powerful wizard, and give them each their own set of tactics on the battlefield. Doctor Fate is a very defensive and control oriented character, which makes him a beast when your team is trying to hold a control point. He is tough to kill. Felix Faust is not a nice person and it shows in his combat tactics, which focus on dealing out damage, in particular with his minions and AoE spells. One deadly tactic of his is to summon soulless minions to attack his enemies, and then to blow those minions up in their faces, causing massive damage. These two characters really add a different dynamic to Legends PvP and will really have players thinking about tactics and how their teams will attack and defend.

MMORPG: Okay, now let’s dive into the meaty parts… tell me about Operations. Open world group content makes its return!  If I was a player, tell me how I’d access them, what I’d need to partake in them, and how they unfold as I go along.

Jens Andersen: Operations are really great open world missions. We have four new Operations designed for 8 players (two for Heroes, two for Villains) and two new Operations designed for 4 players (one each for Heroes and Villains). Players will start in an instance alongside either Doctor Fate (Heroes) or Felix Faust (Villains) that introduces the player to the Operation. Once the players manage to defeat the initial encounter in the instance, they advance to the next stage of the Operation, which is the open world part. Players will travel across the cities to different encounters, uncovering new elements of the storylines along the way, until they ultimately have to face a powerful boss (and earn some pretty spectacular loot). As this takes place in the open world with all of the other players, the emergent moments for both the PvE and PvP elements of the game are exciting. When players are out in Metropolis or Gotham City the game takes on a very unpredictable element. You never know what is going to happen during an Operation. Just a word of warning, however. As a player you’re going to need to have some good gear and weapons to take on these challenging Operations.

MMORPG: Why did the team decide to gate the Operations though with a Combat Rating? Why not let anyone queue up for them?

Jens Andersen: With each DLC Pack we want to make sure that the content adds a new level of challenge. New DLC missions are primarily for end game players, and we want there to be bigger and better challenges for these players each time we add new content. It’s a reward for those players who have conquered the earlier missions and earned the most epic loot. Now they have new ways to challenge their skills and test that awesome new gear that they’ve earned.  

MMORPG: Do the Operations scale based on the amount of players in the area?

Jens Andersen: No the Operations do not scale in difficulty. But this goes back to the emergent gameplay I talked about earlier. If you have a heavy population in a particular area where an Operation is taking place, you never know what might happen!

MMORPG: What about folks that join in ad-hoc, or those on PVP servers who might want to disrupt the flow of the game for their foes.  What sorts of rewards or incentives are in it for them?

Jens Andersen: The opportunities for unexpected gameplay moments really intrigued us and certainly folks can help out (or get in the way) on Operations, although they would actually have to be on the Operation to really benefit.  It is one of the great things about open world content. You just never know what is going to happen.  

MMORPG: Are there plans for more of these?  Maybe add some for lower levels to spice up the now somewhat old 1-30 content?  Are you guys thinking of adding more leveling content at all?

Jens Andersen: If the players want it, we’ll definitely look at opportunities for more open world content like this.

MMORPG: Okay, now I have to ask… what’s next? These updates are really bringing more and more content to the game, but what about the fluff? When do I get my own Secret Lair for The Cleve?

Jens Andersen: Keep any eye on our upcoming SOE Live event (October 18- 21 in Las Vegas). I bet you’ll see some interesting DCUO news coming out of that event. Or better yet, sign up and come to SOE Live at http://www.soe.com/soelive/! You’ll get to meet and talk to me and a bunch of folks from the development team, get a chance to win some big time cash in our Legends PvP tournament, and meet a few special guests.

MMORPG: Thanks so much for your time!

William Murphy / Bill is the Managing Editor of MMORPG.com, RTSGuru.com, and lover of all things gaming. He''s been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002, and you can harass him and his views on Twitter @thebillmurphy.

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