Disclaimer: The Devil's Advocate is a place where the MMO-Loving world can go to hear the unpopular opinion. Please note that this article does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of MMORPG.com, columnist Drew Wood, or any of the game companies that may be discussed. The Devil's Advocate is an opportunity for the oft-shunned and little discussed “Other Side of the Story” to be heard, promoting open discussion on a heavily contested subject.
The Popular Opinion:
DC Universe Online has fallen apart at its seams. An MMO designed for the console market, DCUO has never recovered, and will never recover, from the backlash it received at launch from the PC market and PC players. Nothing can help breathe life back into this dying game.
On the contrary.
When DC Universe Online launched simultaneously on the PS3 and the PC back in January, the server populations in the game were through the roof. I play on the PC in the North American market and never used to have problems with finding an appropriately populated PvP server on which to jump into, attempt to do a few quests, and ultimately get beaten down by the kids who decided to camp out the Lighthouse in Gotham in a bid to gank all villains who entered the area. And, oh, how they did gank! I am not complaining though, not by any stretch of the imagination. At the time, it was a given to see a group of likeminded villains join me and soon we were neck deep in a battle of good vs. evil played out against the backdrop of Gotham's Lighthouse, or Metropolis' Hospital and mayhem most definitely ensued.
This kept up for a good few months before the end of Spring, when suddenly I could log on to the game only to find that not only was no one was there to join up with in the event of a good, unwarranted ganking, but no one was really there doing the ganking. Feebly, I attempted to stick by the game, because I genuinely enjoyed it. The content updates kept coming on a staggered schedule and whenever one did drop I'd pop in to try it out. But eventually it had gotten to the point where the new content couldn't be completed by just one individual and as I said, the population simply wasn't there for me to be able to continue. Finally, I just stopped playing.
It didn't help matters, though by no means was this a deal-breaker for me, that I had exhausted my interest in all of the power sets within the game and was no longer all that interested in creating alts to restart the game from first level. Six power sets is a significant amount of choice (albeit, not world shattering), however with the amount of alts that I had created and played as the amount that I genuinely enjoyed simply didn't extend beyond one or two characters. I would've been completely willing to continue to play as my controller (mental, with staff and flight for anyone who is curious), but as I mentioned above the content and population simply didn't match up for me.
The last month or so however, has been a pretty big one for SOE's tights & capes game. First, at SOE Fan Faire the announcement came down about Fight for the Light: the new purchasable DLC that's coming for the game that will see the addition of a seventh power set to the game. For those of you who may not have read the details in our interview with Jens Anderson, the Light Power Set will be added under the controller role (or straight DPS, an option afforded all Power Sets in DCUO) and will bring an added element of difficulty and player finesse through the linking of different 'light constructs' within the same combo chain.
Fight for the Light may just satiate any dissatisfaction within the player base with regards to the choices available in your characters’ creation. Admittedly, the update is a paid DLC pack, which right off the bat has a lot of people raising red flags. I don't see it that way, but then again I’m the Devil… not you.
Then the news came down on Friday of the implementation of the often discussed but never materialized Mega Servers, a move that SOE would be implementing to bring the servers for each platform (PC/PS3) and location (EU, US) into one conglomerate server. Currently, on the US PC side of things, you're looking at 9 individual servers, 6 PvE and 3 PvP, all of which currently hold a low population. Combining those 9 servers to become one giant server, wherein players can choose to fly their PvP flag proudly or hide it deeply under the cover of their PvE flag, no longer segregates players based on preference and interaction. Everyone can exist on much more massive level.
At the end of the day, word of mouth is a powerful tool. The diligent, those who have stuck by the game even as their guild members and friends have jumped ship, will experience the new content coming via Fight for the Light, they'll experience the forced population increase of the implementation of the Mega Servers, and those same players who stuck beside the game this whole time will be able to tell their friends. It's the typical “and he'll tell two friends, and they'll tell two friends, and they'll tell two friends...” scenario that makes Word of Mouth such a powerful tool. When and if the improvement is seen, you can rest assured I'll be telling at least two friends.