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DC Universe: Failure to Launch

Posted by Ozzallos Tuesday November 1 2011 at 11:41AM
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If there's one rule I cling to like my guns and religion in the world of MMOs, it's that a franchise will not go Free to Play unless it absolutely has to. No matter what the developers will have you believe, F2P is not the next generation of gaming. Cash is king and in the world of business it's better to have your cash up front and now via subscription than possibly maybe later if you feel like it in a cash shop. What does this have to do with anything?

Holy crap did DC Universe fall on its own sword.

Anybody who played the beta with a critical eye saw the problems going in. Absolutely gorgeous game. Outstanding audio. You couldn't ask for a more immersive universe. But actually playing the game? That was like walking across glass and dancing in salt afterwards. DC Universe really had only two major problems: First, the aformentioned gameplay. They tried the cross platform thing and it failed hard since you ultimately have to program the game down to the lowest common denominator, and the denominator was a console gamepad. That single decsision ensured anybody playing on a PC would all but gouge their eyeballs out as they attempted to cope with a UI designed by a lobotomized monkey.

The second problem is purely speculation, but I haven't been wrong yet when it comes to this game: DC Universe tried the advertising beta tactic far too early for its own good. To be fair, they attempted to correct a lot of the issues that were plaguing the game, but their biggest failure was doing so in what was close enough to a public beta not to matter. Essentially, this game needed a real beta for much longer, not to fix all the crap in what was more or less open beta only a handful of months to launch. Word of mouth and the UI problems killed this game before it even got off the ground, and the server populations confirmed it every step of the way.

So where does that leave us now besides "I told you so?"

Normally its my belief that a game that goes free to play deserves to go free to play, meaning that it harbors some critical deficiency that the dev tried to pass off on you the player and bled out for it. DC Universe, I'm not so certain. One thing I will respect this franchise for is that they tried with this game. It should have been a hit in every other respect save for a bad marketing call. In fact, I'm certain I would be happily shelling out a subscription if they had made this game for a PC and not a console, and for a picky bastard like me, that says something. So yes, it deserved to go free to play, but not for the normal reasons most other games go free to play (sloth, impatience and avarice primarily).

Mark this day folks. When DCUO goes free to play today, I'll actually recommend you give it a try. This is one MMO that had a considerable amount of time and effort invested in it, only to be screwed up by some monkies in the marketing department. Who knows... It may still be an excersize in fusteration to play, but I guarantee at least the initial 'wow' factor until that sets in.

jeddak writes:

I like the game alot but I didn't start on day one so I was a couple weeks behind most players and besides pvp complaints and the lack of folks playing it was well done and worth the sub. But daily I'd see folks asking where everyone was and I got the idea that many gamers just want other players to compete/socialize with and when they don't find them they move on so maybe making it free will be a good thing. I know I will go back (I left when the game went down for days) and give it another try.

Tue Nov 01 2011 10:19PM Report
bakagami writes:

@jeddak,  same here, I bought it 3 days before their network went down over the hacking incident.  there was nobody around and even though everyone was given a free month, hardly anyone was there after it came back up.  the game is everything Ozzallos  says but I just couldn't get into playing solo

Fri Nov 04 2011 8:03PM Report
Koros writes:

I've been playing it in f2p and it's not bad. The item shop seems pretty fair, not at all what I would expect from the company that also does EQ2X. I'm level 10 though and the gameplay is starting to get very repetitive, with nothing to really draw me into the world or its lore. It just doesn't seem... expansive or deep enough for me I guess. Maybe I'd feel differently if I was a huge fan of superheroes.

Fri Nov 04 2011 9:48PM Report
Velocinox writes:

Chris Cao lacks the necessary skills to be a game designer.

Sony let him design this game and now he's just a producer at Zynga. At least we don't have to face his lack of creativity in the future. Sweeping up after the creative types seems more his speed.



Sat Nov 05 2011 12:13AM Report
Cameo3 writes:

This seems to be created by someone told to write an article for $50. 


You can't tell *ANY* game is F2P/P2P-worthy until the game is out there and you see the customization options (where the cash shop comes into play.) 


Seems a certain game company which doesn't have much customization options steered you into writing this article.

Sat Nov 05 2011 5:39PM Report
Gormok writes:

@Cameo3 What does crappy gameplay have to do with customization? I played this game for about an hour and got tired of the click click click gameplay rather quickly. Controller type gameplay on a PC mmo is just bad game design. The company was to lazy to design the game for PC so that just ported over the console version. Sorta like how square did with FF 14

Sun Nov 06 2011 8:02PM Report
Ozzallos writes:


You do realize how cuastic and negative my blog tends to be on a regular basis, right? And how I completely panned the original version? And how I outright admit it could still be the same bucket of suck even now? Trust me when I say it: Nobody *wants* to pay me for these opinions :p

Mon Nov 07 2011 11:11AM Report
KCDDagger writes:

^ agree, but I'll sit her eand snicker while I read 'em.   Considering I'm Ozz's editor for other works and just read this for entertainment, I can tell you he doesn't get paid for being a sarcastic snarky bastard.  Its just the way he is.  Come to think of it.  I'm the same way.  *smirk*  Read my reply to his initial post of DC Universe Online: A Haters Guide ;p

Sun Jan 15 2012 11:03PM Report writes:
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