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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.