Weeks ago, I was afforded the opportunity to preview and review Daybreak’s DC Universe Online (DCUO) for the Nintendo Switch. The Nintendo Switch became the third platform I’ve had the opportunity to start the game on from scratch. Editor Joseph Bradford and I thought that maybe there was an new or invigorated audience for a bi-weekly column on ramblings about DCUO. Seeing as Nintendo Switch players might be new to the game the column might be aimed, at times, at the newcomers. Veterans are welcome to chime in through the comments thread below as well. So welcome to the first in an ongoing series about all things DC Universe Online!
One day while driving in the car my adult daughter (Brittany) and I were discussing the advent of me doing this column. She said one of the things most confusing to her when she played on the PlayStation 4, when it originally released, is what to do after hitting level 30. Level 30 has been the maximum “level” in DCUO since day one. For my original foray into DCUO on PC it was at this point that I started to falter as well. For me that was an unfortunate set of circumstances because I missed out on a lot of episode content released thereafter.
So “Life After 30” seemed like a great place to start some discussion on the first article of this series, especially as I try to rectify that mistake as I start anew on the Nintendo Switch.
Maximum Level 30, What Now?
At lot of veterans will have their opinions on how to proceed post-30 but for most players there will be a typical course of action that goes something like the following.
While your hero/villain’s “level” will stop at thirty it’s at this point that you’ll start focusing on your “combat rating” (CR) a.k.a as a gear score in other MMOs. From this point forward your CR will drive what story episodes you have access to. So, if you’re into the game for the lore, like myself, this becomes a pretty big factor for you.
Once you hit level 30, you’ll not only see “30” over your current role but you’ll also see your combat rating to the right of your name. In the screenshot above my CR is 253 currently. My CR is only that high because I’m in an event instance which is available to level 10s and up. While in the instance everyone is “buffed” to CR 253. The current highest CR in game is 273 and make no bones about it, it’ll take awhile to get that high.
Traditionally when I hit level 30, I tend to go into my journal and finish the “Main Story” which typically ends with you teaming up with your mentor. This will yield some better gear to help you start raising your CR score while also putting some closure on the main story. I also clean-up / finish any other dangling stories to clean up my journal. These tend to be lower level missions and won’t yield a lot of useful equipment. Fortunately, you’ll breeze through them relatively quickly and hopefully pick-up some styles and/or feats or two along the way.
As you raise your CR story missions will start showing up in the side missions’ section of your journal that will help earn you gear that starts “eeking” up your gear score as well.
Climbing Up The Tier System Of Combat Ratings
In DCUO CR levels are grouped into “tiers”, e.g. as:
Combat Rating Level 30 to CR 43 – Tier 1 Combat Rating CR 43 to CR 53 – Tier 2 Combat Rating CR 53 to CR 70 – Tier 3 etc. Become familiar with the “On Duty” tab which allows players to queue for various instances. When players reach level 30, they can access the Tier 1 content which yields better gear and source marks. Source marks can be used to buy gear with a higher CR. Many people just grind the solo (1-player) and Duo (2-player) instances. A lot of these also yield a “daily bonus” so try to get those done at least once a day.
Most of these instances become reruns of boss dungeons or instances you’ve already seen especially if you tend to progress through the normal story missions. A lot of people tend to boss rush these instances past the boring minions as the end is where the rewards are earned.
“Alerts and Operations” (4-player), as well as “Raids” (8-player) can also be done but can sometimes be challenging to find / queue for a group. This is where joining an active League (i.e. guild) can help tremendously.
You’ll typically continue this cycle as you bump up from tier to tier. Personally, I’m in it for the comic book lore being a big comic book reader. While this sounds like a tedious cycle, opening up access to new episodes is a big dangling, motivational carrot for me personally.
Breaking Up The Monotony
There are other activities to break up the cycle of the continuous CR leveling experience. These include working on “Feats”, i.e. Achievements. Feats are typically self-contained and award completion points. Feats cover a multitude of gameplay areas including story, explorations, raids, alerts, PvP, collecting a set style, etc. For every 100 feat points you earn a skill point. That skill point can be assigned to making your powerset stronger, gain iconic powers, improving your mode of movement, etc.
You’ll also earn drops of “Nth Metal” along the way. Nth Metal can be used to increase the strength of artifacts. Different types of artifacts can be slotted to provide extra procs and buffs at given levels. The buffs run the gamut of increasing a specific attribute a given percentage, e.g. “Might”. Equipping and fortifying the proper artifacts can be a substantial boost to one’s powerset build. A whole column can be devoted to artifact choice and leveling.
Also make sure to queue for the solo “Vault” mission on your duty tab (allowed once a day) every day as this yields styles and “Nth Metal”.
Current Events Can Ease The CR Cycle Too
While not always a direct conduit to increasing your CR there is typically a current “event” going on in game. These events are meant to typically allow “most levels” (10+) access to a new episode for a limited time. For example, the current in-game event is a story line revolving around the Justice League Dark. These events yield dailies and new currency that can be used to purchase new and different styles, auras and lair furnishings, not to mention new feats to garner skill points.
That’s A Wrap For Now
I know a lot of what was mentioned above is just scratching the surface. Hopefully, this gives newcomers a launch point as they hit level 30. Veterans who have their own strategies that might be helpful to a newcomer, or someone who is restarting anew, can comment below.
By time the next article in this series hits we’ll have Part I of the next episodic event upon us… Dark Nights Metal Part I.