The fine folks over at Gamespot recently took a trip to SOE’s Austin-based studio, where DC Universe Online is being developed under the tutelage of folks like Jens Anderson and Chris Cao. As I’ve been harping week after week, the amount of info coming out of Austin is sparse, likely due to the fact that SOE’s playing it safe in announcing things until they’re 100% sure it’s going to make launch. We really can’t fault them for that. Still, when little visits like this to the studio start popping up, even though they might carry with them an embargo of sorts, it’s encouraging when we get some solid info out of trip.
We found out through the article that players who choose to go the Hero route will initially be guided through the tutorial process by Superman. Later on you’ll pick an allegiance to different heroes. For example gadget-based heroes will “tutor” under Batman while magic-based folk will report to Wonder Woman. The obvious implication here is that replayability will be greatly bolstered by the different hero tutors you’ll be able to ally with. And we all are familiar with just how much rolling an alt character factors into a MMO, much less a superhero game.
One other nugget of info mentioned during the trip is that apparently your choice of hero or villain will affect what city you start off in. I suppose it makes sense to have the two sort of gated from each other initially, much like Alliance and Horde players are typically miles away from one another at the beginning and only deeper into the game come across one another. Without direct knowledge of how it works, I would assume that only your first handful of levels are spent in your assigned city (heroes in Metropolis, villains in Gotham) and after you ally with your “tutor” you’ll wind up traveling back and forth between them both.
Additionally it seems that gear will play a much more standard role in DCUO than in other superhero MMOs on the market. There will be shops to buy and sell different pieces, and we already know that players will be able to either display the visuals for their gear or hide them if they’d prefer to keep their self-designed look intact while still getting the benefit of any added stats. And while it may seem silly to expect an Auction House in a world filled with superheroes and villains, I’m still hoping that one exists in DCUO. The story has it so that the entire world is flooded by new heroes and villains thanks to Brainiac, so it kind of/sort of makes sense that said heroes and villains would need a special place to hawk their wares.
In all, it seems that slowly and surely the details are trickling out of SOE Austin. No grand announcement has been made about beta, or the final power sets, or even character customization, but with launch only a couple of months away one can likely expect the floodgates to open shortly. And by then, I’m sure I’ll have too much info to talk about here. But for now, I’ll take any tidbits I can get. Until next week, folks: stay classy.