Recently the fine folks at SOE’s Austin Studio released a video detailing two of the game’s “Iconic Battle Suits”. As further proof that DCUO is a bit more focused on items and gear than we may be used to in our super-MMOs, the Iconic Battle Suits represent the apex of items and gear in DC Universe Online. For those that haven’t heard about the suits yet, basically they’re sets of items that hold a thematic look of a certain DC Universe character. Those that were revealed in the video were Wonder Woman, Black Adam, Batman and the Joker. Though only the former two were detailed extensively. Let’s take a closer look at this notion of Iconic Battle Suits and ponder a moment what it might mean for DCUO.
One of the bigger draws, at least from my point of view, to DC Universe is the fact that it’s actually an established comic book universe with heroes that we have all grown up with over the past several decades. Don’t get me wrong, the Champions IP has its own fair share of memorable characters and CoH’s scribes did a good job creating their own from scratch, but only the people who play those games would know them. Whereas there’s probably very few people in the entirety of the civilized world who don’t know who Batman or Superman are. And the idea behind this Battle Suits is to give players more of a tie to these characters.
I mean you can already PvP fight as certain people, but your day to day will be spent as a character of your own creation. Chances are your character will draw upon some inspiration, and perhaps that inspiration will be of DC Universe origins. In this case, the Battle Suits will be yet another way to pay homage to your favorite hero. It’s also likely that you’ll be able to pick and choose which pieces of the set you show on your character, so that you should be able to mix and match to cater to your own personal style… or if you’d prefer you could always keep the stats and not show the items at all if you’re more of an individualist.
The Potentially Bad
I say potentially bad, because until we get in and tool around with these suits, this is all just speculation. Additionally, this is purely opinion-based speculation, as I’m sure there are going to be folks who find contention in what I’m about to say. While I love myself some gear to collect and new shiny things to find in my MMOs, I don’t want the game to become all about that. I know that every studio is trying to find some way to cope with the “End Game Conundrum” but I can’t believe that what most wind up doing is putting us on some sort of gear treadmill. I guess in this case I’m glad that superhero games like DCUO have such a great potential for rolling new characters. So when I say that these Battle Suits could be potentially bad, I only mean that I hope they don’t become the de facto standard for running the game’s later content with your guild, or for that matter that the suits themselves and attaining them become the only thing one has to do at the level cap. Looks like I have a good question or two to ask of Chris Cao and company next time I get the chance.
The other, and possibly less bothersome, side of the coin is that these Battle Suits might cheapen how I feel as a superhero or supervillain. Typically in comics we don’t often have heroes wishing they could live up to their predecessors or trying to dress like them. Something about being awarded a Superman-themed suit makes me feel like my hero will be always trying to impress the Man of Steel when I’d rather be noted as his equal. But really, it’s a video game about superheroes and villains where tons of nano-robots have infested thousands of humans and given them all super powers. Maybe I shouldn’t go thinking too much about all that after all. It’s going to be fun to work with Batman, maybe have the emotionally stunted millionaire Bruce Wayne pass down some cool bat-inspired gear, and at the end of the day if I look a little bit like a rip-off of the Dark Knight… at least I can say I earned the right.