With all the talk about Daybreak Games last week, and last weekend containing a big superheroes movie event, it seemed like a good time to check-in with one of the two only remaining superhero MMOs on the market still up and running. It seems like a while since we checked-in with DC Universe Online (DCUO). This is a DCUO briefing of some of the exciting things taking place in the game nowadays!
This Game’s Got Style
First off, I need to provide some background so try not to be turned off by the overview in the next paragraph as it talks about two touchpoints that most gamers hate.
If you’ve not played DCUO for a long time, then there are probably going to be base gameplay designs still around that you remember all too well. For example, the level cap is still 30 and after attaining that easily still comes the “combat rating” (CR) grind. This is the gameplay grind of raising your armor level to access and play through associated content. Equipment is attained through loot drops or by opening capsule drops (i.e. loot boxes). Capsules are typically themed, i.e. a “themed capsule” is typically associated with an event and can drop certain styles, gear, lair items, etc. inspired by that event. Each capsule is tradable and when opened will include a variety of items that are mostly tradable. Some of these items will be included inside a separate capsule or box inside the Time Capsule. These contain styles, auras, materials, collections, and gear. Each capsule also contains “Quarks”, an in-game currency, for rewards from specific vendors. To open a capsule, you’ll need a “Stabilizer”, a.k.a. a key. These can be obtained through the marketplace, for real money, or by putting one together through gameplay.
Hopefully, you’re still with me because the creative team has done an excellent job over the current year with the content in these capsules. They’ve been offering some great cosmetic pieces in these capsules that push the graphical boundaries of the engine and have done an astounding job of tying them directly into regular game updates and events. A lot of these auras and styles, many dyeable, having been raising the bar on the graphical look of the game. They’ve been so well done that people seem to be taking a chance on opening capsules just to acquire them. These style items have really opened the roleplay and fashion designer aspects of the game and we’ve seen some amazing costumes come out of it.
There have also been plenty of emblems and lair items offered, e.g. a “live” Krypto (the infamous super-pooch) for your lair. Batman Beyond inspired gear and Dark Nights: Metal inspired emblems. Typically, when you’re awarded an emblem in a capsule you also earn a blueprint for crafting that emblem in the future.
Plenty Of New Content
The creative team also does a great job continuing to put out regular game updates and tying those in to current DC Comic events. If you’re an avid DC Comics fan / reader, there is a lot here to whet your appetite. For example, earlier this year we had the “Riddled With Crime” episode which was based off of last year’s “War Of Jokes And Riddles” event in Batman comics. The episode featured a new Open World area, two Duos, an Alert, and a Raid (with Elite version). The Raid features a brand-new location – the Gotham City Zoo! Earn all-new gear inspired by The Riddler.
Months later was the “Earth 3” episode where players got to help Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman take on the infamous Crime Syndicate. This episode featured a 2-player Operation, Open World Missions, a 4-player Alert, and two 8-player Raids. Include gear drops were inspired by Owlman and Johnny Quick.
Just a month or two ago we then got treated to the “Deluge” episode which was inspired by the “Deluge Event” that ran in Aquaman comics last year. This episode includes appearances by Black Manta and Mera, as well as styles inspired by both iconic characters. Check the gorgeous lead-in graphic containing Black Manta inspired gear.
Generally, these events / episodes start with a quest line that anyone level 10 or higher can participate in and then they roll into the general content / storyline.
The team is also working on the next episode which pays homage to Action Comics #1000 and Superman’s 80th anniversary by going back to a popular 80’s comic book event, “The Death Of Superman”. A small overview was given by the creative team on one of their semi-regular Twitch broadcasts. Not a lot is known yet, but one exciting piece was a still of a graphically updated Doomsday. This just goes to show that the team isn’t just adding things but are also trying to make improvements. Another example is they replaced the in-game Superman mentor communications overlay shot with an updated look. Hopefully, we’ll see more of these improvements since Playstation 3 support has been cancelled.
Also debuting this week was an update that included Round 1 of “style unlocking”. Style unlocking allows you to unlock a known style for the cost of replay badges. Replay Badges traditionally allow all players to reset an instance’s loot lockouts in-game. Paid subscribers are granted 150 Replay Badges per month. All players can purchase more Replay Badges in the Marketplace going for about $0.99 or 100 Daybreak Cash which yields 25 Replay Badges.
Since there are so many styles in this game the first round of unlocking only includes styles found on PvE Vendors through Episode 26, styles from Booster Bundles 1-3, and styles from Time Capsules 1-3. Since releasing this update the creative team polled the player community to help decide which area of style unlocking to implement next.
You’d be hard pressed to say that the DCUO team isn’t trying hard to continue making this a worthy superhero MMO. Sure, there’s things they haven’t gotten around to fixing but there’s also plenty of things added regularly (e.g. like the end of last year the newest powerset “Water” was added all while at the same time rebalancing all powersets). If you do some research and take everything into account, all the things added in the last year, you’ll realize you owe it to yourself to take another look at DCUO!