Hot on the heels of last month’s update featuring Catwoman and some better-late-than-never Valentine’s Day content the team at SOE is gearing up to deploy the game’s second major update and we were invited to take part in a roundtable discussion in order to find out what players can expect and pose a few questions to DC Universe Online Game Director Chris Cao on the update and all things DCUO.
Chris kicked things off by giving us a rapid-fire rundown of the content update, which as you may have noticed, is no longer being referenced by month (e.g. last month’s February Update) due to the many variables involved in getting out a massive update to players.
Following along the same vein as the February Update, this latest update will focus on an iconic DC Universe character: Two-Face (and to a lesser extent The Penguin). The main theme of the update’s content is chance, and so Two-Face as a character to focus on turned out to be a pretty solid fit.
The solo content featured in the update will make use of this theme by giving players a 50/50 chance of helping out either Harvey Dent or Two-Face, who is embroiled in a conflict with The Penguin. The chance element will offer players some extra replayability. Like Two-Face, the Penguin hasn’t had much time in the spotlight in DCUO up to this point, only making a brief (but memorable) appearance in one of the game's gang-war motion comics, and so Update 2 promises to flesh out his character a bit more, offering some insight into the Penguin’s plans and motivations. Oh, and there’ll be a Penguin boss fight as well, Penguin Maximus (or something like that, according to Chris).
Two-Face will also join the Legends PvP roster where the element of chance will again play an important role in the form of Two-Face’s iconic coin-flip. Landing on Two-Face offers a damage boost and DoT attacks while the Harvey Dent side grants players additional control, knockdowns, and stuns. Two-Face’s other capabilities include the ability to distract your foes with a summoned mob of goons, suppressive fire, an oil drum trap, and even a grenade launcher.
The new update contains a few new surprises as well, such as a revamped version of the Green Lantern instance. The revamped version includes several new boss fights, pitting players against Arkillo and Kilowog. Sinestro and Jon Stewart will still make their appearances in the instance, however, players will notice that their abilities and effects have been redone from the ground up, with some of the new effects including light-chainsaws and planes bombing and dropping ordnance on enemies. Chris didn’t get into specifics, but he promised all sorts of new action for players on the Duo side of things.
The third wing of the Batcave will open up in Update 2, though I suspect that most players were expecting this. What you may have not expected though, is that you’ll be fighting The Dark Knight himself in the new wing, though he’s infected with the OMAC virus and has teamed up with Brainiac’s Avatar of Technology. The fight is expected to be quite difficult and full of surprises, and Chris advises that players will probably want to have a full or almost full set of Tier 2 before taking on ol’ Bats and Brainiac. Batman won’t be your only challenge though, as the Avatar of Technology is DCUO’s first multi-phase boss, switching from a giant missile-firing armored mecha to a Scorpion-like beast that will whip around the room. This all culminates in a battle with Brainiac himself. Players who succeed in defeating Brainiac here will have essentially pushed back Brainiac’s assault on Earth’s technology, wrapping up that side of the story. This will pave the way to new content focused on the game’s other aspects such as the magical and metahuman.
While St. Patrick’s Day has come and gone, Update 2 will bring new seasonal content as Mister Mxyzpltk who in his love for chaos has shown up to mock the holiday by taking on the form of a Leprechaun of sorts. The new seasonal content differs from the Valentine’s Day content in that it takes place in the open game world. This lends well to the update’s theme of chance, as players will experience all manner of mini-events in the world, often by chance, though there will be rainbows directing players to these events so you need not fret about missing the content! The new seasonal content can be tackled by both grouped and solo players alike and will offer a variety of rewards, including an entirely new Celtic style for players to collect and put together.
Rounding things out are the expected tweaks and bug fixes (including chat fixes!), and more interestingly the revamp of the game’s social systems or as Chris put it “Social System 2.0”. The original social system was designed within the game’s PDA window, but the team found this to be “too cumbersome and buggy”, so a lot of the social functionality has moved, replaced in the PDA by the League tab, which allows you to manage all of your League functionality (duh!). Social functions such as inviting or kicking players to a group or inviting players to a League have been moved to the Quick Menu.
For those of you playing on the PS3, you’ve now got a hard push-to-talk button on your right directional on the D-Pad, which can be remapped. Quick chat has received an update as well, as it will now feature separate channels for voice chat and text chat, allowing players to be in two channels simultaneously. Not related to Update 2, but Chris also wanted to mention that PS3 players will also be able to purchase the game digitally on the PlayStation Store. Sure, it’s a pretty big download, but hey, options are always welcome.
The social system changes also extend to grouping and queuing, as you will now be able to re-invite someone in an instance or raid that may have been dropped accidentally instead of having their spot auto-filled by some random dude. Speaking of random dudes, they can now be votekicked from the group as well.
This wasn’t the end of the DCUO goodness, but alas, that's all for today. Tune in next time, same bat-writer, same bat-website.