Sony Online Entertainment invited us and other members of the press to participate in a roundtable discussion regarding today’s just announced ‘Lightning Strikes’ DLC for DC Universe Online. On Sony’s end, we spoke to Creative Director Jens Andersen and Executive Directive of Development Loren Jameson.
First on the agenda, of course, was the upcoming DLC. ‘Lightning Strikes’ is the second DLC pack for DC Universe Online and will focus on iconic DC speedster The Flash. You see, the Pied Piper and Abracadabra are messing with hero and villain origins, and it will be up to players to make sure that Barry Allen becomes, well, The Flash! If you’re wondering why villains would want to help The Flash come to be, SOE explained that Flash villain Professor Zoom would also never come to be if The Flash’s origin is messed with, so it is in his interest (you are working for him as a villain) that Barry becomes everyone’s favorite speedster.
The Cosmic Treadmill (a staple of Flash comics) is being introduced in ‘Lightning Strikes’ in order to facilitate this, and as SOE explains, later content. The Cosmic Treadmill allows The Flash to travel through time, and players will use it to go back and make sure Barry Allen is struck by that fateful bolt of lightning. The new content will all take place in a new level 30 shared instance (for up to 50 players from either side) set in an 8x4 section of Central City near the Flash museum. SOE can’t churn out a new city every quarter when they put out new DLC, but they wanted to make sure that players got to experience Central City as it really wouldn’t be a Flash pack without it. The instanced zone will also be replete with new bounties (though it will also include new bounties in Gotham City and Metropolis, for those who don’t purchase the DLC), and even a new Duo that takes place within the Flash museum itself.
In addition to the new content coming with ‘Lightning Strikes,’ players can also look forward to the brand-new ‘Electricity’ power set. Every power set in DC Universe Online features a DPS role as well as either a Controller, Healer, or Tank role, and Electricity is no different. It was noted that the ‘Light’ set introduced with ‘Fight for the Light’, the Green Lantern themed DLC introduced earlier this year, filled the Controller role, so Electricity will offer players a Healing role in addition to straight DPS. Before we describe the set any further, it’s important to note that players will not be able to respec into Electricity on existing characters. Allowing players to respec with the aforementioned ‘Light’ power set caused major headaches for Customer Support since many players actually ended up wanting to switch back to their original powers after they messed around with the ‘Light’ powers. Also, unlike the ‘Light’ set, Electricity will be ‘uni-faction’ in the sense that there won’t be separate powers for Heroes (Will) and Villains (Fear).
Healing in Electricity finds a balance between some of the more bursty healing and AOE healing currently featured in the game, and also introduces a new healing mechanic called Rescue Healing. Electricity healers can fire-and-forget their heals by placing a charge on allies that activates the heal when their target reaches a certain health threshold. Healing will be part of both the ‘Voltage’ and ‘Amperage’ trees within the set, though one will focus more on AOE/burst healing, while the other will focus on the ‘Rescue Healing’ mechanic.
If you’re not into healing, you may also be interested to know that some Electricity powers will be able to arc from target to target, creating a chain-lightning like effect. One power discussed during the call was ‘Tesla Ball,’ a slow-moving ball of electricity that passes through and electrifies any nearby targets.
- Super Speed won’t get any tweaks with the new DLC, but they are looking on focusing on a movement-power based update, including the possibility of adding a new movement power. However, players will be imbued with the Speed Force as part of the DLC content, allowing them to use Super Speed temporarily.
- We asked about crafting, but SOE was quite coy on this, encouraging us to “Stay tuned for updates.” Though, we were told we wouldn’t have to wait long!
- SOE will not be re-booting DC Universe Online in accordance with the recent DC Comics reboot.
- There is a brand-new motion comic in the DLC that focuses on fate and destiny.
- No new content for PvP in DLC #2. However, a new PvP map will be introduced to the game in an upcoming update. SOE is also discussing the possibility of a DLC pack focused a bit more on PvP, though no timeframe was provided on this.
- ‘Lightning Strikes’ will feature new exclusive items (non-Marketplace). The items will be acquired by earning Marks through completion of the pack content. Players can look forward to new styles, and even trinkets, including a special ring that allows players to quickly transform into a Speed Force outfit complete with special powers of its own.
DC Universe Online: Lightning Strikes will be available later this year for $9.99 on the PC and PlayStation 3.