Yesterday, I had the opportunity to have a chat with Chris Cao, game director of Sony Online Entertainment's DC Universe Online. The reason for the chat, of course, was the forthcoming, and much discussed, content update coming for February.
“The word here is growth” Chris laid it down simply at the beginning, and proceeded to break down the content for me basically into two categories, The DC Focus Character, and the Seasonly, monthly content for Valentine's Day. He started off with the Focus character, who is going to be Catwoman. It's a 30th level mission to hunt for Catwoman across rooftops in Gotham, includes a race, and stays true to the mythos of the character herself. It leads to an instance at the Gotham Museum in which she tries to steal some Egyptian artifacts, but ends up cursing the staff of the Museum, leading to five different boss fights. All of the employees become cursed by different aspects of the feline gods; The Panthers (stealth), The Cheetahs (speed), The Tigers (agility) and the Lions (strength). Each of the four feline gods are representative of one of the museum wings and ends in a boss battle. At the end you will face off against Catwoman, who has been possessed by the various aspects of the feline gods, and watch out, because she actually has nine lives. Worth noting about the Museum plot is a unique set of armor – Ancient Mayan Armor. Chris described it as a Mayan God or High Priest set, all made out of obsidian or jade and laid out very nicely. New headlines, new feats, new collections and investigations, and it all tops off with a new cut scene from the point of view of Selina Kyle herself, Catwoman.
Catwoman is also being added as a Legends character, mixing it up for the PvP players who enjoy the legends system. In addition, speaking of PvP, the team is adding a new Open World PvP event, this time to Gotham, akin to the War of the Rings in Metropolis.
Mr. Cao then dove directly into the Valentine's Day content and explained that there are two parts to the content, one for everyone (Of any level) and a seasonal boss fight for a group of four level 30s. The story is that the hearts and minds of mankind are always toys for the Grecian Gods, a mythos that DC comics use, so there's a realm between theirs and ours where the cherubs exist where they manipulate people to love one another, hate one another and toy with the emotions of humans. Through a series of magical fountains, the players can enter the realm and take on aspects of these cherubs. As a villain, you take on a more twisted cherub, while the heroes take on a more classic cherubic appearance to fight for the hearts and minds (whether for good or evil) of the populations. There are a series of daily quests where you fight for the aspect of love representative of your chosen side; devotion or scorn, in a battle that will define love as a selfish, or selfless emotion, including a multiplayer race where you shoot through the sky collecting hearts that give you speed boosts, a bounce-house where you jump up and down through the sky and collect hearts for your side, a battle between sides where you're attempting to conquer the other side by putting them in a fountain and changing them for good or for evil and another in which you use your cherubic bow to shoot some citizens to influence them to your side of the battle for love. Because heroes and villains are fighting for the actual meaning of love, and depending on the hearts you collect, it contributes towards your side of the battle. There are naturally Valentine's Day themed rewards that come with the game, including candy, rings and jewellery and what Chris referred to as “Be Mine Tokens”, in which you can attempt to sway a nasty boss in the game to be your Valentine (and there are naturally feats associated with this). There are also unique male and female suits coming with the Valentine's theme, called the Harlequin style, not modelled after the character, but in the artistic clown style, decorated with hearts. This content is available to all levels.
The additional 30th level content available for the Valentine's Content comes in the form of a fight for the true definition of love in the temple of Aphrodite on Mount Olympus. This fight is for you and three of your closest, 30th level friends. Chris described it as a flip-side alert where you have a single-room boss fight in which you fight Aphrodite's aspects (Devotion and Scorn) and you decide which side to fight for. There's different loot depending on which side you attack. This seasonal content will only be available for the month of February, providing players with incentive to get out there and experience this new content while it's hot.
Chris also spoke about how they wanted to further stimulate the game's economy by adding an Auction House/Broker to the game – so that you can sell the items you've stored away in your bank, pick up new styles and gears from other people, get trading and get that flow of equipment going. A new duo is going to be added under the Bane plot with mini-bosses, new loot and new tactics. Finally, there's “The Batcave 2 - The fight against Brother Eye”. It was Beta-ed and they've revised it; because players have gotten better at the game, and therefore made it more of a challenge: accounting for skill point spending, player item growth, and stepped up the game altogether, added new animations, new effects and new abilities across the board.
He and I briefly spoke about the ability for the game to continue with these seasonal updates and Chris brought up March. They'll be adapting in future months not only to the seasonal holiday of the time, but they will be looking at where the populations of the servers are, what they're playing, and will adapt based not only on the season, but on the player-base.
Readers, you should take a look for the new content in the next coming weeks.