Sunday, November 28, 2010

Is DCUO just "average? The answer may be yes

You only get one Launch Day.

It honestly doesn't matter that much what you hope to add in a year, what neat things you're holding to release along side the Green Lantern movie, and how excited your staff is to still have jobs that let them keep piling missions on this engine. If the game isn't widely appealing AT LAUNCH your subscriber base will evaporate before you get a chance to show them how good you could be, maybe, sometime down the road, if we just pay we a fee every month to prove it. "Starting to build..." Is not gonna cut it.

I honestly don't understand what DCUO is shooting for - I keep hearing "its more action game than RPG" as justification for some of the design choices, but the PS3 has lots of action games and the ones that hit big have better graphics, smoother/more accessible gameplay, and most importantly of all, only expect to hold your attention with their particular mix of features for about 50 hours. Kratos, Belmont, and Starkiller don't expect you to pay a monthly fee to do it all again with a minutely different build the second time through. Depth and variety of customization is where DCUO may distinguish iteself from its action game competitors, eventually. Where it may justify a recuring fee.

You've done some good work here. The environments are 90th percentile or better (that's intended to be complimentary). The weapons combo trees give a good range of player-side experiences, balanced against the inevitable repeation of enemy behavior as you level up your 4th or later alt. Voice acting is passable. Putting enemies in 6 kinds of balls is cute (if grossly overused).

...But... Player character customization for powers is mediocre. 6 choices with terrible documentation until after you've commited to the choice (Storms is hidden inside Ice... seriously?).

And sorry, but character customization for appearance is bottom of the barrel - and if you look around your market you know it. Your PC MMO counterparts do it better, and fight games like the Soul Caliber series do it better console-side. Being on the PS3 is not a plausible excuse. You guys are SONY - your supposed to be the slyest, savviest PS3 coders there are.

Hopefully you still have the time, resources, and interest to tackle the weakest parts of your design. It's tempting to think that players will evaluate your game as the sum of features, with A + B + C giving you the result, and meaning that if you can add +1 to any one feature it doesn't matter which you choose. The reality is the player grades the experience more like A x B x C. If A is solid and C is really good, nothing will bring up your final value faster than improving on a weak B.

I WANT this to be a good game. It's got some good features that with polish could be a solid choice for my entertainment time and dollars in the comming year. But don't think a viable customer base is going to pay you $15-a-month for 6+ months while you apply that polish.

Thank you for your time. I'll get back to testing after the servers come back up.
I agree with a lot of you points also. Instead of feeling like the next legend, I feel like a hero they are forcing me to be. Dont get me wrong...the game is great but it has the potential to be a whole lot greater. I think a major part of the problem is that they are trying to keep both software architectures the same for PC and PS3. Im not saying that this is the only reason but Im sure its playing a major role in the limitation. Since they decided to keep PC and PS3 players seperate, they should really let the PC potential flow.

It reminds me of buying the same game for PS3 and PSP. The PSP has less power and therefore the game play, graphics, and features are lacking when compared to the PS3. I think this should be the same case for DCUO. PC players should not be limited due to a version of the game that is going to a less powerful piece of hardware.

Another video-RPG'ers bites the dust.

DCUO isint much of an RP platform.

These forums have apparently seen a huge influx of video-RPG'ers in the last week+. These people all have exactly the same 3-5 complaints about DCUO not having standard mmorpg features. These complaints are their first, short term, impression (more toolbar, freemouse targeting, macro'd combos, infinite char customization etc).

Apparently these mmorpg players are really locked in to one exact type of gameplay. At least upon first impression anything that varies from the WoW formula is something they dont like.

The thing is, in the long term, these  people arent going to like this game anyway. Its not an RPG. As the poster above and many, many other video-rpg'ers have complained, there just isint a whole lot of RP element in this game.

In the short term the video-rpg'ers will complain about controls and customization that dont suit them, but in the long term they arent going to be playing this game anyway because it lacks alot of RP room.