Wednesday, December 22, 2010

DC Universe Online is going to launch in a bad state of affairs

January 11th is the set launch date of a game that is still handing out "beta" keys. Or should we say "come play for free and do nothing to fix the issues" keys.

This still haunts the game in beta right up until launch time. Comments on the beta forum from testers have seen people begging Sony to fix it since many are reaching end game in quick fashion. You can read the majority of that here when I posted about it before.

However it gets worse. Sony it seems will do nothing about it and expects you to complete little feats and collect costume pieces while they work on making the game more and more console player friendly right before launch.

I'm just going to throw this out there quickly and let people make up their own minds. The reason interest in DCUO might be short lived for a lot of players is because, and I've said this before, by the time you hit lvl 30 and exhaust all the solo content, the game becomes primarily a group/PvP experience. In other words unless you're playing with other people there just isn't anything to do.

Now the devs announced that they plan on adding a mess of new solo content for people who hit 30 in a future patch and I'm very excited about this, but we've still yet to see it and probably won't for maybe another month. My own personal opinion is that if the devs want this game to be a hit they really need to focus on providing plenty of content for gamers who want to play with their friends and gamers who just want to jump and start playing whether their playing with another person or not. Because once you hit the level cap, you're basically dependent on someone else being interested in playing the same duo, alert, or raid you want to.

The latest patch? Have no fear controller users! Rather than work on that lets put MORE controller options in. Oh joy!

Controls:

  • Directional Pad and F1-F4 now controls Quick Menu.

  • Directional Pad Up/F1 - Actions Menu - Allows player to see Active Combos and Abilities, toggle PVP Flag and change stance.

  • Directional Pad Right/F2 - Buffs  - Shows what buffs you are using currently.

  • Directional Pad Down/F3 - Canned Chat - Quick Chat system.

  • Directional Pad Left/f4 - Emotes – Pre-generated Actions.

  • Restored ability to switch hard lock targets by pressing DPad left/right while holding L1.

  • Improved response of Acrobatics controls.

  • Added ability to cancel channeled powers by jumping or pressing “block.”


Sounds like a PS3 good time. End game content in the MMO with less features than any other "super hero" MMO? Sony community manager RadarX says no:
Solo Content is of course a very important part of any MMO and DCUO has quite a bit.  If you have pushed all the way through the main story arcs, there are always other options:

  • Investigations:  Have you collected them all?  There are tons!

  • Feats:  A large portion of the feats in the game can be completed solo.

  • Costumes:  Have you collected each piece?


Finally DCUO bridges the gap between Solo and Group content with Duos.  This is about as low impact as you can get in an MMO requiring only 2 people and less than 30 mins of your time.  This isn't saying more solo content won't be made but the goal is bring at least to the point of Duos.

More after the break. Click CONTINUE to see a video



The solution? One daily task from 6 kiosks that give you...you guessed it....a token (err Mark sorry). They have added:
"New Challenge Modes are Available!  At level 30 players will have 6 new Kiosks in both the Hall of Doom (Villain) and Watchtower (Hero) that grant one task, each pointed to a Level 30 version of an existing Solo Instance. Each task can be completed once per day and will grant a Mark specific to this content. The Kiosks are organized by Headquarters Wings and grant faction on completion of their tasks based on the Wing the tasks are found in."

Multiple quick slot bars? Nope you only get one in this game.
Please allow us to add more quick slots. Im getting more powers that I really like but it seems a tad silly to have to put on different hats just to use them all. If we could add more slots then we could cut loose and see how heroic we can be.

Powers are balanced yet? No they are not. Players have been trying to cover this forever on the forums as well.

My thoughts in detail:

  • The powers are often too slow for such a fast moving game that truly plays like a great console title while still being a MMO.

  • The powers interactions are often too short lived to interact, so that things like Burning doesn't stick long enough to even  throw another power that works from the burning, let alone when playing with other players for them to see the effect and act upon it with their powers.

  • Powers that seem to be designed as damage dealers are often much weaker than just using a weapon combo, and the weapon combo doesn't deplete the power bar. For example, even when range is needed, the range options on most weapons hit harder. Shoving up Might numbers doesnt add much to the damage.

  • In PVP a few powers are handy, but a majority of them tend to be somewhat worthless, as any effects the power applies to the other player is something the opposing player can break free from far too easily. Even PVE opponents break out of effects faster than expected on some powers. Again shoving up dominance or the other stats doesn't add much to time the effect works.

  • Juggling of power loadouts is a good concept for the dual role of the player base types, but in reality, most of the powers that you find useful end up being the same in each role. Especially when you realize that some of the defense powers are less useful in the 'tank' role than they are in the damage role.

  • It would be far better to offer at least another 4 power options, and to activate them require a combination hit. For example have the first four powers have another tiny row that can be loaded with powers and instead of just firing the power, you have to tap twice or hold to activate. This would give a controller players easy access to more than just the 6 power loadout options.


Same balance issues that Champions Online never fixed:
This game has been made where it is much easier to do everything with ranged weapons.  Melee play does not work because you draw too much enemy aggro and start to get hit from too many directions at once to survive.

In short DCUO is a hot mess. I cannot wait to see it flop hard after all the bandwagon MMO/Sony players buy the game and enjoy it for about 3 weeks. Then realize they should have gotten a PS3 and the Uncharted sequel.
You know I'm really stuck here. I love this game. I really do. It could be a lot better but it could also be a lot worse. I like playing characters (well versions of them) that I have had in my head for years, being able to have them in a living breathing representation of the DC Universe is awesome. But, I have to question a $15 a month subscription for the sheer fact that

1. Thats pretty expensive for me and a lot of other people out there who are not made of money.

2. I really don't think the game content is quite up to par yet.

3. It would probably be more profitable for the game to be FTP and have an in game item shop like so many online juggernauts. This is really bothering me because I REALLY want this game and to continue playing it but I'm just not sure if I can swing $15 bucks a month no matter how badly I want it.


DC Universe Online superspeed and gadgets from BluntF on Vimeo.