DC Universe Online
DC Universe Online is a 3D superhero-themed MMORPG that takes place in the expansive multi-verse combining the various DC Comics franchises. Players create their own superheroes and explore Gotham, Metropolis, and other iconic locations while fighting alongside or against Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Lex Luthor, and other well known characters.
|Publisher: Daybreak Game Company
Release Date: January 11, 2011
PvP: Arenas / Open World (optional)
Pros: +Great character customization. +Well-known franchise with great characters, voice acting, and writing. +Fluid gameplay and combat mechanics.
Cons: -A lot of content requires paid DLC. -Missions can get long and repetitive. -Low level cap.
DC Universe Online Overview
DC Universe Online was originally a subscription-based game, but went free-to-play on November 1, 2011. While the base game can be enjoyed for free, considerable restrictions are in place to try to coax players into paying up. These include inventory and maximum wallet size restrictions. DC Universe Online has also seen the release of a considerable number of DLC expansion packs, each of which must be purchased before their content can be played.
DC Universe Online Key Features:
- Spectacular Voice Acting, Music, and Story – feel like you're part of the DC world with the amazing voice acting, music, and great storytelling.
- Fluid Gameplay and Action-Orientated Combat – controls are smooth and the action is fast-paced and intense.
- Fun PvP and PvE Modes – meet your enemies on the streets of Gotham, fighting each other or over objectives.
- Choose Your Path – follow in the footsteps of various DC legends, such as Batman, Lex Luthor, or Wonder Woman.
- Create Your Own Hero – great customization options for creating your own superhero (more options if you're willing to pay), with a wide variety of powers to boot.
DC Universe Online Screenshots
DC Universe Online Featured Video
Even with these restrictions, there's plenty to do in DC Universe Online and players should have no trouble reaching the maximum level of 30 even with the base content. The game has no set classes. Instead, players chose from a list of available weapon styles and powers.
Weapon Styles – Bow, One-Handed, Brawling, Rifle, Dual Pistol, Dual Wield, Hand Blast, Martial Arts, Staff, Two-Handed, and Shield
Tank Powers – Fire, Earth, Ice, Rage
Crowd Control Powers – Gadgets, Quantum, Light, and Mental
Healer Powers – Celestial, Electricity, Nature, and Sorcery
DC Universe Online Review
By Toan Layne
DC Universe Online is a superhero-themed MMORPG developed by Sony Online Entertainment and published by Sony Computer Entertainment, WB Games, and Asia Soft. The game was released on January 11, 2011 for the PC and PlayStation 3, and on November 15, 2013 for the PlayStation 4. DCUO started off with a subscription model and became free-to-play on November 1, 2011. It is available on Steam (for US players) and on the official website. Similar games include Champions Online, City of Heroes, and City of Villains.
Donning the Cape
As you can tell from the title, the game takes place in the DC universe, with Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, LexLuthor, and Joker all being a part of the game’s storyline. The story is much too complex (as it usually is with comic books) with time travelling betrayal between future and past selves and the like, so I won’t go too deep into it, but it basically boils down to: Earth is in danger, everyone is now a superhero or a supervillain, have fun! You’ll be visiting Gotham, Metropolis, and other iconic locations from the DC Universe. Compared to other superhero-themed MMORPGs, DC Universe Online has the strongest lore in my opinion.
The character creation screen is what you’ve come to expect from a superhero MMORPG. There’s a ton of options available when it comes to costumes, powers, and weapons. How you build your character is up to you. You can choose whether you want to be a hero or a villain, and you can also choose your mentor (Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Lex Luthor, the Joker, or Circe). The mentor you choose will influence the story of the game and your starting location. You then have a choice of powers, weapons, and movement modes. Powers will determine your role in groups and overall strategy. Each power has two specializations: DPS or support (crowd control, healer, or tank). You have: Fire, Earth, Ice, and Rage for tanks; Gadgets, Quantum, Light, and Mental for crowd control; and you have Celestial, Electricity, Nature, and Sorcery for healers. Most of the powers are available in the F2P version, though Celestial, Earth, Electricity, Light, Quantum, and Rage are only available through paid DLC. You also have a ton of weapons. Weapons will determine a character’s hack-and-slash abilities. Weapons can be either ranged, melee, or a combination of both. You have: Bow, One-Handed, Brawling, Rifle, Dual Pistol, Dual Wield, Hand Blast, Martial Arts, Staff, Two-Handed, and Shield. When it comes to movement modes, you have: Super Speed, Acrobatics, and Flight. Finally, you have the cosmetic stuff. You can customize your character’s body type, hair style, costume, and personality. Personalities represent the way a character carries itself throughout the world. For example, they affect the movement, stance, and emotes of a character. You have: Comical, Flirty, Powerful, Primal, and Serious. Now, while the character creator in DCUO might not be as complex as the one in Champions Online, it is miles ahead of its competitor’s F2P version of the creator. In Champions Online, the F2P options are excessively restrictive, leaving you with very little choice in what is arguably the most important part of a superhero MMORPG. Another aspect of DCUO is that gear is shown on the in-game character, while in Champion’s Online, players can only change the way they look by unlocking and creating new costumes.
When it comes to controls, DCUO features an action-oriented gameplay style. You use WASD to move, the mouse to look around, and the mouse buttons to attack. Using Shift, you can block or dodge, and you can use the number keys to cast abilities. The hack-and-slash in DCUO is very fun and dynamic. You have to break blocks, interrupt ranged attacks, block attacks yourself, and chain combos. You also have hack-and-slash abilities which are activated by a sequence of mouse button clicks. For example, a slip shot with the Dual Pistols is activated by tapping the right-mouse button once and then clicking and holding it. Players can also interact with the environment, picking up and throwing explosive barrels, cars, trash cans, and the like.
The Skills to Pay the Bills
DCUO features a very standard leveling system. The game takes a lot from classical WoW-style MMORPGs, both in this and other regards. Of course, there are significant differences as well. You have two talent trees for castable abilities: one for DPS and one for support. You then have a talent tree for hack-and-slash abilities, and finally you have a talent tree for iconic powers, which represent powers that are specific to the DC Universe, such as Superman’s Heat Vision. Iconic powers are available to all characters, regardless of the power set chosen during character creation. Power points are awarded on even levels, and skill points are awarded on odd levels. Players can also earn skill points by completing Feats. Once again, Champions Online has DC Universe Online beat when it comes to complexity. However, DC Universe Online takes the lead when it comes to what F2P players have access too. I think we’re starting to see a pattern here.
PvE, PvP, and Other Features
Whether it’s PvE or PvP you’re looking for, DC Universe Online’s got you covered. Quests are called Missions in DCUO, and you can see right from the get-go a strong emphasis on story and story-telling. It would be folly to get your hands on such a good IP and let it go to waste. You have Mentor-Based Missions, Alerts, Bounties, Freelance Missions, Exploration Missions, Hero Missions, and Villain Missions. These Missions include working for your mentor, teaming up with 3 other players and going through an instance, capturing or defeating a wanted hero or villain, and side missions, which are mainly used for gaining XP and have little to do with the main storyline. Endgame PvE is all about raiding. In raids, 8 players will team up and fight powerful bosses for the best items in the game. Accessing raids is easily done through the On Duty Menu, where players choose their role and the system automatically starts looking for a party they can join.
You then have Feats, which are challenges meant to test a player’s grasp of the game. Feats can be related to Exploration, Missions, Raids, and PvP. Crafting is called Research and Development, and is a bit rudimentary, but it gets the job done. Players have to find Exobytes, which can be used to create equipment mods and consumables. Players also earn their own lair at Level 10, which is a personal living space that can be customized with furniture and props found in-game or through the cash shop.
PvP takes the form of world PvP, arena PvP, and Legends PvP. World PvP is pretty self-explanatory, but it is worth mentioning that it’s a ton of fun to see heroes and villains clash on the streets of Gotham. Arena PvP features team-based, objective-oriented combat, in either 4v4, 6v6, or 8v8 formats, and Capture the Flag or King of the Hill scenarios. Legends PvP is similar to the arena except that players control iconic DC Heroes and Villains, instead of their own characters. Through PvP, players can get access to specialized PvP equipment, and Marks of Legend, which unlock additional iconic characters for Legends PvP.
The Cash Shop
DC Universe Online features both a subscription option and microtransactions. Subscribing to the game has significant benefits such as access to all DLC packs, unlimited in-game currency, unlocked trading, 150 free replay badges each month (which can be used to reset cooldown on raid and instance loot) and some pretty good ups such as additional bank, inventory, and character slots, and the ability to form a League (guild). The cash shop features DLC content, respecs, account upgrades (such as additional character slots, inventory slots, etc.), lairs, cosmetic items for your lair, replay badges, Legends, weapon styles, toys, and boosts. Players can certainly gain a ton of advantages if they’re willing to part with cash, but DCUO does not restrict F2P accounts to such a degree as to make the game unrecognizable. Players will still have to pony up though, if they want to experience the entire game, since DLC packs feature a ton of extra content and story.
Final Verdict – Great
DC Universe Online is an excellent game that has a strong IP, exciting gameplay, and fun features. The main downside of the game is the extensive cash shop, which can provide powerful boons to anyone willing to pay. Still, it’s a little puppy when compared to the restrictive cash shop in Champions Online. Players will have to pay to experience the game in full, but F2P players can still get a whole lot out of the game. In my opinion, it’s the best superhero game out there.
DC Universe Online Videos
DC Universe Online Links
DC Universe Online System Requirements
Operating System: Windows XP SP2 / 2000 / Vista / 7
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E6400 2.13 GHz / AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core 4800+
Video Card: Nvidia GeForce GT 320 / ATI Radeon HD 6530D
RAM: 1 GB
Hard Disk Space: 30 GB
Operating System: Windows XP SP2 / Vista / 7 / 8
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E6840 3.0 GHz / AMD Phenom II X2 550 or better
Video Card: Nvidia GeForce GT 320 / ATI Radeon HD 6530D or better
RAM: 2 GB or better
Hard Disk Space: 30 GB
DC Universe Online Music & Soundtrack
DC Universe Online Additional Information
Developer: Daybreak Game Company
Executive Creative Director: Jim Lee
Game Engine(s): Unreal Engine 3, Havok (physics engine)
Closed Beta Date: December 14, 2010 - January 5, 2011
Free to Play Date: November 1, 2011
PlayStation 3: January 11, 2011
PlayStation 4: November 15, 2013