Tuesday, November 8, 2011

DC Universe - My first look

Last Thursday, my roommate asked (almost begged) me to start up an account with DC Universe Online.  He had created an account two days before, but he didn't know anyone online.  Since DCU had gone free to play recently, I decided to give it a try.

Note: Before I started playing this game, I had only played one MMO before, World of Warcraft.  It's all I have to compare to, so forgive me where the games don't line up.

The Good:

Character Creation: There are so many options, it's mildly ridiculous, and a little overwhelming.  Whomever made it must have realized that since you can chose to spend twenty minutes making a character (like I did) or pick one based off of a well known superhero or villain.

OK, maybe I should have spent a few more minutes


Intro Sequence: Probably the best intro video I've seen in a game.  This is what's called having your cake and eating it too.  The story allows the writers to kill off everyone and still have them in the game and have a relatively possible explanation as to why everyone all of a sudden have super powers.

Tutorial:  While tutorial levels can be annoying, this one was well integrated into the game's story.  You start out by being captured by on of Braniac's ships so he could attempt to figure out why his robot bugs are giving everyone super powers.  You get broken out by The Oracle where you come up against light resistance since no one expected you to get out.

Controls:  Simple controls.  Right click for long distance attacks, left click for close range attacks.  Numbers are for spells or healing.  Standard WASD movement.

Travel:  Moving threw the game is fun.  I started with a flying hero, but my villain was a runner.  It's so much fun just running around the city and up buildings.  I have no idea how the runners are suppose to get to the floating islands I saw, but that may be explained latter.

The Outfits:  In WoW, your outfit is based off of what specific peaces of armor you have at the time.   In DCU, your outfit can be based on what peaces of armor you have, or you can pick styles from ones you've collected.  I'm working on the demonic collection.

The reward system:  In WoW, if someone hit's your target before you do, you get nothing from the kill.  In DCU, you get a share based on what you did during the battle.  No more kill sniping and it encourages players to help each other.

Instances:  After a few missions you go into a building or a sewer to fight a boss.  These are instanced like the tutorial section.  Once you go in, you don't see anyone else.  All the kills and all the risk are yours to take.

F11 For Windowed:  I'm connected into the game right now to look at settings while I type.  If I tried to do that with Duke Nukem Forever, I would have crashed my video driver a long time ago.  Not having to minimize my full screen game, is a vary good thing.

Dialog:  This would be in the bad section since it's vary repetitive, that is until the boss fight with Giganta.  When Giganta made a boob joke, I changed my opinion.  Plus, it's refreshing to have every peace of dialog voiced instead of just a wall of text.

The Bad:

The Queue:  I can't really blame them, but when playing, be prepared for this

Yes, that says I'm 4664 in line

The loading screens:  And for this

It's not bad on my Core i7, but my roommates dual core is bad (but the pictures are pretty)

The Glitches:  Sometimes the loading screen never goes away, sometimes the game locks in the middle of a fight, one time there wasn't even an exit from the safe house. These lockups are compounded when you know if you close out and reconnect, you have to wait in line again.

The Interface:  If you don't spend all the time required to dig threw the instructions, it's hard to understand what setting is where.  It's a simple and clean interface, but because it's so simple, it can't show how to get into specific sections like WoW.  It's hard to find the social settings, the inventory, how to configure your quick sets (or load outs as they call them).

Social Options:  They exist, but they seem to be tacked on.  The chat screen is small and doesn't seem to draw the attention like in WoW.  Creating a group is hard to figure out and even harder to find when you do.  there's no feeling of being in a group except for being in group chat.

Fazed servers:  When I was 4600 in line to connect, it only took me twenty minutes to connect.  That means that 4600 people disconnected in that time.  So, millions of people must be playing this all at once.  So, there's no way you can be in the same world as everyone.  Me and my roommate found this out the hard way when we tried to form our first group.  We occupied the same space, but we couldn't see each other.  It took a while before I figured out how to faze shift into his server.  This does have advantages though, you can be friends with anyone, unlike WoW where you have to be on the same server.

Conclusion:

To say it simply, this game is bad ass.  WoW was interesting when I first started playing, but DCU is damn fun.  As it is now, the good easily overpowers the bad and as the game evolves, it should get even better.  I would say a 9 out of 10 in my opinion.  The only problem with that is it means they're probably going to get a lot of my money.

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