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DC Universe Online F2P (PC) Initial Impressions

dc universe online sony online entertainment free 2 play f2p mmo pc

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#1 PGHammer

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 01:00

As some of you may have heard, another MMO of the capes and cowls sort has gone the free-to-play route (following Champions Online) - this one, however, is from a major (though not for the PC) publisher - Sony Online Entertainment. How good is the F2P experience - especially compared to Champions Online?

Surprisingly, it's not bad.

First off, it's using an old (but tested) game engine - the same one as Unreal Tournament 3 and Gears of War 2. Like GoW2, it scales amazingly well, even on plebian hardware - my HD5450 GPU and E3400 CPU had nary a quibble even playing at desktop resolutions and refresh rates - not on Windows 7, and not on the Developer Preview of Windows 8, either (both x64). This alone trumps Champions Online, which has issues at even 1680x1050 on the same hardware with the same level of detail. Also, unlike Champions Online, it uses real (in the comics sense) heroes (and villains) from the DC Universe - both as genotypes *and* as NPCs. (Yes - in DCUO, you can play a baddie-based character. However, I've also seen several baddie-based good guy characters (including not a few based on Lex Luthor or even Braniac- the major protagonist of DCUO). I've already completed two multipart missions (the beginner mission teaming with Superman against several Braniac minions, and a second teaming with the Flash against Gorilla Grodd's monkey-business). I also have one mission that it turns out I am WAY too UNDERPOWERED for (the first encounter with the HIVE in the Metropolis Metrodome), so I am going back to tackle some missions I accidentally skipped (as I went right from Grodd to the HIVE missions) to buff up. This mirrors Champions Online (in fact, most MMOs), in that you don't necessarily have a *set order* for quests/missions.

My own character is *loosely* based on the Superman genotype (a brawler with the same suit-scheme) - however, other than flying, he's nada like Supes. (If anything, he closely - and on purpose - resembles my character from Champions Online, who also is a brawler/flier - both characters also have ice-based powers. So it's a deliberate cross, as if Supergirl and Bobby Drake from the X-Men had twin boys. The very fact that it's possible means that other than keystrokes and power levels, there's no real learning curve. It's also reflected in that I'm level 9 already - and i just installed the game (on Windows 7) last night. (I had not even reinstalled the Developer Preview yet.

However (as I found out) don't be deceived by the fast trek leveling through the first two missions - after that (like most MMOs) it's a rather hard slog. (In fact, in Champions Online, I've walled two levels back, at level 7.) If you find yourself at a wall, chances are, you have have *accidentally* skipped some buff-up missions (the J key, by default, brings up your Journal, which lists all your missions, especially the ones you haven't done yet) - go back and try some of them.




#2 ThisIsStockerHD

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 01:14

Does this game have a client for Mac?

#3 Eric

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 01:17

I'm liking it ok so far too. I just hit level 6 with my Catwoman (man) archetype clone... :)

@Stocker360: AFAIK, no, there is no Mac client.

#4 curme

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 01:43

I was disappointed on the limited character customization options. Take COH for example, if you can dream it you can pretty much build it. With DC, there just weren't enough choices to make your chracter unique.

#5 Soulsiphon

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 02:05

I was disappointed on the limited character customization options. Take COH for example, if you can dream it you can pretty much build it. With DC, there just weren't enough choices to make your chracter unique.


Unique how? As in costume? Spec? I find it hard to believe you played it longer than the introductory tutorial tbh. Not only have I never seen two toons look anything alike outside of the first few levels and the stock gear you start with, there simply isn't any other MMO out there with level of item and appearance customization that DCUO has.

Second, with (when last I played) 70 or 80 skill points to spend in weapon/power/proficiency trees, the possibilities for character progression and building are unlimited. Most toons will be lucky to have 30 skill points by the time they hit 30 anyway so it leaves a whole slew of collections, quests, feats etc to complete to even approach the upper tiers of customization through skill points.

Your comparison with CoH/CoV is really not valid since the only thing they have in common are 'super powers' and the similarities really end there. DCUO is a universe with well-known iconic characters and tons of content and a totally addicting raiding system. Plus, DCUO looks NICE whereas CoX looks like ass IMNSHO :)

#6 nekkidtruth

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 02:17

Unique how? As in costume? Spec? I find it hard to believe you played it longer than the introductory tutorial tbh. Not only have I never seen two toons look anything alike outside of the first few levels and the stock gear you start with, there simply isn't any other MMO out there with level of item and appearance customization that DCUO has.

Second, with (when last I played) 70 or 80 skill points to spend in weapon/power/proficiency trees, the possibilities for character progression and building are unlimited. Most toons will be lucky to have 30 skill points by the time they hit 30 anyway so it leaves a whole slew of collections, quests, feats etc to complete to even approach the upper tiers of customization through skill points.

Your comparison with CoH/CoV is really not valid since the only thing they have in common are 'super powers' and the similarities really end there. DCUO is a universe with well-known iconic characters and tons of content and a totally addicting raiding system. Plus, DCUO looks NICE whereas CoX looks like ass IMNSHO :)


I LOL'd. CoX is superior in every way. IMNSHO

#7 S00N3R FR3AK

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 19:24

Finally gave this a shot and for free it is pretty nice.

#8 HawkMan

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 20:18

I LOL'd. CoX is superior in every way. IMNSHO

CoX animations make me want to kill myself, CO wasn't much better. I'll give this a try and see how it fares.

Even though I still think superhero universe makes for idiotic MMO's.

#9 YounGMessiah

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Posted 10 November 2011 - 20:23

Still trying to download this on my crappy dsl connection :p..

#10 OP PGHammer

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Posted 22 December 2011 - 18:55

Still trying to download this on my crappy dsl connection :p..


Ouch - what speed connection?

Since the original post, I've added a second character (free players get two - the same limit applies to most F2P MMOs, and to WoW pre-level 20). Oddly enough, my second one has a completely different (by design) ability mix - a fire-based speedster (that's right - the Flash, not Superman). However, with the fire (not ice) base, the combo of speed and fire makes for a rather interesting effect on villains. (Because I've been concentrating on this character as of late, I'm further up level-wise; I cracked level 20 earlier today. Yes - there are some missions/quests/alerts I've done with this character that I didn't do with the first one; however, the reverse is also true - in fact, I still haven't left Metropolis yet with this character.)

Fun factor - two particular areas where you can beat up on various Brainiac-built machines; in fact, both are near the typical starting point for new characters - the Little Bohemia section of Metropolis. Little Bohemia is also the southern part of Metropolis' Brainiac Incursion Zone - AKA the BIZ. (Naturally, there is also a "buzz" - unfortunately for us, it's in the immediate area of the Metrodome in Metropolis - which is now occupied by the HIVE, a group of bee-wannabees; that's in addition to the monkey-business of Gorilla Grodd and his sinister simians (Queensland Boardwalk and the Southbank Commercial District).)

And why *haven't* I left Metropolis yet? Simply put, even I realized that contenting myself with Little Bohemia was sort of silly - I have a golden opportunity to see just how big Metropolis really is.

Metropolis is FAR from small. Unfortunately, just like any super-sized city, it has super-sized villains. In fact, *all* of DC's Battalion of Bad show up at some point - and at least half of them are either based in, or make sojourns to - Metropolis. And it's not just to try and take bites out of the Man of Steel. Yes - I've faced off against two of Lex Luthor's minions - and Lex himself; however, I've also found myself going toe-to-toe with a possessed Raven, the Sinestro Corps - and Arkillo - in separate missions, no less; and I've still got round three with Brother Blood to deal with.

However, that also means I've had some seriously good ladies and gents watching my six - Doctor Fate, Zatanna (twice), a sizable contingent of Thermysciran Amazons (who actually now *live* in Metropolis - they have swallowed the New Troy section of the city in midtown near the old STAR Labs building and Centennial Park), etc. That also means I have had to deal with more than my share of hocus-pocus. (That is Decidedly Odd for two major reasons - none of the various Flashes has any experience with hocus-pocus, and that was actually one of Superman's weaknesses; yet most of my own missions over the past two days have been dealing with spells, incantations, and out-and-out demonology. I actually have a higher renown with the Sentinels of Magic than I do with STAR Labs.)

And there is something decidedly major I owe Brainiac for. Enroute from Centennial Park to City Hall (business, not pleasure), I passed by the site of the Daily Planet building - finding it "bottled". (Now you know why I take myself out to the BIZ and put my mad to effective use converting Brianiac's creations to scrap metal and other recyclables - couldn't be content to simply scan the paper's morgue, could you, Brainy-brat? I may have you to thank for my meta-humanity, and I'll thank you, just before I convert your body into so many broken calculators.)

#11 TheExperiment

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Posted 27 December 2011 - 13:03

CoX animations make me want to kill myself, CO wasn't much better. I'll give this a try and see how it fares.

Even though I still think superhero universe makes for idiotic MMO's.

City of Heroes is yet the only MMO I've spent in any time in in the genre. It might speak to my disappointment in MMOs in general more than the games, mind you.

Unless you have friends playing it just falls flat. I don't know anyone playing, so there ya go.

That said, if you can do guilds of some sort and you guys start up a Neowin one I'd join up.

#12 OP PGHammer

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Posted 27 December 2011 - 16:34

City of Heroes is yet the only MMO I've spent in any time in in the genre. It might speak to my disappointment in MMOs in general more than the games, mind you.

Unless you have friends playing it just falls flat. I don't know anyone playing, so there ya go.

That said, if you can do guilds of some sort and you guys start up a Neowin one I'd join up.


That tends to be true for multiplayer gaming *in general* - it's far from unique to MMOs (though historically it has been more common due to the very nature of the genre).

That is, in fact, what separates Champions Online (and DCUO, to be honest) from most other MMOs (and especially CoX) in that there *are* solo-able raids/lairs, along with raids that allow for *scratch* teamings all the way up to, and including, the level cap (for DCUO, it's level 30). Other than raids and lairs that require a team (either from the beginning or *scratch*), I've only had NPC company when taking down Bad Guys - and, for most mission arcs, that's all you'll need.

#13 (Spork)

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Posted 27 December 2011 - 16:49

i played this on the PS3 loved the game but it was WAY to easy to lvl and not enough content to hold the players .. then the sony network hacking


has any content been added ?

#14 OP PGHammer

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Posted 28 December 2011 - 12:30

i played this on the PS3 loved the game but it was WAY to easy to lvl and not enough content to hold the players .. then the sony network hacking


has any content been added ?


Two DLC packs - FIght for the Light and Lightning Strikes ($9.99 each).

It being easier to level is not a sin in and of itself (and especially not with the F2P model it's adopted) - besides, do we really need more P2P MMOs (which is what pretty much all the harder-to-level MMOs have devolved into)?

#15 Teebor

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Posted 28 December 2011 - 13:10

i still love the old City of Villains Mastermind AT and his minions, has this game got anything like that at all?