Saturday, March 19, 2011

DC Universe Online: Progress Report 3

“Not structurally sound”

I’ve been playing DC Universe Online for the passed week. Some parts of DCUO are great, but there are nagging issues. The structure of DCUO has become obvious. There are some great moments (Ring War quest-line is particularly great, and I’m a big Green Lantern fan) it’s formulaic.

My hero reached level 23 last night, so I’ve played a significant portion of DCUO. Since the end-game/level 30 PVP content is later, I can’t write a concrete review. That said I have a firm grasp on most content featured in DCUO. Like I have mentioned before DCUO is combat heavy, so if you don’t like static areas filled with enemies then you won’t like DCUO. Fighting alongside DC heroes is engaging. But the quest structure is still-- go this location, beat a certain amount of enemies, then enter a building/ hospital/ warehouse and fight the boss-- which is usually a classic DC villain.

Most quests follow a similar layout. You’ll have 4 smaller assignments that culminate in a final boss encounter; followed by a comic-book-esc cutscene. The comic book panels at the end of large quest-lines are probably my favorite part of DCUO. They’re beautiful, colorful, and tonally fit the DC comic vibe.

Each quest has a different theme. Stop Bane from spreading Venom; follow clues to the whereabouts of the Riddler; help the Green Lantern Corps fight Sinestro, or save a DC hero in need. This last theme is frequent. I’ve saved Robin twice already. When Batman says, “Robin is already there”, that means he is tied up and you have to go save him.

Another problem is enemy spawn’s. Enemies cluster in groups making some fights difficult because you just get swarmed. This clustering together is more annoying coupled with very close enemy respawn points; some times enemies spawn right on top of you! Fighting off seven guys at once and then having them spawn right next to you without a respite is frustrating.

Money is largely useless in DCUO too. Aside from repairs to equipment, there is really nothing worth spending money on. You’ll find yourself just hording money or trading it away like me; or spending it on Soder Cola to restore lost health. Outside of that currency seems frivolous.

Large group raids and some instances aren’t available for me. But I have grouped with a few friends to take down villains like Bizarro and Solomon Grundy. Certain DC villains just wonder the battlefield and they’re tough to tackle without a friend or two to back you up.

Level 30 can’t come soon enough. I never raided in any previous MMO. For that matter I have never been relied upon to fill a certain role. As a Tank it’s my job to keep the focus on myself and not on the rest of the team. So it will be a learning experience. But the endgame content seems robust and I can’t wait to try it out.

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