Choose My Adventure: DC Universe Online just ended up making me love City of Heroes more

    
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Third verse same as the first. If nothing else, DC Universe Online is consistent in how its leveling game works, though there were a couple of wrinkles that I experienced as I pressed along.

The actual meat and potatoes were still the same: Head to either Gotham or Metropolis, speak with an NPC, dash to open areas, then to an instanced mission, then run back to the place I started. It’s all rather routine, but not a terrible one, especially since the comms you get from the hero leading me along by the nose fills in the space between dashing around.

The major difference was in the combat. My moves haven’t really changed despite some new levels and at least a couple of powers being earned (and not slotted), but the way I had to use those moves has been changed a bit. The enemies are getting a little more tactical now, and I’m required to use my brain just a bit more instead of just hitting the combos I feel like hitting for the sake of variety.

Certain attacks were needed in order to combat whether someone was at range or blocking more and more. I found myself being surrounded an awful lot more, meaning my big conal combo was seeing some heavier use. Also, I was beginning to sort out how best to use my stealth ability – for a little while I was managing to get it off mid-fight long enough to use my one-shot ability on the toughest enemy in the crowd, but eventually I started using it as an opener, dropping a bit explosive mine in the middle of a bunch of foes and blowing it up as part of an alpha strike.

A lot of that sounds kind of entertaining, doesn’t it? And don’t get me wrong, it has been. But the continued problem of not feeling like I’m powering up a whole lot started to make things feel like a slog. On top of that, though the tactics I needed to use started to make more sense as I went along, I still can’t really get over how weird DCUO’s combat feels overall despite being acclimated to it. It’s a lot like getting used to being set on fire by mere dint of the fact that you’re in Hell.

OK, maybe that comparison is a bit overdramatic, but the point still stands.

There once would’ve been a point when DCUO would get a solid recommendation from me as a superhero MMO choice. Champions Online is not particularly good, Marvel Heroes is kaput, and the CoH legacy games are long in their arrival by most accounts. This really kind of makes DCUO the McDonald’s of superhero MMOs purely because there’s no mom-‘n’- pop burger joint in town. However, now that City of Heroes is so readily playable – and without any severe meddling from NC – I really can’t think of a good reason to play DCUO.

It’s not a bad MMO, necessarily, it’s just a bad superhero MMO. I don’t have a deep and abiding affection to the DC superheroes, so that’s probably coloring a lot of my feelings here, but I also don’t feel like this one is as tightly knitted as CoH is. Discounting the combat for a moment, the game’s visuals feel kind of weird, its animations feel kind of stiff and stilted like everyone is an arthritic martial artist, and the progression just, after a certain point, sucks; all I really can do at this point is to use any skill points I earn from levels to incrementally improve some of my powers and hope that missions give me rewards that improve my stats.

I have a feeling that if this game were devoid of its IP, it would not be holding up quite so sternly as it is. And clearly it has its fans, seeing as it’s been around for as long as it has been. Also, to Dimensional Ink’s credit, it is being regularly supported and updated, and the DC property most certainly is all in on the game in terms of support as near as I can tell. I just don’t really know that it’s because the game is good so much as the only superhero game left in town.

And if you don’t care about the DC IP, it isn’t the only game in town. CoH: Homecoming is right there. It is playable and free and really, really good. I guess I’m just diametrically opposed to DCUO being a thing, especially as a CoH vet. I’d rather play that instead. Or I’d rather play some new superheroic thing instead. Maybe a CoH 2. Maybe some other game that isn’t linked to a major IP; much as I prefer Marvel, I really would rather not play a Marvel version of DCUO. Unless the people who make its combat and leveling systems and progression systems don’t parrot DCUO.

But that’s enough bagging on this one, I think. It’s time to press forward, and this time we’re heading into Lord of the Rings Online for next month’s adventure. I have to say, the timing of this one couldn’t have been better since SSG decided to hand out a bunch of quests for free, so ideally there’s lots of content for us to dig in to in this coming month’s journey. First, however, will be the question of what class to select. Race will be my choice (and be determined by class as well, naturally), so that means there’s just the one poll this week.

What class should I start off with in LOTRO?

  • Beorning. Reject modernity, become bear. (27%, 62 Votes)
  • Captain. YAAAARGH! (10%, 22 Votes)
  • Champion. Double the swords, double the fun. (14%, 33 Votes)
  • Burglar. Sneaky-sneaky. (14%, 32 Votes)
  • Rune-keeper. Hit 'em with the runes, yo. (10%, 24 Votes)
  • Minstrel. Because Bards rule. (14%, 33 Votes)
  • Warden. Poke 'em with the stick! (11%, 25 Votes)

Total Voters: 231

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As usual, polling will be wrapped up at 1:00 p.m. EDT on Friday, October 1st. Meanwhile, I’m going to get busy wiping DCUO off of my hard drive. Sorry, folks, but this one’s not my cup of tea.

Welcome to Choose My Adventure, the column in which you join Chris each week as he journeys through mystical lands on fantastic adventures – and you get to decide his fate. Which is good because he can often be a pretty indecisive person unless he’s ordering a burger.
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DarthAlex

Based on the commentary you’ve given of DCUO, it seems that you are still in the “getting level 30” portion of the game.

This is not a commentary on DCUO the MMO, but rather on the playability of what is effectively the tutorial portion of the game. I admit, this phase of DCUO is rather lackluster, and I don’t believe it has been updated much since I did it in 2012. You don’t actually get into the MMO portion of the game until level 30, and the end game content doesn’t begin until CR 290.

I don’t think commenting on a game while only having tried out the tutorial is an apt assessment. The actual MMO is far different from what you described. Feel free to reach out to me if you would like to learn more about DCUO beyond the monotony of the “getting to level 30” tutorial.

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ZenJitzu

I find it amusing that Jack Emmert is battling the ghost of his own game now. DCUO is something I still have trouble getting into, like Champions Online and LOTRO. Sometimes I log into them, get overwhelmed figuring out how valuable all the stuff in my inventory is, and then log out.

Marvel’s Avengers, Marvel Heroes, CoH were not a problem…I’m not bad at systems, but it feels like work to research and figure out what all that stuff is and how it’s important and then organize it. Maybe I just need some modern guides.

Also, not thrilled at the DCUO F2P model, it’s rather crippling when you’ve seen the other side; not as bad as SWTOR’s hotbar removal, but you’ll feel it in the inventory.

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DarthAlex

Have you played DCUO within the last month by any chance? They recently overhauled the game and have made major changes to the F2P side, which greatly improve the playability. There is no more money cap and all episodes are open to all players, for example.

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HARLEY QUINZEL

I Rather play DCUO than Those Other Games You mentioned. Im a fan oft DC not Marcel plus i remember when it was on disc the devs worked hard to make the game for US players and you Rather wipe your hard drive of the game. I like the new stuff they did It Makes it More Challenging for Old Players and new players Plus You get Better gear for your CR and more loot Every time you log on. So don’t give up on the game^~^ 😀

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Ashfyn Ninegold

Here’s a rundown of LOTRO classes from my perspective:

1. Beorning. Never played one, never will, but I understand they are awesome healers, okay tanks and good DPSers.

2. Captain. Very slow leveling. Very distinct gameplay. Ultimate buffer and all round guy in the old days (once had a Captain heal an entire fellowship through a rolling wipe, but he was exceptional). You really need to WANT to be a Captain to enjoy this class.

3. Champion. Shing-shing all the way. Great leveling class.

4 . Burglar. Good class and fun to play with Gambler spec. I just found the need to be stealthed all the time to do best damage not really my style.

5. Rune-keeper. Good healer. Good all around class. Lightning for landscape; Fire for groups. Used to be top healer, but Beorning has surpassed it. Good debuffer. Only class with the Do Not Fall This Day skill, which insta revives a group member.

6. Minstrel. My vote. Red specced Minis do excellent DPS, have self-heals and good AoE. Throw in a few Yellow skills and gain a killing stun. Blue Minis (again with a few Yellow traits) are great healers. Just be aware, Minis shout, so chose a class and sex you can handle the voice on. And carry a drum.

7. Warden. One of my favorite classes and fast to level, but Warden, like Captain, is a devotional class because it’s complicated to play well. If you “get” gambits you’ll have a blast, but not everyone does. High sustained DPS the Warden’s specialty. Warden’s also shout, so same as Ministrels, get a voice you don’t mind hearing.

Can’t say anything about DCUO or CoH, never played either of them. But I do hope you enjoy your stay in Middle-Earth more than you did your jaunt in the DC Universe.

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Hurbster

Does DCUO still have 3 selectable faces at character creation?

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Bruno Brito

Play Minstrel simply because i want you to suffer through what i suffered.

As for DCUO, i would say it’s a pretty mediocre MMO, not just a bad superhero MMO.

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styopa

Is DCUO subsidized at all by DC comics, do we know?

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HARLEY QUINZEL

All Episodes Are all From The DC Comics

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IronSalamander8 .

This was the first game I pre-ordered where I ended up disliking it enough to return it to Best Buy where I got it (yeah, it’s been awhile). It certainly looked better than CoH or CO, but the interface was bad (maybe better with controller, but for M+KB it was bad), couldn’t scale it or anything, combat wasn’t very good, customizations were sorely lacking, and the way you made characters with how the powers worked was very odd and not at all satisfying.

I’d much rather play CoH or CoH2 if that somehow becomes a thing, or yes, CO, for all its lackluster-ness.

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Greaterdivinity

I feel like Dom Deluise has my impression on DCUO, a game I keep trying to get into but never clicks with me. It’s…fine? It’s competently enough designed. It’s got tons of DC shit if you’re into it. It’s serviceable as a superhero MMO. The combat…is alright and works. It’s got support.

But there’s nothing that’s ever really grabbed me outside of the initial smooth questing/leveling experience to 30. You hit on a lot of my issues – odd visuals (HOW DO WE STILL NOT HAVE WINDOWED MAXIMIZED MODE OR ANTI-ALIASING?!) and jerky animations, lackluster costume/power/weapon/movement choices compared to other existing/defunct MMO’s on the market, spotty progression that often feels pretty bleh, and a heavy helping of camp that can go either way. I largely agree that the DC license (and a lot of the excellent VA’s they got for the game!) does a TON of the heavy lifting for it.

Which is a shame, because the IP should be the toppings on the ice cream sundae, not the ice cream : /

I’d be really curious to see what a “new” superhero MMO from the team would look like, taking the lessons they’ve learned from DCUO and maybe using an engine that’s a bit better suited for MMO’s. Hell, grab the Marvel license or keep the DC license and make a brand-new game. Why not look into some oddball ones? I’m sure we could have a Dark Horse/Image game, or go oldschool and make it based off of when DC was Action Comics back in the golden era of comics : P