A look at DC's new MMORPG

A new competitor to the MMORPG market is Sony's DC Universe Online. It's being developed by Sony Online Austin and published by Sony Online Entertainment(remember Everquest?). Jim Lee and a handful of other big names from the comic book industry are heading up the creative department along with two former developers from Everquest. At first glance the game heavily resembles NCSoft's City of Heroes/Villains in graphics and in gameplay. There are some differences though that make this an attractive game that I want to try out. So what sets this game apart from Champions Online and City of Heroes? In this writeup I will cover what makes DCUO stand out and whether it looks to be another "WoW" killer (that phrase should be put in the Oxford dictionary for how often it's been used).

Physics and Environment
Players will be able to use elements from the environment like cars to attack enemies. Imagine all those times you've seen Superman or the Hulk(sorry I'm a Marvel fanboy) lift a car and coss it with one hand at the villain.

Obviously a big plus in playing in DCUO is that you will be flying, running, or teleporting around the cities that we are all familiar with, Gotham City, Metropolis City, and even Arkham Asylum. Those were the confirmed locations; I hope that will be adding in Atlantis, San Francisco, Coast City, and Atlantis. By the way, it was explicitly stated that at launch, DCUO will only include locations on Earth.

Build Your Own Legacy
At Comic Con, it was emphasized that the player would be able to influence the world and affect it. This sounds difficult to impement in the world of MMOs. The goal for the developers is to draw in as many players as they can, all of who will be heroes. It's also mentioned that the player could possibly join the JLA, become a superhero, and interact with the big names of DC. I imagine that this will turn out to

Another issue that was touched on was having quest items, consequences, and events early in a heroes career will make comebacks and affect them later. This seems like a great idea because at times playing an RPG does feel like one is just hopping from bubble to bubble, each stage in a characters life completely cut off from the previous.

Contested Missions(PVP Missions)
While they wouldn't elaborate much on this, it was stated that players will compete with each other directly for mission goals. Imagine while playing a villain, after having kidnapped the daughter of a famous scientist, another player, playing as a hero, bursts into the area to stop you from completing your mission. Seems like a great and fresh concept to bring to PVP, but implementing this kind of system could be easier said than done.

What I'm hoping for
What I'm hoping for is for the game to tie into events in DC comics through server-wide events in the gaming world. If, for example, a senior member of the JLA who had a long standing career of good deeds suddenly defects to the other side, this should be reflected immediately in DCUO. I think this would be a great service for the fans of DC co/mics and a source of engaging and interesting events.

There is no release date set yet. The game is still in development but a early build was on display for people to play at this year's Comic Con. The developers also held a panel discussion at the convention giving players a chance to ask questions about the game.

Unfortunately, after seeing the combat game play you will notice that it resembles other games like City of Heroes. Even if exploration, questing system, and pvp runs great, the core of the game, combat, will be the most important aspect. It's what most players spend the large majority of their time doing, fighting. After seeing their combat HUD and combat system, I am hoping they will make something more innovative and more intuitive. Maybe they should take a cue from FFXIII developer, Yoshinori Kitase, and look at games from other genres, like Call of Duty and what makes them work so well.

Despite that, this game, Star Trek Online, and Eve Online are the main three games I'm looking to move on to after my WoW subscription ends next month.

Here are some videos of gameplay;


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