DCUO: Tutorial Impressions

I happened to get into DCUO’s beta the day the NDA was lifted, so might as well share a couple really, really brief impressions from the character creation and tutorial.

Character Creation:

  • The setup is different than CoH and Champions, for good and bad
  • I liked having an “inspirational” iconic villain/hero that you’re modeled after, although the choices I was given were a paltry three or four
  • I’ll give this much to DCUO: It’s the first major superhero MMO that’s going to launch with both villain and hero factions
  • I made a crazy paramilitary clown girl who specialized in gadgets and idolized the Joker
  • There aren’t as many options for looks or powersets as CoH/Champions, at least not from the outset
  • I really didn’t like the character creator’s UI — it was unnecessarily split up and I had difficulty making my character look the way I wanted

Tutorial:

  • This is definitely more of an action-MMO than Champions or CoH.  Everything moves a lot faster, which has its good points and bad.  Combat is fast and furious and flows smoothly, but it really does just feel like button mashing.  The screen would get really cluttered visually, and quite often I’d lose orientation and track of my character in relation to my enemies.
  • I chose acrobatic (I think?) traveling powers, and it was probably the most fun aspect of the character.  I ran in fast, loping steps, I could climb walls and cling to ceilings, and I had a double-jump.
  • Visually, everything looks top-notch except for character faces.
  • I got a power early on (sticky bomb) and it was pretty fun — and easy — to use.
  • Did not really like double pistols — after a while I’d just close range and lay a beatdown with punches.
  • Combat involves combos and whatnot (think Batman: Arkham Asylum)
  • Decent voice-overs
  • There’s a nice cinematic feeling to the start, including the cutscenes
  • Nice touch: One button to loot any goodies in the vicinity (sucks them right into you)

Overall:

  • Just by doing the tutorial, I came away slightly impressed.  It felt more polished than I’d anticipated, and visually it was a treat.
  • While movement was fun, it didn’t always function great in combat, and I often wanted to strafe faster or turn more quickly than I could.  I’ve heard it’s better to control with a gamepad, but hell will freeze over before I start using one of those on a computer.
  • Despite what a couple readers may think, I’m not against action MMOs — I just think that they aren’t the next big thing.  They’re a subgenre of MMOs, and that’s fine.  DCUO is a console MMO at heart, and despite my initial misgivings, I think it warrants further investigation.  SOE could be on to something.
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9 thoughts on “DCUO: Tutorial Impressions

  1. Did you get any idea what the hidden grind will be to keep the subs rolling? Champions suffered severely from not having any to do after the really short levelling period, so yeah, it’ll be interesting to see how the this superhero MMO does.

  2. Yeah, it does sound more of the net-game model. I do think it’s the future, Syp. I can’t see many devs trying to compete with WoW or ToR by emulating the classic model, so maybe more action-oriented titles will carve out a new market.

    The button mashing sounds good in that it simplifies combat to more positioning and timing.I’d rather lose in PvP because I locked myself into a combo string too early than because someone is better at doing an f-key rotation, and PvE would be better for me too. If we are going to solo grind to cap, I’d pick arkham asylum over wow or even champions for that.

  3. @dril

    I used to be a staffmember on the game’s only extant fansite and I had been in the beta for a few months before I just got disillusioned with the community. Let me say this: There is no grind. You can go from 1-30 in the case of a few days. This is a huge problem, as the content dries up really fast. They intend to have a robust raiding endgame, but I did not get a chance to test that out while I was still enthused by the beta, though TBH I don’t think it’s robust enough to justify a 3-days to max level speed.

  4. I am about the last person to advocate Action MMOs but DCUO is just incredibly good fun.

    The main attraction for me is the sheer, jaw-dropping beauty of the world. With the ability to fly or scale buildings, a lot of my time is spent just cruising around taking screenshots. It’s virtual tourism!

    The combat, though, is really enjoyable. I just love the button-mashing aspect. It feels very much as though my character is the one that has the skills, not me as a player and for me that’s the absolute key to a convincing RPG. If my character is a superhero I really shouldn’t need to be a keyboard superhero to prove it.

    I can’t really imagine playing DCUO for 40+ hours a week for year after year, as I have played several MMOs. On the other hand, I can easily imagine it being my go-to game on Friday and Saturday nights, with a bottle of wine and a gang of in-game friends, righting wrongs and cracking wise.

  5. Thanks for the write up Syp. There is one part that I was confused about: the “suck all the loot top you” ability.

    Could you elaborate? Bodies fall, they are glittering, instead of searching one by one, you press a button and all nearby loot flies into your bags?

  6. The area loot is pretty simple to explain. I use a 360 controller and when you destroy a safe or defeat an enemy they drop cash icons or other icons that float in the area. You can either run around and pick them up just by running past them, or hold the L1 & R1 button and all icons in the area that you earned will be pulled to your character. It is pretty cool to ignore looting and defeat a dozen or more people and just pull everything at one. There is a limit to this range.

  7. I will be curious to see what content they add, if any, as the beta moves along. We are still a few months away from their Spring launch and to me it is already in better shape than CO was at launch.

    I just finished a more detailed post about their Feat system and its actual impact on character growth instead of just a typical earned title reward for doing tasks. It is not mission content in the traditional sense, but I have spent a few nights not even trying to move to the next zone and just running around earning more skill points to spend on my abilities.

  8. Pingback: Daily Blogroll 12/14 — Take my game, PLEASE! edition - West Karana

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