DC Universe Online (Now That The NDA Has Gone)

The DC Universe Online NDA has been dropped (somewhat surprisingly, since there still isn’t an official launch date) so below are my opinions based on the preorder beta.

UnSub in DCUO

UnSub in DCUO. Yes, that's the Bat Signal.


– If the idea of teaming up with Superman gives you a nerdgasm, DCUO may be your title.

– Leveling is very quick and it is very easy to see a lot of the PvE content on one playthrough.

– Not a traditional MMO, although it falls into some of the same traps (e.g. genre standard quests).

– At this stage, not worth $15 a month.


– It is an action MMO, where attacks don’t need to be targeted on a specific target to land if they are in the right location. This is the way it should be done.

– Characters pick a weapon style and use left mouse button for melee attacks and right mouse button for range attacks. There are combos, but combat devolves into repeating the combo that takes out the targets most quickly.

– You use weapon attacks to build up a power bar that you use to then fuel powers. As such, you are going to spend most of your combat time using a weapon, not superpowers.

– All characters can do damage, but you can flip to another role (e.g. tanking, healing, controller) depending on what power set you choose.


– No crafting in DCUO.


– Initial character creation is a huge step back from City of Heroes / Champions Online. Three body types, a lot more limitations on starting costume pieces.

– Starting out you choose one weapon set (out of ten) and one power set (out of six). One one hand, this is nice and streamlined; on the other hand, it is limited.

– As you progress through the game you can earn / unlock more costume pieces for your character. However, you don’t have to have them appear on your character – item stats and character appearance are treated separately.

– One big issue is that you’ll have no idea what costume pieces exist in game for your character until someone compiles a list, so don’t get your hopes up about building any particular costumes when just playing through.


– The text chat system is exceptionally basic.

– I guess the plan is that players use VOIP, but I’ve only rarely encountered this in-game.


– There are only two zones at launch – Gotham and Metropolis.

– DCUO still has a lot of placeholder voiceovers for characters, but the mentors’ voices are mostly well done. At the very least it means you can be running to your mission while your mentor tells you what is going on… but sometimes you’ll get (mentor) voiceover over (environment / mob) voiceover, which is messy.

– It is a relatively swift ride up the leveling track and a lot of missions are repeated between sides (so Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman offer all heroes missions) and villain content is often flipped-hero content.

– Characters go from “Kill 5 Brainiac Robots” to “Arrest 10 Hoods” to “Defeat 15 LexCorp Security Officers”. Then you fight a big boss in an instanced location. Repeat.


Metropolis in DCUO - Bird's eye view

Metropolis and Gotham are big places, but feel a bit empty.

– There are collections, which means holding down ‘E’ over a glowing question mark that lets you collect things. Once you collect a set, you get an item appear in your mailbox.

– There are also feats, that you get for defeating certain foes or visiting specific locations. Achieving feats also give your character skill points, so achieving as many feats as possible will become very important to progressing your characters.


– PvP is meant to be a big part of DCUO. Currently if you hit an opposing player with an area-of-effect attack (say, one you’ve targeted on a mob they’ve just jupmed in front of) then you will get flagged for PvP. It is ripe for griefing at this point.

– Iconic PvP lets players take on the role of Batman et al and fight it out.

– PvP is one part of DCUO’s endgame. If you love PvP, that’s good news. If you don’t…


– Lots of DC fans are excited about DCUO.

– Lots of PC MMO fans are wondering why they are limited to only six powers in their power tray.

– The PS3 fanbase is still wondering when the PS3 beta is going to start. “Soon”.


– Lots of polishing still to be done, with changes / additions being promised in upcoming patches.

– DCUO is fun in small doses. I think a lot of players currently in beta are happy to play it for free, but might change their mind when faced with a monthly bill.

– No launch date is currently set.

– Because it is designed to run on a console, DCUO runs very well on a wide range of computers.

4 thoughts on “DC Universe Online (Now That The NDA Has Gone)

  1. Ok, yes the game falls into the “kill x” trap, but I liked the way there are also many other tasks like disarming things, freeing people, etc. They seem to have a nicer variety of mundane tasks than other MMO’s. They should get points for that.

    Being set in the DCUO aside (either that’s really exciting to you or not), the game gets an easy A for visuals and atmosphere. Gotham really feels like a gritty dark city, and it even rains.

    I think the game is worth a subscription, BUT the shelf life for me will be short, with only 8 available character slots and content being a bit on the spare side.

    I would like to see crafting added, and the groundwork is there in the form of salvage drops that aren’t otherwise used except to sell, so I expect it will be. And as you say the UI and social aspects need a lot of polish in the next few months.

    For the most part, you nail it though.

    • Regarding the ‘Kill X’ trap, there are some missions that vary that a bit, but it isn’t a big departure from ‘click the glowie’ in my opinion. Obviously I haven’t played every mission, but the heavy dependence on ‘Kill X / Collect Y’ mechanics showed a lack of imagination to me.

      I did like missions where you have to free NPCs who then join you in the mission. That was a nice touch and having a small army of GCPD cops behind you makes a nice change of pace.

    • I think F2P is a more appropriate model for DCUO – it will have a cash shop at launch as well – but if it goes F2P it is going to fall out of the Station Pass (which it has been added to). It may certainly offer a F2P version and a pay-to-play version at the same time… but I think they’ll launch with a sub fee, maybe even a $15 sub fee.

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