You should be playing this game: Very Fun and Variety of Features

WizGamerWizGamer Evansville, WVMember UncommonPosts: 401

My experience in the superhero mmorpg realm: CoX (CB for CoH), Champions Online

 

 

Hello mmorpg.com community,

 

I have played nearly every mmorpg out there and most recently got done with FFXIV (which I could not longer play due to the 2.5s CD and lack of content at higher levels.

I decided to rekindle my interest in comic books, and check out DC Universe again. I am honestly a larger fan of Marvel (X-men woot) but I read Infinite Crisis in high school and keep up with the heroes. 

Anyway, I just cannot explain how completely refreshing this game is, especially in comparison to FFXIV, which bears very standard questing and very standard combat. 

There are simply so many things this game gets right that I am amazed it hasn't picked up more traction. I honestly think it is in part due to a weak launch with limited content and a niche setting that is very different from your comfort fantasy.

 

Now, I'm only level 20, but I've experienced quite a bit and will be adding to this review as I travel up to 30.

 

Overview of Features:

  • Action-Combat MMO (combo moves like in GoW, combined with standard hotbar of skills/spells)
  • Role-switching (play as a healer or a DPS/tank, switching on the fly)
  • Housing (lairs that can be upgraded and customizable with dropped furniture pieces, also where you get minions and get some very powerful abilities)
  • Dynamic Events (fly through the world and you will uncover Amazonian invasions, or mad scientists wreaking havoc)
  • World that Encourages PVP organically (almost every building or plaza has both a hero and villain component where npcs from the opposing side will respond accordingly)
  • Deep character-customization: both in terms of build and in terms of appearance 
  • Raids, Duos, Alerts, PVP (legends, open world, and arena)
  • Crafting (in the form of Research and development)
 
I'll write about what I know thus far.
 
Customization (4/5): The first impression of customization in this game is very lack-luster. You start with basic character templates and move through some very meager features to create a hero that looks how you wish. However, this is only a negative impression due to the precedent set in place by CoH and Champions Online. DCUO actually allows you to customize your hero to an even greater degree than the former two through acquisition of new armor styles. In the game is a style tab where all collected styles are retained and accessible, for on-the-fly transformation. Change your skin, your eyes, your cape to wings, whatever. Dye them all freely without a need to collect colors. As long as you've collected the item model, you can access it on your character. Go from Angel to Demon in a few clicks of your mouse/controller. The only complaint I have is that there needs to be a little more variation in hair styles and body types. Essentially, style is a form of progression throughout the game, and made much more accessible than in CoX.
 
Power selection appears minimal at first, forcing you to choose an archetype and weapon, but the selection will diversify as you create a unique build and then put those powers into loadouts that can be used for different roles. There are eleven different power sets (classes) with two trees of progression for each. Additionally, there is a third tree of progression available to all classes with iconic abilities allowing you to replicate DC Universe character abilities (laser vision, batarang, etc).
 
Action Combat (4.5/5): Coming from games like TERA, FFXIV, FFXI, and Wakfu, I have seen the gamut of action combat. I am biased toward action combat after playing TERA, so I have to say that DCUO would be the second best combat I have ever experienced. It is a little messy and has a sharp learning curve when it comes to combos and synergy between skills, but it is strategic and fast-paced in a way that FFXIV is not. I still consider TERA the best combat because every movement is distinct and emphasized. You sacrifice movement for making a decision and that can be the death of you. DCUO is more forgiving but with great synergy between skills that adds complexity to a sometimes messy battle. I would say the combat is in between TERA and Guild Wars 2, but still wholly unique due to three-dimensional movement that can affect both combat (movement-based fighting skills, all skills can be cast in the air, etc.) and escape. Combat is an extremely important facet of any mmorpg game as it takes up the bulk of your experience. DCUO does a fantastic job in making you feel as if you are powerful. You have basic fighting combos you execute with the mouse and then you have 6 skills that function as spells to heal you or protect you, to pull enemies toward you, etc. Positioning, timing, and loadout are all important when fighting. 
 
 
Skill Progression (5/5):
The game limits your skills to 6, allowing you to choose which abilities you want most for the upcoming battle. It is strategic, as some skills work better together than others. For example, one skill might give you an aura that is required to access secondary healing effects on another skill. Press T, and you can switch your six skills, going from a damage role to healing role. The trinity is still here, but you are provided a great deal more flexibility with one character than in traditional trinity games. Additionally, skills often have a secondary affect. For example, a pet might heal you if you are in a healer mode or might passively increase your damage if you are in offensive mode. 
 
The game gives you power points and skill points as you level. You can allocate power points to three different trees for each class (although the third tree, iconic, is shared by all classes). You can alternatively allocate power points to a movement tree that uses your movement ability to give you specific combat advantages. Additionally, you are given skill points, which you can allocate to your weapon, which gives you access to combos executed as your default attack (left and right mouse buttons) that have various effects. You can also branch out into other weapon types should you choose.
 
Until 30, you get one point in either power or skills categories at each level. Then at 30, you can still acquire additional skill points through accomplishing the feat system. You are then left with 15 Power points (allocated across your two trees of power and movement), and 15-? skill points. This gives you increased horizontal progression at 30, but also requires strategic building of your character, resulting in very different sorcery characters at max level. 
 
Game Progression (?/5):
I will add to this section of the review later, but there are a plethora of leveling avenues throughout the game. You can quest, you can do alerts, you can follow the story, you can complete bounties, races, research and development, you can explore the world and do collections. The world is chock-full of conflict and interesting story-telling elements. NPCs are hidden throughout each city, each voiced with a short story and request. Quests can vary from killing X to rescuing victims of a black magic ritual and running them to safety. Quests can involve you distracting a hero such as Super Girl by putting NPCs in danger so that you can safely destroy hard-drives before she extracts data. Other quests will have you convert demons back into humans or hunt down famous DC characters (Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Dr. Fate, etc.) that appear as open-world bosses.
 
The game is very story-based. As you explore the world you will encounter green and blue exclamation marks. Collecting all of the marks in a series will treat you with a voice-over regarding the history of that particular region, and finishing a series will provide another reward as well. 
 
At the beginning of the game you pick a mentor who will take you throughout the world and have you do his or her bidding. For example, I am doing Lex Luthor's storyline and he will call me up to have me investigate one of his labs that has been broken into. This will have you meet with Super Girl and fight against her. An even earlier instance is when I encountered the Teen Titans, Cyborg, Starfire, and Raven in a diabolical plot to unleash Raven's demon-side (the reason would be a spoiler so you have to see for yourself!). There are thus 6 storylines, one for each of the three mentors on the hero/villain side, that weave in and out of one another. Each mission is interesting and each encounter with a famous character rewards you with a comic book cutscene narrated from that character's perspective. You can replay those at any time.
 
Other NPCs will also launch you on longer story-line quests to complement the main storyline. 
 
I've heard the real game begins at level 30, but I am having a blast playing up to that point. Leveling is easy and level 30s will often group with lower levels to help them with missions and in PVP which also gives the mentoring hero/villain feat points. 
 
There are also a ton of dynamic quests/open-world boss events. I don't understand how GW2 sold this idea as such a definitive feature, when DCUO has it in spades. The dynamic quests make FFXIVs fates look miserable. The nice thing is that you never know where they are happening. This game is very much about exploring the cities and discovering invasions by Brainiac's robots or buxom amazons. 
 
Community: 
The community has been surprisingly wonderful. Shout or LFG for help on a mission and you will give responses. Join a league to make your experience even better. There does not seem to be a huge stratification between lower levels and higher levels which may be a downside for hardcore gamers. I do not consider this game hardcore, but it is challenging and complex at times. The community is very talkative and helpful. I have grouped with more level 30s at level 18 than I have grouped with people of my own level. Everyone wants to help and simply wants to play, collect, and learn more about the DCUO world. 
 
There are also a ton of players and a great deal of players pvping in the streets. Just flying around, you will see them on your minimap marked as green and red squares. 
 
PVP (?/5):
As a mid-level I would have to say that DCUO is probably my favorite experience in PVPing. It is less about gear (until you start fighting level 30s or decked out alts) and more about strategically using your abilities. You might use your overcharge abilities to instantly heal you and tank while the enemy wastes his abilities or shielding and dodging out of a stun. You might pull an enemy toward you or knock them back. Maybe you will try and stun them so you can jump off the roof and dive to safety (probably the coolest thing ever).
 
There are many different forms of PVP, from Legends which allows you to play as famous DCUO characters you collect, to Arena pvp with deathmatch, capture and hold, and other various modes. Then there is open world pvp on the pvp server. The game is designed to drive players against each other, with quest objectives and npcs located in the same region for Villains and Heroes. You might be fighting a crazed patient as a villain, when a player hero jumps on you. Suddenly, npc policemen are running at you and chipping away at your health. Fight or flight, literally? It's fun, but it can also be frustrating, especially when you are flying and suddenly a level 30 appears out of nowhere and smokes your butt. 
 
Crafting(?/5)
 
 
Anyway, I will continue to update my ratings of pvp and crafting as I get more in depth into these facets. 
 
tl;dr  The game is a breath of fresh air, but is not for the hardcore. It is for the superhero fans who like collecting and experiencing a comic book world. It is for the action mmo players who want complex combat and character skill progression. This game has a lot of great features pulled from many previous MMORPGs, and some new features as well. If I would say anything, it would be that this game is going to serve as a prototype for EQN in terms of combat, skill layout, and role management (the exception being the open skill system).

Comments

  • OSF8759OSF8759 Riverside, CAMember Posts: 284

    If you are truly of CoH, then you'll understand when I say:

    /JRanger

  • ghost047ghost047 montreal, QCMember UncommonPosts: 597
    Originally posted by OSF8759
    If you are truly of CoH, then you'll understand when I say: /JRanger

    +1

    Get a life you freaking Gamer.....no no, you don't understand, I'm a Gamer, I have many lives!!

  • WizGamerWizGamer Evansville, WVMember UncommonPosts: 401
    Originally posted by OSF8759
    If you are truly of CoH, then you'll understand when I say: /JRanger

     

     

    Suck it up and stop living in the past. The game is dead. No need to be rude and illiterate. If you can't/won't read it, don't post. 

  • AmarsirAmarsir Jersey City, NJMember UncommonPosts: 703

    Good review. Let me add my list of things they've done right and wrong:

    The Good

    • A Fourth Role in the "Holy Trinity". Likely inspired by CoH, DC has created the "controller" class in addition to Tank/Healer/DPS. It can be thought of as keeping your power (mana/endurance) full the same way a healer keeps your health full. (And then they have additional debuffing & CC roles and noteworthy damage. This makes wonderful balance for 4-man instances.
    • Role Switching. It's not obvious when you first sign up, but your choice of power set makes you a Tank, Healer, or Controller. And then EVERYONE is DPS, and you switch back and forth between Damage and your other role with the press of a button any time you're out of combat. This makes it much easier to fill teams and balance solo combat against group needs.
    • Alternate ways to build each powerset (usually). There are 6 powersets built into the game: Fire/Ice (Tanking), Nature/Sorcery (Healing), and Mental/Gadgets (Controlling). Then DLC adds 5 more so far with a 6th coming soon. And each one has two trees to build from, allowing mix and match. Plus 11 weapons can be selected. So there is decent customization allowed.
    • Costume modification on the fly. You need to find styles first but once you do the style is remembered even after gear goes, allowing you to change appearance whenever you like.
    • Weapon attack and combos. This is a lot of what makes it an "Action MMO". Between short and long clicks on the left (melee) and right (range) mouse buttons, you can build combos for different effects. There's a lot of subtle skill in deciding when to use (or not use) various combos.
    • Generate Power via weapon attacks. Although Controllers can feed your power bar, when you are soloing or don't have one you can also build power by using your weapon attacks. The more weapon attacks in a row, the faster your power regenerates. So not only does this keep you from being too power starved to fight, it creates a learnable skill to balance using power vs generating it.
    • Combat Counters. As stated above, all weapons can melee or range (although some are more one than the other). Also everyone can block to reduce incoming damage. This allows for a Rock/Paper/Scissors scenario: Blocking beats melee attacks, ranged attacks beat blocks, and melee beats range. So especially in PvP but also in PvE, there's a lot of reading the opponent and disguising your actions.
    • Gear Rating built in. Although you stop leveling at 30, the game will calculate your "Combat Rating" (CR) based off your gear after that. This is visible from your stats and used to permit entrance into content. So it's largely a pseudo-level that continues on up toward 100 now.
    • Three payment levels. As a free to play game it's extremely reasonable, and you can get well past 30 before even being tempted to spend anything. But if you do spend at least $5 on anything, then as a bonus you become "Premium" with faster queues, the ability to trade items, and other benefits. And then there is a subscriber level, "Legendary", which contains full game content. Honestly every one of these seems like a reasonable deal.
    • Legends PvP. A (mostly) balanced combat arena where you play as your favorite characters. Accessible to everyone starting at level 10 and a lot of fun.

    The Bad

    • Repeated content. A lot of the 30+ content is repeated versions of stuff you'll have done leveling up, just rebalanced for higher Combat Rating and possibly for 2 players instead of 1. And then if you want to advance you repeat this content a lot to get gear and move up to the next 'tier'. So get used for repetition.
    • Unskippable cutscenes. Combined with all the repetition, this can get quite annoying. In particular I'm thinking of a solo mission for CR84+ that's meant to be run every day, takes 10 minutes, and it feels like about 3 minuntes of that is cutscene.
    • PvE stuff completely overwhelming PvP. This became much worse with the last few DLCs this year, and to be honest has completely killed my enthusiasm. There are two major faults: 1) Bonuses that get "rented" for a month via PvE-earned marks. 2) Craftable gear mods that are completely out of scale with anything that came before and can only be earned from top-end 8-man PvE raids. Other than these things PvP is not that gear based, but the devs really screwed it up over the last 8 months.

    The Ugly

    • Combat Rating loses it's actual meaning. As I said above the CR of gear is used as a pseudo-level. Which is good. But as it becomes important for leveling it loses some actual meaning. It is possible, especially via crafted modifications, to have two items where one is much better for use but the other counts more for calculated stats. Additionally, the scaling becomes erratic: at some points a difference of 2CR is huge. At other times, 10 points means nothing. Not a deal-breaker but it can be confusing.
    • Content difficulty is erratic. On some of the higher level stuff, you can have instances that appear the same difficulty and have the same requirement for entry, but are vastly different in actual requirement. This can be frustrating and embarrassing as groups fail and turn on each other because they didn't know the stealth requirement is 10 points higher. (Or conversely it can lead to groups only forming with unreasonable requirements, keeping players out of content that's meant for them.)For example, one of the newest raids, when run by CR 96+, was reported to have a failure rate above 90%. This would at least be forgivable if their goal was to create a challenge for 96+. Except it's marked as content for 86s.
    • Crafting becomes a necessary part of the grind. (Again, mostly at higher levels.) This year they added the ability to partially recover components. Which is nice. But simultaneously restructured the tier approach to require massive crafting. For example: Standard procedure now is to grind marks for gear at 78. Then farm resources to craft up to 84. Then run content to get drops at CR 81. (This is the fun part.) Then unmodify the 78s, farm more resources up to craft again, and put your 81s up to 90+. Then run content marked as 84, which drops 83s and currency to buy 85s, then uncraft/re-farm/recraft up to 94 and run content marked as 86.

    So I really think the game is worth a try, and the combat may just ruin you for other MMOs. But a lot of people I know have been losing interest this year and I really think they've mismanaged the high end, so take that into consideration when planning long-term commitment.

    Currently playing:
    DC Universe
    Planetside 2
    Magic Online
    Simunomics, the Massive Multiplayer Economic Simulation Game. Play for free.

  • Dreamo84Dreamo84 Niagara Falls, NYMember UncommonPosts: 3,709
    I don't think it's enough as a main hardcore mmo but as a side action superhero title that just happens to be an MMO it's a blast. The voice overs and stories are well done combat isn't perfect but enjoyable.

    I play it as almost a marvel ultimate alliance type game with added MMO features.

    image
  • TribeofOneTribeofOne Wellford, SCMember UncommonPosts: 1,006
    I personally cant stand the clicky combo combat. it feels like an arcade game. other than that I liked everything else but combat is a tough one to ignore lol
  • Po_ggPo_gg Twigwarren, WestfarthingMember RarePosts: 4,032
    Originally posted by TribeofOne
    ... it feels like an arcade game.

    Like one? It is an arcade game :)

    it ment to be _the_ PS3 console mmo, so it's basically a console brawling game with some mmo-ish flavor. It's still a fun game, don't get me wrong (and I'm playing on pc), but it surely can help a lot if you're familiar with brawling games and their mechanics (clipping, combo chaining). And many say a controller is a big help as well - dunno personally, I never touch controllers. :)

    (As in game controllers, not the role, obviously... I have a mental and a gadget)

  • BruceYeeBruceYee Member RarePosts: 988
    I played this game on and off(sub/no sub) for about 2 years but in the end of it all I was just a psuedo-hero. I didn't get to BE my favorite hero or villian just fight along side them or do Legends/I didn't like the pvp in this game. If they add some pve content for legends characters I'd probably re-sub but I don't think they will this far down the road.
  • BeaumanBeauman Autumn Arbor, MDMember UncommonPosts: 142
    Originally posted by WizGamer
    Originally posted by OSF8759
    If you are truly of CoH, then you'll understand when I say: /JRanger

     

     

    Suck it up and stop living in the past. The game is dead. No need to be rude and illiterate. If you can't/won't read it, don't post. 

    /shrug. Played DCUO for almost two years. But as a former CoH player, I'll take Champions Online over a super-hero arcade-action game with limited character design capability (unless I want every character to look like a design reject from the Iron Age era), any day.

    Yes, DCUO is a fun game and it's fun to play in the DCU as a fan of the comics. But for a super-hero MMO experience, I prefer Champions, which actually makes me feel like I'm playing in a super-hero setting, and where Free-Form allows me to make the character I want to play. Not to mention the costume creator.

  • makasouleater69makasouleater69 franklin, NYMember UncommonPosts: 1,096
    Thanks for the write up, I never tried this game, before i read your post. I decided to give it a try, and i really like the combat. The only complaint which isnt a big one, is there is no night and day. The combat though is very nice, I love that when you level up you  have to learn a new move, not just press 1 ect. Also I love how for 15 a month you can play DCUO, EQ,EQ2,PS2, and it says coming soon to it H1Z1 and dragon prophet. Dont know any company who can compete with all that content for 15 a month. 
  • jesteralwaysjesteralways BangladeshMember RarePosts: 2,560

    Have SOE changed this stance :- "calling SOE devs name in game chat is much greater offense than cheating/hacking/botting in pvp"?

    You know why i ask this? currently i am playing SWToR regularly, Rift on and off, WoW on occasion. in all of these games i saw swift action regarding botting/hacking/cheating in pvp wz/bg/wf but in DCUO i never saw any action against hackers/botters/cheaters; on top of that the same hacker guild who had toon on both servers was openly recruiting in official forums with their "road to conquest" video which was clear enough to convict them of hacking/cheating. but despite numerous report with evidential video and screenshot SOE never did anything to this particular guild because not only they subscribers but they also used to spent shit load of money in cash shop. i myself reported many hackers/cheaters with video evidence with no action against the criminals; they were still playing and still one shotting 4-8 players in arena/legends matches.

    Finally i got pissed and wrote it in chat "SOE are worthless faggots who are incapable of handling hackers/cheaters/botters". did not even take 2 min before i got perma banned. so basically the message i got was that hacking/cheating/botting is completely alright as long as i don't call SOE any names. And last year they even said they are spying on players who are criticizing them on social media!!! 

    in swtor i constantly bash eaware in general chat(yeah i use the phrase "worthless faggot" a lot), in rift i do that with trion and don't make me start with wow but i was never even warned about my behavior in these games let alone getting a single day of ban time. but these companies always took heavy action against real offenders like hackers/cheaters/botters; just last week EAware banned a multiboxer who was multiboxing in wz; this tells me how dedicated they are trying to make the game a better one. I DO NOT  see SOE as to be a good company who wants to provide a good environment to players. there is no doubt how awesome DCUO is; frankly they have the best megaserver tech among all mmo developer/publishers but their policy regarding healthy game environment. SOE will always be a "NO GO" for me no matter what they do or what they invent. 

    Boobs are LIFE, Boobs are LOVE, Boobs are JUSTICE, Boobs are mankind's HOPES and DREAMS. People who complain about boobs have lost their humanity.

  • makasouleater69makasouleater69 franklin, NYMember UncommonPosts: 1,096
    Originally posted by jesteralways
    Have SOE changed this stance :- "calling SOE devs name in game chat is much greater offense than cheating/hacking/botting in pvp"? You know why i ask this? currently i am playing SWToR regularly, Rift on and off, WoW on occasion. in all of these games i saw swift action regarding botting/hacking/cheating in pvp wz/bg/wf but in DCUO i never saw any action against hackers/botters/cheaters; on top of that the same hacker guild who had toon on both servers was openly recruiting in official forums with their "road to conquest" video which was clear enough to convict them of hacking/cheating. but despite numerous report with evidential video and screenshot SOE never did anything to this particular guild because not only they subscribers but they also used to spent shit load of money in cash shop. i myself reported many hackers/cheaters with video evidence with no action against the criminals; they were still playing and still one shotting 4-8 players in arena/legends matches. Finally i got pissed and wrote it in chat "SOE are worthless faggots who are incapable of handling hackers/cheaters/botters". did not even take 2 min before i got perma banned. so basically the message i got was that hacking/cheating/botting is completely alright as long as i don't call SOE any names. And last year they even said they are spying on players who are criticizing them on social media!!!  in swtor i constantly bash eaware in general chat(yeah i use the phrase "worthless faggot" a lot), in rift i do that with trion and don't make me start with wow but i was never even warned about my behavior in these games let alone getting a single day of ban time. but these companies always took heavy action against real offenders like hackers/cheaters/botters; just last week EAware banned a multiboxer who was multiboxing in wz; this tells me how dedicated they are trying to make the game a better one. I DO NOT  see SOE as to be a good company who wants to provide a good environment to players. there is no doubt how awesome DCUO is; frankly they have the best megaserver tech among all mmo developer/publishers but their policy regarding healthy game environment. SOE will always be a "NO GO" for me no matter what they do or what they invent. 

    So your mad because all those other games let you act like a ignorant ass hat, and SOE decided they didnt want you in their game, acting like that you now hate SOE. I think just by the fact they banned you forever, that SOE is a good company that wants to provide a good experience to its players. Now you can see why those games you just mentioned SWTOR, WOW, and rift are ranked among the worst mmo community's there are to be found in MMOs. I think you would feel better in those games, where you can feel like the majority, instead of in games like DCUO and EQ where you would be a very very small minority. 

    For one in all my years of playing EQ, which is from the start of and on. I have never met one hacker, or cheater. As for playing 2 characters at once that has always been accepted in EQ. 

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