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DCUO: Impressions and Play Thoughts

blazin-aceblazin-ace Member Posts: 302

This thread is for ongoing impressions and thoughts while playing through the game. I’m not some professional reviewer. I don’t expect you to be. I’m just average Joe game player like most of you with all due apologies to Jane. We can talk about the game as desired let’s just avoid veering too far away from topics involved with actually playing and participating. I expect disagreements but let’s stay respectful of one another to avoid trouble.


My Initial Expectation:

I kind of enjoyed the last superhero MMO game I tried and was looking for something similar but different that might occupy me for two or three months. I liked the promotional cinematic and the gameplay video looked fluid. So, I have hopes for fun story and fun combat. Yet, there is a cloud over Sony and DCUO that leaves me wondering if I just made a bad deal with the Devil.

Purchase & Download:


I bought the game cheap through Amazon’s Digital Service. It downloaded the game launcher (8 MB) which took over. I had to create a subscription plan before downloading the game. I will not be charged for a month and can cancel before then. Yet, after the security breach I felt irritated at being forced to enter credit card information before I really needed to. It’s a large 13.4 GB download. From a simple user perspective, the launcher is a polished bit of software in comparison to those of other MMO companies. I had good connection speed and let it work overnight.

Tidbit: I received free in game items and 500 station cash on sign up. I’m not sure if it’s the result of being a former customer for EQ2 before the hack or a current promotion.

Server Selection:

I searched through the official forums seeking information on server population but all I could find was out of date. Actual data for the PC side of things has been supplanted by an idea that all of the servers were kind of empty. There are six PVE servers and three PVP servers on the current list all noted as low population. I settled at random on Zero Hour. Make no bones about it. That’s one awesome intro movie!

Character Creation:

The character creation includes: gender, body type, hero or villain alignment, mentor, power type, and fighting style selection. I got LOL tickled at the character personality section in that the options all seemed so exaggerated. I just couldn’t make myself play a male flirt. I went for serious. After that you can customize a costume if desired or use one of the presets. You have more options than the typical fantasy MMORPG but nothing comparable to the games actual market competition in CO or COX.

The most useful feature for a “new player” was the ability to create a character inspired by a popular DC Comics hero or villain. You can edit a preset to suit your individual desires. The scroll bar blends too well to stick out from the alien bio tech skin artwork surrounding the screen. It took me a moment to figure out I could scroll down for more options.

Tidbit: The game client went black screen after I windowed keyed out to take notes. CTRL – ALT – DELETE brought up the task manager allowing me to shut it down.


It will immediately become clear that you are playing a console game ported to PC. You have a target reticle on screen to select opponents with and can lock onto one specific enemy with the TAB key. It’s straight forward and similar to controlling a character in most other MMO’s with the glaring exception of a mouse cursor to interact with the environment. You will have to rely on keystrokes. That will irritate many potential players but at least they allow use of the cursor in the game menus.


Chat UI:

At first you will see a chat box very much like the one present in every other MMO in the lower left corner of your screen. However, the UI doesn’t make immediate allowance for its easy use or the selection of alternate tabs. I finally found the command list. Activate it with / or ENTER. I would not expect to rely on the chat function during combat or missions as it is slow to access and use.

Tidbit: During my initial play session, I never saw a single player message in the typed chat window.

Built in Voice:

There isn’t even an auto attack. DCUO is firmly in the action game category. To work with team mates during missions and interact with other players in the world you will want to use the game’s built in voice chat system. It’s simple enough to configure in the settings panel. This is the first game where I feel like voice chat will be a must have and must use for playing enjoyment.


SOE got this much right in DCUO. The graphics are superb, in particular the environments, for an MMO. The voice acting, sound effects, and general ambient audio are top notch. The full on CGI movie clips are excellent and the comic panel slide shows acceptable. I am playing at good quality and as yet the game hasn’t strained my system (ATI 5870 / AMD II 1045T / 8GB Memory) out of cool and quiet while less graphically appealing games such as those by Cryptic would make it blow. I admit, I've wondered why my hero doesn't look as good as some of the bad guys here at start. lol...

Tutorial Mission:

It’s a serviceable romp through one of Brainiac’s invasion ships that ends with an appearance by one of DC’s icons. It does the job in teaching you the basic controls and how combat will work. I wish it had included notes on some of the other functions you’ll want to know how to use in play. The enemy robots were well modeled and I liked how the overseer bots charged.

Survival of the Fittest:

This is the first story arc available to metahuman characters after completion of the tutorial. It focuses on confronting Gorilla Grodd and preventing the invasion of a Metropolis city district. The gorilla opponents are modeled well. Their dialogue is repetitive and in one mission they will throw mission objective items at you which count toward fulfillment. The mission objectives are fairly typical of an MMO during the story line. The open world opponents are set on a very fast re-spawn and you can get overwhelmed by a repeat fight a second after finishing the first. Certain opponents have crowd control ability. I got owned a few times and that’s not a bad thing as it shows some challenge is present.

The first super villain fight and lair was a step above what I am used to in the directly competing hero games for a “first outing against the bad guys.“ Gorilla Grodd was tough.


Population (Ongoing):

I saw perhaps 20 other players in total tonight over two and a half hours, mainly in the police station and aboard the JLA Watchtower. The game world felt empty of player activity and quiet. During my play through of the first story arc, I only saw one other player fighting enemies in the game world.

Tidbit: Watchtower seems huge on a first visit. It’s easy to get lost but if you use your map and take advantage of the ability to set a waypoint then you should be fine navigating it.

My Character & Screens:

I ended up creating a: Metahuman with Ice Powers, Hand Blaster fighting style, and Flight for travel. I was inspired by the classic flying brick with energy beam type heroes. I named him Adrian Awesome.

I took a few screens and you can see those HERE. I’ll add to those with time and note when I update. These were just quick grabs.

All for Now:

That’s all from me for now and I am off to play more in a bit. Then, I'll continue if you're interested. How’s it going with you in game?




  • DurrayDurray Member UncommonPosts: 182

    Very nice start, I have been wondering wabout DCUO myself. So I am curious what you make of it in a couple of weeks time.

  • blazin-aceblazin-ace Member Posts: 302

    I’ve made L13 with a new character. It was so quiet on Zero Hour that I wanted to try another server and get in on some group content. I ended up creating a magical hero with sorcery, hand blaster, and flight named Doc Wonder on Virtue and Vice. It’s noticeably more populated.

    Combat (Ongoing):

    PVE combat is enjoyable once you adjust to the controls. I don’t take my eyes off the screen as often when compared to other MMOs. I am tapping mouse buttons in quick combos that do the same thing more smoothly than hot bar clicking. There are only six powers available for use at once and I am binding them near my movement keys. You can keep powers organized into changeable load outs. You have to be careful targeting as it’s easy to end up shooting a mob across the way and have them join the combat unintentionally. I wish I could enjoy the rest of the UI as much.



    There are races against a time limit set up like an obstacle course of hoops to move through in order to earn an experience point reward. I’ve found them near safe houses so far. They can be fun, quick, and seem well done with directional arrows and other indicators to help keep you on track. Some have a surprise along the way that can throw you off the first time. You can redo them as often as you would like but there is only a set amount of experience reward in total available for winning.

    Tidbit: It’s difficult to use speed boost when using the WASD keyboard movement binds and a mouse to steer with. It’s mapped to the NUM LOCK key. Consider binding it to a key near your movement keys so you can tap it on and off for a boost when needed during the race.

    Collections, Investigations, and Briefings:


    There are several types of collectables scattered about the game world and within missions that you can acquire for unique style tokens (costume additions.) They all share the same “type” of reward for completion and I wish there was more variety be it cash, styles, items, etc. I always seem to miss one item somewhere. I’ve managed one collection for a louchador mask.

    The Vault:

    It’s like being able to visit one of those “bouncy ball chambers” at McDonalds every day with a Joker theme. I think kids will like this the most. You’re thrown into a chamber with gigantic balls and fire crackers bouncing around while gift boxes drop from the roof for you to blow up. Rewards are a small bit of cash and the occasional bit of style. There are rare rewards of DC fan hero t-shirts for your character to wear. It’s a game where you make your own superhero and while I don’t want to wear another hero’s shirt a true fan might. Maybe…

    Making Headlines:


    Most PVE missions are organized into arcs where you begin fighting the henchmen of a major villain, foil their plans, discover the villain’s hideout, and then confront them in battle. It’s very DC Comic classic storytelling. Every villain fight has been memorable and challenging so far. The lair environments have been great. I particularly liked the Chinese Theater and the Lighthouse. Once you defeat a villain you get a newspaper headline achievement and a comic panel slide show relating to their aims.


    There has been a DC Hero accompanying my character on every villain fight so far. This is a plus and a minus. It’s great to see an icon in action but I never feel like “my RPG superhero” has stepped into their own as a worthy legend to go toe to toe with the big boys alone. I think these battles have been interesting ways to involve me as a player in showcasing the IP while protecting it too.


    Tidbit: One theme in particular sticks out that I wish other superhero MMO’s would learn from. When you defeat a villain or mugger on the street you see them handcuffed for the police to haul away to jail rather than left as a blood splat.


    Mission Journal:

    It collects your missions. It also gets me killed. There is no way to hide quests or organize them for easy tracking. I’ve been ambushed on more than one occasion while scrolling through the list to determine what I want to do.


    DC will reboot and update their comic lineup in September. No mention has been made of how this will affect the game itself. On a further note, DC and Warner Brothers have lost rights to significant portions of the Superman IP and it’s hard to predict how that will force alteration of this game’s storyline in the next two years. It’s too far away to worry about now but an interesting consideration for the future. The company seems distraught enough that they are now trying to sue the lawyer that won the case.

    Population (Ongoing):

    There are more people playing on Virtue & Vice than on Zero Hour. The difference is noticeable. I personally saw thirty players spread out across the areas I visited and observed others attempting to use the shout command to simulate a global chat channel on occasion. The PVP queues appear slow at forty five minutes to an hour but they seem to pop for the patient.

    I think that the megaserver needs to be pushed forward quickly for the good of the game. I feel surreal in that I see the basics of a good game “here in the mid-levels” but there are so few playing. I keep looking around for the signs of the apocalypse I missed… It’s kind of ominous.



    I took a pair in particular that showcase how great Gotham City looks while flying around and some that do a good job of showing off my sorcery character, his pets, vehicles, and more interesting NPC models. I wish I could get some good combat shots. You can find them HERE.


    All for Now:


    I hesitate to name a true target audience yet and I am looking for group opportunities to try out the alerts.




  • April-RainApril-Rain Member UncommonPosts: 316

    its a bit cheaper on steam today and ive been considering it, but im very wary after the hacking fiasco on letting them have my cc info again.

    but after reading your post im going to take a leap of faith and take a look, thanks for the well thought out posts ;)

    Playing: FFXIV
    Future: wishing for SWG 2, World of Warcraft Classic
    Played: Most current and extinct MMO's - 18 Years in....

    Interesting Fact - I own 27 Tarantula's

  • evilastroevilastro Member Posts: 4,270

    Its a good game for the first month or two, the problem is that it lacks any staying power. Its really not worth a subscription. It would have been better as a Guild Wars type model. Then more people would log in for a PvP fix or to run a few instances, but as it stands right now it just doesnt have the content.

  • blazin-aceblazin-ace Member Posts: 302

    Based on the hacking fiasco I have been keeping tabs on where and when SOE makes me provide credit card information. I want to see if they allow me to remove it from my account when / if I move on too. I can’t comment on the end until I get there but I am forming thoughts as it doesn’t seem so far away.

    One of my disappointments right now has proven to be an inability to get together with anyone for group content in the low to mid-levels or try a basic PVP match so I can comment. I am playing a healer so I don’t expect to be too tough in DCUO… lol.


  • blazin-aceblazin-ace Member Posts: 302


    You can respec for $500 onboard the Watchtower at a terminal within the agriculture wing. If you respec more than once per day, the cost increases. It clears your power and skill point expenditures allowing you to reallocate them. It does not allow you to change power type or weapon style.


    The game’s auction house is found onboard the Watchtower. I have checked it for goods but there is little of interest to be obtained, in particular for low to mid-level characters. People simply are not using it in any significant way at the moment. The interface makes some sacrifices for the PS3.

    Bank & Mail:

    I get messages with item attachments for the completion of races but otherwise I’ve had no reason to mail anything or put anything into the bank. Mail stations are found at safe houses and the bank is aboard the watchtower.

    Combat (Ongoing):

    It’s still smooth and fun but it’s clear that your weapon style is the primary means of combat while powers are to support it. The sorcery power set feels lacking as a Summoner. Pets are rather meek, do little, and get stuck. I’ve only two “consistently” useful spells in transcendence and barrier shield. Soul storm and wrath sound nice but disappoint in action.

    PVP & Alerts:

    I have queued for “several” hours hoping to do an alert or try a PVP match. They list times on average wait but it never pops for me. I grew curious. According to the official forum there are several unpatched exploits in powers and abilities that have ruined interest in PVP and made PUG alerts rare in that the loot divvy system is bugged amongst other things.

    Bugs, Exploits, Glitches, Animation Hangs:

    It can play so smoothly but you will encounter an issue sooner or later on the PC. The best way to keep track of current issues is to visit the official forums. SOE seems to be working on fixing them but some patches have broken other things. I’ve wondered if the original team was still responsible for the work?

    Target Audience:

    It’s a comic theme park all ages can enjoy but the kids and young teens seem to be favored. That’s true of most MMORPG games though. The cinematic intro movie would lead you to think otherwise but it’s a content exception rather than the rule “so far” outside of two dirty words overheard in the Queen Bee fight and the fleeing hookers along the Bane related missions.


    I think the MMO industry in general wishes the older generation of players would just die already. We end up subscribing to games they design for a younger generation and then rip them up in forums and reviews.

    Population (Ongoing):

    I saw perhaps twenty players spread out across the areas I visited and observed two others attempting to use the shout command to simulate a global chat channel in order to request teams but they were never answered and got a bit peeved over it. Some unanswered critique of PVP players too. This was ominously quiet for a weekend play session during prime hours.

    My Impression of the Game:


    I can’t recommend DCUO as a pay to play MMO worthy of a sub fee in its current state. What’s so sad is that the game has a ton of unfinished potential. It really could have been ground breaking huge with more content, polish, a stable launch client, bug squashing, stronger social features, and a PC friendly UI.

    It’s certainly not a WoW clone in spite of using the trinity. You could have fun looking at this as a single player / co-op game ported to the PC for the story and boss fights in PVE. I do not regret my $20 US purchase price that way. I’ve enjoyed it that much and I could see someone having fun with it for a month with that expectation.

    It’s like playing an action CRPG with CO-OP features... It’s not a fleshed out MMORPG and doesn’t cater to those expectations on the PC. There is no crafting, no housing, no actual raids, no fleshed out interface for a guild, no significant use for in game cash, very limited and bugged social features, nothing to do together but bust a PVE mob as most everyone ditched the alerts and PVP.


    I am reminded of the article here on site where a developer on their way out of the field was questioned for declaring that any game could be called an MMO if it had a multiplayer component. The industry doesn't seem as in touch with the player base as it once was,


    When they open the megaserver things might start to turn around. It depends on how much work they can do on fixing the game and adding in content. I can’t help but feel grim though. There are so few people playing on the servers I’ve tried that it may be too late… A bad launch in the face of high expectations can kill a game and I wonder if DCUO was shoveled out to the masses too soon? It feels unfinished.

    When it comes to establishing a stable community on the PC for an MMO the social features within a game are huge. And in DCUO they feel crippled by the UI and certain oversights. You can’t select another player in the world to check their level  just as an example and worse it's hard to ask them.

    I don’t know how the game is doing as a PS3 MMO. It might survive there. On the PC I see it as a quiet little station game and a potential cancelation.

    After Thoughts:

    Was DCUO really designed as an MMORPG on PC? Or just marketed that way? I was looking for an MMORPG. Since it’s just not in my PC oriented book, I find my interest dwindling. I will cancel my sub before the free month runs out. I am not sure what I will try next. I keep looking for a game I can call home for a year or two. I am tempted to try some of the F2P games and perhaps go play EVE. 



  • blazin-aceblazin-ace Member Posts: 302

    Brief Follow Up:

    When / if you cancel your subscription, use the payment sources tab at the Sony Station account management page to remove your credit card information from their records.

  • TeknoBugTeknoBug Member UncommonPosts: 2,156

    What bothers me is that even after you remove the CC info, it's still remaining on SOE's servers, payment history shows some of that info too.


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