Bring on the Spandex, DC Universe Online

Since DC Universe Online (DCUO for short) new payment method "Free2Play" in vigor, we take a look at what we seem to be a latex addiction with a mix of a gigantic muscles for men and womens large ... busts. Just take a look at how I avoid the word of womens above the belly button and below the neck area and still review a game full of genetically enhanced bodies. 

Oh and spoilers about the story, if you haven't seen the game yet.
If you take a look at ANY comic book from DC franchise and you will notice 2 things, gigantic muscles and women who are similar to enhanced Victoria's Secrets models with over the top muscles and enhanced curvaceous pectorals and in this massive multiplayer online action game (will delve this a little below) is no exception.

If you don't know this game already, DCUO takes place on the most characteristic areas of the DC universe and a palette of recognizable characters like Batman, Supermen, Flash, Lex Luthor, Joker, Bane (the guy who wanted to divide and conquer Batman spine) and you, a new super-hero which looks like a confused fusion of a couple of heroes. The game is an MMO developed by SOE, the same people who brought us Everquest II and it was released in 2011. January 11 on the USA and January 14 on Europe. This game for me doesn't fall into the MMORPG but  MMOAG with RPG elements since you just button smash to do combos to kill, or just beat the crap out, your target. The RPG elements are way obvious in the leveling, the tree's and classes.

Character Customization Screen

The story of the game is shown right in the intro movie and it was one of the trailers we see commonly on Youtube with comments like "This should be made a movie" and my personal favorite "This intro is the best thing in the game". In the trailer/intro movie, we see a futuristic war of villains and heroes, Lex Luthor wins the battle against the blue and red spandex fan Super-man by luring him into helping Wonder Woman who even after a couple of decades she stays firmer than a mannequin with a bust defect. While this was happening Brainiac was secretly stealing the powers of all the super heroes of the world and putting them in something called the exobytes, a small metal insectoid and conquers the world with extremely ease. In a last effort, Batman, Lex Luthor and Fracture (a newly created hero with the power of the exobytes stolen by Luthor) flee to the Fortress of Solitude, which try and resist while they configure a time machine that will give a fighting chance to the heroes of the past against Brainiac. A betrayal ensues and Lex jumps in the time machine while we see the fortress of solitude explode, just shortly after we see that the narrator the story is actually Luthor and while he does that he releases the stolen exobytes into Earth creating a plenitude of heroes and villains from ordinary men, and thats where you come in.

So lets start with the game itself, you start up with the character selection. We are provided is feeble and extremely small compared to many of the MMO's we see released in 2010-2011. Instead of having scaled to increase the height of the character we are presented with only 3 choices, either for man and women. For men we got the small sidekick stature, we have to medium bodybuilder abs steroid induced stature and the gigantic brick sized bully who looks like he went to a procedure to enhance his muscles beyond the human capability, and for women, not matter how big or small they are (which is similar to some extent to the its men counterpart: a small, medium and "the attack of the gigantic woman" statures) its body composer is always the same, gigantic baby feeders and extremely tonified buttocks that would put Stan Smiths "Thunder Clap" into shame. The head and skin color also lacks content as it only shows up a couple of changes but nothing that would separate the wheat from the chaff.

3 Types of Role and a Ton of Weaponry at your disposal!
 Now this is where it gets really, really interesting: The roles are one of the most confusing things I've seen in an MMO. Despite being extremely flexible you customize yourself with a Power and a Weapon. In the power sections you have, in my view, three roles that each with 2 powers.

In the defense role, you have fire and ice. They are defensive powers as fire will give you some self-healing and AOE magics that can target more than one enemy at once, while ice gives you some upgrades and buffs for your armor making you last longer and not need in constant healing, but also gives you some self-healing and AOE just like fire.

In the control role, you have Gadgets and Mental. These are somewhat vital to the group as they are the stunners and the people who make you regenerate power faster. While power regeneration and stun are vital they can be a bit bypassed in the first dungeons you'll encounter, but remember without one in your team you'll spend power so fast you won't be able to cast a few spells without running out of it.

My personal favorite, and last is healing role, which are Nature and Sorcery. This is the backbone of your group without them you aren't going anywhere fast as they enhance your powers with buffs and keep the groups healed up to its full potential.
Now that we know that the powers decide what tree's you'll have to enhance, the weapon decides how do you fight here is a list provided by Brighthub.com that summarizes what are their functions.

  • Bow: A powerful, somewhat slow ranged style. Offers significant bonuses to defense, toughness, and critical heal chance.
  • Brawling: A powerful, slow melee style. Offers significant bonuses to dominance, health and critical attack damage.
  • Dual Pistol: A fast ranged style. Offers significant bonuses to might, restoration, vitalization and critical attack damage.
  • Dual Wield: A fast melee style. Offers significant bonuses to dominance, might, restoration and critical attack damage.
  • Hand Blaster: A fast ranged and melee style. Offers significant bonuses to dominance, health, might and critical healing chance.
  • Martial Arts: A medium melee style. Offers significant bonuses to might, restoration, critical attack damage and stealth.
  • One-Handed: A medium melee style. Offers significant bonuses to might, vitalization and critical healing chance.
  • Rifle: A medium ranged style. Offers significant bonuses to health, vitalization.
  • Staff: A fast melee style. Offers significant bonuses to defense, toughness, dominance and critical healing chance.
  • Two-Handed: A slow melee style. Offers significant bonuses to health, vitalization.
Now, if you check out brighthubs post you'll also find some ideas on how to mix and match for better use, and if you want to be surprised you can also pick a a hero and it will pick you a power and a weapon that the hero might have used in the past or is currently using. My example is that I picked up to be like batman and I got Gadget and Martial Arts, just like little Bruce Wayne himself.

The environment is adjacent with the comics, you got gritty Gotham City and Metropolis which is always shinning. Each city as its hub of quests which are fun to follow and easy to do if you are already into the mechanics of the game, this is a huge bonus for a game as people like to do things that they feel part of.
PVP is also a big factor on the game and it is where most of the game population is located. You have the option of fighting with a Legend Character which means either Batman or Superman or its villainous counterparts, this also something that is really helping the longevity of the game big time.

"I'm here to warn you about the tragedy that is DCUO"
Lets get down to the bad stuff around the game:
  • If you are playing from a PC, you will notice that the controls are fashioned to be like a console controller so its a downsize as I saw players in the forums complaining about it a lot, so its definitely something SOE needs looking after, after almost a year for sale this should've been fixed.
  • The console chat system is completely something that needs to work, you need to stop doing whatever you are doing, press select, and then you start typing, its slow, it shouldn't been like this at all as it stop communication to a complete alt because its already a pain to start typing with a keyboard and lose the controller much like having to press something, type, after you type you need to press select again to play again.
  • What is up with the characters customization, it feels like I've been thrown into the stone age of sandbox customization, either you are a gigantic bulk of muscles or a tiny kid who seems to be hitting puberty, it shouldn't be like this, ever. If this was 2000-2005 era, it would be a easily forgettable mistake, this 2011, and its inadmissible. Not to mention how women are just micro or gigantic copies of the medium stature.
  • Why just cities, why... You got Smallville, a village where superman and friends/foes grown up; you got tons of world, space stations, everything so why sticking with just 2 cities and a tower?
  • A game that has been on the market for a year is completely low on what it should have, people seem to be content with two cities and some dungeons but comparing with other MMO's it lacks exploration something that it impresses people while they are walking by from place A to place B and not just be confronted with buildings, street, destroyed houses.
  • The HUD seems slow to respond, thats just it.
  • There is no sense of an ever changing environment, there is no night and day, there is no evolution or progression
  • Even with the new influx of people, most of them I actually talked to seem to think even with the F2P method most of them won't be going back to the game or just won't pay as they don't see much of an evolution and in most parts it just feels like a gaping hole between content.
  • The community that stayed loyal all this time the game as been released, at least half turns out to be an elitist prick that thinks that F2P was a bad idea and won't help the game at all
  • The chat between community and community reps just simply doesn't exit, now this isn't a problem of DCUO itself but SOE which are always hampering what the community says about bugs, flaws and imbalance.
  • The Target system is plain horrid, you target someone and when you notice your just fighting thin air towards a genuine massacre.
So just to wrap my head around all the experience I absorbed with this game the bad, the good and the despite the good output this game as, it isn't explored, its not being valued and the game, taken those luxurious CGI that traps people like moths, needs some really change of direction as it is fresh, a good idea, and it's not just being explored the right way. If there was a Rep from SOE that was reading I would leave him with a big note:
"Cater the community and the community will cater back to you. Even if you put this F2P it will die a slow excruciating death and it might've been one of the biggest ideas you lot had in a long time."
In conclusion: The gigantic hard-drive space, the installation time it takes, the bad attitude from some of the community, the almost non-existent talk between reps and the communities, the stale environment, the bad character customization and other ideas don't make for the game itself, try it if you want, you might even like the game if your into repeating dungeons non-stop or just pvp in the same things over and over again, but into account all the bad vs good, the game really needs a wake up call and not a F2P boost of 1000% populace that will decrease with each coming day people reach the level cap.

Kevin Spacey as Lex Luthor.
Lex Luthor Disproves of this thread.

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