Saturday, February 28, 2009

DCU Online Preview with Doomsday

DC is working with Sony Online entertainment to create a massive multi-player game, similar to World of Warcraft.

I'm very excited about the game despite the fact that playing means I will need either a new computer or a PS3. It looks like everything I was hoping City of Heroes would be, but because it didn't employ DC (or Marvel) characters or storylines, I just never got all that into CoH in the 6 months or so I played.

The latest out of the DCU Online dispatches is a trailer for a scenario in the game in which Luthor's team tries to liberate Doomsday from STAR Labs. I'm no gamer, so don't go buying the thing on my say-so, but it's neat to look at.

12 comments:

Michael Corley said...

I, unfortunatly, have dedicated huge chunks of my life to these games. I will NOT play this game. Because I won't sleep. I kind of need to sleep.

Jason said...

It LOOKS really bad ass (can I say ass on here?). I hope the gamplay hold up. I could potentially see it becoming sort of a chaotic mess with tons of characters onscreen and different rays, bolts, projectiles, and objects all flying around at the same time, which would make it very difficult to tell what's going on. Admittedly, I don't have much experience with the massive multiplayer games, though, and I would imagine that this problem has been thought through before (and will hopefully not be a problem here).

Michael Corley said...

Jason, were I to guess, they probably will have events like this in an "instance" where a set number of folks are intracting at a time. That likely means there will be about five heroes and five villians. Otherwise it become, exactly as you describe, a chaotic mess. Right before I quit City of Heroes they were having alien invasions where the heroes and villians had to band together to fight them off. It was awful. The game reduced to a crawl and half the server congregated in one spot to try and take a shot at a naked lizard.

The League said...

CoH had some shared server PvP point that I recall stumbling into when City of Villians was released. It was miserable. And, yeah, even on missions, if you had too many people, your screen could light up like Christmas. Usually you could back up and it would help. But what Michael describes for gameplay seems pretty reasonable.

I guess one thing I'm still hoping for from the game is that you can identify with a team, such as Team Superman or something, if you decide to choose similar powers, and wear the "S", or a Bat-symbol, A lightning Bolt, etc...

Michael Corley said...

I think that's pretty likely, as RPG gamers like to have guild, teams, whatever you want to call them. Usually this involves clicking a button or wearing an imaginary item that gives your character your team color with a distinguishing mark, like the bat symbol.

It will be a hard balance for them to reach. People play these games because they like to play them with other people, but you have to make the mechanics such that the real fun happens in instances where you are dealing with a set number of folk.

You want your character, upon unleashing his hellfire blast, to burn red and emit flames of dammnation upon his foes. But if ten people are doing that at once, it kind of looks like someone crappy lucky charms on your screen.

It will be interesting to see how well the resolve it.

tachyonshuggy said...

Is Mr. Mytzlplk a character?

NTT said...

City of Heroes and DCU Online will definitely play different. CoH is more of a hardcore MMORPG where, like Everquest & World of Warcraft, there is a more complicated leveling scheme with slotting and loadouts of equipment very important.

Listening to intereviews with Jim Lee and producers, DCU will be much more like Diablo, with DC superheroes in 3D. RPG-lite with powers not having to be heavily slotted and working well "out of the box". Also, the grouping will probably definitely smaller, probably no higher than four or five players. Both are equally valid and if they develop it right, can be very successful. This is I'm sure to make sure the PS3 and PC experience is compatible, hence you can't introduce the level of complexity of a hardcore MMORPG.

That being said, I'm looking forward to seeing how's it's like. As a long CoH player and World of Warcraft guy, DCU can't replicate some of the awesomeness of a high end raid that occurs in both games. There is nothing like taking 50 players at the same time and taking down a giant monster in a heavily coordinated attack in a high end raid. In CoH, we regularly coordinate an army to take down Hamidon, the largest and most complex task grouping in the game. (See http://cityofheroes.wikia.com/wiki/Hamidon_Raid).

I'll be curious to see the tactical level of DCU. One strength of CoH is the interplay of powersets and how through proper tactical team building you can create a force to conquer the many very difficult high end raids. You can really delve into the multiplicative nature of symbiotic powersets. The task forces are designed to be difficult and success isn't guaranteed. Here are some pictures of our SG running Faathim the Kind Task Force:
http://www.superdupersg.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=330

I really hope DCU comes out of the box and succeeds as the world needs more RPGs not rooted in heroic fantasy. It'll be interesting to see how they handle some the issues CoH has encountered, power-creep, exploits, hacks, etc.

Jason said...

Wow, NTT! I.. had... no... idea...

;-)

Well, as a run of the mill platform gamer, personally I hope they don't make it too complicated. Looks cool, though.

NTT said...

I was always a gamer my whole life. It wasn't very apparent in law school because I basically had to shut that down in order to actually y'know, pass. I had a Playstation during 2nd year and after playing Final Fantasy 7 for 2 days straight I had to get rid of it and gave it to my best friend just so it wasn't in my apartment where I could turn it on and play.

Anyway, DCU seems to be geared for new MMO players so that's a good thing. I think it'll work out well. The key for MMO's is always what happens after someone levels up their characters to the end? That is always the key to survival and how a game designer approaches it is critical. There are many MMO's that failed because the implementation was half-baked. MMO's are complicated game systems that are expensive to develop and maintain. If you can't keep a critical mass of customers the costs of running the game overwhelms your profit margin. See the Conan MMO.

Michael Corley said...

That was the one element I was most intrigued by in the video, was the comment of powers working together. I did not know if that was the generic of "healers work well with tanks" or that powers might actually interact in some fashion, which would be sweet.

I've done exactly one true raid. I died. A lot. But it was still fun as hell.

The League said...

I believe the only scenario so far is the Doomsday scenario. And I'm not sure how you'd do a Mr. Mxyzptlk scene. But I'd absolutely love to play one. Especially early-era Mxyzptlk who was always looking for McGurk.

rhpt said...

I'm guessing that you would basically be forming mini-JLA's in DCU online to get tasks accomplished. Same as with a raid on WoW..Tank, healer, mage, etc.