DC Universe Online is going ‘free 2 play’ from the end of October – if it has piqued your interest, let TGR prepare you with this series of articles…
First things first, I’m certainly not claiming to be an expert on the game (I’ve only recently got my main character to level 30). I’m still picking things up after months of playing, so I know just how overwhelming the game can be for new players. There are plenty of things I’ve found out that I’d wish I’d known or realised at the beginning, so that’s the purpose of this series of articles, to get you up to speed with all the basics of DCUO so you can hit the ground running, so to speak.
Today we’ll take a guided tour through character creation, the bit most people are quick to skip through because they want to start playing. Beware though, some choice you make here are unchangeable and can have
The first choice you have when you create a new character is what “World” you want to play on. Originally the game had 4 worlds for PS3 in Europe (more in the US), but these were all recently restructured into one “megaserver” per format per region (i.e. EuPS3, EuPC, USPS3, USPC). So now, the choice is simply just PVE or PVP? Er… PVWhat?
PVE stands for Player vs Environment – choose this option to concentrate on missions without worrying about being attacked by enemy players.
PVP means Player vs Player – you still have all the standard missions available, but you can spice the game up by fighting any players on the opposing side. Most missions keep heroes and villains apart, but there are some that put you both in the same place with different objectives – PVP can make a big difference to you game experience here!
Another feature of the megaservers, is that you are now free to switch between “phases”, so if you start on PVE but fancy playing in a PVP world, you can switch by visiting the “Phase Shifter” in your headquarters. Headquarters? I may be getting a little ahead of myself there.
Oh and just to muddy the waters even further, whilst playing on a PVE world, there are still certain PVP events where they allow opposing players to attack each other for a limited time.
Confused? For now, just remember that your choice here is not the be all and end all. Just decide whether you fancy having scraps with players in the open world, or just enjoy the missions. OK we’ll move on then.
You’ll now get a really fancy cut-scene showing a massive future brawl between almost every single DC hero and villain you can shake a large stick at to set the scene for the game and explain how thousands of new superheroes and villains, like you, have suddenly appeared in the DC Universe…
Now onto the nuts and bolts of character creation itself…
First you choose your gender and body type, neither of which affect gameplay, so pick whatever you like.
Next, you can choose a character template as a starting point (inspired by etc), or just dive in to the details and come up with something unique. The changeable bits are:
1. Hero or Villain – obvious really, pick a side – this is a biggie and cannot be changed later.
2. Personality Type
This just changes your characters stance and poses which has absolutely no bearing on gameplay at all. Again, this is something you can’t change, and you’ll be stuck with this character’s poses forever, so think carefully before selecting Flirty.
Your next choice is who you want as a mentor. There are 6 to choose from, 3 hero (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman) and 3 villain (Lex Luthor, Joker, Circe). They vaguely relate to a power origin (meta/tech/magic), and don’t really serve any purpose other than chucking you the odd mission when you hit certain levels. Other than that, there is no real affect on the game itself. Originally, it restricted what types of armour you could buy when you hit level 30, but even that’s been lifted. So it really makes very little difference, other than there being a trophy for getting a character mentored by each of the 6 to level 30 (which apparently you can’t get as a free player anyway).
So on to powers & roles. There are 6 powers in the game (Fire, Ice, Nature, Gadgets, Mental, Sorcery) and once you have chosen, you cannot change, and probably most importantly (and easily missed at this stage), your choice of power affects the roles you can perform in the game.
The 4 roles are:-
* Damage – the default role, available to all power types
* Tank – increased defences and health, lower attacks – only available to Fire/Ice powers
* Controller – control and stun enemy characters, and boost your teams powers – only available to Mental/Gadgets
* Healer – what it says on the tin – only available to Nature/Sorcery
So for example, if you really want to play as a healer, don’t pick Fire!
You play as damage at the start, and your other role will unlock at level 10. Don’t worry, there’s a “change role” option on the quickmenu (d-pad Up) to switch between the two. At first it won’t make much of a difference, but once you start teaming up with other human players, roles will come into play a lot more.
Next choice is movement style – three to choose from here – Acrobatics, Flight and Superspeed. (Consensus seems to be that acrobatics is a bit rubbish.)
When you hit level 6, you unlock an enhanced version of your movement style by clicking L3, e.g. flight/speed move faster, acrobatics gets a grappling hook. Again, like Powers, you are stuck with your choice here.
This is the one thing that you can change later on, so if you pick one that you’re not getting on with, don’t worry, you’ll be able to unlock others later on in the game. In fact you can run with different weapons (and their associated skills) and chop and change. There are plenty to choose from, each with it’s own skill tree full of special abilities, stat boosts and combos to unlock. If you must know, the full list of types is (deep breath) Bow, Brawling, Dual Pistols, Dual Wielding, Hand Blasters, Martial Arts, One-handed (swords), Rifle, Staff and finally Two-handed (like axes and mallets).
Here you can review the choices you have made so far, and change any of them you want. This is also where you can edit the costume that was generated for you, changing each and every piece from mask to gloves, boots to chest, belt to back, changing items, colours, logos and even skin and eyes to come up with your own unique look.
8. Happy? Now Choose Your Name
It’s unfortunate that this is the last thing you choose, as it seems natural (to me) to base your look around your hero/villain’s name, only to find out right at the end that your name is already taken. Still, you can keep tweaking until you come up with the perfect combination of name, look and powers.
So now your character has been created, infused with new-found powers thanks to Braniac’s exobytes. Yes, I said exobytes. Seriously, watch the cut-scene, it’ll get explained to you.
Hopefully that’s given you a taste of just how much flexibility there is here. Check back next week as we take a look at character progression and development, and how you unlock new powers and attack combos!