DC Universe Online: Countdown to ‘Free to Play’ Week 2 (Character Progression)

So you’ve come up with the idea for the perfect superhero, or villain, have come up with a really natty outfit, chosen powers, weapons and come up with a brilliant name.

Just like all other RPGs and MMOs, character creation is just the start. There are countless ways an options for developing your character, and the starting point for this is…

Power Points / Skill Points
As you progress through the story, you earn XP, and after earning set amounts you will level up. Each time you level up you’ll alternatively earn either a power point or a skill point. Power Points can be spent on, surprise surprise, your powers, each of which will have two skill trees you can invest points in. Fire, for example, has two trees, one for fire based attacks, the other based around being on fire yourself.

Your skill points can be spent on abilities related to your weapons or movement style. Some examples are, for a speedster, the ability to spin around an enemy at super-speed to disorient them, or for your weapons, you can unlock new combos and attacks.

The way most of the powers and skills you unlock work, are that the combo style ones are available whenever you use that weapon. The rest you need to pick and choose, as you can only have 6 active at any one time. You can save a loadout of skills for either of your roles, so you can have an all-out attack set for Damage, or a more defensive set for Tank, for example.

Eventually, as you progress through the solo missions, you’ll reach Level 30 which is the so-called level cap for the game. More on that later. So, as you hit level 30 you’ll have earned 15 power points and 15 skill points. This is it for your power points, but you can carry on earning skill points by performing “feats” in the game, which are like mini-trophies (such as explore all of Gotham) and there are hundreds of the buggers. Each is rated from 1 to 3 stars which each award different amounts of feat points. Every 100 feat points will give you another skill point to unlock, so it’s not unusual to read about people having 70+ skill points, so you can see that hitting level 30 is nowhere near the end for your character development.

You can invest your skill points in any weapon tree, even without using/carrying that weapon type. This is particularly important as certain skills carry boosts to your stats. So for example, you can have some skill points invested in the Pistols tree giving some health stats boost – you keep this boost even if you are using a bow and arrow – but you can only use bow and arrow skills themselves.

End Game
Once you hit level 30 the focus of the game changes. It becomes the so-called end game. In essence, levels 1 to 29 are your training, level 30+ is where the hard stuff starts.

When you hit level 30, harder “challenge” versions of pretty much every single player mission you’ve done so far unlock. You can now join the following, in order of difficulty:-

  • Duos – 2 player missions that can each be run once per day
  • Hard Alerts – Hard “Tier 1” versions of Alerts that were available before you hit level 30, plus new “Tier 2” alerts that are even harder. These are 4 player missions and these too can be run daily.
  • Raids – these are hardest missions in the game – You will need a team of 8 with people performing their roles correctly to get through these, and they can only be run once a week. This is where the best loot appears.

Each of these will award you “Marks of Triumph” which you can save up to by so-called Tier 1 gear, and “Marks of Distinction” for Tier 2 gear. The new Fortress of Solitude raids that came in the September update (update 4) award “Marks of Krypton”, for the new Kryptonian Tier 3 armour. One Duo and Alert each day will be marked with a star to indicate you will be awarded bonus marks for completing them.

Don’t worry if you don’t like the look of a particular piece of armour or gear that you earn, or buy. You don’t need to ruin your carefully designed look – the game lets you use the style of any piece of clothing or equipment you have ever owned, so you could be wearing the biggest baddest hardest armour in the game, and still look like you’re just wearing your speedos. If that’s what takes your fancy. Ahem.

So that was a whirlwind tour around the many many ways to develop your character as you play DCUO. Next time, I’ll cover what some of the stats in the game actually mean, and also give you an overview of how the game has developed and expanded in its first ten months.

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