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Are you playing DC Universe Online? The F2P MMO is trundling along, just adding its new DLC pack Hand Of Fate, but you don’t hear too much about it. I always feel a bit sorry for DC. Marvel has, well, all the cool superheros, and DC have that utter dick Batman, and Mr Boring Cape, Superman. (That’s an uncontroversial statement on which there’s unanimity, right?) This is the fifth DLC for the free-if-you-want-it-to-be world, only a year and a half into its lifetime. You can see the somewhat uninformative trailer below.
We live in a terrifying world of constant change>. You might, for instance, neatly tuck each of your games into bed a night and gingerly kiss them on the cheek, safe in the knowledge that – when you awake – they’ll be there waiting, same as always. But honestly, who knows? They could just suddenly update and transform into strange, multi-tendriled monstrosities. You could awake from your dreams right into a living nightmare. Or, you know, you could just get some Earth-bound levels in Mass Effect and – oh gosh – Aquaman in DC Universe Online. OK, yeah, I’m sticking with the nightmare thing.
The third major expansion for DC Universe Online is due to launch on March 13th, adding Earth-based powers as a ninth set of abilities. With powers such as construct creation and quaking of the earth, this lot are most suitable for players in damage and tank roles. The expansion goes by the name The Battle For Earth and a new raid takes the spandex society to Themyscira, home of the Amazons, so expect plenty of Wonder Woman’s chums and rogues to crop up. Overarching plot elements will move along as well, with preparations for the battle against Brainiac underway and a new quest-line that involves scrapping with Proto-Avatars.
This is big news for all SOE games, actually, including EverQuest II, DC Universe Online, Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures, and Free Realms. PCG points out that SOE are signing a European publishing deal with Germany company ProSiebenStat. According to SOE’s proposals this could mean that SOE customers will no longer be able to play on both American and EU servers, and in fact existing European players are going to be asked to create an account with the new company to transfer characters and continue playing. Of course, people aren’t too happy about that, what with them having relationships with real people outside international boundaries and so forth. The inevitable internet shouting resulted in this response from SOE, indicating that they are “listening”. The upshot of the current proposal would be that Europeans would not be (easily) able to play Planetside 2 with American chums. The RPS Planetside 2 outfit would be divided! Those are tears running down my cheeks.
Just in case there were any doubt left that the owners of Lego Universe were completely bonkers to just close down their subscription game without trying a free-to-play model, DC Universe is reporting a slight increase in revenue since they made the switch. The small matter of an extra 700% per day. Eurogamer spotted that the very enthusiastic Sony Online Entertainment president, John Smedley, tweeted his good news. News that will surely be yet another blow to the subs model.
As promised back in September, DC Universe Online is now free to play. While the combat isn’t quite as smooth as Mr Wayne’s moves in his Arkham adventures, it’s a lot more punchy than what passes for fisticuffs in most massively multiplayer efforts. Playing for free only provides two character slots and there are limits on inventory size among other things, including an inability to trade. You can see all the difference between paid and free subscription at the site.
I’d say it’s well worth a look for anyone interested in the characters and world, and it’s an entertaining solo game for a while if nothing else. I’m hoping this helps to repopulate Gotham since DCUO is the only online RPG I actually play. It’s lonely in there with no one to watch me brooding in the shadows. Get it here.
According to IGN, DC Universe Online is dropping subscription charges next month. The article quotes SOE executive producer Lorin Jameson as saying, “this was our preferred business model from day one”. Well, it’s taken seven months to implement that day one plan but it’s finally here. It does make sense. While SOE are claiming that a drop in subscriptions is not behind this move, anyone who has visited Gotham City lately can tell you it’s a bit of a ghost town. Is this enough to entice anyone in, or back in? Full details below.
This week, DC began rebuilding their entire fictional universe from the ground up. Every title in the range has rebooted to issue number one, severing the future from decades of convoluted and conflicting continuity. I give them twelve months before this ‘new’ universe has split into fifteen multiverses filled with amnesiac clones of every major character whose only differentiating feature will be inverted costume colours or a small beard. Meanwhile, nobody seems to have told SOE who are still expanding the old universe in DC Universe Online. The latest expansion, out for free on September 6th, adds the Green Lantern Corps to the game, along with the Light power set. Players can also join up with the Sinestro Corps if they are villainous sorts. Being evil means you’ll have a magical yellow chainsaw, as seen in the trailer below.