Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Rise of the Arcade MMO

Yesterday, I saw some footage of DC Universe Online from CES. I have not really been keeping up with this game but I may start paying attention. DC is a new offering coming from the folks at SOE. As you can guess, it is a superhero MMO involving comic book characters. The videos were basically a developer walkthrough of an early build. You can check them out here:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

I enjoyed them quite a bit and am pretty impressed so far. The reason I called it an Arcade MMO, is that is the feeling I got when watching. The sound, graphics and movement made me feel like I was in an arcade. I think that is a great thing, especially in a game based on comic books.

Some notes:

  • Large Open world, which is also quite vertical as it takes place in Metropolis.
  • Said to be seamless, which means no loading screens except for instances. I suspect it will make heavy use of them though.
  • Character customization is looking very good. You can choose a power set, how you deliver it and a travel ability.
  • Traveling in this game looks fun by itself. In the video you can see two types of travel, super speed and acrobatics. Both are very Arcade like and look pretty nice.
  • Buildings are easily climbable by all travel types.
  • Able to take cars and throw them at people.
  • Interact with characters such as Superman and Batman, including fighting along side them. I'm not sure how often this happens, but watching Superman fight as if he was another character was nice.
  • There is no death, instead you are knocked out. You are given a chance to recover, from the same spot and go on with the mission.
  • No auto-attack or even rolls. This is an action game with RPG elements, I know that may turn some folks off, but it could be fun.
One big feature I liked was the doing away with traditional classes. Every power set has an Offensive and Defensive version, which every player gets. You have the ability to switch versions as you play. So you need a tank-type player? Just hit a button and you can act as that role. This should do away with waiting around for a tank or healer.

One thing that isn't clear yet is how you interact with other people, when not in an instance. Will they be taking a Guild Wars approach or a traditional one? Will PS3 and PC folks be able to play together? Still many questions to be answered, but it is looking promising.


I wholeheartedly agree. It's really looking nice as of late.

Champions Online comes out first, and from a proven pedigree, but I'll be hard pressed not to try this when it drops at the end of 2009 or early 2010.

The notion that you can just change your team role as needed is fantastic. No more spamming, "Group in need of tank for dungeon"? I sure hope so.

I wonder what the MMO space will look like with 3 superhero games. When you read down the feature list of DC Universe it doesn't sound *that* different from City of Heroes, aside from the switching roles aspect.

We'll see though. I'm not a huge comics guy, but I did enjoy CoH for a while...

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