From ninjas to Swamp Thing, Creative Director Jens Andersen, Game
Director Mark Anderson, and Executive Producer Lorin Jameson fills us
in on Update
3’s
backstory,
offer new Megaserver insights,
and clue us in on href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/dcuo"> style="font-style: italic;">DCUO’s
future.


Megaservers - What’s
in a
Name?

Players are excited about style="font-style: italic;">DCUO’s
upcoming
“Megaserver” merge, and with good reason. For
starters, queue times will improve since the game can matchmake an
instance with a larger pool of players.



Yet one of the biggest topics related to the megaserver change is name
collision. Who gets the name when two or more players have the same
name on different servers that are about to be merged. It’s a
big deal when a comic book inspired MMORPG character’s
identity is largely tied up in his or her name.


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Game Director Mark Anderson clarified the steps of the process:
“The first tie-breaker when there’s a name
collision is whether the person is an active subscriber. The second is
the amount of play time on that character. So if you got the name on
Day One but didn’t really play the character, yet someone on
another server has that name but has played the character for hundreds
of hours, they would get the name.”



This process should make a number of names available for new
characters, too. “If there are name collisions yet no one is
an active subscriber, that name will be freed up so that our current
subscribers can get that name.” This process also applies to
players who perhaps used the same name on multiple serverse, Jens
noted, since they’ll win the tiebreaker with themselves.


Swamp Thing, Poison Ivy, and
Captain Planet? – Update
3’s Seasonal Event

Being that Swamp Thing is a Vertigo character (not DC), Mark explained
that, with the conclusion of the Brightest Day comic storyline, SOE had
a “window of opportunity”  to introduce
this well-known Guardian of the Green to the game. Artistically
inspired by Berni Wrightson’s version of Swamp Thing, but he
is Alec Holland (“but you’d have to ask him for his
ID to know that – he’s a full-on plant elemental
now” Lorin quipped.)


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Creative Director Jens Andersen mentioned that their biggest design
debate was how prominent Swamp Thing’s teeth should be.
Despite his morally ambiguous stance in the comics, DC was adamant that
Swamp Thing should be viewed as a protector of the Green, Jens noted,
and not overly menacing.



The upcoming event piggybacks on the Mr. Mytzlplk content from the
March event. In Update Three, Poison Ivy will challenge Swamp
Thing’s status as a sort of plant elemental sworn to protect
the Green (the Green being a sort of life force for plant life). As a
villain, you’re trying to help Poison Ivy become the sole
Guardian. As a hero, you’re trying to stop her, working
alongside Swamp Thing.


Monthly No More?

All this talk of style="font-style: italic;">Update 3
had me wondering what happened to
SOE’s original monthly update cycle, a feature so often cited
as an answer to why the game carries a monthly subscription. Will we
see a return to monthly updates? SOE wouldn’t commit one way
or another, but we should definitely give them points for honesty.



“We’ve been struggling, honestly, to hit our
stride,” Mark noted. “We want to get more out
faster. We’re pushing toward a cadence on these updates,
assure they’re of high quality, and get them to the customers
as fast as possible. Yet, we want to make sure we get in better touch
with our audience again. For a time we were pushing so hard to get
content updates out that we weren’t talking as much to our
audience as we wanted to.”


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A New Featured Villain:
Ra’s Al Ghul

Ra’s Al Ghul, a regenerative, long-lived, sword-wielding
arch-villain, is one Batman nemesis that hasn’t gotten a lot
of air time recently. style="font-style: italic;">DCUO
is bringing him back. “We try to
really distill Ra’s al Ghul down to what most people know
about him, and that probably comes from Batman Begins or the animated
series.” Mark explained. “Ra’s has a
league all his own, and he has plans to cleanse humanity’s
corruption from the earth. We wanted to do his character in a way that
was appropriate to the comic books, so going with the more mystical,
Lazarus Pit angle was important to us.”


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“Also, who doesn’t like beating up ninjas?
Ra’s has a mountain stronghold somewhere that’s
fortified with all of his League of Assassins ninjas. The player starts
off by facing some of his elites, the Claws of the Demon. 
Based on the choices you make in that fight, that determines how the
episode will unfold and the challenges that you face.” Mark
went on to say that the encounter is modeled on ACE Chemicals in that
players won’t be sure which wing would open each time.
“We wanted to take it another step, however, in that player
actions determine variations.”



Jens chimed in. “Another cool thing is, we start that out
with a ‘Same bat time, same bat channel’
cliffhanger moment. Ra’s comes in, captures the player,
spills his plan, and then you have to make a daring escape from a death
trap in order to pursue him to the center of his lair and stop this
thing from happening. There’s a lot of cool tricks and
surprises along the way, some of which comes from stealthy ninjas,
others from the environment itself. Basically, you’re saving
the planet yet again.”



Comic book fans should note that Ra’s is the only Al Ghul
that will make an appearance in the endgame content. No Damien or
Nyssa, probably since Nyssa killing Ra’s (as in the comics)
would take some of the wind out of the storyline. Ra’s wife
Talia, however, will serve as the talking head in the 4-man League of
Assassins alert, but Calculator or Oracle will usher players through
Ra’s storyline.


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Win through and an impressive set of armor awaits. Despite its name,
the League of Assassins Tier 3 set is fit for heroes and villains
alike. Winning it will be be hard work - the Ra’s encounter
and Alert won’t be a cakewalk. “We’ve
been hearing a lot about difficulty, and having been in on the
playtests, I can say this one’s definitely going to be a
challenge for players,” Mark noted.



Also, Oolong Island, a 4-man alert at launch that has nothing to do
with Chinese tea, is being retooled as a 2-man endgame duo. Executive
Producer Lorin Jameson explained: “There’s no story
change there, there are gameplay mechanic changes there.
It’ll be harder and balanced for two people.”


Later in 2011…

What might the future hold for style="font-style: italic;">DCUO?
Given that the Green Lantern movie
is just weeks away, we probably won’t see a direct movie
tie-in. When asked about power ring possibilities, Jens japed that
“the only green things we can talk about now are Poison Ivy
and Swamp Thing.”


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Lorin followed up that we would see a glimpse of what’s to
come in endgame in just over a week from now at E3 2011, including a
“new rogues gallery” and iconic characters.
“You’ll soon see a lightening up of the
Batman-centric stuff and a move toward our other ‘big
six’ characters. That’s not to say that the Batman
characters won’t be used – they’ll
certainly be used in ‘cross over’
content…. They’ll still be there, but
they’re going to go on the back burner for a while, while we
look to some of the other characters.”



Lorin followed a comment about the Batcave raid encounter with a
comment about something “cave related” coming in
the future. What that means – Fortress of Solitude? 
Cave Carson (the spelunking Golden Age DC character)? Cave Johnson
(from Portal 2… if only)? We’ve got a cliffhanger
of our own! Tune in next week , same TTH time, same TTH channel, for
all the latest from the SOE booth at E3 2011.



To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our DC Universe Online Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016

About The Author

Jeff
Jeff joined the Ten Ton Hammer team in 2004 covering EverQuest II, and he's had his hands on just about every PC online and multiplayer game he could since.

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