Just like Batman answering the Bat-Signal, gamers everywhere are
chomping at the bit to play DC Universe Online
With its Spring 2011
release getting ever closer, Ten Ton Hammer’s own intrepid
reporter, Jeff “Ethec” Woleslagle, infiltrated the
hidden lair of SOE. Once inside, he talked to Mark Anderson, Art
Director of DCUO
to get the scoop on movement challenges, lore and
roleplay possibilities, and the PvP aspects (including the newly
announced Meteor mechanic for open PvP) of this superhero MMOG.
Ton Hammer: First, I wanted to ask you about something
we’ve just started hearing more about: movement challenges.
What’s involved with those? I’m guessing that there
are different ones associated with the different movement powers?
Yes. There are
multiple beacons for movement challenges
and they are tailored to your specific movement mode. So if
you’re a speedster, it’ll be about you going up
walls and making huge jumps. Same thing with flyers, such as flying
through the rings. That’s what most of those are, and
they’re all in now. We’ve been working on those for
awhile, and we’re now working on some co-op movement modes.
That’s in the works right now, and we’ll have to
see how much of that makes it down to the final game.
But it’s other stuff to do in a game that’s
otherwise combat-oriented. We want to make sure that there’s
stuff for you to do that’s fun and challenging, and those are
spread out all over the city.
Ton Hammer: Any thought given to leaderboards for movement
Yes. Having that
kind of competition within the game is something we want and wish to
encourage, but it is something that we don’t have in yet.
Ton Hammer: Is there a thematic aspect to the movement challenges, such
as having to race to stop the Joker from exploding nukes or something?
no. They’re pure gameplay in that sense.
Ton Hammer: There’s been a little bit of confusion over what
you and others at SOE Austin have called the “wild, wild
west” nature of open PvP in DCUO, where level 15s, for
example, can gank a level 5. For somebody new coming to the game, that
might not sound like the most fun experience.
depends. The good thing is that there is a much, much wider spread than
there’s been in most of the games that I’ve played,
where level is kind of king. If you had a few levels on somebody, that
was it. However, the content is relatively mixed. We have opposing
factions occupying the same space a lot more often than other games. We
have safe spawn points. We have safe houses that have guards on them.
Most of that takes the characters where they can go through the content
In beta, PvP is not so widespread. It tends to be more concentrated.
The main thing that we wanted to kill was the spawn camping. It is
things like that really detract from enjoying the game, especially if
you’re new to the game. If you just want to go out and do the
solo content, then choosing a PvE server is the thing to do.
Ton Hammer: What other types of emerging PvP are you planning for DCUO?
"Do you start with one
power? No power? A combo? There were huge polarizing shifts just within
our population of just the devs in the office. So we tried to strike
We have the Meteor,
which I don’t think you’ve seen yet. We have a
meteor that is a PvP flag. Once you pick it up, you’re
flagged for PvP. You can run around the city and hand it to your
friends, which can leads to pockets of PvP. It’s time-based
and it is really cool because it creates areas where if you
don’t want to be part of that gang fight, you don’t
have to be.
Ton Hammer: You keep the Meteor in your inventory? If not,
how long does the tag last? If you put it down, are you not flagged for
You literally pick
it up. It’s a physical object. Once you pick it up touch it,
you can take it to other places where you want other people to touch
it. Once you pick it up, you’re tagged for awhile. I
don’t remember the exact time amount right now.
Ton Hammer: Are there any kinds of rewards for open PvP play?
Right now, I
can’t tell you that for certain if we do. At this point, we
have scoreboards on the PvP matches, but not just open world PvP.
Ton Hammer: Is that something you might consider giving achievements
Absolutely! If we
haven’t mentioned achievements yet, it is something that
we’ve talked about. A lot of this is that we want to see what
people are enjoying in the game and then encouraging them to do that in
the game and to do more of that in the game. We’re seeing
what’s going on in beta and keeping a matrix of all of that
Ton Hammer: Legend play is one of DCUO’s best kept secrets inside
the game. With the Legend Gameplay, is there anything that
you’re planning on adding to the game to more directly
introduce players to that aspect of the game?
On some of them,
you’ll get the message through the communicator, but on
others, you’ll get a quest item in your journal. So you get a
mission objective to do a PvP match in the Legend simulator.
Ton Hammer: Is Legend play something you can play from the get-go, or
is there a level requirement?
Right now, there is
a level limit. I don’t think that we’ve publicly
announced what we’re going to do with the preorder
“play-as-Batman” in terms of level. I think that
we’re going to introduce it low enough so that
you’ll get a nice experience throughout the game, and we
think that it is something that people are really going to enjoy with
all the powers tailored to the specific characters and those one-off
Legend play gives you that experience to play as that character. Early
on, our biggest question was, “Do I get to play as
Batman?” to which we always said, “No.”
But, we were sitting around and we realized that we could probably do
this and do it in a way to stop the obvious next criticism of that
there’ll be a thousand Batmans running around. We definitely
didn’t want that. We think that Legend play is a good balance.