Heroism Denied! The Failure of DCUO’s Character Creator

Updated Wed, Jun 29, 2011 by jeffprime

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When you think of a superhero, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Is it their origin? Their secret identity? Their powers? The answer is usually no. The first thing that enters a person’s brain when you mention a superhero is their costume. The costume of a hero or villain serves as their identity, their superpowered fingerprint if you will. Naturally, a superhero-themed MMOG will allow for the greatest possible flexibility when creating your hero’s costume. Both City of Heroes and Champions Online have robust costume creators, so DC Universe Online, being the latest and greatest, should up the ante. Sadly, that is not the case. Like an evil plot by Darkseid or the utter futility of Ambush Bug, the costume creator in DCUO is disgraceful.

Before I start my rant, let me digress for a second so that you can more easily understand my rage. I love superheroes and comic books. I grew up reading Batman, Superman, Alpha Flight, the X-Men, the Question, Magnus Robot Fighter, and many, many more. In fact, I learned to read from comic books (my dad used to read me Donald Duck comics as a kid and he would go over the words with me), so to say that I have had a long love affair with comics is stating it mildly. While I no longer collect comics (things like property taxes get in the way), I still love the genre so it’s a no-brainer that I would play comic-themed MMOGs. I’ve played for years with City of Heroes, then Champions Online, and now I entered the world of DC Universe Online.

The graphics quality is impressive, but the lack of true customization is appalling.

Out of all the comic book companies I patronized over the years, my favorite was easily DC. The heroes in DC were heroes because it was the right thing to do, the honorable thing. They saw evil afoot in the world and they felt compelled to do something about it. These mighty titans were not the sniveling, navel-gazing whiners of Marvel, no sir! They didn’t put on the costume because of some angst or emotional guilt; they donned the mantle because good must stand and confront evil. The ultimate example of this philosophy is, of course, Superman. He could be ruler of the world if he wanted or use his powers for self-gain, but he does not. He only seeks to serve and by doing so, serves as the pinnacle of the superhero creed.

I became hooked on DC when they published the original Crisis on Infinite Earths when they shook up the cluttered universe that defied rational continuity. From there I branched into the multiple Batman titles, then Action Comics when it went weekly for a bit. I loved the Justice League, Hitman, John Constantine, Preacher, Sandman, Arion: Lord of Atlantis, Green Arrow, and tons of other titles. I read Marvel, Dark Horse, Gold Key, and other comic companies, but DC was my true love.

The rush of joy when I finally got my chance to enter DCUO was even more pronounced as that I was forced to wait after the game’s launch to begin my DC-themed do-gooding. Nefarious plots such as car repair bills and Sony being hacked delayed my entry into the world of Metropolis and Gotham.

The Bane-inspired costume looks damn cool, but remember to color within the lines!

Whenever I start a character, I usually have a concept in mind. I don’t necessarily min/max my character and I’ll make some odd choices, in the eyes of power gamers, because those choices fit my concept. I sometimes have to make an exception to my concept based on what the game provides, but I normally stay close to my idea. Sadly, DCUO takes a lot of those choices away from me.

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