DCUO New Player Survival Guide

Every game has a learning curve but some games are definitely a little worse than others.

Every game has a learning curve but some games are definitely a little worse than others. For new players looking to jump into DC Universe Online, you may find yourself a little lost in this non-traditional MMOG format. Rather than work the newbie ropes the hard way, we have the ultimate New Player Survival Guide that will put you in the know with the basics and save you endless frustration. Be sure to keep this guide on hand for your first days in DCUO for a quick reference to all things newbie and share with your DCUO friends, in game and out.

User Interface

Nothing is the same! Yeah, I know. For most MMOG players, the UI will seem very different. DCUO is an action game first, a MMO second and this is very clear with the interface. Don’t panic, it will take some getting used to but here are some quick shortcuts that will make things easier.


Fly! Don't walk.
Why walk when you can fly? Use your super travel!
  • Shift or R key blocks incoming attacks and releases crowd control effects. Block plus a movement to the right or left gives you a rolling strafe.
  • Keys 1-6 are skill hotkeys. Hit K to see what you have or change loadouts. Use the T key post level 10 to switch loadouts when not in combat.
  • Key 7 is your consumable. Equip your colas like you equip gear by hitting I for inventory and dropping it into your consumable slot.
  • Key 8 is for a trinket which is a slot also located in your inventory.
  • Right and Left mouse clicks are your basic weapon damage. Hit K to view your weapon skills and review mouse button combos for each skill.
  • Using mouse click weapon skills builds your power for hotkeyed powers.
  • Hit Tab to target or re-target. It is important to target ranged enemies otherwise you might miss.

Getting Around

  • Want to head back to your base but are a little lost? Spot the green light in the sky that indicates the location of your safehouse or find the house symbol on your map.
  • Hit the M key to open your map. Locations and districts on the map can be selected to guide you to that destination.
  • Activate missions found via the J key to find mission locations.
  • Press your Num Lock key to auto-run.
  • Use your travel power! Getting around is much faster with it. Press F to activate your flight, acrobatics, or super speed.
  • Spacebar to jump.
  • There are Warp actions on your map. These are very helpful if you get lost or stuck.

Chat and General

  • Hold E key or click both mouse buttons simultaneously to use items, zone, speak with NPCs, etc.
  • Hit the / or O key to bring up the social window.
  • /s or /say to talk in current general area.
  • /g, /groupsay, /p, or /party to talk to your current group.
  • /t or /tell charactername for private chat.
  • /r or /reply to respond to last private tell.
  • /invite charactername to invite player to group.
  • F2 brings up a menu of canned chat message just in case you are too busy to type.
  • F4 brings up the emotes menu.
  • Hit the Enter key to activate the chat box. Type to chat, Tab to scroll through chat tabs, and Page Up and Page Down or use mouse scroll wheel to scroll through chat lines.
  • F9 takes screenshots and automatically removes UI from shot.
  • F11 switches the game into windowed mode.

Main Menu

To see your main menu, press your Esc key. Along with the options list, you will also see icons at the bottom of the screen.

  • Utility belt icon takes you to your inventory.
  • Mask icon takes you to your costume management. Change styles and colors for your gear items here.
  • Book icon takes you to your mission journal.
  • Body icon takes you to your traits, powers, and skills.
  • Trophy icon takes you to your feats and other cool stuff you have done.
  • World icon takes you to your map.
  • Fist icon takes you to the menu for PvP, Alerts, Duos, and Raids. These all have level requirements to participate in.
  • Chat bubble icon takes you to the chat menu.
  • Cog icon takes you to the game options menu.
  • Shopping cart icon takes you to the DCUO marketplace.

Character Stats and Gear

You can view your character’s current stats by hitting your I key to view your inventory then clicking on the stats tab. Here is what you have, what it means, and what you do with them:

  • Health – Like in any game, this is how many hit points you have.
  • Power – This is consumed by your powers and regenerated by your melee skills. Supercharged skills will require more power to be available in order to use
  • Defense – Known as armor class or mitigation, this is how well you are protected from damage from non-player enemies. At level 1, 15 defense gives 1% damage reduction. The ratio grows as you level.
  • Might – Increases your powers damage. +4 to Might gives a 1% increase to base damage.
  • Restoration – Increases your healing potential. +4 to Restoration gives a 1% increase to base healing
  • Vitalization – Increases power regeneration. +10 to Vitalization gives a 1% increase to power generation.
  • Precision – Adds to weapon attack damage. +10 to Precision adds +1 to weapon DPS.
  • Toughness – A PvP specific stat that reduces damage from player enemies. Works like Defense with a level 1 ratio of +15 Toughness gives a 1% damage reduction from other players.
  • Dominance – This controls how much damage a control effect will do to an enemy before it breaks. The more dominance, the more damage and at higher levels this number must be higher than an enemy’s Willpower in order to be effective. +2 to Dominance give 1 additional damage point before control effect breaks.

Tanks (Fire and Ice) should focus on Defense, Might, and Precision. Control classes (Mental and Gadgets) should focus on building Dominance, Power, and Vitalization. Healing classes (Sorcery and Nature) should focus on Restoration, Power, and Vitalization. Powersets that rather focus on damage should work on the Might and Precision stats.  These stats mean a little less to you starting out because you really need to just equip anything that keeps you from playing naked.  If given the option between two items, use this info to pick gear that will benefit your role in game.

Fly! Don't walk.
Go into mission instances prepared.

Gear and item quality, like most games, is told by its color. For quick reference:

  • Gray – vendor junk. Save it long enough to sell it.
  • White – Low quality item. Use it if you have nothing better, upgrade it ASAP.
  • Green – Reasonable quality item with decent stats. Use these or sell.
  • Blue – Good quality item with nice stats. Definitely use these or sell.
  • Purple – Very good quality with excellent stats. Hope to own these or sell your soul to buy it.
  • Orange – Forget about it. If you’re cool enough to have these, you don’t need this guide.

Advice for Those Starting Out in DCUO

Take your time in the tutorial and pay attention. The mission and silly things the game asks you to do are made to introduce you to DCUO's unique style of gameplay.  Picking these skills up here and remembering what you learn will save you headaches and will be the key to taking on more difficult enemies later on.

DCUO focuses very heavily on storyline progression. Grinding is designed to be ineffective in this game and only really helpful if you’re in a pinch and in need of some cash and loot before moving on to difficult missions and instances. To keep the experience bar moving, be sure to look around your current mission area for NPCs that might have related missions for you to do.

If you’re having a hard time in a mission instance, go back and do lower level missions to get leveled up! One level can make a huge difference between struggle and success. If you’ve run out of missions for your level range, remember that you can always switch back and forth between Metropolis and Gotham via the Hall of Doom or the Watchtower for a whole fresh set of things to do. For a break from missions, hit your J key and scroll through your missions to find the Alerts which are level appropriate group instances. With all of these options, every moment in game should be packed with action.

Wanted posters are found in the safehouses.  Grab these and watch your chat box for other players looking to take down the same enemies that you have a mission for.  The targets are always group orientated so don't even attempt to go after these known offenders alone unless you are out-leveled for the mob.

Keep colas in your inventory and for the love of Batman, never sell them!  You can really never have enough of these and they are pretty spendy early on so get what you can.  Some of your missions will reward with colas, so definitely do those if only for the reward alone.  You should have a small stack available and already equipped in your inventory when you enter mission instances.  Another good tip is to remember to keep your gear in good condition.  Getting knocked out (DCUO's version of death) degrades your gear so you need to visit a merchant to repair especially if you tend to die often in the early levels like I do.

This is the info that will get you started right in DCUO. If you have a question that isn’t addressed here, feel free to post it on our forums and someone will surely help you out. Have a great newbie tip you’d like to share? Post it for other players and do your part to ease new player pain.

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