DCUO March Update Preview features Two-Face, Batcave III, and more...

Every fan of Batman has heard of the dreaded Two-Face. Although notoriously painted as a villain, this ambivalent individual is actually of two minds about every action he takes in life. While this frequently puts him on the wrong side of the law, Harvey's former life in the attorney general's office has helped him steer clear of being locked behind bars by remaining one or two steps ahead of the law in Gotham City.

But that doesn't mean he stays out of the spotlight! In fact, in DC Universe Online's second big update, Harvey Two-Face is taking center stage as the featured character around which the story will revolve. That, a bit of St. Patty's day fun with Mr. Mxyzptlk, the third and final installment of the Batcave raid, and a whole host of fixes and improvements await you with DCUO's March Update. Read on!

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DCUO's March Update will feature Two-Face, with brief cameo appearances by a certain flightless fowl.

In a recent conversation with Chris Cao, he stated that, "Update One, we were making while we were launching the game, so it was kind of a stab in the dark where we said, 'what are some of the things that players might like to do?' As always, some people liked some of it, and some of it they didn't. With March, we looked at that, and looked at our metrics, and corrected off of that."

Chris went on to explain in a candid discussion that March's update also wraps up a lot of loose ends that were not completed by the time launch rolled around. This means that future updates in April and beyond will have a distinctly different flavor, since the team will now continue to develop specific types of content based directly upon the responses from active subscribers. Primarily, these will take the form of additional 4-mans and Alerts.

Moving forward, Chris and his team at SOE have also decided to move away from seasonal content as the primary focus of each update, and go with a simple numbering system that will allow for a greater level of coordinated effort. That said, March's update still has a "luck o' the irish" flair to it in celebration of St. Paddy's Day, as it focuses on the concept of chance. And Two-Face is the perfect avatar of chance over choice.

Despite the holiday having already passed, Chris insists that their goals of meeting this date, and last month's Valentine's roll-out, are important to stick to, even when the project becomes too complex to meet those goals. Some of the delay comes from rolling out the update through the Playstation Network, but much of it is simply still recovering from the launch of such an ambitious and successful game. "Backlash or no," he explains, "it's just a matter of sheer comparison. I would love to have all of these things instantly but unfortunately that's just not the reality of making these games. We're doing far better than the competition, by releasing so much content so quickly after release, and we're doing really well for ourselves."

Just what content is in store for us in this update?

Two-Face's big entrance will be marked with an instance where players will be sent to Penguin's hideout, aiming to take out his latest smuggling operation. The kicker? Harvey Two-Face is there, and only a flip of his coin will determine whether he's there to help or hinder your efforts. If Harvey's better half is dominant, he'll want the Penguin arrested for his crimes, but Two-Face's psychopathic tendencies will simply need to be placated before an all-out war breaks out. Each time you enter the instance, your experience will change, based on that 50/50 chance. This will also be players' first opportunity to dig into the Penguin backstory, as up until now he has not been an active player in the DCUO world. He's only appeared in one gang war cut scene, but now his minions (including a boss Penguin rumored to go by the name "Penguis Maximus") will be unleashed upon Gotham City.

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Will Harvey Dent aid you or will Two-Face confront you in The Penguin's hideout? It all comes down to a coin flip.

That won't be your only opportunity to see Two-Face and his coin in action, though. He'll also soon be joining the Legends PvP line-up as a playable character. His abilities and powers in combat will change depending on how his coin lands, adding an extra element of surprise and variation to playing as this diabolical duality. While the Two-Face side of the coin is showing, his attacks deal more damage and he doles out damage-over-time attacks, but when Harvey's side lands face-up he instead excels at controlling the enemies with knockdowns and stuns.

In addition to this double-sided mechanic, Two-Face will also employ a number of unique power mechanics that simply cannot be added to every-day hero and villain characters due to balance concerns that can be more carefully controlled in Legends PvP environment.

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Two-Face will join DC's most recognizable characters in Legend play.

To add to the spirit of chance and chaos, the 5th dimensional trickster Mister Mxyzptlk is going to show up and start some trouble. Throughout the game world, you may encounter rainbows that will point you toward mini-events that he's set in motion as he endeavors to mock the Earthling tradition of St. Paddy's Day. He'll even go so far as to appear himself wearing leprechaun regalia. If you successfully complete his events you may be rewarded with seasonal-themed powers, or possibly even one or more pieces of the new "Celtic" themed appearance set that's being introduced exclusively for this event. But act quickly! Mxyzptlk's mischief will only last a short time before he'll manage to banish himself once more.

Think that's enough for one update? Think again!

The Green Lantern solo instance at Metropolis' City Hall is receiving a significant re-work, including the addition of Kilowog and Arkillo and a complete revamp of the powers of all noteworthy Green and Yellow Lanterns. Could these changes signify that SOE is working toward releasing the Hard Light powerset that players have been clamoring for since before launch? Only time will tell.

The third Batcave raid will also be arriving in this coming update. In the second Batcave instance, players were set up against the vicious cyborg, Brother Eye, but this time around they will be delving even deeper beneath the caves, to the heart of a Brainiac ship buried deep in the ground. Ultimately, your journey will take you toe-to-toe with two of the most difficult bosses yet seen in DCUO. The first of these is the Avatar of Tech, who is DCUO's first multi-phase boss and will transition between launching ordinance at players in the form of a tank-like structure, into an agile and deadly scorpion-like beast that will tear challengers to pieces, and finally into a form of Brainiac himself who inhabits the Avatar during the fight. Players are recommended to be outfitted in a full tier 2 suit of battle armor before attempting this difficult encounter. The Avatar of Tech is, in a way, THE end-boss of the "tech" aspect of DCUO, as he represents Brainiac's attempts at capturing and enslaving this aspect of the 3 archetypes of characters.

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Players will face OMAC Batman in Batcave III to unlock the most powerful tech options yet.

As an additional surprise twist to this instance, you'll also have to take out The Dark Knight himself, who has been infected with the OMAC virus. No additional information is currently available for this particular fight, but it's been said that it will contain a few twists to liven up any group's adventure into this version of the Batcave.

If players are successful in defeating these challenges, it will advance the story of DCUO as having 'freed' the Technology aspect of superpowers from the control of Brainiac. Future encounters will then be introduced to allow players to confront Meta and Magic challenges of similar difficulty, as Brainiac turns his greedy gaze upon each aspect in turn.

Coming alongside these numerous features and content options are also a number of highly-anticipated bug fixes, streamlined processes and UI improvements, including a series of features that have taken on the moniker of "Social System 2.0." A few of the primary changes include moving group invites and league invites to be accessible via quick menus rather than needing to open the Social Menu, and that the Social Menu itself will morph into a League Menu for added management of all league-related functions. There will also be new functions that will allow disconnected teammates to rejoin Alerts and Raids that are in-progress, as well as a general streamlining of the Quick Chat system and many less-used features that were previously prominent in the Social Menu (like channel colors) are being moved to your Settings Menu to reduce clutter and confusion. These changes, among the many others that the March Update will include, are being driven by a successful PS3 launch that has been "beyond expectations." And PS3 players in particular are interested in cleaner social interaction without needing to plug in a keyboard.

To allow for more widespread use of the in-game voice features, they are also the ability to bind a push-to-talk key to controller buttons (D-pad Right, by default). And that's about to become a whole lot more important, because DCUO will soon incorporate Spatial Chat -- a public voice chat system that will allow you to actually hear your fellow players in a small radius around you, as they chat with one another, call your name, compliment your costume, ask for assistance with a difficult mission, or what-have-you. In fact, this opt-in option is already live and can be experienced first-hand for any curious players seeking a more audibly social atmosphere. If you already make use of a league or group of friends, then you are less likely to get much out of the feature, but public voice chat is practially essential for the PlayStation 3 platformers in DCUO's playerbase.

If you haven't had a chance to check out DCUO yet, and happen to own a PS3, it is about to get easier to obtain as the game will soon be available directly from the Playstation Network via Digital Download. No more box clutter and annoying trips to crowded retail strip malls!

When asked whether or not the March Update would include fixes for ongoing stability issues, Chris Cao informed us that their internal metrics indicate that game-breaking disconnects or freezes now only happen on a one-in-hundreds-of-hours basis. "Don't get me wrong," he explains, "it's still completely that game-breaker feel when it happens to you. But we've reduced them that far, and continue to work to reduce them farther. And that's actually the #1 part of our Top Ten list."

The "Top Ten List" he refers to is an internal design document that is coordinated by each of their internal departments, in order to prioritize fixes and content development. Each department creates their own Top Ten: Community Management, Customer Service, Quality Assurance, and Development. Once each list is assembled, they are compiled into a single list and prioritized to ensure that they are delivering the fixes that are most urgent first, and collating all of the available input from players, testers, press and internal observation into a centralized source.

A couple features that this update will definitely not include, despite many vocal members of the game's community clamoring for them, are new powersets or new mentors. According to Chris Cao, a new powerset is currently undergoing design discussions, but "we want to make sure it feels unique and feels different from everything else that we've put out there. And so we want to be careful to add something not just for cosmetic reasons, but we want to add it for gameplay reasons. And that's taking time to develop it appropriately within the scheme that we've currently set up."

He continued on this subject by explaining that adding mentors presents a similar concern, requiring time and consideration to be done in such a way that they are not cosmetic changes to existing mechanics. It's unlikely, based on his comments, that such a major feature would be added to DCUO short of an Expansion Pack, which would also be likely to include a new part of the DC Universe, new storylines and more. But for now they're dedicated to focusing on the existing mentors, and their ongoing battle with Brainiac.

There is currently no solid launch date for DCUO's Update 2, but it should be within the very near future. Keep your eyes on your game launcher, and thanks to Chris Cao and SOE for chatting with us about DCUO's March Update!



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