DC Universe Online: The Return
I got into DC Universe Online (for the PS3) — against my better judgement — back when the game originally launched in January of 2011. I was apprehensive, ’cause by that time I had played what seemed like a zillion MMOs, and this one was asking $60 for the box, plus a $15-per-month subscription fee; all for a game which didn’t seem to appear to be any deeper than its City of Heroes and Champions Online predecessors.
And you know what? It kinda wasn’t.
A few days before my first month was up, I cancelled my account, and in the many months that followed, I heavily cursed the useless $60+ DCUO game box sitting on my shelf. After all, I didn’t see the game being worth any more than $5-a-month for a subscription, despite it occasional moments of fun (namely in the are of combat). As long as the game stayed at $15-a-month, I had absolutely zero plans of re-visiting it ever again.
But then a couple things happened…
First of all, the game went F2P (that’s “free-to-play” for you laymen), and the worst element in existence for someone trying to stay away from an MMO made its appearance: One of my oldest friends had started playing it.
So, figuring I’d have nothing to lose, I re-entered the world of DCUO, starting over with a completely new character.
If you’re not familiar with the game, let me sum it up for you:
- Create either a superhero or villain character.
- Spend 34 hours dicking over your toon’s appearance (gear, hairstyle, posture, facial expression, colors).
- Spend another 34 hours trying to find a goddamned name that isn’t already in use.
- Get in-game and trudge through the tutorial. (This is fun the first couple of times through, but once you become an “alt-aholic” and start creating new toons left and right, you will come to despise the tutorial with all of your might.)
- Have a pretty good time soloing your way through your toon’s 30 levels, playing around with new abilities and gear.
- Hit the endgame at level 30, and start grinding “dailies” and the like for new gear that’s 0.1% better than what you had before.
- Realize, that after a week or so of the endgame, you’re completely wasting your life on a loot-grind experience you’ve already had in every MMO since World of Warcraft and its endless copycats.
I give the game high marks for designing a user interface that works extremely well on a console gamepad, but at the end of the day, DCUO is an all-too-familiar mix of elements from other themepark MMOs that came before it. And while it’s entertaining advancing through 30 levels with your toon and the game’s fun combat system, things get very stale, very fast, in the endgame.
I had more fun with the game the second time around than I did at launch, but unless something really special happens in a future update, I highly doubt I’ll ever play it again.