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Reader Comments (46)

Posted: Feb 19th 2011 12:26PM Furdinand said

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It is astounding that at this point in MMOs people are still hung up on level cap. In what MMO is the level cap the end of character advancement? Level is just one aspect of progression.

Aside from the common gear advancement, DCUO gives additional skill points for every 100 feat points. So you keep getting better innate stats well after you hit 30. Done at 30? Have you placed Platinum in every race, have a complete tier 1, tier 2, pvp set, explored every location, finished every investigation/briefing/collection, defeat each hard alert in 30 min, etc, etc? Level 30 isn't the cap, it is the first mile marker.

There are valid reasons to not renew DCUO, "Level" cap isn't one of them. That isn't a game flaw, it is a player flaw.

Posted: Feb 19th 2011 1:11PM ThePeon25 said

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@Furdinand

thats why I find eve online to be the best mmo game ever no lvl cap and to get all skills on one char takes about 4-5 years.

Second why shall you pay monthly sub fee when patches and expansion┬┤s seams never to come, allot of mmo games I played has a patch almost every month or at least every third month but if it takes 6 month or 1 years to get one freaking patch I would not pay. The good thing with games that has a sub fee is that you know you will get what you pay for free patches often or like eve online 2 new free expansion every year.
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Posted: Feb 19th 2011 6:39PM Apakal said

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@Furdinand

Just to play devil's advocate a little, you can't really expect every player to be interested in every little aspect of the game.

I played WoW for two years. Leveled a character to 80, did the raiding stuff, got tired of that, so I went back and leveled some alts, did Loremaster/Seeker, etc. etc. But I didn't do the thousands of little achievements because they weren't interesting to me. I wasn't interested in PvP, I wasn't interested in fishing coins out of the Dalaran fountain for 4 weeks straight. So for me and my interests, I did run out of things to do, the game got stale, and I stopped playing. It happens.

A lot of players play for the journey. They level several alts to experience that journey in different ways. If that journey isn't sufficiently long enough or engaging enough, then I think they have a valid argument that the level cap is insufficient.
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Posted: Feb 19th 2011 12:31PM Utakata said

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Now with that additional issue...I wonder if CCon99's prophecies of doom for this game will hold true more than ever. :(

Posted: Feb 19th 2011 12:38PM Itoao said

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Looks like the Patch will arrive this Tuesday. Will it solve all the issues?
Most definitely not, it is however a very large patch. It does seem to correct a great number of things.
The notes are listed on the forums.
http://forums.station.sony.com/dcuopc/posts/list.m?topic_id=21071

Posted: Feb 21st 2011 11:50AM Krystalle Voecks said

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@Itoao

Just as a quick aside, I'd note that the patch notes weren't out when I originally wrote this post. I am glad to see them, though. :)
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Posted: Feb 19th 2011 12:41PM TheModernMajorGeneral said

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You gotta give Sony props for trying an MMO on console. Granted they're not the first, but they are one of the few. I hope this works out for them in the end and they don't get burned for taking a risk.

Posted: Feb 19th 2011 12:47PM Germaximus said

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The only way the game would be doomed is if they dont bring content updates enough.
The game is way too damn fun to just die.

Posted: Feb 19th 2011 12:49PM Germaximus said

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Oh yeah also a lot of console gamers dont even play games on the PC, for some playing DCUO its their first time ever hearing of a game having a monthly sub so theyre screaming and throwing tantrums.

Posted: Feb 19th 2011 1:01PM hami83 said

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When is FFXIV coming out for consoles?

I would LOVE Free Realms to be on the PS3. A nice option of a F2P and P2P MMO on the PS3 would be swell.

Posted: Feb 19th 2011 1:13PM GryphonStalker said

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@hami83

FFXIV console launch has been delayed until further notice while they work on improving their game.

http://massively.joystiq.com/2010/12/10/square-enix-staff-restructuring-seeking-new-direction-for-fin/
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Posted: Feb 19th 2011 1:15PM Yellowdancer said

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@hami83

I think Free Realms is coming to PS3 in April? I'm betting it gets pushed back to fix the communication issues DCUO ran into when going to PS3.
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Posted: Feb 19th 2011 2:00PM wondersmith said

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DCUO's highest ranking on XFire was 65th place, and as I type this it stands at 111th. To the best of my knowledge, these numbers refer to the PC version, where the license is perfectly normal. DCUO is an also-ran, ranking in the same ballpark as MMOs whose developers have gone or are considering going F2P due to mediocre subscription revenues.

I don't think complaints about the license are DCUO's biggest problem (no matter how vocal some forum-goers may be). The game just isn't all that popular.

Posted: Feb 19th 2011 7:33PM LordSkyline said

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@wondersmith

Don't forget that Xfire only tracks the STEAM version of the game so the number basicly tells nothin, even less than a normal XF number would tell.
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Posted: Feb 19th 2011 8:53PM wondersmith said

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@LordSkyline

Thanks for the info! I confirmed it with some googling. Why Xfire would do such a mind-bogglingly stupid thing, I have no idea. I have referred in the past to their listings simply for lack of any better statistics, but I must agree, this renders their numbers utterly meaningless.

Now I have no way at all to guess the popularity of games, aside from biased press releases. In any case, ignore my post; it's based on invalid data. :(
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Posted: Feb 21st 2011 11:27AM BadTrip said

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@wondersmith
DCUO, as it sits right now today, is the most immersive MMO I've played. That's with the current content, no patches. They got the one thing right no other MMO has done - the combat. It's fun and challenging every time and has an awesome feel. You're actually fighting, not clicking through some overblown choose-your-own adventure book watching your computer animate a spreadsheet full of numbers.

The one difference here, that I don't think I've seen mentioned in any article, is that in 90% of the MMOs out there, the influence of your decision making as a player in the game ends when you decide to engage the enemy (red? yellow? green?). At that point you're either a) overpowered with that mob so you can do anything you like in any order b) evenly matched - if you fire your powers off in the correct order you win. 7-3-wait-1, 7-3-wait-1. You actually need less hands on your keyboard during combat then when running around the world.

With DCUO and a handful of other games out recently, you're engaged until the final blow. It doesn't happen for you, there's no autoattack - you can stand over them and savor it before plunging the knife in or you can spin around and knock down the guy behind you first. The damage you take is not based a mob being programmed with the most efficient way to kill you and a randomizer so it doesn't happen every time. Arrows don't go through rocks or walls and don't follow you around corners. An archer or spellcaster can *gasp* find somewhere safe on a ledge above the fray without tripping out the mobs. When a mob fires off a chain of lightning balls you can get hit by one and dodge the rest - you won't be autohit around a corner by a mob in the next room just because you were in range when the attack was triggered. Blocking mitigates damage, so it's worth doing. If you're not aimed at and tracking the enemy you're not going to hit them. Basically, you have to be engaged to play the game and being engaged in the game is rewarding

For me, seeing the tab-targeting model held up as a tradition or "the way" is really, really strange. I'm a gamer - probably "hardcore" minus all the kiddie leet speak crap. I'm 40 (great shape, with a successful business, 2 kids, a wife, house.. so pls, no stereotypes) and probably put in 35-40 hours a week gaming between my office and home. I buy my gaming machines two at a time so the experience is just as good at "work". Not bragging, just that I've been around the block, gaming is a real focus for me and I've been gaming since the absolute beginning.

Back in the day, the combat in MMOs was viewed as an aberration or a flaw. It was the "one thing" that kept them out of the gaming mainstream because of the lack of interaction. Back then the only people that really got excited about swords or chainmail vs platemail, shuffling inventory, maps, encumberance and hit points were D&D nerds and we were a tiny minority. The tabbed targeting system was designed around the technical limitations of our network infrastructure - 14-56k modems running on 'dirty' phone lines with high latency and plenty of dropped packets. They needed a system where it wouldn't matter if your crappy connection dropped you every few seconds during combat - they needed a system where it didn't really matter if you were there all the time. The only reason there wasn't realtime combat is because they couldn't get it to work on a massive scale, not because they set out to design an innovative new control scheme. No one sets out, on purpose, to create a game that doesn't care if you're there unless they're forced to. The first game I can remember that got close to letting you fight in real time at MMO scale was Tribes and more recently Planetside, but the technical limitations again prevented the customization depth that define an MMO. When WoW came out it made it slightly less obvious than Everquest that you weren't really doing anything, but had the network infrastructure been there, both games would have played more like massive Hexen.

The reason we have min/maxers and people focusing on Armor numbers or character ratings (or whatever it is the WoW players are up to) is because that is the *only* real impact a player can have on the game - study your numbers (or just look up a build really) and click the right armor. Then press 7-3-wait-1, 7-3-wait-1. This has nothing at all to do with swords and sorcery, high adventure or why you're off to kill the black dragon first before saving the princess (if you even remember that's what you're doing and not just following the big yellow pointer from glowing question mark to glowing question mark because the quest text has no impact on the game either - not yet addressed in DCUO or anywhere that I know of) There are no numbers or ratings referring to how good you are at the game... because it doesn't matter at all. The guy recruiting for the raid isn't concerned with how good you are, only that you can google a build and grind long enough (or buy) to have the equipment you need. At that point your party is all the same and unless someone hits 7-2-wait-1 instead of 7-3-wait-1 you get more equipment to google. If we could just connect Google to WoW you wouldn't be needed to play the game... That's not a game.

I hear all the debate about casual vs hardcore players, but that debate has gotten way off track. Casual is a reference to time spent on a game, not whether or not you're willing to spend any effort learning the controls. Casual should not mean easier or that you're automagically good at the game. It means that you play 1-2 hours a week instead of 30. The marketing towards the massive casual market has really had a poisoning effect on gameplay. It's great to have that amount money pumped into the industry to enable "the shiny" but there's no reason to innovate if your market has to be able to sit right down and be Uber.

Besides the combat DCUO has a lot of other great features. The full voice acting (which I guess is just a big deal in the star wars universe) is amazing. The writers and artists doing the stories and cutscenes are celebrated in the industry. The world is massive and beautiful (with plenty of lore-approved expansion possibilities). The physics are cool. There's a chained combat effect feature where character's skills interact and can change the state of their target (freeze baddie in a cube and chuck him at his friends) - many of the features trumpeted in upcoming games are already in DCUO (chained effects in the secret world - 'revolutionary' voice acting in Star wars). The lore content is vast and goes way back. They release regular feature films based in the world and at least in the case of The Green Latern there will be in-game tie ins. Heck, the stories are so well told and immersive I wouldn't be suprised at all if DC first, then the rest of the industry migrates from paper books to delivering their content and stories through the MMO and movies exclusively.

One final note in what has turned into an embarassingly long essay... about the chat system. Ok, Sony has chat systems just lying around.. seriously.. they have any number of them that can be plugged into a game engine the same way I can upload a chat system to my website. This stuff is all modular - it may need some tweaking when implemented, but it's a plugin for the Unreal engine. So why the crap system at launch even when launch was 3 months late at that? Obviously they didn't put any effort into it. They have the money, the staff and the experience... they know it's a core feature so why the slack? The simplest explanation is that it was intentional - they're waiting on something. Looking at the latest news coming from Sony, they just released a brand new EQII Mobile system. It allows in and out of game chat and access to where you are on the map as well as all the rest of the info any of these mobile apps get you. My personal guess is that THAT is DCUO's new chat system, but they didn't want to spring it on a bunch of new customers in DCUO. Instead they're beta testing it and doing the bug fixes in a platform with a giant userbase that isn't going anywhere after 30 days. Just a guess though.
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Posted: Feb 19th 2011 2:27PM pixelmonkey said

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So how is the server pop. after the 30 days?

Posted: Feb 20th 2011 9:31AM evanset6 said

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@pixelmonkey Yesterday when I logged in I went to character create screen to see exactly that and they were all at medium with one being high...

That was on PS3.
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Posted: Feb 19th 2011 2:52PM SaintV said

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If you want a mmo to fail just hire SOE. Wether it is busines model problems or just designed poorly you can always count on SOE screwing it up some how. I want to try Planetside Next because i like shooters but the I'm afraid they will just find a way to screw it up eventually.

Posted: Feb 21st 2011 11:53AM BadTrip said

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@SaintV

There's an equal number of players that latch onto a gripe and can't let it go for each and every company producing MMOs. It's mostly because there's a type of personality attracted to this type of game and this is a 'feature' of that type of personality. I hear where you're coming from, I was so disappointed in STO that I couldn't let it go - raging in the forums whenever getting the opportunity and I'll never buy anything from Cryptic again because they seem to have a certain business model they follow as a company as a whole. The thing is, with a company the size of Sony or Blizzard, there are multiple teams working on different projects. The people who built and guided the building of DCUO aren't the same people who developed [insert game that got your panties in a bunch here]

A company is not a gigantic amorphous blob, it's a bunch of people working as a team. For better or worse, a completely different team built [new MMO] then built [old MMO] under different leadership, in a different world economic environment with different tools.
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