Yes, I said press tour! I joined DCUO Creative Director Jens Anderson for a hands-on with the latest DLC, Hand of Fate. We found ourselves in a PUG -- yes, a PUG -- and took orders from Doctor Fate himself. Read on!
"Despite my complete and total newbness, I held my own. DCUO is splendid at making even a rough player feel powerful from the beginning."
Players were everywhere, seemingly hunting after many of the same mobs we were. Fortunately, mobs spawn often and can be engaged by many players at once. DCUO uses a surplus model instead of a scarcity model. In a game like World of Warcraft, for example, the first person to attack a mob encounter-locks it. In DCUO, any player who attacks the mob and contributes to a certain degree gets credit for the attack. This also helps to ensure that players don't have to worry about splitting loot. As we killed different mobs, other players were willing to stick around and help us if it looked as if we needed it. Since everybody potentially benefited, there was reason enough to help out your fellow hero.
The team was encouraged to split up. If we'd been particularly shy, we could have stayed together to pick off mobs. During my run, the team often found itself split into two, but we were able to mark enemies off the list much more quickly together. If we got into trouble, we got some help from other players or simply ran to each other's aid. It was chaotic, sure, but it felt as if all the players were participating in the same larger battle.
Open-world fights and amazing boss mobs are not the only goodies that come with this latest DLC. There's also the utility belt, a handy extension to a player's current loadout that allows players to equip more gadgets and items. Being the newb that I am, I completely forgot to put anything in the utility belt, but I still felt cool wearing it. I can only imagine how handy it is when it carries, you know, actual hero stuff.
Players can also go after the new runic sets of armor: bright, powerful sets that look like "Tron meets sorcery." The items drop from special bosses, and there is even a set that can be aquired through crafting. Final bosses will drop the pattern needed to make the armor. I can hear the loot drama now! There's also a 130-DPS weapon coming for those who can kill a final boss. I don't expect to make it to that level of awesome any time soon.
DCUO is truly a vacation from other MMOs. It's an instant-combat, wonderfully customizable, immersive, and beautiful playhouse of a game. While it looked good and ran fine on my older machine, it looked amazing and ran even better on my new machine the next day. But the laughter and exclamations of "awesome" on both runs sound exactly the same.
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