DC Universe Online
After what seemed like forever and a day (and let us not forget the all-out lie that was told about the game being made available for Free-to-Play on October 19th of this year (the 19th came and went with no results)), DC Universe Online is FINALLY free to play!
As with DDO and LOTRO, you're only able to have 2 playable characters per free account, but that's really not a big issue. Both hubby and I each have a villain and a hero, and that's really all you need to have a good time.
The basic premise of this game is that in the future, Braniac has killed off all superheroes/villains and taken over the world. In attempts to try and rewrite history and thus prevent this horrific event from happening, Lex Luthor goes back in time with some of Brainiac's technology (exobytes which contain the abilities/powers stolen from the now dead superheroes/villains) in order to warn Wonder Woman, Superman and Batman. He then releases the exobytes into the Earth's atmosphere whereupon they then seek out and merge with various humans on Earth.
This of course leads to your creation of your own superhero/villain!
You're able to choose your super-power (you have a choice between fire, plant, mental, strength, tech (like Batman and Deathstroke), ice or sorcery), your mode of movement (flight, super-speed, or acrobatics), personality (serious, flirty, mean, or comical) and you're also able to choose your weapon of choice (firearms, blades, bow and arrow, staff, martial arts weapons, or simply your own hands). You're also able to choose your hero/villain's gender, and customize the appearance of both their costume as well as their actual form however you wish (and trust me...there are LOTS of different options and configurations).
Whether you choose to be a hero or a villain does not affect the plot of the game, because even though heroes and villains are on different sides of the playing field, they can still agree enough to know when there is a much bigger threat to face.
After all...a super-villain can hardly achieve world-domination if there's no world to dominate!
However, whichever side you choose determines who you're able to choose as your avatar's mentor. If you decide to be a hero, you can choose between either Superman, Batman or Wonder Woman as your mentor, and Oracle is your handy-dandy guide (every so often, she'll talk to you via com-link while you're out and about in the city doing your quests). If you choose to be a villain, then your mentors are either Joker, Lex Luthor, or Circe, and Calculator is your handy-dandy guide who contacts you in the same way Oracle does throughout the game. What does a mentor do, you might ask? He or she is the one who gives you various quests as you complete them.
Done by SOE (Sony Online Entertainment), DCUO is done by the same people who brought you the EQ2 juggernaut, and so you know going in that you are promised amazing graphics right off the bat.
And these graphics are AMAZING!!!
Regarding the actual game-play, if you're like me and coming from games like WOW, LOTRO, EQ2, GW or DDO, then it can take some getting used to. In the previously mentioned games, if you wanted to change the actual camera angle (and not just the direction in which your avatar was facing), all you had to do was left click on your mouse and hold it while moving the camera to whatever angle you so desired. In DCUO, this is no longer the case; rather, left-clicking is now your main melee attack, and right-clicking is your basic ranged attack. To move and change the camera angle, you simply have to move the mouse and angle changes. In retrospect, this is much simpler, but as I said, it takes some getting used to if you've had several years of doing it a different way. Another slight difference is the 'S' key. 'S' is always for reversing your direction. However, unlike with WOW, GW, LOTRO, DDO or EQ2 where 'S' always makes you run (or in the case of DDO, speed-walk) backwards, in DCUO, the 'S' key actually makes you turn around and either run or fly in the opposite direction. As always, the 'W' key is forward, and the space bar is jump. Your superpower-based attacks or abilities are automatically assigned to the number keys of your keyboard, which I think actually proves easier and more convenient for when you're in battle.
My only real complaint about the game is the fact that its servers seem unable to handle the massive number of players logging in at a time to play. If the servers are too busy, you will simply be logged out and encouraged to try again later (this will even happen when you're on a loading screen and waiting to enter the game). However, I suppose this hiccup can be expected since DCUO just became Free-to-Play on the 1st of this month, and I'm hoping that it will be fixed in the not so distant future. No doubt, those over at SOE failed to take into account just how many poor people like me would be clamoring for opportunity to play.
Silly SOE people...do you not know who you're dealing with? Even if players aren't avid comic book readers and fans, who didn't pretend to be a superhero (many of which were made-up and completely original) as a kid? Unlike WOW, EQ2, GW, DDO, and LOTRO which focus in on a very specific group of people who are fans of the fantasy genre, DCUO encompases a much larger group of people. Even my FPS-obsessed hubby, who is not the biggest fan of MMOs, is playing this game with a fervor that he never showed during his brief stint with GW. This game gives everybody the chance to get back in touch with the little child in them who dreamt of being a sidekick to their favorite hero/villain or who dreamt of being a hero/villain in their own right.
Oh, and best of all...
NO GIANT SPIDERS!!!!!!!!!
FINALLY, a game in which my life-long arachnophobia doesn't come and bite me in the arse. That was actually the reason I ended up deleting DDO from my computer. As much as I love D&D, I couldn't handle the amount of giant spiders that I had to deal with every time I logged in.
So, with all of that being said...would I recommend DC Universe Online to others? The answer is a very emphatic YES!