The Power School: DC Universe Online 101

I have been chatting with some of my friends about DC Universe Online. Like myself, most of them have not played a console MMO game. I played Final Fantasy XI for the PC and I still remember the horrible interface. DCUO has that in common with FFXI but I most say, you get used to it. Everybody that knows me is well aware of my limited time to play games. Specially MMOs (I will still attempt to play Rift, but that’s another blog), however my time in DCUO has been a blast. Now, I thought it would be a good idea to offer a few pointers about the early game in an easy to read manner. Trust me, this is harder for me to do than it is for you to read. This will cover some of the very MMORPG game basics, specific DCUO information and whatever else I can remember. Let’s get this list started:

Character Creator Don’t freak out if you can’t create the character from your dreams. The CC is a bit limited but there’s a reason for it. You gain loot in the game that alters your stats and appearance. These styles can be collected and your look can be modified and locked as you please. Changing your appearance will not alter your stats. There are three different color palettes in which you can save your favorite colors. This will dictate the look of your character. Believe it or not I saw someone playing as The Space Ghost.

Server Selection Nothing new here. You either go PvE (Player vs Environment) or PvP (Player vs Player). I am surprised by the fact that there’s no RP Server. Not having one on the PS3 makes sense because the game feels a bit anti-social for an MMO. However, it makes no sense that there’s no such server for the PC version.

Controls For years I have advocated the use of a mouse and keyboard. I told all my friends about the weirdness I felt when playing Call of Duty in the 360 or how I would get motion sickness when playing on a TV with a gamepad. I must admit this game is a lot more fun when using a controller. The time I spent playing on the PC I tried my usual loyal combo but it felt weird. I ended up plugging my 360 controller. The button set-up is the same as the PS3 version. Pressing the Square button or Left Mouse button will trigger melee attacks. The triangle or Right Mouse button is for ranged attacks. It’s very easy to select Powers from the hotbar using the hotkeys for the PS3 you have to press L2 or L3 and select the appropriate button to trigger the power. Looting is done by pressing L2 and R2 simultaneously.

Unlike other regular MMOs, blocking is key in DC Universe Online. Get used to this new approach very early on. If you hold block and move you will perform a “rolling dodge” move. Very helpful to avoid range attacks. Your super travel powers are bestowed upon creating your character. There are 3 flavors: Flying, Super-Speed and Acrobatics. Each will have talent tree that you can add a few perks for your taste. Personally I love Acrobatics. It’s a pain in the ass to catch up to those that fly away. Upon level 9, I was able to get a “rocket glide”. This allows me to glide through the city. Unlike flying, I can’t control the speed or altitude. Speedsters get a super-jump. I am not sure what those “Super-Man wannabes” can do. They are on my black list.

Stats Just like any regular MMORPGs, DC Universe Online has stats. Here’s a quick overview:

Health: Measures the amount of damage you can take before being knocked out. Enemy attacks can reduce your health. You automatically begin regenerating health when you leave combat.

Power: Required to use super abilities and is drained as they are preformed. Power is recovered quickly when using weapon attacks to drive up the hit counter. Power returns slowly when out of combat.

Defense: Reduces the damage received by attacks made by non-player enemies.

Might: Increases the damage and Health recovery effects caused by super powers.

Restoration: Increases the potency of all Health recovery effects you activate.

Vitalization: Increases the potency of all Power recover effects you activate.

Precision: Adds to the base damage caused by all weapon attacks.

Toughness: Reduces the damage you receive from attacks made by enemy players.

Dominance: Makes your control effects such as stuns harder to escape. Dominance increases the damage an enemy must take before control is broken.

Missions These are your typical quests. Best thing about questing in DC Universe Online: Voice-Overs. It adds a depth level to the game that I have only seen since Age of Conan. Even World of Warcraft started incorporating those in their in-game cut scenes. It helps telling the story arcs of the game and most of the time they end up with an instance and a Boss Battle. You can access your different missions from your journal. If you active them, the mini map will mark where is your location.

Combat: Powers and Combos My second favorite thing in DC Universe Online. This is a brawler, pure and simple. Depending on the power and weapon you selected, different combos with different animations will be available. These are very simple to do (Attack Button+Attack Button+ Plus Hold Attack Button= Finisher) but learning to perform them and reading them is key. Specially if you play on a PvP Server. Here’s a very nice compilation of all the powers with detailed information. During combat your energy and supercharge meter (for some abilities) recharge based on your combos and hit counters. Somewhere I read that destroying the health barrels recharge both your life and super meter. Don’t quote me on this yet. When I mentioned to get used to blocking I meant it. Some enemies (including players if you are in a pvp server) have abilities that will stunt you. Pressing the block button will break this stunt. Rolling is also important because other abilities will break your guard. Yes, this is a lot like rock, paper scissor.

Roles Like all traditional MMORPGs, there are certain roles that you will need to fill in raids and groups. You know healer, tank, support, etc. These are tied to your power set. You can press up on the keypad to change your role. Remember this can only be done when not in combat.

Targeting There are two ways to target in DC Universe Online. The basic one is an auto target that will select whatever enemy is in front of you. To select a target yourself, press L2 and hold it. All your combos/hits/range attack will hit that target.

PvP For those with soft hearts, you can still do PvP in a PvE server. There are multiple Arenas and Legends that will help you satisfy this crave. For those playing in PvP server, the World PvP is quite entertaining. Let me remind you, ganking is the order of the day and there’s nothing you can do about it. The Legends Arena will let you play as an iconic DC character, while trying to complete team objectives. I am still very unexperienced about the Ring of War Event. Click here for more information about DCUO PvP. It’s a great post from the forums.

General Tips I can’t put enough emphasis on learning how to block and avoid range attacks. It’s not the typical MMO with auto attack and global cooldowns. This game has one of the easiest and most enjoyable starting zone (tutorial) ever. Be on the lookout for the green and blue exclamation marks and yellow question marks. The first and second one will provide you with information tidbits and skill points if you finish a set. The third one will grant you a collectible item. Booster’s Quests will take you around the world. This is an easy way to get acquainted with all the ares in the DCUO Universe. The commentary is dumb but entertaining sometimes. You can (and will) get attacked while doing these quests. There are a couple of missions scattered around that cover traveling powers. Complete this races and you will earn XP. If you get attacked by a player while doing this you can escape by waiting for the timer to get to zero and selecting “Try Again” I have escaped a few ambushes this way.

That’s it for now. You should check out a small guide Massively posted about the first Alert, Area 51. Remember to have fun and to do the Vault daily! I always forget.

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