|DC Universe Online|
DC Universe Online logo
|Developer(s)||Daybreak Game Company|
|Publisher(s)||Daybreak Game Company|
|Engine||Unreal Engine 3|
|Release||Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3
January 11, 2011
November 15, 2013
April 29, 2016
|Genre(s)||Action combat MMO|
DC Universe Online (abbreviated DCUO) is a free-to-play action combat massive multiplayer online game set in the DC Universe of DC Comics. Developed by Daybreak Game Company and co-published by Daybreak Game Company and WB Games, the game was released on January 11, 2011.
The player creates a new, original character that interacts with the heroes and villains of DC Comics. Players choose their character's faction (Hero or Villain), gender (male or female), body type (both height and muscularity), personality (comical, flirty, powerful, primal, serious), movement mode (flight, acrobatics, speed or skimming), weapon, and power (fire, ice, gadgets, mental, nature, sorcery, earth, light, electricity, rage, quantum, celestial, munitions, and atomic). Numerous hair, skin, and costume types are available, and up to 4 colors can be applied to the color scheme palette. Pre-built templates, inspired by some key DC characters, are available to expedite the character creation process.
When the player's character is named, they are thrown into the world of DC Universe Online with the first experience having to fight their way out of a spaceship. The tutorial teaches basic movement and abilities, counter mechanics, and using power and skill points. Eventually the player's character is made an official member of the Justice League or The Society whether hero or villain, where they continue on their missions to increase their level and skill in various content. Daybreak Game Company is working to make DC Universe Online more interactive than standard MMO games, while trying to keep their key elements which include a leveling system, raid instances, endgame progression and inventories. The world is mainly a shared, public space. The public space features dynamically-generated content designed for both hero and villain player characters to progress and fight alongside and against a multitude of iconic DC Comics characters, moving forward with stories, many of which are brought forth from the pages of DC comics).
DC Universe Online has been actively updating through Game Updates, (also known as GU), and Hotfixes. Aside from bug fixes, several Game Updates involve Seasonal Events which provide special feats, styles, base items, overworld missions and instances exclusive to the time frame it runs for, usually a month. There are three Events that tend to cycle throughout the year: Survival Mode, Legends PvE and Stabilizer Fragment Instances. DC Universe Online offers downloadable content or Episodes which expand the game universe with new, more difficult missions to progress that provide new or continuations of stories already existing; new costume styles and equipment.
The opening cinematic takes place in a gritty, war-torn future depicting a final battle between the world's greatest heroes and villains. A future version of Lex Luthor provides voice-over narration. This battle takes place in the ruins of Metropolis. Lex Luthor, wearing a heavy mech armor, commands an army of super-villains that includes Joker, Harley Quinn, Circe, Deathstroke, Black Adam, Giganta and Metallo. A scarred, armored Batman commands the heroes, which includes Robin, Cyborg, Flash, Green Lantern, and Wonder Woman. The battle culminates with the death of Wonder Woman at the hands of Lex Luthor, at which point an unshaven, weary Superman hears her dying screams from orbit and flies to Earth to confront Lex. As Superman cradles Wonder Woman's dead body, he collapses to the ground and it is revealed that Lex hid Kryptonite pellets in her mouth as a trap. Lex impales Superman with a kryptonite-tipped spear, and stands back to proclaim his victory only to see Brainiac's war fleet fill the skies.
The scene then shifts to the present-day Watchtower, where the future Lex Luthor, heavily modified with Brainiac technology, is telling the story to the present-day Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. Future Lex explains that the deadly final war between the heroes and villains was triggered by the subtle manipulations of Brainiac (who had been slowly downloading their powers over time). With the planet's most powerful beings dead, Brainiac intended to use the pirated data to create an army of metahumans under his control, facilitating his conquest of Earth. As the only survivor of the war, Lex Luthor could do nothing to resist Brainiac's subjugation of the planet. Lex Luthor explains that he was able to survive in secret and eventually seal the stolen data and energy from Brainiac's mothership in the form of "Exobytes" (nanobot-sized devices that can bond to a living host and give them their own superpowers). Lex has traveled into his past to release the exobytes into the atmosphere of present-day Earth. The heroes are outraged, but Lex Luthor explains that because he has done this, soon thousands of new metahumans will be created from ordinary humans (becoming the player-characters of the game). He implores the Justice League to find and train these new metahumans, because Brainiac is coming and the Earth must be ready to succeed where it was once doomed to fail.
When this cinematic ends, the player is brought to the character creation menu to build their new Hero or Villain.
In the second trailer to the game "In Lex we Trust", it is found out that Lex Luthor's description of events leading up to his arrival in the present time is not as he described to the heroes. The trailer begins with Lex Luthor reviving his companion Fracture from being unconscious. Lex Luthor explains that Brainiac's forces have already penetrated the Fortress of Solitude and that their time is running out. As they approach a time portal chamber, a Brainiac Eradicator attacks and Fracture destroys the robotic drone with a small grenade. The two arrive at the portal which is being stabilized by Batman (whose face is disfigured and arm is replaced by a robotic prosthetic due to injuries from the battle of villains and heroes). As more Eradicators enter the chamber, Lex Luthor lies saying his armor is damaged and that he can not hold them off. Batman tells Fracture to take the canister that contains millions of Exobytes and go through the portal attacking the Eradicators and buying him more time. Fracture thanks Lex for using the exobytes to give him his powers. Seeing the opportunity he had been waiting for, Lex Luthor kills Fracture describing him as "an excellent lab rat." Before Lex Luthor steps into the portal, Batman calls to Lex Luthor warning that "I'll be coming for you" to which Lex responds "No, you won't" and activates a self-destruct sequence. Lex Luthor enters into the portal and the Fortress of Solitude suffers massive explosions. He arrives in a dark alley, presumably present day. He is greeted by his present-day self who describes him as being late.
It is then shown at the end of "The Prime Battleground" raid that Future Lex Luthor and Lex Luthor are working together to steal Brainiac's power. Lex Luthor is then betrayed by his future self as Future Lex Luthor wants the power for himself. It is then shown that Future Batman survived the explosion at the Fortress of Solitude and has been chasing Future Lex Luthor through time. Future Lex Luthor escapes and Future Batman follows him. In the following cutscene, Future Batman is said to be the last hope for humanity.
Following these events, the heroes are led by Future Batman while villains are led by Future Lex Luthor to the "Nexus of Reality" (the center of the Multiverse itself). Both sides fight for control, using paradoxes from constant time-travels to alter the histories of iconic characters, forcing heroes and villains to work parallel to each other, changing the timelines in the same fashion. What one causes, the other reverts, thus making an infinite cycle. This results in a massive paradox creature that consumes time itself. In the raid, players must stop the creature from destroying the time-space continuum (one of the many raids where both villains and heroes have the same goal). This event ends the storyline the game was based upon, yet also opens up the possibility to enter many new realities.
Since then, there have been certain stories tied in reflecting the Arrowverse, with the introduction of Nanda Parbat, fighting alongside characters featured in Legends of Tomorrow, and a Supergirl Costume Legends character. Content from the DC Extended Universe has also been released, acknowledging their existence in the game universe. Other comic centered storylines, feature "Blackest Night", Sons of Trigon, New Genesis, Amazonian, Kryptonian and Harley Quinn in Episodes.
The first conceptual art for the game was released on July 4, 2008, and the first trailer was released on July 14, 2008. Sony Online Entertainments stated goal is to make a different kind of MMO game, with The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction cited as one of the main inspirations for gameplay.
A beta was available from December 14, 2010, until January 5, 2011. There were a number of technical issues that came to light when the beta was closed, which were only partially resolved by the game's official release. EverQuest developers Chris Cao and Shawn Lord were involved. Chris Cao was the game director up to May 2011, since stepped down to be replaced by Mark Anderson, previously the art director. Mark Anderson has since been replaced by Jens Andersen, who was promoted to Executive Creative Director of Daybreak Game Company with S.J. Mueller creative director. Comic artists Alé Garza, Carlos D'Anda, JJ Kirby, Oliver Nome, Eddie Nuñez, Livio Ramondelli, and Michael Lopez also contributed to the leveling content headlines and cutscenes. In August 2011, there was a global server merge implemented by the developers to consolidate all PC servers and PlayStation 3 servers into 4 individual servers, one for each platform per region. On September 19, 2011 it was announced that the game would go free-to-play on November 1, 2011, along with the addition of microtransactions. In mid-2013, as part of a hosting deal, accounts for the European PC version were sold to ProSiebenSat.1, however they were still capable of using the US Servers. DC Universe Online was announced for the PlayStation 4 on June 5, 2013 along with PlanetSide 2. On November 15, 2013, DC Universe Online was released on PS4. As of mid-2014, after Sony Online Entertainment, SOE, (now Daybreak Game Company,) had announced their All Access Membership changes, SOE and ProSiebenSat.1 parted ways, returning the accounts to SOE. All accounts are managed by Daybreak Game Company.
During the fifth anniversary livestream on January 11, 2016, it was announced that the two regional servers, US and EU would receive cross play, with players on PC able to play with players on the PlayStation version on the same server, only divided by region. An Xbox One version of the game was also announced on January 11, 2016 for release on April 29 of the same year, on two separate regional servers, not connected to the PC or PS versions of the game. On February 5, both USPC USPS servers were merged into one US server and EUPC and EUPS were merged into one EU server. The same restrictions of not being able to log into or transfer a PS account on PC and vice versa has been maintained.
DC Comics announced in January 2010 that they would be releasing DC Universe Online: Legends, a 52-issue weekly limited series (along the lines of previous similar series like 52, Countdown to Final Crisis and Trinity) which would be based on the game. Rather than a weekly series, the format was changed to a biweekly series, with comic book writer Tony Bedard and game writer Marv Wolfman, and with artists Howard Porter and Adriana Melo. The title was launched in February 2011 and concluded in May 2012.
DC Universe Online received generally positive reviews from critics, having received 7/10 from IGN at initial launch and showing further improvement with 8/10 from IGN after its PlayStation 4 launch.
As of August 2014, the game has 18 million registered users, and is the number one revenue generating free-to-play title on the PlayStation 3 and 4.