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January Hymn

2011-01-19

Greetings, Humans!  Let us discuss the world of superheroes.

I am now on the cusp of level 23 with DC Universe and I'm still quite enjoying the experience.  I'll get a few of my fist shaking bits out of the way first so we can focus on what works well and not wallow in the pain and (potential) misery.  Wait times.  I didn't realize it initially, but I have become well-spoiled by WoW's queue system for finding an instance/dungeon.  DCU's works similarly in that you open the panel, select what you're looking for, click your roll in said instance, and then chill until it starts.  That part is great.  The not-so-great comes in the chilling.  WoW introduced cross-realm instancing where I could be grouped up from someone on a different realm and so on and so forth.  DCU doesn't have that making the wait times painfully long.  It could be that the Villain side of things is far less populated than the Heroes (because, honestly, most people are sissies and want to wear tights next to Batman), but still:  if I want to run something, I queue for it the second I log on.  There are times when I'll play for an hour and not have the Alert (dungeon) pop and I have to log.  That blows.  Cross-realming that business would go a long way in making the wait far less crappy.  Also, on selecting your "role" for the instance.  Where most MMOs follow the standard trinity of Tank/Healer/Damage, DCU doesn't.  This is great, to a degree, but it makes instancing painful.  You can have four folks queue up as Damage and get into the instance together and you're left without a Tank or any type of Healing which is just plain stupid.  I'm not sure why they don't filter that out and, in having people select their role, make sure that at least one of each of those three parts is represented.  Nothing sucks more than waiting forever to get into the place and then finding out you all are planning on blowing stuff up but not having enough healing to make it through the boss fight.  Great.

The chat system still blows.  A lot.  A whole lot.

So that's the crap and the things that make me want to choke someone.

For the good:  I love that I don't simply press a button or have a rotation of "moves" that I use waiting on each to get off of their cooldown before pressing "2" again.  That's amazing.  DCU is an action MMO.  You fly around, leap off of a building into a group of baddies and open fire.  There is no getting aggro, there is no waiting to cast a spell, there is only pain.  It's wonderful and a much needed breath of fresh air in the genre.  I feel less like I'm playing an MMO than I do just a standard action/adventure game.

Everything is voice acted.  This is a bit of a double-edged sword as sometimes I don't want to be listening to anything (I'm odd that way) and I would love the option for subtitles.  Perhaps they're somewhere in the menu and I keep overlooking them but I don't believe they exist.  Hearing and interacting with all of the characters is great (especially Joker, come on) and it adds another level to the entire experience that I really enjoy.

There is a stupid amount to do in this game already.  One of my favorite parts of the genre is simply exploring a place and wringing all I can out of it and DCU has that in spades.  The different Headlines (stories) scattered throughout parts of Metropolis and Gotham add little sub-stories to the overall events taking place and do a great job of bringing in characters of the world that didn't get used for bigger things.  To be honest, I'm not terribly familiar with the DC world so I'm sure some of the people I'm seeing Joe - or others - may well squeal over and I just think "cool costume" which would make the experience that much better.  In fact, I had to ask Joe why there was a giant monkey trying to take over Metropolis the other day.  I still carried out the creature's wishes, I'm not about to turn down a paying gig, but it would have been even better had I had a better grasp of the lore there.  Maybe not.  Maybe it's better just working for an ape and not questioning it.

I'll hold off on going further as this post is getting out of hand.  Friday I'll wrap up some other tidbits for you that I'm sure you're dying to hear.

But finally: the title of today's post is brought to you by the new Decemberists album.  It's amazing.  Just...wonderful.  You should buy it.  Because I said so.