Gamer ADD & DC Universe Online

I’ve come to accept and even embrace my gamer ADD. I used to feel guilty about jumping from title to title but y’know, games are for fun. I don’t join guilds so I’m not letting anyone down by skipping out to some other game, so if I’m happy, that’s kind of all that matters.

I’m also easily swayed. At my core, I’d rather love a game than hate a game and I’d rather love a game company than hate it, too. I don’t think I’m that unusual in these preferences, though I think the people who love to hate a game or a company are a lot louder and more vocal online, so it can seem like gamers all hate games and the people who make them.

So this was a tough weekend for me when it came to willpower. SOE was holding its Fan Faire and live streaming some video from it, and Trion did a video feed of the housing in their new expansion. Both events had me wanting to play Rift and SOE games. I always enjoy these videos more for what they tell me about the teams making the games than what they tell me about the games themselves.

To make a long story short, I pre-purchased the Rift expansion and the Planetside 2 starter pack over the weekend. But neither of those are launched yet and I was feeling the itch to try something new, so I finally fired up DC Universe Online, which is set to get a housing expansion pack sometime in the next few months.

Obviously DCUO isn’t a new game and it isn’t even new to me. I played the beta a bit and at some point in launch because when I fired the game up I was surprised to find a couple of characters. I rolled fresh though.

At the time I was downstairs on the couch (Angela and I were watching the livestream from Fan Faire on the living room TV) so DCUO’s controller friendliness was a real point in its favor. I first started it on Saturday and by the time I’d created a character I’d pretty much had enough. Something about the character creation process bugs me; I mean the actual UI and interface of it. It may be that there are just too many choices for the speed that the UI renders. Anyway, I found character creation to be a chore.

But I went back today and played for a few hours, getting my new telekinesis dude to level 6 or 7, and it was quite enjoyable. I still don’t think I’d pay $15/month to play it, but with it being “free” I might dabble in it for a while, and I’m considering buying some of the expansions (they’re $10 or the equivalent in Station Cash and I happen to have a bunch of Station Cash). It just really feels like a ‘lite’game in a lot of ways, and that’s not always a bad thing. Some of the voice acting is real hokey and the character models tend to be pretty low-res, I suppose to keep the speed of the game up. But it’s still a fun comic book superhero world and I just kind of enjoyed zooming around Metropolis and Gotham, beating up on bad guys and tossing them around like rag dolls.

There’s a Halloween event going on and I did that once. I had no clue what I was doing but we didn’t die and the NPC was defeated. You get candy corn for your trouble that you can then spend in a vending machine to get loot. I only got 2 candy corn though so I just saved it.

If you’ve never tried DCUO and have any interest in super heroes, it’s definitely worth the time to download and check out. It starts really slow; like I said, character creation is long and kind of tedious (or can be) and then there’s a pretty long tutorial section that somehow still leaves a lot of questions unanswered. But once you get past that and start flying around the city doing stuff it gets more interesting. As you get a few levels under your belt you find more options opening up and it isn’t quite as directed as the first few levels are.

Aside from the Halloween Event it’s been solo friendly so far, too, and the Event auto-grouped me so I didn’t have to talk to anyone; a big plus when you’re kicked back on the couch playing with a controller and the keyboard is on the other end of the coffee table. 🙂 Yeah, I’m that lazy…

MMO cold-turkey period ends

In the middle of last month I announced that I was taking a breather from MMOs. I had a pretty nice break, playing The Witcher, reading more than I usually do, screwing around with fun games like Battleheart on my iPad.

But I’m ready to jump back in and live an imaginary life to escape from this real one a bit. I just don’t seem to lose myself as much in single player games as I do in MMOs.

I’m such a screwball though… Rift early-launches next week, but this past weekend I kept running into positive talk about DC Universe Online, plus I watched a couple of episodes of Smallville which put me in a pro-DC kind of place. Saturday night, the day’s chores done, my head fraught with worry about my mom and finances. A cocktail or two to take the edge off and my willpower fading, fading… and BLAMMO! I purchased DC Universe Onlive via Steam. That damned Steam should be a controlled substance, I tell you!

Of course I still had to d/l it, and it was getting late and I still wanted to play something so… I’d installed Star Trek Online a while back (I’m a Lifetime Subscriber…I love me some Lifetime Subscriptions!) but hadn’t booted it up in ages. So I decided to play a bit of that and then d/l DCUO overnight.

I rolled a new Star Trek officer (a separated borg, ugly as sin) since I couldn’t remember how to play and jumped in. And wow, did I have fun!! It came back to me pretty quickly but it all seemed better than it used to be. I suspect a lot of the systems have been tweaked/polished/enhanced since launch.

So my borg (Hugh 342 – the 342nd Borg liberated since Data named the original Hugh) wants to return to being human more than anything. Via the cosmetic overhaul system in STO, he’ll be able to. But all those changes cost $$ of some kind that he still has none of. I’m looking forward to watching him dump all his earnings into getting Borg parts removed, his infected skin healed, his glowy eyes replaced with normal eyes. Part by part he’ll strive to become human once again.

I think the last time I played STO I mostly ran patrols, because I don’t remember having so much fun in these missions (they call them episodes in STO).

Last night, for instance, I did Hide & Seek (I think that was the name). If you’ve never played STO, here’s what this one episode entailed (going from memory here).
[spoilers for this very early episode]

I was sent to explore a nebula. I beam up to my ship, the USS Scintillate, and we zoom off to the nebula and find a Federation ship under attack by Gorn raiders. We make short work of these raiders, but the Federation ship is still in trouble; it needs dilithium crystals. So we fly around to dilithium mines to beam up crystals. Some of these are defended so we had to trade a few more broadsides. Bring the crystals back to the crippled ship, who now gives us the location of a refining facility where we can get the materials we need to explore deeper into the nebula. We head there, fight off the defenders of this facility, but can’t beam up the stuff we need because of the facility’s shields. To get rid of the shields we need to find the shield generator plant on an asteroid, and beam down bombs to disable the shields. The bombs are supposed to give the people in this shield generator plant time to escape (the Federation doesn’t blow up worker-bees, apparently). That taken care of, we head back and get the materials we need.

That lets us warp deeper into the nebular. There are “dense objects” that need to be scanned. More defenders pop up as we cruise through the dense gas. I’m loving the vortexes and eddies in the gas as we fly through it. We scan 5 objects and the last (of course) is a massive asteroid totally enveloped in mines, and with Klingons defending it. Battle ensues and soon there’s one less Klingon ship threatening Federation space. We use our phasers to target the mine fields until we can get close enough to beam down to the facility on the asteroid.

Once we get dirtside, we have to fight our way through Klingon defenders to get to a computer console. We start downloading data crucial for Starfleet, but that’s going to take time. While the computers talk to each other my team spreads out to defend the console from Klingons and their alien wardogs who’re beaming down to stop us.

Finally we get the data, beam out and then get the heck out of there. Episode complete! We get our just rewards from Starfleet.

All of that is ONE quest! And it told a neat bit of story along the way. I can’t wait to follow up the leads we got from that computer and learn what those dastardly Klingons are up to!

Fun stuff. More fun than I remember it being the first time I played. I think the difference is that I’m in no rush; STO will definitely be my ‘side MMO’ for a while now.

In the meanwhile DC Universe Online beckons.

DC Universe Online NDA drops

I got into the DC Universe Online beta in mid-November. I must confess I haven’t spent a ton of time with it, what with all the other goings on in the gaming universe. But what I have played I’ve enjoyed. It’s a great “I have 10 minutes free, what can I do?” game. Jump in, pummel some baddies and jump out.

It remains to be seen if there’s enough here to get me to subscribe, but we’ll see.

Here’s the thing you have to know about DC Universe Online. It isn’t an MMORPG. It’s a MMO action game. You’re almost certainly going to want to play it with a gamepad since you’re constantly having to move the camera to lock on to different enemies while mashing buttons to pull off combo attacks.

Put it this way: if a “Hit Counter” (think Devil May Cry) turns you off, you’re not going to want to play this one.

Now that the NDA is lifted I’ll try to focus a bit more on it, maybe grab some screenshots or a video to show how gameplay flows. Also keep an eye on ChannelMassive since I know Eric has been playing this one a lot more than I have, and is enjoying it a lot.

DC Universe Online trailer from Comic Con

I’m sure you’ve seen this, but on the off chance you haven’t…

Now don’t go grumping at me in the comments. I fully realize a trailer like this has next to nothing to do with how the game will play; it just sets up the lore. But just forget there’s a game for a few minutes and enjoy some pretty great CGI mini-movie super-hero-ality.

I’m embedding it but I urge you to click through and watch it in HD.