DC Universe Online

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DC Universe Online
DC Universe Online Logo.png
DC Universe Online logo
Developer(s)Daybreak Game Company
Publisher(s)Daybreak Game Company
WB Games
Director(s)S.J. Mueller
Writer(s)Geoff Johns
Composer(s)Gerard Marino
Chad Mossholder
SeriesDC Comics Edit this on Wikidata
EngineUnreal Engine 3
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows
Nintendo Switch
PlayStation 3 (discontinued)
PlayStation 4
Xbox One
ReleaseMicrosoft Windows, PlayStation 3 (removed)
January 11, 2011
PlayStation 4
November 15, 2013
Xbox One
April 29, 2016
Nintendo Switch
August 6, 2019
Genre(s)Massively multiplayer online, action

DC Universe Online (DCUO) is a free-to-play action combat massive multiplayer online game[1] set in the fictional 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 iconic 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, atomic, and water). 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 (heroes) or The Society (villains), 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).[1]

DC Universe Online has been actively updating through Game Updates (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.[2][3][4]


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, Metallo and Poison Ivy. A scarred, armored Batman commands the heroes, which includes Cyborg, Flash, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman and Green Arrow. Both Poison Ivy and Green Arrow are shown dead at the beginning of the cutscene. The battle culminates with the death of Wonder Woman at Luthor's hands, at which point an unshaven, weary Superman hears her dying screams from orbit and flies to Earth to confront him. As Superman cradles Wonder Woman's dead body, he collapses to the ground and it is revealed that Luthor hid Kryptonite pellets in her mouth as a trap. Luthor 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 Luthor 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 sole survivor of the war, Luthor could do nothing to resist Brainiac's subjugation of the planet. 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). Luthor has traveled into his past to release the exobytes into the atmosphere of present-day Earth. The heroes are outraged, but 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 revealed 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 Luthor reviving his companion Fracture from being unconscious. 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, 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, while attacking the Eradicators in order to buy him more time. Fracture thanks Luthor for using the exobytes to give him his powers. Seeing the opportunity he had been waiting for, Luthor kills Fracture describing him as "an excellent lab rat." Before Luthor steps into the portal, Batman calls to Luthor warning that "I'll be coming for you" to which Luthor responds "No, you won't" and activates a self-destruct sequence. Luthor enters 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. Luthor is then betrayed by his future self as Future 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 Luthor through time. Future 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 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.[5] Content from the DC Extended Universe has also been released. Other comic centered storylines feature "Sons of Trigon", "Blackest Night", "Amazon Fury", "Halls of Power", "Bombshells Paradox", "Bottle City of Kandor", "Harley Quinn" and "Earth 3" in Episodes.[6]


Conceptual art for the game was released on July 4, 2008,[7] and the first trailer was released on July 14, 2008.[8] 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 partially resolved by the game's release. EverQuest developers Chris Cao and Shawn Lord were involved.[9] Chris Cao was the game director up to May 2011, since stepped down to be replaced by Mark Anderson, previously the art director.[10] 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 U.S. servers. DC Universe Online was announced for the PlayStation 4 on June 5, 2013 along with PlanetSide 2, and was released November 15, 2013. After Sony Online Entertainment (SOE), had announced their All Access Membership changes, SOE and ProSiebenSat.1 parted ways, returning the accounts to SOE.[11] All accounts are managed by Daybreak Game Company.[12]

During the fifth anniversary livestream on January 11, 2016, it was announced that the two regional servers, U.S. 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,[13] on two regional servers that have since been consolidated into one,[14] not connected to the PC or PS versions of the game.[15] 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.[16]

On October 30, 2017, Daybreak Game Company stated the PlayStation 3 version would shut down on January 31, 2018 to focus on providing a better experience on the PlayStation 4.[17] Utilizing the same PSN, a PlayStation 3 player can access their account on PlayStation 4.

On May 23, 2019, a Nintendo Switch version of the game was announced, due for release in Summer 2019.[18]


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.[19] 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.[20][21]


Aggregate score
MetacriticPC: 72/100[22]
PS3: 67/100[23]
PS4: 75/100[24]
Review scores
PC Gamer (US)88%[30]

DC Universe Online received mixed or average reviews from critics, having received 7/10 from IGN at initial launch[32] and showing further improvement with 8/10 from IGN after its PlayStation 4 launch.[33]

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.[34]


  1. ^ a b "About the Game DC Universe Online". DC Universe Online (Official site).
  2. ^ "DC Universe Online Episodes". DC Universe Online.
  3. ^ "Ankh Angel UPC Fire Fighter Super Hero".
  4. ^ Mueller, SJ (October 11, 2016). "Episode 27: Amazon Fury Part III!". DC Universe Online. Retrieved February 14, 2017.
  5. ^ "Supergirl's New TV Costume Now in DC Universe Online!". DC Universe Online.
  6. ^ "DCUO is Coming to Xbox + More News & Reveals!". DC Universe Online.
  7. ^ Cavalli, Earnest (July 4, 2008). "First DC Universe Online Art Unveiled". Wired. Retrieved October 29, 2008.
  8. ^ "DC Universe Online PC Games Trailer – E3 2008: Trailer". IGN. July 14, 2008. Retrieved October 29, 2008.
  9. ^ "DC Universe Online". IGN. Retrieved October 29, 2008.
  10. ^ "News Archive". DC Universe Online. May 18, 2011. Retrieved August 28, 2011.
  11. ^ Savage, Phil (June 17, 2014). "SOE and ProSiebenSat.1 part ways; European PS2, DCUO and EQ2 accounts must soon be transferred". PCgamer.com. Retrieved June 10, 2015.
  12. ^ "Daybreak Game Company: Game Server Status". Daybreak Game Company (Official site).
  13. ^ Juba, Joe (April 29, 2016). "DC Universe Online Is Available Now On Xbox One". Game Informer. Retrieved April 29, 2016.
  14. ^ "DC Universe Online - Server Consolidation: US and EU Xbox One". DC Universe Online. November 14, 2016. Retrieved November 6, 2017.
  15. ^ "DC Universe Online - DCUO is Coming to Xbox + More News and Reveals!". DC Universe Online. January 11, 2016. Retrieved February 5, 2016.
  16. ^ "DC Universe Online - New Episode Inspired By DC's Legends of Tomorrow! Plus, CROSS PLAY!". DC Universe Online. February 5, 2016. Retrieved February 5, 2016.
  17. ^ "DC Universe Online - CHANGES COMING TO DC UNIVERSE ONLINE FOR PLAYSTATION 3". DC Universe Online. October 30, 2017. Retrieved November 6, 2017.
  18. ^ "DC Universe Online is coming to Nintendo Switch". Polygon. May 23, 2019. Retrieved May 24, 2019.
  19. ^ George, Richard (January 15, 2010). "DC Universe Online Becomes Legendary". IGN. Retrieved January 18, 2010.
  20. ^ "DC First Look – DCUO: LEGENDS #1 (DCU Online) Page 1". Newsarama. November 15, 2010. Retrieved August 28, 2011.
  21. ^ "Wolfman, Bedard, Benes Launch "DCUO Legends"". Comic Book Resources. November 15, 2010. Retrieved August 28, 2011.
  22. ^ "DC Universe Online for PC Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved April 8, 2019.
  23. ^ "DC Universe Online for PlayStation 3 Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved April 8, 2019.
  24. ^ "DC Universe Online for PlayStation 4 Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved April 8, 2019.
  25. ^ Alan, Scott (October 3, 2010). "DC Universe Online – Overview". allgame. Retrieved August 28, 2011.
  26. ^ Bedford, John (January 21, 2011). "DC Universe Online Review – MMO – Page 1". Eurogamer.net. Retrieved August 28, 2011.
  27. ^ "DC Universe Online Review, DC Universe Online PC Review". GameSpot.com. January 11, 2011. Retrieved August 28, 2011.
  28. ^ "DC Universe Online review, DC Universe Online PC Reviews". GamesRadar. January 27, 2011. Retrieved August 28, 2011.
  29. ^ Osborn, Chuck (December 2, 2013). "DC Universe Online Review – IGN". IGN.com. Retrieved September 6, 2015.
  30. ^ "DC Universe Online PC Review". Pcgamer.com. January 26, 2011. Retrieved August 28, 2011.
  31. ^ O'Holloran, Dan (January 25, 2011). "DC Universe Online Review for PS3". G4tv. Retrieved August 28, 2011.
  32. ^ Kolan, Nick (January 28, 2011). "DC Universe Online Review - IGN". IGN.com. Retrieved November 4, 2015.
  33. ^ Osborn, Chuck (December 2, 2013). "DC Universe Online Review - IGN". IGN.com. Retrieved November 4, 2015.
  34. ^ Bailey, Kat (August 15, 2014). "The Surprising Success of DC Universe Online on Consoles". USgamer. Gamer Network. Retrieved August 15, 2014.

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