DC Universe Online
|DC Universe Online|
|Developer(s)||Daybreak Game Company|
|Publisher(s)||Sony Computer Entertainment
|Engine||Unreal Engine 3, Havok (physics engine)|
|Release date(s)||Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3
January 11, 2011
November 15, 2013
|Genre(s)||Massively multiplayer online role-playing|
DC Universe Online (DCUO) is a free-to-play massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) based upon the fictional universe of DC Comics. Developed by Daybreak Game Company's Austin studio and co-published by Sony Computer Entertainment and WB Games, the game was released January 11, 2011.
Jim Lee, the Co-Publisher of DC Comics, serves as Executive Creative Director, along with Ale Garza, Carlos D'Anda, JJ Kirby, Oliver Nome, Eddie Nuñez, Livio Ramondelli, and Michael Lopez. Geoff Johns, Chief Creative Officer of DC Comics, is the principal writer. Jens Andersen is the Senior Creative Director and Ted Stone is the Community Manager.
DC Universe Online is a free-to-play MMORPG set in the DC Universe. Daybreak Game Company's stated goal is to make a different kind of MMORPG, with The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction cited as one of the main inspirations for gameplay. DGC is working to make DC Universe Online more interactive than standard MMORPGs, while trying to keep their key elements, which include a leveling system, raid instances, endgame progression and inventories. The world is mainly shared, public space instead of heroes or villains owning territory. The public space features dynamically-generated content designed for both hero and villain player characters (uniquely created by the player, who can create their own custom character to fight alongside and against iconic DC characters).
From level 1 through 30 you are introduced to the DC Universe and its diverse set of characters, assisting your Iconic Mentor and other characters along the way until you finally obtain a place in the Justice League or Secret Society pending on faction. At level 30 you will have 15 Power Points meant to be spent on your Power trees, with several Iconic Powers also being available regardless of Power Set you have chosen for your character. You also receive 15 Skill Points meant to be spent on Weapon trees and Movement Mode trees, and can gain more by completing Feats in game that allow you to delve deeper into the available combos that you can perform and eventually unlock Weapon Mastery. Certain feats can also unlock Titles that players can use to further personalize their hero that can be placed above or under their character's names. Once you reach level 30, obtaining gear with higher item level is required in order to increase your Combat Rating (CR), the average of your equipped items. As your CR increases, so does the amount of content that is available to you, unlocking Tiers which you go up starting from Tier 1 at level 30, Tier 2 at CR 43+, Tier 3 at CR 53+, Tier 4 at 70+, Tier 5 at 84+, Tier 6 at 100+, Tier 7 at 111+. CR increases with the launch of each new Episode, along with new content to run, gear with higher item levels, and Tiers being introduced after a set amount of content has been released for the current Tier.
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), and form of special movement (flight, acrobatics, speed or skimming). Numerous hair, skin, and costume types are available, and up to 3 colors can be applied to the color scheme palette. Pre-built templates, inspired by some key DC heroes and villains, are available to expedite the character creation process.
All player-characters receive their superpowers from Brainiac's exobytes, and choose a mentor based on the source of their powers. Characters with meta-human powers receive missions from either Superman or Lex Luthor, and will start the game in Metropolis; Characters with technology-based powers receive missions from Batman or Joker, and will start the game in Gotham City; and Characters with magic-based powers receive missions from either Wonder Woman or Circe, and also start the game in Metropolis.
There are four roles in the game, determined by the type of super powers chosen:
- Damage - All players have this role available from the start of the game as a damage-dealer. (Also known as DPS)
- Tank - Unlocks at level 10. Players in this role defend teammates from taking damage.
- Healer - Unlocks at level 10. Players in this role heal the health bars of their teammates in battle.
- Controller - Unlocks at level 10. Players in this role recharge teammates power bars, as well as stun and trap enemies with crowd-controlling effects.
The player chooses one set of superpowers for their character. Each power set has a Damage role and one of the specialty roles as mentioned above.
- Fire - Tank and DPS.
- Ice - Tank and DPS.
- Gadgets - Controller and DPS.
- Mental - Controller and DPS.
- Nature - Healer and DPS.
- Sorcery - Healer and DPS.
- Light - Controller and DPS (previously available with Episode 1: Fight for the Light).
- Electricity - Healer and DPS (previously available with Episode 2: Lightning Strikes).
- Earth - Tank and DPS (previously available with Episode 3: Battle for Earth).
- Quantum - Controller and DPS (previously available with Episode 7: Origin Crisis).
- Celestial - Healer and DPS (previously available with Episode 8: Sons of Trigon).
- Rage - Tank and DPS (previously available with Episode 9: War of Light Part I).
- Munitions - Controller and DPS. Arm your character to the teeth with militarized weapons. Inspired by Sgt. Rock.
Power Sets announced for future releases:
- Atomic - Tank and DPS. Blast your enemies with nuclear-powered energy. Inspired by Firestorm.
- Water - Healer and DPS. Wash away the competition with control over water.
- Serums - Tank and DPS. Inject your character with exotic chemicals. Inspired by Bane.
The player also then chooses one weapon for their character to use. Each weapon is specialized in either melee or ranged, while all weapons are capable of using both kinds of attacks. At level 10 the player is able to place Skill Points in any Weapon tree, capable of using and innate stat gains granted are active even when not using the selected weapon. There are multiple styles of weapons as there are gear styles in game, and you are capable of customizing the styles of both gear and all weapons you obtain that are available as you progress. Weapon Mastery allows you to utilize weapon combos of other trees to perform higher damage overall to opponents, and each weapon can cross-weapon combo into two set weapons, and require only the base weapon to use the combo in combat and the required 20 Skill Points spent in the proper Weapon trees in each tree to unlock cross-weapon combos.
- Hand Blaster - A fast, melee/ranged style that directs power through hands. Weapon Mastery combo into Brawling and Bow attacks.
- One Handed - A fast melee weapon using a combat weapon held in one hand. Weapon Mastery combo into Dual Wield and Hand Blaster attacks.
- Staff - A fast, dexterous style utilizing a long melee weapon. Weapon Mastery combo into One Handed and Rifle attacks.
- Dual Wield - A fast, dexterous style using paired melee weapons. Weapon Mastery combo into Brawling and Bow attacks.
- Two Handed - A slow, powerful style using a massive melee weapon. Weapon Mastery combo into Martial Arts and Bow attacks.
- Martial Arts - A fluid, medium-speed melee style focused on feet and hand strikes. Weapon Mastery combo into Dual Pistol and Hand Blaster attacks.
- Dual Pistol - A very fast ranged style utilizing a pair of projectile weapons. Weapon Mastery combo into Dual Wield and Hand Blaster attacks.
- Bow - A slower, precise long-range style using a bow weapon. Weapon Mastery combo into Martial Arts and Dual Pistol attacks.
- Brawling - A slow, brutal style using fists to inflict maximum damage. Weapon Mastery combo into Two Handed and Martial Arts attacks.
- Rifle - A medium-speed ranged style using a long-barreled rifle. Weapon Mastery combo into One Handed and Dual Pistol attacks.
- Shield - A powerful melee style using a shield held in the left hand. Weapon Mastery combo into Two Handed and Dual Pistol attacks. (Requires All Access or Weapon: Shield/Gear Up Bundle from Marketplace)
Each character is given a communicator appropriate to their faction, via which they receive urgent communications from their mentor and their colleagues and subordinates; heroes will frequently receive status updates from Oracle, while villains will receive data from Calculator. In addition to assignments from their mentor, player characters may also receive requests for help from other mentors of the same faction. Player characters may also accept missions from non-player characters (NPCs) in the street, usually minor characters from their faction. There are also opportunities for quick street encounters appropriate to the character's faction: for example, a hero character may encounter a thug robbing an armored truck, trying to break into an office building, or in the process of mugging a citizen; while a villain character may be presented with opportunities to assist NPC thugs with an armored truck robbery, or assault a citizen using an ATM. All NPC interactions are fully animated and voice-acted. Player characters will earn threat ratings that will cause NPC heroes and villains to interact accordingly with the character.
The shared world space offers primarily solo and group player versus environment (PvE) gaming opportunities in the form of open world missions and instances, that reward Marks of Victory when in the Mark Relevancy, and player versus player (PvP) is also possible through sending Duel or Scrimmage invites to other players, or fighting the opposite faction in the PvP Phase. PvP queued instances include: "Legends: PvP", in which players take on the identities of iconic characters; "Arena: PvP", in which players fight as their own characters. PvE queued instances include: Solo "Challenges", 1-player missions; "Duos", 2-player cooperative group missions; "Alerts", 4-player cooperative group missions; "Raids", 8-player cooperative missions; and "Operations" which can consist of either 4- or 8-player missions and take place in a mix of instance-based maps and the open game world. "Elite Alerts", 4-player cooperative group missions and "Elite Raids", 8-player cooperative missions that are significantly more difficult, with greater rewards than their normal instance, which also require to be completed first in order to unlock a two-week progress point duration, at which point both Elite Alerts and Elite Raids are playable until progress points reset every other Thursday. Success in PvE missions is rewarded with in-game currency, costume pieces, equipment gear, base items, and consumables and Marks of Victory when within the Mark Relevancy to obtain higher PvE vendor equipment gear and style sets, while PvP: Arena is rewarded with Marks of Valor to obtain higher PvP vendor equipment gear and style sets, and Legends: PvP gives bonus Marks of Legends to obtain additional Exobyte Data Legends iconic characters.
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, and Giganta. 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", we find 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." As Lex Luthor is about to step 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 seen that Future Batman survived the explosion at the Fortress of Solitude and has been chasing Future Lex Luthor through time. Future Lex 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 game's hardest raid, the player 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 completely ends the storyline the game was based upon, yet also opens up the possibility to enter many new realities.
Episodes provide new stories or continuations of already existing ones to continue missions.
While the game has shown a DC Universe largely similar to the pre-New 52 DCU, notable differences exist, such as the absence of Damian Wayne and Stephanie Brown. Dick Grayson as Nightwing and Tim Drake still operating as Robin, Cassandra Cain still operating as Batgirl, Bane's continued use of the Venom steroid, Black Adam's return to super-villain status despite recent comics changing him into an anti-hero, and Ralph Dibny still active.
This video game also featured the appearance of various fictional companies such as Ferris Aircraft, Wayne Enterprises, LexCorp, Stagg Industries, S.T.A.R. Labs, and Blaze Comics. There were also various brands in this video game such as Big Belly Burger and Soder Cola.
It seems as though Final Crisis has not occurred, as Batman has not apparently endured trauma at the hands of Darkseid, the Martian Manhunter is alive, but Barry Allen appears to be serving as the Flash. Jonathan Kent is also alive and well, unlike his mainline DC Universe counterpart. Several story-arcs used for alert and raid instances are based upon content that occurred in-continuity that pre-dates Final Crisis and occurred, in some cases, as events in 52 and Countdown to Final Crisis. Examples include the Oolong Island instance and multiple story-arcs centered around Black Adam as well as Darkseid being currently absent from content. Also, certain key events from the mainline DC Universe are still referred to as history in the world presented in the game, including the Crisis on Infinite Earths, The Death of Superman, and Knightfall.
Additionally, the events of Flashpoint and The New 52 reboot which ensued have not been reflected. Heroes, villains and all in game canon continues to be based on the pre-Flashpoint DC Universe. However, Captain Marvel is now referred to as Shazam in content since mid-2012 as per request by DC Comics to name after his New 52 comic book line. Also, for the Batman 75 year anniversary, a New 52 Batman Legends Character was featured. Many New 52 inspired styles available exclusively through Promethium Lockbox, and the Sons of Trigon Episode Tier 5 Prideful gear based on New 52 Raven.
DC Universe Online features three types of game membership for players:
- All Access - The paid subscription membership in DCUO (previously "Legendary"). Daybreak Game Company allows players to purchase a subscription monthly for $14.99 USD/£8.99 GBP, 3-month for $38.97/£25.17, 6-month for $71.94/£46.14, and a year for $119.88/£77.88. Lifetime memberships with no expiration were only made available at game launch. All Access players can create up to 16 characters, unlimited in-game cash, unlimited Promethium Lockbox opens, automatically granted access to all Episode content and powers, trade in-game cash with other All Access members, trade items with other Premium or All Access members, form a League, obtain 150 Replay Badges monthly, 500 Daybreak Cash/Loyalty Points, 10% off Marketplace purchases and exclusive promotions and offers.
- Free-to-Play (F2P) - Since November 2, 2011, F2P players can join the game at no cost and can create up to 2 characters. F2P players have a very limited inventory, limited to $1,500 in-game cash (excess deposited in escrow), can join a League and have no Episode content available.
- Premium - If a F2P player makes at least a one time $5 purchase with Daybreak Cash, or if a player allows their All Access membership subscription to lapse, they become Premium players. Premium membership allows up to 6 character slots and has similar inventory to F2P and limited to $2,000 in-game cash (excess deposited in escrow, but can purchase Unlimited Escrow Access or Escrow Withdrawals), can join a League, and trade items with other Premium or All Access players.
DC Universe Online features an in-game Marketplace where certain forms of content can be purchased separately in the form of microtransactions. The currency used for these transactions, Daybreak Cash for PC and Loyalty Points for PS3/PS4 can be linked to a DGC account, credit card number, Steam account, or PayPal account.
Promethium Lockbox - Special item that drops from random enemies that requires purchase of a Promethium Key to open each item, or have unlimited unlocks while All Access. They all reward 1 Mark of Victory along with a choice of: 1 of 2 Style Items (which may consist of exclusive styles, PvE or PvP vendor styles, or auras), 1 Marketplace Consumable Item, 1 Base Item, or a Compound Omega consumable buff item.
The following heroes, villains, and other characters appear in this game:
The game's voice cast is very extensive, and is inclusive of many known characters in the DC Universe. Daybreak Games Company released a complete voice cast list on January 19, 2011. Some cast members, such as Kevin Conroy and Mark Hamill, were announced early. The high-profile heroes and villains include:
- Adam Baldwin – Superman/Clark Kent (Previously voiced in Superman: Doomsday)
- Corey Burton – Brainiac (Previously voiced in Superman: The Animated Series, Justice League and Legion Of Super Heroes)
- Kevin Conroy – Batman/Bruce Wayne (Previously voiced in Batman: The Animated Series, Justice League Unlimited, Batman Arkham games and numerous other productions)
- Susan Eisenberg – Wonder Woman (Previously voiced in Justice League, Justice League Unlimited, Superman/Batman: Apocalypse, Justice League: Doom and Injustice: Gods Among Us) (Originally voiced by Gina Torres until Episode 8 Sons of Trigon)
- Michelle Forbes – Circe
- Mark Hamill – The Joker (Previously voiced in Batman: The Animated Series and numerous other productions)
- James Marsters – Lex Luthor (Previously voiced in Superman: Doomsday)
- Dwight Schultz – Flash/Barry Allen and Martian Manhunter
- Arleen Sorkin – Harley Quinn (Previously voiced in Batman: The Animated Series and numerous other productions)
- Wil Wheaton – Robin/Tim Drake
- Jens Hartvig Andersen – Aquaman, Gorilla Grodd, T.O. Morrow
- Alexander Brandon – Black Adam, Black Lightning, Cyborg, Major Force, General Zod
- Beth Broderick - Hippolyta
- Tracy W. Bush – Calculator, Booster Gold, Deathstroke, and Ambush Bug
- Charles C. Campbell – Kilowog, Ace Factory Thugs, Brainiac's Robots, Civilians, Joker's Goons, Spectre's Possessed, Zombies
- Bruce Carey – Bruno Mannheim
- Claire Hamilton – Huntress/Helena Bertinelli, Jinx, Zatanna, Police
- Samantha Inoue Harte – Isis, Zombies
- David Jennison – Penguin, Green Arrow, Jeremiah Arkham, Solomon Grundy, Heat Wave, Manhunters
- Brian Jepson – Felix Faust, Ultra-Humanite, Sentinels of Magic Member
- Robert Kraft – Mr. Freeze, Spectre
- Lana Lesley – Hawkgirl, Giganta, Arena Announcer, Green Lantern Corps Member, Sentinels of Magic Member
- Jason Liebrecht – Bane, Eclipso, Hawkman
- Robert Matney – Doctor Psycho, Green Lantern Corps Member, H.I.V.E. Drones, League of Assassins Member
- Edwin Neal – Two-Face, Killer Croc, Harvey Bullock
- Robert Newell – Doctor Fate, LexCorp Troops
- Shawn Sides – Fire, Arena Announcer, Green Lantern Corps Member, Police
- Mike Smith – Pete Ross, Atrocitus, Ace Factory Thugs, Atlanteans, Bane Thugs, Black Adam Priest, Circe's Bestiamorphs, Civilians, Mr. Freeze's Goons, Green Lantern Corps Member, Gorilla Grodd's Gorillas, Guards, Joker's Goons, League of Assassins Member, LexCorp Troops, Mutants, Poison Ivy's Minions, Police, Prisoners, Robots, Scarecrow's Goons, Sinestro Corps Members, Zombies
- Brian Talbot – Vandal Savage, Kyle Abbot
- Ken Webster – Commissioner James Gordon, Wildcat, Sinestro Corps Member
- Ryan Wickerham – Captain Cold, Metallo, Flash/Jay Garrick
- Cyndi Williams – Poison Ivy, Queen Bee, Advertisement Voices, Civilians
- Katherine Catmull – Oracle 
- Adriene Mishler – Cheetah, Lois Lane, Power Girl, Raven, Starfire, Supergirl, Ursa
- Ken Thomas – Green Lantern
- Scottie Ray – Sinestro
A Beta was released on December 14, 2010 and was closed on 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 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. 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 ProSeibenSat.1, however they were still capable of using the US Servers. DC Universe Online was announced for the PlayStation 4 on June 5, 2013 alongside with PlanetSide 2. On November 15, 2013, DC Universe Online was released on PS4. As of mid-2014, after SOE had announced their All Access Membership changes, the SOE and ProSeibenSat.1 parted ways, returning the accounts to SOE. All 4 Servers, USPC, EUPC, USPS and EUPS are still hosted by Daybreak Game Company for all regions.
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. The Seasonal Events in cycle are:
- St. Patrick's Day - Event where Mister Mxyzptlk plagues Metropolis with his shenanigans.
- Springtime - Event where Swamp Thing requires to be taken down while either facing or under the control of Poison Ivy (comics).
- The Witching Hour - Halloween Event where Klarion the Witch Boy attempts to find revenge.
- Season's Greedings - Winter Event where Larfleeze attempts to take Christmas all for himself.
There are two new Events that tend to cycle throughout the year:
- Survival Mode - Top Tier players can play for exclusive styles, base items and bragging rights to see how many Rounds they can make through. Currently there are twenty Rounds per Survival Mode which feature three waves of enemies before having to face usually two bosses to complete a Round and have a limited amount of times to revive group members.
- Legends PvE - Players can obtain feats by completing instances as Iconic Legends Characters unlocked in game that your character can use to become a Simulation of the Iconic character, feats by playing with a certain set of Legends yourself or by having a group composed of the required Legends Characters. This Event changes on a monthly basis, with prior Events reappearing on weekends.
DC Universe Online offers downloadable content or Episodes (previously known as "DLC" packs) which expand the game universe with newer, more difficult missions; new costume styles and equipment. Power Sets are also available as new sets of super-powers for players to incorporate into character designs. Movement Mode Variants also give a new appearance to already existing movements in game that better allow players to envision their characters as they want. All Access members are automatically granted access to all Episodes, Power Sets, Movement Mode Variants and Gear Up Bundle, (Shield Weapon, Utility Belt and Lair System) while Premium and Free-to-Play members must purchase each piece of content individually.
- Episode 1: Fight for the Light launched September 6, 2011. Hero characters join the Green Lantern Corps and villain characters join the Sinestro Corps. New missions included one Duo and three Alerts. It was introduced with a new Controller power Light, which can be used for assault or support.
- Episode 2: Lightning Strikes launched December 6, 2011. Explore the new open world environment: Central City, which features the famous Flash Museum, along with Daily missions and bounties and also featured one Duo mission. It was introduced with a new Healer power Electricity, which uses voltage and amperage.
- Episode 3: The Battle for Earth launched March 13, 2012.. New missions included three Duos, one Alert, and two Raids. Travel for the first time to the Paradise Island of Themyscira, and aid the Amazons against the Brainiac attack, while "The Prime Battleground" raid brings the Brainiac story arc, which began at game launch, to a conclusion. It was introduced with a new Tank power Earth, which uses geokinesis and seismic powers. Tier 4 gear for characters was also introduced.
- Episode 4: The Last Laugh launched June 19, 2012. This Episode focused more heavily on PvP rather than PvE. One new PvE duo per faction and PvP maps allow players to enter the Safehouse of the opposing faction and several other locations. It was introduced with the Shield weapon.
- Episode 5: Hand of Fate launched August 14, 2012. This Episode introduced a new type of PvE mission - "Operations" - which can be played in either 4- or 8-player groups and are a mix of instance-based maps and the open game maps of Gotham and Metropolis. New missions included 4-player Operation per faction and two 8-player Operations per faction. It was introduced with the Utility Belt attachments, which allows a character to equip up to 4 more consumables or trinket items.
- Episode 6: Home Turf launched January 29, 2013. There are plenty of open world Daily missions, two Solo instances per faction and two bounties per faction for heroes in Stryker's Island and Ace Chemicals, and villains in Steelworks and Arkham Asylum. It was introduced with the Player Base/Lair System, which come in a variety of styles and can be decorated using items that are found as loot in missions. Player Bases are available maps for PvP Arena matches. All players are granted 1 Base Theme: Dive by default, while the Lair Upgrade provides you with the Base Themes: Deco and Gothic, as additional Base Themes, (Ancient, Bunker, Cave, Eastern, Industrial, Penthouse, Sewer, Tech) and Deeds to obtain an extra base (up to 4 bases per character) can be purchased from the Marketplace.
- Episode 7: Origin Crisis launched May 14, 2013. Started the next major story arc of the game, continuing from the conclusion of the "Prime Battleground" raid in Episode 3. Tier 5 gear was introduced. Two Iconic Solo Challenges has the player take on a simulation as the identity of an iconic DC hero, Huntress or villain, Bizarro to re-enact a defining moment in their origin. Two 4-player Operations which take hero players to Alternate Metropolis and Gotham where they must correct origins of iconic DC heroes, or villain players to change the past and alter the future which causes the alternate cities to occur. Finally help the Council of Batmen combat the Council of Luthors as a hero or vice-versa as a villain in two Raids. It was introduced with a new Controller power Quantum, which manipulates time and space.
- Episode 8: Sons of Trigon launched August 29, 2013. Introduced a new type of map - a limited subsection of the Gotham City open world where the environment has become a hellish wasteland, a pocket dimension known as "Gotham Wastelands" mini-open world. Introduces the titular characters, the Sons of Trigon who are attempting to resurrect their father, Trigon and corrupt their sister Raven and feature the Teen Titans and the Fearsome Five facing off. Several Daily missions are available, one bounty per faction, three new Duos and one Alert were added. It was introduced with a new Healer power, Celestial, with blessed and cursed powers which can be corrupted or cleansed respectively.
Announced at the 2013 SOE Live Convention by Jens Andersen, the following Episodes forward use a "trilogy" format to follow a certain connecting theme.
- Episode 9: War of Light Part I launched January 22, 2014. It is the first chapter in a trilogy focused on the seven Lantern Corps and the Blackest Night. The "Metropolis Battlezone" mini-open world was added, hosting 16 Mist-Empowered Iconic characters. There are three sets of gear styles in this Episode: Green Lantern inspired Scion of Ion, Sinestro inspired (yellow) Disciple of Parallax, and Red Lantern inspired Vestments of Rage. This Episode features two Weekly missions, several bounties per faction, two 4-player Operations and 1 8-player Operation. It was introduced with a new Tank power, Rage, which uses the Red Lantern ring as you focus your anger into constructs and dole out punishment to your opponents.
- Episode 10: Amazon Fury Part I launched April 30, 2014. It is the first chapter in a trilogy focused on Wonder Woman and the Amazons. The "Gotham Under Siege" was added as a mini-open world to explore and aid one faction of Amazons against the other in Daily missions which culminate into one of several bounties per faction. There is a conflict brewing between Wonder Woman and her mother Hippolyta, while Circe joins in on the mayhem. Witness two Iconic Solo Challenges to obtain some background information of what caused this Amazonian war to break out in Gotham through the eyes of Wonder Woman and Circe, along with two Duos and one Alert to further explore the discord in Themyscira. Tier 6 gear was introduced.
- Episode 11: Halls of Power Part I launched August 6, 2014. It is the first chapter in a trilogy focused on the New Gods from Jack Kirby's Fourth World. Features one Alert, one 4-player Operation, one 8-player Operation, and one Raid. Introduces Mister Miracle, Big Barda, Kalibak and Mantis. Explore New Genesis, Apokolips, and League Halls which expand upon the concept of Player Bases to act as a shared base for an entire League.
- Episode 12: War of Light Part II launched November 11, 2014. It is the second chapter in a trilogy focused on the seven Lantern Corps and the Blackest Night, introducing the Star Sapphires to the game for the first time. The "Metropolis Battlezone" mini-open world has been expanded with more content. There are four sets of gear styles in this Episode: Blue Lantern inspired Shepherd of Adara for heroes; Orange Lantern inspired Avatar of Ophidian for villains; and the first gender exclusive gear sets, Manhunter inspired Sector 3601 for males and Star Sapphire inspired Heart of the Predator for females of both factions. This Episode also features one Solo Challenge, one Duo, one Alert, one 4-player Operation per faction and one 8-player Operation, and is the first time players can visit Zamaron.
- Episode 13: Amazon Fury Part II launched February 3, 2015. It is the second chapter in a trilogy focused on Wonder Woman and the Amazons, this time introducing the Olympian Gods Hades and Ares while fending against mythological creatures. The "Gotham Under Siege" mini-open world has been expanded with more content. One Daily mission, two 4-player Operations, one 8-player Operation, two Raids and one Elite Raid are included.
- Episode 14: Halls of Power Part II launched May 12, 2015. It is the second chapter in a trilogy focused on the New Gods from Jack Kirby's Fourth World this time introducing some of the Female Furies. The "New Genesis" mini-open world was added hosting a Daily mission and two bounties per faction. Features two Duos, one 4-player Operation, one 8-player Operation, one Raid and one Elite Raid. Tier 7 was introduced.
Upon the completion of the second entries of all three Episode trilogies, Jens Andersen had announced DCUO would soon be planning to have monthly Episode releases instead of the quarterly releases thus far in order to deliver endgame content at a more consistent rate so that from any point onward, a player would have 12 pieces of content relevant to them at any given time, as the Tier cycles will increase every 6 months.
- Episode 15: The Bombshells Paradox & Corrupted Zamaron launched August 5, 2015 as the first monthly and dual themed Episode, and introduced DC Bombshells Legends Characters, Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Catwoman and Harley Quinn in this Episode. One Black Lantern, Indigo Tribe and Star Sapphire inspired Duo set on Zamaron, and one Bombshells inspired 8-player Operation set in a gulag are included.
- Episode 16: Desecrated Cathedral & Oa Under Siege launched September 2, 2015. One Brother Blood, Raven and the Sons of Trigon inspired 4-player Operation, introduces the first Elite Alert, and One Black Lantern, Indigo Tribe and Green Lantern inspired Daily Mission that involves traversing the "Metropolis Battlezone" to aid Hal Jordan, and seeking Munk for assistance. This Episode introduces Elite Affinity gear which are mods required for a player's base generator that provides additional stats when 2, 4, 6 or 8 pieces of Elite gear is equipped.
Episodes announced for future releases:
- Episode 17 is confirmed launching October 2015. According to the aforementioned statement upon monthly Episode, it tentatively is set to include one Duo, one Raid and one Elite Raid.
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. Nick Kolan of IGN said, "I wish I loved DC Universe Online, but instead I just like it. It's got a lot going for it – a great license, some superb voice actors, a lot of well-crafted settings, fast action-based combat, and an entire market of people who, so far, have barely been exposed to the MMO genre." GameSpot's Kevin VanOrd wrote, "PC players will be immediately struck by the console-focused interface and the overzealous profanity filter, which inexplicably couldn't be turned off (this was later added in through updates). However, loading times on the PC are zippy, and the game runs smoothly as you soar across the skies. The PlayStation 3 version is noticeably more sluggish. Menus take too long to pop up; the frame rate chugs along every so often, or the game might freeze for a second or two; and the telltale texture pop-in common to games using Unreal 3 technology is all too prevalent."
As of August 2014, the game has 18 million registered users, and it's the number one revenue generating free-to-play title on the PlayStation 3 and 4.
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