DC Universe Online Moving to Free-to-Play Model

Sony Online Entertainment has announced that DC Universe Online will be switching to a free-to-play model featuring three tiers. Between the attractiveness of being “freemium” and the popularity of DC Comics’ “The New 52“, the game stands to catch another wave of success. Here are some more details from executive director of development Lorin Jameson via PlayStation Blog:

  • Free Access – Just like it sounds. Download and play the game for free. You also get all ongoing game updates (except DLC packs).
  • Premium Access – This next level of access opens up to you if you spend at least $5 in the in-game store. Premium Access grants you additional benefits that improve your experience in the game, such as more inventory slots, more character slots, bank slots and more free Vault tickets. So all you have to do is pick up some cool items in the store or buy a DLC pack and you unlock Premium Access. The best part? Once you unlock Premium Access you keep it for the life of your account.
  • Legendary Access – With Legendary Access you can unlock the maximum level of features and benefits. To unlock Legendary Access you can pay for a $14.99 per month game pass, or save big with a discounted multi-month pass. Lifetime members are automatically granted Legendary access. Legendary Access also includes all DLC packs at no extra charge.

I haven’t touched DCUO in months, but I’d be interested in giving it another go if any of you are down. So how about it? Any of you guys and dolls thinking of playing DCUO when it becomes free-to-play?


World of Warcraft Extends Dominance With Crack Cocaine Model

“The first one’s free!” said the friendly drug dealer. That’s how they get you hooked, you see. MMO publishers use a similar model, but Blizzard is taking it to a new level with World of Warcraft Starter Edition. Traditionally, MMOs have come with a trial measured in days — usually 14 to 30. Blizzard is now letting prospective customers play World of Warcraft for free up to level 20. Here’s a clip from the press email I received:

We’ve removed the previous 10- and 14-day trial time restrictions, and players who are interested in trying out World of Warcraft can now play the base game for free up to a maximum character level of 20, including draenei and blood elf characters — all they need is a Battle.net account and an Internet connection. To mark the occasion, we’ve also given the trial a new name: World of Warcraft Starter Edition. Players who had previously signed up for 10- or 14-day trials will be able to hop back into the Starter Edition right where they left off.

Already one of the most popular and successful MMOs in the business, World of Warcraft should attract legions of new players with this new model. It’s bold. It’s aggressive. It probably has other MMO publishers crying and/or banging their heads on brick walls.

What do you think of the new WoW model? Are you willing to give it a shot now that the free-to-play time is more generous?

DCUO Free DLC Adds Two-Face, Mxyzptlk, and More

Sony Online Entertainment has released some free DC Universe Online DLC that includes Batman villain Two-Face and Superman baddie Mr. Mxyzptlk. Here’s the laundry list of details from SOE senior producer Wes Yanagi…

Sony Online Entertainment has released some free DC Universe Online DLC that includes Batman villain Two-Face and Superman baddie Mr. Mxyzptlk. Here’s the laundry list of details from SOE senior producer Wes Yanagi:


  • Two-Face Instance: Following Harvey Dent/Two-Face on a mission into The Penguin’s hideout, players will aim to take out his latest smuggling operation. The kicker? You don’t know if he will help or hinder your efforts – the chances are 50/50 and everything depends on the flip of a coin!
  • Legends PvP: Harvey Dent/Two-Face will be added as a playable character in Legends “Play as Iconic” Player vs Player mode.
  • New Attacks: Call in your own mob of goons to keep your opponent occupied as you unleash a suppressive bullet spray, oil drum trap or grenade launcher.
  • Flip-of-the-Coin Abilities: Switch powers based on which side the coin lands: the Two-Face side deals more damage and DoT attacks and the Harvey Dent side gives more control, knockdowns and stuns.

Seasonal Content

  • Mister Mxyzptlk: Experience Metropolis transformed by the presence of Mister Mxyzptlk and his fellow 5th dimensional supervillain tricksters.
  • Multi Player Race: Players can assume the guise of a 5th Dimensional Denizen and play tricks on fellow races over the skies of Metropolis.
  • New Gold Collections: New encounters with 5th Dimensional Denizens dressed as Leprechauns guarding a Pot Of Gold that players will need to find and collect coins from while the leprechauns try to stop them in various amusing ways.

Additional Updates

  • Batcave 3 Raid: Level 30 players are brought face-to-face with The Dark Knight himself. Unfortunately, he’s been infected with a virus and has teamed up with the all-powerful Brainiac’s Avatar of Technology.

I’m planning to hop back into DCUO shortly and I’m really looking forward to encountering Two-Face. He’s one of my favorite Batman villains (just ignore Tommy Lee Jones’ horrible version). Hopefully some of you will join me. The only thing that could stop us is my iPad 2. (Playing games on a new gadget is more powerful than a batarang.)


DC Universe Online is Super — Super Untradeable

Gamers hoping to buy a used copy of DC Universe Online (PS3) so that they can’t engage in super heroics (or villainy) for a bargain price are SOL. Gamers that tried DCUO and want to get rid of it will have a difficult time doing so. Lazy Gamer discovered that the game is currently worthless in the used market because the disc and account are tied together. Here’s what the site learned from Sony Online Entertainment:

Once the PSN key has been consumed with a disk it cannot be resold/replayed with the second user adding a sub — only the original consumer can use that acct.

Disk and account are one.

That…kind of sucks. That said, my copy was comped, so I wanted to see how you feel about the matter. Is this practice unfair? Or is it a smart way for publishers to counter used-game sales? Are you less interested in DCUO and supporting SOE because of this practice? I can’t wait to see your comments on this one!


DC Universe Online: Week Two

After two full weeks of DC Universe Online, I’ve decided that I’m likely to continue my subscription for another month. Most of the reasons are positive, but there are also some negative issues fueling this decision. Let’s break it down in my rolling review of DCUO.

Documentation — In my first two installments, I forgot to mention how poor DCUO’s documentation is. The manual helps you get started, but does sweet FA at explaining anything in detail. Even the in-game documentation is horrid. So many facets of the game are poorly explained or not explained at all, forcing gamers to search for answers on the Internet or do some trial-and-error learning.

My biggest annoyance was poor or inaccurate details on skills, abilities, and powers. Some of them sound cool or useful based on their text descriptions, but in practice aren’t very good. This makes character customization more difficult and expensive than in ought to be. I had to re-spec my character twice — at $500 a pop — to get his abilities to where I wanted them to be. This is mostly because powers I selected turned out to be different and/or less useful than they were described to be.

This is the negative reason for paying for another month. If the game’s instruction manual was worth a damn then I would have had a much better idea of how to manage powers and abilities from day one. Instead, it has taken me two weeks to understand how to optimally craft my hero. Starting another character with considerably different skills would take even more time to learn…but I’ll just find a “How to Build a DCUO Healer” guide on the Internet. Hell, one of my DCUO friends bought a strategy guide and said, “The strategy guide is what the manual should have been.”

No More Going Solo — I forget the exact level, but somewhere in the mid-20s going solo became a no-no. I could get through the initial stages of a quest by myself, but the boss fights were impossible. Keep in mind that my character isn’t a tank and can’t absorb the amount of damage these high-level bosses dole out. Thankfully my companions in the “Super Buddies” league — Complication and MarVol — and some random questers helped me vanquish these tough bosses.

The funny part is that while the bosses are tough when going solo, they’re a frickin’ joke with three or more characters.

Life After 30 — I hit level 30 — the game’s current cap — over the weekend and was surprised by how much content it unlocked. I knew that there were be raids and duo quests, but I was completely wrong in assuming that the game would completely change its focus to PvP activity. I was surprised and pleased by all the story-driven quests that become available when you hit the cap.

My next observation could be totally wrong, but I seem to be bumping into more DC heroes randomly fighting crime than I did prior to hitting the cap. This is cool since it makes the world seem more alive and I mark out when I bump into established DCU characters…though it is off-putting when their voice sounds nothing like the one I imagined it to be.

Una Mas — The level 30 content combined with finally understanding more about character creation makes me want to give the game another month. I’m going to keep tackling the high-level content with my first character, but I also plan to make a staff-wielding healer and adventure with one of my Sony friends on another server.

It’s interesting that so many people in DCUO focus on damage-per-second and want to play it like a pure action game. I’d bet that PC players generally do a better job crafting characters into specific roles like tanks, controllers, and healers. In my two weeks with DCUO, I haven’t encountered many healers. Hopefully my next character will be able to help others out…and hopefully some of you will start playing too! Anyone? Anyone?!?

What Should I Name My Next DCUO Character?

So I’m thinking of starting a new character in DC Universe Online. My first character is at level 25 and now that I understand the power/skill trees better, I want to give it another go. I’ll probably go with a staff-wielding healer type to mix it up a bit. I’m stuck on the name though. Any suggestions? So far I’m thinking:

  • Mauve Lantern
  • Young RPadTV
  • The Fuchsia Avenger
  • Alizarin Crimson

Yeah, I’ve always sucked at coming up with names. Ha!

DC Universe Online: Week One

I now have a full week of DC Universe Online under my belt and my character is at level 18. I’m still enjoying the game, but most of the same doubts remain from my first weekend in DCUO. A few other aspects of the game have been bugging me as well. Let’s go through the list in my rolling (not a) review of DCUO.

Voice Acting — DCUO’s voice acting is irritatingly inconsistent. There are some marvelous performance from Kevin Conroy (Batman), Mark Hamill (The Joker), and Arleen Sorkin (Harley Quinn) — voice actors with fantastic track records. Then there are disappointing performances from Dwight Schultz (The Flash) and Tracy Bush (Booster Gold). Frankly…they suck. The Flash sounds like a nob and Booster sounds like an even bigger nob.

Sure, I understand that Booster Gold hasn’t always been the best hero in the DC Universe. He’s attempted (and failed at) numerous get-rich-quick schemes and sold out his image for things like toothpaste commercials. Still, he has saved lives and the world on numerous occasions. His voice work in DCUO just makes him sound like a complete tool. I really, truly hate it.

Rescue Me! — The game’s scripted missions have been the same after 18 levels. It’s a lot of find X, beat up Y, and defeat boss Z. I’m still enjoying it, but there’s a recurring theme in these missions that’s really starting to bug me — a hero always needs rescuing. I’ve had to bail out Raven, Batwoman, Robin, Nightwing, Supergirl, Wonder Girl, and several other heroes that I can’t remember. In the comics they’re extremely capable beings. In DCUO, they can’t walk for more than 50 feet without getting kidnapped.

As a comic book fan, it’s off-putting. I’m supposed to be a new hero that’s still learning the ropes. The people I’ve saved are established characters that have pulled of marvelous feats time and time again. A scrub like me is supposed to be bailing them out?!? This would have made sense later in the game (maybe level 20?). Perhaps the writers could have used several of DC’s damsels in distress for the early portions. For example, it would have made more sense to me if The Flash needed my help saving his wife Linda Park while he was being assaulted by Gorilla Grodd.

Diversity — I spent some time doing “Wanted” missions, tackling really powerful villains that are impossible to take down alone. Teaming up with others to down Solomon Grundy and Bizarro was a real kick. The first time I did it was a complete accident. I was randomly running around Metropolis (at super speed) and saw four heroes beating on Bizarro. Naturally, I stopped to help. He was almost defeated by the time I got there, so I got a ton of experience for a minute of fighting. In my experience, you can always count on randomly passing heroes to stop and chip in.

The group missions I’ve tackled were fun too. Teaming up as a group of four, our party received various orders from Martian Manhunter. It was basically defeat X and gather item Y over and over again, but it was fun completing the task with strangers at various levels.

This week I plan on doing more PvP missions. Hopefully my character is ready for the challenge.

Still Fun? — Yeah, I’m still enjoying the game, especially when I get to team up with my friends. I’m still marking out when different heroes and villains make appearances in my adventures. I love earning and finding new gear that makes my hero even more powerful. But, I’m still not sure I want to play for more than the 30-day trial. I have an aching suspicion that the repetitive mission structure will bore me and the novelty of the cameos will wear off. Let’s see how it goes after another week!

As always, if you have any questions about my experience with DCUO, please leave a comment. If you’d like to play with me — and it would be way more fun if you did — I’m “RPad TV” on the Crisis server.

A Weekend of DC Universe Online

So I finally started DC Universe Online over the weekend. It’s been an interesting experience so far. I’m glad that the game comes with a 30-day trial because I’m still not sure if it’s enjoyable enough to play it for more than that. Certainly I had fun with the game, but it has odd quirks and frustrating aspects. Here are my initial impressions — not a review! — of DCUO.

Character Creation — For my first character, I chose a hero on the Crisis server. A few of my friends are playing as villains, but I can’t bring myself to play that way. My character is a bow-wielding gadget-using super-speedster hero that’s mentored by Batman. The choices were perfect, since they allowed me to pay tribute to three of my favorite comic-book characters — Nightwing, The Flash (Wally West), and Arsenal. From a stats and characteristics perspective, creating a character in DCUO is simple and straightfoward.

I didn’t do too much in the way of customizing my hero’s physical appearance because…well, I kind of suck at it. I was able to quickly put together a character that looked acceptable through the game’s various templates. I was envious of dozens of the characters I saw online. With the customization tools, players made accurate versions of Marvel characters (saw an awesome Thor), videogame characters (loved the Ezio Auditore I encountered), and more. If you’re into creating facsimiles of your favorite characters from other worlds, DCUO appears to have powerful tools that let you do so.

Going Solo — For my first few quests, I went on solo mission. Everything I’ve encountered so far (I’m at level nine) is simple. I was repeatedly tasked with going to location X, beating up a certain amount of minion Y, and gathering a certain amount of object Z. After several minutes of hunting and gathering, I fought a boss. The gameplay template is super simple so far and would probably be a tad dull if it weren’t for all the awesome cameos. Encountering different DC Universe heroes and villains totally makes the quests. I love conversing with and taking orders from Batman, Zatanna, Martian Manhunter, etc.

What I don’t know is if it will remain interesting after several more hours. Will the mission structures get more complex? Will the cameos lose their charm? That remains to be seen. I should have a better idea after playing more of the game this week.

Forming Alliances — Playing the game with a friend is much easier and way more fun. Unfortunately, it’s also rather aimless and unorganized — at least in my experience. I tried several times with several parties to get voice chat to work. For various reasons, it just wasn’t happening. This made group questing a bit difficult. Typing on a gamepad is never fun, so my friends and I resorted to using AIM. Having to switch betwen my Dual Shock and my Google Chrome Cr-48 was a little annoying and made for a disjointed experience.

I have a call in to Sony Online Entertainment to see what the voice chat issues are. There’s a chance that my friends and I were trying to do it wrong. Still, something like this should be easy to use. The game would be much better, easier, and more fun with voice chat.

The Verdict So Far — I like the game so far, but I’m not sure it will hold my attention. I’m hoping that the quests become more complex and diverse. I’m really hoping that there’s a solution for my voice-chat woes. As it stands now, I’m not certain that I’ll play the game beyond the 30-day trial.

As always, let me know if you have any questions about DCUO. If you’re interested in playing with me, I’m “RPad TV” on Crisis. Super Buddies unite!!!

Mila Kunis Wants to Be a Pig-Tailed Mage in WoW Movie

Actress, hottie, and World of Warcraft addict Mila Kunis would love to be in the upcoming WoW movie. Although she has quit the game cold turkey (for now), she seemed excited at the prospect of casting spells on the big screen. She told MTV:

Hell yeah! I would do it, of all things. I don’t know if I would want to be a big character in it, but I would totally want to run around as a little mage. Like a kick-ass mage. With pigtails? Mmmmm… Awesome!

Hot chicks that play World of Warcraft…awesome. This is a good excuse to look at more photos of this stunning woman. Let’s go!


Moonkin Hatchling WoW Pet Benefits Make-a-Wish Foundation

Blizzard has announced a new World of Warcraft pet that benefits the excellent Make-a-Wish Foundation. The Moonkin Hatchling costs $10 and if you purchase one before the end of the year then $5 will go to the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

Blizzard has announced a new World of Warcraft pet that benefits the excellent Make-a-Wish Foundation. The Moonkin Hatchling costs $10 and if you purchase one before the end of the year then $5 will go to the Make-a-Wish Foundation. Here’s the official word:

The googly-eyed Moonkin Hatchling, which comes in unique Horde and Alliance versions, will occasionally plant flowers at your feet, and happily /dances with any willing partners. Like last year’s Pandaren Monk, the Moonkin Hatchling has a soft spot for helping children. For every Moonkin Hatchling adopted from November 29 through December 31, 2010, Blizzard Entertainment will donate 50% of the $10 purchase price to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

I love that Blizzard is doing this. If I still played WoW, I’d buy one. Hopefully some of you will pick one up. You get a cool pet and help a great cause! Here are more screens of the lovely hatchling in both forms: