DC Universe Online's Lightning Strikes DLC pack announced

Screenshot -- DC Universe Online
DC Universe Online has had a lot to say about its recent free-to-play transition, with the game boasting a one million player increase since the change took place. But that's in the past already; what's en route in the near future? Well, today Sony Online Entertainment is announcing the latest round of DLC for the freshly F2P superhero game.

The new DLC is entitled Lightning Strikes, and it focuses on everyone's favorite speedster, Flash. The update will bring a variety of new content for veteran and fledgling players alike. So what can players look forward to when Lightning Strikes? We sat down with some of the game's developers to find out, so follow on past the cut and have a gander.

One of the key features being introduced with the new DLC is the new Electricity power set. Electricity-focused heroes will fill a hybrid role as they rain deadily lightning attacks upon their enemies and rejuvenate their allies with refreshing electric shocks. The healing mechanic available to characters who choose the power set is being termed Rescue Healing. Players can place an electrical charge on an ally, and when the target drops below a certain health threshold, the heal will kick in and shock the player back to good health. This fire-and-forget style of healing strikes a balance between the current healing power sets, allowing Electricity-powered players to fill a whole new niche. It's important to note that due to the number of issues that took place during the introduction of the Hard Light power set during the last DLC release, players will not be receiving a respec token with which to switch to the new power set. If you want to try Electricity out, you'll have to roll a new character from the ground up.

The Electricity power set will be split into two separate progression trees: Voltage and Amperage. Both trees will feature the power set's hybrid DPS-plus-healing, but one will be focused more on burst-type abilities while the other plays host to more preventative healing powers.

Screenshot -- DC Universe Online
The new power set isn't all that's coming, however. After all, what would a Flash-themed DLC update be without a nice vacation to Central City? It would be unreasonable to expect the devs to build a new city from scratch with every content update, so the team is introducing a new type of instanced map using technology similar to that used by the game's megaservers. Each instance of Central City is an 8x4 block area of the city that can hold up to 50 players. Each time an instance reaches the 50-player cap, a new one will be opened, so players can come and go as they please.

Central City will feature new solo and group content as well as bounties and storylines, all of which take place outside of and around Central City's Flash museum. The main storyline players will be faced with is a Duo mission that focuses on Flash and his origin story. See, some idiots (namely, the Pied Piper and Abra Kadabra) have used Flash's Cosmic Treadmill to go back in time to the fateful night that Barry Allen received his powers in hopes of preventing the event from ever taking place. The heroes of DCUO can't let this happen because, duh, it's the freaking Flash, so it's up to them to go back in time (Flash can't do it himself because it would cause some kind of paradox) and ensure that Allen receives the his freak-accident powers as usual.

Screenshot -- DC Universe Online
But what about the villains? Why should they care if the Flash gets his powers or not? That's just one fewer member of the Justice League to worry about, right? Wrong! If Barry Allen never becomes Flash, then Eobard Thawne -- better known as Flash's super-speedy counterpart Professor Zoom -- never gets his superpowers either, and that just doesn't sit right with him for some reason. In light of that, he tasks the villains with going back in time and making sure that Pied Piper and Abra Kadabra fail in their mission, thus ensuring that Professor Zoom's powers remain intact.

And of course, the New 52 is on every DC Comics fan's mind right now. Will DCUO be incorporating any aspects of the New 52 into the game? Chances are slim to none, at this point. While the devs are at liberty to explore the New 52, they also have their own stories that they want to tell, and of course it's a risky move to reboot an entire game universe from the ground up. As such, players probably shouldn't expect much relating to the New 52 anytime soon.

The Lightning Strikes DLC pack will be available for purchase sometime this year, and there's not a whole lot of year left, so players shouldn't have to wait long to get their Flash fix. Lightning Strikes will run players a cool $10, though Legendary-status subscribers will, of course, receive the new content free-of-charge. Stay tuned to Massively for more information on the update and its release date!

This article was originally published on Massively.