Story-wise, Andersen expressed how excited he was to finally let players in on the arc that ties up a few loose ends left dangling after DLCs 2 and 3 -- Lightning Strikes and Battle for Earth. As for content, Origin Crisis adds two new raids, two four-man operations per side, two special solo challenges (which offer the chance to play as a legendary character), a new superpower, and a new tier of PvE gear. Oh, and let's not forget the three new iconic-based suits.
Anyone who watched the intro cinematic for DCUO knows that a future Lex Luthor came back and released exobites into the atmosphere, creating a large pool of super-powered folk in order to circumvent mankind's future destruction by Brainiac. DLCs 2 and 3 continued this time-traveling story arc, but even though DLCs 2 and 3 predate DLC 7, the combination of DLC 7 and DLC 3 actually result in DLC 2. You knew the story was all about time travel, right?
Luthor and Batman try to accomplish this by snatching origin items out of the timeline, thereby preventing various heroes and villains from coming into being. "Let's say future Luthor goes back and takes the clay statue off the beach after Hyppolita forms it and Wonder Woman was never created," Andersen explained.
Origin Crisis allows players to experience the alternate realities and what-ifs that come with tweaking the origin stories of iconic heroes and villains.
So the entire premise behind Origin Crisis is that the origins of iconic characters are being manipulated. Where will that play out for fans? Primarily in the four new origin operations, the two raids, and the two solo simulation challenges.
Villains and heroes both will have access to two distinct origin operations targeting two instances of alternate realities in the Superman and Batman stories. In groups of four, players will enter the nexus reality, and either Batman or Luthor (depending on your alignment) will inform you that he's detected a paradox, i.e., something is going on with so-and-so's origin.
Players will then be sent back in time to an alternate reality to find and fix the issue. At this point, players might see a different version of Metropolis or Gotham. Different how, you might ask? What if Superman was corrupted and working alongside Luthor? Or perhaps Luthor is noble?
"Literally we've rebuilt these sections of the cities where you can see the evil propaganda, an Orwellian kind of thing where Lex Luthor has oppressed the city because he's won and he has Superman as his enforcer," Andersen told Massively. "Or maybe you've gone to Gotham and Batman's gone evil, he's not a good guy."
The new raid content expands the origin stories for many different characters. As Andersen put it, "We're monkeying with specific high-profile iconic origins."
Remember those paradox reapers and the tyrant from DLC 2? Notice how they've been evolving lately? In the paradox wave raid the paradox reapers are ready to unleash a maelstrom of built-up paradox energy in order to destroy our reality. Andersen described how player choice will affect this raid and ultimately shape the final battle. For instance, raid groups must choose which version of the paradox Batmans to rescue and have available for the final fight. However, each choice has consequences which gives the paradox reapers certain advantages as well.
The second raid in the nexus of reality also includes emergent gameplay where choices seriously affect outcome. This is played out in different ways. One way, Andersen explained, is the decision of who to fight and when.
"You get to choose in the beginning which of the paradox Batmans or paradox Luthors you want to face at the end by knocking out a couple in the beginning. There's five of them, so if I knock out two in the first fight, then I'm going to see them in the final fight and the other three along the way... You can drive it and set up the flow and mechanics that you're going to encounter in the raid as you go."But that doesn't mean players escape randomness. In fact, it's the raid group's decisions coupled with randomness that sets the stage for the final fight. "There's a whole matrix of iconic origin artifacts that get snatched into the nexus reality," Andersen said. "And those actually do affect the fight. So certain buffs, debuffs, and other game mechanics are in play because [certain hero and villain] origins are in danger... but you have no idea what the relic or origin item at the end is, so it could go well for you or it could go bad for you. You have to pick your poison."
Yes, DCUO fans, you can finally play as a legendary character in PvE. BUT (notice there is a big but") there is a catch: It is only in the solo simulation and only one of two legendary characters. So no, there is no FFA legendary PvE coming forth. But if you want to spend a little time as Huntress or Bizarro, you're in luck.
These solo iconic anomaly missions are another way to explore origins in Origin Crisis. As Andersen stated, "You get to be able to for the first time actually step into the shoes of a specific legends origin and live through it as that character." Future Batman and future Luthor are running simulations, trying to see how the outcome would change if the parameters of various origins were altered. As Huntress, players will confront her father; as Bizarro, players have to break free from Luthor's forces.
Is there a possibility that DCUO gameplay will expand to other legends characters in the future? Yes, but don't hold your breath. "We are considering it," Andersen said, "but I can't make any promises that we ever will."
Other changes coming in DLC 7 are the additions of Tier 5 PvE gear, a new Controller superpower, and brand-spanking new iconic suits.
For the first time since DLC 3, a new superpower is being added to DCUO. Dubbed Quantum, this Controller-based power deals with time and space. Players can use it to manipulate gravity and density; imagine making an opponent into a black hole so that all the cars on the street start crashing into him, or making someone so heavy that they can hardly move. The power also allows teleportation by bending space. Quantum users will see special effects including the splitting of atoms.
But wait, doesn't adding another Controller power tip the scales? Andersen acknowledged this saying, "Obviously that leaves two holes in the other [powers], and we need to balance the scales. I'll leave it at that for now. Assume what you will."
And finally, heroes will be able to add an Aquaman costume to their wardrobe, villains will have a Black Manta costume, and players from both alignments can wear the Booster Gold suit (which, by the way, does not include a Booster Gold).
When readers want the scoop on a launch or a patch (or even a brewing fiasco), Massively goes right to the source to interview the developers themselves. Be they John Smedley or Chris Roberts or anyone in between, we ask the devs the hard questions. Of course, whether they tell us the truth or not is up to them!