Touring DC Universe Online's league halls and Halls of Power

It was a couple of years ago that we got our first in-depth look at DC Universe Online's personal housing system, dubbed lairs. Since then, heroes and villains alike have been looking forward to the league version. Thanks to the announcement earlier this month, we knew that the wait for league halls was almost over; guild-level housing was to hit this summer. Surprise! GU39 and league halls launched today! And thanks to a special tour with Creative Director Jens Andersen and Community Manager Ted Stone (AKA Mepps), I got a good look at the league hall system and how it all works in the Halls of Power Part 1 DLC due later this summer.

Although the full features of DCUO's league halls will be spread across the whole Halls of Power trilogy, there is plenty for players to experience and enjoy both now and when the first part launches. And one very important note: You do not have to be in a large league or even a league at all to participate in the Halls of Power content! Individuals, even opposing faction members, can be granted access to friends' league halls, and everyone can queue for the alerts/operations/raids.

In a nutshell, leagues will be able to earn one of these massive halls, name it (Andersen's is called Mom FooHouseofWonder), decorate it to their hearts' content, show off league achievements, and then play the content within them. Just as in lairs, gameplay will take place within the halls with furniture shattering all around; however, instead of PvP matches, it will be PvE content. Players will defend their hall from enemy attack in a 4-man alert or a more intense 8-man operation. There will even be a more difficult 8-man raid that plays out in the halls. Groups do not have to consist solely of league members either. In the case of multi-league groups, the game will randomly choose one of the representing leagues' halls to play the content out in; for those who don't have their own hall, a random hall from their faction will be selected.

A hall of your own

Creation of and travel to league halls is all done via the Watchtower. Each wing of the Watchtower has terminals for the halls, so players can access them easily regardless if they hang out more in the meta wing, the magic wing, or the tech wing. The halls themselves are located on the moon, and leagues will choose between a list of crater locations and a list of sea ones for placement. However, other than two views out the window -- one for crater halls and one for the seas -- there is no difference in the halls other than the name of the location, which Andersen noted was for roleplay purposes.

Once in the halls, players will note that they are immense! We're talking massive. Each area has its own prop limit (as opposed to one for the entire hall). To decorate, players must donate items to the hall via a terminal inside. Once an item is donated, it is permanent -- no one can pick up or reclaim the item. Besides prop decorations, there are a multitude of statuary pedestals to visually display league leaderboards that members can unlock with league prestige. With 50 different pedestals (each offering different poses) and a variety of materials (like gold, bronze, and stone), the statues can be personalized and changed on a whim. Players also select which outfit they want represented on the statues via a terminal in the hall.

In the power core, members with the appropriate permissions can buy league-wide proficiencies with prestige that will benefit every member. In other areas players will find a league bank, mailbox, sparring practice (including group sparring that brings on multiple opponents), and security area with holding cells populated by various NPCs. The command center, however, is not open for Part 1. While it is used in the 4- and 8-man content, its functionality will come in later; plans are for this area to be instrumental in the upcoming league mission system.

Halls of Power offers more

Besides the hall tie-in, the Halls of Power DLC will offer a host of other content and features. Two new sets of armor will be available for each faction based on the new friendly NPCs that players will interact with; heroes get sets based on the bugs, and villains get sets based on the parademons. There will be new lore and a new storyline involving the New Gods of the fourth world (along with their respective new bug and parademon minions to fight), and the undead-like Dreggs of the third world. This story plays out not only in the halls but on three new uniquely rendered planets -- New Genesis, Apokolips, and The Necropolis -- that players can travel to and adventure on during the operations and raids.

A fun new mechanic involves special relics dropped by the Old Gods, the Dreggs, down in The Necroplis. When players recover one of these weapon relics, it will give them special powers to use throughout the remainder of the operation. The most apparent buff noticed immediately is that the player will increase significantly in size, towering over other player characters. Then on top of that, the weapon offers special procs and bonuses during battle. And if one player drops it due to death, another can then pick it up and enjoy the benefits for the remainder of that operation.

With a focus on leagues with the halls, it makes sense that GU39 also ushers in significant improvements now to the league management system. Long requested by players, these quality-of-life improvements include a new summary page, a new and improved roster screen with filters, a log for donations/promotions/etc., and a place to set member ranks and permissions.

In all, players have quite a bit of goodness to look forward to when the Halls of Power trilogy kicks off this summer, but there's no need to wait until then to enjoy the benefits of a league hall! Leagues can start setting up their halls now. With so much space to fill and decorate, it will probably take some time to collect all the desired props to deck the place out anyways. You'll need plenty of things to smash and break once battle starts up!

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This article was originally published on Massively.