SOE Live 2014: DCUO's Legends PvE and a la carte DLCs

A superhero game deserves a super announcement at SOE Live, and DC Universe Online delivered. Creative Director Jens Andersen and Assistant Creative Director SJ Mueller shared details about many upcoming updates, from the second installments of the various trilogy story arcs to new movements and powers to a whole new way to purchase the DLC themselves. Oh, and we can't forget one of the biggest announcements: Legends play is coming to PvE!

Legends PvE

While there was plenty of news to divulge, one bit involves something that players have been longing to hear: Legends play is breaking free of its PvP-only bonds and coming to PvE. That means those who are eager to play as iconic superheroes yet shy away from player combat will now have the opportunity to do existing content in event-based scenarios.

On top of that, new Legends characters are on their way. Players will soon be able to suit up as Kyle Rainer (Blue lantern) in GU41 this fall, then later Green Arrow, Deathstroke, Guy Gardner (Red Lantern), Flash, Shazam, Black Adam, and Gorilla Grodd.

Buy what you want

Another change coming involves how players will acquire the DLCs. No longer will they be a full package; they will be broken down into components. Although All Access subscribers will still have access to everything, free-to-play players will have the option to buy whichever downloadables they actually want without bothering with those that they don't. And if a player changes his mind (or comes into a stash of cash), those other components will still be available.

The components will be separated into the areas of Legends, powers, and content. Andersen emphasized another benefit to this approach: Not only will DLCs not be held up because one aspect isn't quite finished (allowing players to get content faster and more often), but desired elements that didn't actually fit into the theme of the DLC can be offered. That means new Legends characters and powers that have nothing to do with the story arc can still be made available to players.

One of the first things that will be available to players is a new movement mode called skimming. Inspired by Mr. Miracle, this mode allows travelers to move via small arrow disks at their feet. A type of flight, this vanity feature does not involve any new feats but allows players to do aerial combat using the same full body animations as players on the ground. Mueller said players will see this new movement variant is "not too far away."

Trilogies, take two

After a slew of the first episode of many story trilogies, players can finally look to the second acts. The next DLC players can expect is called War of the Light II. Star Sapphire join in this DLC, where players learn more about the Mist in the city, and female avatars will have the chance to show more skin (which Andersen and Mueller both state has actually been requested by the community) with the new Star Sapphire costume. For the first time, the gear is broken along male/female lines instead of hero vs. villain; males avatars will have to make do with their own special gear.

Coming after that will be Amazon Fury II. Here players will find out who is behind the events -- namely, Hades and Apollo. In doing so, players will be travel to the underworld as well as see the return of Brainiac (who Andersen teases is a hook into to Origins Crisis II). Mueller told me that she is "personally really excited about heading into the underworld and how [the team is] going to relate Hades the god to the Wonder Woman lore." She also indicated that although there have been a few different version in the comics, the game is carving out its own version based more on the actual mythology. "There will be some very iconic areas from myth and legend," she stated. "I can't reveal what yet, but it's going to be so cool."

While Andersen wouldn't reveal much story-wise about Halls of Power II, he did note that it involves the appearance of Orion and will include new places in the Fourth World.

I also learned that after the current DLC storylines wrap up, a new one will be unfolding -- and this one will be a Kryptonian trilogy.

New powers!

While previously thought impossible due to memory constraints on the PS3, new powers are coming to the game! Andersen explained that the team freed up some memory on the PS3 and so three new powers are on their way, one for each basic archetype.
  • The controller/damage power is called Munitions. Based on Sgt. Rock, this is a conventional weapon power that involves explosions, rocket launchers, and other militaristic powers.
  • For the healers, there's the Atomic power. Based loosely on Firestorm (because the idea is to heal, not kill by using the powers), this power involves cellular manipulation and uses radiation to restore health.
  • The tank power is Experimental and is modeled on Bane. For this physical and grappling-type power set, players will take serum injections that can have various interactions when mixed.

Other tidbits

Andersen also touched on other updates that players can expect soon. One is a PvP revamp. The arena is also getting fine-tuned, with time to kill getting adjusted. Additionally, there will be stat banding and gear adjustments so that new players can join in more easily. Andersen noted that 22.6% of the DCUO playerbase participates regularly in PvP.

Andersen was very happy to announce that a fix for PlayStation Network disconnects is targeted for release in GU40; players who lose their connection to PSN will no longer be kicked from the game. He also noted that the issue where link death would not allow players to access the content they were just in (often causing them to incur deserter penalties) has a fix planned for GU 41.

And for those who want to know where the UI revamp is, it's still underway! Andersen assured me that even though there is no ETA, the revamp is being actively worked on and the team is taking care to "make it perfect."

Rounding out the interview, Andersen reported that the DCUO launch on the PS4 was a resounding success. He reported that 76% of DCUO players are accessing the game through a PlayStation platform, and of those, 54% are specifically on the PS4.

What happens in Vegas doesn't stay in Vegas, at least where SOE Live is concerned! Massively sent intrepid reporter MJ Guthrie to this year's SOE Live, from which she'll be transmitting all the best fan news on EverQuest Next, Landmark, H1Z1, and the other MMOs on SOE's roster.
This article was originally published on Massively.