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SOE developer addresses DCUO launch concerns


Sony Online Entertainment announced earlier today that its newest MMO DC Universe Online is going to launch on January 11th, 2011. Originally slated to release in November, the game is stepping into territory that no MMO has tread before. First, it's an action-MMO -- although it's not the first, it's still one of the few. Secondly, the game is tackling the much-loved DC Comics Universe. Lastly, the title is launching on both a PC and console (PS3) platform at the same time.

The developers at DCUO are very excited about new territory, as are many of the fans. Creative Director Jens Andersen and Game Director Chris Cao have been very quick to answer fans questions regarding plans and hopes for this innovation in the gaming industry -- in fact, Chris Cao even answered a few questions for us in response to reader concerns in our comments.

Follow after the break to as we ask him about the current state and the future of DCUO! To the Batcave!

Massively: Can you tell the fans what your top priorities are from now until release?

Chris Cao: Reacting to the final major beta feedback issues is our number one priority. We're making massive strides in smashing "freezes"/crashes, improving font readability, and fixing UI bugs. We've also extensively reworked and rebalanced our endgame to require greater group tactics, reward role expertise, and deliver a new level of multiplayer action. Finally, we've added a lot of new PvE and PvP "tween" game content and rewards for solo players at max level.

One of the features we have been most impressed with is the voiceover work. You have some amazing talent there, yet there are still some voices that appear to be placeholders. Are we going to see full professional voiceover in the game when it's released?

Rest assured, the thousands of cast members in the game are now fully voiced by professional actors. We're tracking down the last few placeholder voices now, but for launch, every piece of content in the game, from missions to investigations to raids, will be professionally voiced.

We know from the DCUO forums that there have been suggestions regarding the chat system -- for instance, chat bubbles, tabs, and different colorization. What fixes or additions should we expect from the chat system?

The social UI is going through a rigorous round of bug fixing as we speak. Players can currently create new tabs and apply custom colors to chat, but it isn't always clear how to do it. We're addressing that by not just fixing bugs but also improving usability across the board. For example, we've put in a quick menu that includes canned chat phrases, emotes, and lists of the combos you can perform. We want you to chat, socialize, and manage your Leagues with ease.

A few players in beta are questioning class balance and uniqueness. Are we going to see any class tweaks before January 11th?

We've made some significant changes to overall ability balance and role use. Specifically, we've altered how the Controller role functions so that it is now crucial in supplying power to the other members of the group or raid. We've modified all of the other roles to lean more heavily on this power supply and thus tightened up the role dependencies in multiplayer combat. Damage dealers also now need to make careful choices about which powers they use as well as manage their hit counters closely to maximize their dps. All in all, we are much happier with the changes and the challenge they bring to the end game, but jump in and try them out so that we can put the last touches on launch balance.

Is there anything specific that you can tell us about the future of the game? Are we going to penetrate Brainiac's bottles? Any name-drops for future heroes and villains? And how often can we expect content updates after the game is released?

DCUO is launching with a ton of endgame options. They range from the solo max-level factional content we've just added, to duo-mode instances, four-man alerts, and eight-man raids. There's also open-world PvP missions, Legends PvP and Arena PvP. On top of that, our Feats system gives players achievements that actually mean something. So you aren't only going after the very best gear (18 unique iconic battle suits), you're also working on alternate advancement to power your character up even more.

Every update, we'll be releasing more "tween" and endgame for you to play. More solo content, duos, alerts and raids are already being readied. We're working on new comic cut scenes to flesh out more and more characters in the DCUO. And we're going to keep advancing the story of Brainiac's apocalyptic invasion of Earth.

Thanks for your time, Chris!

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