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GDC 2013: DCUO's Andersen talks housing, hints at league version

MJ Guthrie

We first learned about DC Universe Online's housing system last fall at SOE Live, where we got the scoop on the personal lairs coming in the Home Turf DLC from creative director Jens Andersen. At that time, he also shared his vision of expanding to include league housing sometime in the future.

While sitting down with Andersen for a chat at GDC yesterday, the conversation turned to the now two-month-old housing system. The discussion included how the community was utilizing this unique blend of housing and PvP duels. Andersen then shared some tips for decorating with an eye towards battles; he also hinted that league housing may be slated for making an appearance in one of the game's upcoming DLCs.

Anderson explained that he envisioned lairs as a place that represented a superhero or villain, an outward reflection of what defined the character. An obvious fan of the lairs himself, Anderson described all four of his personal abodes, each decorated to reflect a specific theme. For one, he has a super-secret storage space filled with boxes and monitoring cameras. Another, called The Shake Shack, pays homage to his character. However, whatever his particular theme, Andersen chooses to utilize the markers for placing items instead of free-form decorating. And he encourages others to do likewise.

DCUO screenshot
Anything that's not placed on a marker will not render during PvP lair battles. This is by design, as free-form decorating can seriously affect combat gameplay. Andersen used the example of stacking 50 pianos to block a doorway. During a duel, a player would have to smash through all those objects to get through the barrier, and in doing so he would lag out because of all the particles flying everywhere. To avoid an overabundance of debris concentrated in a single spot, item placement is spaced out, thereby preventing a loss of performance from furniture fragments.

Of course, some players might feel that only using the markers for decoration is too restrictive and cannot foster creativity. Andersen, however, hopes to debunk those views by showing off what can be done without resorting to free-form decorating. Keep an eye on Massively TV for an upcoming livestream tour of Andersen's personal lairs while he shares his personal tips for decorating the ultimate in lair battle destinations.

While concluding the conversation on housing, Andersen mentioned that there will be more news to discuss in the near future, including league housing. While he didn't elaborate on it, the impression is that personal versions of the Watchtower for leagues is in the works. We can certainly hope!

Massively sent its ace reporters to San Francisco to bring you back the biggest MMO news from this year's GDC, the largest pro-only gaming industry con in the world! Whether it's EVE Online or Star Wars: The Old Republic or that shiny new toy you've got your eye on, we're on the case, so stay tuned for all the highlights from the show!.

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