Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Happy Batman Day! Now Gimme My Stuff!

Psst! Hey, you! Yes, you, who d'ya think I'm talkin' to? Wanna score some free Batman stuff? How much? What are you? Dumb or sumtin'? I said free, didn I?

Oh god, I can't keep this up. I don't even know why I started.

So, it's Batman Day, apparently. Another of Daybreak's "days" that last a couple of weeks. Someone buy Ji Ham a calendar. 

Batman Day, which I do not believe is a genuine, real-world holiday, although honestly I wouldn't bet against it, began all the way back on the sixteenth and runs until the thirtieth. 

Dates look wrong in words, don't they? 16th - 30th September. That's better. That means another nine days to log in and claim what are actually some pretty nice rewards.

DCUO is good at giving stuff away. The game's been handing out presents for years. People expect it now. What's more surprising is they even seem to appreciate it. The thread on the forum for this giveaway is hearteningly positive.

It helps that the game's set up for it, as any good superhero mmorpg should be. Think about it. Superheroes all have iconic looks that don't change much, if at all, over decades, but the ones that turn out to be worth more than a six issue mini series usually end up changing their costumes dozens of times before coming back to That Classic Look that everyone knows.

And as for stuff, they all collect trophies like your crazy cousin collects china cows. Think of the Batcave with that giant penny hanging over Alfred's head, giving him the jitters every time he sweeps around the Bat-Computer. Think of Superman's Fortress of Solitude, stuffed to bursting with mementos of all the villains he punched into space.

We have lairs like those in DCUO, even the least of us, and we have to fill the empty halls with something just to make us feel we matter. Of course, most of us don't matter so what we put on the walls and in the alcoves are pictures of our idols who do. And that's the kind of thing DCUO devs like to give away at times like this.

It's Batman Day so naturally these freebies are Batman-themed. I read the list and I was intrigued. Then I logged in and claimed them all and my intriguement (Is that a word?) turned to impression (Okay, that's definitely a word. Just the wrong one.)

I liked what I got is what I'm trying to say. There were two base pets, an accessory, two emblems and a whole sheaf of posters. 

Base pets aren't some kind undifferentiated animal that looks like Proty. Or Proty II, I guess, since the original Proty gave its life for the cause long ago. (Am I getting too comic-nerdy about this? I don't know - take a look at the Wikipedia entry for the pair of them and judge for yourself. That's the main Wikipedia, too, not some comic fan knock-off. Someone thinks this stuff is important.) If that was what a "base pet" was, maybe you could level it up and choose options for it until you turned it into the ultimate animal companion. There's an idea you can have for nothing, DBG. 

Sorry to say, base pets aren't anything like that. Base pets are pets that live in your base.

Your Base (aka Lair) is your hero's (or villain's) answer to the aforementioned Batcave or Fortress of Solitude. You can have up to eight of them although you only get the first for free (Where have I heard that before?) and they all have the exact same layout only with different themes.


It's a much less complex version (Much less.) of EverQuest II's housing but despite the limitations I find it surprisingly satisfying, not least because some of the items you can install look so good. The pets, for example, outdo EQII's by dint of their more dynamic movement and surprising bursts of activity.

I picked up Krypto, Superman's dog, a few years back and I'm always surprised and delighted by the way he bounds up to my character and jumps around her the moment she warps in. I thought at first it was a co-incidence but now I'm convinced it's coded. 

The two new base pets are both quite lively. The Flying Jester Blimp makes considerable use of the Z-axis and occasionally fires a bright laser beam across the room. The Batwing does something I haven't yet managed to catch it at but I can hear it doing whatever it is down the hall and out of sight. 

All they need to do to make it super-impressive is to code some kind of interactions between the three of them so you'd have the two flying craft firing at each other and also at Krypto as he tries to catch them and bring them back to my character to show what a good dog he is. Which is another idea you can have for nothing, DBG, although I'll take a credit in the patch notes if you use it.

The emblems are things you stick on your chest. There are plenty available at character creation and always have been but I rarely use any of them. They always seem too small to notice or else they don't fit the look I'm going for. 

As you would imagine, these two are the classic Bat-symbol only tweaked in some way I can't actually see to make them sixth-dimensional. As to what the Sixth Dimension means in terms of DC lore I had not the least idea until I looked it up. Read that and you'll know as much as I do. 

Still doesn't tell me what's so special about the emblem, let alone what's "Enhanced" about the version only Members get. I can't imagine I'll use either of them anyway, so I'm going to let that slide.

The accessory is a lot better. It's a cute Batman doll that clips to your character's belt. If your vision of a superhero hasn't changed much since you were six years old, this is a big deal! 

It also sent me on a bit of a journey in-game because I'd either forgotten or never knew my character even had an Accessory slot, let alone that whatever I put in there would display. From there I ended up going through the whole of my Style tab and completely changing my character's look. 

I learned some stuff about how the mechanics of that work. Again, I'd either forgotten or never knew. I also worked out how to upgrade some stuff I never bothered to think about before. The upshot of it all is that I feel better-equipped to dress and spec my characters than I did before Batman Day, so it seems Old Stoneface taught my character something after all, even though he's not her mentor.

I've left the best of the gifts 'til last. It's the World Poster pack. I love the posters in DCUO. They're digital reproductions of actual comics covers or other promotional illustrations and the standard is as high as you'd expect from such provenance. This particular set looks just fantastic.

I'm not sure anything in-game tells you but all the images appear to be taken from the brand-new 184-page graphic novel, Batman: the World, which only came out on 14th September. Holy cross-promotion, Batman!

I particularly love way the Chinese Robin mirrors Mickey Mouse and the faint echoes of constructivist art in the Russian Batman but all of them are great. I rushed around my base putting up posters before I had to stop for lunch so I didn't take full note of how many of the covers we got. I hope it's all of them - the two Eastern European versions from Poland and the Czech Republic would look particularly fine in my hero's gothic lair.

All in all I was well pleased with my haul. I'm beginning to wonder if I need a second lair to accommodate all the free decor Digital Ink keep handing out. I do have a lot of DBG cash stashed away. Maybe I'll invest in some Gotham real estate this time. That would be an appropriate way to celebrate Batman Day. 

It's on Saturday, the actual day, by the way. I looked it up. It is real, after all.

Don't miss it.

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