Tuesday, July 27, 2021

The Art Of Starting Over

has a couple of extremely detailed and immensely valuable posts up on the increasingly over-the-radar DCUO. The first is a preview of the game's upcoming soft reboot House of Legends. The official press release is incorporated in this Development Update but Tipa's post breaks everything down without the (rather hilarious) !! Warning: Game Content Changing !! tone of the original.

One of the big reveals from the EG7 acquisition of Daybreak's portfolio of games was just how strong and successful DCUO has been and continues to be. Anyone who's played the game over the past few years can't but have noticed how very busy it feels, all the time. I play on the US servers and I logged in half an hour ago, at somewhere between midnight and three a.m. stateside, to a server flagged "High" population.

This is a successful game but in many ways I feel that's a success achieved despite rather than because of some of its core features. I've been playing largely in the most casual way possible since beta and yet I barely understand anything about how even something as basic as character progression works. 

Vast tracts of the game can seem opaque and confusing. As with all mmorpgs, DCUO suffers from a surfeit of jargon but it's always been its huge strength that a casual player can just muddle along and have fun, even while not understanding pretty much of anything. In its way it's far more pick-up-and-play than most other mmorpgs I can think of. 

You can make a character then right away go patrol the city streets, running up skyscrapers or flying high above them, looking for villains to punch. That's the super-hero fantasy, right there. In some ways the game doesn't need much more. 

But it has more. it has deep drifts of content, surprises and stories, crises and call-outs, bosses and battles and epic adventures, most of which have been locked away behind arcane access requirements, the majority of which will be going away with the upcoming update. I'm not going to detail what all those changes are: go read Tipa's post if you want the full deets but you can think of it as DCUO's "One Tamriel" if you like.

The key takeaway here is that there's never been a better time to try the game, or to return if you've drifted away. Timing could be better, of course, with New World coming and half a dozen other mmorpg releases either fresh off the assembly line or just about to hit the racks. DCUO is a quick win, though. It's free to play, available on a wide range of platforms and very easy to pick up for short, satisfying sessions.

I plan on fitting it into my increasingly overloaded schedule, somehow. Frankly, exactly how I can't quite figure just yet but I'll get there. I'm motivated to return as much by Tipa's second great post as by the revamp itself. The post focuses on starting a new character and in it Tipa clarifies more about how the character progression mechanics work than I've been able to glean from years of playing and wiki-reading.


This is incredibly useful information. I’ve been playing DCUO since beta but even though I sometimes stop and read the wiki for clarification there are vast tracts of the game I simply don’t understand, even at the very lowest levels.

For example, I gave up even trying to understand how the currencies work many years ago. I spent so long just trying to find vendors in the cavernous mazes of the main hubs that even if I found them I would be too exhausted to make sense of what they were selling. The news that there will be simplified, compact versions of these in the future is one of the most welcome aspects of House of Legends as far as I'm concerned.

I have always had similar issues with the progression system. I didn’t know until I read Tipa's post that there even were things called “Feat Points”. I can’t recall ever seeing them although it’s entirely possible I’ve been getting and spending them without knowing what they are. I have bags filled with stuff I don't understand, after all and I understand even less when I read the tool-tips.

Even the simple stuff phases me. I have only recently learned to use the teleport system reliably and that, I think, is because they changed something to make it easier for idiots. I can never keep straight what the various missions mean (solo and duo are clear but the others I mix up all the time). I have never really been clear on what the difference is between regular and Episode content. Tipa's post makes more sense of all of that than anything else I’ve read.


The thing is, ever since housing was added to the game in the form of Lairs, I have really just treated DCUO as a construction kit, not a game, let alone a super-hero game. I check the updates to see what new housing items I can get for free, then if they look tasty I log in and do the minimum to get them. Once I've placed them in my Lair I'm done until the next time.

That's really wasting a great game. A game I've never really played with any kind of intensity or focus. 

I’ve only ever leveled one character to thirty. She dinged a few weeks after the game launched. Back then the thirty levels did constitute some kind of regular gameplay, perhaps as much so as Guild Wars 2's eighty. It took about the same time to get them, anyway. 

These days levels are barely even an afterthought. They're not the tip of the iceberg. More like the thin layer of snow on top. And yet I still haven't got there with the character I made several years ago on the account I now use to play the game.

I have a couple of free, Level 30 boosted characters that I never play. My "main" is still in the 20s (27 in fact) several years after I created her. There doesn’t seem to be a /played function so I’m not sure how many hours I’ve put into her but it has to be more than enough to have leveled her several times over, had she actually spent that time doing things that give xp.

Using the information in Tipa's post I'm going to get those last three levels and then wait for House of Legends to drop, when I plan on starting a brand-new character, possibly a villain. I tried a villain years ago but didn't like it much. Maybe now the streams have crossed I'll like it better.

Tipa's post will be invaluable then. I hope she finds the time and inclination to write a few more.


  1. Thanks for the shoutouts!

    Yeah, I think one more post should do it. I'll explain about artifacts, augments, mutagens, enhancements, fortification, breakthroughs, and how the cash shop ties in to all this.

    1. Thanks for writing the posts! Looking forward to the next one.


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