ZAM attends a Jens Andersen led preview of the seventh DCUO DLC
Origin Crisis, DCUO’s seventh DLC update, is now available and features a bunch of new content including the new Quantum Controller power set, two new raids and the rather interesting Iconic Anomaly feature.
To take a closer look at what’s on and off for the launch, I attended a live stream demo by Jens Andersen, Creative Director for DC Universe Online.
As outlined in my interview with Jens last month, Origin Crisis is focused on a battle across space and time between Future Batman and Future Lex Luthor. Each character is making adjustments to the timeline of DCUO, centering on the origins of important characters, in order to turn the tide in his favor.
For example, as a hero you will discover that Future Lex planted red kryptonite in the rocket ship that blasted Kal-El to Earth, making him a super villain that brings the planet to its knees. Your job is to rectify this alternate reality.
As a villain, you discover the Lex and Superman somehow grew up to become as close as brothers, working as a team to do right in the world. You can’t be having that now can you?
Jens demonstrated the Iconic Anomaly system where, for the first time in PVE, you will be able to fight under the guise of DC’s famous characters while using their power set.
The concept is that both Future Batman and Future Lex – it’s OK, we’re on first name terms – are testing simulations of what could happen with various eventualities as things are adjusted in the Nexus of Reality.
The first character to be tested out was Bizarro. By speaking to Future Batman – voiced by the legendary Kevin Conroy, of course – you are transformed into Bizarro. Before you enter the actual scenario there is a Sparring Target NPC available for you to try out your new abilities.
Bizarro’s origin, as outlined in the well-constructed cinematic, begins with Lexcorp scientists ordering the destruction of failed Superman clones. Bizarro is, of course, one of them and you fight for survival against the scientists, security personnel and other clones.
Some of the fights seemed quite testing, with Jens’ Bizarro getting put on his backside at times; though, to be fair, Jens had to explain things to us at the same time which must have been very distracting.
Bizarro’s powers are the inverse expression of Superman’s, so you can freeze opponents with your vision and bring the heat with your fiery breath.
The other Iconic Anomaly focuses on the crossbow wielding Huntress. After slipping into the character’s lithe figure, Jens demonstrated the Huntress’ array of martial arts skills and her ranged crossbow attacks.
The Huntress’ origin simulation is based on her mobster father, with you fighting your way through his various henchmen. When finally confronting her father, Huntress has a choice to either attack him or let him go. If you allow him to flee, you are faced with a random boss chosen from a variety of famous villains. On this occasion, Killer Croc spawned and started letting rip with a lot of heavy power attacks which required a lot of work and good counter mechanic execution to overcome.
The Iconic Anomalies drop Marks of Reality which can be used to purchase Tier 5 gear sets. The hero exclusive set is modeled on Aquaman while the villain-centric garb is designed with a Black Manta flavor. The neutral set, which both heroes and villains can purchase, is a Booster Gold-themed look.
The Combat Rating requirement for Iconic Anomaly is 84, so those folks finishing off their Tier 4 set will be able to jump in. This might be a little disappointing for those players who haven’t reached those heights, but the concept of Iconic Anomaly seems very cool and a nice content stream for the solo player.
I immediately expected that there would be a whole parade of characters being prepared for the Iconic Anomaly treatment but, when I put that to Jens, he surprisingly said that wasn’t the case, though his reasons are understandable:
“I would love to do more Iconic Anomalies. We do want to do more of them [but] they are a very specific, slippery slope. In DCUO players are playing as their own characters; we want to be careful not to do too much stuff to take them out of the skin of the character they have been playing. We don’t want players to be forced to play Bizarro through the content. We want to do more but not get carried away.”
Jens went on to explain that the primary thrust of DCUO thematically is “The Next Legend is You” and putting on the skins of iconic DC characters would be step away from that idea. So don’t be surprised if there are more characters eventually for Iconic Anomalies, but don’t expect that switching into familiar prescribed characters to become a mainstay of DCUO.
Another important aspect of Origin Crisis, the Quantum Controller power set, contains a lot of very cool looking powers that deliver damage and useful crowd control effects – in fact Jens said their look was based on the real-life experiments that have been going on at CERN. Some examples of the powers available include:
- Quantum Tunneling power brings teleportation – with a hint of Boom Tube about the particle effects and animation – that opens up some new tactics for combat in DCUO. Jens was asked if Quantum Tunneling was considered as a movement power and he explained that it simply became too unbalanced in that venue.
- Gravity Bomb creates a very cool, localized black hole. Anyone that has been graviton charged will be pulled into it.
- Time Bubble creates a swirling mass of power in a sphere around you that defers damage so you can last longer in combat.
- Time Bomb lets loose a slow moving white orb that causes massive amounts of damage when it detonates.
Origin Crisis looks to offer a lot of fun for DCUO fans, particularly those who want to look at the classic stories of the DC Universe from a new angle.
You can purchase Origin Crisis right now for $9.99 USD or 999 Station Cash.
For the next DLC, I asked Jens whether the Trinity – DC’s three most famous characters — would be featured again. He said that he wouldn’t be specific, but characters that haven’t previously been featured since launch from the Trinity would be getting some attention.
I’ll leave you to figure that one out, but I’d practice your lasso handling in the meantime.