Scott Hawkes went for a tour through the smouldering remains of Gotham
Sons of Trigon promises to bring a crescendo to the story that began with the first story arc introduced at the launch of DCUO. We will finally discover just what hellish ramifications will be felt from the release of Trigon in the DC super hero MMO’s eighth DLC. After being introduced to creative director Jens Andersen and system designer Jesse Scott, they led a whistle-stop tour of just some of the content fans can look forward to.
The first stop on our journey highlighted just how harrowing the advent of Trigon is. Gotham Wastelands is a completely new zone built for DLC 8 and is much larger than the Central City map in Lightning Strikes. Just outside the Robinson Park portal—where Brother Blood unleashed Trigon—an emerging demonic hellscape has wrought havoc on Gotham.
Gentleman Ghost, Cheetah, Giganta and Brother Blood were all in position as quest givers for the villain side. The first quest that Jens and Jesse embarked upon involved taking on the good side of Raven. The white-cloaked version of the Teen Titans icon represents the good in her “soul selves” which you will fight depending on your alignment.
The landscape was very impressive, a twisted mix of cityscape and demonic devastation, there was no doubt Gotham is in trouble and the design does an excellent job of setting the tone. Sons of Trigon will have areas unlike any currently available in DCUO.
Jens and Jesse bumped into a crowd of players and they quickly grouped up, allowing Scott to show off the Celestial power set being introduced with DLC 8. The two paths in Celestial Powers, the Blessed and Cursed trees, can, as you would expect, heal or destroy.
As the good soul part of Raven came under attack, near the Mausoleum Grounds, adds appeared in the form of the Teen Titans, including Robin, Cyborg, Wonder Girl, Superboy and Starfire. As per usual in DCUO, the combat was fast and fluid with a wealth of particle effects and heavy-hitting animations to emphasize the impact of super heroes going toe to toe.
The celestial ability Cleanse can be employed in either blessed or cursed states. Blessed Cleanse gives a burst heal while the cursed version produces damage output over time. The ability’s concept focuses on “damage out and healing in,” with combos adding effects on top of initial benefits. Players who want to play a battle healer will be enraptured as the power set’s DPS strongly impacts the effectiveness of its healing.
There were 12 missions in the open world area we glimpsed, places where you will bump into other players and have the chance to group up, make new friends, you know, do all that MMO stuff.
A collection mission that Jens highlighted revolves around Nightwing’s reports on the changes he has found while scouting the new landscape. Batman’s former sidekick is as humble and retiring as always, imbuing the character with a nice authentic flavor which helps keep a focus on the DC universe, even if the surrounding landscape is glaringly different than the Gotham we all know and love—and fear.
Moving onto another area, Jens and Jesse had to negotiate a ruined cathedral to reach Jared, another son of Trigon up to no good. The environment really is quite wonderfully realized, the flames licking at baroque grotesqueries in the shattered husk of a large church.
Scott used Retribution, a cone attack that also heals nearby friendlies, as the pair battled through various cultists. Another ability, Divine Light, drops glyphs on the ground, causing damage (like mines) to enemies and healing allies as they walk over them.
As one would expect in a DLC called Sons of Trigon, Teen Titan guest appearances are abundant and Beast Boy jumped in to throw his green-hued knuckles at Andersen’s earth tank.
Once Beast Boy’s animal morphing was overcome, the dynamic dev duo continued on, fighting through swathes of cultists and utilizing traps in the environment to help take them down—be warned: using the environmental traps is a dangerous strategy, Andersen was turned into a charcoal briquette on one occasion.
Scott utilized the Celestial powers to shield Andersen, damage the enemies and heal up during the fight. Then, with the Cleansed version of Curse, each time a cultist attacked he damaged himself, then, when he was K.O.ed, he healed the players.
The devs moved on to smack down the mini-boss Smoldering Wrath, a demonic burning demon with an array of spikes running from his vicious snarling jaws down to the tip of his whipping tail. Letting loose various dangerous abilities and counters, Smoldering Wrath looks like a fun encounter which fits into the menacingly hellish environment.
Then it was on to Jared, Trigon’s son and vessel for the uber-demon’s return to the earthly plane. Jared, the four-eyed bruiser, fights among four burning cauldrons which generate different effects, such as an ice field that snares the player. Lust, Envy and the other brothers appear, with bonus boss fights unlockable by completing Duos.
The new items ramp up to level 86 and highlights of the adventure often include an alert where you fight Wonder Woman or Cersei while a massive Trigon actually makes his presence felt as another objective in the battle.
Having explored a good chunk of the environment, the devs jumped into a Scrimmage— the system where players can put together impromptu PvP matches in various areas. If you want to scratch the itch of going toe-to-toe with friends—purely for bragging rights, of course—this would be your chance.
Cheetah, one of the new Legendary characters, is a vicious speedster, her slashing animations and animal roars look very cool. She took on Donna Troy, the original Wonder Girl, in her celestial outfit who held her own against her feral opponent. The battle was intense and the agility and power of each character was obvious throughout the fight.
Though we only got a quick glance at some of the content, there were plenty of new environments to inspire a sense of exploration, while keeping the inimitable aspects of the MMO that will feel familiar to current players and DC Comics enthusiasts who are yet to give it a whirl.
DCUO fans who want to put some devil in their adventures look to have plenty on offer in the forthcoming expansion. Sons of Trigon hits September 3rd and Legendary members will have early access from next week.
Scott "Jarimor" Hawkes, Editor in Chief
Follow me on Twitter @Jarimor