DC Universe Online was announced at Sony's E3 2008 press conference. It is an MMORPG in which you create your own superhero and roam the streets of well known DC Comics locations, including Gotham City and Metropolis. World renowned comic book artist Jim Lee was the one who unveiled the game and is involved heavily in the development process. In the game you will be able to fight along side famous DC heroes and villains such as Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, Lex Luthor, Circe and the Joker and enter well known comic book locations. The game has separate servers for both PC and PS3.
In the future, Lex Luthor finally triumphs over the Justice League, killing Superman after a massive battle that destroys most of Metropolis and numerous other meta-humans. However, his success was thanks largely to the machinations of Braniac, who had slowly been draining Earth's protectors of their powers, and eventually conquers all of Earth.
Future Lex time-travels to the present, and tells the still intact Justice League the fate of their planet, and his plan to avert it: by releasing nanites created from the powers of the heroes in the future by Braniac. Future Lex infects much of the population of Earth with new superpowers to swell the ranks of meta-humans for the coming Brainiac invasion.
As one of the new superheroes (or villains), you escape Brainiac's harvester ships with the help of either Oracle and Superman or Calculator and Lex Luthor, and go on to be mentored in the ways of justice or evil.
If you choose to be a hero, your mentor will be either Superman, Wonder Woman, or Batman. For the villain side, your mentor will be Lex Luthor, Circe, or the Joker. You will also begin the game in your mentor's respective home turf (eg Metropolis if Superman or Lex), where the battle between good and evil, heightened by the influx of new Metas, rages on every street corner.
The gameplay is more action oriented than most MMORPGs. You begin with selecting your character's customized stats and look. You can then choose your super power like fire, lightning, etc. You can then chose your power source (for example your fists if it's a Batman-like character or a bow and arrow for a Green Arrow type character) and your movement style like super speed, flight, acrobatics, etc. Combined with traits like super strength or metabolism, you can mix and match many of these gameplay choices and create any type of superhero you want (weapons are also available for your character but are based on whether they are ranged or close-quarter combat items). You get different abilities as you level up like in most traditional MMORPGs (the two types of points that you invest in your character's abilities are skill points and power points). The more you invest towards your hero/villain's skill will cause the effectiveness of that skill to increase (telekinesis for example has a greater range and damage as it is upgraded). Depending on the skills you have, you can climb walls, run fast, jump really high, etc. There are no classes in the game because every aspect of the character is customizable and because superheroes are very adaptable (in the game you can change from an offensive role to defensive role on the fly, affecting the abilities you have). One ability might be used to deal damage but when switched to defensive mode that power is used to knock opponents down.
It seems that instead of the traditional "Quests" you have "cases". This is where you must provide a wide range of help to the other legendary superheroes like Superman or Batman. For example, Batman may call you on your communicator to meet him at the docks for help. Also, he will be disappointed and make a remark pertaining to your absence if you didn't show up. You will have a relationship with these characters and they will respond accordingly to your actions and choices. Another example of a case would be that you arrive in Metropolis, one of the fully fleshed and explorable cities/areas in the game, where you must prevent Doomsday from escaping after a huge fight with Superman. Your case would be to stop Lex Luthor's forces from obtaining some of the blood that spilled during the battle. You will be in contact with these superheroes throughout your career. If you play as the villain you will get "Capers" where you work for the villians. So you will actually be fighting other players who are working for the superheroes on the same mission objectives.
The action is not turn based or random; it's all 100% responsive to your button commands like a standard action game.
There is no death in the game, just Knockouts. Instead you can choose to rally back into the fight or withdraw. You can revive unconscious NPCs and other players so that they can help you if and/or when the need arises.
Players are given the option to setup the powers of their superhero during the initial creation of their character. Powers basically determine what kind of combat abilities they will have and their specific role type. Within each powers skill tree, players have two paths to allocate their points. Powers are currently broken up into:
- Shape shifting
Weapons determine your basic form of combat. Depending on what type of weapons you choose will determine if your character deals damage up close or from a far. At first players are only allowed to choose one type of weapon skill to learn but after they reach level 10 they can choose from the others available.
At the moment the weapon types are:
- Hand Blaster
- Dual Pistols
- Dual Wield
- Martial Arts
The PS3 version of the game originally retailed for $59.99 while the PC version originally retailed for $49.99. Both versions come with one free month of play time. The game originally followed the standard a $15/month subscription-based model until October 2011 when a free-to-play model was unveiled. There are three "tiers:" Free, Premium and Legendary. The Legendary subscription will retain the $15 a month fee but grants all current and future DLC at no additional cost, more than 15 character slots, more than 80 inventory slots, the ability to form leagues without any size restrictions, and more.
Fight for the Light
The first DLC pack released on September 6, 2011. Content of this pack primarily focuses on the Green Lantern and includes the new ability to fight with "light" powers and the ability to align yourself with either the Green Lantern Corps or The Sinestro Corps. The pack also includes exclusive lantern themed gear and the ability to battle others in three new combat alerts based on the lantern lights.
The second DLC pack released on December 6, 2011. The new pack which focuses on the Flash, allows players the chance to explore Central City home of the Flash and relive the events that transformed Barry Allen into the superhero known as the Flash. Included in this pack is the addition of "electricity" powers, new gear based on the Flash, and new missions in Metropolis and Gotham City to go along with the new zone, Central City.
Battle for Earth
The third DLC pack released on March 13, 2012. This pack concludes the Brainiac story arc. In addition Themyscira island, home of Wonder Woman becomes available to players for the first time to explore. Another all-new power is added to the mix, "earth" powers.
The Last Laugh
The fourth DLC pack released on June 19, 2012. The all-new DLC adds shield weapons and abilities, safe house battles, headquarter battles and the ability to play as legendary superheroes and villains in PvP games.
Hand of Fate
On August 14th Sony Online Entertainment announced the fifth DLC to be released sometime in September. The new DLC will bring players back to the two major areas, Metropolis and Gotham City, to challenge them in high level group focused missions. The player will follow a storyline that is to be focused around heroes and villains from the Fate comics. Included in this dlc pack will be the addition of a utility belt slot in your inventory allowing players to carry more items in their inventory, new pvp legendary characters from the Fate comics, and new side missions pitting players against new and old foes.
On January 29, 2013, the sixth DLC pack, Home Turf, was released. This pack added player bases giving the player the ability to design their on own personal headquarters. Each base has Mainframe, which is essentially a Batcomputer allowing the player to unlock some unique upgrades such as orbital strike, supply drops, a sidekick or accomplice, a group of back-up crime fighters or henchman, and tactical mods using Marks of Triumph.
The seventh DLC pack, Origin Crisis, is scheduled for release in May 2013. New additions announced so far included Tier 5 armor and a fourth controller power set, Quantum.