Note: You can read the first part of my impressions if you'd like, they were started here
As I took a look around me in the police station, I become increasingly impressed by what SOE was delivering in DC Universe Online
. Do you know who is talking right behind my character? None other than the boy wonder and Commissioner Gordon. Yeah, I know. How cool is that? Oracle, or someone like her, is telling me to look around the station. I am directed toward a merchant area and a place to check my in-game messages.
Before I have time to kick up my shoes and get comfortable, Batman himself contacts me for an urgent mission. Scarecrow is at it again - there is talk of a deadly toxin that's making Gotham City residents go insane. I need to help squelch the trouble and set thing straight.
Heading out into the city for the first time was similar to getting a cup of water thrown in your face. I was instantly alert, looking around me to make sure I didn't miss a thing. The city is exquisitely crafted with enough attention to detail that I don't feel like I'm in another cookie-cutter MMO. The elevated train, the smoke pouring out of the factory, the run-down theater, the construction site - all very different but all very Gotham City. In order to encourage you to explore, DCUO gives you main mission objectives as well as tertiary tasks that can be completed for extra experience and rewards.
Missions typically ranged from "Kill X Bad Guys" or "Save X Good Guys" but felt different enough that I didn't get bored. As soon as I felt like I'd had enough, I had probably already completed the main objective and one or two of the secondary tasks. One of the more interesting tasks had me attacking "hallucinations"; occasionally they would transform into more powerful enemies or even friendly characters. It added an element of surprise and variety to an otherwise mundane quest.
Needless to say, I was plowing through the enemies and exploring a large swath of the city. Dead enemies equals lots of XP and we know that lots of XP equals leveling up. Just like Pavlov's dogs, RPG players typically crave the "Ding" - the moment you hit that next level - and have a visceral response. That desire should be sated by the explosive display of leveling up in DCUO. In a flash of light, your character flexes and items around him explode. It has to be experienced to be fully understood. It is nice to see such a reward for your hard work.
[My impressions will continue in a later post.]