At last a DC based MMORPG where you get to play as... some variation of that red guy there.
DC Universe Online is a Super HeroMMORPG, following on the heels of Champions Online and City of Heroes. The game is set in the DC Universe and allows the players to create any character they want without the usual class system of MMOs, as they can mix and match using any combination of powers (e.g. mind attacks), weapons (e.g. dual wielding pistols) and abilities (e.g. super speed), and align themselves with either the famous heroes or villains of the universe, whereupon they are mentored by one of the big three of either side (e.g. Batman for techonological heroes, or The Joker for technological villains). The player can explore the fully realized cities of both Gotham and Metropolis (as well as the surrounding areas during certain missions) at will as they complete quests and battle against/with other players and iconic characters from the Universe. Compared to other MMORPGs it has a bigger focus on fast-paced combat, storytelling and player customization, as it is optimised for the Playstation3 as well as PCs. The game was released on January 11, 2011 and became free to play November 1, 2011.
Though it turns out Future!Luthor isn't as altruistic as he claims...
A God Am I: Circe and Undead Isis. The irony is neither of them are really goddesses.
The Ages Of Super Hero Comics: The game plays around with this in interesting ways. Metropolis is verySilver Age; the first enemies you encounter as magic (Wonder Woman) or meta (Superman) heroes are dudes running around in stereotypical Egyptian costumes and sentient gorillas with rayguns, respectively. While the level of "serious" fluctuates as you level across the story, it generally remains fairly silly. Gotham, meanwhile, features pretty much only Batman's rogues gallery, meaning you're fighting street toughs pushing steroids, madmen with fear gas and whatnot as a hero, and as a villain you're just straight-up roughing up cops and paying them off for the mob, and participating in a gang war; the feel is much more "Nolan"/Modern Age. Even the alerts vary; the HIVE moon base is very Camp, while Bludhaven is quite a bit more serious.
Gotham also has a lot of civilians running around screaming over various things, while Metropolis people only freak when attacked.
Notably, in Metropolis it's always daytime (specifically a late-ish afternoon for maximum pretty); in Gotham, it's always night with a huge moon.
Lampshaded when a Hazmat officer mentions that he doesn't remember when is the last time he saw the sun in Gotham.
Certain Modern Age elements do leak through into Metropolis, though. For example, while most characters are in their "classic" outfits (Superman and Wonder Woman are in their most famous Superfriends-esque outfits, even Batman has a more bluish cowl, etc.), Giganta wears her One Year Later outfit (the form-fitting bodysuit◊) rather than her "classic" jungle swimsuit◊ getup from the Superfriends era.
In general, the game seems to use traditional continuity elements, combined with a visual style that leans towards the lighter side. One such example of this is Killer Croc, who in this version, just looks like a big crocodile man, rather than a deformed monstrous human like some versions portray him as.
Gotham does seem darker, but if you think about it, some of the quests are just as silly. Look at this gif◊ and do the Bomb quest in Amusement Mile. Try not to laugh your butt off.
A.I. Is a Crapshoot: In the final Joker-entor mission pre-joining the Legion of Doom, you fight a robot Batman and Joker. The robot Joker goes insane and thinks it's the real Joker, forcing you to stop it from killing the real one.
Catwoman when she is imbued with the speed of the cheetah, power of the lion, stealth of the panther and agility of the tiger through some mystical artifacts. She has little health though and is quite easy to defeat.
Alternate Continuity: Another one for the Multiversal Orrery, presumably. Of note is the fact that, while everything up to Infinite Crisis seems to have happened here (Giganta's suit, Bane broke Batman's back, Doomsday is around, etc) the events of Final Crisis and Blackest Night don't seem to have happened... yet. Though that said, Barry Allen, who returned in Final Crisis, is one of the Flash in the game.
Alt Itis: Judging by the fact that the biggest selling item in the in-game store after going Free To Play was additional character slots, it's safe to say this is a common phenomenon.
Amazonian Beauty: Played to realistic levels, but the female characters are reasonably well-muscled.
The coolest examples are the cool armour that the player gets once reaching level 30. Batgirl (if you're Hero Tech) gives you a robotic batsuit while Harley Quinn (Villain Tech) gives you a suit with an armed bomb on it.
In addition, running 'The Vault' gives you the chance to get some costume pieces which are purely fanboy loot, such as hoodies with Green Lantern or Lobo logos and baseball caps emblazoned with Bizarro's or Robin's logos.
Anti-Grinding: Averted. By MMO standards, it is ridiculously easy to gain levels. Even grinding low-level missions gives an obscene amount of experience. However, gaining renown to unlock the epic armor (only available after reaching max level) is a more traditional MMO Grindfest...
Tier three PvE iconic battle suits costs 20,000 marks of triumph, which are mostly earned in single or double digit batches.
Topped by the tier 4 suits, which costs 50,000 marks.
Also, your weapons degrade and you have to pay cash to repair them. Expect to regularly spend time fighting low-level mooks with your bare knuckles and broken armor to find cash to repair your goods if you didn't plan your finances properly.
A Superhero Is You: Naturally. Everyone is capable of fulfilling a damage-dealing role in a group, while certain power groups are capable of filling certain other niches as demanded.
The Atoner: Future!Luthor...to a degree. He doesn't really care that his actions create thousands of new supervillains. He just wants Earth to survive Brainiac. It turns out to be an act, as Future!Luthor wanted the events to transpire as it did in his timeline so that hecould defeat Brainiac at the last moment.
Awesome, but Impractical: The Iconic powers (Save for the Innates). While the idea of using Superman's Heat Vision or a Batarang does sound cool, they require a lot of Power Points and have no power interactions (Which are very important in PVP and endgame content such as Hard Alerts and Raids).
Recent patches changed this to make them work better and stronger although some of them are still passed in favor of more practical powers.
Badass in Distress: Several missions involve coming to the aid of a prominent superhero/supervillain.
Baleful Polymorph: Inverted. There are times when your character will be transformed into something else for a mission, like a gorilla, giant zombie, or demon. You lose your own moves and fighting style, but have infinite power points while in this form, allowing you to use the transformation's (often very powerful) special attacks as much as you want.
Also played straight for Sorcery powers.
During the "Seasons Greedings" Holiday event, one of the traps the Orange Lanterns use turns your character into a hard-light snowman. You can move and interact with objects in this form, but can't use weapons, skills or powers.
Bat Signal: A fixture in Gotham City, and there is a feat for finding it.
Climbing Climax: Given the commonality of flying powers, this is often averted. Inverted in the Lighthouse mission vs. Bane, where you enter through the top floor and fight your way to the bottom. All the better for him to drop it on your head.
On the other hand, if you pick Acrobatics as your method of travel, you'll do a lot of this when exploring. Getting the grappling hook skill makes it a bit easier.
Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Weapon attacks will show what kind of power you have. For example, arrows show by fire players are red, icy blue for ice, green for nature, pale blue for gadgets, etc.
Combat Medic: Players have their damage outputs greatly reduced while in the healer role; however, kryptonian medics in the Fortress of Solitude is arguably more dangerous than infantry or snipers, having a special attack that hits over 3000, which is more than the max health of the average player at that level.
Dangerously Genre Savvy: In the Cape Carmine Lighthouse Duo instance, Bane's thugs think they hear a noise. One of them suggests that it's just rats. Another responds, "Ain't rats. Ain't never rats!" and warns the others to tell their boss.
A Day In The Lime Light: Some of the released DLC content seem to be this for lesser-known heroes/villains such as Dr. Fate/Felix Faust and Steel/T.O. Morrow in Hand of Fate and Home Turf respectively.
Death by Irony: It's perfectly possible for players to kill the pesky H.I.V.E. minions with the exobyte containers that they're so eager to steal. Or, preferably, with the armored truck they stole from.
Distracted by the Sexy: Apparently people attending Power Girl's lectures on using powers responsibly got a little sidetracked.
Distracted By The Shiny: Colourful, glowing orbs found in random locations are residue exobits that are key components in creating the most powerful equipment. Naturally, happens to players a lot.
Distressed Dude: Robin, who's been captured and placed under mind control by Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy respectively.
Don't Touch It, You Idiot!: In one of the radio recordings in the Fortress of Solitude, an agent for Lex Luthor says something along the lines to another agent before being Killed Mid-Sentence. It's implied that the other agent is controlled by Brainiac.
Enemy Civil War: This happens a lot. Even if you're a villain, you'll spend a fair amount of time fighting fellow bad guys.
Enemy Mine: Done in the Raid missions with Superman, Lex Luthor, and General Zod in Fortress of Solitude and Wonder Woman and Circe in Themyscira.
The Taskforce X/Suicide Squad option for PvP is this too, allowing players to team up with the opposite faction.
Everything's Better with Monkeys: This being DC, naturally. Nature heroes who specialize in transformation get an Ape form, and Gorilla Grodd and his army are a major villain group. The Ultra-Humanite also shows up in one of the alert missions, having taken control of Gorilla Island.
Interestingly, Grodd is made out to be a credible threat, due to his psychotic hatred of humanity and missions and cut-scenes showing that being forcibly transformed into an ape is, you know, Body Horror.
Also there's the entire Brain Control thing, so not only are you turned into a ape, you're turned into a Faceless Mook Ape.
Future!Luthor: Oh yes, my intentions are for the greater good. My greater good!
Fan Nickname: Some have called the game (specifically, if you play as a superhero) "The best Superman Game Ever Made"
The Farmer and the Viper: The Joker uses a variant of this story (replacing the farmer with a bat and the viper with a scorpion) to explain the relationship between him and Batman.
Flunky Boss: Several at higher levels have tons of mooks around to make the fight harder including Brother Blood, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy.
All of the major Alerts bosses, and some of the minibosses. It's why the alerts are usually for four players.
As a magic hero you face Circe around lv 16. Turns out you need to focus on her mooks while Wonder Woman handles her, until the very end of the fight where you can help out
For the Evulz: Villain players can torment civilians for no good reason, including punching suicidal ones off buildings.
Foreshadowing: The game can be surprisingly clever about this in a few places. Case in point: During the mission which takes you into the new HIVE complex in the Metropolis Metrodome, the music sounds rather familiar, and at times the "beeping" etude you first heard on the Brainiac Harvester Ship plays briefly before fading back into the "HIVE theme". You might think "psh, SOE is being lazy with the music, that must be the music that plays for all "high-tech villain lairs". As you find out at the end of the mission, Queen Bee Zazzala has thrown HIVE's lot in with Brainiac wholesale and is now part of the larger Brainiac villain group. Thus, they share music.
The Joker is willing to stab his fellow villains in the back for personal gain as Mister Freeze would attest.The Last Laugh expansion has him do this on a more epic scale.
Grand Theft Me: Giganta attempts to do this to Wonder Girl. Depending on your alignment, she either succeeds (only for you to beat her down and put them back in the right bodies) or screws up and somehow gives Wonder Girl her powers, forcing you to save Giganta from a giant Wonder Girl.
Green Lantern Ring: Light is one of the power sets. Heroes gets one of these and villains get yellow rings. Red Lanterns are in on the action too now, and can fight for either side.
The Grinch: Larfleeze steals some presents as one of the Christmas missions.
Guns Akimbo: The dual pistols weapon class, which implements a lot of Gun Fu in it's moves.
Harmless Freezing: Both subverted and played straight, but mostly the former. The most powerful single-target ice attack, Freeze Ray, encases the target in a block of ice. On the other hand, Hibernation freezes the player in a block of ice, but actually heals them and prevents damage.
Healing Hands: If any fellow player gets knocked out, you can run up to them and hit the use key (within a certain small time frame) to return them to an upright position, though though only with about 10% of their health back. This at least means that they don't have to respawn and attempt to run back to the fight, which may not always be possible in an instance.
Idiosyncratic Combo Levels: Repeatedly hitting enemies with a weapon will cause the combo meter to change in color and give different scripts each time it changes color. This is important to note as each change in color results in recovering power through weapon combos much faster.
I Need a Freaking Drink: The reaction of a Gotham citizen upon being kidnapped by Joker's clowns then rescued by the player..
Instant Costume Change: Implied by the tutorial outtro; the humans infected with the Exobytes suddenly change into their new costumes. It may just be a thematic thing, but still.
The game also has a neat feature in regards to the equipment, through use of a style tab. Like the way your cape looks, but have found one with better stats? But does the better cape look dumb? You can change its appearance to that of your previous cape! Once the style's been "collected", it stays with you as you upgrade your gear.
Kill Sat: You get to fight Brother Eye. The "Home Turf" pack also allows players to fire orbital cannons.
The Mentor: Each player is mentored by a major superhero/supervillain, chosen based on your origin and morality. For Meta heroes, Superman and Lex Luthor. For Tech heroes, Batman and the Joker. For magic heroes, Wonder Woman and Circe.
Might Makes Right: Circe seems to believe this. She thinks magic users own all magical exobytes and should also own the world. She see Wonder Woman as going against the "natural order of things" whenever she thwarts Circe's takeovers.
Never My Fault: After saving him from Poison Ivy's plants in the greenhouse, Harvey Bullock blames the GCPD for rushing in, but the briefings for this particular storyline reveals that he rushed in on his own accord.
Nice Job Breaking It, Villain: The tutorial opens up with you (Hero or Villain) captured by Present!Braniac who is hunting down Exobyte-infected heroes and villains to extract their powers. While Present!Luthor has a entire Hospital set up to experiment on the Exobytes.
Not to mention Future!Luthor successfully killing off Superman and the other heroes, allowing Brainiac to fly in and finish off the Earth.
Players' villains can be guilty of this as well when they help Brother Blood defeat the Titans and raise Trigon. Calculator's response is priceless: "So that's the demon Trigon. I'm filled with terror. No, really! What did you just do?!"
Noob Cave: The Brainiac Harvester Ship. Does get a little old since you have to go through it on every new character before you get to your mentor's "arc", but at least you get to test out your new powers beforehand.
No Sell: Exobyte-powered individuals are implied to be immune to most toxins and DNA contamination.
Not Quite Flight: Acrobat heroes can "glide" in a slowly descending fashion. With a high enough jumping-off point, you can go over ten blocks this way. There's a skill to allow you to go even further.
Oh, Crap: Luthor, when he sees Brainiac's fleet arrive after he succeeded in eliminating the Trinity.
Also expect this reaction from any players who haven't been spoiled upon seeing some of the more unusual bosses. Of note: Jokerized Metal Men, Wonder Giganta, and OMAC Bat-family. Oh, and who could forget Brainiac coming out of the Avatar of Tech?
Calculator had an epic one during the Hall of Doom Armory instance:
Calculator: Okay, bad news, bad bad bad - Brainiac has activated the entire Armory missile silo. And we have a lot, A LOT, A LOT of missiles in there. We're talking extinction event, unless you can take Brainiac's System Breaker out!
One-Hit Kill: Captain Bombus, minion of H.I.V.E., has an encase attack that, if not broken, could hit over 20,000 damage after a while. The average max health of a high level player is about 2000. Circe's aptly named Death Touch could also hit over 8000.
The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: The intro brings this in, as seems to be the usual, between Batman and Joker. Upon seeing Batman being, quite literally, beaten by Deathstroke, Joker proceeds to make sure he gets the kill by shooting Batman. With a bazooka. Given that Future!Batman shows back up along with Future!Luthor...and Deathstroke doesn't make you wonder if Joker was aiming at Batman
In the Smallville alert, the Justice League sends in a team of four heroes against Doomsday, which may be a Shout-Out to the Smallville show. In the show, Clark, Bart, Black Canary and Green Arrow teamed against Doomsday; in the game, it's Steel, Red Tornado, Black Canary and Green Arrow. Superman is stated to be unavailable in-game and Steel is one of the heroes that fills in after The Death of Superman. The only unexplained change is Flash to Red Tornado, although both are primarily red.
Summon Bigger Fish: This seems to be Circe and the Legion of Doom's policy when it comes to Trigon; if ol' four eyes shows up on their plane of existence then he'll probably be able to knobble the likes of Brainiac without much difficulty then confer power onto his cultists with which to Take Over the World. In theory...
Super Zero: As a hero, you'll sometimes run into random wannabe villains on the streets like Captain Kruel, who don't even cause double-digit damage and can easily be taken down.
Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors: Combo finishers gained from Skill Point is this. Most of the combo finishers hit for a lot, but they are classified as Interrupt, and thus vulnerable to Block; performing said Interrupt against a Block would cause you to take damage and get stunned for a short while. Against Blocks, we have Block Breakers which are unblockable, but vulnerable to Interrupts. In short, Interrupt > Block Breaker > Block > Interrupt. You can avoid the Tactical Rock-Paper-Scissors by only using weapon combos with no finisher, but good luck actually killing anyone in PvP with only that.
Also applies to roles in PvP. Tank > Controller > Healer > Tank. DPS role is Jack-of-All-Trades, with no advantage or disadvantage against any other roles.
Unskilled, but Strong: The Brawling combat style invokes this - most of its attacks are rudimentary swings and punches that nevertheless deals a lot of damage.
Villain Pedigree: Some villains are actually getting their pedigree upped as a result of the game, partially due to simple exposure to the masses.
As an example, Queen Bee Zazzala was nothing more than a C-list villain, at best, for the Justice League comics in the Silver and Bronze Ages. Now she's in control of the remnants of the old HIVE organization from Teen Titans, having turned it into a real hive, and she's thrown the HIVE's lot in with Brainiac. Even Supermanseems a bit perturbed by this one.
Circe was probably almost unknown outside of rather hardcore Wonder Woman fans before now (her biggest previous "moment" was probably her famous appearance on Justice League Unlimited). Now, she's one of the banner villains of the game and one that magic villain PCs interact with a lot; she's essentially been promoted to the third part of the villainous Power Trio.
Gorilla Grodd was something of a joke during the 60s and 70s and was kind of the poster-monkey for the "evil gorilla!" stereotype during the Silver Age; Superfriends didn't help. Justice League helped rehabilitate him, and now in DCUO, he's got a full-blown army of sentient gorillas which stands apart from the rest of villain-dom (he hates all humanity equally), he's fought multiple times throughout the game (particularly by heroes), his villain group is the first one you encounter outside the Noob Cave as a meta hero, and he's generally given big billing as a major threat - and it works.
Taken to another level in the Last Laugh expansion pack, as he leads the villains in defending the Hall of Doom/invading the Watchtower and is shown able to match Superman.
Felix Faust was something of a laughingstock, C-List villain whose most memorable moment was having Isis castrate him with her bare hands. The game repackages Faust as a powerful necromancer who can go toe-to-toe with Zatanna and hold his own. He raises an army of zombies and very nearly steals the "power of Shazam" from Black Adam.
For those who only know Lex Luthor as a Corrupt Corporate Executive with a lust for power, this games makes sure to remind players of his Mad Scientist side. Kidnapping and infecting innocent people as test subjects, covering up unethical experiments, and combining the powers of Parasite and Doomsday and then releasing the results on Smallville, Kansas the guy gets hardcore.
What Could Have Been: There's a concept for a Sinestro Corps-based Iconic Battlesuit "Sinestro's Might◊. But with the first DLC (Fight for the Light) it is now the style set Sector Incendiary.
Also, the Flash in the game was originally intended to be Wally West (And likewise Hunter Zolomon as Zoom), but it was changed to Barry Allen (And again, likewise with Eobard Thawne as Professor Zoom, but in Zolomon's costume).
Concept Art was drawn for Vic Sage as The Question, but the one you encounter in-game is Reneé Montoya. Though Vic is mentioned in the Briefings found during "The Hunt" challenge mission.
Weapon of Choice: Quite literally. Upon character creation, players can choose from, and later invest Skill Points into, any of the following weapon categories:
Dual Pistols: These are much quicker on the trigger and are among the fastest weapons in the game; however, its full-auto attack has its damage divided among enemies in a very wide area in front of the user. Like the Rifle above, there are skills that allow the user to move while shooting, but the movements are much faster and cover more ground although they are limited to just toward and away from the target.
Hand Blast: a primarily long-ranged and fast weapon with many charge up attacks. It also has a beam attack that hits multiple times against a single target. Its melee is decent but limited.
Bows: A very weird, yet versatile, version. Its primary skill tree is melee, but it still has the standard Trick Arrow and Rain of Arrows abilities as well. This is a great weapon for beginners for its faster-than-average attack speed, simple combo system, and adaptability.
Two-Handed: Often a BFS or Hammer, these specialize in heavy damage per hit, heavy Knockback, and have the slowest attack rate in the game to compensate.
Dual Wielding: Uses the same varieties as One-Handed but also includes Daggers and smaller clubs. It has a moderately fast attack rate, but its combos rely on timing and can take a while to do; but when pulled off, the effect can be either a stun, an Area of EffectKnockback, or a Spinning Move that pushes enemies aside as it knocks them down repeatedly.
MartialArts: Its weapons include weirdly-shaped katars and uses throwing stars for its ranged attack. It also has a moderate attack rate, but the combos are much simpler with limited crowd control compared to the Dual Wielding and the Simple Staff above.
Brawling: Like two-handed weapons, specializes in heavy damage and has the slowest attack rate in the game.
Brainiac: I have conquered worlds. You dare defy me?
Wildcard: Joker, who gives the security codes to both Hero and Villain safehouses and headquarters to each other.
He also seems to be the one currently running the Vault...
Wolfpack Boss: The Rogues in Stryker Island is this. You're facing Weather Wizard, Mirror Master, Captain Cold and Heat Wave at once. Indidually, they are they have less hp than 'standard' bosses. Fighting them together however, leads to a rather chaotic encounter where you will have to decide who to focus down first. Generally, the first to die is either Weather Wizard note since he deals a lot of damage and can ruin positioning or Mirror Master note if left alone, his clones can easily overwhelm your party. Heat Wave and Captain Cold are much easier to deal with, although they have a certain mechanic that makes it beneficial to kill them at the same time instead of focusing one of them down. note Heat Wave will debuff you for plenty of fire damage while Captain Cold will debuff you which will encase you in unbreakable ice for prolonged period if left alone. Getting hit by Heat Wave while having Captain Cold's debuff and vice versa is the only way to remove the debuffs
Worf Had the Flu: The weakness of green and yellow lanterns are explained with Brainiac messing with the power rings.