Monday, December 13, 2010

DCUO Character Creation

Since the DCUO Beta NDA has dropped I thought I would share some thoughts on the character creation process of the game. It's easy to forget that the only two super hero themed MMOs on the market were developed by one studio, Cryptic. One thing Cryptic is known for is their character creation and the huge amount of variety it offers players. So how does DCUO stack up with Champions Online and City of Heroes? Well let's take a look at what you will have to work with.

The first choice players will have to decide is whether male or female and then what build they want - Large, Medium or Small. For this example I chose male and medium build type. Next up is the real meat of the character creation process, the template selection. There are only two options to choose from, Custom and Inspired By.

In a Custom template players will be able to customize powers, movement mode, weapon and costume. The Inspired By option has some pre-made templates based off some of the heroes and villains found in the DC Universe.

The Inspired By option is a nice feature for players looking to get into the game quickly or for those who want to mimic their favorite DC character, but a quick scan of the available options will show two things - a limited number of templates to choose from and some questionable power and combat combinations. For example Superman has Ice powers and Brawling combat style, and the Flash has Fire powers and Brawling combat style. Neither of those makes any sort of sense, but it does highlight one of DCUO's shortcomings which I shall get to a bit later.

For demonstration purposes I chose Custom template. Next up players will need to decide if they are going to fight for the side of good or join the side of evil, I chose good.

The next choice I had to make was my character's personality. What ever players choose it has no affect on combat. What the personality does do is determine how a character stands still or walks around the game world, and frankly the choices suck. What's really missing is some sort of default or normal option instead of some of these absurd personality choices.

Since I chose a custom template I now need to chose my mentor. For the heroes it's Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman. For the villains it's Lex Luthor, Joker and Circe. If you are wondering who Circe is then you're not alone, I have no idea either.

After choosing a mentor I now have the all important choice of which power I want to use. If you read the description it says that the power selection determines combat strategy and my role in groups. Here's the kicker, there are only six powers to choose from. Six. And the choices available are not all that great either. You have Fire, Gadgets, Ice, Mental, Nature and Sorcery. Even though there are only six powers to choose from, each power has two power trees that players will be able to spend points on when they level up.

The next step is skill choices, movement and weapon. Since there are only three movement options to choose from, I took flight as mine. Weapon choice determines combat style more than anything. One might get a different idea if they were to actually believe the description that is provided. There are only ten choices to choose from and it's nothing that hasn't been done already.

Since this post is turning out to be epic in length I'll try to summarize the rest as succinctly as possible. The rest of the character creation process involves a characters look and costume. There are quite a number of options to choose from in determining how you want your character to look. Even so, the shirt and pants options are not all that varied, there are a limited number of glove or hand choices and shoe options is just laughable. It's a good thing that DCUO is a loot based game like WoW or WAR because items can change the character's appearance.

So what is DCUO's biggest shortcoming you might ask? It's variety, it's the number of choices that players have, it's customization, DCUO just doesn't have enough of it all. Don't get me wrong, the game looks great, the combat is a lot of fun and the quests so far are pretty fun, but when compared to its other super hero brethren the character creation is sorely lacking.

Hopefully this was entertaining and informative enough for everyone.


Bronte said...

Yup, it does! Thanks Dub!

Syp is also in the beta methinks, you should send him a message in game and hook up to do some of the content together.

Yeebo said...

Great write up. Hard to believe there are only six power sets.