Challenge: Accepted

Roughly every year for the past three years, Tipa of West Karana has done a personal “MMO challenge” — she’s chosen an MMO she’s never played before and makes that her main game for the year. By her own admission, this has resulted in a pretty eclectic MMO history — she’s spent extended periods of time in Wizard101, EVE Online, Chronicles of Spellborn, and Star Trek Online. This seeming randomness belies the true strength of her MMO challenge — the richer, more fun gaming experience that comes with really, really engaging a game for an extended period of time.

I’d be a terrible choice to pick up this challenge. I have a crippling fear of MMO commitment, as exemplified by the fact that I’ve purchased or subscribed to over a dozen MMOs — SWG, EVE, WoW, CoV, WAR, Tabula Rasa, PotBS, CO, DDO, STO, AoC, APB, Global Agenda, GW — but have never played any of them for more than three consecutive months. I have never, ever, ever gotten to max level in any MMO; the concept of ‘end game’ exists only in theoretical sense. And beyond all of that, my professional and personal life just don’t give me the time for this kind of commitment.

But you know what? I’m doing it. I’m going to pick one of the new games that comes out this year, and I’m going to make it my main. Well, I’m going to try anyways.

The wording of Tipa’s challenge invitation seemed to implicitly focus on the ‘next generation’ MMOs coming out this year — Rift, Star Wars: The Old Republic, and Guild Wars 2. But she’d be the first to argue that this is explicitly not the focus of her challenge, and that any MMO, new or old, is fair game.

So I’m going with DC Universe Online.

Shocked moment of silence after the jump!

I know, right? That’s a completely crazy idea. There are alot of really awesome games coming out this year, and I know I’ll be picking up TOR when it ships. By way of comparison, DCUO has already been accused of being a shallow, terrible PS3-to-PC port. And new games aside, I’ve purchased several free-to-play MMOs, and I’ve got my lifetime subscription to STO to think about.

But I’ve got my reasons:

1) That damn awesome cinematic

Look guys, I know that basing a game choice on a cinematic is a terrible idea. But honestly, DCUO wasn’t even on the radar of my radar until I saw the cinematic trailer SoE released, so in that regard the trailer is at least a proximate cause for the choice I made.

2) Superheroes are sorta cool.
I’m rather agnostic on my choice of comic book universes — there’s just too much continuity for me to even think about ever seriously “getting into” comic books. But I do like superhero stories, especially when they’re new takes on old tropes. The Elseworld DC runs are some of my favorites, and I dig Astro City, too.

Previously, I had thought that a DC MMO would be a bad idea — it just didn’t seem like a good idea, making player characters having to share space with such heavy hitters as Superman and Batman. But Champions Online never really clicked for me, and City of Villains, while completely awesome, is starting to age. And you know — if there’s one thing that Justice League Unlimited has taught me, it’s that even in the DC universe, there are lots of minor heroes that help keep the world running.

3) It’s a safe bet.
And by ‘safe’, I mean ‘not likely to be canceled after six months.’ SOE keeps hard-up MMOs on life support well past their prime (I’m looking at you, Star Wars Galaxies.)The PS3 version of the game — one of the extremely few console MMOs out there — is going really well. And with the Green Lateran movie coming out this summer, the game will probably be around for a while yet.

4) Because no one else is playing it.
Lastly, it seems like no one in the MMO blogosphere is playing this game, at all. There are a few “well, it looks sort of fun” sentiments expressed, but on the whole, this seems to be the quiet before the storm, with many MMOers taking time off or sticking to known knowns before the release of Rifts, etcetc.

So you know — why the hell not?


9 thoughts on “Challenge: Accepted

  1. Awesome man. I’d love to pick up DCUO with you, but honestly I can only afford one MMO at a time these days, and it’s going to be Rift. I’ll pick up Guild Wars 2 since there is no subscription fee, but my main game for the year, or at least until The Old Republic drops (and maybe after) will be Rift.

    • Awesome! It sounds like alot of our MMO friends are really looking forward to Rifts, too. You need to keep me posted on how it goes!

      In the meantime, I’ll post about DCUO and let you know if it’s any good.

      • Sweet, maybe I can convince the wife to let me pick it up for a month or two. If I do your character might get a sidekick, though the odds are against me getting it. It just came out in a bad year.

  2. Good luck with the challenge! DCUO is a good choice, I was close to getting it before I considered my Jan, Feb and March MMO games schedule and there’s just no way I can give it the attention it deserves if I made the purchase now.

    Anyway, I wish you all the best. Forcing myself to limit my MMO playing to one title for a year sort of defeats my own goals of gaming for enjoyment, because I’d only be fooling myself if I don’t go where my fun takes me. But at the same time, I relate to your concerns, which is why I’ve given myself other goals to reach to make sure I get the most out of a game — mainly making myself get to the level cap before I quit. I am so far 3 out of 4 for the MMOs I played extensively last year (WoW, AoC, STO), just still working on LOTRO 🙂

    • Oh, I totally try to game for enjoyment, but — and I only realized this recently, thanks to Rowan — I often set my goals too low. I meet the minimum level of fulfillment with a game with the most simple criterion — “I’ve saved the original Enterprise and stopped the Doomsday Machine!” “I reached Science V!” “I finished Conall’s Valley!”. In effect, my sense of accomplishment with an MMO is independent from my character’s level.

      Maybe if I consciously try to stay with an MMO, and set my goals accordingly, I’ll have a different playing experience.

  3. Eurogamer has posted a review, giving it a 6.
    I tried the beta on PC and PS3 and it’s an OK game (if you play it on PC wit ha gamepad). Found the PS3 version technically ‘challenged’ but that’s probably because the PC version was ahead in the development cycle.
    Anyway, hope you enjoy it

    • I hope I enjoy it, too! I was thinking I’d plug in my 360 controller from the beginning and see how that went.

      As for MMO reviews in general, and Eurogamer specifically — I don’t pay attention to ’em at all.

  4. DCUO is an awesome choice. The challenge is for ANY MMO, but new MMOs are special because you are seeing the game before it gets utterly spoiled by commercial sites and angry nerds.

    I was in the same situation — only playing an MMO for a month or two, mixed in with half a dozen others, never really becoming part of that particular community, a perennial outsider.

    It’s much more fun to just close your eyes and jump in the deep end than to dip a toe in and complain about how cold the water feels.

    • I’m excited! I’m setting up the game to play today.

      Hopefully I get out of this challenge the same depth-of-experience you did!

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