Hell Fire and Damnation

This week, I continued onwards and upwards in my DCUO adventures, and the difficulty ramped up considerably.


Exploration

After defeating Dr. Faust — before cuffing him, he disappeared in an explosion of spectral souls, of course — I decided I’d do some of the “side games” that DCUO had to offer. I ran a few of the races that are spread out through Metropolis, but I mostly focused on exploration.

Exploration consists of flying around and finding hidden info spheres that are scattered throughout the world. These spheres fall into three types — Investigations, Player Briefs, and Collections. Investigations glow green, and upon discovery play a soundclip about backstory or the setting of the game. Player Briefs (blue) are each tied to one of the quest chains a player can run, and they provide news and background information specifically related to the heroes and villains involved in said quest. Lastly, Collections (yellow) are just what they sound like — collections of assorted knickknacks from across the universe. Every info sphere is part of a larger set, and upon successful completion, a new costume item is unlocked.

Sightseeing: Just your friendly, average evil megacorporation.

I’ve really, really enjoyed flying around collecting these different spheres. I love the sense of exploration and discovery that comes with it, though missing only one in a set can get very aggravating. I’ve finished three Player Briefs, about a half dozen Investigations, and a handful of collections. I’m surprised at the quality and length of the soundclips that play — it’s much more engaging (and rewarding) than reading a little pop-up box — and you can listen to them from your HUD any time. In particular, I really like Circe’s voice — she sounds like just the sort of villain I wouldn’t want to cross, which is exactly what I’m doing. whoops

To date, I’ve only looked online for one tip related to exploration — and even then, I only looked a screen capture, not a map, so I still had to identify the place for myself. (And to be fair, it was an investigation sphere right on the seashore, its blue color washed out by the sea, and I’d already looked for it for two hours.) I know, I know — “The lady doth protest too much.” I  feel guilty enough that I did that — it’s really important to me that I try to find these things with my own abilities.


A Terrible Taint

But a man can’t explore forever… eventually I plunged back into the quests, taking on the evil, corrupting influence of Trigon. For fans of corrupted heroes and evil doppelgangers, this quest is definitely for you — the entirety of the Teen Titans had succumb to the demon’s taint, temporarily growing horns and getting a bad case of sunburn.

Possession is nine-tenths of the law.

So, I had to take on each member of the Titans, literally beating the bad out of them, in the ruins of a police station, no-less. Society really is predicated on violence. It turned out that Raven, the daughter of terribad Trigon, had been possessed, and her corruption was what turned the other Titans. The entire quest culminated in me going into Raven’s mind — alone, I might add, since apparently I’m the disposable hero! — and helping her defeat her father.

Putting the band back together.

This quest chain was just as well executed as the previous Zatanna-Faust one, and the set piece for its culminating battle was just as cool looking and impressive as the Chinese theater from before. The maps seem really epic, which meshes well with the heroic, comic book qualities of the game.


Difficulties

During this quest chain, the difficulty really started to ramp up. I could still take on any one enemy quite effectively, but as soon as two or three started wailing on me, death was almost certain. I’ve started playing smarter, replacing button mashing with some pretty nifty combos — but that doesn’t always save my life.

As I started the next quest — the evil Circe is turning good Amazonians into “beastimorphs” or something — the difficulty only got harder. That’s when I decided to team up.

In DCUO, each character has two modes: a damage-dealing mode, and a support mode dependent on what type of power they chose at character creation; switching between them is as easy as being out of combat and hitting O on your keyboard.. Having chosen mental powers, my abilities lean toward the “controller” archetype, and when I switch to my support mode, they get really good at controlling the enemy and helping teammates. Unfortunately, my DPS drops, so its nice to have backup.

Which is just what happened. FrostBitten, a nice guy who was also stuck at fighting waves of merciless Beastimorphs, took point, while my support-role Mentalist suspended enemies in the air. We made a great team, and steamrolled through this Circe-oriented quest chain (it really helps that you don’t have to go back to the local police station for each new quest).

Kicking ass and taking names.

This quest chain culminated in the the ruins of the Metropolis Metro station, which had a very sweet art deco flair going for it. Apparently, Wonder Girl had been kidnapped by the villain Giganta, who intended to swap minds and gain Wonder Girl’s Amazonian powers.

Giganta's powers are Exactly What It Says On The Tin.

Oh, yeah, there are minotaurs, too. I mean, sure, why not? I hear that everyone’s favorite insane talking ape is in this game, too, so nothing’s really beyond the Pale.

He's even a general. What the hell!

The Metro station has been my favorite setting yet. I’m really a fan of the Art Deco style — it makes the whole game feel classier and more “comic book realistic”. I didn’t get any of the awesome loot drops from defeating Giganta (the one pity of being on a team), so I definitely have more than one reason to run the mission again.

In the meantime, though… here’s to the future.

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12 thoughts on “Hell Fire and Damnation

  1. Readers, was this an okay post? It seems a little long, which might could tax the patience of even the strong-willed. Also, was it organized coherently? I’m always afraid that I’m not actually coming across very clearly.

  2. Awesome man. I’m such a comic nerd that just reading about your adventures with these awesome characters, especially my favorite Nightwing, is making me geek out.

    I’m loving following these, so keep it up! Also, if you happen to run across Kyle Rayner, a specific Green Lantern who might or might not be in game, take a screenshot for me.

    • Will do! Right now, there appear to be no Latern-oriented missions in the game, but thanks to a Massively interview, we know they exist. My bet is that they’re being held back for the promised ‘monthly updates’, or till the hype for the summer Green Latern movie begins to build. Either way, I’ll be making a Lantern when I get the chance.

      That said, it looks like the game’s cannon borrows form the Justice League animated series, with specific elements of Infinite Crisis lore thrown in for flavor. That Massively interview shows John Stewart front-and-center in one of the screen caps, and thanks to his architectural background, he is credited with designing the Watchtower. That said, if I come across Kyle Rayner, I’ll let you know!

      EDIT: holy crap, when did I become a comic book nerd?

  3. This was a great post, AyAitch, and not too long or confusing at all. I remember the Giganta fight from beta and it looks like you had as much fun with it as I did :). Glad to see you are into something new and enjoying it!

    • It got a little touch and go for a moment! For some reason, my pal FrostBitten got stuck on the wrong side of the door that seals you into the fight, so we had to take on Giganta a man down. Furthermore, it wasn’t immediately obvious that destroying the crystals was absolutely-friggin-necessary to win, so there were a few seconds of us ineffectually trying to kill a massive giant immune to our damage. -_-;

      But I feel very proud of myself (disproportionality so) for figuring out that the crystals were the key. Speak of a fun gaming experience! 😀

      And thank you for the nice comment on the blog post itself! I’ll stick with this style of writing, then.

    • That’s perfect, then! I’m not trying to convince people to sign up, so I’m glad you don’t feel under the compulsion. I’m just glad that readers can enjoy my posts for what they are.

  4. Great post, AyAitch. I definitely want to buy this game at some point, but I’ve taken your advice to heart and it’s probably a good thing that it’ll be a while before I can play it anyway. DCUO might be a game to watch until I get some time in the summer, and by then hopefully we’ll be able to see what quality of ongoing support SOE is willing to give it.

  5. I don’t know how far along you are, but I have a villain that just hit level 20, and at this point I was invited to meet with a representative of “the Sinestro Corps.” If I don’t get a power ring out of this, I am going to be pissed.

    • hmmm… I suspect that might be related to the PvP “Ring War” (or whatever it is called) that pops up every now and again. Maybe you’ll temporarily get a yellow ring?

      • Have been playing it. It’s definitely a quest-chain. The Ring War event I think is related, but not entirely the same thing. I haven’t gotten a power ring, though, because I keep getting WASTED by the guy.

        The mission is two levels above me, and I don’t really group very often (that is, ever). These Sinestro Corps guys who are supposed to be helping me are all completely useless, too. They can’t hurt the main guy, and they can’t keep the other guys off of my back long enough for me to kill him.

        I DON’T WANT TO FIND FRIENDS IN THE GAME.

        • I feel ya. I play MMOs almost completely privately. I’m certain that grouping is fun and all, but I like to do everything with my own two hands.

          Well, you’ll eventually get to a higher level?

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