Tuesday, November 27, 2012

DC Universe Online (Part Three)

Although it is technically a hack and slash type of game, DCUO's combat isn't as simple as charging in and mindlessly clicking away at your mouse buttons. Though I have to admit that I still have a tendency to do so (^_^;).

DC Universe Online - Fighting Brainiac Sentry
There is a variance of attack styles and patterns, to unleash upon your foes, that you must get accustomed to (like when to block, attack and use your traits). In its most primitive form, you can think of it as two persons duking it out in Rock-paper-scissors.

Say for example, when a person charges towards you and keeps on performing melee attacks on you. Instead of attacking back and turning it into a "who has the highest damage and most HP" fight (rock on rock), you could have chosen to guard yourself by holding "shift" to block (paper against rock).

And by choosing to do so, you would have suffered minimal damage while the attacker himself would have suffered a substantial amount of damage plus being knocked down.

In the two pictures below, you can see that I was against a "Brainiac Lunger".
DC Universe Online - Brainiac LungerDC Universe Online - Blocking Brainiac Lunger
And in the first instance (picture on the left), I was noobish enough to keep on attacking back against the enemy. As a result, I was constantly taking on damage by its attacks while I myself wasn't dealing much on it. In fact, you could say that it wasn't even hurt by my attacks! And at one point, I was even thinking that maybe it was bugged...

But then after dying a couple of times, I realized that it was made that way to "teach" the noobish me how to block. Thus in the second instance (picture on the right), you can see me blocking instead of attacking back.
DC Universe Online - Block Breaking
Next, if melee attacks were rocks and blocking was paper, it would probably be fair to call "Block Breakers" (attacks you use to break blocking) as scissors. However, you would have to take note that performing a block breaker has its inherent risks. As you can see in the above example, performing a "Charged Double Throw" (a block breaker) takes quite a bit of time (around a second or two) and kind of works like your casting a spell.
DC Universe Online - Interrupting a Cast
And during this time, you will be vulnerable to attacks by your opponent. For example, if he is quick enough, he could stop his guarding and perform an "Interrupt" attack on you instead.

So in essence, combat in DCUO is basically a tango where you have to block when he's attacking, block break when he's guarding and interrupt when he's casting. And if you add using of traits into the fray, it becomes pretty complicated I tell ya...not to mention all these decisions have to be done in real time.
DC Universe Online - Slip ShotDC Universe Online - Lifting Strike
Basically, attacks that break blocking or interrupts a casting are just combos you learn via spending skill points on your weapon specialization. But one important part about them is that attacks that break blocking can be interrupted while attacks that interrupt can be blocked so you can literally say that one is the effective counter against the other.

Finally, how do we perform these attacks? Its pretty simple actually. All you have to do is to perform the "Combo" pattern as specified in the attack's description. And if you take a look at the pattern, they are essentially made up of a variation of clicks on your mouse buttons and/or keys. If it states a "Tap", it means a click on the corresponding mouse button. If it states a "Hold", then that means you click and hold onto it for a brief moment.
DC Universe Online - Encircling ThrowDC Universe Online - Loft Shot
If there ever shows a number beside a particular action, it means that you have to perform it for the designated number of times. For example, if I wish to perform an "Encircling Throw", I would have to left click twice and then click and hold my right mouse button. And as for "Loft Shot", I'ld have to left click once and then left click and hold twice.
DC Universe Online - Launching Roundhouse ComboDC Universe Online - Flamethrower
Well...these are still pretty simple compared to some other weapon specializations, like staff or rifle, which may involve longer combinations or some criteria.
Duos, Alerts & Raids
Now this part of DC Universe Online basically works kind of like the instances in Phantasy Star Online 2 or Dragon Nest. However, access to these instances are only granted gradually as your character levels up and satisfies certain criteria. As for the terms Duos, Alerts and Raids (while grand-sounding), they merely indicate the size of the team that the instance can accommodate. Duos are instances designed for two players, Alerts can take four players and Raids would require eight to clear.
DC Universe Online - Area 51 Role SelectionDC Universe Online - Area 51 Queued
To enter one of these instances, you would first have to visit the "On Duty" window (press "Y") and flag yourself as being interested to join a party for such an instance.
DC Universe Online - Area 51 Instance ReadyDC Universe Online - Flagging Multiple Instances
After flagging yourself in the queue, you would then have to wait patiently until the system matches you with a possible team. Once the instance is created, you can then click "Okay" to enter.

In my opinion, the best part of this system is that not only can you just flag yourself in queue and close the window to carry on with your usual stuff while waiting, you can also queue for multiple instances (must be different maps) at the same time such that you can just enter whichever comes first.
DC Universe Online - Area 51 Alert Instance
With you and a team of fellow players being lumped together by the system, you will then all set out to fulfill a set of objectives as specified by the instance. And towards the end, you will be rewarded (for your hard work) with a final boss to kill and items to loot.
DC Universe Online - Instance Exit Portal
One funny part I've noticed is that after clearing the instance, you do not get automatically warped out by the system. Instead, you would have to find an exit portal (like shown above) to manually get out of the instance and return back to where you were originally.

Group Loot
DC Universe Online - Group Loot Window
Generally, from what I perceived, most of the regular stuff like consumables and cash will be evenly distributed by the system somehow. However, ever so often, when the team does loot equipments and whatnots, you will then encounter a "Safebox" icon asking you to press "L".

Upon doing so, you will bring up the Group Loot Window which would show you a list of the items that were looted which requires attention. And each of these items would have a description of the item and its stats, a timeout bar and three options.

The first option (dice) indicates that you need the item and wish to roll for it. The second option (coin) indicates that you don't need the item but wish to roll for it nonetheless. The third and final option (cancel) indicates that you don't want the item at all and will not be rolling for it.

Once everyone in the team has selected an option or the item times out, the system will then generate a random number for each of the players who wanted the item. And finally, the item will be awarded to the player who rolled the highest number.

Previous: DCUO (Part Two)Next: DCUO (Part Four)