Friday, December 14, 2012

DC Universe Online (Part Five)

Storyline Quests

DC Universe Online - Storyline Quest 1DC Universe Online - Storyline Quest 2
The storyline quests in DCUO is, in my opinion, presented in a way that makes it a bit distinct and different from that of regular MMOs. Initially, the players start off with some of the usual quests like collect a certain number of an item or kill X number of a certain monster.
DC Universe Online - Quest Instance
Then as you proceed with completing these minor quests, everything will slowly be pieced together like bits and pieces of a puzzle. Eventually, one thing leading to another, you will find yourself arriving at the doorstep of an instanced dungeon.
DC Universe Online - NPC LackeysDC Universe Online - The Riddler
Next, after entering the dungeon, you will discover that you need to fight off piles of miscellaneous NPC mobs (lackeys) and perhaps even solve riddles before you can finally face-off with the final boss of the dungeon. But you don't need to worry too much about solving these riddles as they are fairly easy and merely involves finding objects to interact with or touching them in a certain order.
DC Universe Online - Protecting The Riddler
Sometimes, you may be fighting this boss alone and sometimes, you might find yourself fighting alongside AI-controlled superheroes or villains. All of these would have to depend upon the objectives of the quest of course.
DC Universe Online - Video Clip NarrationDC Universe Online - Newspaper Headlines
And upon finishing off the final boss, you will be shown with a comic-styled video clip narration that is related to the villain and storyline of the quest followed by a newspaper headline declaring an evil villain's scheme has been thwarted (or something along that line).

Overall, I feel that what has been done is a pretty good attempt in trying to bring meaning and purpose to questing in MMOs. However, if I had to pick a bone, it would be that I kind of find that all of these supposedly "storyline" quests tend to be separated and unrelated to one another.

As you would know, the main story behind DCUO is that an ultimate evil, Brainiac, is invading Earth as we know it. But in these storyline quests, what we can find is some villain committing acts of evil that hardly has anything to do with the original plot.

At the best, it may only be so-and-so villain taking advantage of the exobyte situation to perform their own devilish schemes. In my opinion, it might have been a bit better if there was an overall direction in the plot that strings all of these individual storylines together.

Equipment System
From what I've gathered so far, the equipment system found in DC Universe Online doesn't look impressive. At best, it has only a basic rarity and equipment modding system put in place.

DC Universe Online - Equipment Rarity
The rarity of the equipment found in the game can somewhat be classified into a few colors, white, green, blue and purple (not sure if there is an orange color as I've not seen one yet).
DC Universe Online - Green Equip Reward
Just like in regular MMOs, equipment of "white" rarity are the most common and can be easily found off regular mobs or bought from NPC vendors. Likewise, "green" rarity equips are also pretty common and will most often be obtained as rewards for completing the minor quests (and also the same avenues as "white" equip).
DC Universe Online - Blue WingsDC Universe Online - Purple Helm
"Blue" and "purple" equips, however, are a bit harder to obtain. You will most probably be looting these off the final bosses of storyline quests depending on your luck and relative levels. They can also be bought from certain NPC vendors as far as I know, but these transactions would most probably involve some of the fancy marks, influence points and whatnots.

And needless to say, the rarer the equip, the more impressive its stats will be. So if you have four equips of similar levels and type, the "white" equip would offer the least while the "green" one would offer relatively better stats. The "Blue" equip would give more stats than the "green" one followed by the "purple" having the best stats out of the four.
Equipment Mods
From what I can tell, what you need to know about equipment modding can basically be summarized into three sections, Exobits, Plans and Sockets.
DC Universe Online - Exobit Cache
Regarding exobits, they are actually items that you can find stashed in caches such as that shown above. And these caches are found randomly placed all over DCUO in Metropolis and Gotham City.
DC Universe Online - Looting Exobit CacheDC Universe Online - Support Exobit
Whenever you open one of these caches, you will obtain any of the following three forms of exobits, Aggressive (Red), Fortified (Blue) and Support (Yellow).
DC Universe Online - Support Exobyte PlanDC Universe Online - Equipment Mod Plan
Next, to actually make use of the exobits, you will first need to "craft" them into exobytes and then turn them into equipment mods. But in order to do so, you will need to acquire the proper plans and have them researched (which is simply right clicking on the plans in your inventory actually).

As far as I know, the plans to craft exobits into exobytes are given to us as a reward via a quest at around level 10. As for equipment mod plans, some of them can be obtained via an NPC vendor (which is found close to the R&D workstation) while others might require you to loot them off of the final bosses in storyline quests.
DC Universe Online - RnD WorkstationDC Universe Online - RnD Assembly Window
So after acquiring the needed exobits and plans, you can then head on over to one of the following R&D workstations. These workstations can be found in some of the safe houses (police departments for heroes and nightclubs for villains) as well as in the "Watchtower" and "Hall of Doom".

And upon interacting with it, you will be shown with an assembly window where you can craft all sorts of exobytes and equipment mods (that you've researched). From then onwards, all you need to do is prepare the necessary ingredients to craft your desired mods.
DC Universe Online - Dominance and Precision AlphaDC Universe Online - Equipment Interface Alpha
Apart from the exobyte (which can be crafted from the exobits), the other ingredients needed by the mod can be easily bought from the NPC vendor found beside the workstations. If what you required is not sold there, then I suppose there is a good chance that the ingredient must either be obtained from salvaging looted equipments or acquired from NPC mobs.

However, do note that this salvaging function will only be unlocked when your character reaches level 30. Once you've unlocked this function, just visit the workstations again and look for the "Salvaging" tab to start breaking down unneeded equipments.
DC Universe Online - Blue Socket Equip
Next, to actually make use of the crafted equipment mods, you will first need to have an equipment with a socket.
DC Universe Online - Modifying Equip 1DC Universe Online - Modifying Equip 2
Once you do, just click and drag the mod onto the equipment. A warning will pop up to ask whether you wish to continue. Upon confirmation, the bonus stats of the equipment mod will then be incorporated into the stats of the equipment.
DC Universe Online - Socket Affinity Bonus
Finally, socket affinity bonus is something extra that you get when you use an equipment mod that is compatible to the color of the equipment's socket. In its simplest sense, an equipment mod is compatible to the socket if exobits of the same color had been used as an ingredient in making the mod.
DC Universe Online - Equipment Mod
Or you can just merely refer to the equipment mod's description if your confused ;p. But anyway, by putting in a compatible equipment mod into the socket, you can trigger and activate the socket affinity bonus. Do note, however, that once you've placed a mod into the socket, it cannot be removed as far as I know. So choose your mods wisely.

Apart from rarity and equip modding, equipment found in the game can also be divided into two general types, PVE and PVP equipment. And as the name suggests, PVE equipment is meant to help the player deal with environmental mobs while PVP equipment is used against other fellow players.
DC Universe Online - PVE EquipmentDC Universe Online - PVP Equipment
The primary way to differentiate between the two is by comparing their stats. PVE equipment will have a stat called "Defense" while PVP equipment would have an alternative stat called "Toughness" instead.

And the most important difference between these two stats is that "Defense" reduces damage from non-player enemies while "Toughness" works to reduce the damage from player foes. Furthermore, these two stats are mutually exclusive and cannot both exist within the same item.

So what this means is that if you are out killing mobs with PVP armor on, you are literally hunting naked as you lack the necessary defense to protect yourself from the damage dealt by those mobs. Similarly, if you are wearing PVE armor, you would be putting yourself at risk from attacks by opposing players as you lack the needed toughness to reduce the damage inflicted.

With that, I've come to the end of my introduction of the world of DC Universe Online. I sincerely hope that these articles had been useful to you.

Previous: DCUO (Part Four)