So I recently got stuck into two new computer games. First up was DC Universe Online. Before playing, I really should have looked online to find out what was what to help me make my character, as I was a bit lost and there's no real in-game explanation as to what skills do what. But I ended up with lizard-like villain Smashgob Slimefist. I wanted a character that would be a good all-rounder, so I went with nature magic and hand-blaster weapons. This would give me some damage at short and long range, some healing and shape-shifting.
The feel of the game is quite different to the main MMO I have played in the past (WoW). That there is no mouse pointer on-screen was weird to begin with, and most of the attacks are done with mouse button combos rather than attacks triggered from the keyboard. This is because the game is quite simplified so to be playable on console.
Initially the game felt like a button-masher with a couple of special skills added in, but once I had unlocked several different combos it became much more playable.
I definitely like it that your fast movement is usable right from the start. It's so much better than having to level up to get your faster move like in WoW (I can still remember needing lvl 40 to get the first slow horsie lol).
Another massive boost that this game has over others is the complete control over how your character looks. It doesn't matter what items you have equipped, you can choose to use their appearance or not. Much better than in WoW, where unless you have a complete set of armour you look like a right mess.
You also seem to level really fast. Smashgob is upto level 16 after a fairly short playtime, and max level is only 30 I think. If you know what you're doing you could level VERY quickly on this game.
It's a fairly simple game, with basic gameplay - go here, bash enemies, repeat - but I haven't done any PvP or grouping yet and I imagine those things will be a lot more interesting.
For the last week or so I've been on Star Trek Online, as Mr. Gallear had been asking me to try it for a while. In usual fashion I decided to name my dude and all his officers after characters I had made for previous things, and in this case from my Star Wars stories. So for this game I made Macan Vesso, Science Officer (yes another healer, I fall for it every time).
There is a lot more to learn with this game than with DCUO, as you have both space combat and away missions. Away missions have gameplay similar to a lot of other MMORPGs, with a third person view with attacks and skills triggered from the keyboard. The main difference here is that you take an away team along with you, NPC characters who will help (or sometimes hinder) you in the battle. I expected space combat to be very fast paced, but it's a little more tactical than that, with maneuvering of your ship the most important thing to keep enemies in your optimum firing arc and hitting them in their weak spots, with some emphasis on managing power levels and using special skills that your officers give you. I expect it will be quite cool once I've figured out what the hell to do and what all the starship subsystems are for.
Since its launch the game has felt the sting of many critics, and in fairness I've already come across a lot of bizarre bugs. Check these out:
- Sometimes after changing any game options, the display can rotate 90 degrees and you have to reselect your resolution to right it.
- On one away mission, the camera went bananas and proceeded to spin around my character at high speed for about 10 seconds with me frantically zooming in and out and running around trying to get it to stop.
- While doing one space mission, Mr. Gallear logged in and invited me to form a team, which kicked me out of the team I was already in to do the mission. Odd.
- On away missions your AI away team members will sometimes "forget" to follow you and just hang around, or run back the way you've come, or run straight on and get into a fight all on their own. Buggers.
Despite its flaws I have to admit I'm quite getting into it, even though I'm not sure what all the stats and systems actually do yet. I like the flexibility you can get by training your officers in different skills for both ground combat and space combat, and the main story-driven quests are quite good (called episodes). I especially liked the Devidian story arc on an old space station, which got quite dark and mysterious by Star Trek standards.
I've done no away mission style PvP yet, but I have grouped up for a few war zones and fleet actions. For someone who is new to the game, these space combat game modes are much more intense and hard to follow, with enemy ships, phasers and torpedoes flying all over the screen. Enemy players who know what they're doing are really difficult opponents for a noob like me, and I have really liked that nobody has yet got on my back as I repeatedly get blown to bits.
I'm really not sure if these games will hold my attention long term, but the fact that they're free means I can pop on whenever I want which is ace, and how it should be. I'd no doubt still play WoW on and off if I didn't have to leave a subscription open, as would pretty much everyone I know that has played WoW in the past. It has to be said though these games are definitely not as polished as WoW, not even close, especially in terms of character animations and how they move around the environment. I would never have opened subscriptons to play either of them (well, I will no longer do any subscription game as they are all far too expensive), but I have no problem shelling out a few quid here and there for any unlockable extras I might like. In fact, I've already bought a liberated Borg officer for STO.
In terms of the future of this page, I'm hoping to do more stuff on these two games, as well as try other free online stuff. I was originally eyeing up League Of Legends, but after seeing some footage I'm not sure. And I've recently (finally!) ordered Arkham City, which I have been itching to play for a while.
Macan Vesso and away team
Fleet action action
Do the Thriller dance