Normally I’m a one MMO at a time sort of guy— I have never been able to juggle several titles at once—but recently I have found a nice balance between playing The Elder Scrolls Online and Final Fantasy XIV, both great games and varied enough to satisfy different elements that I enjoy in my MMOs. So naturally, having finally established a comfortable multi-game routine I decided to upset the hard earned equilibrium and add a third: DC Universe Online. I have played this title before and overall I am still not impressed with the game, but I am enjoying the play style of the “light” power set to which I gained access when I purchased the “Fight for the Light” DLC. It changes the combat into something I enjoy and grants me the privilege of joining the Green Lantern Corp which just may be enough to keep me around for a while. More on that in a bit, first an update on how things are going in the other two games I’m playing.
Having initially purchased the game over 6 months ago I have only recently entered the 40s on any job or class. I have repeatedly changed my mind on which job to focus on, lost momentum as a result, and then inevitably I end up taking a break from the game only to start over with a new class the next time I sub. This time was no different, I started over with the Ninja. However the Ninja gameplay has been such a great match for my preferred DPS play style that I have progressed in the game farther than ever before.
I recently hit level 42 and entered Coerthas for the first time, a beautiful winter zone with an intriguing story about a missing airship and the High Houses of Ishgard. I have once more out leveled the main scenario quests but I am not worrying about that anymore, I’m going to continue playing the way I enjoy—pursuing the storyline regardless of my current level, completing a few challenge logs, and running a dungeon once every play session. I will likely hit 50 long before I finish the main scenario and that’s okay.
Regrettably, I have not spent as much time in The Elder Scrolls over the last week or two as anticipated, largely because I was pushing past that level 40 barrier in FFXIV and finally moving into new content. With the time I have spent in The Elder Scrolls I have continued to focus on leveling my Daggerfall Covenant Sorcerer and trying out the new justice system. I don’t think I will ever spend a lot of time in game pursuing a life of crime, but all the same I’m glad it is there. It makes me feel like my character has more of an impact on the world and that my actions have meaning.
Now I have to be careful of who I attack and who I “borrow” materials from or else I will have to deal with slightly more realistic consequences than the standard theme park MMO where murder and theft appear only as a rewarded quest mechanic. What I have discovered is that while I love heroic quest lines and defeating world destroyers in a dungeon or raid, these big epic moments are not what endear me to a studio’s virtual world but rather it is the small interactions and environmental details that do, bringing the world to life and rooting my character in the matrix rather than placing him or her outside and above it. The justice system accomplishes exactly that, and I look forward to tinkering with it some more.
One last note regarding ESO, I do still plan on writing a second and possibly a third post on writ certification and the crafting system but it will probably be another week before I am ready. I am less versed in the consumable crafts to begin with and there were a number of big changes to provisioning with update 6 such that I need to spend a little more time in game playing around with all three consumable crafting lines but especially with the improvements to provisioning.
Downloading the client for this game was impulsive, I’ll admit. As I have stated already, the game as a whole does not impress me and I had no intention of returning after my last visit. Leveling is even more of a carbon copy experience than other MMOs with the predictable pattern of quest, quest, solo instance repeating itself ad naseam for at least the first seventeen levels of gameplay (I have yet to level further). My previous experience with the combat has been lackluster as well, with the power and weapon skill lines feeling like two separate systems operating parallel to one another rather than in tandem. It is an awkward implementation of action combat and I do not enjoy it.
However when you select light as your power set your abilities work a little differently. Normally your power set abilities are bound to keys 1-6 and your weapon set abilities are tied to a combo system conducted with your mouse. That is why it feels like two separate modes of combat— because it is. Heroes using the light powers still have a weapon set; that does not change. What is different is how the powers are integrated with mouse key combos.
As a green lantern, your hero can create a construct and then use the mouse keys in a distinct combination to create a second or third construct, chaining them one after another. So instead of using the keyboard for power set abilities and the mouse for weapon set abilities (which you still have but I largely ignore) you are enhancing your keyboard abilities with mouse combinations. Functionally this allows you to cast two to three “spells” for the cost of one, because the only resources used are on the initial construct.
This back and forth between initiating with one power and then chaining additional abilities with the mouse is much more integrated than the standard relationship between mouse and keyboard that I have experienced with other classes. Even though I technically still have a weapon set in addition to all of this, if I execute the combos correctly I never run out of resources (so far) and thus rarely have to get into brawling (which I despise).
Logically, I should not be playing this game— there is very little I find admirable about the design. Nevertheless I am enjoying myself and I will continue to play one or two days a week until I am no longer having fun. Even though I find the game to be poorly executed, there is something compelling about a super hero MMO. My hope is that in the coming years we see another studio successfully launch a well-designed game for this sub-genre. Until then you can find me wearing tights and sporting a green, glowing ring in either DCUO or at your local grocery store.