It’s time to gear up your customized caped crusader, because Wonder Woman is bringing back the epic storytelling.
DC Universe Online, the free-to-play massively multiplayer online role player that gives you the chance to fight crime in the same world as Batman and Superman, is getting its 10th downloadable expansion this week that will kick off a new trilogy. It is Amazon Fury, and it has players teaming up with Wonder Woman as she attempts to fight off her own people in a civil war that will span three downloadable-content releases for DCUO. Developer Sony Online Entertainment also just released a free update called Weapon Mastery that completely revamps the melee combat system. Both Amazon Fury and Weapon Mastery are available now to subscribing members of DCUO. Everyone else can get the DLC expansion on Tuesday.
“The Amazons are having a civil war right now that’s spilling out onto the streets of Gotham City, and you’re going to be thrust right into the middle of it,” DCUO senior creative director Jens Andersen told GamesBeat. “There’s a lot of fun things that go into imagining what that situation is like.”
Andersen sees the Amazon Fury trilogy as a return to form for the storytelling in DCUO.
“This is the kick off to a fantastic trilogy where Greek myth comes alive on your screen, and you can interact with it,” said Andersen. “When we started releasing our initial DLC packs, some of them were climaxes to cliffhangers from the main game, and others were sorta one-offs that introduced something new and then just ended. But players wanted to get back to doing the more long-term story-driven events, and so the trilogy is a great way for us to do that. We were able to go back to our roots.”
Amazon Fury will have Wonder Woman fighting with her mother, Hippolyta, and her nemesis, Circe. The developer also added many enemies from Greek myth, including harpies and a cyclops. All of this will break out on the same streets that Batman patrols in Gotham.
While Amazon Fury is the kick off of the trilogy, the next expansion in the pipeline after that is not part two. Instead, SOE is planning on staggering the entries in the three-party adventure because it doesn’t want to overwhelm players with a single storyline. That is especially important since not all players will enjoy a Wonder Woman-based (or, say, a Green Latern-based) narrative.
“It’s also great for us from a production standpoint, said Andersen. “It gives us time to really bake the assets and really spend a lot of time making a high-quality release because we know we are building to something.”
While working on the start of a Wonder Woman trilogy, SOE simultaneously developed the Weapon Mastery update. This will enable players to combine different melee-combat attacks in one combo.
“We wanted to get a feature into the game that would enable players to use multiple weapons along with their superpowers,” said Andersen. “So, normally, you could pick one of the 12 weapons in the game, and you would be able to use that in concert with your power. Now you can roll back and forth between weapons.”
For example, the Weapon Mastery combos enable players to go from a one-handed combo to a dual-handed attack without missing a beat.
“From there, you can activate a superpower from your tray, and if you do it at the right time, it gets bonus damage or — if you’re in a support role — it gets reduced power cost,” said Andersen.
This also brings some balance to the fighting in DCUO.
Weapon Mastery combos are all about timing, which SOE created to counter a popular combat technique in DCUO called “clipping.” This is where a player interrupts their characters’ attack animation to perform two moves at once for extra damage.
With Weapon Mastery, players who do not enjoy clipping, will now have the ability to do just as much damage (or sometimes more) as the clippers while also getting to still enjoy the full animations of their super hero.
This all comes just months after DCUO debuted on the PlayStation 4. That release reinvigorated the player numbers for the MMO. Andersen told us that 15 percent of PS4 owners have downloaded the free-to-play game. SOE is likely hoping that the introduction of a new combat mechanic and the start of an interesting new storyline will not only keep the longtime players happy but will also get the new PS4 fans excited.