Robin is a gear vendor

So I’ve hit level 30 in DC Universe and got access to the end game content. After a quick guided tour of the daily quests by voice-in-your-ear-girl I was led into a meeting with Batman who deals out the Joker storyline culmination quest. It’s nice to see they don’t stop with the story missions just because you hit 30.

Daily quests are best described in terms of Warcrafts Daily Dungeons. You get a bunch of quests in the same dungeon and you get marks of triumph (that’s what they’re called, honestly) for completing them, as well as mark for completing the dungeons themselves.

The game comes with a fully fleshed end game. On day Zero. Only one man could pull of that kind of thing. The fucking Batman.

There are two raids for 8 players, one against Black Adam, who is some kind of ancient spandex wizard trying to raise his wife from the dead, and that’s bad apparently. The other is fighting Brainiac, in the goddamn Batcave.

There are 6 Hard Mode Alerts (4 player dungeons), with one of them being a Hard-mode Area 51 (which is the first instance you get to do) two of the others are in iconic locations within the DC universe. Arkham Asylum where you battle Poison Ivy, Scarecrow and Mr Freeze, Smallville, which Lex Luthor has turned into a wasteland. The rest are interesting – Ace Chemicals, the Jokers Hideout which has been taken over by T.O. Morrow, Strykers Island Penitentiary in Metropolis and the Watchtower Containment facility which both have suffered super-human prisoner breakouts.

Then there’s Duos. Probably the most interesting type of end-game content. You replay your old missions at max level with a friend. Considering how good some of the bossfights were, it’s no surprise they want to chuck it up to 11 and let you try again. My list, unfortunately, seems to consist of some of the less memorable instances. Gorilla Grod was a bit mediocre, and the OMAC base was frantic, but an anti-climax. I’ve not done the HIVE base so I can’t comment on that, and the only decent one was Brother Blood in Gotham University. But the best fights are missing. Aquaman, Spectre, The Joker attack on the Hotel, Bane in the Lighthouse. The only thing I can think of is that maybe they’re on a daily rotation, or that they’ve not actually buffed them properly for duos yet but they’ll come in eventually as ‘new’ content. Either way, there’s more than enough PvE content to satisfy the end-game junkie for now.

There are three types of PvP play too. First is Arenas, which is pretty obvious. You take your character into an arena and fight. Second is Legends, where you take an iconic character into battle, like Batman, or the Joker (although I’ve only unlocked Robin at the moment, you unlock more characters by playing more legends matches). After all that, there are quests to go kill enemy players in the world. Now, on PvE servers that’s a bit annoying to try and find PvP enabled villians to battle, but on a PvP server, well, there you go, get ganking. Just remember you don’t get kill credit if they’re less than 5 levels lower than you.

This is all just fantastic. This is the first MMO I’ve played in years with a fully fleshed out end-game on release. Not only that, but multiple methods of PvP, including World-PvP, which is a rarity, especially in games as instanced as this one.

It has a fantastic levelling experience, and is a triumph of story-driven questing. The quests themselves are a little bit grindy and I would ideally like to see the enemies toughened and the number to kill dropped, but as it stands it’s excellent. Especially the sense of completion and climax the majority of the lines give.

The downside to all this was detailed in my last post, the game is full of bugs, the interface is horrible and sluggish, the chat interface is as anti-social as a lonely alcoholic Ned sitting on his own in a park on the roundabout cradling a bottle of Buckfast in one hand and a baseball bat in the other. The costume creator is lacklustre and underfeatured, but by no means terrible. Yes, I have been spoiled by Champions and APB, but I haven’t found anyone with identical characters (indeed, they’re normally travelling too fast to see anyway) which is more than I can say for World of Warcraft.

I was all ready to hate this game. I was ready to dismiss the end game as nothing but the same content rehashed and regurgitated, but I found myself surprised. I’m sorely tempted to get a subscription. Seriously, even with it’s flaws the game is sublime, and it has lastability. The bugs can be fixed, the costume creator can be expanded, the interface can be redesigned. The core game is what’s important, and that is the best I’ve seen in years.

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