We recently had the opportunity to be walked through the new content patch for Sony Online Entertainment’s DC Universe Online, entitled Hand of Fate, by Creative Director Jens Andersen. In this content patch, players are tasked by either Doctor Fate or Felix Faust (Heroes and Villains respectively) to undertake three new Operations per faction. Unlike traditional content updates, these new operations task heroes with heading back out into the open world streets of Gotham and Metropolis. Additionally, players will also be given new side missions, to give the game additional depth and make the world in general feel more alive.
“The fact that this is our fifth major downloadable content pack showcases our commitment to expanding the immersive player experience through regular content updates,” said Jens Andersen, creative director on DC Universe Online. “Hand of Fate is unlike anything we’ve offered to date. From the very beginning, it was designed to draw players back out to our massive open-world cities and allow them to experience them in new, unexpected ways. We are pleased with what we have come up with and can’t wait to hear what the players think.”
Also added to the game were utility belt attachments – this quadruples the amount of trinkets a character can loadout. I know that in other MMOs, there have been a number of vanity trinkets that we've wanted to use but never did because it interfered with my optimized loadout. The example we were given during my walkthrough was a giant Superman ball that can be used in combat and just to play around with – it allows for some unique combat situations to be spawned, so that’s definitely something to be excited about.
The mission that we were walked through was one in which Felix Faust was harnessing the undead regeneration of the hulking Solomon Grundy to spawn spirits that end up terrorizing Metropolis. This isn’t what he intended to do, however, as he was attempting to become immortal himself. Heroes began the mission in Doctor Fate’s mansion, which is suddenly besieged by these spirits – after fighting a few waves off while Doctor Fate attempts to figure out what’s going on, you are tasked with going to Metropolis to fight off the invasion. At several points in the event, you are given the opportunity to split up with your party, something unique from other games. Typically in these sorts of group play sessions in other MMOs, splitting off from your party was a sure fire way to get yourself killed. However, more skilled DCUO players are given the opportunity to flex their muscles in these missions.
The other effect of these open world missions is lower level characters get the opportunity to feel like the random pedestrians of comic books, looking up in the sky and seeing an epic battle going on. To a new player of DCUO this would give them a sense of what they could expect when they get to be a higher level, and indeed, gives them incentive to keep playing.
The content that we played was certainly challenging enough, and even though SOE was nice enough to deck us out in full Tier Four gear, we still died despite being an experienced MMO player. Grundy in particular offered us a challenge that we were not able to overcome on our own, instead having to wait for the next group doing the open world mission to come along. We were able to assist them and we both ended up getting credit, which is another advantage to designing an open world encounter.
The last major addition to DCUO was PvP oriented, in that Doctor Fate and Felix Faust were added to the game in Legends PvP mode, a mode that lets you take control of your favorite DC legends. This marks the first beam type characters added to this mode and adds an entirely new layer of strategy to the matches.
The Hand of Fate DLC adds more than enough content to keep even the most hardcore player entertained for quite some time to come, and if the past four content patches are any indication, SOE will continue to provide epic level content for years to come. Legendary members of DCUO can now access the Hand of Fate DLC pack for free, and is also available to Premium and Free members of the game via PSN, the in game marketplace or for PC players via the DCUniverseOnline.com website.
Dustin Steiner is GameZone's eSports Correspondent! Follow him on Twitter @VGHC_Deitis and check out Video Gaming Hard Corps, where he is a local tournament organizer for the S. FL. Fighting Game Community.