Questions by Shannon Doyle (Leliah)
Answers by Senior Creative Director Jens Anderson
I recently had an opportunity to sit down with DCUO’s Senior Creative Director Jens Anderson to find out a little more about Update 32, Armories, Rage Powers and more. We also reflected on 2013 and looked ahead to 2014. I’d like to thank Jens for taking the time to answer all of these questions. We can’t wait to get our hands on everything.
Leliah: Since Armories were announced the community has expressed a lot of concerns about everything from it being a game breaker to the idea that it will mean more complex and difficult content in the future. Will armories change how the game is played?
[JA] I think that the community in general is pretty excited about Armories. Of course, people have lots of questions regarding them, but all the buzz I have been hearing has led me to believe they can’t wait to finally see this system go live – the sooner the better.
I think it is safe to say that Armories will change the game a great deal. In fact, I think it might be one of the most important things we have ever added to the game since launch. They will be a huge convenience for players that like to do lots of different activities in DCUO, or want to customize their character’s look more easily.
Leliah: How will certain concerns like swapping from pvp to pve or going from healing to DPS mid combat be addressed?
[JA] We have added a few new mechanics to the game to make sure we are not creating imbalances, while still retaining the convenience and freedom that Armories are meant to provide.
First, we put some constraints on how they can be used in both PvE and PvP instances. In both cases, players will be able to switch at any time while out of combat. There is no penalty for this. During PvE combat, we added a new type of cooldown that only allows players to use it once in a while. The ‘in combat’ and ‘out of combat’ modes are exclusive, but the cooldown timer is persisting in the background. Meaning, when you drop combat you can switch armories, but if you get back into combat and the armory is still on cooldown, you won’t be able to switch again.
Second, we completely restricted the ‘in combat’ use in PvP; players will have to leave combat entirely in order to switch. We felt this was very important to maintaining predictability in PvP.
Leliah: This feature seems to have a lot of players concerned. Is there anything you can say that would perhaps calm nerves?
[JA] The great thing about DCUO is that we are always able to make refinements to the game. We want our players to get the best experience possible and really take community feedback to heart. That said, we’ve heard a lot of excitement and anticipation through our channels, so I encourage anyone with questions to talk with other players on the forums. We have thought about these systems for quite some time, and I think players are really going to enjoy Armories.
Leliah: So much of Update 32’s buzz has been around armories. And we also know that the holiday event will launch with it. But what other things can we expect in the update?
[JA] To clarify, Armories are actually separate from GU32 and are coming to DCUO in early 2014.
The Nature and Sorcery revamps are a couple of the biggest things coming with GU32. Our community has been waiting for the two power revamps for some time and we’re happy to finally roll those out. This update will also restrict the Home Turf trinkets in PvP death matches. Players found that the death matches were dragging on extra long since the Home Turf trinkets came into play, so we decided to remove them from that game mode.
Leliah: Ever since the War of the Light DLC was announced people have been eager to get information about it. What can you tell us about War of the Light?
[JA] War of the Light Part I is a significant DLC. Not only because it will be the first of the trilogy format we plan on implementing, but it will be our first attempt at revisiting one of the major cities in DCUO. Metropolis has been totally re-envisioned for the War of the Light and the old content has all been replaced with missions that deal with the new storyline. Players will see Mogo and Ranx in the sky, and lanterns from four of the major Corps doing battle around them. We also got some great feedback from our players and reworked how the rewards will be distributed for completing the content. It’s a new dawn in DCUO with the launch of War of the Light Part I.
Leliah: Rage Power has been hinted at here and there, and there have been several forum goers who have guessed that it would be coming. But no one has heard anything about what it’s actually like. So, what is it like? And how will it fit in with others?
[JA] Rage powers are pretty cool. It features a new type of tanking mechanic for players to master called “Rage Crash.” Players can activate abilities that allow them to take damage but then heal it right back. This effect lasts for the duration of the ability – 8 seconds – and then the health that was healed is then reapplied as damage. Players can mitigate this by activating other abilities, or they can avoid it all together by keeping rage combos going or activating their supercharge. It takes a lot of skill, but if players master Rage Crash they can avoid taking any damage altogether; but, take care, if anything goes wrong, the crash can be devastating.
Leliah: Has a date been decided on yet for when War of the Light will be available?
[JA] War of the Light Part I will launch early in 2014.
Leliah: What were some of the biggest challenges the development team faced in 2013?
[JA] Hands down I would say that getting DCUO on the PS4 while trying to maintain our normal development was a huge challenge. The team really rose to the occasion.
Leliah: In your opinion what was the biggest thing to come to DCUO in 2013, perhaps something that has yet to arrive?
[JA] Aside from launching on the PS4, it’s too hard to point at any one thing. From the DLCs and powers that were added, to quality of life improvements in the UI, and all of the new systems that entered the game, 2013 was a huge year for DCUO.
I think some of my favorite things that were added came with the Legends characters, like Cheetah and Circe. I really love playing them in Legends PvP.
Leliah: Was there perhaps something on the table for 2013 that everyone really wanted to work on but it just never happened?
[JA]We really wanted to get armories out sooner, but it will just miss the 2013 calendar year. It is a bummer, but we want to make sure our players get a polished product and the best experience possible, even if that meant holding its release. In the end, it will be worth the wait.
Leliah: What are the studio’s goals for 2014?
[JA] To chew bubble gum and kick ass…but I think we’re all out of bubblegum. In all seriousness, we’re really excited for what 2014 holds. We have a lot of great content and new features coming up in the new year that I think our players are really going to like.
Still looking to learn more about the War of the Light? Catch the official press release that was sent out moments ago.