Fresh off the E3 track, the DC Universe Online team had a presence at Fan Faire but unfortunately they didn't have anything new to show. That didn't stop us from getting new information though.
It's always a personal pleasure to drill the DC Universe Online team with questions about the game and where it's at. Unfortunately the team wasn't showing anything new at Fan Faire, so we caught up with the Senior Producer, Wes Yanagi to ask all the questions that we haven't received clear answers on yet. Check out our findings...
ZAM: You've gone into some detail about PvP. Can you give us some more information about how PvP will work in DC Universe Online?
Wes Yanagi: First of all, PvP is always going to be consensual. The main thing with Heroes and Villains is that it lends itself naturally to PvP encounters, so a choice you can make for PvP is say, picking a PvP server, where all bets are off. If you're on a PvE server, we'll have 'flagging' for folks to toggle onto PvP mode. The different choices that you make there are like going into a PvP zone. You'll know that it's a zone and it's contested or something like that and that will be a choice you can make. Nothing will be required for people who don't like PvP to go into this. The other thing would be something like battlegrounds where players go into contested missions and instances - so that's PvP right there. The most interesting one is going to be contested encounters. In that case you'll have, say, an armoured car that's going down the street and you'll look at that encounter and go "OK that's fully marked as a contested encounter," so as a villain you might go knock it off and take the object inside of it. Now you have to transport that to a safe house or extraction point. If someone was on the hero side, he might be flying by and see the encounter and see you flagged for PvP. That hero can say "yeah I want to engage in that," so then he has to go in and get that same objective and transport it to the vault to secure it.
ZAM: Games like World of Warcraft have done a great job with Realm vs. Realm or Faction vs. Faction type PvP, where you're taking over a zone, or you're competing against each other in arena for currency points where you can buy items. What plans for natural PvP progression does the team have for DC Universe Online in terms of natural PvP progression, to keep the player engaged?
Wes: Well, you know, the other part of it is going to be "what happens in the world." We have the concept of "rule the world or save it." Eventually down the line we'll have areas that will hopefully get affected by those types of encounters and by the 'state' of PvP.
ZAM: You mentioned contested content. Is it safe to assume that we will see contested raid content in game?
Wes: Definitely we'll eventually have that. We really need to balance it because once you get that many involved, a lot of chaos will ensue. It would be really cool, but we just need to make sure it's playing correctly - fun.
ZAM: Obviously, with contested raid content; dealing with super heroes, one can only imagine what they would be contesting. It seems pretty far-fetched to think that they would be going after a large named rat or something like that. Can you give us an example of the kind of contested content that players might see in raids?
Wes: We're still developing those ideas right now, so I don't really have any details, but they will be something big, like you said; large scale events with something really important happening in the world.
ZAM: What about crafting? That's something we haven't heard a lot about. Is it safe to assume that characters who build their hero, like Lex Luthor, will be developing mechanical suits and doing activities like that to enhance their evilness?
Wes: I would like to talk about Secret ID right now, but unfortunately I can't. But it'll definitely go through all of that.
ZAM: But Crafting is definitely something players can expect to hear about soon?
Wes: Yes, definitely, crafting will definitely be in the game.
ZAM: Not all superheroes fly or run at lightning speed. Superheroes like Batman have cars, jets and boats. What kinds of vehicles or modes of transportation will superheroes have available to them?
Wes: Right now we're kind of imagining the superhero as a vehicle. With all of these characters you can fly or you can go super speed or you have acrobatics to get around the city quickly. They are, in a way, like a tank or a car, and we're treating them that way. Otherwise you have weird things like "OK, if I'm in a car, can I stick my head out the window to shoot eye beams" or something like that. We really want to treat the character as the vehicle.
ZAM: But, I mean, with characters like Batman, it's kind of hard to imagine him without a freakin' awesome Batmobile rolling down the street. Will there be anything like that, or is it just something you can't talk about yet.
Wes: Well, we will have the Batmobile in the game! But not for player heroes.
ZAM: Player Housing is something players like as fluff. Obviously, in DC Universe Online, player housing will go beyond the Bat Cave or Superman's Secret Lair. What kind of things can players expect, on a player by player basis?
Wes: Well we're still tossing around ideas for that. The big thing that we have is the central cities for the players, or their equivalent cities, I should say. So we have the Watch Tower and the Hall of Doom. Those are going to be the main things that players congregate and socialize in. Specifically with housing, we're still trying to figure out how that integrates with those planes, and work those through.
ZAM: One of the most important aspects of an MMO, and consequently something that can really screw it up, is a player based economy - one that is able to maintain itself over a long period of time. What kind of plans do you have for a player driven economy?
Wes: Well, it's really hard to answer that right now because we're still building our systems. A lot of that is based on items and crafting, so once those systems are fully functional, and on top of all of that you have to have all of your encounters in because the rate at which things enter the world also plays a part in that. It's too early for us to tell right now, but we definitely have a lot of experience from games like EverQuest, EverQuest II and Star Wars Galaxies. Our designers have those issues in their minds and we're definitely going to have systems in place to keep track and monitor and make sure it's balanced.
ZAM: Thanks for answering our questions Wes!
Wes: You're welcome. Thank you!
Andrew "Tamat" Beegle