DEVELOPMENT UPDATE - OCTOBER 2021
Hello heroes. I'm watching you, villains. Please read on for your October 2021 Development Update, and learn more about what the team has been up to and what's next for DC Universe Online.
What follows are our plans laid out as transparently as possible based what we know or expect to be true - as of right now.
Plans can always change.
If you do not read this whole update, here's what you need to know:
- Episode 42 is LEGION OF DOOM, out this December!
With that said, let's catch up on what we have been working on.
PREVIOUSLY ON DCUO: JULY-SEPTEMBER
Where did the summer go? Into overhauled access levels and membership, and into Episode 41: House of Legends, that's where.
The access level changes launched this August and have done what we wanted them to do. FREE episodes for everyone has more people playing the game, and more regularly. Unlimited cash for premium has fundamentally changed how these dedicated non-subscribers play. And the new daily rewards system - aptly named Doctor Fate's Daily Rewards - has everyone logging in more to claim free stuff. That applies especially to members, who get +3x the daily rewards.
Our goal with these access level changes - in conjunction with Episode 41's changes - was to make membership not feel required to have fun playing the game and to also be such a good deal you'd be a little bit crazy not to partake. We think we have hit that mark, and it shows.
To everyone, and especially to our members, THANK YOU for your support. We can't do any of this without you.
Episode 41: House of Legends launched this August and also brought fundamental changes to how content is played. This episode featured the new shared hero and villain hub, the House of Legends itself, the Allies system, an updated On Duty menu and Omnibus (scaling older content and full rewards regardless of Combat Rating), and the first Save the Universe events.
We also celebrated Batman Day with gifts and the incredible new Manor Lair, based on Bruce's own Wayne Manor. More new styles arrived in the Booster Bundle, the Suicide Squad Pack, and the Resurgence Mega Capsule, as well as in Doctor Fate's Daily Rewards.
PREVIOUSLY AT DIMENSIONAL INK: JULY-SEPTEMBER
Our teams spent most of our time working on Episode 41 these past months. This was one of the most ambitious episodes we have done, if not the most ambitious. We learned a lot and continued to refine all of the new systems we introduced post-launch.
All of our teams continued work on and mostly wrapped up the fall seasonal event and fall fest, and began work on the winter event.
The art and design teams then rolled onto Episode 42 (see below) and things are looking fantastic (really, see below). They also knocked out the next Time Capsule due after Resurgence.
NEXT ON DCUO: OCTOBER-DECEMBER
First of all, we have new and revamped bonus weeks in the works, based on how Episode 41 added or changed how our different systems work. Bonus weeks forever!
We will also see the next Time Capsule, Fall Fest, the fall seasonal event (The Witching Hour), the winter seasonal event (Season's Greedings), and of course holiday sales you won't want to miss. We will walk you through the Blue Beetle style process and status, and get you a few first looks (finally). In October, the third round of Save the Universe content will hit, featuring Wonder Woman classics, and we will celebrate Wonder Woman Day, too.
Oh, also - we will launch Episode 42: Legion of Doom this December!
Washington D.C. & Hall of Justice (WORK IN PROGRESS)
Episode 42: Legion of Doom
The events beginning with Metal have unleashed the Multiverse's greatest threat.
The Source Wall is broken. The Batman Who Laughs is imprisoned, but for how long? Lex Luthor has reappeared, leading the Multiverse's most dangerous Super Villains - The Legion of Doom - in service to their cruel benefactor, Perpetua!
Perpetua, freed when the Source Wall was damaged, has returned with the power to destroy or recreate the Multiverse however she desires.
Hope is not lost. The Monitor has foreseen this threat, and the Multiverse's greatest heroes and villains have already been training night and day in his House of Legends. What was imprisoned once can be imprisoned again...right?
In LEGION OF DOOM, it will be up to you to face this impossible challenge - to stop Perpetua, face down the Legion of Doom, and save the Multiverse - or vanish forever from existence!
Jack's Take: "I’m thrilled the DCUO team is taking one of DC’s great mega events and doing their own spin on it. Perpetua is one of the most fascinating villains to come along, and this time I'm not sure our players will be able to stop her." - Jack Emmert, CEO
Rob's Take: "We have the whole content team working on the finale raid. We are going big with four bosses, a great story, full mechanics throughout, and all the difficulty levels, right through to a refined elite+ set of optional challenges. It's really going to be something else, and I can't wait for everyone to play it." - Rob "Charon" Frazier, Lead Content Designer
Allison's Take: "It has been so much fun working on a new open world set in Washington D.C. This is actually our first 'real world' open world, and incorporating the very recognizable monuments and buildings of the National Mall with iconic locations from the comics gives this map a special feel. Working on the Hall of Justice was particularly satisfying because it is such a nostalgic location for DC fans! I hope everyone enjoys the details throughout." - Allison "Oceans" Dela Cruz, Senior Artist
THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT LEGION OF DOOM:
- LEGION OF DOOM will offer normal and elite versions of all On Duty content, along with level-agnostic event versions available for a limited time.
- The content will include open world missions in addition to a duo, an alert, and a large raid.
- The episode will feature characters from the Legion of Doom, including Ultraviolet Sinestro, Cheetah, Giganta, and more.
- The storyline will include adventures set across the Multiverse, including in an all-new open world Washington, D.C., centered on the Hall of Justice.
- The episode will launch new player rewards, including gear, styles, base items, an ally, and feats.
EPISODE 42: LEGION OF DOOM will launch in December 2021 on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.
NEXT AT DIMENSIONAL INK: OCTOBER-DECEMBER
As you might have guessed, we have a lot of Episode 42 work to do, so a majority of our efforts will be there through launch.
We also have Episode 41 work continuing, with the biggest emphasis now on refining how scaling works. Our goal still remains for over-leveled players to feel powerful returning to Omnibus content, but not in a way that breaks the game.
Here's what we expect to dig into:
- Increase the scaling "target" Combat Rating to +15 from NPC level
- Decrease the early end game buff for players being scaled down in On Duty content
- Increase the early end game buff for players being scaled down in On Duty content WHEN at least half of the group is being scaled up
- Increase damage for players being scaled up in On Duty content
- Allow block to heal players being scaled up in On Duty content
- (Stretch) Investigate allowing full "stat piercing" to all players in elite versions of content (instead of stats diminishing)
- This means all of your effort into skill points, artifacts, etc. will fully apply in elites
Increased target Combat Rating means everyone gets scaled down less, and the power difference here is quite noticeable. The adjustments to the early end game buff work complementary to the CR increase, and are designed to either encourage players to help lower levels or at least use Omnibus with the knowledge that they will become More Powerful to compensate for their less powerful group.
Increasing damage and allowing block to heal scaled up players also makes these players More Powerful, too, so they can help the instance go faster with better damage and also survive. This may also help teach newer players to use block!
Finally, elite content is where you want and sometimes need all of your extra work to shine. We are looking into the tech we need to allow full stat piercing in elite content (only), so you can have all of that power available. (Early end game buffs will still not apply in elite content.)
Please know we recognize this transition to scaling content has been trying for some. We see and are acting on your feedback, because we know this new paradigm has so many benefits for the long-term future of DCUO. We will continue to do so.
Moving on, our art and UI teams will begin work refining the new user interfaces for Doctor Fate's Daily Rewards and Allies. On the one hand, there was more we wanted to do for polish but didn't get to with House of Legends. On the other hand, we have seen your feedback - especially for Allies - and we will work to make sure the information is presented as clearly as possible. The Systems team will also continue to review feedback for changes and fixes to existing Allies.
The engineering team will begin work on a massive database migration. This is relatively uninteresting to anyone who is not on the dev team really exciting for everyone because this is the largest of many behind the scenes improvements to our infrastructure. For the past couple of years we have been on a continual "spring cleaning" of the DCUO back end - upgrading hardware, the team's tools, and libraries that in some cases had not been updated in 10 years.
We have to be very meticulous to make sure that we don't break things as we go (ok... try not to break things as we go), but the end goal is to transition DCUO's back end and infrastructure to modern standards, to better tools, and to better hardware that will allow us to bring new features to the game faster than a speeding bullet, that are more powerful than a locomotive, and so on. This is work that won't yield immediate results you can see, but will over the years ahead in where we can take the game.
Finally, we will begin work to update our anniversary event for 2022, wrap up the Blue Beetle style, and get into the early stages of Episode 43, due out next spring.
NEXT ON DCUO: JANUARY - THE FUTURE
Let's take a moment to peer into future of 2022.
The anniversary event will return this January. We will release the Blue Beetle gear style, we will launch Episode 43, and we will have a native PS5 client. Of course the Valentine's Day and St. Patrick's Day seasonal events will return, too.
That's all I can share now, but make sure you check back for our big January/Anniversary development update, where we'll really let loose about 2022.
More on the future as we live it.
If paragraphs are not your thing, maybe calendars are!
Thank you for reading this October 2021 Development Update. Please join the discussion on the official forums and let us know what you think!
Landon "Panderus" Falls
DC Universe Online