Back in October of 2011, I started playing DC Universe Online. For me to spend money on any MMO, it needs to be top notch. When I first heard that this game was going to be released, I was super amped up and prepared to spend my hard earned money on it. But then the semi-bad reviews hit, and I held back. So during that month of October, it was just going to the Free To Play model, so I said what the hell. Might as well give a try.
Before then, I haven’t played MMOs since at least 5+ years prior. My first entry into this genre was with The Matrix Online. That game, and DC Universe Online, were both from Sony Online Entertainment. The Matrix Online continued the storyline from the movies, and kept fans of the movies heavily engaged with content for many years. But then World of Warcraft grew even bigger, and people were jumping ship. So what was SOE left to do, but close up shop. Totally understandable, it’s all business. If you search on YouTube now, I’m sure you will find videos of people having online parties just before the servers closed.
Through that game, I made many online friendships. Even met many people offline that were in my area. On top of that, I was also part of an online radio station that was geared towards players of the game, so that they could have music to listen to in the background. This was in the pre-Pandora days, so there wasn’t that much online music to listen to. I tell you all of this just to show how much a MMO could mean to a person. As much as it’s a game, it’s also a place where many people make friendships as they grind to being the best they can be in said game.
When I started playing DCUO a year ago, I stuck with the game for a good 3-4 months. I only played it casually, mostly on weekends when I had time. But I started to get a little bored and semi-frustrated with the game, and started to see why it was getting the reviews it received. Perhaps it was the UI, or movements, but I just felt a little restricted. Throw in the fact that I wasn’t part of a big league (otherwise known as guilds or clans in other games), I didn’t have many people to play with and show me the ropes. Then Star Wars: The Old Republic came out and DCUO was put on the shelf.
Fast forward to a month ago, in early September. I’ve since stopped playing SWTOR, mainly because there is not much to do after you hit the level cap. I’ve also been mainly playing console games, that’s just where I feel more at home at. But something made me launch up DCUO once again. Perhaps it was because I was watching a couple of livestreams over at Twitch.TV of people playing the game. So I figured, might as well give it another go, I mean… it is free after all.
This time around I made a villain, and found a great group of players to join into a league with. This time around I am learning more about the powers and how they interact with all the gear you pick up. I’m learning more about the content after you hit the level cap of 30, and how to get even better gear. Overall, I’m learning how to play the game the way it was meant to be played, and that’s what is making it so much more enjoyable to me. The fact that I can actually get through missions, and big raids with other players, and not get killed every two seconds.
But on top of all of this, the people over at DCUO continue to engage their fans on social media and newsletters, plus they continue to release new content. Not only is there content after you hit level 30, but they also have many seasonal events. Just this month, there will be a Halloween themed event featuring Klarion the Witch Boy. If you know who he is, then you know he’s the perfect pick of a character to cause havoc during Halloween.
In the end, I will tell you all to fully do your research about the MMO game your playing. Don’t hang up the game simply because you think the game is too hard. I think I may have forgotten the first time around, that MMOs are not meant to be super easy. They are meant to be games that you get a lot of content out of, and you grind to get better.
With more and more MMOs going Free to Play these days, I wonder if this is the new model of the future. I should add that I currently have subscribed to the legendary package for DCUO, mainly because the F2P package enticed me to get even more. So they definitely won me over, as I’m sure they are winning those other die-hard MMOs players over.
Games like Guild Wars 2 only make you pay for the game itself, and the online service is free. So do you think this Free to Play model is here to stay?