Let’s Make This … Difficult

Note: I’m not playing DCUO anymore …

So, what you’ve probably come to expect from me so far are wide-ranging articles about very general and abstract concepts that reference more than one game. And, to be honest, I have a couple of those percolating in the back of my mind . But lately, I’ve been playing DC Universe Online, and I think that I can sum up that game in one sentence:

Healing potions have a cooldown.

Yep, you read right. At least the initial healing potions — called Soder Cola, I believe, which I’m sure is some great reference to something really cool in the DC Universe, but I was never that big a fan of DC comics — have a cooldown timer on their activations. Which means that after you use one, you have to wait before you can use one again. For a surprisingly long time.

Now, this might be okay for something like the “Rest” button from City of Heroes, which is a power and all and so if it didn’t have a cooldown you could just keep using it and using it and using it. But these things are, in fact, consumables. You can pick them up in the game and can buy them from associates, but they cost you money and you always only have a limited amount of them. So you aren’t going to be able to keep using them, since you’ll run out eventually. The game should let you down them like, well, soda if you want, since you’ll eventually run out or have to conserve them at other points in the game to make up for the spamming of them you did in the part that you found more difficult.

Ultimately, it seems to me that DCUO was so worried about the game being too easy that they decided to make it more difficult through really, really odd means. The game is chaotic and even at lower levels just tosses additional objectives at you, even in final boss missions where you’re having enough trouble just keeping Power Girl from pounding you into the floor. Especially since if you do happen to get knocked out, the health of your enemies and those extra objectives tend to reset, at least in the final instanced stages. So, in order to avoid making it too easy, they may have made it too difficult.

That will not bode well for the future of that game. Especially since DCUO has the potential to draw an awful lot of casual gamers in who want to fight alongside Superman and Batman or Lex Luthor and the Joker. Those sorts of gamers will not take the frustration of retrying and retrying and retrying well.

(Another note: TOR uses the same system. It’s very irritating, but the story is strong enough to drag me through that one).

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