DC Universe Online Free As A Bird/Plane

More than anything, it makes me want a Freedom Force style DC game

As promised back in September, DC Universe Online is now free to play. While the combat isn’t quite as smooth as Mr Wayne’s moves in his Arkham adventures, it’s a lot more punchy than what passes for fisticuffs in most massively multiplayer efforts. Playing for free only provides two character slots and there are limits on inventory size among other things, including an inability to trade. You can see all the difference between paid and free subscription at the site.

I’d say it’s well worth a look for anyone interested in the characters and world, and it’s an entertaining solo game for a while if nothing else. I’m hoping this helps to repopulate Gotham since DCUO is the only online RPG I actually play. It’s lonely in there with no one to watch me brooding in the shadows. Get it here.


  1. Chizu says:

    I enjoyed this game for the initial month I played it, but I never really felt compelled to resub to continue playing.
    However, now that its free, I shall most likely be playing it again, along with anyone else I can drag into it.

  2. Richie Shoemaker says:

    I wonder how long until a free MMO announces it’s going to a subs model, before all the others follow suit.

    • Dominic White says:

      Call of Duty just added a subscription service. Naturally, Activision is the only company backpedalling so hard away from positive change that they’re finding new and inventive ways to rip people off.

  3. Quizboy says:

    Launchpad.exe is not responding.

    Oh Sony Online Entertainment, never change.

    I don’t mean that as praise.

    I mean they’re incapable of it.

    • Aankhen says:

      In that case, you might want to fix the placement of that comma. ;-)

  4. Was Neurotic says:

    Speaking as a life-long Marvel fan, the intro video that sets up the whole concept of the DCUO continuity is really well written and brilliantly executed. It’s a pretty simple idea but it totally sells the idea of Joe Public becoming a superhero in a cool, fitting way. Tee vid even gets a little bit meta at the end as it segues into the character creator.

    Speaking as a life-long SOE gamer (EQ1, 2, X, VG, PS, SWG), my download and install of the DCUO launcher was smooth, quick and flawless. No problems at all.

    Oh, SOE, never change.

    I mean that as praise.

  5. Scatterbrainpaul says:

    Just out of interest, what was the last new mmo that hasn’t gone free to play and been successful? I guess Rift is still doing ok, but can’t think of many more

    There can’t be that many ones that require a sub left can there?

  6. mjig says:

    Been downloading all morning, looking forward to checking it out. The 14gb download sucks, though, and no streaming option.

    How is the green lantern powerset? I would kill for a Green Lantern game as good as Arkham Asylum.

    • Berzee says:

      Great googly-moogly, it does take a good while doesn’t it? I’ve been downloading for 5 and a half hours and I still have more than half to go!

      Should be fun though. I like making superheroes in MMOs and then never actually playing them. Three cheers for character creators!

    • Was Neurotic says:

      I made a lantern first of all. At level two you can choose your first ‘hard light’ power, which was a choice between something I’ve forgotten now and some claws – think Wolverine, but really massive.

      It’s just the UI I don’t like – or rather, I like it but dislike the fact you can’t reposition it. You can scale it, but making it smaller just causes it all to float off into space, whereas I like to keep my bits and bobs tucked away at the edges. Oh well, they’re working on it, apparently. :)

  7. Anthile says:

    There are plenty of fan campaigns, that happen to be very good, as well as fan-made recreations of Marvel and DC superheroes available for Freedom Force. Definitely worth a Mods And Ends article. *hint hint*

  8. Amasius says:

    I saw a hero named “John Walker” hanging out in the watchtower the last days. We even did the Halloween event together. Your disguise won’t fool me, Adam! :P

  9. TheBigBookOfTerror says:

    Downloaded it over night, logged in this morning. I can’t tell much of a difference between the basic free and upgraded premium free-play after spending 500 points (all free that I’ve collected up over time on promos. Very handy!) I did upgrade pretty much straight away though. I think the extra inventory slots will be most useful, I tend to only stick with one character. It’s very smooth, no lag, the graphics are lovely and it’s nice just flying about. I like the fighting, I found it more involving than other super hero mmos. The only criticism I have is once in, I can’t figure out how to separely change colours of item. I’d like to alter a pair of gloves that I bought, but it changes the top as well. Also, the items available aren’t very interesting. I have a sweet pair of cosmic boots with a constantly moving starfield that I like, but everything else I bought was crap. I’ll definitely be sticking with it for a while, even when Skyrim releases.

  10. TheBigBookOfTerror says:

    Fortunately they are ignoring and will continue to ignore it according to a recent press release.

  11. Urthman says:

    I’ve never played an MMO, but this has me sorely tempted. One question:

    I’ve got an ISP deal where I have unlimited bandwidth in off hours (midnight to noon) but a fairly small monthly cap during regular gaming hours. For single-player stuff this is no problem, I download a game overnight and play whenever I want.

    But how does that work for an MMO (specifically this one)? Does it use a lot of bandwidth after the initial game download? Is it going to suddenly push a few extra gigs onto my hard drive if I step into a new area?

    • eZ` says:

      Once it’s downloaded, it’s downloaded. The only data you’ll be receiving is server data such as player/npc positioning, loot, chat etc. In theory no more than about 5-10kB/s. It could add up to a few hundred megabytes a week if you played solidly though.

    • DickSocrates says:

      There is a bandwidth monitor out there (can’t remember what it’s called, sorry. It’s free!) you could run at the same time to get a general idea of how much you use per session. But as The Ninja Foodstuff formerly known as ASBO said, it’s not likely to be that much. Less than watching videos for sure. It’s not like Second Life where everthing is streamed in, nothing is streamed in.

    • Inigo says:

      link to metal-machine.de

  12. jonfitt says:

    The premium-free looks like it is a ncie boost to free and only requires you to spend $5+ which is quite reasonable if you like the game. I could see myself doing that.

  13. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    So, how does this compare to (the much older) CoX? Just the game, I’m assuming the free versions will have similar restrictions.

  14. The Ninja Foodstuff formerly known as ASBO says:

    After the last RPS feature on this, I’ve been looking forward to trying it out. I previously installed COH but loaded it up and the UI just reminded me of world of warcraft which instantly turned me off. Here’s hoping this will be a better experience.

  15. Arglebargle says:

    Has their awful UI, chat, and clickety click click power activations changed? Ist it reasonable to play on keyboard and mouse now, or just on a controller? Is Superman still Ice powered? Has the character creation choice improved?

    It felt like a console action game with less than a month’s worth of content before. Still the case?

    • Wulf says:

      “It felt like a console action game with less than a month’s worth of content before. Still the case?”

      I can’t comment on the others, but according to the DC Universe Online forums on MMORPG.com, they’ve added very, very little content since launch. I’ve even seen some snide comments like that Sony has finally found the proper price point for their game.

      So yeah. Don’t know about the others having changed, but the astounding lack of content is still present.

  16. Torgen says:

    I enjoyed the artwork and some of the mission stories (Joker’s initial missions are very neat,) but the whole thing about giving Wonder Woman occult powers, Superman getting Ice Powers, no Super Strength set, etc soured me on the game. I did go out and buy a gamepad just for the beta, as I was having trouble controlling the combat. Perhaps the combat seemed so fresh to me compared to other MMOs because I haven’t owned a console since the Genesis, and DCUO seems to play like a console fighter.

  17. Mungrul says:

    I’m a lifer in this game, something I somewhat regret.
    The journey from level 1 to 30 is marvelous, and a welcome break from the standard MMO holy trinity of tank / heal / nuke. Unfortunately, post 30, group play is incredibly traditional. Even worse, while the fisticuffs is the game’s strongest feature, melee combat is a liability for high level group and raid play, so you end up with everyone using ranged attacks. For a game based on the superhero genre where the predominant form of combat has always been fist-to-face, this is a real downer and stinks of pandering to the MMO community rather than comic book fans.

    Also, at level 30, solo or duo content drops off to non-existent levels, with the developers relying on player patience as they continually grind the same few instances on a daily basis. And updates seem heavily weighted towards group or raid content.

    And finally, with only 2 cities, both of which are only slightly larger than one of Age of Conan’s zones, you very quickly run out of things to do.

    There are genius elements in there that haven’t been fully developed, such as the races, which are very reminiscent of Prototype and Crackdown’s races. They’re certainly my favourite things in the game, but the developers missed a trick with them and didn’t implement leaderboards or a reward system for them beyond 1 time, things that should have been blatantly obvious.

    So overall, I have a love-hate relationship with DCUO. I’m not really surprised that it’s gone Free to Play, but can’t help but feel that it won’t save the game.

    • Urthman says:

      Games like Spider-Man 2, Hulk: Ultimate Destruction, and their successors like Prototype have pretty well nailed the feel of moving around a city like a superhero.

      But no game to date has captured the feel of comic book combat as well as Freedom Force. When you grab a lamp post and use it to knock a villain into the side of a building (and especially when you can freeze the action and pan the camera around to see it from exactly the right angle), it feels like Jack Kirby’s drawings brought to life.

  18. Wulf says:

    I did give DC Universe Online a go, but… eh. The mechanics aren’t too dissimilar from Champions Online, but it lacks the variety. The powersets aren’t as interesting, by comparison, and the only zones are… well, a city or a city. A light icty or a dark city. Whereas CO has some beautiful zones all over the place. It has the obligatory light and dark city zones, but the dark city zone at least is interesting. It’s got this whole New Orleans thing going on, with sax music, and… uh, lots of B-Movie monsters! Okay, it isn’t entirely based upon New Orleans, but it’s fun. Vampires, witch doctors, fallen angels, wolfmen, and just about every old B-Movie trope you could name, there.

    Then you have the Canadian Wilderness area, the Desert, the obligatory Monster Island (which every comic book setting should have) which is appreciably Savage Land-ish, and the sunken domes of Lemuria in its haunting, underwater locale. Not to mention that with all the costumes that have been made available, comparing CO to DCUO is sort of like comparing the menu of a little corner café to that of a restaurant with five michelin stars. What you get in DCUO might be nice, but it’s limited in quality and variety compared to the massive cornucopia of options in CO.

    And that DCUO went free to play so incredibly early in its life ought to say something. I don’t know, I’ll be sticking to CO, especially with the exciting stuff they seem to be adding all the time. It’s interesting, they seem to be working on a smaller team than what DCUO has, and yet they’re cranking out loads of new stuff. They’re always looking at alternate levelling paths too, so that you don’t run out of content on your first playthrough, as you would with DCUO.

    Iono. DCUO seems like fun on the surface, but CO is better. I’d probably even say that CoH is better than DCUO, due to CoH having more variety. So you might want to try there, too. (Though I don’t personally like the way the powersets are built in CoH, with each power essentially being the same, but more/less powerful, and with a different cooldown. Due to that it still doesn’t beat the champion of variety.)

    Of all the options on offer, DCUO is by far the least inspiring. But then, I had a feeling it would be when I was watching it being developed. Of course, I might be biased as I was never too fussy on DC in the first place. I’m more of a Marvel person.

  19. Bungle says:

    Okay, fine. I’m re-downloading the game through Steam, as that is where I purchased the game when it was new. Not sure I’ll be able to get any of my friends in there with me.

  20. BigJonno says:

    If you look at it as an action-RPG type thing and don’t expect anything more than some fun fisticuffs and dollops of DC fanservice (with a bloody amazing voice cast, it’s geek nirvana) then it’s well-worth the download.

  21. Was Neurotic says:

    Yah, I was wondering about that. Seemed like a bad time to suddenly reboot the MV, but hey, what’s a multiverse if you can’t have multiple continuities in it? :D

  22. TomEllinson says:

    I honestly just don’t like games based on existing franchises. There’s too much fan service, too many nerdebates about existing stuff and how the new, inventive storylines(that probably won’t come up, seeing as this is IS an SOE game) clash with old crap from the 50’s…

    I just don’t like it. I’d rather see someone come up with a shiny, new world for me to explore than the old, tired, restrictive one that a company like DC presents.

  23. The Tupper says:

    I was pretty disappointed with Company Of Heroes, but I suspect it might simply be that I don’t like MMOs.