Exclusive behind-the-scenes look at DC Universe Online's next weapon type, the Shield

Josh Augustine at

Shields and epic PvP battles are the big themes of DC Universe Online's next DLC Pack, The Last Laugh. This exclusive new video from the dev team shows off some of the new weapon type's animations-in-progress and talks about their goals for Shields in the game. I talked with the game's creative director, Jens Andersen, about the most iconic shield-bearers in DC comic books and exploded in happiness when I heard who we'll be fighting alongside in the pack's PvP arenas.

DC Universe Online maps show you where to find everything

Josh Augustine at

A while back, an OCD DCUO player put together a detailed map of the game's main hub for heroes, The Watchtower. Today, another industrious fan took it three steps further by building detailed interactive maps for all of DCUO's two major cities, Gotham and Metropolis, inside of Google Maps. And now he's in the process of adding icons to help you locate everything you could possibly want to find in the urban sprawl.

Save the earth, then throw it at people in DC Universe Online's newest content pack

Josh Augustine at

It's never good when things come out of Tartarus. For those of you that slept through Greek mythology (that's a class, right?), Tartarus is a horrible, horrible place in the darkest corner of the Underworld where only the most foul and dangerous of monsters/Titans/gods/people are imprisoned and punished for eternity. If something comes out of there you can know it's going to be two things: incredibly powerful and terribly pissed off.

And that's right where DC Universe Online's latest DLC pack, The Battle For Earth, starts: über-villain Braniac waltzing out of the gates of Tartarus with a new arsenal of powers to obliterate mankind with.

Time to take down Braniac: exclusive reveal of DC Universe Online's next big update

Josh Augustine at

That intergalactic jerk Braniac has been bottling the cities in DC Universe Online and stealing Earth's citizens for too long. His attempted take-over for Earth has been the primary storyline in DC Universe Online for the past year, since the game's launch in January 2011. A year and a few raids later, we're finally going to be able to go toe-to-toe with Mr. smarty-pants when the next content pack takes us to Wonder Woman's native island of Themyscira. We've got the exclusive scoop on what players will find there, and where DCUO is headed after its big, bad villain is down for the count.

Never get lost in DCUO's Watchtower again with this detailed fan-made map

Josh Augustine at

DC Universe does a lot of things really well, but building easily-navigable hangout spots is not one of them. The Justice League Watchtower and Hall of Doom serve as the primary meeting points for all Hero and Villain characters, respectively. Both house a ton of useful objects—like the Phase Shifter, which allows you to swap between PvE and PvP phases of the server at will—but not all of them are easy to find.

The cryptically-named RedDragon74 over at DCUO Life has done heroes a great service by putting together an all-encompassing map that labels the locations of everything you'll need in the Watchtower and also provides a full list of bounty locations and a complete breakdown of how to earn the different PvE currencies at endgame. It's not the prettiest map ever made, but all the info is here.

DCUO offers a creative solution to the age-old "Where's the healer?" problem

Josh Augustine at

I've always liked DC Universe Online's twist on the classic tank-healer-DPS trinity that defines most MMORPG's group roles. DCUO gives everyone access to two roles—DPS and then either tank, healer, or control (CC and power-restoration), based on their power selection—and lets them swap between them whenever they want.

It's a hybrid system that lets players specialize, while limiting the usual problem of there being too few healers or tanks because most people want to be able to level and solo efficiently. As a result, the queue times in DCUO are much shorter than they are in many other MMOs. And with the Role-Optional Alerts SOE's adding in the game's next update, which use specialized buffs to make any combination of players an effective group, players should be able to form groups almost instantly.

What do you want from your MMO's holiday events?

Josh Augustine at

DC Universe Online's Creative Director, Jens Andersen, announced yesterday that they're undertaking a large overhaul of DCUO's holiday content. Thankfully, they're cutting the uncomfortably weird Valentine's Day event from last year, and building a new one from scratch. Their goal is to have four major events that each host open-world content, collections, and a boss encounter.

Most MMOs have at least a few holiday events, but BioWare has yet to reveal any of its plans for holiday content for The Old Republic. What's the best holiday content you've ever played in a game, and what do you want to see from holiday events in TOR, DCUO, or any other MMOs you're playing?

DC Universe Online sees 120,000 new PC players less than 48 hours after going free-to-play

Josh Augustine at

John Smedley, SOE's President, announced on Twitter this morning that over 120,000 new players have signed up for their action-RPG MMO DC Universe Online on the PC since the game transitioned to free-to-play Tuesday evening. In the same tweet, he announced that the number of concurrent users logged into the game has increased 300% in that same time, and that they're planning to launch a massive TV and online ad campaign later this month. He did not mention any numbers for PS3 users.

DC Universe Online gets in-game cash shop, fans...rejoice?

Josh Augustine at

Just this morning, SOE pushed a new patch to live servers that adds an in-game cash shop to it's struggling superhero MMO, DC Universe Online. The shop uses the same Station Cash currency that all of SOE's MMOs use, but only two items currenty sit on the store's shelf: consumables to repair your gear or grant extra runs on the Vault, the smash-boxes-to-get-random-loot minigame that players can otherwise only play once every 24 hours. The prices aren't outrageous at $1 for each, with bundles of each at 20% off.

SOE closes three studios, lays off 205 employees, cancels the Agency - live games unaffected

Josh Augustine at

Rumors have been swirling about possible layoffs at all of SOE's studios. We contacted SOE directly to get the official word on what's happening, and it's a mix of good and bad news for gamers. Read on for the full report.

DC Universe Online interview - Squashing bugs, animation glitching

Josh Augustine at

Last week, I had the opportunity to interview DC Universe Online's Game Director Chris Cao. We talked about everything from what bugs the dev team is focusing on fixing first, March's big update, future power and weapon sets being added to the game and if they're planning to add mod support for the PC version. We'll be releasing a new portion of the interview every day this week up through Friday! Today we talk with Chris about what the dev team's top priorities are right now and what's really going on with major bugs like animation glitching.

DC Universe Online beta key giveaway

Michael Quach at

Are the two weeks between now and January 11th just too long of a time to wait to get your superhero action on? Jump into the DCUO beta right now as a hero prancing about Metropolis or a villain scheming in the dark recesses of Gotham's Ace Chemical plant! Details inside.