Upcoming Green Lantern pack will bring new Light powerset to DC Universe Online


Confirmed bachelors, married stiffs, small infants who know nothing of romantic love--it's high time every one put a ring on their finger. You can skip the vows, though--instead of wedded bliss, these rings'll grant you Green Lantern-like superpowers. The upcoming Fight for the Light download pack for DC Universe Online finally lets players adopt the light-based powers of The Green and Yellow Lanterns.

Light is a new Control power type (like Fire, Gadgets, or Sorcery) based on creating objects out of light that the player can wield and use against their enemies. For the first time ever, players will be able to adopt this powerset on their already-level-30 characters or roll from scratch like usual. You'll still choose a weapon/fighting style (such as Bow, Brawling, or Rifle) to go along with it. Players will be able to pick and choose from over to 24 powers (see below for powers I found during the demo) found in the two sub-trees of the powerset, Constructs (DPS) and Support (Control). These powers have visual and minor functionality distinctions depending on your morality choice: heroes' abilities are themed after the Green Lanterns and villains' after the Yellow Corps.

The Light powers have their own unique combo setup, based on using their light-forged constructs. When you activate an ability like Chainsaw, instead of just summoning a chainsaw that hacks the enemy once and disappears, you create a chainsaw that you hold and control for a limited time (similar to Nature's shapeshifting powers). During that time you can rip your way through as many enemies as dare get near you, and use Light-specific combos to incorporate other constructs into your attacks, like finishing moves. One example given during the press panel at Fan Faire was hacking at someone with a chainsaw and then tapping your Light Whip power to have the whip lash out at an enemy while you continue working with the chainsaw.

I spy...many abilities in the screenshots shown at the Fan Faire panel:

  • A large medieval looking axe
  • A light version of Catwoman's whip
  • Enclose yourself in a defense bubble
  • What looked like (I will pray desperately every night is) a mech-walker
  • Dual machine guns
  • A train that speeds ahead and knocks down all enemies in it's path
  • A superspeed jet that flies overhead and does a strafing run
  • Big ol' chainsaw
  • The obnoxious fan that we know and hate from the existing Green Lantern quest lines, which blows enemies backwards
  • Giant oversized claws that make Wolverine look like a sissy
  • Generic person construct
  • A tall, hand-held shield
  • Massive shurikens
  • Giant hand that reaches out and slaps your enemy (I'm gonna have a field day in PvP with this one)
  • Put your enemy in a baseball (or skull if you're a villain) and send them sailing away with a swing from your construct baseball bat

Your first thought when reading that list (after, "I would kill someone for a mech with chainsaw arms and light whips swirling out of its back that could also hurl shurikens out of its chest") is that these guys are going to be obnoxious to fight in PvP. Just think back to how annoying the level 25 Green Lanterns questline in Metropolis is. Between the incessant fans constantly blowing you all over the place, anvils crushing you anytime you think of moving, and the bouncing energy balls randomly rampaging the area, even the mightiest warriors are reduced to being a human pinball for half the fight.

Thankfully, Creative Director Jens Anderson is as frustrated with that combat design as we are. When I talked with him at Fan Faire this past weekend, he told me that the whole team is pretty unhappy with how the Lanterns currently fight, which is why they scrapped their plans to make the Light an at-launch powerset. They wanted to make sure they could take the extra time needed to make the Light powerset fun to play without making your opponent want to tear out their eyeballs and burn every Green Lantern comic book they own.

The content pack comes with four major pieces of content. Three are four-player Alerts that take you to one of Braniac's spaceship to destroy the Logic Lantern sucking all emotion out of the universe, the Green Lantern's hometown of Coast City (which is under invasion by the rage-fueled Red Lanterns), and Oa (essentially the Green Lantern's Galactic prison, now under attack). The last is a 2-player Duo instance set in Coast City.

Of course, the new content comes with the usual assortment of new iconic costumes to don (Green Lantern and Sinestro suits) and collections to scrounge every nook and cranny of the new zones for. One quick note for DC archivists: the rings being given to players are Lantern Reservist rings, infused with a limited number of constructs already conceived by other Green Lanterns. This is the lore reason for why players won't be able to create anything they can think of, like real Green Lanterns, and also why there will suddenly be so many Green Lantern-sanctioned heroes in the same region.

All of this sounds awesome. Beta testers will remember that Light was a playable powerset in early builds of the game, and will appreciate how exciting it is to finally see it implemented into live. And based on what we know so far, it sounds like Light is going to be a fun way for antsy veterans to have fun with a new combat style. The only problem I have with the update is the fact that SOE is charging $10 for it in their in-game cash shop. DCUO is a terrific MMO (one of my personal favorites to come out in recent years) that's being absolutely crippled by a clunky UI and a misfit business model. What frustrates me most, as someone who loves playing this game, is that there are very obvious remedies for both (on the PC, at least): mods and free-to-play.

DCUO (along with LEGO Universe) is the posterchild for MMOs that are ideally suited for free-to-play and suffering because of the developer/publisher's irrational reluctance of adopting that model. The quick leveling time and shortage of worthwhile post-launch content makes people understandably wary of a subscription commitment. But it's easy to convince people to check back in and play a few times a month at the very least, and the comic book legacy makes it easy to sell powers and story arcs to them individually when they do.

SOE should be removing the barriers to entry to wrangle in the fan base that DCUO deserves, not adding additional price tags on top of a monthly sub. This Green Lantern content update looks to be a great addition to the game; it's a shame that more people won't be playing it.