Friday, January 5, 2018

That Dog : DCUO

The main reason I still check Massively OP every day is for moments like this. I'd have been irked if I'd missed the chance to have Krypto running (or flying) around my superhero base.

Very irked. Not, it probably goes without saying, as irked as I'd be if I'd missed out on Streaky the Supercat (sadly not on offer - yet). I'd be be irked and then some. ("Irked" is an odd word, isn't it? Also, repeating it doesn't make it any less odd. Rather the reverse, in fact.)

Ahem. Getting back to the point, or at least to somewhere from which the point might possibly be seen with a decent pair of binoculars, I was a big fan of The Legion of Super Pets back when they were a thing, which was when I would have been about eight or nine, I guess.

From memory, the line-up was Krypto (Superboy's dog), Streaky (Supergirl's cat), Comet (Supergirl's horse), Beppo the Super-Monkey (some kind of lab animal?) and Proto (Chameleon Boy's pet). Four of the five had the powers of any Kryptonian, which made the Animal Avengers (as no-one ever called them, not least for reasons of copyright) pretty much the most dangerous bunch of animals ever to form a pack.

I do like to blend in.
Proto was merely a shapechanger, which you might have thought would have left him (it?) with a severe sense of inferiority but I seem to remember he (it?) was also the only one with human rather than animal thought processes. That made him the boss so it all worked out.

I haven't fact-checked any of that so don't quote me - imagining for a moment that any circumstance could possibly arise where you felt the need to. So far as I know, the LSP isn't about to make a comeback but you can never be absolutely sure.


I haven't played DCUO since November, when I got invited to join a guild and rashly accepted. I even suggested it might lead to regular team play. It didn't. I stopped playing altogether.

Thanks! I thought so.
 That was mostly down to bad timing. Things got very busy very quickly at work and it was all I could manage for a few weeks to come home and get a few dailies done in GW2. Unsurprisingly, when I logged in today to see about getting this dog, I found I'd been dumped from the DC Bombshells, so that's my putative grouping career over before it started. Although I got two more League invites this morning so maybe not.

For the time being, I cracked on with the new stuff alone. It's the sixth anniversary event, apparently, which surprised me. It feels like a lot longer than that since I finished the beta and made my first character when the game went live. Time is weird.

Things went a lot more easily than last time, when I was doing the Earth-3 event. I can't have spent more than five minutes skimming around The Watchtower before I found the right Terminal to get the starter quest and the right portal to enter the new zone.

I say "new". It's Metropolis with a sunrise filter. The antimatter glow matched my new look beautifully. I spent the first few minutes posing for myself and taking endless vanity shots.

Hang on a moment...isn't that the Sydney Opera House?

The exact part of Metropolis didn't seem all that familiar, now I come to think about it. I can't remember a marina with luxury yachts from any of my previous adventures. Maybe we're on the other side of the river, that part I've always looked at from on high and wondered why I couldn't go there.

This time the event didn't start with a compulsory group instance. It was straight into the usual collection of daily tasks. I've done enough of these now to realize they are always the same. You always have to kill some Officers or Leaders, destroy some Devices or Portals, Convert or Deprogram some citizens and reverse some Process or other. Plus there's an open-world group event where you just pile on.

I did all those and I did the solo instance as well. That was nice and short although the boss at the end was a bit tough. Probably shouldn't have started with that one. It went a lot better after the second death, when I stopped to renew my acquaintance with what my combat abilities actually do.

Flushed with undeserved confidence I decided to finish the session by queuing for the instance that completes the opening quest sequence. It turned out to be an eight-person "Event", which is a raid in DCUO terms.
That's me. The one with the scythe.

It went better than you might expect. Certainly better than I expected. Once I'd worked out how to queue as DPS I got an invite in a couple of minutes. I accepted and zoned in.

The loading screen offered me a tip about the importance of communication. It reminded me that co-operation was essential for success and that the game has built-in voice chat for that very purpose. It was strongly suggested that I use it or, if not, then I should at least talk in type. I joined my seven team-mates and we began.

No-one spoke, of course. There was no co-ordination, no co-operation and no communication. The mechanics were - fortunately - very simple and yet half the team ignored them. Players were fighting irrelevant NPCs in scattered clusters or alone while the Shards of Anti-Matter we were meant to be destroying went untouched.

Many "Vote" requests popped. Permission to leave the instance came up twice and was denied. Those players left anyway. Then someone else left. A request to open the instance to new recruits came up for voting and was denied.
I can't help feeling there's a pun here that I'm missing...

At this point I hadn't voted at all and it occurred to me that maybe my disavowal of my democratic responsibility was being read by the game as a default "No". I figured out how to vote and clicked "Yes" but the next vote still failed.

By then we were down to three players. I thought it unlikely three of us would beat a Boss intended for eight so when the next vote to open the instance to recruiting came up I made sure to Vote Yes. Finally the vote passed and in a matter of seconds we were back to full strength.

At that point we'd whittled down six of the nine Shards we were supposed to be handling as the "B Team" (as Oracle actually described us), while the "A Team" of real DC Superheroes (aka the NPCs) were runing a holding operation on the Anti-Monitor, the Big Bad set on devouring our universe. Literally. He eats universes. It's what he does.

The five new recruits seemed to be a lot more competent than the five dropouts. The rest of the Shards dropped in quick time and we joined the real heroes on the main target. It was slow progress for a while but we chipped away at his health bar, as you do, and I began to see light at the end of the tunnel.

After a single run through the dailies and main quest there was plenty I could have afforded but I'm holding out for the dog.

There was a frisson of uncertainty when we had to break off and kill twenty shadow demons before ten of them could get to the Anti-Monitor and charge him up (or something). He was running well ahead of us for a while but the final score was 20-7 in our favor.

We all piled back on him and he died fairly quickly after that. The Window of Unavoidable Judgment popped to show us all how we'd done and I looked for my name at the foot of the list. And didn't find it.

I thought at first I wasn't on the list at all. We'd had thirteen people in our eight-person instance in total. Maybe I dropped off the bottom. But no! I finally spotted my name - near the top. In second place on the DPS list, no less!

I tried to take a screenshot but of course I had it set to hide the UI so it didn't come out. You'll just have to take my word for it.

How many Qwardian Coins do you reckon that cost?

What I read into this unexpected proof of competence is that, as an Anniversary event, this thing has been tuned for players of the lowest possible skill level. I mean, I have no skill at all. I literally don't know what most of the buttons do and as for the complicated combos you're supposed to learn...

I just mash the mouse buttons as fast as possible and hit keys 1 to 6 at random to fire off specials. I don't know what they do either but I work on the principle that if they're off cooldown I might as well use them.

So long as I stick to the easy stuff it works. I played for over two hours. I had fun. I dinged a level. I made some money. I got some items for my base. I got an upgrade for one of my jewelry slots. Most importantly, though, I came away with 37 Qwardian Crowns, the currency needed to buy items from the event vendor.

Krypto costs 140 QC. I'm not sure how long the event runs but I would think I ought to be able to manage another three or four sessions before it finishes, which should give me more than enough. Especially if, like last year, there's a double QC weekend somewhere along the way.

Thirty seven down, a hundred and three to go.

If I do run into time trouble I have a fallback position. You can buy Qwardian Crowns for Daybreak Cash. The exchange rate is something like 450DBC for 50QC. If I find myself pushed for time I'll be happy to top up what I need from my 18k reservoir of unspent funny money.

I mean to have you, Krypto, even if it must be Pay To Win!

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