DC Menu Scroller Online

By Shamus Posted Sunday Jan 16, 2011

Filed under: Game Reviews 195 comments

The interface problems in DC Universe Online feel very familiar to the issues I had with Unreal Tournament 3. It’s got an irritating console-style interface that makes no sense on the PC. This is interesting because both games use the same engine.

As I played, I began making notes. Those notes became this post. These are just quick observations made while playing. I might have overlooked some feature, or experienced some bug. Don’t read this as a review. Read this as a series of reactions over the course of about 30 hours.


The interface and font sizes are huge. There’s an option to adjust the interface scale, but the slider only goes up.

You can’t click on other players or objects in the world. This means if you want to ignore a player, or friend them, or examine their build, or see what level they are, you have to know the chat command for doing this and you have to type out their full name. (Which can include spaces.)

There is no way to hide the interface. There’s an option to leave the interface out of screenshots (I have FRAPS, thanks Sony) but you can’t just get it out of the way if you want to look around.

You can’t click on bad guys to pick which one you want to punch. Now, I consider this to be a good thing. Clicking on dudes in the midst of combat is not exciting and really gives that clunky old-school MMO game feel that newer titles are always trying to avoid. In this game they replaced dude-clicking with auto-targeting, but the auto-target logic is pathetic. I’ll be in the middle of a melee with four people, and when one of them goes down the auto-target will ignore the three people still kicking me and auto-select some mook who is way off in the distance. I’m spamming the attack button when this happens, and end up pulling him. Sometimes it will select people behind you, who aren’t even on-screen. And very often it will select crates. Perhaps this should be categorized as a bug and not a design flaw. I guess it depends on whether they plan on fixing it.

Opening legal disclaimers / intro movie can die in a fire. The two back-to-back movies that must be skipped whenever you try to open the character builder should, ideally, be thrown into the same fire. If that fire gets low, the overly chatty character builder menu voice should be added to keep it going.

The interface elements are placed inefficiently. (I prefer to pack windows around the edges of the screen, to keep the center as open as possible.) You can’t move or adjust or turn off anything. In particular, the chat is a waste of space with a gigantic font that can show about two lines of dialog. Some of the NPC messages in the game are too big to fit. And since you don’t have a mouse pointer, you can’t just reach down and scroll back. You have to open a whole different window to see a proper chat history.


If you get logged out (disconnect, or AFK for too long) it doesn’t kick you back to character selection. Or even to the login. Instead you have to exit and re-start the entire application.

The game awards you XP, but you can’t ever see how much you have or how much you need to the next level. It’s just a purple bar with no context.

The game ignores Alt-F4.

When you sort the list of players by level, it sorts the list alphabetically:

You could argue that this is an interface bug, but Unreal Tournament 3 (which uses the same engine) had the same problem with its server browser. (It sorted <em>ping</em> alphabetically!)  I think this is more apathy than oversight.
You could argue that this is an interface bug, but Unreal Tournament 3 (which uses the same engine) had the same problem with its server browser. (It sorted ping alphabetically!) I think this is more apathy than oversight.


When you log out, it asks for a confirmation dialog. If you select “yes”, then it makes you wait 10 seconds before logging out. This is always true – there’s nowhere in the game where you can log out instantly. Which means the first confirmation dialog serves no purpose whatsoever. The player has plenty of time to change their mind while waiting for the timer.

You can bring up the emote menu with one of the function keys, but you can’t use the menu with the mouse. You have to navigate it with the arrow keys.

Why is there so much space between entries? Note how the descriptions for many items don’t fit on the button because of the oversized fonts.
Why is there so much space between entries? Note how the descriptions for many items don’t fit on the button because of the oversized fonts.

The menu options in the character builder are gigantic – clearly designed to be readable from the couch on a standard-definition television. On a PC, this looks ridiculous. You can’t ever see more than five entries at a time, which means you’ll spend a great deal of time scrolling. This is exacerbated by the massive wasted space between entries. It’s almost punishing you for wanting to use your mouse.

The menu structure for the character builder is abominable. If you want to change your pants and re-color them, you go down through three levels of menus: GEAR » LEGS » (desired item) Then you hit escape three times to get back to the top. Then you go down four levels to adjust the colors: COLORS » GEAR » CUSTOMIZE GEAR COLORS » LEGS. And yes, two different entries are labeled “GEAR”, one is a peer of “COLORS” and one is a child, and under the latter is “CUSTOMIZE GEAR COLORS”. Ugh. Enumerating all of the stupidity and interface no-nos in the character builder would be a major undertaking.

You always have to hold the use button. I assume that button does double-duty on the PS3, but here it makes no sense. It’s not like tapping use has some other purpose.


Credits screen is blank. I understand if the interface team would prefer to remain anonymous, but I think everyone else deserves some credit.

The description of your fast-travel power says to use “L3 or NUMLOCK”. This is even true if you’ve re-bound the functionality to some other key. Also, this button is basically the closest thing the game has to auto-run. Except, it doesn’t work like normal auto-run. If pressed when standing still, it does nothing. You have to already be moving forward. So in order to auto-run you’re supposed to hold down W on the far left side of the keyboard and then – once you’re up to full speed – tap NUM LOCK on the far right side. While using your right hand to steer with the mouse. I guess that’s where the co-op gameplay comes in, you need someone beside you to be your third hand?


Click for in-game help, and it gives you a popup with the URL for the website. The URL isn’t even clickable or copy-able. I guess you’re supposed to memorize it, alt-tab, and type it into a browser.

Running in windowed mode doesn’t work right. Parts of the desktop don’t render properly. Which made compiling this list a lot less fun. (The game seems to behave as though it was full screen even when windowed, so other windows don’t get redrawn properly.

Color picker controls don’t allow you to just click on the desired part of the slider, you have to drag the control.

You can walk (instead of run) if you use a gamepad, but there is no way to walk using the PC controls.

Quests get added to your journal automatically at certain levels. Hey, PvP is now open, here’s a quest for a PVP match. Here’s a quest to adventure in another part of the gameworld! Here’s some instancing / group quest thing! These entries clutter up your quest list and there’s no way to drop them.

The chat filter is brain dead. It will turn “You have to hit its head” into “You have to hi####s head”, because it thinks you said “tits”. It will turn “petition” into “pe###ion”. And it will turn “Oh hush its not that bad” into “Oh hu#####s not that bad” because it thinks you said “shit”. You can’t disable the filter. The “tits” ones comes up often, and makes a mess of the chat window.

And now I have to admit I was wrong on Friday: I predicted that I’d get a lot of fan push-back from Friday’s article. A very small number of people disagreed, and all of them were reasonable about it. This makes me sad in a perverse sort of way. It means the fans of this game are less zealous than those in Champions Online. There is so much that Sony Online Entertainment did well in this game, and it saddens me to see all of that hard work marred by a few bad decisions. I would be very sad to see this game flame out and go under.

Hopefully the PS3 players are having a good time. The game doesn’t have the same kind of competition there, so maybe it can enjoy success as a console MMO.


From The Archives:

195 thoughts on “DC Menu Scroller Online

  1. Skip says:

    I’ve been told by folks who were in the beta that the game becomes much, much more playable if you plug in the spare 360 controller that every PC gamer should have lying around.

    1. Danath says:

      Wat? Why should I have a 360 controller? Never wanted one, never needed one, I shouldn’t NEED anything like this in order to make a game PLAYABLE.

      1. psivamp says:

        Fairly certain that’s what Skip was getting at. Mini Ninjas had atrocious keyboard/mouse controls as well and kept telling me that I should plug in my 360 controller.

        1. Danath says:

          More annoyed that he said I should have one as a PC gamer. If I need a peripheral unrelated to my PC in order to properly play my PC game, they are doing it wrong.

          1. Greetz says:

            I think i detect some sarcasm in his post :)

            1. Danath says:

              Oops, I suppose when I read it with a sarcastic tilt it makes sense.

              Derp for me.

              1. Aldowyn says:

                someone needs to invent a new type of text (like italic or bold) expressly for sarcasm.

                But that would be too easy. (I haven’t decided whether that’s sarcastic or not yet. Maybe both.)

          2. Jennifer Snow says:

            Erm, not to disagree precisely, but what exactly is a “related” peripheral on a PC? I have about 17 of the things sitting on my desk, and I do all sorts of things that assume I have most of them.

            1. Klay F. says:


              Just no. A mouse and keyboard should be all you ever need to play a PC game. If you are going to make the game a nightmare to use unless you have (yet another shitty) Microsoft product, then don’t release the game on the PC at all.

              As for pretty much punishing the player for wanting to use a mouse…What are we back in the fucking DOS era now? What the hell is so offensive about using a mouse?

              1. (LK) says:

                Well to enable mouse support you have to first boot from a special boot disk you made for the game with mouse drivers, and then insert the game disk, launch the game…

                Oh, wait, no. That was a DOS thing. Yeah, no, PC games should support a mouse.

                Imagine a console game that didn’t work right unless you bought a mouse for your PS3 (though there have been games like this, actually).

              2. Robyrt says:

                PC games have been strongly suggesting I use controllers for a long time – I remember in-game ads for gamepads and joysticks in the early 90s. It’s not like the keyboard and mouse are inherently superior to all other control schemes – sure, you can play Rock Band or Street Fighter with a keyboard and mouse, but you don’t want to.

                For that matter, mouse penetration is dropping fast in the PC market. Those of us with smaller laptops actually do need to go to the store and buy a mouse to play games – but apparently doing the same for a gamepad is just too hard.

                1. Varil says:

                  No, a mouse and keyboard isn’t superior to all other control schemes…some of the time. But for anything short of, say, a platformer it comes pretty damn close. FPS? Deal. RTS? Deal. 99% of MMOs? Deal. Any given Mario game? Hell no.

                  Just because they WANT you to buy a controller for your computer doesn’t mean they’re trying to edge you towards a superior control scheme either. They’d just really like you to buy more stuff.

                2. Merle says:

                  Rock Band would be silly on a keyboard and mouse because the peripherals are, to a large extent, the point of the game. It’s not just a rhythm game, it is endeavoring to be a ROCK BAND game – the devs have stated that they want to eventually teach the player to actually use the instrument, through playing the game itself.

                  As for Street Fighter – what exactly is wrong with the idea of playing fighting games on a keyboard?

                3. Klay F. says:

                  Its not just games either. I keep reading about all of these new input methods involving 3D navigation dealing with motion sensing (ala Kinect) and all I can think of is, “Is this really necessary?” Why would anyone want this? It couldn’t possibly raise your efficiency at interacting with your machine. In fact, as far as I could make out, these thing’s entire purpose is to make it look like we’re in a Hollywood movie. Would an interface from Minority Report be cool? Certainly. Would it be practical in any way, shape, or form? Unfortunately not.

                4. Sumanai - a grouchy ball of cynical pessimism says:

                  Robyrt: It’s not hard, but a mouse can be used for other things too. I can’t control the cursor with the 360-pad for instance (on a computer, with default drivers). Also the mouse is the default control scheme for most OSes so most already have one so it makes sense to assume that the user does have one. Gamepads are an extra device that’s not necessary for most users, so it doesn’t make sense to design purely for that market.

                  It’s the same logic as why PC games have (in general, exceptions to be expected) stopped increasing minimum requirements so insanely. Why should anyone buy a game that ends up costing about 70-80 euros, when another one would cost only 50-60 (no pad required)? Sure, they could use the gamepad for other games as well, but they haven’t felt the need for one so far, how likely could it be they’ll need it in the future? And if they do, they can buy one then.

                  Klay F.: There’s something about the feel that a controller gives that can override the need for efficiency. Also intuitive interfaces are better if it needs to be accessed by untrained people. I still don’t get fuss over the whole thing. Outside of few individual interesting implementations all of the motion controllers are largely a promise without any backing. Also there’s something creepy about having a camera pointed at you while playing.

                5. Klay F. says:

                  Sumanai: There have already been some gamers mad that the Kinect could possibly be used to spy on people while their gaming including people who play naked (I’m led to believe that there are many more people who do that than you’d think).

                6. Sumanai - a grouchy ball of cynical pessimism says:

                  Klay F.: I don’t really see anything wrong with someone playing in the nude in their own home. And I’m thinking about 90% of people living alone playing naked (with an error margin of 10%), so “more than I’d think” sounds pretty unlikely
                  (I do not, nor encourage playing au naturel. Dangly bits and movement do not mix well in my opinion.)

                  Frankly, the expressions most have when focusing on anything, especially games, is in itself embarrasing enough to not want a camera recording the whole thing. I’m only surprised if these people are only worried about the Kinect, since the Move also needs a camera directed at the user.

            2. Aldowyn says:

              The first ones that spring to mind are microphone/headset (not actually related to playing the game, most of the time,), and, the big one, a joystick.

              Speaking of which, this reminds me of HAWX. I actually really liked flying around in a F-22, using my joystick and firing my missiles using voice commands (even if that part was a novelty.)

          3. rofltehcat says:

            Well, I thought the same for a while. But for some games it is really better to have a controller. I had a Logitech controller for a long time and eventually bough a 360 controller. It is really the best controller available imo.
            However, it is also pure evil.

            Most games that work well with a 360 controller or are even made for one, don’t work or don’t work well with other controllers.
            Sometimes other controllers just aren’t detected and when they felt especially evil, the Y axis of the left analogue stick is switched, preferably without a chance to remap or override it. Try playing Borderlands when you have to pull the stick back to walk forward -.-

            It is all a part of Microsoft’s evil plan to turn all PC gamers into console junkies and ruin the experience of the PC gamers they can’t convert! They make it easy to implement into games (especially console ports) just to lock out other controllers. Always wear your tinfoil hat while using a 360 controller, kids! Especially the wireless ones!

            Still the best controller, although the whole “let’s gimp other controller” thing still sucks.

            1. Blake says:

              It’s actually not the case, lots of other controllers require their own sdk’s or simply a hell of a lot of fiddling to get up and running, the 360 controller for windows just works with direct input so instead of others being harder it’s just a case where the 360 controller is extra easy.

              I have one because it’s what I use on my 360 at home (I hate needing to think about batteries, the cable is easily long enough for my bedroom and it was $AU25 ($US24.71) cheaper.

              It must be sad for PC gamers that their beloved input devices are becoming less supported but it comes with the whole shrinking market share I suppose.

              1. Klay F. says:

                This is another thing I can’t get my mind around. A mouse and keyboard are perfectly adequate methods of navigating an interface. I realize that with touchscreens and such, they are becoming less necessary for the time being, but I am convinced that, like motion controls for consoles, its just a passing fad, that everyone needs to get out of their systems before realizing that real precision requires a mouse and throw that other gimmicky crap away.

                1. Sumanai - a grouchy ball of cynical pessimism says:

                  It’s not crap, touch input is good for certain uses. Bejeweled, or clones, for instance is much more comfortable with it. People just need to understand that pressing at a link, or other small objects, with a finger is not comfortable.

                  Although I suspect Blake meant mouse-keyboard for games is disappearing, because PC-gaming is “dying”.

            2. eri says:

              The reason is that many new games use the XInput standard to handle gamepad input. New controllers from Logitech et al. will handle XInput just fine. As a sort of cosmic justice, a lot of games don’t behave nicely with the Xbox 360 controller, since they were designed using older standards that didn’t support things like analogue trigger buttons.

    2. Stephen says:

      How well does the 360 controller work with the powers?

      Champions was better with the controller until you got more than 3 powers, at which point you could either learn some really arcane combos with the triggers or just switch back to the keyboard and the number keys. Virtually every other console port works the same way: it’s way easier to use the controller for everything but multiple powers.

      1. Sumanai - a grouchy ball of cynical pessimism says:

        From what I’ve been able to tell, there’s a 6 power maximum at the bottom panel and you can’t change them in combat.

    3. Rob says:

      There was a thread in the beta forums about this, the dev who was responsible for the controls essentially said “why are you using a keyboard mouse? You should be using a controller.”

      1. Merle says:

        If I were playing DCUO, that would be enough to get me to cancel my subscription right there.

        1. Amarsir says:

          It’s enough to convince me to not buy.

          1. Sumanai - a grouchy ball of cynical pessimism says:

            Yeah, that’s really discouraging. It’s never a good sign when a developer shows neglectful tendencies.

    4. Peter H. Coffin says:

      I swear, every game developer on the planet automatically assumes that a copy of Windows comes with an Xbox controller. And yet, only the developers seem to consistently have them. To everyone else, they’re a $30-40 option that’s only useful in some games. Which leads a lot of people to be thinking “I could buy this bit of plastic, OR I could buy another game or two.”

      1. Kdansky says:

        40$? I paid nearly twice as much over here in Europe.

    5. That Epic Guy says:

      Dude. Not every single person has an Xbox 360 controller. It’s not like everyone needs to have an Xbox 360 or they’ll go to jail for not having one.

  2. Danath says:

    I was in the beta, played it for a week, got frustrated/dissapointed in a bunch of things, left.

    The lack of customization REALLY bugged me in this game, especially the inability to customize my body type other than SMALL, MEDIUM, LARGE. I didn’t find the game world itself that great either, with wonky controls and mostly flat areas. You are either going horizontal or vertical, with only a few areas that are angled, but are generally STRAIGHT. There are no hills in this game.

    I didn’t find combat engaging either, mainly due to the fact I was always being mobbed by 10-15 enemies at a time due to the shitty targetting system/respawns/linking mechanics that are present. People who’ve seen me post know I’m hardly one to shirk from danger or exploration, but I honestly liked DCAU far less than I liked Champions online, really a massive dissapointment.

    To sum it up, the lack of customization and poor UI really broke the game for me, I expect if nothing else, at least these two aspects to be good in a superhero game.

  3. Moriarty says:

    The description of your fast-travel power says to use “L3 or NUMLOCK”. This is even true if you've re-bound the functionality to some other key. Also, this button is basically the closest thing the game has to auto-run. Except, it doesn't work like normal auto-run. If pressed when standing still, it does nothing. You have to already be moving forward. So in order to auto-run you're supposed to hold down W on the far left side of the keyboard and then ““ once you're up to full speed ““ tap NUM LOCK on the far right side. While using your right hand to steer with the mouse. I guess that's where the co-op gameplay comes in, you need someone beside you to be your third hand?

    I think you’re supposed to slam your forehead onto the numpad at this point.

    1. Chargone says:

      personally, i use the w for foward, a for left, s for backward, d for right, q for strafe left, e for strafe right. then you don’t need the mouse for steering and it only takes two hands to do this. (‘course, i also mostly use the mouse interface for powers and such, and given the impression i get about dodgy controls, it’s possible this can’t be done in DCUO… which i don’t play, being perfectly happy with the awesome that is CoH, thank you very much ^_^)

    2. Friend of Dragons says:

      On my laptop (which is the computer I game on) I don’t have a numlock key. I guess I’ll use L3 instead.

      Wait a minute…

    3. Heron says:

      Someone buy this man a pie! That mental image is priceless :D

    4. Sumanai - a grouchy ball of cynical pessimism says:

      I wondered if the developer who came up with it is using a keyboard like mine. I have Numlock to the left of the LeftShift. But I like your explanation more.

  4. rofltehcat says:

    Shamus, something completely unrelated to your blog post…
    your blog has been unavailable for me (from Germany) several times yesterday and today. Was the site completely down or was the problem at my end of the connection somehow? All other websites I visited were loading fine :/

    1. Chargone says:

      i’ve been having similar problems the last few days from New Zealand as well, actually. just plain can’t find the page. seems to have calmed down now though?

    2. Mewse says:

      There have definitely been some lengthy DNS-related outages over the past few days (shamusyoung.com not resolving to anything). I ended up switching over to using Google’s public DNS servers this morning, and everything seems to be working fine again, though it still fails if I use my ISP’s default DNS servers.

      1. Beardeddork says:

        Same problem in Montana

    3. Simulated Knave says:

      Ditto from Canada.

    4. Thom (talzaroff) says:

      I’ve had the same from the Netherlands here, till I read a tweet from Shamus about OpenDNS (http://www.opendns.com/). I set my Internet connection up with preferred DNSes:

      And now it works like a charm. Site hasn’t been down again since. But I’ve had the problem for 2-3 weeks. Might be worth a shot.

      1. Jarenth says:

        It’s not country-specific, then, because I read from the same Netherlands and I haven’t had any issues.

    5. Ditto from the UK. but confusingly not from work, which uses a backbone to Germany

      1. Vesth says:

        Surprising enough, I’ve had this problem too every now and then from Singapore. I’ve gotten used to being unable to load the page… :(

    6. X2-Eliah says:

      Yeah, that’s the fault of your local DNS service carriers..

      As mentioned before, OpenDNS and GoogleDNS work better than most defaults.

      Incidentally, my working theory is that the Americans are testing their ‘internet kill-switches’ in small parts, causing borkups in certain range of dns authorizer services and the like.

      1. Jeremiah says:

        Was having the same issues at home. My home ISP is AT&T. I can only assume they’re purposely blocking Shamus’ blog because of his Net Neutrality video.

        1. somebodys_kid says:

          I have AT&T as well…no dice for me either.

          1. Antwon says:

            Yep, same boat here. AT&T home internet = no DNS resolution on Shamus’ site at the moment.

            1. Ian says:

              …which is odd, because shamusyoung.com has been working fine on my AT&T DSL since the changeover. I use the AT&T DNS server.

    7. Talson says:

      I live in Oklahoma and I’m having this problem. I don’t think it’s because of the region you live in.

    8. Susie Day says:

      yup, outages for me too in Oregon

    9. Epopisces says:

      Wisconsin, reporting in also with outages. Most times refreshing 3-5 times would bring the site up, but I haven’t had this problem with any of the other sites I follow. . .

      . . .it’s ok Shamus, your site is worth quite a few refreshes :P

  5. Jarenth says:

    So, in quick summary: ‘This game was designed for a console and copy-pasted to a PC‘.

    I keep wondering just how long it’s going to take for developers to grasp this simple idea: Porting a game should take work. You’re going to have to deal with a completely different set of allowences and hindrances, and you can’t just decide to ignore that. If you carbon-copy a PC game to a console, or a console game to a PC, the end result will be an atrocity and the responsible people should all be fired.

    Sorry, lost my calm for a second there.

    1. poiumty says:

      I’ve given up hope that developers will ever learn to port games to the PC properly. At least Blizzard still optimizes its interfaces for PC use (for now) and Bioware does a little menu reordering.

    2. Vegedus says:

      Well, the question, for the developers, is if that work is gonna result in more money. PC gamers are all dirty pirates anyways, so what’s the point in going the extra mile for them? Or so publishers would say, but either way, PC ports sell less than their console counterparts, so less effort is being put into it. I don’t think it’s simple ignorance that nets us all these UI problems, it’s simply because the publishers don’t see the gain in making two user interfaces.

      1. Raygereio says:

        “PC gamers are all dirty pirates anyways”
        I realise that statement was said with a grain of sarcasm, or two. But it still cracked me up considering that the numbers of torrents of console games are gaining on the number of PC game torrents.

      2. McNutcase says:

        And of course the lower sales of console-games-ported-half-assedly-to-the-PC can’t POSSIBLY be because it was a half-assed port and the interface sucks golfballs through hydraulic line. No, it’s because the PC gamers are all on the bittorrents and hacking cracks and so on. Can’t be because we like having a game that’s designed to be usable.

      3. decius says:

        It’s not the piracy, or the extra work. Console publishers hate PC users because PC users demand support. Case in point: The EA Download Manager doesn’t work on my PC. I had already foolishly purchased some games that required it via Impulse. I posted on the official EA tech support fora, on a recent thread that started with the EXACT error message I was getting and ended with a ‘ok fixed’ without explaining the steps gone through.

        That was Thanksgiving weekend. The closest thing to a response I have is a developer, on his own time, posting that they couldn’t test it on every piece of hardware. I’ve already pointed out that the ‘patched’ executables from that dodgy website that I don’t want to name work just fine.

        So, you could say that this is a case where lost sales are associated with ‘piracy’. But the piracy is of the game I bought, and the lost sales are from my future purchases. And negative word-of-mouth advertising.

      4. Agammamon says:

        The real problem I have with this is not that they keep the gamepad optimized control scheme – I can deal with that. And keeping a low limit on special abilities can be really noce on the PC – Force Unleashed was great in that there were a small number of powers that were done well and easily accesable with the mouse/keyboard instead of having 50 shitty powers and alt tabbing through hotbars.

        The real problem I have is two-fold

        1. I don’t expect a huge amount of effort invested in optimizing for the PC but you should at least implement FULL MOUSE SUPPORT FOR YOUR MENUS! And smaller fonts would be nice.

        2. I expect my character to do what the fuck I tell it to do when I tell it to do it. FU and DCUO both have this idea that since a whole lot of effort was expending in animating attacks that I should not be able to do anything until the attack animation is completed. So I hit the button to attack and happen to hit it twice I will attack twice, and if partway through this I want to move? Fuck you, you’re going to have to wait until BOTH attack animations are complete.
        And don’t think about attacking and moving, the attack animations have priority so even if you’re holding the movement key down as long as you hit the mouse button you’ll just keep attacking.
        Oh yeah, the attack will move you forward so often I find myself moving past my target and having to turn around.

        I like the way the game looks and that they take the environment seriously but I still think CO plays better.

    3. eri says:

      There’s lots of things that can go wrong in porting a game.

      1) Not enough time. Just getting a game designed for consoles to run on a variety of PC hardware is a huge task – albeit less of one now that there are so many cross-platform technologies available to make things easier. If you’re porting a game, the bare minimum is getting the game working on PCs. For many publishers, that’s all they care about before issuing the order to ship.

      2) No money or manpower. Goes in hand with the above, but lack of resources put behind a PC port can mean the developer has to prioritise certain things over others. This usually means just getting things working. If you’re lucky, you’ll get some artists and designers to improve the interface and controls, but very often this isn’t the case.

      3) Cheap outsourcing. A lot of PC ports are done by small-time developers who may not have much experience, low budgets and short timeframes to work with. If they don’t have the expertise of the original developers, or even anyone to consult with to see if they “got it right”, then you’re in for disaster. Dead Space is a great example of this – even with a dedicated PC team working on it, it still ended up with nearly unusable controls because, I can only imagine, the people making it just didn’t know what they were doing.

      4) It’s harder than you think. Porting a game is really hard work and can take months or even years, depending on the game. Many techniques that have to be used for achieving certain results on a console are simply unavailable on PC. PlayStation 3 games, for example, have to approach things like data streaming/loading, rendering, and other calculations in a totally different way than you would on a PC. Just because you can’t see a change doesn’t mean it’s not there. In particular, the rendering pipelines between platforms are all very different. Ripping the guts out of an engine, and rearranging them to perform close to identically between platforms is not an easy thing to do.

      Ultimately, from an end user standpoint, those are all no excuse. However, you have to understand that nobody wants to ship a bad game. Generally the people who work in the games industry are passionate, talented individuals. The vast majority of problems come from mismanagement, a lack of funding, and overworking in order to meet milestones, not inadequacy at the individual level.

      1. Traska says:

        If it’s too difficult to port the game properly, don’t port it. Many games have been released for consoles that will never see the PC (Rockstar claims Red Dead redemption among these.) Not every game has to be available for every platform.

        1. Jarenth says:

          But then how will upper management make their sweet, sweet cocaine money?

      2. Soylent Dave says:

        The vast majority of problems come from mismanagement, a lack of funding, and overworking in order to meet milestones, not inadequacy at the individual level

        This is the same argument that lets us keep saying “oh, it’s not Obsidian’s fault all their games are half-finished”

        You know what – it is the fault of the people who work on the game. They put their name to things that are half-done. They release things that are unfinished, or bug-ridden, or untested.

        They work for companies that force these impossible deadlines upon them, and they (generally) don’t object. They sign the contracts and accept the money.

        Big companies are made of employees. Managers have to manage employees. If enough of these individuals were actually passionate and talented enough, then we (the end users and the industry) wouldn’t have to put up with their incomplete, bug-ridden shite.

        (I’m not talking about DC universe specifically here – I’m talking about the increasing number of games – i.e. nearly every game I play now – that has been released by developers who clearly haven’t insisted on playtesting, bugfixing and product support for the thing they’ve created which they are supposedly so passionate about…)

        1. EmmEnnEff says:

          Ye can-nae change the laws of physics, and it’s not the fault of any of the developers on a team when they’re given 12 months and 12 people to do a job that would take 18 people 18 months.

          With most failed software projects, the blame can be placed chiefly on management, rather then the competency of the grunts.

          1. psivamp says:

            Ah, yes, but the Tao of Programming reminds us that adding more men to the project does not necessarily finish the product sooner…

            1. Znaps says:

              Aye, but understaffing a project is a good way to make sure it will never be finished.

            2. Chris says:

              Typical Software-Development Management Logic:

              “If it takes one woman nine-months to have a baby, then nine women working together can get that baby popped out in just one month! Ka-ching!!!”

              1. Shamus says:

                Good thinking. We should hire three men to oversee the project.

                1. Joe Cool says:

                  Three women per man? Count me in!

                2. Jarenth says:

                  I’ll expect daily status reports on your progress.

                3. Sumanai - a grouchy ball of cynical pessimism says:

                  And a product demo for Women’s Day.

        2. eri says:

          I’m not denying that there are failings in these sorts of situations. But you also have to realise that most developers live or die by the success or failure of their last game, and the market is extremely competitive. Just getting a publishing deal is a major success, and developers will often accept near-impossible terms because the only other alternative is bankruptcy. It’s nice to imagine a world where everyone treats each other fairly, where people who do good work have their successes measured in dollars, and where the scumbags and talentless go out of business, but that’s just not the world we live in, especially not for the games industry.

          In fact, the games industry is probably the number one creative industry where millions of hours of work by hundreds of people can be made useless by the poor decisions of a few people higher up in the chain. Projects can and do crumble all the time because someone set an impossible deadline for a team of 100+ people, or set an impossibly low budget, or just flat-out chose to market or ship at the wrong time. I don’t want to say this is the only place where mismanagement can cause problems, but it’s amazing how an industry founded on the exploitation of creative talent can so easily throw away its biggest asset with such startling regularity.

          tl;dr version, if you’re going to blame someone, usually, the finger can be pointed straight at the project leads and executives.

          1. Jarenth says:

            Yeah no, I’m with you on both comment-counts. My bold-fonted anger was reserved mostly for those people who assume that porting a game properly is easy, because ‘You already have most of it completed, right? You just have to make it work on the PC now, that can’t be hard. You have a week for that.’

            If these people would just go and stink up another industry with their lack of operational knowledge, I would be a lot calmer. Maybe the pretzel industry. I don’t care as much about pretzels.

            Well, how hard can it be to make these salty pretzels sweet? You’re already got the pretzel, it’s just a matter of taking the salt out! I’ll give you ten minuten to do this pallet.

        3. Lord of Rapture says:

          But it isn’t Obsidian’s fault their games are half-finished!

          Because they’re not!

          Okay, at least for me.

          1. Joshua says:

            Only played one Obsidian game- Neverwinter Nights 2

            People tried to make that argument about why the 3rd chapter was so much poorer in quality and the ending sucked- they just ran out of time.

            However, that doesn’t explain why the 1st Chapter sets you up for two distinct faction paths, and then eliminates that option shortly thereafter by forcing you down the good path.

            Or why a huge portion of the 2nd Chapter revolves around the actions you’ve done in the past that determine your moral character, and the actions you’re doing in the present(I think the courtroom scene can take like 20 minutes!) ONLY TO NULLIFY THE WHOLE POINT OF THE EXERCISE by forcing you into a ritual combat either way.

            Or that another huge portion of the 2nd Chapter(and 3rd? Can’t remember) revolves around building up your keep for just about no point whatsoever.

            Or that dungeon with puzzle about the spirits trapped by the glowing lamps that doesn’t at all work like it’s explained in the story?*

            “Not having enough time” isn’t a sufficient explanation for why this game is so flawed unless you believe they were working on virtually every dungeon, chapter, etc. of the game simultaneously.

            I prefer to believe that the explanation instead is that they just throw around a lot of mostly good ideas(Wouldn’t it be so COOL if we do this?) but don’t spend hardly any time trying to think those ideas through and how to best implement them.

            *You’re trying to get the spirits to a central part of the dungeon. The spirits explain to you that they’d like to help you, but these glowing lamps in the hallways are blocking the passageway there.

            Simple problem, right? Shut off those lamps, and the spirits should be heading straight there! But they don’t. They go everywhere BUT the way you want them to. Then you figure out, you have to turn ON the lamps in every passageway but the one you want them to go down, and then talk to them to get them to move, essentially having to corral them down the way you want them to go, which implies more unwillingness on the part of the spirits.

            1. tremor3258 says:

              I’m vaguely amused that a post mainly on terrible interface choices for a PC port (The chat setup combined with the movement controls stopping auto-travel while chatting ALONE may stop me from actually setitng a subscription, as my personal pet peeve) transmuted into pointing out Obsidian’s flaws again.

      3. Irridium says:

        Still, even with all that, you’d think that the controls would be at least half-way decent with the ports.

        That should be the first thing they tackle. Remember the Resident Evil 4 port? It didn’t even have mouse support.

        1. GiantRaven says:

          I stopped playing Resident Evil 4 on the PC once a QTE popped up where you had to mash the shift key to escape a rolling boulder. This caused the sticky keys selection to pop up and promptly crash the game. There wasn’t any way to change the controls.


      4. somebodys_kid says:

        Sales Figures for COD: Black Ops…
        360: 10.35 million
        PS3: 8.2 million
        PC: 0.95 million
        (source: http://gamrreview.vgchartz.com )

        Until those numbers change, it doesn’t make much economic sense to even sell pc games.

        Also to reinforce some of your points:
        – The Force Unleashed…worst port ever.
        – Has anyone tried playing Dark Sector on PC with more than one active monitor? I thought not because YOU CAN’T! (unless it’s in windowed mode)
        – Gearbox did a good job with the Halo: Combat Evolved port many a year ago, but that took them FOREVER and they added a lot of new content. I guess if we PC Gamers want a game ported from consoles, we will have to endure a (multi)year delay to have a decent one.

        1. Traska says:

          And the monthly subscription income for console MMOs (all) vs PC MMOs (all) is…? Until THOSE numbers change, it doesn’t make sense to release MMOs on consoles.

          1. somebodys_kid says:

            That’s a valid point. I think the consoles just need a killer MMO like WOW to usher them into the realm of MMOs…or COD could just start charging a monthly fee…

      5. Merle says:

        These are all valid points, and none of them are reasons to give a dime to a company that tries to pass off a buggy port as a completed piece of software.

  6. Mephane says:

    The description of your fast-travel power says to use “L3 or NUMLOCK”.

    More of this NumLock silliness. Is there any sane reason why any function in a game should ever be bound to NumLock (or similarly, CapsLock)? Really, it’s like there is some arcane template for standard MMO keyboard layout, which says in big letters “ALWAYS BIND SOMETHING TRAVEL-RELATED TO NUMLOCK! ANNOY PEOPLE USING THOSE KEYS ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THEIR KEYBOARD AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE”.


    1. poiumty says:

      I think WoW was the first to do that. Probably because it makes a little light go on/off so it’s a good toggle button.

      …yeah, kind of a stupid excuse. I don’t mind if they’re remappable though.

      1. Kavonde says:

        I remember City of Heroes binding it to “R”, which I thought was so neat that I bind Autorun to that in every game that has it now.

        Based on all the praise being showered on it in the comments ’round here, I really need to check it out again…

        1. Jarenth says:

          I too do this out of habit. R for Autorun, Backspace for Chat Reply. I can’t even begin to wrap my brain around pressing R for Chat Reply, it just doesn’t work.

        2. Trix says:

          I used to use the tilde key, since on my keyboard it was in easy reaching distance of my left thumb. After it moved on my new keyboard, I switched to C for about the same thing.

        3. Merle says:

          I do the same, including in WoW. When you’re using WASD controls, “R” for autorun just makes sense.

      2. Adam P says:

        Actually, EverQuest did it before WoW.

        1. Traska says:

          Curses, beaten while typing!

      3. Traska says:

        Everquest predates World of Warcraft by years, and it also had the “NumLock for auto-run” feature.

        1. Josh says:

          Yeah, I’m pretty sure it originated in Everquest. It’s never seemed that unnatural to me – but then the first MMO I really played was Star Wars Galaxies which inherited basically everything from Everquest – same engine and all. And, come to think of it, my initial keymap in SWG was pretty weird as hell because I didn’t use wasd at the time.

          Guild Wars (and apparently City of Heroes according to Kavonde’s comment) have it in the much more logical and natural position bound to the ‘r’ key, which I think is a pretty good place for it.

          1. HeroOfHyla says:

            Final Fantasy XIV’s got it on numpad 7 and… something adjacent to WASD, I can’t remember what key exactly. Maybe E.

          2. Zukhramm says:

            Guild Wars also has the wonderful double tap forward to auto run.

          3. Klay F. says:

            For WoW I bound autorun to Tab and I left Tab targeting to go die in a zombie fire. It seems there is a universal rule that all auto-targeting systems (even in WoW) must be utterly useless and self-defeating. Once I swore off auto-targeting forever, it became pretty much child’s play to make precision pulls with my various tanks from different games. Even when I’m grinding heroic and things of the sort, I go into a sort of trance of pulls that pretty much never get hairy unless I’m playing with tards, and I don’t really come out of it until I get to an endboss.

            Well, this is how I used to be, until I realized I was becoming a stereotypical hardcore MMO player, and I slapped myself.

            1. Ian says:

              I find tab-targeting to be more useful after the pull, since it lets you quickly check your threat with all of the mobs without clicking on each one, allowing you to move while you do so. I generally use it when I have a ton of mobs on me or if I pull large groups to satisfy a confident healer (in other words, something that’s not going to happen when I get past level 80).

              My main complaint with it is that there are no logical constraints with it, such as only targeting mobs that are aggroed when you’re in combat, or even the option to do so. It would be far more useful for DPS classes (particularly the DoT-heavy warlocks and shadow priests) if that were the case.

      4. TSED says:

        EQ had autorun bound to numlock since, at the very latest, Shadows of Luclin. I say that because that’s what it was when I started, but I would be all kinds of surprised if it wasn’t like that in, say, beta.

    2. DaveMc says:

      I just ran into some odd key choices when trying to play Medieval: Total War on my laptop. The tutorial instruction said “Hit the zero key on your numeric keypad”, or similar, and I didn’t have one — and couldn’t proceed any further in the game because of it, until I plugged in a keyboard. There’s probably some sort of workaround, but it was an odd speed bump to hit. I suppose if PC gaming is a niche market, then PC gaming *on laptops* is super-niche.

      1. krellen says:

        Most laptops have a combination (usually the “Fn” key and one of the F-keys along the top) to “Num Lock” a section of the keyboard into the 10-key number pad arrangement. You probably could have done that to get around it.

        1. Trix says:

          Such alternate keys are annoying for anything you might use regularly…or even at all, considering the locations of said keys are on opposite sites of the keyboard for me.

      2. Josh says:

        You may also want to make sure you’ve got the control scheme switched to “shooter style” or something along those lines and not “classic.” Navigating the battlefield with wasd is so much more intuitive than reaching for the arrow keys.

        1. Avilan says:

          As a left handed player, I find that on a laptop the arrow keys in combination with the surrounding “special” keys (shift, ctrl, etc etc) makes a great setup. I can basically control everything except aiming and shooting with my right hand without actually leaving the arrow keys; the only exceptions usually are E for activating stuff, space for jump and R for reload, if present.

          1. krellen says:

            Do you reverse the buttons on your mouse, or do you use your ring finger to click and your index to right-click?

            I can mouse right or left, but I get confused on clicks if I don’t reverse buttons when I mouse left – yet none of the lefties I work with reverse their buttons, leading to hilarity as I right-click on things I’m supposed to click and vice-versa.

            1. Zukhramm says:

              I don’t think I know an left handed person who uses the mouse in their left hand, and that includes myself.

    3. Epopisces says:

      This becomes even more wonderful when you use numpad for movement. I realize this is probably 1% of gamers (if that) because even left-handers are taught to use a mouse right handed, but for those few lonely souls who insist that right-clicking is the only way to properly shoot, the numpad is usually a vital part of the gaming experience. Rather than using WASD, I use a 8456 on the numpad (leaving 7 and 9 for the quick-trigger powers, 0 and 1 as thumb commands, 2,3,’+’,[enter] for secondaries, etc). Binding numlock to anything undoes the entire configuration.

      Of course, as I type this I realize it’s largely a moot point because I have to rebind every key on every game I play anyway.

      1. decius says:

        I played with the numpad long after WASD became standard.
        And I’m right handed, and right moused: I moved the keyboard to put the numpad under my left hand. +/enter for jump/duck, 1/3 for strafe left/right, and seven additional adjacent keys for game specific bindings. Then I realized that WASD had even more adjacent keys.

    4. Dev Null says:

      I map auto-run to the middle mouse button, and normal move forward to either a spare mouse button, or L+R, depending on what I have available (in addition to “w”, not as a replacement.) This is purely to make it easier to eat and or drink while traveling one-handed. Which I suspect is not something to be proud of, but it is handy…(so to speak.)

  7. Wolfwood says:

    WOW ok im so staying away from this game <.<

  8. Nentuaby says:

    Sadly, the “cockpit problem” is essentially universal to chat filters. Not having the option to turn it off is unforgivable.

    The worst, though, is when a filter is itself actively offensive. Words like “jew” and “gay” tend to be filtered out because immature little twerps like throwing them around as terms of abuse. This might make a certain kind of sense to the naive censor, but it’s enormously worse than the disease. Being implicitly (but quite literally) told that a neutral and objective label of your identity is an obscenity is blood-boiling.

    1. psivamp says:

      I hate filters. Call of Duty: Black Ops (yes, I played Call of Duty: Black Ops) applies a filter to your class names. Your class names. That no one outside of your room can see. Who is an offensive class name going to offend, my girlfriend? And how is Assault Rifle offensive? (Yes, yes, it has ass in it… but, seriously, these filters need to evaluate the whole word instead of just looking for Strings…)

      1. Chargone says:

        gets worse when you realise that outside of the USA ‘ass’ just means a donkey… and these filters NEVER catch ‘arse’ which has no other meaning at all.

      2. Irridium says:

        Whats funny about it is that one of the pre-made classes is called “Assault”.

        Try naming a class Assault, it will block it for profanity. Because you know, you might be offended by the name you give your class. A name nobody else will see.


      3. Pickly says:

        The Guild Wars filters do (or perhaps did) do the same thing, even blanking out its own NPC and enemy names. Always made the game slightly more fun to be fighting “—-ed clerics” and “Captain —-mang”.

    2. NeilD says:

      What has amused me about the profanity filter is that I’ve seen it both filter “Dick Grayson” and “Suicide Slums” (apparently suicide is a bad word too) — you’d think they’d at least check for context for their own terms.

      That said, and all the other criticisms well granted, I’m still enjoying it. It’s my first MMO, and I’m completely unaware of the terminology and etiquette, so I’m pretty much playing a solo game. But I’m a longtime DC fanboy, and I’m just having a blast running around and meeting old ‘friends’. “Vic! Kory! Donna! Great to see you… don’t you remember me?”

      Random question: Is there an equivalent to Watchtower for villains? I can’t imagine them being made to feel at home there.

      1. Traska says:

        That would be the Hall of Doom. (Think Superfriends)

        1. NeilD says:

          Ah, of course. I should have been able to guess that. Thanks!

      2. Heron says:

        LEGO Universe’s chat filter was far worse — they whitelist the words you’re allowed to use in chats, which as you can guess makes having any sort of conversation nearly impossible. Half of the words used in quest titles or as quest objectives were not whitelisted, so you could not ask, “Where do I find the skunk pet?” because “skunk” was not whitelisted. (But misspelling “the” as “teh” was permitted.)

        Even worse, few numbers were whitelisted, so you could not talk about… well… pretty much anything that involves quantities or quotas. Which is most quests.

        I understand that they were targeting kids, not adults, but… that was possibly the most aggravating part of that game, and I think kids would find it as frustrating as I did.

        1. Inyssius says:

          Holy shit. A whitelist? As a chat filter? That’s insanity!

          1. Klay F. says:

            Believe it. LEGO rivals Disney in terms of defending its product FOR TEH CHILRENS!

            Also, Runescape. Thats all I really need to say, and former players of that piece of crap will know.

            1. acronix says:

              Based on this, I´ll remember to look for subliminal messages on any lego set I come across!

    3. Ingvar says:

      Not to mention the Scunthorpe problem… I hear S####horpe have a somewhat vocal footie supporter team (soccer, not US football) that were amusingly unable to discuss the team on whatever chat service they tried it on.

    4. Daemian Lucifer says:

      The worst filter Ive encountered was one censoring oral.Whats worse is that they did it with anything containing oral,like moral.

      1. decius says:

        I bet morale was bad once the developers hit the list of words expected to be filtered.

  9. Kavonde says:

    Wow, I hadn’t even noticed the chat filter thing because I haven’t typed a damn thing in that tiny little window yet. That’s insane.

    In the words of a great man, tits shouldn’t even be on the list!

    1. Veloxyll says:


      1. Taellosse says:

        Well, you CAN. It generally requires surgery, though. Also, not recommended unless medically necessary. ;-)

        1. Rick Tacular says:

          He means “Tater Tits”.

    2. Ross says:

      “Right. It sounds like a snack food. New Nabisco Tits! Betcha can’t eat just one!”

      A true genius, that George.

      1. Klay F. says:

        God help you if you ever start talking about the species of bird. Sometimes I just want to talk about the migration patterns of Tits or the mating rituals of Blue-Footed Boobies…with complete strangers over the internet.

  10. Raygereio says:

    “The interface and font sizes are huge. There's an option to adjust the interface scale, but the slider only goes up.”
    That’s the only nitpick that made me frown a bit. Looking at screenshots the font and gui don’t seem that excessively large to me. Out of curiosity Shamus, what would the right size for you?

    1. Chargone says:

      ok, imagine the screenshot takes up the Entire Screen, and realise how huge those buttons are as a result…

      once you shrink it down to ‘screen shot fits on the page’ size it probably isn’t too bad…

      (it’s entirely possible I’m misunderstanding something here and wrong, mind you)

    2. Shamus says:

      Note that the 600 wide screenshot above is reduced from 1950 wide. Those controls aren’t oversized compared to most MMO’s, but they’re oversized compared to how much information they contain. The screenshot is less than a third its original size, and you can still read the chat window.

      1. Fists says:

        So what resolution are you running? I notice a lot of programs are designed to run at the typical max for the time and anything lower they magnify text and such. “reduced from 1950 wide.” did you mean 1920, i.e. your running 1920×1080 and thereby my guess is wrong?

        1. Heron says:

          It’s possible he’s got a 27″ or 30″ monitor that goes up to 2500-something pixels wide, and he did mention that he’s playing in windowed mode, so that could result in a screen capture 1950 pixels wide, but that’s just a guess.

          I can play games fullscreen at 1920×1080, but I rarely do anymore, because fullscreen games make it difficult to participate in conversations on messenger or IRC, or pause the show I’m watching (because heaven forbid any software should hook the Windows media keys, which would let me control media without leaving the game!), or whatever else I might have on the other monitor. It’s also annoying when games mute themselves when they don’t have focus. (Counter-Strike used to do that, but they added an option for it a few months ago. It’s one of my top annoyances in Star Trek Online right now.)

          The worst games, though, are the ones that not only don’t play nice in windowed mode, but that also blank out the secondary monitor, so you can’t do anything else at the same time no matter what you do. I played a game last week that did that, but I can’t remember what it was off the top of my head…

          1. Ian says:

            One of the things that I like about WoW is its “Fullscreen (Windowed)” option. It allows me to set it as full screen on my primary monitor (or secondary, if I wanted to) and freely move my mouse pointer to my other monitor.

            Regarding the ones that blank out the secondary monitor, I’ve been trying to come up with a pattern for that. It almost seems to happen if the refresh rate on the primary monitor is changed. Mass Effect did that when I was using my old NVIDIA card, but stopped doing that when I switched it out for a newer ATI card. My NVIDIA card always used to set the fullscreen refresh rate on my primary monitor to “59hz” (huh?) but my ATI card doesn’t show that clearly erroneous value at all.

        2. Shamus says:

          Whoops. Yeah. 1920 x 1200. Dunno why I thought 1950.

      2. Raygereio says:

        Ah, yes at 1950×1080 they would be a bit big I imaging, if they don’t scale properly.
        I played the game briefly at a 1280×960 resolution and everything felt about the right size.

        Funny though; usually the problem I have with the font of videogames is that they’re too small at higher resolutions.

  11. krellen says:

    Is flying around the city fun? That’s the one thing that made me go play City of Heroes again (and thus fall in love with it as it had escaped Cryptic by then) – if flying around the city is fun, I’m generally willing to forgive a lot (at least for a month or two, until I get bored of flying. But I’ll be back.)

    1. Shamus says:

      Flying and acrobatics are both a blast, and the ground-based movement types aren’t at a great disadvantage compared to flying. (You can climb walls.)

      1. Tever says:

        I don’t like flying, actually. I like the movements the character makes when she turns; it looks like real flying for once. But the unchangeable posture gets on my nerves, and it just feels slow to me.

    2. Jarenth says:

      Replace ‘flying’ with ‘super jumping’ and you have my City of Heroes cycle down to a tee.

      1. krellen says:

        It’s funny I mention flight, because three of my five 50s have Super Jump, not Flight (the other two have Flight). Super Jump is sort of like Flight++ – all the fun of flight without the annoying slowness.

        1. Jarenth says:

          I agree on this notion 100%.

          My main Villain has Super Jump, and travelling with him is an absolute blast. In contrast, my main Hero has Teleport (don’t ask) and travelling with him is more of a chore.

          Click. Oh geeh, I’m a few hundred farther. Click.

        2. Traska says:

          But it *does* have the annoying need-to-babysit-constantly effect.

          Most of my characters have flight, because if I need to AFK, safety is only a few hundred feet straight up. Admittedly, I wish it were faster, but if it’s a choice between speed and accuracy, I choose accuracy.

    3. NeilD says:

      Acrobatics is, as Shamus says, a blast. Especially once you get the horizontal and vertical grapples, it gets reminiscent of Arkham Asylum.

      I’m assuming it worked similarly in the other superhero MMOs, but not having played one of these before, I was concerned that acrobatic movement would be at a distinct disadvantage against flying and super-speed. Having played it, I’m now glad I didn’t pick super-speed — I think I’d be somewhat annoyed to find out that I wasn’t actually any faster than an “unpowered” human taking long strides.

      1. NeilD says:

        Whoops. Have to correct myself. Previously I’d only found myself running side-by-side with a speedster inside a police station, and I guess they were holding back. One just blew my doors off out in the street.

  12. Veloxyll says:

    Surely with chat filters it wouldn’t kill you to flag it internally as a possible swear, then check the contest to make sure that you’re only catching t it and the like and not hit it etc. Or at least let adults turn the whole thing off!

    as for the UI team, what the heck, if ST:O can have an adjustable UI, so can you. And UI sliders should go both ways, always.

    1. Jeff says:

      ST:O is made by the CO team – their interface and controls were really nice. Very customizable, as was the costume and powers.

  13. Adalore says:

    Automatic censors drive me nuts, I would much rather have it completely off. I find that I don’t mind swarewords in moderation, and that I only use them to actually enhance a sentence should it make sense. It’s not like I run around dropping F-Carpet bombs.

  14. David V.S. says:

    Now I wonder if the filter prohibits left parenthesis, space, period, space, capital Y, space, period, space, right parenthesis

    1. Michael says:

      You do realize it would have been faster to type the characters out instead of describing it, right?

      Unless you were being literal, and meant the phrase “left parenthesis, space, period, space, capital Y, space, period, space, right parenthesis,” and not the symbolism.

      Also: I’m going to go ahead and say, “Probably not,” in both cases. Most games don’t filter emoticons and symbols. Think of the uproar!

      For example: my friend plays EVE Online, and instead of saying Hello or Hi, most of the player-base (I’m told) greets one-another with o/

      It’s meant to represent a person waving. But if chat filters were to censor emoticons and symbols, this might get flagged because someone thought it would be used as a penis instead. (Kind of like the way immature brats on XBL use the words Gay and Jew as pejoratives, as someone points out in the comments above.)

      1. krellen says:

        He was just too polite to put ( . Y . ) on Shamus’s blog.

        Of course, with the font he uses, it doesn’t really look much like what it’s intended to.

        1. X2-Eliah says:

          Fair being fair, I don’t get how that’s even an emote.. “Hey everyone! I feel like a boob today!” – is that the meaning?

        2. Michael says:


          It never once occurred to be he was just being polite.

      2. Josh says:

        The friends I have that play EVE seriously all use o/ both as a greeting and a goodbye. I had to stare at it a little while the first time before I figured out what it was supposed to be.

        1. Heron says:

          People use it as a “high-five” too. Someone actually chastised me for not returning the high-five (with a \o to match their o/) before I figured out what it meant. There’s also the “hooray” \o/ that people use sometimes, whose meaning eluded me until \o and o/ were explained…

          1. Zukhramm says:

            There’s the salute the ohno and the elbowintheface: <o <o> and o<o

            1. Nentuaby says:

              And… Of course… There is the immortal: KIRBY DANCE.
              <(^_^)> <(^_^<) <(^_^)> (>^_^)> <(^_^)>

              (Deepest apologies.)

              1. Jarenth says:

                I don’t understand why you feel the need to apologize for that.

          2. niconorsk says:

            For completeness sake:
            o/ – Hi bye
            o7 – Salute
            \o/ – Hooray
            *\o/* – Hooray with pompoms

      3. Jarenth says:

        Now I feel like turning the phrase ‘left parenthesis, space, period, space, capital Y, space, period, space, right parenthesis’ into an insult.

        Who’s with me?

        1. X2-Eliah says:


        2. psivamp says:

          I cannot condone the use of breasts or any representation thereof – however rudimentary – to be used for ill!

          I will fight this!

          1. Jarenth says:

            You rotten no-good left parenthesis, space, period, space, capital Y, space, period, space, right parenthesis.

            1. Michael says:

              The circle is complete.

              1. David V.S. says:

                And folks asked why I didn’t just type the ASCII image? Because I expected the replies on a Shamus Blog Post would be more fun in reply to something pointlessly semi-cryptic. And it worked!

                1. Jarenth says:

                  You are the genius of our time.

  15. X2-Eliah says:

    Well, the interface does look absolutely wretched.. Heck, take GTA 4, the most console-lazy-ported game out there (or one of them, at least), and it’s interface worked well on the PC (few other things did, though, but that’s beside the point).

    The worst part is, the game doesn’t even allow to share servers between console and pc players, so there’s no reason to unify the interface for ‘fairness’ and such..

    And an interface where the mouse doesn’t work, on a pc game, is just beyond daft.

    Then again, going by all the issues you’ve pointed out (after only 30 hours!), looks like this is akin to a very early open beta stage.

    1. Heron says:

      And an interface where the mouse doesn't work, on a pc game, is just beyond daft.

      This is exactly the reason why I played Dead Space for twenty seconds and quit. Even at maximum mouse sensitivity, I felt like I was turning around in molasses. At least I only paid $5 for it. (Though, I guess at least the mouse “works” in Dead Space. Maybe that’s what made it so frustrating.)

      1. Kdansky says:

        Yay, I’m not the only one who hates dead space with a passion due to the unbelievably bad mouse controls!

  16. Dovius says:

    “When you log out, it asks for a confirmation dialog. If you select “yes”, then it makes you wait 10 seconds before logging out.”
    Like WoW does, but only shorter and without Inns?

    1. Sheer_Falacy says:

      I think the key part there is “without inns” – in general in WOW, you want to log out at an inn, either for the rested state or because major cities are the best places to be and they are inns.

      Also, WOW allows you to exit instantly (which is different from logout), and it sounds like this game doesn’t.

      1. HeroOfHyla says:

        Final Fantasy XI had a 30 second logout timer. Getting hurt canceled the logout. I assume it was to prevent people from disconnecting to avoid the XP penalty from death. I remember one time I was partying with a couple people, who were helping me with the quest o gain access to support jobs. One of them had to go for a bit (needed to go shopping or something), so she triggered the logout and left. With about 5 seconds left on the timer, something attacked and killed her.

    2. Merle says:

      No, WoW lets you quit instantly. It’s only if you’re trying to log out to use another character that it makes you wait – and that’s only if you’re not in a city/inn.

  17. Sephyron says:

    Sounds like the interface has plenty of the same quirks and problems as Final Fantasy XI. Sure you get used to it after a while but it always feels strange having to do things such as be in movement when pressing the autorun key, not beeing able to change or move interface elements and other such things.

  18. Deadpool says:

    Y’know, what’s funny about the whole waiting 10 seconds to log out and switch characters thing? You don’t have to wait at all if you just Exit Game…

    1. Tever says:

      Yeah you do. And it probably takes longer, assuming you are trying to switch characters. It only takes a second or two to exit the game, but it takes a full two minutes to get it to load again thanks to the overly elaborate launcher.

      1. Jeff #3 says:

        I found that in City of Heros I can quit to desktop and restart/reloging faster then the 30 seconds waiting to ‘exit to login’ prompt. If you do that, the initial login attempt gets you an ‘account is still logged in error’ that (I assume) disconnects your other session and allows you to login on the second attempt.

        However WoW is actually pretty strict about where you can logou or quit. If you get disconnected in such a way that you can still run around, but not get any updates (your character is still in game, you’ve just been removed from the equation) you can’t /quit or /logout until a few minutes afterward when the game realizes that somethings wrong and boots you to the menuscreen. In CoX when this occurs and you /quit it happens instantly.

        On another lamentation while exploring in WoW last night I died in such a way that there was no graveyard to rez me, and nor corpse to rez from. So I got stuck in a spot in the spirit world phase. Clicking the ‘return to graveyard’ button gave an error message, and attmpting to quit or logout gave a ‘you cannot log out at this time’ pop up message.

        I had to alt+f4 to get out of the program (HORRIBLE design choice there, thanks Blizard security) and deleting the character.

        1. krellen says:

          I’ve never had CoX load that fast. Your computer must be pretty advanced.

          1. Jeff #3 says:

            It’ll be celebrating it’s 4th birthday in a few months.

            It helps to have an intelligent defrager that optimizes based on usage. It doesn’t load nearly that fast anymore. This could be due to changes to their loader as well. This was a few years ago.

          2. Jarenth says:

            That error actually also happens if you disconnect based on ‘Lost Connection to Mapserver’, in which case your character just doesn’t start logging out until you try to log back in.

            Good times.

  19. Rick Tacular says:

    Since tl;dr (well, I read a little…), I just wanted to touch on the NumbLock thing.

    First, it’s a toggle, you don’t have to hold it down while traveling.

    Second, I remapped it to the middle mouse button. Extraordinarily convenient, for me.

    But, as for the rest of the article, yeah. Especially targeting. I like the first attack where one can spring towards your target. I *hate* when I’m in a mob and I launch towards a piece of scenery! Funny thing, in the beta you could control the menus with the arrow keys and hit Enter to select. You can’t do that, now. =(

  20. 2tm says:

    Second to last sentence of paragraph 6, you have “Are very often it will select crates.” but the first word should be “And”.

  21. Pickly says:

    Question on the second picture (The “disconnected” screen): Do the zerg invade at some point in the game? Because the picture really, really looks like some giant brood lords/guardians/something in between are floating in on some ruins.

    1. Rick Tacular says:

      They’re Brainiac’s invading forces. Going for a technorganic look.

      Yeah, they look like Zerg. =P

  22. Tom says:

    I agree with all of the interface and character options complaints that I’ve read a number of times, but the thing that bothered me the most was when I made my first character…

    I selected to make an iconic character and picked Superman as my template. I start playing and suddenly this ice armor stuff starts popping up around my character. Then I took a closer look at how I was automatically configured.

    Travel: Flight. Ok, that checks out for Superman.
    Weapon: Brawling. Again, sounds like Superman.
    Power Set: Ice. Um, what?

    The Ice power set basically has two paths: covering yourself in ice and doing aura-based stuff, and projecting ice. Fire, the only other “Tank” power set has the same deal. The only cold-based power for Superman I could think of was his cold breath, which is one of the Iconic Powers that anyone can take at higher levels.

    Looking at Wonder Woman, her power set was Mental, which includes a Telekinesis tree and an Illusion tree. WTF.

    This is DC Universe Online and you can’t really make a good approximation of two of the three iconic characters (as defined by their mentor system). That’s ridiculous.

    1. Rick Tacular says:

      OH yeah, that’s been a big thing on the beta forums. We’ve been generally ignored, so the consensus is to hope beyond hope that we’ll get some kind of non-elemental powerset to use.

  23. Ian says:

    Ever play Borderlands for PC?

    After Gearbox did the PC port for Halo (say what you will about the game, but I thought the port was one of the best I’ve seen) I’m shocked at how badly they did with Borderlands. The controls functioned differently depending on what screen you were in, there were several issues with mouse aiming, and you had to use page up and page down to scroll through mission text (the scroll wheel only worked on certain screens).

    That being said, it’s still better than having to pan the interface around like you do when you play split screen on the console versions. Ugh.

  24. thebigJ_A says:

    I just listened to the Giantbomb Podcast, where Jeff Gerstmann talked about playing DCUO (on ps3). [It starts like ten or fifteen minutes into the ‘cast.]It’s really interesting hearing his perspective on what’s wrong with the game (including, in his opinion, the combat). He saw a lot of the game played on pc (they have an hour and a half long video of them playing it on the site) so his comparisons of the two are interesting as well.

    It’s funny, with people on pc complaining about how everything feels like it was designed for consoles, Jeff thinks there are many things that don’t work because they were designed to be controlled with a mouse. Maybe they tried to split the difference and failed on both ends.

    I wonder what Shamus might think of his take. Especially since many of the complaints contrast.

  25. tremor3258 says:

    Man, how is it the City’s gotten so much of this right (I keep going back, but I fall into a combat rhythm after a while and I eventually get bored with blowing everything up and leave again) when none of its successors seem to be picking up all the lessons involved?

    It’s like if WoW had come out and everyone kept basing their designs on Ultima.

  26. That Epic Guy says:

    I have something to say about the xp bar thing. Actually, you can see how much xp you have. There’s a bar going like this: _____/ and it fills up as you gain xp. Except it’s not purple, it’s a mixture of yellow and red. I think you’re mistaking the energy bar for the xp bar.

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