Level 1 Superman

The DC Universe Online tutorial takes place in one of Brainiac’s ships. While I respect that unity in the storyline, unless levels work radically different here, it is hard to take seriously a Big Bad when players solo his invasion ships at level 1. If Brainiac is not up to containing level 1 characters, he may not be much of a threat.

I picked Superman as a mentor, so he joined me at the end of the tutorial. (I presume that’s why, rather than everyone’s getting Superman.) This is another problem of scaling, because Superman is (depending on the latest universe reboot) kind of a demigod. Any problem I can reasonably address at level 1, he can solve without stopping. Big Blue should be smashing those robots faster than I can see them, and I’m pretty sure he can fly through the side of the ship rather than waiting on that teleporter. You can play Robin to Batman, but next to Superman, you’re Jimmy Olsen.

Comic books usually hand-wave the MMO problem of different levels. I think Daredevil knows that he’s not in the same league as Thor, but you at least pretend for a few pages that the heroes can meaningfully challenge the Silver Surfer.

: Zubon

12 thoughts on “Level 1 Superman”

  1. Nah, everyone not getting Superman is getting Lex Luthor, it’s a sides thing. And yes, that does mean you do *exactly* the same tutorial red-side as blue-side, only with the voice-over being Calculator (almost the same script) and the final support being Luthor.

  2. Simple solution, the tutorial has your level 1 character escaping MALFUNCTIONING Brainiac ship, and in the finale you discover it’s because Superman wrecked it–before they used kryptonite to capture him. So you have to free him, and while he’s SLOWLY recovering his strength, he helps you defeat the last of Brainiac robots.

  3. Ken’s idea.
    Every superhero has a weakness. Exploit it to bring equality to all. (Saying it like that sounds villainous)
    Manhunter can’t deal with fire.. Lanterns can’t work with yellow.. Kent don’t jive with green stones.. Ironman gets low on power..

    1. If I get into the game, I’ll presumably try them all, but is there any difference? I basically saw them as saying you could pick tech, magic, or inherent as your power source. I went with inherent for my first guy, although he is using tech toys to augment that.

    2. I’ve picked Wonder Woman when the character i was creating was based on magic. I kind of assumed the mentors were sort of like the origins in City of Heroes, could be wrong though. Still saw Superman in the tutorial though, which made me sad.

  4. I always found Superman to be a horrible superhero for exactly that reason: short of one green stone, he can do ANYTHING he wants. How is that interesting… I mean the guy can fly so fast that he can reverse time by making the earth spin backwards. What are you going to do to stop THAT?

    Double silly when Batman, a human with NO superpowers, teams with Superman and they fight together. Batman punch or ZOMG-unlimited-strength-guy punch?

    /end rant

    1. http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BoringInvincibleHero

      Superman is hard to write well, especially mixed with others. His power level has been toned down with most reboots.

      I think Flash is remarkably undersold, mostly because most writers haven’t thought through the implications of his powers. He can run move faster than light, control speed around him, and choose which aspects of the laws of physics apply. That means he can move invisibly, hit with infinite force, phase through objects, disintegrate people, and throw enemies into orbit more easily than Superman. “He runs fast” does not being to cover Speed Force.

  5. I’ve never been a superhero fan (for the reasons brought up in this post, among others), but this strikes me as an outgrowth of the conceit that all the various problems to be tackled – in both the source material and the MMO – are best solved through violence.

    Not that I don’t like my violent media, mind. But I’d really appreciate if MMOs (and games in general) took more time to model non-combat activities. And watching a crafting bar inch towards completion isn’t what I mean.

    Suffice to say, if I was a telepathic superhero who could run around picking mobster’s minds for clues, I wouldn’t feel weird about solving crimes next to Superman as an equal. But because everything (in MMOs especially) comes down to simply measuring your combat effectiveness… There’s not much room for variety or horizontal advancement.

    I don’t know, I feel like I’m just rambling here. Very interesting post to think about, though, Zubon.

    P.S. I want a masked hero game based on The Watchmen, or some of those old pulp detective stories… Not holding my breath though! :)

    1. Which is why Batman, Oracle, Martian Manhunter, and others can work well with Superman instead of being immediately overshadowed by him. Superman’s big advantage is massive power. Not every problem is solved that way.

      On the other hand, creative application of sufficient raw power can work:

  6. The sad thing is this is the least of DCUO’s problems.

    The UI and controls are absolutely HORRIBLE.



    Blatant console port, and a bad one at that.

    I was so excited when this game went F2P. I told my wife we’d have a new MMO to play. After a ton of hours downloading, isntalling, and patching, I knew this game sucked in less than 1 hour of gameplay.

    A few weeks later my wife asked me “Hey, I thought we were going to play DCUO?”

    My response: “Yeah, not gonna happen.”

    She lol’d.

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