Interview: DC Universe Online's 'Lightning Strikes' DLC Pack Is On The Way

Later this year, Sony Online Entertainment will be launching the second round of DLC for their superhero MMO, DC Universe Online. Featuring the Flash and introducing a new electricity-based power set for players, the DLC will also include new Flash-related locations and environments including (from the press release):

  • Central City – An all-new map that offers players a more open world experience that provides on-going gameplay, with solo and group missions.

  • The Flash Museum Duo – Players can now experience the Central City of today and tomorrow. In The Flash Museum Duo, players can travel back in time to the very moment when Barry Allen became The Flash and battle foes inside the Central City Police Station!

  • Electricity Powers – Players now have the opportunity to get the new Electricity Power set for current and new characters. The new Electricity Power set allows players to leverage the lightning power of electricity and use new types of attacks in combat. Electricity Powers include the Tesla Ball, which creates a floating ball of electricity that zaps nearby enemies; the Shockwave, which shoots streams of electric bolts at enemies; and Ionic Drain, which drains energy from the environment to replenish a player’s health while simultaneously damaging surrounding enemies.

  • New Gear – Players can earn all-new gear sets including the new Zoom-inspired gear set for villains, and the new Black Lightning-inspired gear set for heroes.

  • New Characters – Lightning Strikes brings players new iconic DC Universe characters including Livewire, Black Lightning, The Top, The Trickster, Static and more. New characters – such as Livewire – will be featured as new “Inspired By” options for players who can choose to create a new character inspired by some of DC Universe’s legendary characters. Additional new characters – such as Black Lighting – serve as a bounty mission that players can fight if they choose to be a villain.

Jens Andersen, the Creative Director for DC Universe Online was kind enough to answer a few questions by e-mail about the "Lightning Strike Pack" and the shape of the console and PC MMO nearly a year after its release.

MTV Geek: First off, what made the Flash and Electricity the best fit for the new power set?

Jens Andersen The Flash is one of the premiere characters in the DC Universe and has long been a fan favorite. Our players have made it clear they want some Flash-related content so we are giving it to them. Players have wanted to get their hands on Electricity powers since day one, and now they can when DLC #2, “Lightning Strikes,” comes out later this year.

Geek: Who were some of the other characters/power sets your team discussed prior to picking the Flash?

Andersen: Well, given that “Fight for the Light” was the first DLC, obviously Light and Green Lantern. After that, we had two clear choices between adding a tank power or a healing power. So to give you a peek behind the creative curtain we batted around a lot of ideas from Plastic Man to Firestorm. There are so many great characters to set these DLCs around, we are fortunate to be working with such a rich license to draw from.

Geek: Are there any other planned tweaks or fixes coming with this update?

Andersen: We’re constantly working to make DC Universe Online the best experience for our players so each update will come with numerous fixes so the short answer is, yes, always.

Geek: What’s the response been like to the switch to the F2P model from fans?

Andersen: The response from fans to DC Universe Online’s free-to-play transition has been extremely positive overall. In the first week alone, we registered 1 million new players! We are thrilled at the initial enthusiasm for the game’s free-to-play transition.

Geek: So, could you clarify for our readers how they would be able to access the new content under the new tiers? Who gets what?

Andersen: For people who have never played the game, they can now download the free version of the game on the PC at or on the PS3 from the PlayStation Store. Once they download the game, there are three access levels we offer: Free Access, Premium Access and Legendary membership.

  • With Free Access players now have access to the base game content, including Gotham City, Metropolis, and all current raids and alerts, everything outside of DLC packs. Free Access also provides players with the ability to create two characters, join a League and many other benefits.

  • Premium Access players are those that have spent at least $5 USD on in-game items, purchase of a DLC Pack and all former subscribers and anyone who purchased the game is automatically granted Premium level access. Premium Access players have more benefits available to them than the Free level player, including additional character slots, additional inventory slots, and higher cash limits.

  • Legendary Membership provides players the most content, features and benefits of the three access levels, for a monthly fee of $14.99 USD. Players will get enhanced features, and includes access to all DLC packs at no cost, more than 16 character slots, over 60 inventory slots, the ability to form leagues, and many other benefits.

So players have lots of options on how to access DC Universe Online and they are able to choose to play their way.

Geek: How did the decision to split the game into tiers come about?

Andersen: We’ve listened to our community and have determined that the free-to-play model is the best fit for DCUO. Giving players choices is the theme of how we’re moving forward as a company – it’s really about Free to Play. Your Way—meaning that the decision is in the players’ hands so they can play the game on their own terms. We’re excited here at SOE to be pushing that envelope with games like DC Universe Online and delivering better value to our customers.

Geek: It’s been a little under a year since the game launched. How do you think it’s evolved over that time?

Andersen: Considering the major challenges we faced at launch and beyond I think it is evolving admirably. We’ve added more content since launch than most MMOs do in a year. We’re continuing to adapt to what our players are doing and providing better systems and content for them to enjoy. We have new features coming on board like Roleless alerts and Easy mode raids that are going to open the game up to even more of our players. It’s a great time and we’re looking forward to seeing the game grow even more over the years.

Geek: Have you noticed in particular differences in the way console and PC gamers approach DCUO?

Andersen: Our players are split 50/50 between PC and PS3, and aside from the input devices, not really. In fact you see that they actually behave very similarly, which I like because it really helps us sort out positives and negatives about the game because getting similar data points on both platforms really shines a light on what is or isn’t successful.

Geek: Are there any other big plans for the game on the horizon you’d like to tease out?

Andersen: HAHA! There is always something I want to tease folks with—Marketing and PR often have to wrestle me to the ground. Right now we’re focused on free-to-play and the second DLC, “Lightning Strikes.” Beyond that we have a lot of great things in store for the players—2012 is going to have some epic additions to DC Universe Online.

DC Universe Online’s Lightning Strikes DLC pack will be accessible for free for all of the game’s Legendary players and available for purchase for $9.99 USD for all Free and Premium players from the PlayStation® Network Store, through the in-game Marketplace and on the PC from the website later this year.

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