Monday, April 18, 2011

DC Universe Online (DCUO) PS3 or PC?

DC Universe Online is an MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) where players assume the role of newly super-empowered people in the DC Comics universe.  One distinctive aspect of it is that is an MMORPG that is available on the PC as well as PS3.

When I learned about this, the first thing that came to mind for me was, which platform is better?

The Word on the "Street"

Poking around on the interwebs turned up little of use.  PS3 users thought PS3 was the best idea.  PC users favored PC.  TenTonHammer has a cute graphic decision tree to help you make the right choice for you.  It is actually pretty enlightening.  By paying attention, you start to appreciate some of the things you might not have considered beyond the obvious question of whether or not you owned a PS3 (or were willing to get one):
  1. Do you want to play this on a console controller or via mouse and keyboard?
  2. Is the TV available enough for an MMORPG? 
  3. Are you prepared for in-game communication?
These are pretty important considerations, because MMORPGs are, if nothing else, very time-intensive.  As a result, you should use peripherals that will be comfortable for you.  For most folks that game a lot on a PC, "going carpal" is not such a big consideration, they have played many a twitchy game on PC.  I know folks that have only played Halo on PC.

TV use can be a big one too.  If you are really going to take advantage of having a console hooked up to a TV for the big flashy experience, be sure that your many hours of play will not be an issue for others.

Communication can be an issue.  Do you have an appropriate headset and mic?  If you are on the PS3, do you have a keyboard?  And since Sony is so stingy with their cords*, do you need wireless?

* - a 1-meter cord for my controller?!  Really?!

MMO Means Social

OK, so maybe you have your headset and keyboard ready to go.  Are you ready to communicate MMO style?  MMORPGs are more social than a lot of games and long-time MMORPG players rely on a mixture of voice and text communication. 

Part of this stems from the typical voice chat, which works like a military radio.  One person talks at a time if everyone is going to understand.  That can get increasingly difficult as your group grows beyond two people and even with two people, the talking over each other, due to typical network latencies, can be taxing on one's patience.

Hence the mixture of voice and text.  While someone is talking on voice chat, you have a way to bang out some comments in a text chat channel without talking over them.  It's really quite valuable to have those options.

And now we get to the subtle point.  If you are not using a keyboard and mouse to play the game, there is going to be some awkwardness with typing out information.

This is Your Side of the Playground, This is Mine

Remember, this is an MMO.  The salient benefit of this game is the ability to cooperatively play with your friends.  The content will get old and you'll probably find holes in the PvP mechanics.  However, if you are there for something to do with your friends other than play another FPS (first person shooter), then you actually need those friends to be able to play with you.

Unfortuantely, the accounts for PS3 and PC are separate.

Which begs the question - do all of the friends you ever plan to play with in DCUO own the same system on which you plan to play?

I Am Going to Try Both

Yep, you read correctly.  I am curious to see how they compare.  Wish me luck. :)

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