DCUO Development Update - May 2021

Discussion in 'Announcements' started by Panderus, May 3, 2021.

  1. Panderus Senior Producer


    Hello Super Heroes and Super-Villains. I'm here today with (what will be) a regular development update, where I'll share what the team has been working on and what's coming up. My goal is to be as open and transparent as possible in sharing what we know or expect to be true - as of right now.

    Plans can always change.


    Let's kick things off with the biggest news for those of you who might not read the whole update.

    First up, I can confirm we will make all episodes free to all players before our next major release later this summer. As you know, Episode 40: World of Flashpoint was just released free to everyone, all episodes have been open (available to everyone with longer loot locks) since last March, and new episodes have come with free limited-time event versions for years.

    These experiments have only shown us positives as more players are able to get right into content without barriers, so on we go.

    Second, and at the same time, membership will see a substantial update as well. Part of this update to membership will directly address replacing members' access-to-all-episodes benefit and then some.

    We want membership to be a great value that is worth more than it costs, but that also doesn't feel required to engage in the game. We have many ideas and we have been reading yours, too. Now's the time to speak up if you haven't already.

    With that out of the way, let's talk about where we have been and where we are going.


    The last few months have been exceptionally busy, both on live and internally. If you're just checking back in after some time away, this will get you up to date.

    January kicked off with more than its usual anniversary bang. The Attack of the Anti-Monitor event came back with an entirely new, episode-style raid that featured event, normal, and elite versions. This raid also stayed enabled for an extended period of time for all you raiders out there, right up until Survival Mode Season 2 launched.

    Survival Mode Season 2 launched in March as a continuation of what we started in Season 1 with new bosses, items, and styles. We saw a ton of activity surrounding Season 2, some of it controversial, and developed several new methods to combat cheaters that helped us here and will continue to in the future. I won't get into the details of that here for several reasons, but rest assured cheaters frustrate us at least as much as they frustrate you.


    Survival Mode ran through the launch of Episode 40: World of Flashpoint. For this free episode, we focused on one of the most iconic DC storylines with Flashpoint, returned to a more traditional episode format - open world, four On Duty missions including two raids - and then took it several steps further with elite versions of every piece of content. Not only did we see the first elite duo, we did it one better with new tech that let us provide five additional levels of challenge (somewhat similar to Survival Mode) in the final raid.

    For styles, we saw so much enter the game these past few months. From new Flash and Zoom-inspired styles and gifts in the anniversary event, three weeks of new Episode 39: Long Live The Legion rewards, to silly and seasonal event styles, Survival Mode's variety of rewards, and then new accessories, Flashpoint Batman-inspired styles, and Raven-inspired styles in time capsules.


    Beyond what's above, the teams were hard at work on our next release after World of Flashpoint. I'm not quite ready to spill the beans there yet, but it also won't be long until I can. We will have a separate announcement with those details once we finalize a few more decisions.

    I can say that the design teams completed paper designs for features and content in the next release, the engineering team just started tackling tech requests that came out of those designs, and the art team - well, art has been working for a while now already. They have a big task ahead of them.

    Also of note, so many plans. The content and narrative design teams completed narrative plans and the art and design teams fleshed out style and gear plans, both through the end of the year.

    Engineering began a major client and server performance task to make how we handle text strings more efficient - as in, how we store, access, and display all of the text you see on screen. If that's not riveting enough for you, here's what is: text strings - like the one I'm writing now - use some of the oldest, least efficient code in the game and they are everywhere.

    The potential for performance improvement is tremendous - a near astronomical amount of text constantly whips through the servers - but unraveling such deep code is complex. I mean, it's a twisted, hellish mess. Side note, this work is what (temporarily) broke the renown tab on live. The engineers are very sorry about that.


    Looking ahead at the next couple of months, we will bee buzzing back into the spring seasonal event (May 13) and summer seasonal event (June) with new rewards, launch a new time capsule, and of course have World of Flashpoint and other ongoing bonus weeks. You like them; we like them. We don't see any reason to stop!


    In the next two months, the teams will continue work on our next release (roughly this summer) and begin the most preliminary work on the release after that (roughly this fall). We will of course also continue the work on the membership update and making episodes free for everyone.

    The art and community teams will work on the next phases of the Community Style Initiative. Your votes are in and I am pleased to announce that the winner is Blue Beetle (Jaime Reyes) as the character we will base a gear suit on! Azrael came in a close second, losing by about 2% of the final vote.


    Art and design will finish up the bonus weeks and extra rewards for World of Flashpoint, as well as begin work on booster bundle 14 and time capsules 21 & 22 for release later this year.

    Engineering will continue work to improve server performance, including work to address why performance degrades over time on our busier worlds and our need for daily server restarts. Fun fact, the next issue to address involves us needing more and bigger numbers in essentially all server code. Like the work on text strings above, this is also quite the undertaking in code this deep and prevalent. Apparently we use numbers even more than we use text. Crazy right?

    Finally, I am pleased to share that work will begin in earnest on our PlayStation 5 native client as we continue toward a (not just PS4 backwards compatible) launch on this next-gen platform. Please note that this will essentially be a port with a few minor improvements to the new console, not a major overhaul or graphics/engine upgrade yet.


    Finally, looking even further ahead, we plan to launch our next two releases, introduce a new major feature, roll out that membership update and free episodes, bring back the fall seasonal event (October) and winter seasonal event (December), and follow through on the Community Style Initiative.

    More on the future as we live it.


    If paragraphs aren't your thing, jump into this calendar with the latest we have on dates and timing.


    Thank you for reading this May 2021 Development Update. Please join the discussion below!

    Landon "Panderus" Falls
    Senior Producer
    DC Universe Online
    • Like x 39
  2. Hraesvelg Loyal Player

    Oh, sweet summer child...good luck with any changes, LOL.

    Everything looks great. I'm really interested about these upcoming member benefits.
    • Like x 1
  3. PTFreeze Well-Known Player

  4. Caroline Dedicated Player

    • Like x 1
  5. PTFreeze Well-Known Player

    oh and before i forget congratulations at all blue beetle fans :)
    • Like x 3
  6. Zoe· Favored of Olympus

    Was interesting to read. Glad to see you guys are open to share more with us.
    • Like x 3
  7. RaizenReaper New Player

    what about escrow?
  8. Jafin 10000 Post Club

    Really happy to see all this! I know it's not exactly something "flashy" but it's really amazing to see that old code is being worked on to make the game run better. I know that some devs have expressed their frustration with "ancient code" in the past, so it's fantastic that that's something you get to tackle, even if it is a gargantuan task for the engineers.

    I'm also all for having more people to play content with, so I have no qualms about episodes becoming free going forward. Definitely interested to see what kind of membership updates are down the road.

    Can't wait to find out what the new major feature is!
    • Like x 4
  9. Elusian Loyal Player

    Yay! Was voting for Jaime. Here we go :D
    • Like x 2
  10. Iconic Simulation Loyal Player

    Yeeeeeeeesssssss! My vote was not in vain!
    • Like x 2
  11. Stanktonia Committed Player

    These changes sounds promising, can’t wait to see them as their being brought to fruition
  12. BumblingB 15000 Post Club

    • Like x 7
  13. TheBatmanFanBG Well-Known Player

    No Templar(Azrael) inspired gear... :(
    • Like x 2
  14. Essential Exobyte Well-Known Player

    At least someone was able to tell us why the renown tab was broken. We may not be able to understand why a wall of words broke it but it still funny imo!
  15. Midnitemangler New Player

    Can't you guys do Azrael and Blue Beetle? Really want that Azrael style for my villain.

    Either way, all of this sounds great! Feels like I jumped back in at the perfect time!
    • Like x 3
  16. Gundraasi Well-Known Player

    Sounds as if we may get Source marks and Currencies without logging in... :D

    Well thank you for the heads up and this letter reqularly is a good thing to connect your ideas and ours I guess.

  17. Hollow Gohan Well-Known Player

    This was a great overall update Panderus. I'd like to take this chance to point something out that the developers may or may not be aware of in regards to performance on this game in Elite raids especially, that they could maybe take into consideration when working on updating with the PS5, and considering PS4 in general. The game on console, especially PS4 but also applying to PS5, can only handle so much before frame skipping and lag becomes a problem. So, when you guys work and spend so much time on these releases, the results of your hard work become somewhat diminished, because who likes seeing their screen stutter every few seconds when they are playing, right?

    I can say this, for the most part almost every raid on PS4 in recent memory would suffer from some sort of frame skip issue, unless players turned down their visual effects setting very low. This would help a lot, however certain mechanics would no longer be visible, such as the fire on Trigon in Convergence of the Unmaking. That said, it's only in very specific instances on PS5 where this is ever an issue. Fractured God Sphere last boss especially when the tornadoes spawn, and now Flashtastic Voyage. I think the expansive amount of adds (most of which are squishy) that appear in the fights w/ the Rogues and Abra Kadabra at the end have a large part in this, and maybe the overall size of the map does as well. I'm not really too sure. Also part of the equation is Stealth, as whenever a group has one or multiple Stealth users, the instance is more liable to have regular frame skips towards the end of the raid from the actual mechanics themselves, even if Stealth is no longer used (such as tornado spawns in Fractured God Sphere). That said, this issue still persists, usually in the last boss of raids, even without stealth in the group... although that is a rare occurrence nowadays.

    All this to say that when developing these raids, I'm not sure if the developers playtest their content and look at it from a PC perspective only, however if it would even help somewhat, I think it would go a long way to at least consider these issues that apply to console when developing raids in the future. I know it's hard to consider these kinds of things because you don't have a server with thousands of people at hand when you're developing, however you can probably see where I'm coming from by looking at some of these raids on console on live currently. In any recent elite raid on PS4, you'd very easily see the issue in a matter of 20-30 minutes.

    Regardless, thank you, and great update to the community.
  18. Magnificent Loyal Player

    First off, THANK YOU for the massive update/roadmap!!! It's been far too long since we've had anything like this and I know many of us truly appreciate it (even if the plans end up changing).

    Moving on...

    Will Unreal 3 run on the PS5?

    Also, I noticed the use of the word "yet". Can you elaborate on that? :)
    • Like x 3
  19. Deus Ex Machina Committed Player

    Everything here is great news except for the fact Blue Beetle won. I feel the contest was rigged but that's just my personal opinion. Is there any chance the top three candidates will see a style in the future or will this be one and done? I feel popularity contests like these are not a good example what people want in game and when you couple with the fact not everyone who plays the game was even aware of the poll.

    I don't want to sound too salty so I would like to congratulate Blue Beetle for winning.
    • Like x 1
  20. Aren Sul Committed Player

    Thank you for the update.

    I like this as an ongoing feature. I completely understand if it's always at a high level, because the worst thing will be to raise expectations by promising specifics and then failing to deliver. But this is great - knowing we've got the membership changes happening, Blue Beetle was the winner (yay!), the next two episodes are moving forward (to be fair, expected, but still nice to hear). It all lends to a positive, growth-oriented atmosphere.

    Now to jump over and see what people are suggesting for membership benefits...
    • Like x 4

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