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DC Universe Online is a Superhero MMORPG, following on the heels of Champions Online and City of Heroes. The game is set in the DC Universe and allows the players to create any character they want without the usual class system of MMO's, as they can mix and match using any combination of powers (e.g. mind attacks), weapons (e.g. dual wielding pistols) and abilities (e.g. super speed), and align themselves with either the famous heroes or villains of the universe, whereupon they are mentored by one of the big three of either side (e.g. Batman for techonological heroes, or The Joker for technological villains). The player can explore the fully realised cities of both Gotham and Metropolis (as well as the surrounding areas during certain missions) at will as they complete quests and battle against/with other players and iconic characters from the Universe. Compared to other MMORPGs it has a bigger focus on fast paced combat, storytelling and player customisation, as it is optimised for the Playstation3 as well as Pcs. The game was released on January 11, 2011 and became free to play November 1, 2011.

Tropes used in DC Universe Online include:


  • After the End/The Bad Guy Wins: The entire set up for the explosion of metahumans is that Twenty Minutes Into the Future The heroes and villains are having an Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny in the Ruins of the Modern Age until Brainiac digitizes everything into Exobytes so Lex Luthor travels back in time with Brainiac's stolen Exobytes and infects the world to give thousands of people powers. He doesn't care if he creates a ton of Heroes or Villains so long as it means we have a chance against Brainiac, then flees to do "other important things" (and so we won't have 2 Luthors!)
    • Though it turns out Future!Luthor isn't as altruistic as he claims...
  • The Ages of Super Hero Comics: The game plays around with this in interesting ways. Metropolis is very Silver Age; the first enemies you encounter as magic (Wonder Woman) or meta (Superman) heroes are dudes running around in stereotypical Egyptian costumes and sentient gorillas with rayguns, respectively. While the level of "serious" fluctuates as you level across the story, it generally remains fairly silly. Gotham, meanwhile, features pretty much only Batman's rogues gallery, meaning you're fighting street toughs pushing steroids, madmen with fear gas and whatnot as a hero, and as a villain you're just straight-up roughing up cops and paying them off for the mob, and participating in a gang war; the feel is much more "Nolan"/ModernAge. Even the alerts vary; the HIVE moon base is, well, yeah, while Bludhaven is quite a bit more serious.
    • Notably, in Metropolis it's always daytime (specifically a late-ish afternoon for maximum pretty); in Gotham, it's always night with a huge moon.
    • Certain Modern Age elements do leak through into Metropolis, though. For example, while most characters are in their "classic" outfits (Superman and Wonder Woman are in their most famous Superfriends-esque outfits, even Batman has a more bluish cowl, etc.), Giganta wears her One Year Later outfit (the form-fitting bodysuit) rather than her "classic" jungle swimsuit getup from the Superfriends era.
    • In general, the game seems to use traditional continuity elements, combined with a visual style that leans towards the lighter side. One such example of this is Killer Croc, who in this version, just looks like a big crocodile man, rather than a deformed monstrous human like some versions portray him as.
  • Alternate Continuity: Another one for the Multiversal Orrery, presumably. Of note is the fact that, while everything up to Infinite Crisis seems to have happened here (Giganta's suit, Bane broke Batman's back, Doomsday is around, etc) the events of Final Crisis and Blackest Night don't seem to have happened... yet. Though that said, Barry Allen, who returned in Final Crisis, is the Flash in the game.
  • Alt-Itis: Judging by the fact that the biggest selling item in the in-game store after going Free to Play was additional character slots, it's safe to say this is a common phenomenon.
  • And Your Reward Is Clothes: The game is loot based but the 'rare' drops just add costume styles.
    • The coolest examples are the cool armour that the player gets once reaching level 30. Batgirl (if you are Hero Tech) gives you a robotic batsuit, hell, Harley Quinn (Villain Tech) gives you a suit WITH A FREAKIN' ARMED BOMB ON IT.
    • In addition, running 'The Vault' gives you the chance to get some costume pieces which are purely fanboy loot, such as hoodies with Green Lantern or Lobo logos and baseball caps emblazoned with Bizarro's or Robin's logos.
  • Anti-Grinding: Averted, hard. By MMO standards, it is ridiculously easy to gain levels. Even grinding low-level missions gives an obscene amount of experience. However, gaining renown to unlock the epic armor (only available after reaching max level) is a more traditional MMO Grindfest...
  • A Superhero Is You: Naturally. Everyone is capable of fulfilling a damage-dealing role in a group, while certain power groups are capable of filling certain other niches as demanded.
  • Artistic License Biology: Users choosing Superman as their mentor have to complete a mission which they must defeat Gorilla Grodd and his... devolution device? It turns humans into apes... that's not how evolution works, people.
    • Justified though as that is the name in universe, and it's called a "evolution device" by Grodd. It's common to the universe itself. (see JLU, the comics, Batman:BAB, etc)
  • The Atoner: Future!Luthor...to a degree. He doesn't really care that his actions create thousands of new supervillains. He just wants Earth to survive Brainiac.
  • Awesome but Impractical: The Iconic powers (Save for the Innates). While the idea of using Superman's Heat Vision or a Batarang does sound cool, they require a lot of Power Points and have no power interactions (Which are very important in PVP and endgame content such as Hard Alerts and Raids).
  • Badass in Distress: Several missions involve coming to the aid of a prominent superhero/supervillain.
  • Baleful Polymorph: Inverted, although YMMV. There are times when your character will be transformed into something else for a mission, like a gorilla, giant zombie, or demon. You lose your own moves and fighting style, but have infinite power points while in this form, allowing you to use the transformation's (often very powerful) special attacks as much as you want.
  • The Bat Signal: A fixture in Gotham City, and there is a feat for finding it.
  • Big Bad: Brainiac
  • Bigger Bad: Trigon is able to curbstomp the entire Brainiac fleet, but the fact that he has destroyed multiple dimensions may not bode well in the long run.
  • Big Bad Triumvirate: Lex Luthor, The Joker and Circe
  • Billing Displacement: Circe, the mentor for mystical villains, is replaced on the box art by Catwoman.
  • Blood Knight: Power Girl.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: The Teen Titans by Trigon, Aquaman by Circe, and Booster Gold by Queen Bee on duo missions. It also happens automatically to any NPC who is transformed into a gorilla.
  • Bunny Ears Lawyer: How Calculator apparently views The Riddler. "So he tells riddles. His checks clear."
  • Cities Of Adventure: Almost all the action (barring a couple missions) takes place in Metropolis and Gotham City.
  • Climbing Climax: Given the commonality of flying powers, this is often averted. Inverted in the Lighthouse mission vs. Bane, where you enter through the top floor and fight your way to the bottom. All the better for him to drop it on your head.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: In the Cape Carmine Lighthouse Duo instance, Bane's thugs think they hear a noise. One of them suggests that it's just rats. Another responds, "Ain't rats. Ain't never rats!" and warns the others to tell their boss.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Calculator knows how to speak like a good villainous contact.

 Awesome, you can follow instructions.

So, Luthor wants you to make more Parasites? The Parasite who devours every energy source he sees? ... Yeah... can't see this going wrong.

  • Distressed Dude: Robin, who has been captured and placed under mind control by Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy respectively.
  • Everything's Better with Monkeys: This being DC, naturally. Nature heroes who specialize in transformation get an Ape form, and Gorilla Grodd and his army are a major villain group. The Ultra-Humanite also shows up in one of the alert missions, having taken control of Gorilla Island.
    • Interestingly, Grodd is made out to be a credible threat, due to his psychotic hatred of humanity and missions and cut-scenes showing that being forcibly transformed into an ape is, you know, Body Horror.
      • Also there's the entire Brain Control thing, so not only are you turned into a ape, you're turned into a Faceless Mook Ape. Body Horror AND Mind Rape!
  • Enemy Civil War: This happens a lot. Even if you're a villain, you'll spend a fair amount of time fighting fellow bad guys.
  • Enemy Mine: Done in the Raid missions with Superman, Lex Luthor, and General Zod in Fortress of Solitude and Wonder Woman and Circe in Themyscira.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Even if you're a villain, you'll still be opposing Brainiac.
  • Exposition Fairy: Booster Gold and his kiosks.
  • False Reassurance: After Future!Luthor's Hijacked by Ganon moment below:

 Future!Luthor: Oh yes, my intentions are for the greater good. My greater good!

  • Fan Nickname: Some have called the game (specifically, if you play as a superhero) "The best Superman Game Ever Made"
  • The Farmer and the Viper: The Joker uses a variant of this story (replacing the farmer with a bat) to explain the relationship between him and Batman.
  • Foreshadowing: The game can be surprisingly clever about this in a few places. Case in point: During the mission which takes you into the new HIVE complex in the Metropolis Metrodome, the music sounds rather familiar, and at times the "beeping" etude you first heard on the Brainiac Harvester Ship plays briefly before fading back into the "HIVE theme". You might think "psh, SOE is being lazy with the music, that must be the music that plays for all "high-tech villain lairs". As you find out at the end of the mission, Queen Bee Zazzala has thrown HIVE's lot in with Brainiac wholesale and is now part of the larger Brainiac villain group. Thus, they share music.
  • Fragile Speedster: Can be averted or subverted depending on the power sets you choose, but if you don't get a handle on controlling your speedster properly, you will end up dead pretty quick.
  • Fun with Acronyms: "Hate the powers you chose? Re-rig them here - for the right price - with our brand new Biological Adjustment Devices, or "BAD," courtesy of LexCorp. Bad, get it? B- A... never mind."
    • The hero equivalent is a similarly contrived bit of Techno Babble that comes out as "RAD".
  • The Good, the Bad, and The Evil: The League is Good, the Legion is Bad, and non-Legion villains (with Brainiac at the top) are the Evil.
  • Grand Theft Me: Giganta attempts to do this to Wonder Girl. Depending on your alignment, she either succeeds (only for you to beat her down and put them back in the right bodies) or screws up and somehow gives Wonder Girl her powers, forcing you to save Giganta from a giant Wonder Girl.
  • The Grinch: Larfleeze steals some presents as one of the Christmas missions.
  • Hey, It's That Voice!:
  • Hijacked by Ganon: Future!Luthor does this immediately after Brainiac's defeat. Even willing to stab his past self in the back. However Future!Batman shows up just in time to stop him.
  • Idiot Ball: Carried by Giganta during the Grand Theft Me villain questline due to her impatience. Circe is about ready to strangle her by the time you go in to fix her botched ritual.
  • Instant Costume Change: Implied by the tutorial outtro; the humans infected with the Exobytes suddenly change into their new costumes. It may just be a thematic thing, but still.
    • The game also has a neat feature in regards to the equipment, through use of a style tab. Like the way your cape looks, but have found one with better stats? But does the better cape look dumb? You can change its appearance to that of your previous cape! Once the style's been "collected", it stays with you as you upgrade your gear.
  • Inferred Holocaust: So thousands if not millions of random people have powers from the great legends (including YOU!). You have Metropolis University and Hospital either experimenting on or giving lectures on how to use your new powers, but there is not University lectures in Gotham.
  • Kill Sat: You get to fight Brother Eye.
  • Large Ham / Evil Is Hammy: Bane takes the cake.

 Bane: Face Bane, weakling! FACE YOUR DEFEAT!!

Bane: Nothing can stand against Bane! NOOOOTHIIIIING!!!

 Hey, look who's in your video game!

  • The Mentor: Each player is mentored by a major superhero/supervillain, chosen based on your origin and morality. For Meta heroes, Superman and Lex Luthor. For Tech heroes, Batman and the Joker. For magic heroes, Wonder Woman and Circe.
  • Mission Control: Oracle for heroes, Calculator for villains.
  • Moral Dissonance: During the Smallville mission, your team transforms into Doomsday clones before you complete the objectives which includes curing the Doom-Infected citizens, destroying lab equipment, and "relieving" (read: slaughtering to a pulp) LexCorp scientists. You do this as both a villain and a hero.
  • Most Common Superpower: All the heroines and villianesses. Seriously. Just LOOK. Power Girl, Harley Quinn, Huntress, Wonder Woman, Catwoman, and not to mention the countless other user generated ones.
    • Even the "short" characters still have rather ample chest sizes, and certain costume pieces (like the "business" vest) actually emphasize the curves even further. There's a few pieces (like the trenchcoat undershirt) that don't emphasize the chest, but these are few and far between.
    • Considering the game was touted as being made "with the artistic vision of superstar artist Jim Lee", this isn't surprising in the least.
  • Mythology Gag: Joker's Weapon of Choice? The humble crowbar.
    • And some of the PVP achievements refer to specific events in mainline DC. Defeat Batman as Bane to earn "Breaking the Bat".
      • Heck, some of the quest names are this. Like "Bane's Back".
    • The name of the one year anniversary quest is "DCUO: Year One"
  • Never My Fault: After saving him from Poison Ivy's plants in the greenhouse, Harvey Bullock blames the GCPD for rushing in, but the briefings for this particular storyline reveals that he rushed in on his own accord.
  • Nice Job Breaking It Villain: The tutorial opens up with you (Hero or Villain) Captured by Present!Braniac who is hunting down Exobyte-infected heroes and villains to extract their powers. While Present!Luthor has a entire Hospital set up to experiment on the Exobytes.
    • Not to mention Future!Luthor successfully killing off Superman and the other heroes, allowing Brainiac to fly in and finish off the Earth.
      • Players' villains can be guilty of this as well when they help Brother Blood defeat the Titans and raise Trigon. Calculator's response is priceless: "So that's the demon Trigon. I'm filled with terror. No, really! What did you just do?!"
  • Noob Cave: The Brainiac Harvester Ship. Does get a little old since you have to go through it on every new character before you get to your mentor's "arc", but at least you get to test out your new powers beforehand.
  • Never Say "Die"
  • Oh Crap: Luthor, when he sees Brainiac's fleet arrive after he succeeded in eliminating the Trinity.
    • Also expect this reaction from any players who haven't been spoiled upon seeing some of the more unusual bosses. Of note: Jokerized Metal Men, Wonder Giganta, and OMAC Bat-family.
    • Calculator had an epic one during the Hall of Doom Armory instance:

 Calculator: Okay, bad news, bad bad bad - Brainiac has activated the entire Armory missile silo. And we have a lot, A LOT, *A LOT* of missiles in there. We're talking extinction event, unless you can take Brainiac's System Breaker out!

  Calculator: Oh. Oh my. This - this is the Batcave. THE BATCAVE! Omigod omigod, don't move, DON'T move, I'm pinpointing this loc - (breaks off, static)

  • Summon Bigger Fish: This seems to be Circe and the Legion of Doom's policy when it comes to Trigon; if ol' four eyes shows up on their plane of existence then he'll probably be able to knobble the likes of Brainiac without much difficulty then confer power onto his cultists with which to Take Over the World. In theory...
  • Superhero Packing Heat: Entirely possible to create one of these characters.
  • Unskilled but Strong: The Brawling combat style invokes this - most of its attacks are rudimentary swings and punches that nevertheless deals a lot of damage.
  • Villain Pedigree: Some villains are actually getting their pedigree upped as a result of the game, partially due to simple exposure to the masses.
    • As an example, Queen Bee Zazzala was nothing more than a C-list villain, at best, for the Justice League comics in the Silver and Bronze Ages. Now she's in control of the remnants of the old HIVE organization from Teen Titans, having turned it into a real hive, and she's thrown the HIVE's lot in with Brainiac. Even Superman seems a bit perturbed by this one.
    • Circe was probably almost unknown outside of rather hardcore Wonder Woman fans before now (her biggest previous "moment" was probably her famous appearance on Justice League Unlimited). Now, she's one of the banner villains of the game and one that magic villain PCs interact with a lot; she's essentially been promoted to the third part of the villainous Power Trio.
    • Gorilla Grodd was something of a joke during the 60s and 70s and was kind of the poster-boy(ape?) for the "evil gorilla!" stereotype during the Silver Age; Superfriends didn't help. Justice League helped rehabilitate him, and now in DCUO, he's got a full-blown army of sentient gorillas which stands apart from the rest of villain-dom (he hates all humanity equally), he's fought multiple times throughout the game (particularly by heroes), his villain group is the first one you encounter outside the Noob Cave as a meta hero, and he's generally given big billing as a major threat - and it works.
    • Felix Faust was something of a laughingstock, C-List villain whose most memorable moment was having Isis castrate him with her bare hands. The game repackages Faust as a powerful necromancer who can go toe-to-toe with Zatanna and hold his own. He raises an army of zombies and very nearly steals the "power of Shazam" from Black Adam.
  • What Could Have Been: There is a concept for a Sinestro Corps-based Iconic Battlesuit "Sinestro's Might.
    • Also, the Flash in the game was originally intended to be Wally West (And likewise Hunter Zolomon as Zoom), but it was changed to Barry Allen (And again, likewise with Eobard Thawne as Professor Zoom).
    • Concept Art was drawn for Vic Sage as The Question, but the one you encounter in-game is Reneé Montoya.
  • Yellow Lightning, Blue Lightning: Both variants appear in the Electricity powerset with Yellow Lightning for attacks and Blue Lightning for healing effects.
  • You Shall Not Pass: Future!Batman takes on an army of Brainiac robots so Fracture can use the time machine. only for Future!Luthor to betray them both.
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