Posted by Larry Liberty
Hello again everyone,
With Game Update 23 and its Fire and Ice changes live, I wanted to recap what we've done with powers since we set out to rebalance power sets in DC Universe Online, and set expectations for what's to come. First, let me clarify our priorities with each revamp. Balance and bug fixing trump everything else in these updates. Next on the list is performance – rendering and memory efficiency. They're especially important given the strict limitations of the PS3. We actually regard visuals as the least critical of this important trio. That's not to diminish the work of our visual effects team – they do a fantastic job – but the reality of the situation is they can't simply create art without consideration for efficiency.
In short, we want to make sure that powers are balanced, defects are resolved, and ensure that things that cause slow-down or gameplay issues are remedied. That's why Ice Armor was changed from an effect that required a form change – which could cause a delay at the worst possible time – to something that attaches to the player. We have set out to improve visuals – while at the same time looking for ways to improve rendering and/or memory characteristics of each visual effects set. With visuals, our intent is to make powers look and perform better.
To start the process, we tackled Mental and Gadgets – the two powers that were in greatest need of change. As a result, they changed a lot, visually as well as functionally. The end result was two powers that were thematically superior, that simply worked better than before. Next, we turned to Fire and Ice. Fire and Ice were less broken, and Ice had the benefit of solid visuals. Fire effects were changed to make them work better – to make them less likely to obscure gameplay and to consume less memory. The new fire not only looks better, but it communicates more clearly. Ice did receive some love, including a new shader that looks markedly better and improvements to a few abilities to make them more impactful. We did take PC Test feedback to heart, agreeing that sharing the same effect between similar abilities could be confusing. That's why we created beam variants for each ability that uses one, and an alternate shield. We also modified the Ice Armor – making it easier to read across the character spectrum, from sprite to brute – even a brute wearing Aurochs T4 armor with its impossibly huge shoulder plates.
Going forward, we will telegraph our intentions for power adjustments more precisely. While we did receive plenty of feedback from the community, the most specific feedback came once we were on PC Test. It's my hope that we can set expectations and elicit great ideas earlier with the next powers – Sorcery and Nature, bearing in mind that both Sorcery and Nature begin the process from much stronger positions than even Fire and Ice did. Look for our official feedback threads in the Developer Discussions section of the forums once we're ready to begin and take advantage of your chance to weigh in.
DC Universe Online