DC Universe Online
256px-DC Universe Online PS3-1-
Developer(s) Sony Online Entertainment
Publisher(s) Sony Computer Entertainment

WB Games

Series DC Comics
Engine Unreal Engine 3, Havok (Cloth and Physics)
Platform(s) PlayStation 3, Microsoft Windows
Release date(s)
  • NA January 11, 2011
  • EU January 14, 2011[1]
  • AUS January 20, 2011[2]
Genre(s) MMORPG
Mode(s) Online and Multiplayer
Rating(s) ‹ The template below is being considered for deletion. See templates for discussion to help reach a consensus.›*ACB: M
Media/distribution Blu-ray Disc, DVD, and Download

DC Universe Online or DCUO is an MMORPG by Sony Online Entertainment – Austin. Jim Lee serves as the game's Executive Creative Director, along with Carlos D'Anda, JJ Kirby, liv nom, Eddie Nuñez, Livio Ramondelli, and Michael Lopez. EverQuest developer Chris Cao was the Game Director through launch up to May 2011, but has since stepped down to be replaced by Mark Anderson, previously the Art Director.[3] Mark Anderson himself has since been replaced by Jens Anderson. Shawn Lord is also involved.[4] Geoff Johns is the principal writer.

The first conceptual art for the game was released on July 4, 2008,[5] and the first trailer was released on July 14, 2008.[6] The game was released in January 2011.

The revenue model was subscription based with a user cost of $14.99 per month,[7] rather than using microtransactions.[8] The UK subscription was £9.99 a month, £19.99 for three months, and £49.99 for six months. The cost for Australian subscribers was $19.95 AUD. It had been announced on September 19, 2011 that the game would go Free to Play sometime in October. Since November 1, the game is Free to Play for everyone.

There are 3 levels of players: Free, Premium (at least $5 spent on the game) and Legendary, which are ongoing subscribers.


DC Universe Online is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) set in the DC Universe. Sony Online Entertainment's stated goal is to make a different kind of MMORPG, with The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction cited as one of the main inspirations for gameplay. SOE is working to make DC Universe Online more interactive than standard MMORPGs, while trying to keep their key elements, which include a leveling system, raid instances, endgame progression and inventories. The world is mainly shared, public space instead of heroes or villains owning territory. The public space features dynamically-generated content designed for both hero and villain player characters (uniquely created by the player, who cannot choose DCU stalwarts).[9]

Players will choose a mentor for their character (Superman, Batman, or Wonder Woman for heroes and Lex Luthor, Joker, or Circe for villains). Their starting location, principal quest rewards and mob loot will be influenced by that decision. The starting zones are either Metropolis or Gotham City, for both heroes and villains. Heroes can also go to the Justice League Watchtower, while villains can enter the Secret Society of Super Villains headquarters at the Hall of Doom. Other safe-houses in the Gotham and Metropolis zones can be reached by teleporters from the two faction headquarters or from the two cities. For the heroes, it's various police stations. For the villains, it's various nightclubs owned by the villains.

Each character is given a communicator appropriate to their faction, via which they receive urgent communications from their mentor and his/her colleagues and subordinates; heroes will frequently receive status updates from Oracle, while villains will receive data from Calculator. In addition to assignments from their mentor, player characters may also receive requests for help from other mentors of the same faction. Player characters may also accept missions from non-player characters (NPCs) in the street, usually minor characters from their faction. There are also opportunities for quick street encounters appropriate to the character's faction: for example, a hero character may encounter a thug robbing an armored truck, trying to break into an office building, or in the process of mugging a citizen; while a villain character may be presented with opportunities to assist NPC thugs with an armored truck robbery, or assault a citizen using an ATM. All NPC interactions are fully animated and voice-acted. Player characters will earn threat ratings that will cause NPC heroes and villains to interact accordingly with the character.

The shared worldspace offers primarily solo and team player versus environment (PvE) gaming opportunities in the form of open air missions and instances, although player versus player (PvP) combat is also possible in this worldspace. Other PvP (and to a smaller extent, PvE) gaming is available in various types of queued instanced encounters: "Legends", small scale PvP combats in which players take on the identities of iconic characters (continued success in Legends combat unlocks additional iconic characters); "Arena", small scale PvP combat in which players fight as their own characters; "Alerts", cooperative team missions; and "Raids", large scale PvP combat between teams of opposing factions. Success in PvE missions is rewarded with in-game money, costume pieces, equipment and consumables, while PVP combat is rewarded with unlocks of special equipment sets.


DC Universe Online is set in the present day, but the opening cinematic sequence takes place in a gritty, war-torn future depicting a final battle between the world's greatest heroes and villains.

This battle takes place in the ruins of Metropolis, and features the deaths of several well-known DC Comics characters. The battle culminates with the death of Superman at the hands of Lex Luthor, leaving him and the Joker as the apparent survivors. Luthor stands back to proclaim his victory, only to see Brainiac's war fleet fill the skies.

The scene then shifts to the present-day Watchtower, where the future Luthor is telling the story to the present-day Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. Luthor explains that the deadly final war between the heroes and villains was triggered by the subtle manipulations of Brainiac, who had been slowly downloading their powers over time. With the planet's most powerful beings dead, Brainiac intended to use the pirated data to create an army of metahumans under his control, facilitating his conquest of Earth. As the only survivor of the war, Luthor could do nothing to resist Brainiac's subjugation of the planet.

Luthor explains that he was able to survive in secret and eventually steal the stolen data and energy from Brainiac's mothership in the form of "Exobytes", nanobot-sized devices that can bond to a living host and give them their own superpowers. After finally designing a time machine (or, possibly, stealing one from Brainiac's technology), Lex Luthor has traveled into his past to release the exobytes into the atmosphere of present-day Earth. The heroes are outraged, but Luthor explains that because he has done this, soon thousands of new metahumans will be created from ordinary humans (becoming the characters that players design and play with). He implores the Justice League to find and train these new metahumans, because Brainiac is coming and the Earth must be ready to succeed where it was once doomed to fail.

In the second trailer to the game "In Lex we Trust", we find that Lex's description of events leading up to his arrival in the present time is not as he described to the heroes. The trailer begins with Lex reviving his companion, Fracture, from being unconscious. Lex explains that Brainiac's forces have already penetrated the Fortress of Solitude and that their time is running out. As they approach a time portal chamber, a Braniac Eradicator attacks Fracture who, using a small grenade, destroys the robotic drone. The two arrive at the portal which is being stabilized by Batman, whose face is disfigured and arm is replaced by a robotic prosthetic due to injuries from the battle of villains and heroes. As more Eradicators enter the chamber, Luthor lies saying his armor is damaged and that he can not hold them off.

Batman tells Fracture to take the canister that contains millions of Exobytes, and go through the portal, attacking the Eradicators and buying him more time. Fracture thanks Lex for using the exobytes to give him his powers and Lex, seeing the opportunity he had been waiting for, kills Fracture describing him as "an excellent lab rat." As Luthor is about to step into the portal, Batman calls to Luthor warning that "I'll be coming for you", to which Lex responds "No, you won't", and activates a self-destruct sequence. The villain enters into the portal and the Fortress of Solitude suffers massive explosions. He arrives in a dark alley, presumably present day. He is greeted by his present-day self who describes him as being late.

It is then shown at the end of The Prime Battleground raid that Future Lex Luthor and Lex Luthor are working together to steal Braniac's power. Lex Luthor is then betrayed by his future self as Future Lex wants the power for himself. It is then seen that Future Batman survived the explosion at the Fortress of Solitude and has been chasing Future Lex through time. Future Lex escapes and Future Batman follows him. In the cut scene afterward, Future Batman is said to be the last hope for humanity.


While the game has shown a DC Universe largely similar to the current in-publication DCU, it is unknown if this is meant to be the actual DC Universe-proper or if this is another world in the DC Multiverse. Notable differences exist, such as the absence of Damian Wayne and Stephanie Brown. Dick Grayson as Nightwing and Tim Drake still operating as Robin, Cassandra Cain still operating as Batgirl, Bane's continued use of the Venom steroid, Black Adam's return to super-villain status despite recent comics changing him into an anti-hero, and Ralph Dibny still active, as well as the absence of all other corps of the emotional spectrum, save for the Green Lantern Corps, Sinestro Corps, Red Lantern Corps and Larfleeze/Agent Orange.

It seems as though Final Crisis has not occurred, as Batman has not apparently endured trauma at the hands of Darkseid and the Martian Manhunter is alive, but Barry Allen appears to be serving as the Flash. Conner Kent/Superboy has yet to appear and has little to no references towards him in the game. Jonathan Kent is also alive and well, unlike his mainline DC Universe counterpart. Several story-arcs used for alert and raid instances are based upon content that occurred in-continuity that pre-dates Final Crisis and occurred, in some cases, as events in 52 and Countdown to Final Crisis. Examples include the Oolong Island instance and multiple story-arcs centered around Black Adam as well as Darkseid being currently absent from content. Also, certain key events from the mainline DC Universe are still referred to as history in the world presented in the game, including the Crisis on Infinite Earths, The Death of Superman, and Knightfall.

Additionally, the events of Flashpoint and the reboot which ensued have not been reflected. Hero and villain design as well as in game canon all continues to be based on the pre-flashpoint DCU.