Introduction To The Game
DC Universe Online. If you’ve never played it, it means nothing to you. If you have, you either hate to love it or love to hate it. It has an undeniable charm to it.
It’s an MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online) game, centered around the world of DC Comics. You play as either a male or female superhero or supervillain, with a variety of powers to choose from. These range from fire powers, to controlling water, being a master of magic or creating lantern constructs.
Of these powers, you have designated roles. You can play as DPS (damage per second), Tank (the focus of boss fights), Heal (saving your team from death) and Control, my chosen role as a Quantum hero. This role requires debuffs on the enemy, stunning and crowd control, buffing your team and interacting with the environment whilst others fight.
The game boasts a massive creation suite, allowing you to choose how your character stands (flirty, powerful, primal etc.), how your character moves (flight, acrobatics, skimming or super speed) and wear pretty much anything you want.
You also have the option to create or join an existing league, play with other players and work your way through 10 tiers of 2 player, 4 player and 8 player missions. If you fancy PVP, you can do that too, with up to 16 players in one game. This can be done with your own character, or a DC “Legend” such as Batman or The Joker.
Blue Lantern Beginnings
I’d played for like 10 minutes or so a while after it launched on PS3 and took it back to the shop. I’d had a brief play through on PS4 when I was sofa surfing at my mates house. Then last year it dropped on Nintendo Switch and I became hooked.
It was around this time I’d also became enamoured by the Blue Lantern Corps. I can’t remember exactly how it happened, but it became an obsession. That’s what I wanted my character to be and so that’s what I became.
Although fictional, there was just something about it. Learning about them and what they stood for, it reminded me of what’s important in my life. I’ve been through some tough times, but finding a reason to remain hopeful has really done me some good.
I remember cycling through names until I found one I liked, settling for Patronus. I was excited to be the first one to use that name, expecting there to soon be Patronus1274 etc.
My journey began and I started to level up. I was a part time player enjoying myself and working my way up. I invested a little bit of money to earn the currency known as Quarks and was able to buy myself the Blue Lantern Corps logo and some blue auras/movement styles. I was all set.
I spent hours after work and on weekends, pushing my way through the content and exploring the vast, open world. It still amazes me how much there is to do when you’re that low of a level.
Justice League UK and NOVA
Towards the end of the base game content, I was invited to join a league or two. I believe I was very briefly in a few Lantern based leagues but I left pretty quickly. I was soon invited to join one called Justice League UK, ran by Al Mighty. I suggested we make a Discord server and it was there I met one other player.
Al was a nice dude but he rarely played and the league was dead on arrival. A few weeks in he’d asked me and the other guy to be his recruiters and so we tried. Unfortunately nobody really wanted to join and then the other guy quit as well. This left just me.
I think I was flying around the Watchtower “shouting” (an in-game chat option to broadcast a message beyond nearby players) about joining the league, when I was approached by Zatonnus of NOVA.
He asked if I was interested in joining and I explained the situation of my current league. Within seconds I’d done a 180, decided there was no point staying in a dead league and jumped ship.
What followed was a few casual months of joining in but feeling awkward, not really conversing with my fellow leaguemates and still being part time. Then lockdown happened.
Lockdown Adventures and PVP Night
In early 2020, the world went mad about COVID-19, the “Coronavirus”. Slowly and surely everything shut down and I was forced to work from home. With no need to travel to and from work, I suddenly had more time to play in an evening and so I upped my hours.
Then, from my own silly fault (I got caught sharing TTWM posts on IG during work hours), I was Furloughed. Even better, now I can play all day every day. Was that the responsible thing to do? Probably not. Did I do it anyway? Of course I did.
That’s when the friendships started to blossom. Weekly raid nights, PVP (player versus player) nights, regular grouping for missions, chatting all day every day on Discord. I remember one time recently, Zatonnus sitting with me for an hour and a half, running through everything I needed to be better at my role. He didn’t have to do that, but he did and he was incredibly patient with me.
With all this free time I was now able to form a bond with my league mates. Guys like Huge, Zatonnus, Avery, V, Swings, Munna, Fury, Sara and more. We felt like a really messed up, but loving family.
I’d finally found something that had been missing for a long time, I found comfort. I found something that filled the void.
Why It Means So Much To Me
Some of you may know these details if you know me personally or have been following the blog for a while.
I was bullied a lot as a kid. Fitting in was never my strong suit. I had few friends, I wasn’t good at much and my abusive father was convinced I would amount to nothing.
I’m not saying those things didn’t change naturally over time anyway, but they’ve always played a part in who I am as a person. I may have a job, a flat, a decent life with friends, but they are still relevant today.
As I’m sure you can see, one thing I love is stories or writing. The feeling of immersion in a world beyond what we could ever experience, fantasy worlds that bring on a feeling of transcendence. It’s escapism, a coping mechanism of sorts. When I put myself in that frame of mind, I feel free.
Playing DCUO, becoming Brother Lucian, I felt that freedom. I wasn’t Michael who struggles to make friends, cries at the look of his body and doesn’t quite have his life together. I was a superhero, a Blue Lantern, someone far superior to what I could ever be. I felt important, like I mattered.
Then there’s the social side of things. As written in previous posts, I suffered two losses in 2018 and 2019. One friend took their own life and the other lost their life to cancer. Needless to say, I was broken.
I’d tried various things to “fix” myself in the time since then. I’d joined a friend group, the first since it all happened, but that didn’t work. I took time away and was welcomed into another. We’re all still friends but I often feel like an outsider.
In this game, as a part of Nova, I was able to be myself. I felt loved, important, like people wanted me there. That crushing feeling of loneliness had gone. I had opened myself up and allowed myself to get fully attached (without repercussions) to new people for the first time since I lost my other friends.
The Death of The Server?
The EU Server for DCUO has been declining in popularity for some time. Without a server merge, I fear we may lose it altogether. Seeing league mates quit, flying around the empty watchtower that once was full of life… It was depressing.
I considered quitting too, I was going to delete the game and never go back. What’s the point if you can’t enjoy it with people you like? Then I remembered why I chose to be a Blue Lantern. Hope. I needed to remain hopeful that the server would go on, that players would come back.
As I write people have started coming back, but I don’t know how long for. What I do know is that regardless of whether or not the server lives, I’ll be forever grateful for the memories I’ve made.
What is just a game for some became the world to me. The money I’ve put into it doesn’t come close to the bonds I share with those who fight by my side in these online missions. I genuinely love them all, even those who don’t agree with online attachments.
To those who have read this far, thank you. I thank all who encouraged me to work through last week’s break down and find passion in the blog again. I would like to especially thank those who asked for more personal content. Had it not been for you, I may never have had the idea to post this. I’m glad I did however.
For those who themselves have a Nintendo Switch, feel free to add me: SW-5293-0479-9501. I have a few games that go online and you’re more than welcome to join in.
If you’re interested in playing DCUO, you can download it on all consoles for free (there are in-game costs but you don’t need them). If you happen to join the Switch EU server, let me know, we can hang out.
Becoming Brother Lucian is one of the best things to ever happen to me and I can’t wait to see where it takes me next. Remember to always stay hopeful my friends, it will get you through when you need it most.
Post by Michael Sallabank