DC Universe Online has been going strong since 2011. And, in fact, it recently celebrated its 7th year of life. The MMORPG has allowed players to create their own heroes or villains within the DC Comics universe and then team up with their favorite heroes or villains from the comics. With the new year comes brand new content, and today, an Aquaman-themed event called Deluge debuted.
This new content brings a new episode featuring legendary villain Starro, but also, a new event of content that features an uprising within Atlantis itself. I had the chance to speak with the creative director for the content, SJ “NerdofPrey” Mueller, and asked her about what made the new event/episode so special:
Mueller: Deluge has taken one of our immense storylines featuring Starro the intergalactic starfish but brought it back in a whole new way, and making it a permanent addition to the game. The Starro event from before had to do a lot with Atlanteans, especially in the Silver Age comics, so we decided to key into that. What’s more, this is a big year for Aquaman (via the film) so we’re growing the Aquaman family here in DC Universe Online.
We never really had the chance to do it before, so we’re taking our moment this year with Deluge and have added Mera (Queen of the Seas, Aquaman’s wife). We also took a lot of inspiration from the recent DC Comics Rebirth storyline for Aquaman that started a couple years ago and it featured a group called The Deluge led by a rebel named Corum Rath. He came from the lowest part of Atlantis, and he’s very much against Atlantis having peaceful relationships with the surface world, and because of that, he goes against Aquaman, who’s from both worlds.
That’s what our Deluge storyline is all about, it’s about them leading an uprising and challenging Aquaman for the throne and creating a war between the surface and Atlantis.
Also, we’ve added a huge cult-classic character in Black Manta. If you know Aquaman, you know Black Manta. He’s finally made it to DCUO, we’re so excited he’s here, he looks great. We also updated the character model for Aquaman and Ocean Master to reflect this new update.
Deluge is an episode and an event, so ANYONE above Level 10 can play this for a limited time, then come back to it as an episode and play for some of the high-level content. And there’s really a lot of great content for you to get via it, including some armor inspired by Mera herself.
Todd: What’s the best part about the Deluge in your mind? Is it the characters? The expansion of the Aquaman world? What would you say is the absolute best part?
Muller: I think for me, and this really resonated with our players, is that this is the first update post-PS3. So we were able to expand our textures a little bit. And so our characters and our environments are beyond anything we’ve been able to do in the past. They look very beautiful.
Our players now get the chance to check out environments that look straight up out of the comics. Our Spindrift Station map, which is the Atlantean embassy, half of its underwater and half of it is above water, so you get to pull off some water waves and caustic effects that we couldn’t have done in the past.
Todd: So as you’ve noted, this is a big year for Aquaman with the live-action movie coming out, and there’s some big expectations for it. James Wan is working hard on the first trailer to blow our minds. Was it important for you that Deluge content not only came out this year to coincide with the movie premiere, but also raised the bar for DC Universe Online?
Muller: Absolutely. We want to make sure that the content we put out is kind of like right in step with what the DC community is talking about and obviously Aquaman and Atlantis is on everyone’s minds. And you know, they see these movies, and they see these big pushes in the comics and they immediately go “I could be a part of that”, and that’s what we try and deliver. That’s why we base so much out of the comics because what we’re trying to give people is, “You ARE a part of that story.” It’s not so much that we’re making a video game with characters that happen to look like Superman or Aquaman it’s that you’re inserting yourselves into their lives and stories.
Todd: That’s awesome. So, naturally, since we’re talking about Aquaman, we have to talk about the stigma that goes against him because of the Super Friends cartoon. Do you think that between the Aquaman comics, which have been going strong since the New 52, and the upcoming film and the Deluge content that Aquaman might finally be able to break that stigma?
Mueller: I think he’s getting there. We have a lot of players asking for Atlantis content actually. So that makes us wonder if this is just a small group or if his popularity is really rising. We think it’s popularity, and I hope his movie just knocks it out of the park and becomes one of the next big ones.
Todd: I appreciate your desire to help enforce the epicness of Aquaman. Now, you mentioned that Deluge is really about the expansion of the Aquaman universe, not just in locations but in the characters like Mera and Black Manta and Corum Rath. Could we possibly get more Aquaman characters like Tula and Murk? Who are big parts of the mythology and will be in the movie as well?
Mueller: Not just yet, but who knows what the future holds.
Todd: What was the funnest part of bringing Starro back into DC Universe Online?
Muller: So, for us, based on our game’s story, Starro came into the mix about this time last year. And it was a big hit with players. They loved him, and yet because it was an event it went away and they were like, “I miss it!” They really liked the mechanics and rewards. What was interesting in bringing him back was that he already had a connection with Atlantis, but here, with Deluge, we really that unleashing Starro spores into the world was the plan of Corum Rath.
It’s a little bit different from what happens in the comics, but that’s how we like to do it in DC Universe Online, we take a well known plotline and insert it into the game and make these small changes so that it’s more like our title, and it helps make players more immersed because they know it’s all connected. As it’s the story they know.
Todd: I totally get that, and you should make the story your own. Now, for those who are reading this interview and going, “Is it too late for me to get into DC Universe Online?”, what would you say to them?
Muller: It’s definitely not too late. Deluge is probably the best new player experience we’ve had. You can get to level 10 today more-or-less, so you can jump right into Deluge, which everyone else is playing, today. You don’t have to grind a long time to get to it, it’s there for you to access very soon.
Todd: Fair enough. Ok, to wrap up, do you have anything to say to the longtime DC Universe Online players who have been supporting the game for years?
Mueller: We love them. They’re why we continue to do stuff like this, every day of our lives. We do it for them, and especially our members, who will get some really cool special gifts via Deluge. You’ll get both items and pets for your lair. We’re giving it to them because we appreciate them so much.
The Deluge event is live right now in DC Universe Online, so check it out!