In July I moved back to my hometown to buy a house. After nearly 20 years of renting, I was grateful to never again worry about noisy upstairs neighbors, proximity to a laundromat, rent increases, security deposits or apartment hunting.
And then DC Universe Online released Home Turf this week.
The latest extension to the PC and PlayStation 3's superhero MMO gives you a hideout (or a lair, if you're a bad guy) once you reach level 12. At first I thought this feature would steer you to one location only, perhaps even simply teleport you there, as the interiors are basically templatized. No, there are more than 200 locations in Gotham City and Metropolis from which you may choose. Those are just the two standard interior types (Deco and Gothic) you get for Home Turf's $9.99, or for free if you have Legendary subscription access. The Ancient, Bunker, Cave and Industrial themes presumably open up more locations for you to peruse. That package is another $9.99, and I haven't bought it. [Correction: Each lair theme is $9.99. I still haven't bought any of them.] You get one hideout theme, the Dive, if you're a Freebie.
As DC Universe Online is a role-playing game, I take my lifestyle choices in it very seriously, from costume style and color to character name. Now I had to decide where my goddamn supervillain would live?
Apartment hunting has always been a bad experience for me. I've made some terrible choices, one of which, in San Jose eight years ago, literally sent me to a therapist. The thought of deciding where to put my character made my palms sweat. Fortunately, when you access the Deed that lets you buy a hideout, it shows you a map, which looks like this.
On this map, you can set waypoints that correspond to your real map, so you can go tour the neighborhood, see what's nearby, and whether or not it suits your tastes. I'm not kidding, I spent at least an hour looking at homes before setting up my first villain. So here, I'll recreate that tour with another, The Bogeyman (my homage to Marvel's Hobgoblin).
Listings are current as of Feb. 3, 2013.
7767 Crate Cove
Cost: 2,050 cash, utilities not included. W/D on site.
This open, upstairs plan in a remodeled mixed-use building under new ownership offers convenient separate access (a fire escape entrance that no one will see) and full-service downtown living at a reasonable price. Large gothic bay windows in all four corners deliver lots of Gotham's natural gloom, plus a stunning panoramic view of the Pillars of Hades and the decimated Robinson Park. Hungry? Grab a bite at the Big Belly Burger downstairs.
46388 Bow Blvd
Cost: 1,525 cash plus final month's rent. Cats and small dogs welcome with deposit.
Town versus gown? Why not have both? This spacious mezzanine apartment over Gotham State University's library features plenty of privacy with nightlife and shopping right outside your door. Rooftop patio is perfect for entertaining fellow evildoers and offers a charming view of Gotham U.'s Old Main hall. Walking distance to Gotham Rail's Burnley Station.
455 Grand Blvd
Cost: 1,075 cash plus cleaning deposit. Rent discounted with 18-month lease. Bicycle lockers available.
You're Level 12! Kegger! It's time to break away from the residence hall and grab one of Gotham Commons' classic sophomore-year shitholes near GSU. WGTU radio is right next door, offering "Turn It On" block parties in summer that attract crowds of mid-30s divorceés desperate to relive their college days. It's the perfect scene for you, Bogeyman! Gotham Commons Apartments is a no-smoking and drug-free community.
Arkham Asylym Loft
Cost: 3,250 cash plus 1,250 Mark of Triumph.
Two-Face. Clayface. Joker. Scarecrow. This is Gotham's most star-studded address but it may be a little beyond your means, Mr. Bogeyman. Plus I hear the neighbors can be a bit unruly.
2224 Storehouse Road
Cost: 2,050 cash. Parking on street. No pets.
Affordably priced top-floor living in Gotham's striving Otisburg neighborhood. While one of the city's underserved neighborhoods, the lack of serve also comes with a lack of police presence, which you may find convenient. Amenities nearby include a dry cleaner, nightlife, and Giordano Botanical Gardens.
Oh, God ... fuck all these dumps ... what's in Metropolis?
5949 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd
Cost: 2,050 cash. Doorman and on-site fitness center.
So, yes, there's a little bit of bottling taking place nearby, which is why we're listing this so affordably right now. Pre-Brainiac, rent in this district was roughly 30 percent higher and should you ultimately defeat him and drive him from the Earth you may expect an increase. For now, it is very quiet for the heart of Downtown Metropolis. Moshe's Hot Dog Stand is downstairs.
8478 Lovelace Lane
Cost: 1,075 cash. Water and garbage pickup included.
Hip, young, successful, the Tomorrow District is fast becoming a preferred residence in Metropolis. You'll rub elbows with the city's most influential tech titans and rising stars waiting in line for coffee here the Starrware Building. Your apartment has lots of natural light and offers inspiring views of the Science Spire. We don't expect this location to be listed long at this price.
590 Stadium Ave
Cost: 2,050 cash, discounted parking available. No pets.
A sports fan's dream mancave in the Southbank Commercial District. Located in the historic Soder Cola office building, you're walking distance to the nightlife of Little Bohemia and the Metropolis Metrodome. Walking distance to the Rail Whale's Southbank station.
1513 West Street
Cost: 525 cash. No credit check. Ask about our move-in specials.
Affordable and eclectic, Metropolis' Chinatown offers fascinating cuisine outside your door and extradimensional incursions on your rooftop. Next door to Mannheim's Chinese Theater. Local neighborhood includes dry cleaning, massage parlor.
You know what, screw this, I'm going back to the Hall of Doom ...