Thursday, May 3, 2012

Dungeons and Dragon Online! Deadly Dice!

Name:  Dungeon's and Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited, DDO for short
Developer: Turbine
Year: 2006 
Platform: Pc.
Genre: Massive Multiplayer Online, (MMO)
Time Spent: Endless fun!

Intro: Ever since Uniflame told me I should play pen and paper DND with her I never regretted my choice. I play in 1 3.5 setting campaign and I am a Dungeon Master myself in a 3.5 campaign. I was really surprised when I heard there was an MMO for DnD and thus I started playing.
Although I have been playing for 3 years now (beeing online every now and then) I started playing more 6 months ago, and I am currently the proud owner of a lvl 20 character. Because of that milestone I decided to finally write a review

Story: Because this is an mmo it doesn't have a big story. After the character creation you start out as a shipwrecked person. Apparantly you were a mercenary, on your way to the famous city of Stormreach for riches and fame. However, an ice dragon made short work of that. After you get rescued by someone named jeets you regain some of your abilities and make it to the village of Korthos. Once there you try to save the villagers so you can continue your journey to stormreach.
Gameplay: Expect a huge chunk of info here!  Although DDO is based on DnD it has several differences. Although the main list can be found here. The main difference is that dnd takes place during turn of either a player or an npc while in DDO everything is realtime. You also encounter more enemies then in a regular campaign. Spellcasters aren't stuck with an amount of spells they can cast a day but use SP instead. Also, due to the fact that there are more enemies you have more HP then a PnP character.
You start out with character creation, races have several bonusus on the stats such as Dexterity, Intellegence or Charisma. So some races are better for for a certain class then other, although you can make whatever you want and make that crazy build you always wanted. Classes you can play are divided into 3 types.
1. Melee, these classes include Barbarian, Paladin, Fighter and Monk.
2. Caster, Wizard, Sorcerer, Cleric and Favourerd soul fit into this role
3. Specialist, Special characters such as Rogue, Ranger, Bard and Artificer.
To compensate for the 20 playable levels as a character ranks are implemeneted into the game. for every level you get 4 ranks and action points to spend on several nifty enhancements. These can incluse passive abilities such as extra hp (racial thoughness for instance) or nifty skills which can be used every time ( human versatility). The enhancements also contain the prestige classes a class can take. Rangers can become tempest Rangers this way and Wizards can become either an archmage or a palemaster. This gives you more options on your characters.

Ingame the most common rules that take place in PnP DnD also apply here. Barbarians run a bit faster. Someone with a high Charisma is a better haggler. For everything you do in a dungeon or quest you have to roll a dice or D20. This means that the damage you do might be random but overall I think the RNG in this games doesn't screw you. If you stick to your role everything usually will be fine since you picked the right skills for your class.... you did... didn't you?

One of the best things of this MMO though is the way it gives you quests. People claimed that this is a WoW clone and I have to disagree. Instead of 1 giant overworld with monsters everywhere you have dungeons. The entrance of a quest is marked and you can choose the difficulty yourself. The higher the difficulty though, the more exp you get. Once inside, most quests aren't even the standart instance you see in other MMO. Quests also contain puzzles you have to solve, traps that can only be disabled by a rogue or artificer. And runes that can only be used by caster types. Or even a door that is stuck that can only be opened with a bulky barbarian. You might not be the best damage dealer in the game but every class has its uses. Whatever you pick, in some quests you are NEEDED and WANTED. This gives the game a nice balance.

Audio/Visual: I am going to be shorter here, for the obvious reasons. Since this is a PC game graphics can be set as high or low as you want. But of course, if you don't have a high end PC like me, the higher the graphics, the lower the performance and unfortunately even the change from very low to low takes A lot of performance. If the graphics are turned to medium or higher you start to see a huge difference but it's too bad most people can't enjoy that. This game isn't very colourfull, but rather more realistic. Building's aren't all new and shiny, crypts have lots of dust and smudges and spider webs. The details are good in this game.

The music for this game isn't something spectacular. They fit the theme but get boring after a while of hanging out in the same area. However, this game has something special in store for you. A DM voice, yup. There is a dood or doodette that narrates you while you walk trough a new area or enter a quest. Although I mute the music and sometimes even the battle effects I always keep the DM voice on. "The Catacombs are slightly obscured by the murky water..." You just read that in an epic deep voice. A real nice addon to this game.

Verdict: Like I said before, I have been playing this game casually for a long time before I started to play more, and the reason for that is because it unfortunaly not very noob friendly. Building your character without information is hard. Grabbing the basic's, even with your PnP knowledge is hard and although people can be helpfull  you really need your own experience to really get it. It takes a while to get used to but once you are in it is great.

Advanced with lots of options to choose from. Although hard to learn

Small stories per quest or quest chain but no overall line from lvl 1 to 20
Audio/ Visuals:

Nice graphics, but only for the people with higher end pc. Music also somewhat disappointing. DM is nice

Fun Facts: DDO...
... is free to play. You don't get acces to every race or class. And some later quests aren't available but
    you can become a lvl 20 character without paying once.
... has a favor system. If you do enough quests you get favor which can be used to unlock certain races
    or classes, play enough and half of the paid content is yours without paying a cent.
... can be played as a VIP with a monthly fee to gain content to everything. Want only 1 race/class
    or quest chain? You can also just buy that part standalone and it is yours forever without paying
    a monthly fee.
... has a build in voice chat. No need for teamspeak to chat with your friends.
... has no multiclass penalties unlike PnP DnD. Want to combine Rogue with Sorcerer and Paladin?
    Be my guest.

If this game seems interesting to you and you want to play. I play on the Khyber server, and I play in the awesome Shadow Crusader guild.

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