Dungeons and Dragons Online: First thoughts

ddo.jpg

By now, some of you may be wondering when I’m going to post something about DDO, which I mentioned earlier I’d bought. Both Lokes and I tested for a bit the beta during the stress test, and with the preorder, I got another ten days of play after it closed.

First off, I don’t foresee many existing WoW or EQ2 players to switch because DDO is truly a different – and difficult – animal. In short, if you’re expecting to be spoonfed and have your hand held, then you’re going to be in for a nasty surprise.

On the same note, this game feels and plays like it’s meant for old school D&D players, particularly those who loved the computer versions of Baldur’s Gate I and II, Icewind Dale, Neverwinter Nights. Not sure how traditional pencil and paper gamers will like it since I never really was one, but Lokes, who was a HUGE PnP fan, says that the game tries to retain much of the experience. Of course, it can never emulate it fully, particularly when it comes to the creative part of game mastering, unless Turbine has employed a fleet of (real) GMs that control each and every aspect of the MMO, which I’d say isn’t exactly business savvy.

So again, DDO is not your MMORPG-lite. For example, you can buy and wield any weapon and use any armor no matter what class you are. The experienced would know that’s not exactly permitted in a D&D game. The use of these items are limited by class and feats/skills you have, so even though you can BUY and WIELD/WEAR them, you won’t exactly be able to USE them – not to do anything useful anyway. In short, you will need to check what you’re proficient in and only spend money on those items.

I learnt this the hard way. Which makes your Examine key and your Character tab your best friends.

There are, if I remember correctly, five races in the game: Human, Elf, Halfling, Dwarf and Warforge. There are six classes in all, from the basic Warrior, to the Bard, Rogue, Wizard, Sorcerer, Cleric and Barbarian. When customizing your character, you will need to select your alignment, among the usual attribs, skills and feats associated with your class and race.

DDO also has quite a number of ways you can customize the aesthetics of your character, from skin to hair to lip colour. However, I’m not really impressed with the results no matter how I tweak ’em. Everything just looks kinda washed out.

Combat in DDO is also vastly different. Although there is an auto-combat key (which means you don’t have to ruin another mouse with rapid-fire clicking), you will need to face your monster (like in WoW), and you will need to LOCK your target by quickly finding it and double-clicking on it, which can be difficult if it’s running all over the place. Plus, you can actively block any attacks by pressing the default Shift key, so you can’t exactly walk off and make coffee while your character is hunting.

Other challenging gameplay elements include the fact that you can’t regenerate anywhere else but in a tavern and that the ‘rest shrine’, found in any instance, can only be used once per entry. And if you die alone in an instance, you can’t use the Resurrection shrine, because to do so, you need a party member to pick up your soul stone and bring it to the Res shrine (always located next to the Rest shrine)in order for you to be resurrected. Otherwise, you will res in a tavern or temple where you have requested the services of a priest to ‘tie’ you to before.

Naturally, these rules make hunting with a party a bonus, although not essential, if you have enough potions and are quick with them fingers.

The worst part of DDO, for me at least, is the hardware. Technically, the game’s just crashing my system left, right and center. I’ve updated my DirectX and Catalyst drivers for my ATI X800XT and still, nothing seems to be working. I’ve experienced two blue screens and one time, my VPU simply died. Anyone having the same problems?

Anyway, early play for preorders starts 24th Feb. Join me, Jennemede Wintersong, bard and friend – real life commitments withstanding – as I begin my adventuring life traversing the lands of Eberron this Friday!

ps. Charles and Derrick, if you’re reading this, I will set up Mamak Alliance on the server I will eventually play on. Look for me, will ya?

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11 Comments »

  1. As a current WoW player, i’m very interested to see how DDO turns out.

    Where can you buy the game?

  2. Hey Aiz! Ltns!

    It’s not playable outside the USlah – for now. Unless someone finds a way to, so not sure wor…

  3. blake said

    does this post mean that the “sleepless in seattle” column will finally come to life? 😛

  4. haha only for DDO man. I dont hv time – or $ – to buy and play other games!

  5. I heard Aussie is getting copies of the game, they connect to US servers.

    Perhaps we can work something out, i’ll be happy to pay for a copy of the game be sent to me. 🙂

  6. Can can. Let me know 🙂 email lah dude.

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