Thursday, July 9, 2009

DDO: Questions a noob would ask

Ok, so after playing the game for about one week solid and not really advancing too fast, I had to hit up the newbie forums and ask a plethora of really dumb questions for things I just did not understand.

When I start a game I tend to look at the features and figure out if they actually work or if they are gimmicks. The more I learn about this game the more in depth I realize it is, and when I start a game I like to dig under the hood and see what makes it tick (just ask Hicks who I spam all day long in email).

This bag is not loaded with tricks

First issue I ran into was this “Bounty Bag” quest thing you can do. Basically, this is DDO’s answer to the daily quests that are popping up in MMO’s all over the web now.  What this is is a quest that will ask you to go talk to a particular NPC and then he will ask you to enter a dungeon that he is normally associated with. Very clever tactic actually by Turbine here. They added new content without actually having to make new dungeons. You run the same dungeon but have a chance to get a named NPC spawn and when you kill it or perform the daily task you return the bag for XP. Catch is: the named NPC does not always spawn. With no XP per kill in the game this makes it a hard sell, because some of these dungeons can be long and to not have the item drop means more grinding in a place you may hate. I tried one and my NPC did not drop, but at least I got good XP because you can repeat quests again in DDO. So while grindy, I do not mind this it beats grinding faction or some crap like that. Just be warned it is not bugged if you do not get your item.

Then I learned that the y were going away in Module 9. Ah well…

What is the deal with Tumbling?

Ever watch the neat trailers for DDO where all the people playing are somersaulting and rolling all over like a bad Power Rangers episode? I have and I wondered to myself: WHY? Does the game REALLY take that into account? Well yes and no. There is a difference between TUMBLING and moving out of the way it turns out and to test this I watched my nifty NERD O MATIC die roller that I have displayed on my screen when I play.

Sure enough, when I moved and attacked 3rd person shooter style I lost my +4 to hit and missed a lot more. When I sidestepped, or as I have it mapped, held SHIFT and moved side to side, I kept a +3 or sometimes +4 to hit on my die rolls. So yes the game DOES account for movement. Pretty slick engine. now as for tumbling and putting points into it, the most definitive answers I got were these (I am no expert so I will leave it for them to decide if this is right or not):
I have seen people TUMBLE over water, you do go faster. You only need TUMBLE for doing the Reaver Raid.  My advice, make sure your tumble skill is anything BUT not NA.  That way, if people cast tumble on you or you buy the tumble buff for 100 GP, you will minimize your damage in the Reaver Raid. If you truly want to role play a rogue then put points into tumble.

Tumble has 3 true levels of ability:
- You don’t have it, you make useless Bunnyhops
- You have invested 1 rank and make tumbles. Need a armor which doesn’t hinder you too much for that.
- You reach a 35+ total tumble modifier and make cool somersaults who cover a wide area of space to get away asap.

and one last mention
Tumble is one of those skills that didn’t really make a good translation to ddo. If you have the Feat: Moblity or a Mobility item on, tumbling is a more defensive way to get out of combat (While tumbling you have +4 AC)

So in short, do not worry too much about it but use tumbling to move fast and take a swing without a penalty. As far as I can tell it is not required to roll all around but it sure does look cool. The key thing about DDO in dungeons is not to get left behind or split up. Bad things can happen much like in pen and paper D&D. As a GM, I used to love picking off characters that split up from the main party. That was a sadistic pleasure of mine. Especially when you can make it creepy and tell the other players they can hear their buddy screaming in pain. Oh, umm, where was I? Ah yes.

What if I make bad design choices while leveling up

The next question I brought up was how do I know if I am not making a totally worthless character when I choose my stats and where to use my ability points. This is usually a worry for many online games that feature achievements, talent points, trees, traits and all that gimmicky stuff. In DDO, you need to watch where you put your stat points and how you spend things because it does follow D&D quite a bit in terms of what you can do at higher levels. Syp over at Bio Break covered the great 28 point or 32 point build in a blog post already, so I won’t go over that here. Instead I asked about this from a straight new player perspective and got some answers that made me feel ok about my barbarian thus far. Now if you are a cleric or a rogue, have fun. Your choices seem diverse and confusing at the same time.


Some responses I got to this were the following:
The only thing you can’t respec are your levels chosen and skill points. And the 1 ability point (str, dex etc) you get to add to your stats every 4 levels. You can reset your enhancements every 3 days at the class trainer…and you can switch feats at fred the mind flayer.

You can respec feats and enhancements, just not stat scores and class choices..You can gimp yourself by multi-classing poorly… One should understand the game fairly well before attempting a multi-class character…

I’ve made several 28-point builds that I am not going to delete.  I have fun playing and that is the most important part.  The more you dwell in the details of squeaking out every point of AC or damage, the more it becomes a “job” rather than a game.

My original 28pt char, made with no DDO experience, and faced with three years of nerfs, does just fine. Might not be up to some people’s standards, but I wouldn’t worry to much if I were you.

The responses were generally that if you pick a basic build template or at least read over your class forum, you should be ok.

Turn undead is awesome!

It works, you may fail at first but man when it works it is sweet. I won’t type it up, just watch my cleric in this video:

What does a guild do?

Well, fairly obvious but I noticed in DDO there is really nothing to making a guild. Then I noticed there was NOTHING TO A GUILD. Ugh. The only downfall about the community I have found so far is that guild’s are more or less not supported. The final analysis? Summed up well by a PM I got on the boards:
There are no guild vaults or really anything else that tends to tie anyone to a particular guild except the relationship with members. In fact, guilds in DDO are basically just a way to find groups more easily. Also guild chat can be entertaining… And for new players, they are usually a source of lots of free stuff. (As I’m sure you’re familiar with from other games, stuff that is awesome to a new player is completely useless junk to a veteran, so these gifts are win-win.)

I can do that again? OOPS!

I knew you could run quests over and over again, but I did not look into the deeper picture. This is a very instanced game, as it should be since it has DUNGEONS in the title, but I really didn’t understand why you would run the same thing over and over until I got my cleric to level 2 in about one hour. My barbarian took me two days. Why is this? Simple, I did not try the same quests over again on higher difficulty. So with my cleric (yes she is a female sue me) I decided to try this and good golly it worked. I got massive amounts of fast XP by doing each mission on solo, regular and then hard. I did try elite once. Once. I got the end and the boss mob was 3 levels above me (I was level one) and I just got destroyed.

Not only is this a good way to get XP you also can choose the rewards again. In many cases I didn’t not realize that there were say two different rings offered and especially for casters these work out well. So I would take one ring, then go back and take the second ring. I also had some mastercrafted plate mail drop for her which she put on to look pretty bad ass. So really, I actually skipped a lot of experience the first time through Korthos with my barbarian. The neat thing is I can go back if I want to but I think that perk ends at level 3.

Turn on the class loot option

Amazingly, I did not even know about this. In the options, under gameplay, you can toggle off or on the games smart loot system. Turn it on, and quest rewards are tailored to your character. Turn it off and you can get other items for other classes. What a great idea! I think it is on by default so I didn’t have to worry about it too much, but keep in mind this does not effect chest loot.

Well, those are some of the things I learned in just ONE day of research. If anything new comes up I will post it here next week. For now, I have some Dawn of War 2 to play.