Saturday, February 6, 2010

How Dungeons and Dragons Online is holding up as F2P

I am still pretty much a noob in this game, having only gotten one character to level 4 and I deleted him out of disgust a while back. However a few years ago I really didn't understand DDO and how it was to be played because I was too much of a WoW head. Now I absolutely love this game because it plays like a console game with depth and is really solo and group friendly. With the latest patch released the other day I went back to see the new solo mode and to see if I had any points in the DDO Store.

The game is free and in my opinion one of the coolest free games on the market because you can tailor the way you play. Not only is there a new solo mode but there is also now the ability to buy dungeons as you level so that the store is not always looming over your head.

The new "casual mode" makes the game even easier for anti social MMO players giving them the option to complete some of the harder missions without have to use the dreaded "socialize" word. I don't think that grouping will be an issue any longer because since it went free to play the game is PACKED with people. What mileage you get out of people that are now playing for free and probably think that Dungeons and Dragons is a cartoon from the 1980's is anyone's guess but the people ARE there in the game. This is a testament that going to free to play is not always a bad thing which is something struggling games like Vanguard should think about. I know one of the problems back a year or so ago I had with the game is that there were not that many still playing. This meant all the low level content was next to impossible to finish if it sent me into a dungeon that was part of a major story arc.

I used the DDO store and it could not have been easier. You simply click the store icon, it opens up and only shows you things your current character can buy and use in game. You put what you want in the cart and check out and the item is put into your inventory. There are races, classes, potions, dungeons and all sorts of things to buy in there. (more after the break including a video!)

I went ahead and bought a stack of 100 +1 arrows for my ranger for 25 points as I had over 1000 and the transaction was smooth and easy. I may later on use my points to buy shared bank slots or the new monk class.

I swapped back to my fighter on Khyber server and ran one of the tutorial missions to get used to playing again and had forgotten a few things about "hard mode". You can unlock harder modes of dungeons once you finish them on regular mode and this lets you run them again for more treasure. However near the end a boss will come in so be ready as this may not happen in regular mode.

I use left click to attack, and hold right mouse button to move or you can enter mouse mode. Either way this makes the game much like a FPS or game like Oblivion and very easy to play. Put the cursor on the target and swing away. I also have abilities like trip and sunder mapped to 1,2,3,4 etc etc. All in all DDO is looking to be in good shape and Turbine pulled this game from the fire for sure. If you are curious about the latest patch take a look at the notes in the main site here

http://compendium.ddo.com/wiki/Release_Notes_Update_3_Official

While the combat is not as engaging as Age of Conan, it will make you work and stay awake unlike other hotbar button mashing MMO's.

Ok now we have a video I uploaded showing how I setup my interface and how combat works. Take a look and try the game out, it is free after all!