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[REVIEW] Dungeons & Dragons Online

Discussion in 'PC/Console Gaming' started by Andy, Mar 26, 2006.

  1. Andy


    Saturday I finally tracked down a copy locally (@ Target, and also received a bonus armor item by logging in the special code I found on the box from Target) and created an account and installed it.

    Let me start off with the obvious.

    In no way, is this World of Warcraft.

    And in most respects, that is a good thing. (What queue?)

    Still interested? Read on...

    What I feel it is so far, is a game where you go out and adventure into Dungeons, slay monsters and collect quest items for experience and rewards, but there is no "grind" to it. You can procede at what ever pace pleases your play style.
    All along in each Dungeon, new situations crop up and create even more chances to gain experience and rewards.
    Most adventures after the initial training on Rogues Island that must be soloed, now require you to group up in packs of up to 5 players, which is not a problem, considering everyone else that wants to adventure also needs a group.
    The "LFG" system is very simple, you can open up a console and pick/choose what and where you'd like to go according to your level.
    There is no traveling great distances to get to a Dungeon, most things are easilly ported to from your initial Inn area, maximizing play time over time-sinks like "flying" or running half way across a continent.

    The graphics, to me are flat out spectacular. Crisp and sharply detailed. (see screenies below)
    I actually had to crank down my settings a tad because they detected me as a "higher end" system, and maxed out everything, creating a bit of stuttering from my GPU... some tweakage later, and it's smooth as silk.

    The actual gaming system once you get into a Dungeon to me seems right out of the old "pen and papaer" days of D&D/ The Dungeon Master (a Computer) walks you through your session and updates/changes things as you quest along. At first, there are also tips windows that guide you along until you have learned that tip so as to tell it to not appear again.

    While fighting mobs, you actually see your "die rolls" next to your focus screen (bottom right) which is a nice touch to those of us who used to do it old school. :)

    And the UI it seems they took the idea from WoW of "customization" and tossed that out the windiow, but allow you to move most anything onscreen where ever is better for you. I guess in the long run, this is better because you can do what you like, and still not have to rely on some high school slacker to update his UI whenever a patch comes out.
    The maps, inventory console, and shortcut/action bar system seem very "un-clumbsy" to me, and I like it.
    Keyboard layout is similar to WoW, but there of course are various differences. Mouse movment is very similar, so it was easy to figure out "how to play" for me at first.

    So far, I am still in the initial Harbor area, as a lvl 1, (max level is 10, and talk of a bump to 12 in April's upgrade/content package push) and I see on my map that came with the game, that there are 5-6 more areas to still go and explore, all filled with different adventures and dungeons to crawl. :drool:

    My very first "real mission" in the Harbor, entailed I go down into the basement of the inn, and retrieve a keg for the Innkeeper.. that turned into 2 more quests, and a ton of experience gained for completion (half a level) and I had not barely made it off the boat. :eek:

    There are vendors abound that sell weapons and armor and goodies, and coin seems to drop pretty regularly, with the occasional item or two, and I've yet to not have money for an item I could use.

    I created an Elf Ranger, Mavramorn Eringlade, on the Aundair server, which is adept at all weapons types, mainly focusing on Bows though, and he also has several elven attributes, but there are several classes and a few other races to choose from to create a well balanced party member.

    Thus far, I am very impressed by it. It seems to be a welcomed breath of fresh air to me, and a chalenge to try out something different for a while, at least until the expansion hits for WoW.

    If you are looking for an exact replacement to WoW, this ain't your bag man, but if just adventure, atmosphere, role playing, and just focusing on the hunt of a dungeon vs grinding for phat lewt and purpz is what you'd really like, I'd highly recommend D&D Online.

    1st pic is during my training session on how to swim.
    2nd is an NPC I found in the Harbor named "Elspeth" :rofl:
  2. Brazbit

    Brazbit Nah... It can't be.

    Elspeth and I decided to give this a try as well.... Basically we had been talking about this for a long time and when I told her Mav had started playing she said "It's out?" grabbed the phone, reserved two copies and was out the door before I could say yes. :lol:

    The game is gorgeous! Very little lag since it creates multiple instances of common areas with the ability to switch between instances to find your friends. Party members always go to the same instance but if you are not grouped you can switch to meet up as needed or even just to get away from a spammer (not that I have seen any yet) or whatever reason you might want to.

    The game is intuitive if you are familiar with D&D and everything is based on D20 rules so if you know what 1D10 or 2D6 stands for you will feel right at home. Not that you need to (the book covers the basics) but it is nice for those that do.

    Also it has BUILT IN VOICE CHAT. No need for Vent or TS or any other method (conference calls Pfft yeah right.) The voice chat sounds excellent.

    During character creation it has videos to explain what each class is. They clearly describe what the racial bonuses are. The character creation is fairly in depth (More than WoW less than SWG) they even include a wide selection of scars and other items (like glasses.)

    I am quite a bit farther along than Andy at the moment and it is quite fun. There are 10 levels with 4 ranks to each so essentially 40 levels. I am Level 1 rank 3 at the moment. This has allowed me to select three customizations to my character which appears to allow a lot of customization to what your character can bring to a party (no cookie cutter classes... OK less cookie cutter anyway.)

    If you want to find me I am on the same server as Mav. My name is Brazbit Darkwynd. I am a Halfling Bard. Come get me. :cool:
  3. Andy


    One more addendum...

    Wanted to put up one more shot of how awesome the graphics seem to be, and the screenies really don't do them justice..

    The water dances and sparkles, and there are lamps up above that have "rings" of light falling off of them that are mezmerizing. Sunset looked almost real tonight.

    I ran several quests with Braz and Els tonight, and we had a blast.
    We died a few times, but the death system only takes away your hit points, no money or items degredation, so you can either be ported back to a bound Inn and rest for a few minutes, or have a party member take your soulstone to a resurection shrine, usually every dungeon has at least one right next to a rest shrine, and bring you back.
    That is if you can find them before you die. :lol:

    Been racking up tons of items and money, so one more good deal about D&D seems to be there really is no need for "farmers" because there is always easy and quick ways to get the coin needed, by either running and cracking open crates/barrels, selling items or selling quest rewards or gathering items that various NPC's "collect" and give you nice things in return, or selling your older items you've used to buy anything that you could really still want.

    The server I chose seems to be quite mature too.. there are a few wise crackers in the Inns now and then but they just add to the atmosphere. :)
  4. MNeedham73

    MNeedham73 Well-Known Member

    Nice review, Andy.

    Sounds like Turbine Games did a lot better job with D&D Online than they did with Asheron's Call 2 heh.
  5. Biker

    Biker Administrator Staff Member

    Two questions.. How much for the game, and what's the monthly fee for the servers?
  6. Andy


    Thanks... :) It does seem to be fairly well put together and thought out to some extent, with more content on the way (free) and I've barely scratched the surface as to what content is already there. :D

    I picked my copy up @ target for around $40, (By doing so, I registered a code on the box only found @ Target and received an item that could be considered "epic" that lets you breathe underwater) and the monthly is comparable to WoW, and they offer blocks of time at a cut rate.
    I put myself down for a quarter year for around $14/mo each.

    First 30 days is free, then the billing kicks in.

    I find that my old PnP days have been excised from my brain, and I seem to have to learn this all over again though... case in point.. were hacking away at Oozes last night and Braz is bonking me on the head saying "Um... no sharp edged weapons!"

    I was creating more copies. :rofl:
  7. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    I've already mentioned my problems with this game in another thread, but hey, if this is something you guys can work on, that's awesome!

    And damn, Andy, that was an excellent write up. :)
  8. Brazbit

    Brazbit Nah... It can't be.

    Quick note about my class: Bard

    Healer, warrior, prankster... In other words a perfect fit. The bard class is a generalist as such the phrase "jack of all trades and master of none" fits well. The bard can use about half the weapons and wear half of the available armor as well as all the shields except for the largest. The bard can cast some spells and perform some of the rouges most valuable tricks. As such the bard can fill in for any member of a party.

    However a bard is not merely a switch hitting utility player, the bard also has unique talents of its own. Obviously there is the bards music which allows the bard to enourage all other party member's spirit and abilities. The bards music can also mesmerize enemies stopping them dead in their tracks as they listen and even reach out to them and encourage them to change their ways and attack their own forces. The bard also is in touch with magic by using the natural vibrations of the universe and while this is often used to attack or heal it is also used by the bard for more entertaining purposes. :D

    Last night as I reached level two I gained a new spell that when I saw it I knew I had to have it. Passing on spells that cause enemies to sleep or be stunned or poisened I selected the one true bard spell.... It forces the enemy to dance. :lol: The enemy is unable to do anything else... they just dance complete with foot shuffling and arm swinging. Essentially putting them out of the fight until the party decides to attack them. I love this game. :love:
  9. Andy


    Thanks Ethics :)

    I think I remember what you were referring to, it being "impersonal" and not "like the original"?

    I'm not trying to sell you on it... (Jedi hand wave :D) but I would like to mention that this is more of the MMORPG genre I was looking for all along when I did try WoW. Wow seems to be more of the MMO half of it, which is cool too..

    There was a post in our realms forum about "Which realms are RP realms?".. the common answer was "This is D&D.. ALL realms should be RP!".
    So far, ours seems to fit the bill with plenty of characters filling the need for RP (Braz included :thumbsup:)

    With WoW, you get quests like "Go gather me up 10 raptor heads and I'll give you this shiny pair of pants"

    Here you get quests like "Search the basement of groggy's Tavern and rescue his Daughter from certain death".. and along the way, the experience dynamicaly changes from the built-in DM based on which corner you turn, and which door you open, creating sub-quests and more goals to accomplish if you wish. Added to that are items that you collect and turn into certain NPC's for goodies that sell very nicely, or trade with someone you know can use.
    Hidden passages and containers filled with untold riches abound along with the atmosphere of not knowing what is around the next bend, combined with that old fashioned "Dungeon crawl" feel to me got me hooked in the first 30 minutes.

    I think they did an excellent job with balancing out how much loot is coveted as the next biggest, baddest (insert weapon or armor here), and concentrated more on the actual experience of the game as the goal.

    My biggest favorite part though, has to be that once you enter a Dungeon and kill something.. it stays dead until you reset the instance. Meaning you can take your sweet time and explore every thing without fear of respawns sneaking up on you. Just the ones sneaking up on you in front.

    And you can always go back and re-run the Dungeons at a higher skill level fro higher exp gained, or the same level with a reduction in gainable exp if you just want more practice.

    The one thing I think would make it even better.. is when you reach a high enough level, you actually get to be a DM for some of the adventures and help create a one of a kind experience for others based on the existing maps and monsters.

    I guess for me, it's a nice welcome change of pace from the monotonous grind of loot, farm, raid, rinse, repeat. Don't get me wrong, I love WoW too.. but maybe it's me who just needs a break from it to appreciate it's style again soon :)

    If anyone else here did think of trying it out, they'd be welcome to tag along. :)


    I chose the Ranger class, because they are very adept at all weapons styles, and specialize in standing off with a bow and raining down arrows while the rest are up close and personal.

    My next level (2) I am taking on the Rogue specialization lvl 1 so I can be an adept scout and trap un-doer, or what they call a Stealth Utility Ranger. (I had no idea I could multi-class until I read an excellent guide on classes here)

    I've got to learn more about the art of actually scouting ahead too.. there were a few times Braz got ahead and tripped a trap before my senses picked it up as possible danger ahead. :lol:
  10. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Thanks for additional info and I agree that WoW is not much of an RPG. Hell, NWN was more RPG than WoW but RPG is not what I seek. I liked NWN for what it was, add to it the MMO and it's Ultima Onlineish with just dungeons, minus housing, professions, etc...

    So, I guess what I am trying to say is that this game is for people who seek that aspect of the game they like.
  11. Brazbit

    Brazbit Nah... It can't be.

    Assisting Els and Mav I ran the same quests at least three times. Each time it was a little different. Also I found that if I went down one path I could kill creatures before getting trapped by spraying acid and shooting flames. I could also take another path and not trip any traps at all.

    There was one quest to rescue a kidnapped wife from some kobolds. As we pursued them through the sewers we would catch up with them from time to time and they would activate some trap, lock a gate forcing us to take another path or raise a bridge etc... The whole time when we would get close enough the chat log would show them talking amongst themselves "Ok squivees will turn on the traps not because you told me to but because it is what I think will stop them best... hold the woman be careful she kicks." then when we finally catch them we hear them say "Run away Hobgoblin can have her." "For once you have good idea!" they dashed past us and we found ourselves faced not with two little kobolds but a big brute who was a bit of a challenge indeed.

    The quests are much more dynamic and engaging than WoW not to mention better written. Each time I do one I find myself eager for the next adventure and not just going "What does alakazaam say to do on this one... ok lets go and hit those buttons." At times WoW was more like Dragon's Lair in that everything had to be done exactly right with the same cookiee cutter group than a true quest. I see this game having more logevity for me.

    Also I managed to wander outside of town on my own yesterday and there is a big bold world out there. Not to mention large hungry creatures so I got a free trip to the Inn before I was able to even leave sight of the city gates but that just made me hunger for more. I think there must be some grand things out there for sure. :D
  12. Frodo Lives

    Frodo Lives Luke, I am NOT your father!

    I think I will try this game out. Sorry, but WoW got boring for me so I need a long break before I come back.

    One thing about D&D online is that it pretty much uses the same engine as Guild Wars and even the quest system is a lot like it. Expect that GW is free to play, you don't need to pay a monthly subscription. Hopefully D&D will change in the near future where you don't need a monthly subscription. GW is doing very well with the model they are using, so I can see D&D doing the same. :)
  13. Brazbit

    Brazbit Nah... It can't be.

    I doubt that they will go subscriptionless. However they do appear to be commited to continuing to release new adventures regularly. For example the first expansion is on its way and it is free. As long as the fee is going towards growing the game and continued development I have no problem paying it. $15 a month is a lot less than buying new games every month or two.
  14. Brazbit

    Brazbit Nah... It can't be.

    Tossing in a faw more screenshots. :cool:

    (It's servers were accessable all day today unlike some other games) :whistle:
  15. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    X-Play finally reviewed it and I liked and didn't like some aspects of this game.

    I have to ask, are you two guys still excited about this game after some time?
  16. Andy


    Personally, yes I am. :)

    I got my Elf Ranger all the way up to lvl 3 rank 2 and decided to re-roll him because the "cookie cutter" build that the game handed me was gimped.

    Taking what I learned recently and remembered from old D&D days, I re-did my Ranger from scratch, picked and chose the skills and feats I needed and wanted, and now he's already back up to lvl 3.1, much stronger and does more damage per arrow shot and can switch off to 2hd sword for up close and personal melee(which is rare I dont 2 shot a mob down) or 1hd mace/shield combo for those darned oozes. :)

    I also did it my re-roll at a very opportune time, as they released a huge content push last week, and I find that re-running a lot of the lowbie quests resulted in yet a different experience (as Braz will note, we ran a few things together for me the other night, and all the while I was thinking, "Ok, this is where so-and-so spawned".. NOT! :rofl:)

    A lot of the quests were also given nicer end-rewards, a lot of the higher difficulty quests for your level will now almost always give what WoW would consider a "blue" item. 99% of the time, you can choose your end reward too out of a list off 4-6 of things that you can either use right away, or sell for more cash. (Every item when you examine it shows it's base value in Gold Pieces) Chests in every dungeon randomly have lots of nice items to either use or sell.

    One other Aspect I really love about this game, the developers actually ask questions in the forums and try to listen to suggestions and implement them.
    They've already implemented weapon combo slots to do weapons switches at teh press of one buttin (kinda like weaponquickswap from WoW, only you can choose exactly which combo rather than rotate) before, if you wanted to do 2 one handed waeapons, you had to drag the offhand or shield into a slot.
    The've moved some of the vendors and brokers into a more accessible and "role playing friendly " place of the Marketplace which everyone can get to after completing a lvl 2 quest chain.
    Currently they are looking into improving the looking-for-group system.

    Yes, they've hit a few rough spots with patches over the last week or so, but at least it's during the day where the only ones whining in the forums about extended down time on the unofficial patch day of Wednesdays, (and a whole 2 extra hours, the horror ;)) are college students or players from half way around the globe.

    I also have to admit, running out and buying D&D and jumping on another monthly subscrip truly is a leap of faith.. If one is going into it expecting things to be just like WoW but with different graphics, save your money.

    It's a whole different game all together, one you can play at your own pace and on your own terms once you find a group that thinks like you do.
    There are several Guilds now springing up on Aundair (like the one I belong to :lol:) who all have the "Dungeon crawl" mindset over the "WoW OMGWTFBBQSAUCE zerg for phat lewt" mindset.
    I've seen players like that be removed from the party I was in. ;)
  17. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    The bad side of DDO is that everything, and I mean every zone, looks like Desolace. That's a huge turn off. There's no Goldshire, STV, BB, or even Tarren Mill type of a feel. Morgan Webb actually compared the best scenery in DDO with Elwynn Forest in WoW and it was a day and night difference--literally. I need nice ambience. :)

    However, both reviewers thought while the game was spotty, it had great potential with the expansions on the horizon.
  18. Brazbit

    Brazbit Nah... It can't be.

    Very much so. I don't get to put in the time that I once put into WoW but that was not exactly a healthy thing I was doing with WoW. ;)

    Probably one of the biggest things this has going for it is the length of quests. Dungeons don't take 5+ hours so resonable gameplay sessions (15min-1hr) are actually productive. Compared to WoW where you could spend that long just traveling to start a mission.
  19. Andy


    I'll put up some screenshots tonight of the areas outside of dungeons I have access to so far, (which is limited compared to those available to a lvl 10) and we can all then try to decide what Morgan is smoking, M'kay? ;)

    Spotty? maybe in some respects, I'll give them that.. but yes, there is tons of potential.

    Just like the original PnP D&D modules that came later, they made new experiences.
    I'm betting that more modules like the one that hit last week are well on their way. In no way is D&D Online "completed" :D

    EDIT> but I will admit, DDO is supposed to take place in the City of Stormreach, so yes, the availablility of Forests and the like are limited, but they do exist to an extent..
    The different areas that contain the Houses (read: different neighborhoots within the city) all have their own flavor.
  20. Piobaireachd

    Piobaireachd Full Member

    I've played it for a few hours and I have to say I'm very impressed. Braz loaned me his disk and I used the 10-day guest pass.

    I don't know where the complaint about scenery is coming from. I think the graphics are stunning myself.

    I will be purchasing D&D shortly, but I want to upgrade my computer first (for both WoW and D&D). I'm just pushing a little too hard with an 866 MHz box.

    My first impression of the game is that it is very enjoyable. I've never been a gamer up until WoW so my experience is very limited. I played KotOR for about a year before WoW.

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