Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Today I am a nerd.

Since I get no quality hits and have only 1 follower, I'm going to just nerd-out today and discuss Dungeons and Dragons Online, a quality free Massively Multiplayer Online game. You can consider this a review if that helps.

First off, let me explain the business model of the game. Dungeons and Dragons Online(DDO for short), is free to play, and makes money from a system of micro transactions. Basically, players must purchase 'points' in-game which can be traded for items or special account bonuses. The points come in nicely tiered packages(ranging from $6 to $60), allowing everyone to pay whatever they choose. To be clear, you can play through the entire game all the way to max level and enjoy it immensely without ever spending a dime.

The game is modularized and highly instanced, which lends itself incredibly well to the micro-transaction system. For example, you can buy additional "adventure packs" or dungeons to play through. These cost a few dollars($5-$10ish) and add a lot of fun to the game.

I think probably my favorite and least-favorite thing about the game is the modularization. Basically, it never takes more than about 5 minutes to walk to any one dungeon. The game does not demand it's player-base devote hours at a time to gameplay. You can hope in, run a short dungeon, and hope out, all in around half an hour. The game is divided into pieces of many various sizes, allowing it to easily fit my gaming schedule. The downside to this system, however, is a lack of large, explorable areas, something I miss from my World of Warcraft days. I love it and hate it, its weird.

Anyway, DDO scores very high on my gaming scale, primarily because it meets all of my main criteria: I get a sword right away, I get to hit things with it very soon after launching the game, and I get to be a paladin. Its even got a huge leg-up on World of Warcraft in that I get to be a paladin AND use ranged weapons!

The customization options are just unbelievable. Finally, there is no one telling me how to play the game, I have the ability to play how I want! With a little tinkering, I get to be a paladin and heal, I also get to dual-wield bastard swords and use a crossbow! I could go on, but I won't.

DDO is about as close as I think I'll get to the game I really want to play. Its multi-player, allows for soloing, offers high levels customization, and is just in general really enjoyable. I would say the only thing it really lacks is a good crafting system. Easily my favorite thing is the lack of pressure, I didn't play for nearly a year, didn't cost me a dime(no monthly fee) and when I came back I still had all my turbine points and it was like I never left. The game is really fun for a casual MMO.

Anyway, my current build is a paladin/sorcerer, though I am contemplating starting a whole new character. In the short time I've been playing DDO I'm pretty sure I've had more fun than I did in the entire time I had WoW, and I've paid way less. DDO definitely wins!

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