After all those hip, flashy – even a bit sexy – delays and lawsuits, we nearly forgot that there was actually a game attached to this Dungeons & Dragons Online business. But there is! And it’s good! So when Turbine sent us a press release heralding the free-to-play MMO’s launch, we decided to pass the “hear ye, hear ye” onto you, our lovely readers.
“Today Turbine changes the way gamers experience their online entertainment by providing them with a choice in how they pay and play for a premium MMO,” said Jim Crowley, CEO of Turbine, Inc. “The DDO Unlimited Beta program has been a huge success and the initial response to the game from both press and players has been nothing short of phenomenal. In response, we have already more than doubled our capacity to handle the increased demand.”
Want to know more about the game? Go here. If you’ve already loaded up on potions and traded your real-life D&D buddies for a decent gaming rig, however, your quest is nearly at an end. Just head over to DDO’s website, download the game client, and enjoy!
“While we are very pleased with the performance of the game and are excited about the response from the players, we are committed to delivering a high-quality experience. We feel that more time is needed to deliver on this commitment,” said Fernando Paiz, Executive Producer of DDO Unlimited, in a press release.
“We feel that more time is needed to deliver on this commitment. As a result, we are delaying our launch to ensure that we can support the massive increase in players that we are expecting and deliver them a free to play experience like none other.”
The free update was originally set to go live on August 4. Now it’s not. Really though, this delay’s nothing. If you want something to do in the meantime, go check out our preview of the game. By the time you’re done reading, the update will probably have landed, settled down, and started a family in a scenic rural area. Wake us when a game gets pushed into 2011. Then we’ll talk.
MMOs are a dime a dozen these days, but what about quality MMOs that don’t even cost a dime? Those, of course, are a tad harder to come by. That’s where Dungeons & Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited comes in. Formerly a subscription-based MMO, DDO’s knocking down its “You Must Have This Much Disposable Income to Enter” gate and letting everyone join the party. Thinking that’s all DDO has going for it, however, would be a grievous mistake. Why? Well, we’ve got exactly five reasons. Convenient, right?
1. Anyone can play it – No, seriously, anyone. During our time with the game, we were amazed at how carefully Turbine smoothed over many of the bumps on the road to MMO enjoyment. Most noticeably, the game now includes a context-sensitive hint system that nudges you in the right direction based on what you’re doing. So say you’re stumbling through your first dungeon and walk right into a fire elemental. Demonstrating your incredible knowledge of cultural idioms, you decide to fight fire with fire, literally. This, however, only heals the elemental. In this case, the game would point out that you’re doin’ it wrong, and tell you to use a different type of spell.
The game also includes pre-generated class paths for players who don’t understand D&D’s rule set, and dungeons that tailor themselves to your party’s particular setup. So say, for instance, that your cleric just left the party. In any other MMO, you’d be hurting something fierce for a healer, but in DDO, the dungeon will alter its setup, making sure that your healer-less party still has a shot at success.
Is the whole thing too good to be true? Find out after the break.
Dungeons & Dragons Online, like the lion’s share of MMOs out there, has undergone countless changes since it launched, but never something this huge. Previously a subscription-based game, DDO is just about to engage the landing gear on its brand new free-to-play option, which brings with it new features of all shapes and sizes. We spoke with senior producer Kate Paiz about DDO’s latest makeover, chatting about topics including the DDO Store’s effects on game balance, the when’s and why’s of DDO’s new free-to-play model, the recent sale of id Software, and much, much more.
Seriously, grab a sandwich or something. This one’s a doozy.
What prompted the decision to go free-to-play? Why move away from a subscription focus?
Ever since we’ve launched, we’ve gotten feedback from players that we’re just a different kind of MMO; we don’t have the same kind of basic gameplay mechanics as a lot of other, more traditional MMOs do. We have a lot of private, party-based instances. We give XP based on the completion of an adventure, of conquering a goal. So you saved the girl, right? You know, destroyed the weapon – completed something that was a little more epic than just killing monsters. It’s a bigger task. And because we’re based so faithfully on the [D&D] 3.5 rule set, there are also just some basic mechanics that differed [from other MMOs].
So one of the things that we hear all the time is that because we’re not that traditional MMO, and because research has shown that one of the barriers to joining an MMO is the subscription price, we felt like it made more sense to pull from D&D’s roots and go back to sort of a more module-based purchasing option, where players get a certain amount of content, like the players’ handbook, right up front, and then they can use that as much as they want and then purchase additional content when they want, the way they want – rather than being locked into a subscription fee.
Continue spelunking this verbal dungeon after the break.