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D&D Online: Whack-A-Box!

I recently took a few days to poke around at Dungeons & Dragons Online. Now that it’s free to play, with a microtransaction payment model to get extras, I thought it might be fun to jump in and see how Turbine did things. For my feedback, here’s a point worth noting: I played through the tutorial zone and then went to Stormreach, completing some of the content in that area.

Stuff I like: First, the scenery looks great. Somewhat reminiscent of Lord of the Rings Online, but not all the way toward that end of “pretty.” Second, the interface and NPC interactions are rather simple to grok. Third, the combat’s fun. Fourth, the scaling for instanced content was great. Fifth, the minion system is nifty. I liked being able to take an NPC into a dungeon with me to help clear the trash.

Stuff I didn’t like as much: First, the tutorial (although effective in teaching the basics) puts the player in too much of a helper role while NPCs do the cool things like fighting a dragon. Second, so much of the world is instanced. I recognize they probably had to do this to accomplish some of the single player-style adventures with scripted bits, but I found it a little jarring that I mostly just ran into people in town rather than crossing paths during adventures out in the wilderness. I missed those random encounters. Third, the instances aren’t always interesting. Mostly, they seem to amount to: Enter the dungeon, whack boxes for loot, kill critters, and then repeat ad nauseum. Traps and puzzle tiles shook things up every once in a while, but the fare was otherwise really predictable.

I may keep dabbling at it occasionally – sometimes I do just feel like smashing boxes for loot and chasing critters around dungeons, but it doesn’t seem likely to hold my interest for long stretches of time. We’ll see. I haven’t touched their crafting system yet and there’s presumably a lot of wilderness beyond Stormreach that could be worth exploring.

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  1. March 4, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    Yeah, I messed around with it for a bit. Amusingly, the reason I haven’t done so more is that it isn’t quite as engaging as MUSHing. Go figure.

    • March 4, 2010 at 5:24 pm

      I didn’t really go into it hoping for the game to be as engaging as MUSHing. When I want to MUSH, I MUSH. But I do enjoy a good graphical game, whether it’s single-player or MMORPG. DDO has some nifty features, but we’ll see if I keep at it. I liked LOTRO too, but I didn’t stick with it in the long run.

  2. Rar
    March 4, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    Wes Platt :I liked LOTRO too, but I didn’t stick with it in the long run.

    But that was because I didn’t, either – mostly because Wes had a bunch of work obligations that meant we ended up not playing it for a few months, and then eventually we just went back to WoW.

    The thing about LOTRO is, for the most part, it was “better” than WoW in quite a few areas. WHY we never went back to it is something we talk about now and then. It’s kind of a mystery.

    • March 5, 2010 at 9:18 am

      I dunno how mysterious it is, in the end. I really don’t have the time to invest myself in a lot of different games. I keep going back to World of Warcraft – I know it well, I’ve got a top-level character, I’m already familiar with the server community.

      If I wanted to play LOTRO right, it would probably have to replace WoW.

  3. March 5, 2010 at 9:16 am

    Nor did I, but I can only afford one timesucker.

  4. Bahamut
    March 5, 2010 at 10:23 am

    Wes Platt :I dunno how mysterious it is, in the end.

    VERY is the answer!(!!)

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