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News & Features Discussion  » Dungeons & Dragons Online: Unlimited Examined

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  Stradden

Managing Editor

Joined: 7/08/05
Posts: 6729

 
OP  7/08/09 3:40:55 PM#1

MMORPG.com Managing Editor Jon Wood takes a look at Turbine's DDO: Unlimited, the Free 2 Play rebirth of the company's Dungeons and Dragons MMO.

No major North American studio has tried to switch a game's business model years after launch. Turbine, recently,moved Dungeons and Dragons Online in that direction, pioneering a movement that, if successful, could have a lasting impact on an MMO industry that has already shown more openness to the item shop model.

Time and time again industry experts have said that in order for an item shop game to be successful, it has to be applied in the right way, to the right game. Is Turbine the right company? Is the system well implemented? Does the item shop unbalance the game? Is DDO, a game conceived as a subscription MMO, the right game to make this transition? Is now the time to be making the move? These and other questions need to be answered before anyone can judge such a controversial change.

Read Unlimited Examined

Cheers,
Jon Wood
Managing Editor
MMORPG.com

  takayi

Novice Member

Joined: 9/01/07
Posts: 159

A wise man once said "No!"

7/08/09 4:04:25 PM#2

FIRST!

It is offcourse very nice news to hear, that DDO is free, which encourages more and more people to try it.
It is still wiser to pay the subscription, because without paying it feels like youre in wheelchair; you cant do all the stuff, that others can!

We'll see how this goes, and DDO is quite "non-hyped" game, and theres not many people who even know the whole game. We'll see in the future, is this really worth putting to F2P, or will the player count stay the same.

  Stratford

Novice Member

Joined: 6/30/04
Posts: 120

7/08/09 4:28:26 PM#3

I know it's not a PvP-centric game, but is there *any* form of PvP to mix up the gameplay and keep it interesting when you want a break from PvE'ing?

  Dave08

Novice Member

Joined: 3/22/07
Posts: 67

7/08/09 5:15:11 PM#4
Originally posted by Stratford

I know it's not a PvP-centric game, but is there *any* form of PvP to mix up the gameplay and keep it interesting when you want a break from PvE'ing?


 

There is some pvp, but it's token only.  They'll never balance the game for pvp.   Players who have played for years have access to 32 point builds and limitless gear and plat, so it's highly unbalanced.   

In my opinion, it's a sad game anyway because if you want a good character, they make you grind on a throwaway character first.  You don't grind to make the character you're playing better, you grind to build a brand new character with 32 points.  Then you start over from scratch and repeat the same content over and over on the new improved character (aka pure timesink  before you can even work on a character that you'll feel isn't throwaway). 

Really a lousy game mechanic and waste of time if you like pvp or just want to feel like the character you're working on means anything.  A shame in a way because it's a fun dungeon crawl.  Just not an immersive rpg.  Who wants to work on a character when they know it's worthless, and trust me, it isn't worth grinding for a 32 point build for the pvp that is currently available.

  moorewr

Novice Member

Joined: 6/15/08
Posts: 72

ddo : thelanis : pantalaimon

7/08/09 6:48:27 PM#5

 Dave08 is right that there isn't much PVP. That said DDO:U is launchign with a challenge system, and there is both brawling and team games. Not a lot of people play 'em though.

He is wrong, however about 32 point characters. The difference is so small that you can not tell whether a given char is 28 or 32pt. We're talking at most 2 points in a major class stat. What's more, you will have favor for drow, who are 32pt builds within a week or two, so why sweat it?

  hirscha

Novice Member

Joined: 8/01/06
Posts: 1

7/08/09 7:11:36 PM#6
Originally posted by moorewr

 Dave08 is right that there isn't much PVP. That said DDO:U is launchign with a challenge system, and there is both brawling and team games. Not a lot of people play 'em though.

He is wrong, however about 32 point characters. The difference is so small that you can not tell whether a given char is 28 or 32pt. We're talking at most 2 points in a major class stat. What's more, you will have favor for drow, who are 32pt builds within a week or two, so why sweat it?


 

As a current DDO player, playing since about a week after launch, I currently still have my original 28point character.

Yes the extra build points would've been nice, but seeing as how anyone can purchase Drow in the DDO store you wouldn't need to grind your so called throwaway toon, and as Moorewr mentioned, it is very hard to pick a 28 point toon as opposed to a 32 point toon.

In the end making DDO F2P will allow people to try the game and see what they think without the fear of paying for something they don't like.  Guess we'll all see what happens when it's released in August

  dalestaines1

Novice Member

Joined: 9/29/06
Posts: 108

Don''t cry if you don''t like a game. Find another and have fun!
It''s a more healthy tactic :)

7/08/09 9:29:07 PM#7

This game has very dedicated players and they will most likely continue to pay their subscription fee.
This lets others in on the fun and I believe that it will work out.  It is surely an interesting concept and they are getting much press about this transformation. 

  Lobotomist

Hard Core Member

Joined: 5/20/07
Posts: 4816

I got so much trouble on my mind Refuse to lose.

7/09/09 12:52:18 AM#8

One of big problems of DDO is that lot of playerbase has powerplayer mindset. Unfortunately the same thing plagues D&D 3.5 pen and paper game too.

So what if you have 28 point character ?

You are only slightly weaker...

But no! Its all about min maxing perfect munchkin build ....

 

I just hope that the input of fresh players will bring some more relaxed playerbase.

 

As for game balance and item shop:

 

Its bit pricey ...

But you can play without buying anything.

 

Problem is , the game is so good - and you will get hooked ;)

 

 

 

  Bleakmage

Novice Member

Joined: 12/06/04
Posts: 177

I cut my teeth on Pong. \m/

7/09/09 2:36:25 AM#9

I was into roleplaying my character. I had a Warforged Bard, and I could give a crap less if that was probably one of the shittiest builds you could make. But for me, it was about the fun of roleplaying the character, not powerleveling or supreme PvP skills. I look forward to August 4. Maybe I'll stick around now that I can afford to play. I think the buy what you need as you go is much more economical than $15 a month whether I feel like playing or not.

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/Bleakmage

  Sarr

Novice Member

Joined: 8/19/08
Posts: 477

I'm positive about what I play. If it ends & I get negative, I move on. This is how we not troll.

7/09/09 4:04:48 AM#10
Originally posted by Bleakmage

I was into roleplaying my character. I had a Warforged Bard, and I could give a crap less if that was probably one of the shittiest builds you could make. But for me, it was about the fun of roleplaying the character, not powerleveling or supreme PvP skills. I look forward to August 4. Maybe I'll stick around now that I can afford to play. I think the buy what you need as you go is much more economical than $15 a month whether I feel like playing or not.

 

Yeah. I'm playing DDO for more than 1,5 year now, and I think the same. I don't need to min-max anything to have fun. And now, if I don't have enough money to spend on VIP sub, I can easily play for free. This is nothing short of genius development idea.


Polish D&D Online Portal http://www.ddopl.com
Big Polish DDO Guild: http://my.ddo.com/guild-cannith-gildia_ddopl/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/DDOpl
Great DDO PodCast by Jerry & co. http://www.ddocast.com

  Dave08

Novice Member

Joined: 3/22/07
Posts: 67

7/09/09 5:35:12 AM#11
Originally posted by hirscha
Originally posted by moorewr

 Dave08 is right that there isn't much PVP. That said DDO:U is launchign with a challenge system, and there is both brawling and team games. Not a lot of people play 'em though.

He is wrong, however about 32 point characters. The difference is so small that you can not tell whether a given char is 28 or 32pt. We're talking at most 2 points in a major class stat. What's more, you will have favor for drow, who are 32pt builds within a week or two, so why sweat it?


 

As a current DDO player, playing since about a week after launch, I currently still have my original 28point character.

Yes the extra build points would've been nice, but seeing as how anyone can purchase Drow in the DDO store you wouldn't need to grind your so called throwaway toon, and as Moorewr mentioned, it is very hard to pick a 28 point toon as opposed to a 32 point toon.

In the end making DDO F2P will allow people to try the game and see what they think without the fear of paying for something they don't like.  Guess we'll all see what happens when it's released in August

I agree F2P is a good idea for DDO.  I wasn't saying it isn't.   Given the bad mechanic, I just wouldn't want to invest in a character in it as I do other games.  I would play it occasionally as an F2P if I'm in a dungeon crawl mode.  It's a great dungeon crawl.

The question I was answering was about pvp, and in my experience, pvp players like to get the most out of their characters, and they just can't with the mechanic in place.   Drow is good for some classes, but it's not the best for every class, and I was rather tired of everyone running around as drow anyway when I left.  Who plays a game just to play one class till they get enough favor to be able to ditch that class for another?  They'd have been better off not to offer the 32 point builds or to offer it, BUT also let you upgrade your current character to 32 points.  Regardless, the limited pvp they have is not worth the effort of spending the time needed for a competitive pvp build.  Player skill is always most important in PVP, but you still don't like to start off on a character in the hole in core stats.  

When I left, the prevalent thought wasn't about content at all.   It was:

Play drow, whether you wanted to or not (and it is not the same as a 32 point build because of the stat distribution with drow).

Build a cleric so you can get 1750 favor, then you can create the character you really want to play,

Just play knowing your character will never be all it could be.  

I was a founder, although I took breaks quite often.   I enjoyed playing my characters (not one, several) with friends and was in a great guild.  Then they introduced 32 point builds and all of my characters that I'd spent time on were inherently less than they were.   A few of my friends still play occasionally, but most of us left gradually.  I wasn't a power gamer or in a race.   I took my time because I enjoyed building up my characer as I've done with most MMO's enjoying the steady progression.  And suddenly, my characters were meh...  The worst part being that I couldn't just keep enjoying the game as I had anticipating getting the 32 point build on my characters.  I had to anticipate getting it so I could reroll and start over if I wanted to take advantage of the reward.  Just the concept made it no longer fun.  I was no longer steadily building my character.  Now I was just wasting my time till I could get a new character. 

With F2P, I'll likely play it some again because it's a good game, great for being free.  I can see picking it up whenever I'm in the mood for a dungeon crawl.  However, as a person who feels an attachment to my characters, it's not a game I'll ever invest in again.    

 

  tommyd1013

Novice Member

Joined: 2/12/07
Posts: 2

7/09/09 5:57:20 AM#12

  I still have and play the second character i ever made. I've been playing since beta and this toon was created ruffly a week or so after launch. He is a 28 point build and he hangs with all those that are 32 point builds and in some cases does better than them.

 If you scrap your original because he is a 28 point build then that's not the game that's you just being foolish. I admit i don't pvp that often but I have never been big on PvP in any game I play, but one I do jump into the pvp i do fairly well.

 PvP will never be a center piece in ddo because it goes against what the pnp game was about. And the classes in the PnP as much as in the mmo don't balance out for pvp, and were never meant to.

 For the record I am not a powergamer or an elitest i play the game because it's a good game. The game has grown alot since launch and while I can't predict what the future holds for it me and My little 28 point human wizard will be hanging around looking forward to the next adventure.

  toord

Novice Member

Joined: 10/30/08
Posts: 139

7/09/09 10:29:30 AM#13

Well, regarding the review itself, I think it was pretty accurate and balanced.

As for the comments:

@ PvP: DDO is not PvP based -- period. Get over it. If you live and thrive for PvP, find another game. I Don't mean to be a doosh, but I'm getting fed up with so many ppl complaining about DDO's weak PvP when it's in game just for lulz. The reason is simple: D&D was not designed to be PvP, so classes are (mostly) PvE balanced with no regard to PvP -- because it was never meant to be that way.

@ 32-point vs. 28-pt builds: it's a moot point -- even for min/maxers. It all boils down to player skill and  abilities. I have several 32-point capped toons and my trusty, original 28-point build sorc. Even in end-game elite raids my sorc stands his ground and (due to high UMD) has been the main party healer when the poor cleric got clobbered. I've taken my 32-pts to the same missions and there's absolutely zero difference. Not easier, not better performance, nothing. The only minor difference between 28 and 32 is the couple points you can put on INT for more skill points -- but, IMO, it ain't that big difference.

In the end, the main reason I quit this game a few months ago was first and foremost Turbine asinine secretive practices and secondly because the community, in general,  became very toxic and obnoxious. Even though I had a good number of close in-game friends, the high number of elitist a-holes simply made playing the game a chore rather than having fun. I certainly not the kind of person who pays to *not* have fun. My only hope right now is that there's an influx of good, team-oriented players that will dilute the bunch of dooshes that have "taken over" because of desertic player population.

 

Peace.

  Sarr

Novice Member

Joined: 8/19/08
Posts: 477

I'm positive about what I play. If it ends & I get negative, I move on. This is how we not troll.

7/09/09 12:52:44 PM#14
Originally posted by toord

Well, regarding the review itself, I think it was pretty accurate and balanced.

As for the comments:

@ PvP: DDO is not PvP based -- period. Get over it. If you live and thrive for PvP, find another game. I Don't mean to be a doosh, but I'm getting fed up with so many ppl complaining about DDO's weak PvP when it's in game just for lulz. The reason is simple: D&D was not designed to be PvP, so classes are (mostly) PvE balanced with no regard to PvP -- because it was never meant to be that way.

@ 32-point vs. 28-pt builds: it's a moot point -- even for min/maxers. It all boils down to player skill and  abilities. I have several 32-point capped toons and my trusty, original 28-point build sorc. Even in end-game elite raids my sorc stands his ground and (due to high UMD) has been the main party healer when the poor cleric got clobbered. I've taken my 32-pts to the same missions and there's absolutely zero difference. Not easier, not better performance, nothing. The only minor difference between 28 and 32 is the couple points you can put on INT for more skill points -- but, IMO, it ain't that big difference.

In the end, the main reason I quit this game a few months ago was first and foremost Turbine asinine secretive practices and secondly because the community, in general,  became very toxic and obnoxious. Even though I had a good number of close in-game friends, the high number of elitist a-holes simply made playing the game a chore rather than having fun. I certainly not the kind of person who pays to *not* have fun. My only hope right now is that there's an influx of good, team-oriented players that will dilute the bunch of dooshes that have "taken over" because of desertic player population.

 

Peace.

 

Great post, though maybe too emotionally negative in some places, but you explained why and I respect that.

1. Yes, D&D Online will never be PvP -oriented. Get over it. But, if you like combat in general, even as a PvP fan you can enjoy DDO:U very much. There's just no better combat / movement / skill / build system. Freedom of what you can do to develop a "mature" max level character is unmatched - if it was more complex, it could be too much, but it's not. Great balance.

And I will say it again - PvP can be balanced in DDO if you play in teams. Teams can balance each other pretty good. So of course, PvP won't be a PvP-oriented game ever, but Turbine already expanded it adding new "challenge system" with 2 absolutely great arenas. I wish that UI for it will be easier, faster and more intuitive, and that they'll add more PvP features. Because as D&D Pen & Paper veteran, I know D&D ruleset is all about options. I'd like to be able to PvP more and even better, because it's possible and then DDO:U would gather even more players.

PvP-adventures would be a great fit for some competitive challenge in DDO - in D&D spirit, and innovative again. Even if they were just expanded from current Capture the Flag PvP.

2. We need to show new people how we play - be open, friendly and helpful. I know that when poeple see us veterans behaving that way, they will learn it and generally play that way. I create groups for newcommers only on beta. Just to move slowly, have fun, answer their questions, etc. They tend to say they are amazed with DDO if they play with a friendly and respectful leader. We're the founding fathers here, and we show newbies how to play this game - so come back and help . I think you'd be glad you did toord.


Polish D&D Online Portal http://www.ddopl.com
Big Polish DDO Guild: http://my.ddo.com/guild-cannith-gildia_ddopl/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/DDOpl
Great DDO PodCast by Jerry & co. http://www.ddocast.com

  jbjtkbw00

Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/15/05
Posts: 3

7/09/09 12:54:24 PM#15

You know, I've been playing this game since Alpha and have seen so much change over the years. I waited for this game because I remember playing DnD back in 7th grade on PnP and loved it.  I said if I was going to pay for an MMO, it was going to be one based on DnD (have never played WoW and don't think I ever will).

Bottom line is I LIKE the way it is and think these changes are very welcome indeed. I'm not a power player and solo quite often.  If I need help to complete a quest, I ask for players to join and make a few friends along the way.  I STILL talk to people from my original guild outside of this game.

I've thoroughly enjoyed my time here and will continue to do so.  The changes have just made it even more fun for me to play and I don't mind jumping in if someone needs a body for a quest/raid.  I'm still playing my original 28 pt Half-Elven Ranger and she rocks.  Not the most powerful, but you become that powerful, where's the fun and the challenge?  The ingame shop just helps you when you need that boost to continue long after your daughter has gone to bed and you've run out of Dr. Pepper, but MUST complete this story arc.

Some people are just not going to like the game either because of the lack of community or because on some level, they're comparing it to WoW (whether intentionally or not). That's just the way it is.  To me, this game has evolved into a very enjoyable experience for all level of players and retains a lot of what true DnD is albeit in the Eberron campaign.

The free factor is perfect to introduce newcomers to the world of DnD as an MMO.  If you like it, subscribe and take full advantage of what's to offer.  However, if you just think it's ok, play for free and pay for items that you might like for the time that you do.  Brilliant. 

  toord

Novice Member

Joined: 10/30/08
Posts: 139

7/09/09 1:43:40 PM#16
Sarr

 

Sarr,

@ Mentoring: At one point in time (before I left) me and one of the guilds I used to belong to were "hosting" newbie nights 3 times a week. Both as a way to help newbies with plat and gear and also to teach them ho to play. Our plan, however, had a fatal flaw in that we assumed there would be newbies for us to group with. Most, if not all of the low level people were re-rolls.

@PvP: this is the problem they would have to spend the little resources they have in creating a brand new balancing system. As it is right now, I can guarantee you that no group could ever beat a group of, say,  6 WF sorcs OR 6 FvS's. Spam energy drain, spam delayed fireball. Presto!

 

Peace.

  fiontar

Hard Core Member

Joined: 4/07/04
Posts: 3706

7/09/09 2:41:44 PM#17

I think a lot of people will be willing to give the cash shop model a fair shake. However, it really comes down to pricing. Pricing is everything. If a casual can enjoy the game with maybe $5/month spent and someone playing hardcore can escape in the $15/month range, the formula could be golden.

If people find it's actually more expensive than it would have been just paying a subscription, it's going to face some problems.

Micro-transactions should mean just that. If the shop were to try to sell a single healing potion for $1, or something like that, it won't work.

I do like that you can earn cash shop currency ingame, even if it's a slow process. That's something that's missing from too many games using this business model.

Want to know more about GW2 and why there is so much buzz? Start here: Guild Wars 2 Mass Info for the Uninitiated

  Wind-breaker

Novice Member

Joined: 9/06/07
Posts: 24

7/09/09 5:04:50 PM#18

Prospective players should be wary.  This is a game that has gone 3 1/2 years without attracting a player base,, there are bug and lag issues galore (many of which have been present since launch), new players will be at a very substantial disadvantage  for equipment versus a vet,  and Turbine has not been historically honest on issues like release dates and game changes.  

If DDO goes AC2. you will have lost your time and whatever real life money you spent in the Turbine Store.

  User Deleted
7/09/09 5:23:42 PM#19

Its an experiment. Turbine is dipping itst feet into the FTP stream to test the waters. DDO has never had a big player base and if the water is cold it stil has LOTRO to fall back on while it regroups and starts or continues down a new path. Ive been hoping for a better MMO set in the D&D world for years, perhaps the results of this experiment will tell Turbine which way the wind is blowing.

  Sarr

Novice Member

Joined: 8/19/08
Posts: 477

I'm positive about what I play. If it ends & I get negative, I move on. This is how we not troll.

7/09/09 6:31:02 PM#20
Originally posted by Wind-breaker

Prospective players should be wary.  This is a game that has gone 3 1/2 years without attracting a player base,, there are bug and lag issues galore (many of which have been present since launch), new players will be at a very substantial disadvantage  for equipment versus a vet,  and Turbine has not been historically honest on issues like release dates and game changes.  

If DDO goes AC2. you will have lost your time and whatever real life money you spent in the Turbine Store.

 

You can't be more wrong. There was no lie or dishonesty. Plans may change, and not all devs know everything about where the game is going. They never lied about Mod 9 or the delay it had too. This is just popular misinterpretation, but it won't make it true ever.

Release dates have nothing to do with honesty - they change as development encounters problems, or needs to resign from doing something because issues arising make it too long work and too few advantages. So deadlines change, plans change, priorities change. Get used to it, it's not only DDO devs.

Without attracting? Wrong again. This game never had any form of advertisement after launch. It was even hard to stumble upon in e-stores, let alone normal shops with games. Most people, MMO players, never knew about DDO and its qualities. Yet, it had a VERY dedicated player base, big part of which helped Turbine win The Escapist's "March Mayhem" against big MMO labels, two years in a row. That means something. Most other games which weren't advertised just vanished or closed with a boom. But not DDO. Think about it.

I play DDO beta and I can honestly tell you that this game will be a huge success. It is now on beta, most people are newcomers - not rerolls too. If you're not playing this beta, you don't have idea what you talk about. You can be as negative as you want, but will face seeing huge numbers of people playing and liking this game. It's already seen on General Chat (now public) and in person with those new people. Very few say DDO sucks - in fact, I've never seen anyone being so negative in beta. And there are thousands of people invited.

Not only that, but devs make new content and patches almost each week. Or sometimes even more frequently. And when you think about the fact that quality content (quests) = more money for Turbine, it's becoming clear that they will do a lot of that (like now or even faster) and that they will try to do the best possible content for their clients. No one will buy a crappy dungeon, especially that getting guest pass will let you... Try before you buy.


Polish D&D Online Portal http://www.ddopl.com
Big Polish DDO Guild: http://my.ddo.com/guild-cannith-gildia_ddopl/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/DDOpl
Great DDO PodCast by Jerry & co. http://www.ddocast.com

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