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Dungeons & Dragons Online Interviews: Q&A #1

By Mike Jobbagy on July 15, 2005

Lead Designer Addresses Adaptation, Rogues, Bards and More!

Periodically, we will conduct a brief series of questions and answers with someone from Turbine's Dungeons & Dragons Online. This week, Staff Writer Mike Jabbagy quizes Ken with our first five questions.

MMORPG.com:D&D has been around forever it seems. With the venture into the online world, is the focus on getting the table-top game people into the mmorpg arena, or adapting D&D to the mmorpg crowd?
Ken Troop:

D&D Online is focused on creating a fun online RPG experience that you can play with your friends. We don’t compare ourselves to other MMPs – DDO takes you straight to your adventure (no endless running to get where you want to go), offers quest-based advancement (no sitting in the same place for hours grinding for XP), and creates a private adventure for you and your friends (no random interference or grief from strangers).

Our development touchstone has been to create an online experience that captures that essence of the classic tabletop adventure session. But it has to be a fun online experience. When a straight translation of the pen & paper rules would hamper our ability to provide a fun online experience, we work closely with Wizards of the Coast to come up with a modification that maintains the spirit of D&D while satisfying the demands of the online medium.

MMORPG.com:I see there are bards and rogues as classes. I hope they are not watered down flavors of other classes as is often the case in MMOs. Will they have clearly defined roles, such as songs/music for bards and thieving/lockpicking for rogues?
Ken Troop:

Absolutely. This is another area in which we’ve followed the D&D lodestone over the now cliché MMP character tropes of tank, healer, etc. Each of the nine classes in D&D Online have used the classic D&D roles as their inspiration. Nowhere is this more evident than with Rogues and Bards. Rogues in D&D aren’t simply superior damage dealers – they, along with Bards, can possess a wide variety of skills that are essential to a successful dungeon adventure – detecting traps, picking locks, disabling devices, moving silently, etc. And Bards, just like their tabletop counterparts, can fill a wide variety of different roles with their skills and musical abilities….they are true “jacks of all trades”.

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MMORPG.com:With the 20 level cap, how long do you expect it to take for an average player to reach maximum level?
Ken Troop:

This is one of those areas in which we’re adapting the rules of D&D to make more sense in an online medium. Because the pace of play is a lot more frenetic in DDO than in your typical D&D tabletop campaign, we want to make sure you have more moments of advancement where you get an opportunity to customize and grow your character and abilities. We’re working with WOTC on a system in which your character is still equivalent to its tabletop analogue, while providing an advancement curve and duration more suitable to a persistent online experience.

MMORPG.com:Will there be different types of speciality servers for players?
Ken Troop:

Turbine is a company with deep roots in MMOs, so you can be sure that we’re considering these and other cool options. At this time no final decision has been announced.

MMORPG.com:With no crafting in the game, how will players acquire items, gold, skills, etc.?
Ken Troop:

The way players in most RPGs are accustomed to – the fun way. Delving deep into dungeons; exploring archaic ruins; ridding a subterranean lair of its foul denizens. Treasure is a big part of DDO, and finding a treasure chest is a big deal. And when a Party does come across that treasure horde deep in the dungeon, they needn’t worry about who gets there first – everyone in the Party gets a selection of treasure from the chest; theirs to trade or keep as they desire.

Thank you to the folks at Turbine for making this happen. Check back soon for more questions and answers with Ken!

Have any thoughts on what you've read? Be sure to discuss them in this thread.

Mike Jobbagy / Got sucked into online games with FPS shooters like the Dooms and Quakes. Aging slowed the twitch reflexes, and I moved over to MMORPG''s, and still lovin it!

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