This game does have fun moments, but then again most games do. I have to say a big thank you to my friend J.R. and the guild Ordo Malleus for running dungeons and helping me out. This is definitely a game to play with real life friends, still it lacks the staying power that most MMOs should be striving for.
DDO does have very good graphics. Running it on a high end card will really bring out some nice features in the game. The game has gone for a realistic look. The armor and weapons seem to be taken right out of the pages of the Player's Handbook. The facial features of the humans, elves, dwarves, and halfings all look good and have plenty of options. The Warforged race is different, but not that exciting when it comes to graphics. There is room for customization, but they all look similar. The monsters look good and move well, again taken directly from the Monster Manual. The graphics are definitely one of the best features of DDO.
The sound is good, but nothing special. The fact that different theme music carries on throughout the game is nice, and the music certainly has a more mythic-historic feel. Entering a tavern and hearing the old school instruments is fun. Spell sounds and sword swipes are fun, but again nothing special. I would say the sound is on par with the regular video games today.
Dungeons & Dragons was the Role-Playing game that started it all. However in Dungeons & Dragons Online the game falls short. The role playing that takes place in paper and pencil D&D is rarely captured in a video game. You constantly have to speak and act as a character. In DDO very little of this is encouraged. I look at role playing in video games as a combination of character development and growing a status in the world. With everything instanced in DDO there really is no way to develop your character in the eyes of the community. The level and skill progression for characters is very good and exactly like the table top game, however, more customization for characters would lead to better role playing. I think many MMOs suffer from this flaw and DDO is no exception.
This is where Turbine has really sold its players short. Charging a monthly fee for this game just seems to be unfair. The content is so limited that players will not be running around for months on end trying to explore new areas. After one month of playing I found myself repeating several quests over and over again. The community also seems to be on one giant loot hunt and not interested in exploring everything a dungeon has to offer. If the pricing model for this game was different and allowed players to pay as they play or something, I think the value would be much higher. If you can reach level ten in one month's time ( as some players have) the game begs the question, what's next?
Again the limitations in game content drop this score lower than it might have been. The game interface is fun. Being able to move and dodge in a fight definitely takes the standard combat a step further than normal MMOs. Still, there are only so many dungeon crawls you can do before they all look the same. In playing table top D&D my old buddy Carl used to give us a dungeon crawl over a few nights and then break it up with a night or two of fun role-playing and story lines. The combination of the two worked great for players to get in all the action and still build a story that could span the life of the game. DDO has all the dungeon crawls you could want, but very little story line. It is the stories in D&D that always keep people playing, not the dungeons.
Judging a game on the community can be difficult. I based my rating on the overall community outside of the group of friends I played with. The community in the game seems to be bent on the smash and grab tactics of D&D. It is obvious that the designers wanted to create dungeons which would require players to think their way through. However, any time I joined a PUG (pick-up-group) it seemed like players were running off in all directions to get to the chests first. There was no advantage to this and the groups were often broken up quickly. The groups I had joined who stayed together did very well and were fun. Still, I think the community was not as open and friendly as other MMOs I have seen. Perhaps it is due to the lack of world content where players can help each other out.
The game's instances work to an advantage in this area. The only real lag I hit was in town when running around. Keeping the groups to six and allowing people to work together cuts down a lot on lag. I did not experience a large raid so I do not know how the lag worked in those instances. Overall, the lag is not that bad for a game with high end graphics.
I did make the customer service test call on the game and it was not that bad. Turbine does try to help its players through problems. The wait time for a response certainly was not as bad as the larger MMOs.