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D&D Online, first impression

Discussion in 'Dungeons & Dragons Online' started by teekc, Dec 18, 2005.

  1. teekc Gems: 23/31
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    So i played the beta test. It is just a beta test and everything is subjected to change. There is no story at the moment, or that I haven't reach the story part. But then, it is a mmorpg if there is any story involved, you wouldn't get your exciting, high paced, twist and turn story as you would in a single player pc Baldur's Gate or Knight of the Old Republic.

    A great part of MMORPG is player to player interaction. Intrinsically, you would be looking for co-operative dungeon crawling with players of other classes. It is fun, provided that you can find a steady, serious, role playing, teammate take caring group, with a lot of communication. Most of the time, though, you will end up with "i will go ahead and slash everything" group. If you are an old DnD player or a cultist of Baldur's Gate even, you wouldn't get any sense of involvement in such group. I was a ranger/fighter. My job was to hide and scout first. What do you know, I ended up being the last person lag behind the party since everyone just run and kill and smash. No awareness of co-op whatsoever. So most of the time, not able to find a real co-op group, i solo the quests. Using the social panel and a short comment, you can both advertise yourself as LFG (looking of group) and even your group.

    It takes a long time to level up, a seriously long time. Each level is divied into 5 ranks, each ranks gives you a "rank skill" which differs in classes. However it you can only possess 4 skills at any time. To use the newly earned 5th skill, you will have to delete one of the previous. Leveling up will also deleted all unused skills. Some rank skills give you passive bonus. Some gives you depletable short boost ranging from attack to spot trap. You can "recharge" them by using unused rank skill. Also, both disappointingly and not surprisingly, is the lost of steal skill for rogue. Yea stealing is fun, as long as i am not the one being stolen.

    You gain xp only from doing quest. Killing, partially, wouldn't give you xp. So challenge rating is just an indication for how screw up you are. Each quest gives you base xp. If you raise the challenge before entering the quest, you get bonus % from base xp. If you kill a lot of enemies, you get bonus % for slathering. If you open enough of chests, % for looting. If you break enough breakables, % for vandalism.

    All the quests are quite linear, go there save someone, loot something or kill someone. Some quests has side path that requires certain stats level or skill level. Some quests has a little puzzle solving. There is one the requires to steal a rock and kill an amount of enemy without killing another amount of enemy of another kind. There is another one that ask you to kill 200 kobolds. And there is another one that ask you to defend a crate from waves of kobolds. Note, rangers, please pick kobolds as favored enemies.

    A serious problem playing the game is its camera. It is the kind of problem that you would face when you play one of those 3rd person action game ported from console. Because of the doing of mysterious magic, the camera always twist to most unfavorable, most unconvenient angle, arrrrrgh! To compensate that, a great indicator is the changing of music when you are close to an enemy.

    Attacking spell casters are very hard to play. First you need to click on target. If your target is moving around your fighters, you will certainly click your fighter more than your target. Then you need to cast spell. By the time you casted a spell, you will see "target invalid". Yes, your fighter already killed that kobold.

    On power gaming, there is no prevention on that. After all, this is a MMORPG and they need to satisfy all layers of customers. The good thing, at this moment, is there is not player vs player or friendly damage even. So power gaming on effects the power gamer but not your old school DnD PnP-er.


    my system
    Operating System: Windows XP Home Edition (5.1, Build 2600) Service Pack 2
    Processor: AMD Athlon(tm) 64 Processor 3800+, MMX, 3DNow, ~2.5GHz
    Memory: 1024MB RAM
    DirectX Version: DirectX 9.0c
    Display Devices: RADEON 9800 SE AGP
    Sound Devices: Realtek AC97 Audio

    In this character creation screenshot, you can notice half-orc is replaced by warforged. And you can't find druid and monk too.
    character creation

    To create a DnD atmosphere, a DM text will appear when triggered, accompanied by a deep, male DM voice.
    DM text

    There is still improvement in AI department. In this screenshot, you can see that once i took the high ground, your average scopions, who cannot jump, can't do anything buy being arrowed by me.
    AI 1st

    The brown spider might be able to make short jump. But once it jump up, for some reason, it doesn't know how to jump down.
    AI 2nd

    No amount of text can describe my heart pounding battle with this vicious spider, no amount of text.
    heated battle

    Ahhhh... your DnD tarven, where you meet people, get drunk and get quests.
    tarven one

    Ahhhh... your DnD tarven, where you meet .... ummm ... get ... ahhh.... whatever.
    tarven two

    The marketplace, where you find your street performer, your professor, your guard, your casual passerby ... except your merchant.
    market

    [ March 13, 2006, 23:26: Message edited by: teekc ]
     
  2. Gothmog

    Gothmog Man, a curious beast indeed! ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    A quest that requires you to kill 200 kobolds with a lvl2 characters?

    Sounds like they didnt really mind bending the rules to please modern MMORPG standards of success being measured by the height of the pile of corpses you've accumulated. Of course, not getting singular XP figure for every kill must make it pretty boring for powergamers.

    And if such a thing is possible with a lvl2 warrior, i really dont see how mages that deal with offensive spells could not be useless. Unless you gather the reptilian scum all on one heap and toss a few fireballs on it, of course. Spells are pretty hardcoded, usualy, making them quite unadatable. You have what you have, cant really find 1001 uses for your Magic Missile, when your goal body count is 200.
    When they went to strech the rules so much that such a thing is possible with a lvl2 warrior, i cant imagine what they should do with spellcasters to match.

    Of course, having no PvP doesnt mean they must match classes, just make the challenges (quests) variable enough that different professions are required to band together to complete it. As long as the requirement is "be bloody strong and smash heads in" wizards probably wont be the most popular guys around.


    Looking forward to hearing more of your experiences there. I would probably be there as well, if i didnt get stranded without internet connection for the major part of the last three months. :nolike:
     
  3. teekc Gems: 23/31
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    i have several encounters where you need a high INT character to active rune, sometimes high WIS. So, you really need wizard around. But i have to admit wizards is not the most needed character around.

    99% of the time, a melee character with tons of potions can do the trick. In terms of party members, cleric is always the most welcomed.
     
  4. Abdel - Bhaal Spawn Gems: 13/31
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    Isn't this game due out in a week or two?
     
  5. Taluntain

    Taluntain Resident Alpha and Omega Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    February 28 in the US... so, no.
     
  6. Poet-Sirrah Gems: 2/31
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    Gah, Eberron. Faerun is more... classic.
     
  7. Sir Farivald

    Sir Farivald The Obsidian Cleric

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    Warforged? Great, now D&D has robots :rolleyes:

    Needless to say, I've hated the idea of this game since I heard about it. It was always going to be a powergamer fest, and unfortunately for me, I can't be doing with what I consider to be (for the most part, everyone on this board I imagine is excluded) the retarded online RPG community.
     
  8. teekc Gems: 23/31
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    Final impression.

    As beta testing comes to an end on 10th Feb, so is my bandwagon free ride into this game. i did not played it like a Civ 4 addict, thus there might be more than meets my eyes. In this final note, i will try to inform more about the finer details of the game and try to, hopefully un-notice-able-ly, give more information about the game with other previewers missed and complained about it before they reach it.

    Of course the game will deviate from PnP DnD. That is a imaginative game and this is a pc-visual-mmorpg. In PnP DnD, resting is but a matter of saying "resting", in the world of DDO (dungeons and dragons online) it is a challenge of finding the precious rest shrine. This is a money making mmorpg, there is no way the developer will let you say "rest" to rest to save your time and money.

    The biggest deviation comes from the spell casting system. DDO uses mana. Level 1 spells need 10 mana; level 2, more; empowered spells, more. Thus differ from PnP, a DDO sorcerer can cast as many magic missles as his mana allows. In other words, level 2 DDO sorcerer can cast more magic missles than level 2 PnP sorcerer. For DDO wizards and clerics, memorizing spells means dragging and switch the available spells into their respective spell slots while being in the appropiate area (tarven or rest shrine). So in DDO world, "preparing spells" subsitutes PnP's "memorizing spells". For clerics, heal spells are automatically prepared, i.e. they always occupied a fixed slot no matter what. Casting and scribing sometimes need component. "Glittering dust" for example needs glittering dust. So a spell caster needs to frequent the store to stock these components.

    Currently, the game starts in a "introduction" area where you do strictly solo quest and training quest. Then it will take you to a "newbie" area with 3~4 quests. Soloing these is almost impossible for spell casters. After this is the "low levels" area. Most of the quests here still need cooperation espectially the ones that let you get necessarry document(s) to the next area (called waterworks). You can still solo, especially when you are a rogue/fighter called lefteye. The yield, however, is not impressive. You get your fair share of xp but most loot money will go to your expensive healing potion stack. If you complete waterworks, you will get the pass into the "market", and this is the meat of the game. It does take sometime to get into this area. i would estimate some 36~48 hrs of collective game playing if you are a rogue/fighter called lefteye who solo most of the time. After this point and maket and beyond, you will need to co-op with a group, there is no solo-ing, ever.

    The game offers you LFG (looking for group) and LFM (m for mate) windows under social panel. All LFG players will have an icon over the head to easily identify them. Under LFG and LFM screen, you can sort and find players or group with some description, usually "anything" for LFG and "WW part #" for LFM (waterworks part #). It takes me, usually, an hour or less to set up a group. For me, i will message potential players seperately (using command /tell <name>), aksing if interested and what quest looking forward to do etc. Some will just ask to join or invite blindly.

    Once in market, you will have access to the "big red tent", a unccessarily multi layered big area full of merchants of all kinds. This is where you will find your better equipment at more middle finger pointing price. Yes, i went broke just to stock moderate healing potions. Which reminds me, the game doesn't work solely one gp. It has platinum p, silver p, gold p and copper p, interconvertable with fixed but mysterious exchange rate (someone flips the DnD handbook for me). If you want more premium gears at more premium prices, try "house area".

    There are 4 entrances that lead to 4 different Houses of the game in market area. Each house has it's own characteristic, i.e. House D (i can't remember its full name) is meatshield, House J is divine and such. You can find some little +1 products in stores of these houses. More importantly, you will find brokers. House D brokers deal with weapons. If you find a enchanted weapon, sell it to the broker to get more gp out of it. Other players can visit these brokers to buy your sold loot at much highier price.

    Littered in all areas are the collectors. You will find a lot of items off dead enemies which normal merchants wouldn't buy back from you. These collectibles are only redeemable from these collectors. A particular kobold in harbour area will give a 20 masterwork missle type for 3 "prayer beads", a 20 +1 missle type for 2 something-"tokens" and, a reptile bane weapon for 1 something-"icon" (can't remember the name). So, let's count, you have 1 collector collecting 3 different items. You have 4 collectors in harbour, 7 in market, 3 in each house, totalling 23 collectors looking for 69 different items. It's a pain.

    The game have a lot of devisals that discourage solo player. A side quest in waterworks which yield a chest of loot will need a player to swim through a tunnel and a series of doors. To alternate open these doors, another player is needed to flip the switch at the begining of the underwater tunnel. The doors open and close alternately, once the swimmer is in and the switch is flipped, the door behind will close and the door infront will open. If miscalculated, the swimmer might trap in the tunnel long enough and run out of breath. Mentioned previously is the defeat 200 kobolds quest. Of course a level 10 power gaming fighter can ease this quest. But with "highest level penalty" this level 10 fighter will not get any experience after finishing this level 2 or 3 quest. You need co-op at low level to make this quest worthwhile. See, the developers do do something to deter some power gaming.

    As far as quests is concerned, the most abundant ones are "get quest from someone, go into this area, then kill/protect/get/steal/whatever". But the most important ones are not like these. Take for example, waterworks. You get the quest from the harbour master when asking if you can enter the market. As usual, you enter the quest area. you run around, confront some kobolds and find a lone city guard. He gives you the necessary information, hey, there is a story in this. Quest area wise, waterworks is divided into 4 parts. You need to go beyond "waterworks area" to unfold the story and deepen the quest. To finish all four at once, it will take at least 3 hrs. Of course you can finish a part, leave the area and come back later.

    When you attained highier levels, those one liner quests will not satisfy your appetide. You will be looking for more waterworks-like "quests in a quest" quest. One of which i joined is called "sorrowdusk". i was shipped to a island far away, 4 in the morning. We tried to push the plot further and further only to arrive in 8.30 in the morning where i asked to take leave because i have class at 9. And that is just 60% of the Sorrowdusk.

    Techincal issue wise, my biggest problem is perhaps something to do with graphic card and/or memory. Every 1/2 hour or so, i will need to alt-tab out of the game to reset my ... system or else the frame rate will drop gradually until it freezes. The frame rate is zero but the i will still hear my sword swing sound if i click or other player's footstep as they pass me. Another unsatisfying glich is what i called "180 lag". You run around, and you are trying to make a very small turn, there is a split second lag, and you ended up making 180 degree turn. It happens a lot, to me, to other players. So far it seems it only happen in high population concentration area, i.e. a lot of people around. i never encountered it while running in quest area where it is just me and me mates.

    Bottom line, this is a mmorpg first then a DnD. Being a mmorpg, naturally, it has some time-wasting method to make the game .... more real. Don't even think you can just teleport back and sell on the spot like Neverwinter or Diablo. Leveling, naturally, will take a lot of time. But unlike other mmorpg where you can get to level 60, currently this game only allows to go to level 11 or so i heard. You wouldn't find a lot of level 9 and beyond players in the game. It gets too boring leveling they just switch to another character instead. Not good enough as DnD game, i've heard that; Amazing job they did as DnD game, i've heard that; both while playing the game. Graphic wise, it is the best out there. Gameplay wise, World of Warcraft have the edge. Blizzard developed their own rules, there is plenty of imaginative possibilities there. DDO was built upon DnD and, worse yet, cursed by certain "expectation", DDO, i think, can only acheive a good mmorpg status, that's it.

    Waiting
    Typical scene. Everyone is waiting outside a quest entrance.

    Ambush!
    OMG ambush by ice mephit! They made the floor so icey that, later, it fell off to reveal a deeper dungeon

    dead
    We all need to deal with death sometimes. You will get xp lost everytime you die, no matter what. If you release your soul to a designated tarven, you will get re-enter penalty when you reenter the quest. Your mates might be your soul stone and revive you in a nearby resurrection shrine, usually together with a rest shrine.

    [ March 13, 2006, 23:24: Message edited by: teekc ]
     
  9. Rotku

    Rotku I believe I can fly Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    THanks for the detailed review of it, Teekc. Unfortunatly, it doesn't seem to be a game I'm going to rush out and buy.
     
  10. Abomination Gems: 26/31
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    Hmm, frankly I think it has potential but I'd only want to play it with people FROM SP. Maybe if we were to all play on the same server and all be part of the same guild... hmmmm... the potential is staggering but that would mean a hefty amount of money for buying everybody a copy, good enough PC, internet connection, time off work etc. etc.
     
  11. Merlanni

    Merlanni ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    Not to mention the time difference.
     
  12. Merlanni

    Merlanni ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    Well. It is in the stores right now but is it worth our hard earned money? It has a score of 75 and needs frantic clicking. No, D&D is for my casual, relax and sloe gameplay while exploring, with the danger of tactical fights around the corner. My money goes to Oblivion which has a score of 97.
     
  13. San Ti Gems: 5/31
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    Well I bought D&D online and it looks good a bit weird the lvling up system but its ok...you can get easily used to it...there are though a few problems which i suppose they will be fixed with the updates...
     
  14. Sir Fink Gems: 13/31
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    I'm playing the free trial at the moment.

    The game looks great. The interface isn't bad. I'm playing a wizard and as the OP pointed out it is tricky to click a target and then get a spell off.

    My biggest complaint at this point is the fact that I can't find a group. The server I was playing on had 8 players! And none of them were tagged as "looking for a group." A solo wizard taking on quests is probably not a great idea so I just logged off. Maybe I have to find a more crowded server (or instance) to really get the most out of this game.

    As far as RP goes, the game does at least seem to have a name filter. I didn't see any characters named "Darth Vader" or "IKillStuff" or silly things like that. That, of course, doesn't mean there's a hard-core RP player base.
     
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