DDO: First Few Hours

Underground Complex

I have now spent a few hours with Dungeons and Dragons Online, completing all of the starting area quests.  While I haven’t played nearly enough to form a concrete opinion on the game, my initial impression is that this isn’t a game I’d pay a monthly fee for.  I have however, quite enjoyed what I’ve experienced so far and am eagerly anticipating the games move to a free-to-play, micro-transaction supported model on September 9th.

Aussircaex

What I Like So Far:
Character creation.  Easily the best character creation process I’ve been through in an MMO.  I was led step by step through the whole process and there was detailed information readily available for each step.  I particularly liked how it provides a rating for how easy it is to solo with each given class.  If you actually know what you’re doing you have the option to skip the hand-holding and customize your character however you’d like.  I ended up creating a Human Paladin, following the Flame of Justice path.

The dungeons I saw were all very well done with a definite D&D feel to them.  I quite liked the points of narration by the “Dungeon Master” which really helped add some atmosphere to the game.  The few traps and interactive puzzles I saw were also very nice touches.  The dungeons also have a difficulty selector which appears upon entering, allowing you to select from multiple difficulty settings, including a solo setting.  I’m looking forward to seeing more.

The entire introductory island was well done story-wise.  It was easy, and interesting, to follow with a really cool conclusion.  If the rest of the game has story elements like this it may just be able to keep my interest.

What I Don’t Like So Far:
The character movement feels very “floaty” to me, as though my character is hovering an inch off the ground as opposed to actually walking.  That’s the best way I can describe it.  The camera system is also a little different than what I’ve experienced in other games.  I’m used to using the right mouse button to move my view where I want, but the right click is used to attack in DDO.  I suppose that’s more of a “not used to it yet”, as opposed to a dislike though.

I’m kind of iffy on the combat so far, and it’s leaning more towards dislike.  It’s hard to say, because I’m only level two, but all I’ve done to this point is swing my sword; am I missing something?  Enemy mobs rush at me, I face them, and hold down the right mouse button.  It doesn’t feel very D&D to me.

The good thing so far is that nothing has stood out to me as an obvious dislike.  The two I’ve listed certainly aren’t deal breakers for me; I’m eager to spend more time with the game.

I was originally going to post some more details about the content itself but it’s already been done better than I could ever do back in November 2008 at Pumping Irony:

2 Replies to “DDO: First Few Hours”

  1. A couple of points of note for you. First, if you don’t like the control scheme, you can change it. It sounds like you want to choose the MMO (read WoW) preset. It’s in the options > key mapping panel. Secondly, the reason why combat felt flat is that paladins don’t get as many feats as say a fighter at that level, and their class abilities are passive at that point. As you go up in level, you will be able to choose more feats, and you will have access to a limited number of divine spells. If you want that instant gratification combat experience, I would suggest a barbarian or fighter. Barbarians get the Rage ability right off the bat, and fighters choose 2 feats at first level (3 if you are human) and another at level 2. Rangers, like paladins get more interesting later on.

    Stick with it. The combat is very fun and the lead developer had talked about how he wants to make active shield use more responsive and fun. (right now you can actively block, but if you are attacking, it isn’t as responsive as you feel it should be). The way to think about DDO is not like the typical MMO. It’s better to think of it as a platformer. The game is very active, and it reqires a lot of tactics, strategy, and teamwork. While solo play is possible, it’s no where near as fun or effective. Guild play really helps since you get to know how that group of players work in a group, and you can be a lot more effective.

    Welcome to the game. I hope that you continue to enjoy it.

  2. I think the floaty feel comes for the lack of sync between leg movement and character movement, particularly in combat. For instance, swing your weapon, strafe to the side, and your characters legs remain stationary for the most part. This causes a disconnect in the reality of the situation that makes it appear like the avatar is skating or hovering around the target.

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