Why DDO Would Be Better Without
I've given you a few days to mull over our DDO Top 10 lists for Reasons
to Play DDO
Turbine Should Fix
. Before I address my sensational title for this
editorial, I want to recap the points made by Zed and Darkgolem,
respectively, in case you missed them. I will also add my commentary.
Zed's Top 3 Reasons to Play DDO
are the days of needing to purchase or join a Teamspeak or Ventrillo
server. Voice chat is built into the game, allowing players to
coordinate strategy and issue warnings quickly. It can facilitate
role-playing and story telling but generally it allows strategy and
I'm not 100% sold on the voice chat. I agree that the concept is solid,
but that may be as far as it goes for me. I remember well the Founder's
Day, when Ten
Ton Hammer the guild
formed on the Sarlona server. I hopped online
and got into a group with Darkgolem himself. We ran through some quests
together with a handful of our guild mates and had a blast. We used the
voice chat as much as possible. After that first day, I never found
much use for voice chat again. Here's why:
- I like to role-play DDO. I seldom role-played my previous MMOGs,
but DDO is the MMOG manifestation of the granddaddy of role-playing,
for goodness sake! Voice chat breaks the immersion of crafting witty
lines for our characters. Proponents for voice chat argue that having
to type on a keyboard does more to damage my immersion. I don't know
what to tell you folks; I simply find that players break character very
frequently over voice chat.
- The integrated chat is lacking. So many people had problems with
it in the early going that they abandoned it. Others found its quality
lacking and went back to the old standbys or just used their keyboards.
I could use DDO's chat, but it took an unpleasant amount of time to
configure for me.
- People don't know how to use voice chat politely. Some gamers
refuse to use the “push-to-talk” feature. Thus, I get the joy of
hearing the dog bark in the background, the pull-top on the beer can
pop, and the children whining about having to go to bed. No thanks.
/voice chat off!
fast, interactive combat isn't simply press button 1…then 2…then 3…then
repeat. Nor is it ‘hit auto attack and go make coffee, sandwiches or
nip out the local McDonald's knowing you will easily kill the monster.'
The ability to move out of the way, dodge and block with a shield all
make combat much more interactive”
I agree with Zed on this point. Preference plays a big part here, so I
won't tackle the issue of turn-based vs. active combat. I will say that
I believe Turbine accomplished its goal in creating a combat system
that keeps players involved. If you've been searching for a MMOG that
doesn't bog down with a plodding combat system, DDO is a great solution.
As it turns out, I enjoy
turn-based combat (but I'm not going there—don't worry!). The thing
that drew me to DDO was nothing less than…
Based on Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) Rules
many might argue that DDO is nothing like D&D, and true, Turbine
made some changes to translate the game to a fast-paced, real time
game; yet, DDO is still based on D&D--when you build a wizard, it
feels like a D&D wizard. DDO also uses monsters from D&D,
spells from D&D and Feats and Skills from D&D. And with each
new update Turbine adds more and more core components of D&D.”
Again, Zed hits the mark. So many aspects of DDO cause nostalgia
flashbacks that D&D fans literally “squee.” I've never made a MMOG
based on D&D, but I imagine it's pretty hard. I think Turbine did a
good job, but see below.
Darkgolem's Top 3 Things Turbine Should Fix
Shifters, Gnomes? Gnomes are a big part of D&D as a whole. And
Shifters and Kalashtar are integral parts of the Eberron setting.”
Along with Darkgolem's plea to finish standard D&D and Eberron
classes and introduce psionic force to DDO, this problem represents the
fundamental flaw with any game based on D&D: it's hard to copy
perfection perfectly. A game that does D&D has to go all the way.
To only partially incorporate D&D risks alienating the D&D fans
and confusing the uninitiated.
quests are easy and give overly good experience. Other quests, such as
‘Clearing the Air,' give poor experience and are very hard. A few days
after the drow race was made available, 10th level drow already were
made. It is time to take a good hard look and do some data mining
because something is wrong when this happens. Find out what quests no
one plays, and find out what quests everyone plays multiple times.
You're doing some of this now, but more needs to be done.”
Darkgolem addresses a game design flaw with DDO. Say what you will, but
it should take longer than a week to reach the level cap in a game that
depends on monthly subscriptions for solvency. So long as any quest
gives too great a reward for the risk involved, people will gravitate
to it and fly through the levels. While I think Darkgolem was right
that quests need tweaking to prevent “groove” leveling along the same
path, I also think that only scratches surface of a larger issue. That
brings us to…
Fix Design Approach
this point, the design approach to DDO appears to be increasing the
amount of time spent using accounts, with customer enjoyment and
satisfaction not goals themselves, but instead tools to reach the goal
of people keeping subscriptions longer. Now it's of course fine for
Turbine to want people to keep accounts a long time, and something
players should want if they want to keep playing DDO into the future.”
I don't envy Turbine's challenge. How does anybody hope to keep content
flowing for the gamers who chew through levels? No matter what
Turbine's original target audience once was, the company must deal with
the audience it has. D&D fans want more D&D elements added.
Other subscribers just want more content. Turbine tries valiantly to
retain customers from both camps.
Is DDO a cool game or not? Does the good outweigh the bad? Just what am
DDO is a cool game. It crams a lot of fun and intense action into its
package. Honestly, it feels more like an action game than a MMOG to
me—one that could have been a single purchase with a lobby for online
I think the good aspects of the DDO merit giving it a try. Long-term, I
have an idea what Turbine really needs to do to fix this game: give up on the D&D concept
Hear me out, folks. Some of DDO's biggest problems stem from it being a
D&D game. Consider the following:
- Turbine creates mid-level content like Litany
of the Dead and the unlockable drow
to keep gamers at the level cap on the subscription roster playing new
- Turbine must use this tactic because anybody can hit the level
cap within 2 weeks.
- People level so quickly because quests give too much XP.
- Quests give too much XP so that you don't have to repeat them all
20 times to hit the level cap.
- The reason you'd have to repeat quests is that there are too few
- There are too few quests because Turbine developers lovingly and
painstakingly crafted each one by hand.
- Dungeons are handcrafted to preserve the D&D feel of the game.
Or how about the complaints of D&D fanatics?
- Turbine needs to add all of the core D&D and Eberron races.
- Turbine needs to add all of the core D&D and Eberron classes.
- DDO needs to add more D&D monsters.
- A group of 12 Level 10 adventurers should not kill a dragon. The
dragon should be changed to a dragonling.
- The ridiculously hard nature of the dragon and warforged titan
raids promote static character builds.
Try very hard for me to imagine that you had no clue that DDO had
anything to do with D&D. Here's what we might see:
- With no need to handcraft dungeons to preserve DDO's role-playing
heritage, Turbine could implement randomized dungeon layouts.
- Ditto with monster and trap locations.
- Turning over dungeon rendering to the game engine would allow
Turbine to crank out more dungeons.
- More dungeons would allow for lower XP awards on all dungeons.
- People wouldn't level as quickly or have to repeat quests.
- People would not think any races were missing (even if they said
the game needs more). They wouldn't feel the game was missing part of
what it claims to be.
So there's my crazy idea for DDO Top 10 Week. DDO would be better without D&D,
relying on the novelty of its core to make it a fun game.
sure that's one of the top 10 craziest ideas you've heard about DDO!