For many MMO gamers, Dungeons and Dragons Online was always that
"other" game, something that didn't quite fit into the standard
massively multiplayer framework established by EverQuest and World of
Warcraft. If you're a gamer that thought DDO was too different to spend
cash on to even give it a go, you're now in luck. DDO is about to go
free-to-play, and Ten Ton Hammer has 10 random facts that might make
your beta experience more enjoyable.
1. It's a great time to be a new or veteran DDO player. The DDO developers will also be introducing a new class (the Favored Soul), raising the level cap to 20, and introducing a new area known as the Plane of Battle. This is also a big step in the process, as the "natural" level cap for D&D was always 20 and the Favored Soul was a staple among D&D vets. As a healer class, the Favored Soul will definitely be needed in any higher level content the developer continue to produce.
2. If you plan on actively playing DDOU more than two hours a day, it's probably worth your money to invest in the VIP program. What's included, you ask? Essentially, you'll be getting all of the "restricted" content in the game for a small fee of $14.95. While this may sound like a lot up front, if you were to buy each piece of content in the game individually, you'd be spending much more than a mere fifteen bucks. At the time of this writing, the Warforged race, the Monk and Favored Soul classes each cost around $4.95 a piece. From their each adventure pack has its own fee as well. Plus, you'll get a nice allotment of Turbine points every month to spend as you wish.
3. Don't be afraid to select a pre-made path. One of the biggest hurdles in DDO was always the fact that it was built on the number heavy D&D 3.5 system. Unfortunately the designers also had to include other advancement opportunities to make the long levels feel a bit shorter as well. This led to the inclusion of enhancements, which complicated the system further. Thankfully, with a variety of game updates known as Modules, the designers have simplified the process and given players some pre-made pathways they can follow that will produce viable and powerful characters.
4. DDO has one of the most active combat systems you'll find in any MMO. While auto-attack options are certainly available for players, most gamers will use their mouse to attack and aim their magic spells. The inclusion of a collision detection system has brought about some interesting opportunities for those gamers that enjoy acting as a true "meat shield" for their allies.
5. Be wary of your race/class combinations. While there are certainly a number of very viable options available for each race in each class of the game, if you're a brand new DDO player make sure you take a look at the bonuses of each race before selecting your class. For example, due to their lowered charisma scores, Warforged do not make exceptional bards. I'm not saying it's impossible to play a Warforged bard, but it does make your life a bit more difficult.
6. Don't be afraid to repeat a quest. It certainly isn't the most adventurous of options, but repeating a quest a few times for easy XP or an additional reward is a viable part of DDO. If you've purchased a decent number of hirelings and feel confident in your abilities, even solo players can take on quests at harder settings.
7. Enhancements are important, so don't pick silly options. Take a look at your character and really hit those areas that you're already focused in. Have high hit points? Bump 'em up higher! Skill with a dagger? Become a master!
8. The DDO Store is your best friend, especially the conveniences section. If you're just starting out in the game and have a few extra bucks to spend, splash some money into the store and pick up some of the convenience items they have listed. You may not see your first magical item until level 2 or 3, but you can buy 'em in the store for less than a dollar a piece. If you're a VIP, that's a great place to spend your extra points. The XP enhancement may be tempting, but you'll get more bang for your buck with the magical items.
9. Be social. DDO was originally built to be one of the most social games on the MMO market, and it hasn't really deviated from that path. While the new hirelings are great to use if you just want to pound out some adventures, try to find a group or two so you can enjoy the newfound company. With integrated voice chat and lots of other grouping options, DDO is a fantastically social game.
10. Try out the beta. If you're still hesitant about the whole process, head on over to www.ddo.com and sign up for one of their beta keys. It sounds like there are plenty of spaces still available, so try one out today!