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Rolling a Save vs. Budget - a Look at Dungeons and Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited - Page 2

Posted Mon, Nov 30, 2009 by B. de la Durantaye

The new combat system is fun, though it can be difficult to get used to. I didn’t play the original DDO so I can’t compare it to the combat in the original game. With the new system targets are implied. This means you’ll automatically target the closest NPC (or item) in front of you. Right clicking or entering targeting mode allows you to aim, so you can swing around or shoot an arrow from a distance with relative ease. Then, simply left click to let loose your basic attack. You can hold down the left mouse button to continue attacking, or you can use special abilities you’ve unlocked. This is where I found the game to get a bit more challenging. I’m a mouse clicker by nature, and that’s not a good thing in this game. To execute a special move, I’ll have to stop attacking so I can move my mouse down to the appropriate skill button, and then click. This often means by the time I find and click the ability I want, the mob will have leaped away or run around to flank me, and my special ability gets wasted. Yes, enemies will dodge and move about; they won’t just stand there attacking the way they do in many other games. Players with good reflexes and dexterity (real life DEX, not the character stat) should have a good time with it; macro mashers and rotation junkies, not so much. You really do have to keep an eye on the battle, and seldom will you have time to even look down at your hotbar, let alone stare blankly at it while performing rehearsed rotations.

If you just can’t get used to it though, there are options to change combat a little. You can turn on sticky targeting and other toggles to make things a little more comfortable.

Min/maxers will love this game. It’s D&D, after all, where min/maxing was born. You can spend hours playing with your stat numbers to work out the best possible build for any class. If you’re not so much into numbers, you can skip all of that too by simply going with a predefined build that will allow you to jump right into the action. Using the new D&D ruleset, character advancement comes in the form of enhancements, skills and feats that you earn by gaining enough experience through the adventures to raise your rank, and in turn, your level. You also have the option to multiclass when you reach the appropriate level so your options, by all definitions, are limitless. Very few, if any, other games have as much diversity in class and character development as DDO.


Min/maxers heaven

So what’s with the F2P model and microtransactions? It was a very calculated and intelligent move by Turbine to bring life back into the game. And so far it seems to have worked. The population is anything but suffering.

Items in the store are, for the most part, available elsewhere in the game. The exceptions to this are certain services, like some classes, races, and adventure packs. The store offers players an easy way to add convenience to their game. As mentioned earlier you can buy gold ticket hirelings from the store, or you can purchase health potions which come in handy if your healer has died, you’re low on health potions, and you somehow have to get his shard to the resurrection shrine that several nasties are guarding. Gear can also be purchased from the store if you’re in desperate need of an upgrade to a specific item and can’t afford the prices on the in-game market. You can also get bags, fast travel options like teleportation wands, cosmetic items like hair dyes, and a lot of other goodies, ranging from the convenient to the practical to the cosmetic,  as well as adventure packs and adventure pack trial keys for your friends. Most of the prices are relatively cheap, allowing your dollar to go further than it may in some other microtransaction based games. Of special note, if you do pay for a subscription, you will receive store credit on a monthly basis, which is often more than enough to meet your monthly store needs.


The DDO Store

Overall, the game feels very much like D&D. Fans of the table top game will certainly have no trouble understanding the way the game works and viewing it as an extension of those late night sessions rolling the ol’ D20. All of the classic encounters and secrets of the D&D universe are there. For example, sewer goos have a tendency to damage metal weapons, so it’s a good idea to bring a non-metal weapon or an old junker to swap out, just in case. The diversity and sheer amount of stats and ability customization  is nothing short of mind boggling. The adventures are fun and as challenging or as forgiving as you want them to be. And you can play by yourself or with any number of friends. Best of all, there’s tons of free content to sink your teeth into. No, you won’t be raiding with 143 of your friends and guildmates, but you can have fun for hours at a time, or just 15 minutes if that’s all your schedule allows; so you won’t suffer a gamer’s hangover at work the next day.

You can download and play Dungeons and Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited directly from the official website at www.ddo.com.

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