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I've played the beta test of Dungeons & Dragons Online, and
these are my impressions. Please keep in mind that everything described
is subject to change. There is no story at the moment, or I haven't
reached the story part yet. But then, it is a MMORPG, and 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 CRPGs, such
as Baldur's Gate or Knights of the Old Republic.
part of MMORPG fun 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-aware 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 a group. I've played a ranger/fighter, and my job was to
hide and scout first. Unfortunately, I ended up being the last person
lagging behind the party since everyone just ran and killed and
smashed. No awareness of co-op whatsoever. So most of the time,
not being able to find a real co-op group, I've soloed the quests.
Using the social panel and a short comment, you can both advertise
yourself as LFG (looking of group), and even your own group.
takes a long time to level up; a seriously long time. Each level
is divided into 5 ranks, with each rank giving you a "rank
skill", which differs in classes. However, 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 ones. Leveling up will also delete
all unused skills. Some rank skills give you a passive bonus. Some
give you depletable short boosts, ranging from attacks to spotting
traps. You can "recharge" them by using unused rank skills.
Also, both disappointing and not surprising, is the loss of the
steal skill for rogues. Stealing is only fun as long as you're not
the one being robbed...
gain XP only from solving quests. Killing, partially, wouldn't give
you XP. So the challenge rating is just an indication of how endangered
you are. Each of the quests give you base XP. If you raise the challenge
before entering the quest, you get bonus % from base XP. If you
kill a large number of enemies, you get bonus % for slathering.
If you open enough chests, % for looting. If you break enough breakables,
% for vandalism.
the quests are quite linear, in line of "go there and save
someone, loot something or kill someone". Some quests have
side paths that require a certain stats level or skill level. Some
quests also involve a bit of puzzle-solving. There is one the requires
you to steal a rock and kill an amount of enemies without killing
another amount of enemies of a different kind. There is another
one that tasks you with killing 200 kobolds. And there is yet another
one that asks you to defend a crate from waves of kobolds. In short,
rangers should pick kobolds as favored enemies.
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
games ported from consoles. Because of the doing of some mysterious
magic, the camera always manages to turn to the most unfavorable,
most inconvenient angle. To compensate for that, a great indicator
is the changing of music when you are close to an enemy.
spell casters are very hard to play. First you need to click on
a target. If your target is moving around your fighters, you will
certainly click your fighter more than your target. Then you need
to cast a spell. By the time you've cast a spell, you will usually
see "target invalid". Yes, your fighter has already killed
power gaming - there is no prevention of that. After all, this is
a MMORPG and they need to satisfy all types of customers. The good
thing, at this moment, is that there is no player vs. player, or
friendly damage even. So power gaming only affects the power gamer,
but not your old-school DnD PnP-er.
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 the half-orc race is replaced by the warforged.
The druid and monk classes are not available.
create a DnD atmosphere, DM text will appear when triggered,
accompanied by a deep, male DM voice.
is still room for improvement in the AI department. In this
screenshot, you can see that once I took the high ground,
your average scorpions, who cannot jump, can't do anything
to avoid being arrowed.
brown spider might be able to make a short jump. But once
it jumps up, for some reason, it doesn't know how to jump
amount of text can describe my heart pounding battle with
this vicious spider.
typical DnD tavern, where you meet people, get drunk and get
marketplace, where you find a street performer, a professor,
a guard, casual passersby... everyone except any merchants.
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