Between last night and today — the first day off I’d had in quite some time — I was able to pour a bit of time into DDO. The growing verdict (and I’ll have a bigger review soon) is that I actually quite like this game, perhaps far more than when I first played it a few years ago. A few factors have influenced me in this:
- I’m actually pretty excited over the F2P/RMT version, oddly enough. I like not having a monthly cost, but instead spending what I like, not paying when I like, and drifting in and out of the game as my whim dictates. Plus, the way they’re setting up the RMT in this game is pretty interesting. You can earn a lot of the content through gameplay, if you don’t want to spend $$, although money will certainly be a quicker way of going about it. Either way, since a lot of the purchases are one-time-only events that affect every character you have on every server, it feels more of a “collectible” part of the game (a la Magic the Gathering).
- Turbine might not have been pouring millions into further developing this title, but they have made significant progress in the past three years — it looks better, plays better, and has more meat to it. The upcoming DDO Unlimited version is rumored to be even more tight of a game experience/software.
- I found a welcoming guild last night, just by throwing out a request over general chat. I think being part of a good guild is almost mandatory to surviving in DDO — guildies tend to be more patient, more willing to help, and more open to answering newbie questions.
- I’m starting to feel as though I’m getting a grasp on DDO’s mechanics. Between forum/wiki research and a couple helpful guildies sitting down with me and explaining some of the more detailed ins and outs of the game, I’m beginning to understand how it all works. DDO isn’t as complex as, say, EVE Online, but it is up there, particularly if you want to play your character to the fullest. There’s gobs more I have to learn, but playing a “temp” character for now means that I’m giving myself permission to mess up and not be perfect as I try to master the system.
- With guidance, I’m better equipped in weapons/armor, and my spell list is reshuffled so that I’m not purely a healbot — I can stun, sleep, buff and protect as well. The cleric is a pretty forgiving class to learn the game on, and I’m not having problems finding a group at all.
- My goal is to hit 400 favor by the end of July to unlock a Drow, so that I won’t have to use Turbine Points for it when Unlimited launches. After that, either a sorcerer or bard is in my future.
There’s great apprehension from both sides of the pro/con DDO Unlimited debate, but the truth is that this is a solid game that really could benefit from a larger audience giving it a second chance they might not have otherwise. If Unlimited gets more people in, then DDO will benefit in the long run for it. And hey, at least I’m not alone in this rediscovery!