If you’re considering picking up DDO Unlimited next week — and why not, since it’s free-to-play? — then I’m making it my mission to help you overcome the initial hurdles of understanding the game and to enjoy it more. Here are 10 tips that I’ve discovered from personal experience that has made my DDO gaming time a lot more fun:
- Find a great guild and be up front with your “newbie” status. There’s a lot of welcoming, helpful guilds in DDO that know how hard the game can initially be, and are more than welcome to dole out advice and assistance once you’re part of their pack. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, but don’t be needy/greedy either — some might give you a few items to help you on your way, but you shouldn’t expect them.
- Spend some time getting to know D&D and DDO’s unique lingo and concepts. What’s BAB and why is it important? What about resists? Why am I always missing when I try to attack? These questions and more need to be answered for you to really get a grip on the game, so dedicate a bit of time to doing research on the forums and DDOwiki so that you’ll understand what classes can do what, why such-and-such is important, and how things work.
- Get to know the grouping tool ASAP. Yes, you can solo and buy hirelings, but forget all that — DDO is a group-oriented game, and you should be grouping in it, period. It not only opens up a lot more content for you, but it’s a lot more fun and enjoyable as well. DDO has a terrific grouping tab on the social screen that lets you see what currently-forming groups are out there in certain level ranges doing certain content. Don’t be afraid to hop in and join!
- Be up front with your newbie status in groups. Unless you make a point of saying so, a lot of players will assume you know what you’re doing, where you’re going and how to run each dungeon. Get past any personal pride and tell your party that you’re a bit new and would appreciate if they let you know anything important for each dungeon run you do. You’ll find that folks are generally patient and more than willing to cut you some slack, as long as you try your best.
- Explore Stormreach and pick up every quest you see. As far as I can tell, DDO does not have a limit on accepted quests, so you can pick up all of the quests — and you should do so, because you don’t want to be hunting around for the questgiver while the rest of your party is waiting at the dungeon. Explore the town and get familiar with what is in what section. Envision the Marketplace as the main “hub” of the city, with different sections and Houses branching off from it.
- Get Coin Lord favor ASAP. Each dungeon run not only contributes to an overall Favor rating, but also Favor attached to specific houses. Early on, you’ll be doing a lot of Coin Lord runs, which should get you to 75 Favor with them quickly. Once you do, you’ll get a note in your mailbox that says you should visit their representitive in the Marketplace. Do so, and he’ll give you a fourth inventory tab for free!
- Collect and carry different armor/weapons for different situations. Unlike some MMOs, you won’t be just gradually updating one outfit of armor over time — if you’re smart, you’ll have several outfits and weapons to be exchanged based on the situation. Silver weapons, for instance, are far more effective in fighting the undead. Some outfits offer better resistance to specific damage types, like acid or fire, in case you run into a dungeon with a whole bunch of acid/fire traps or creatures that deal that damage. And even if you’re a melee build, you’ll want a ranged weapon on hand in case you have to do damage from afar.
- If you can spare a chunk of time, run some of the bigger quest chains repeatedly for great loot. Water Works (levels 2-4), Tangleroot (levels 4-6), STK and Delera’s Tomb are pretty much staples of the early game experience. Each represent a series of quests that are usually done in order by a dedicated group, which take up a bit of time (around 2 hours minimum, although less for an experienced group) but reward quite well in terms of favor, XP and end loot. The big plus is that there’s usually a lot of groups running these, so you won’t have too hard of a time finding some to tag along with.
- Be okay with imperfection, at least at the start. Face the facts: your first character won’t be ideal, perfect or optimal, so use it as a learning tool and be okay with picking things up as you go. You WILL find out that you did such-and-such wrong way back at the beginning, or that you HAVE been neglecting doing something that any vet has long since known… but that’s okay. It gets better.
- Don’t be obsessed with leveling. DDO is not a fast leveling game, although some have worked out systems to grind out XP as quickly as possible. Sure, it’s great fun to hit a new level and have new content open up to you as a result, but the “end game” of DDO is pretty much the same as the journey — dungeons, dungeons and more dungeons. Enjoy them as you go along, and don’t worry about rushing through it!
There was also a useful thread I saw posted on the DDO forums that offered newbie tips and tricks, and I wanted to repost a few of the better ones for you as well:
- You should turn voice chat on even if you don’t expect to talk to anyone, because it also toggles your ability to hear other people.
- Each quest has normal/hard/elite difficulties. You must do normal before you can do hard, and you must do hard before you can do elite. If you can find someone who has the quest unlocked on elite, you can jump ahead and do that content without having to worry about unlocking the lesser difficulty levels.
- You need to have ammo for your ranged weapons. Yes, you can actually run out of ammo in DDO. Some spells have material components. If you run out of components you won’t be able to cast those spells.
- You can speed up your health/mana regeneration in town by eating food or drinking potions in taverns. This food/drink is sold by barkeepers.
- Loot in DDO is obtained pretty much only in chests and is assigned directly to people, randomly. There is no “ninja looting”, so don’t feel like people are grabbing your stuff.