DDO’s servers are down today, as the old DDO is put to pasture and the new DDO Unlimited is ushered into the room. I haven’t been in DDO for about a week now, mostly because I’ve been waiting for the new patch and busy with life elsewhere — but don’t take that as a lack of excitement, because DDO Unlimited might be the sleeper hit of the year.
Whether Unlimited’s re-launch works the way Turbine hopes is clearly too soon to tell, but they haven’t been hurting for publicity since the announcement a couple months back. It’s a game that’s consistently been the underdog ever since its 2005 launch, bleeding the initial swarm of lookie-lou’s into a small, 4-server community that’s seen precious little advertisement from Atari and pretty infrequent updates from Turbine (DDO Unlimited brings with it a content patch that players have been waiting for over 9 months). It doesn’t easily fit into many MMO molds, and is even shunned by various D&D lovers who loathe the Eberron setting or the compromises it had to make to be transformed into a MMO.
Free to play Unlimited carries with it a lot of nervous anticipation — current players still have no idea if their community is going to be bombarded and possibly ripped apart from a huge influx of mouth-breathing (this means something when every group uses voice chat) nitwits, or if their community will grow beyond their wildest dreams and give Turbine more motivation to further developing the game.
So here’s to Unlimited, may its future be considerably brighter than its past.