If you couldn’t tell, I’ve fallen for DDO over the course of the summer, and slight build frustrations aside, that doesn’t look as if it will be abating any time soon. Considering that it just went free-to-play for all, I hope that you might give it a decent shot and discover that there’s a great game here behind an ugly interface and daunting statistics.
But I’m nothing if not a critic, so here are 10 additions and changes that would make DDO far better (at least for me!):
- Pets – in DDO, Wizards don’t get familiars, and Rangers don’t get a faithful companion, yet these are absolute staples of D&D. Along with many others, I hope that Turbine instates these, as well as considering an additional pet class. Speaking of which…
- Summons that aren’t crap – most everyone will tell you that summons in DDO are just a waste of spell points, which is a shame. How boss would it be to whip out a summons that makes the entire dungeon quake in fear?
- Embrace Eberron’s setting even more – Eberron was a weird choice for a D&D MMO setting, in that it wasn’t very well-known or beloved. But after having perused the source books, I’m intrigued at the magic-meets-Indiana Jones attitude the campaign boasts, as well as the deliciously odd classes and races. DDO should go further with this high adventure feel.
- Add non-traditional D&D races and classes – Again, Eberron has many D&D staples (elves, fighters, wizards) but also pretty neat characters that aren’t seen elsewhere in the whole of D&D. Of all these, only the Warforged race made it into the game, leaving other races (like Changelings) and classes (Artificers) out in the cold.
- Rework the UI and maps – The ugly-as-sin UI gives off a terrible first impression, and doesn’t add anything to the atmosphere of the game. The art and UI team could do a lot to modernize the game by retooling these elements.
- An expansion that features a different continent – Eberron has several continents, but only one is featured in DDO, and it happens to be the least-developed (civilization-wise) of them all. It’d be awesome to be able to bust out of Stormreach and visit an entirely different land.
- Personal housing and guild halls – because, in my opinion, all MMOs should have these.
- Better in-game explanations and tooltips – To play DDO, you absolutely need to do a lot of reading and research outside of the game, especially when it comes to some of their obscure acronyms — BAB? SR? DC? AC?
- More dungeon obstacles – One of DDO’s great strengths is in its dungeon varieties, but the dangers contained within have been dilluted through easy-to-get items. Underwater breathing and falling from heights can now be overcome by level 1 items that most players obtain, leaving only traps, puzzles and creatures as dangers. It’d be cool to see a few new in-dungeon elements challenge players.
- A real auction house – And by that, I mean an AH where I can search for things beyond just categories and levels, but by, I don’t know, NAMES.
P.S. – Check out this series of graphs based on a survey of current DDO players, it’s pretty eye-opening.