For my final — yes, final — excursion for the Month of DDO, I wanted to get back to the roots of doing actual group content instead of just going through quests solo. But even with the group finder going and myself flagged for LFG, I couldn’t find anything level-appropriate. So instead I took on a quest to clear out the Uthe Lodge, a place that’s big on moody rays of light and overgrown flora. Lots of weed whacking in the Forgotten Realms, I gather.
Have I mentioned that I love the descriptions in the game? It helps that it’s not bound by the confines of a quest text box, but is free to pop in and out of quests as appropriate. Would love to see this in other MMOs.
This whole lodge is full of murky green fog, so it’s not the best picture-taking environment. Anyway, this Woad Troll is the first enemy that gives me any serious trouble, mostly being a meat shield that takes a long time to take down.
Actually, it got so dicey there that I had to give up my quarterstaff and revert back to my two knives after this fight, since my knives have a chance of healing me with every hit. It actually feels overpowered to fight with them.
Eventually, I start to spot this Bard darting ahead of me — I find out later that he’s a member of the Harpers, an organization that’s revered by fans of D&D and a shoulder shrug from me.
Eventually me and Mr. Harper find the (ahem) root of the problems in this lodge: an underground passageway that connects to an evil tree and its evil druid caretaker. Killing this tree is the best part of the quest, because how often are you charged with tree-slaughter in MMOs? I’m not talking about those ambulatory Ent-like beings — just normal, sit-in-one-spot trees. KILL IT!
And with that, the quest is over, as well as my month in DDO.
Overall, it was… nice to come back to DDO. I had forgotten how the game felt, and it was good to be reminded of some of its better qualities. The dungeon master narration and the inventiveness of the instances are easily the game’s strongest suits. The boring combat (particularly for the Shardar-kai — click click click click click) and stat flood are its weakest.
While I appreciated being able to see the Forgotten Realms stuff with an iconic character, heck if I actually knew anything about my character’s stats, build, or equipment. It’s one thing to grow into a character and learn the game as you go, but to be thrown into the deep end requires a lot of previous knowledge and experience.
My DDO sessions never grated, but they lacked the “just one more run” addiction they once held. I don’t regret dabbling back in this title, but for now, I’m laying it to rest.