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Dungeons and Dragons Online

Dungeons & Dragons Online, DDO for short, is a 3D fantasy themed action MMORPG based on the iconic tabletop game. DDO was the first Dungeons & Dragons themed online game and successfully replicates the tabletop feel in an MMORPG setting.

Publisher: Turbine
Playerbase: Medium
Type: MMORPG
Release Date: February 28, 2006 (US/EU)
Pros: +Story driven gameplay. +Good variety of classes with multi-classing. +Varied skill trees with tons of options. +Lots of content.
Cons:  -Limited PvP options. -Cash shop sells equipment. -Dated engine and visuals.

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Overview

Dungeons & Dragons Online Overview

Dungeons & Dragons Online lets you experience the classic Dungeons & Dragons tabletop game in this action-packed 3D MMORPG. Explore the lands of Eberron or journey through the Forgotten Realms in search of power and glory. Play as one of eight unique races each with their own distinct attributes. Choose to play as one of thirteen combat classes that can be mixed, matched, and customized to fit your playing style. Whether you want to go toe to toe with the enemy or incinerate them safely from a distance, there’s a class just right for you. Navigate long-forgotten dungeons littered with traps and puzzles designed to give you that authentic D&D experience.

Dungeons & Dragons Online Key Features:

  • Story Driven Gameplay – story driven gameplay with voice narration from the Dungeon Master.
  • Variety of Classes – over thirteen playable classes with unique multi-classing system. Some have to be purchased before being unlocked.
  • Action and Skill-Based Combat – action oriented combat where attacks must be individually aimed.
  • Character Customization – countless different ways to "build" your character with the varied skill trees.
  • Large Maps – largely instanced gameplay except for towns.
  • Authentic D&D Experience – authentic D&D experience with saves, traps, DM narration, and more.

Dungeons & Dragons Online Screenshots

Dungeons & Dragons Online Featured Video

Classes

Dungeons & Dragons Online Classes

Artificers combine magic with weapons making them very capable in a fight. They can fill many roles, as they are able to fight from a range, cast spells, and heal party members. The Artificer class may be unlocked on a per-server basis by reaching 150 House Cannith favor on that server or unlocked on all servers by buying it from the DDO Store.

Barbarians become enraged during combat, cutting down foes with large weapons or fighting from a distance. They deal heavy damage and, while they are less armored than fighters, they make up for it with high health and innate damage reduction.

Bards cast spells by singing songs imbued with magic. Many of their songs buff or heal the party, but others can be used as crowd control. They are often welcome in parties where they can buff the whole team while assisting the primary healer.

Clerics specialize in healing and defensive spells with some offensive abilities. They are only proficient with simple weapons but can use any armor without penalty.

Druids fight to rid nature of any evil, transforming into fierce animals and powerful elementals. They also have a range of spells for healing and offense and can fight in close combat. Druids are free for VIP accounts but may also be purchased at the DDO store.

Favored Soul is a divine caster that resembles a Cleric with more offensive options. They have less spells but can cast them faster. Furthermore, they are limited to light or medium armor and martial weapons. The class can be unlocked on a per-server basis by reaching 2,500 total favor on a single character or unlocked on all servers by buying it from the DDO Store.

Fighters are specialized warriors that are able to use nearly any weapon from two handed swords to a bow. Fighters are one of the most versatile and customizable classes in DDO.

Monks use simple weapons or fists and wear no shield or armor. Through intense training and discipline, Monks have turned their entire body into a formidable weapon. The Monk class is free for VIP accounts but others must purchase it from the DDO Store.

Paladins fight for their gods and are blessed with divine spells in addition to their skill with a weapon. Their selection of healing abilities makes them excellent backup healers in a party.

Rangers are traditionally long-range fighters with bows but in DDO they have two functionalities. In addition to the archer role, fighting from a distance, all Rangers have the ability to become a close-range dual-wielding class which gives them two combat styles while taking away the traditional animal companion.

Rogues have access to the most skills in the game in that they are able to find and disarm traps, unlock doors, and sneak through the battlefield. By sneaking around, they can deal substantial damage without calling much attention to themselves.

Sorcerers are spellcasters that focus on a small amount of spells that they can cast faster and more often than the spells of a Wizard.

Wizards are adaptive casters with a lower speed and frequency of spell casting than Sorcerers. However, they have access to a greater range of spells. Wizards can only change spells to their hotkey bar after resting or while in a tavern which means they have to choose their spells wisely before a quest.

DDO Races:

Humans – a versatile race that can do well in any of the classes.

Elves – very dexterous but are less hardy than other races. They are endowed with keen senses and resistance to enchantments.

Dwarves – tough and hardy but not as charismatic as the other races. They have a natural resistance to most forms of magic and have excellent balance.

Halflings – very agile but lack the strength of other races. They are naturally gifted at hiding and using throwing weapons. They are also a bit luckier than the other races.

Drow Elves* – similar to elves but have greater intelligence and charisma. They are also gifted with innate spell resistance.

Warforged* – sturdy creatures made of living wood and metal. They are immune to many things but have less capacity for wisdom.

Half-Elf* – blessed with the versatility of humans and the sensibility of elves. They can do well in any of the classes and are also great at social interactions.

Half-Orc* – extremely strong and excel in melee combat but have less intelligence and charisma than other races.

* - premium features available to subscribers or by purchasing them from the DDO Store.

Full Review

Dungeons & Dragons Online Review

By Dimitri Jordan

Dungeons and Dragons Online, also known as DDO, is a 3D MMORPG developed by Turbine and published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment that was released on February 28, 2006. The game emulates playing the tabletop version with a dungeon master narrating parts of quests.

DDO features classic D&D campaigns by taking place in the Eberron and Forgotten Realms settings. Players of the tabletop game or readers of the D&D novels will find joy in visiting familiar places like Faerun, Stormreach, Eveningstar, and the Underdark. The game continues to make nods to the beloved tabletop game in other ways as well. Character screens are called character sheets, and Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax, the creators of Dungeons & Dragons, do some voice-over work as Dungeon Masters narrating quest chains.

The game is available through its own website, or through Valve’s Steam platform.

Starting Up

When first starting, players must complete a quest chain that walks them through the basics of DDO. Players will be equipped with their first weapons, learn how to fight and sneak, search for hidden doors and traps, learn how to interact with the environment, and how to accept and complete quests.

Players can move by using the WASD keys and skills are set to the number keys. For those who prefer a custom setting, all key bindings can be configured to the player’s preference.

Players start with a few base skills and more become available as the player levels up. In addition to skills, players have access to several different Enhancement trees. Enhancements make spells and abilities more powerful as well as unlocking different abilities.

The First Few Levels

Unlike many MMORPGs, the level-cap in Dungeons and Dragons Online is very low, meaning that players level up very slowly. The current level cap is 28 with plans to update it to level 30 being postponed until August 2014. For each level there are five ranks. Once players reach a higher rank, they are awarded with an action point to spend on their enhancement trees. Ranks that result in a higher level, however, do not award action points.

By the time players clear the quests in the starting area, Korthos Island, they will have only reached level two or so, assuming they play each quest once at Normal difficulty. Taking the time to plan out a character build is highly recommended for DDO. Because of the slower pace at which players level a misplaced action point can result in a less effective character.

Gameplay

While the game plays like many MMOs, the dungeon master voice-overs add a depth of immersion that other games can’t match. In terms of storytelling and some of the gameplay mechanics, DDO really captures the feeling of playing the tabletop game. However, the combat system is more in line with traditional MMOs by opting for real-time combat instead of the turn-based fighting of the original game.

Combat can be tricky. With melee combat, players will need to be conscious of the distance to enemies and which way they are facing in order to hit targets. The same is true for ranged combat, as obstacles in the way can block shots and spells. When players are at lower levels, there is also an increased chance of missing attacks and spells, which adds suspense to early fights and makes leveling feel every bit the accomplishment it is for the tabletop version.

The world in DDO is instanced. Players travel from towns to different fields which have portals that lead to dungeons. Each dungeon is instanced, meaning players can only run dungeons with others in their party. This allows people to run the same dungeon without ruining it for other players. Dungeons have four different levels of difficulty: Casual, Normal, Hard, and Elite. Some dungeons also offer the Solo difficulty for those playing without a party. After a player reaches level 20, "Epic" difficulties are unlocked: Epic Casual, Epic Normal, Epic Hard, and Epic Elite. Playing on Casual difficulty lowers the rewards for a quest and makes enemies easier or less numerous, while playing above Normal raises the reward and makes the enemies more difficult or numerous.

Character Progression

There are several branches of character progression in Dungeons & Dragons Online: skill, feats, enhancements, and multi-classing.

Skills are various abilities that let players interact with the world in DDO. Skills range from hiding, jumping, moving silently, listening, and many more. The amount of points a player receives when leveling depends on their race, class, and base intelligence. Rogues get a base of eight points per level, while classes like Sorcerers and Wizards get a base of two points per level. These are modified by intelligence with a higher intelligence leading to more points per level. Players who plan on multi-classing should take note to choose whichever class has the higher base for skill points first in order to earn the most for their character.

Feats are special abilities that grant players new capabilities or improve on existing ones. Players gain a feat at level one and then at every third level after for a total of seven feats per character. However, certain races and classes have the ability to gain extra feats. Feats can range from sneaking to becoming better with a particular weapon style.

Enhancements take the place of the usual skill trees in Dungeons & Dragons Online. Enhancements are used to increase the effectiveness of skills and abilities or add abilities and passive bonuses to the player. Through multi-classing, players can have access to a total of seven Enhancement trees: one for their race and six for their classes. As players get four action points per level, they can gain a total of 80 points by the time they reach level 20. Epic levels, or levels above 20, do not grant action points.

Multi-classing is a big feature in Dungeons and Dragons Online. At the expense of creating a focused character, multi-classing can greatly improve a character's versatility. A player can have a total of three classes. Multi-class characters are even more important to plan out in advance than single-class ones because the classes, feats, and skills chosen should mesh well together. If they don't, players will find themselves with characters that are useless. The ability scores should also be kept in mind. For example, combining Fighters and Rangers will work well because they rely on Strength. However, Monks rely on Wisdom, so multi-classing a Monk with a Fighter would prove ineffective. Furthermore, there are some alignment requirements. Because a Paladin must be lawful good, they cannot be mixed with a class like a Druid, which must not be lawful or chaotic good. Because of the exactness of multi-classing, there are many guides detailing how to multi-class and what classes make good combinations.

PvP

Unlike most games, the PvP in Dungeons & Dragons Online is particularly lacking. There are several methods, including 1v1, Tavern Brawls, Death Match Arenas, and Capture the Flag. However, none of the PvP modes offer any rewards which completely takes away any incentive to participate. While it could be argued that DDO is more focused on storytelling through quests, it would have benefited from a rewards system to encourage PvP.

In Tavern Brawls, players fight a free-for-all in a tavern pit. There are no level restrictions and anyone who enters the brawling floor is marked for PvP combat. Once knocked out, players must climb out of the brawling area where they will be automatically resurrected at 1 health point.

In the Death Match Arena, players can fight either 1v1 or party vs. party. Time limits can be set from one minute to one hour and, again, there are no rewards for winning the fight.

In Capture the Flag, two teams attempt to steal the other team’s flag and bring it back to their base. This too lacks any type of reward for winning.

Cash Shop

The Cash Shop for DDO has plenty of items to buy. In addition to the usual potions and experience boosts, players are able to buy the Drow, Warforged, Half-Elf, and Half-Orc races, as well as the Favored Soul, Monk, Artificer, and Druid classes. Players can also buy bundles of quests known as Adventure Packs. While armors and weapons are available in the Cash Shop, they are available at low prices and will not lend much of a competitive edge against harder enemies or in PvP. Instead, they are meant as small boosts for those beginning the game or soloing at early levels.

One feature that is fantastic about Dungeons & Dragons Online is the ability to earn Turbine Points, the Cash Shop currency, through normal play. By completing dungeons and quests, players can accumulate points to spend on races, classes, adventure packs, and more. This takes the pressure off of players to spend money to access more content in the game.

Final Verdict - Good

Dungeons & Dragons Online has a lot of things going for it. The storytelling and questing feel both familiar and inventive with the dungeon master voice-overs adding immersion to the gameplay. The races and classes that are behind paywalls don’t feel like they’re completely necessary to enjoy the game and the option to unlock some aspects through playing in-game takes away the pressure to buy into the Cash Shop. However, for those looking for a great PvP endgame, DDO is not the game to play. The lack of rewards, achievements, or penalties from PvP is somewhat disappointing. However, looking at DDO as a game about the storytelling puts this notable absence into perspective. For those who want a suitable MMO to achieve that tabletop feeling, Dungeons & Dragons Online is the perfect game.

Screenshots

Dungeons & Dragons Online Screenshots

Videos

Dungeons & Dragons Online Videos

System Requirements

Dungeons & Dragons Online System Requirements

Minimum Requirements:

Operating System: XP / Vista / 7 / 8
CPU: Intel Pentium 4 1.6 GHz or AMD Equivalent
Video Card: Nvidia 6600 Series
RAM: 1 GB
Hard Disk Space: 11 GB

Recommended Requirements:

Operating System: XP / Vista / 7 / 8
CPU: Intel Dual Core Processor / AMD Athlon 64 X2
Video Card: GeForce 8600 / ATI Radeon HD 2600
RAM: 2 GB
Hard Disk Space: 15 GB

Mac OS X Recommended Requirements:

Operating System: 10.7.5
CPU: Intel Core i7 2 GHz
Video Card: GeForce GT 650M or better
RAM: 4 GB
Hard Disk Space: 18 GB

Music

Dungeons & Dragons Online Music & Soundtrack


Additional Info

Dungeons & Dragons Online Additional Information

Developer: Turbine
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Other Platforms: Mac OS X

Closed Beta: January 2006
Steam Release Date: June 25, 2012
Official Release Date: February 28, 2006

Foreign Release:

Dungeons & Dragons Online is available globally through its official website.

Development History/Background:

Dungeons & Dragons Online is a fantasy MMORPG developed and published by the American game developer Turbine, the same studio behind Lord of the Rings Online and Asheron's Call. Development for Dungeons & Dragons Online began in 2003, and the game went into closed beta testing in January 2006, with every copy of the January 2006 PC Gamer magazine containing a beta key. Since its launch, Dungeons & Dragons Online received over a dozen game awards and various other praises.

Dungeons & Dragons Online originally launched as a traditional pay to play MMORPG with a monthly subscription but announced its intentions to go free-to-play on June 9, 2009 with the free-to-play version launching on September 1, 2009. Since going free-to-play, DDO's playerbase has increased dramatically and the game enjoyed an enormous boost in revenue. Turbine, the game's developer and publisher, was acquired by Warner Brothers Interactive Entertainment on April 20, 2010.

  • DDO is a solid game that's starting to see some wear and tear, mostly because of its dated engine and visuals. Still a really fun game though IMO and you can easily get hundreds, if not thousands, of hours of fun out it.

  • RuneArm0r

    This was right up there with Lord of the Rings Online for MMORPGs back in the day. You can still probably get into it now, although it is old.