Friday, February 23, 2007

My DDO Review

Here's my review of Dungeons and Dragons Online, at the time I played it.

Fist off, let's start with Dark Elves.

Dark Elves not only get two more points to spend in character creation than everybody else, their minium scores for intelligence, charisma, and dexterity are boosted by 2, which means its cheaper for them to raise those attributes higher than everybody else, because of the way point-buy is weighted toward the top end, and since almost every class that's worth playing uses one or more of those attributes for something important, and since Dark Elves also get a bunch of other racial powers, Dark Elves are generally and sometimes specifically superior to all the other races.

Unless you want to play a Rogue who is supposed to just follow groups around and pick locks and get rid of traps, 'cause Rogue powers are skill-based, and Human Rogues get more skill points and an extra feat they can use for skill boosts, which makes Humans better in that department.

But you can't play one of those when you first start out, unless you're sure you'll have a group to hang out with all the time, 'cause Rogues can't fight or solo for shit.

And you can just forget about soloing with some kinda cool sorcery guy, 'cause their mana don't regenerate naturally and they ain't got enough spell points to get past the first two rooms in half the dungeons I smashed through heh.

So you're back to the Dark Elf stuff.

But you have to unlock the Dark Elf race to play it, by basically playing the game all the way through (and that means repeating the same "dungeons" over and over and over again) as a crappy paladin of some other race first, because nobody else could solo even half as well as they could, for a variety of reasons I'm not even gonna get into (like wand-whore capability) especially when the difficulty starts ramping up (which was around 3rd level when I played, and probably still is, because you ain't gonna get anywhere soloing things on "solo" difficulty heh).

Right before I left the game, they said they were gonna add a new thing to unlock, just like the Dark Elves, where a new character would have more points to spend in character creation, but I'm not sure how that all turned out, and if the Dark Elves get more points to spend, then they'll still be better than everybody else, and you'd still have to play the game as a crappy paladin for way longer than I could stand to play to unlock that shit anyways, so it really doesn't make what I'm saying any different.

Okay, now that that's out of the way, let's talk about how fun it was to actually play the game.

All the PvE stuff was instanced into "dungeons," behind doors in this big city, which means you'd never bump into other players unless you were hanging around in town, so you had the choice of meeting people, or getting more of your Dark Elf Unlocking grinding out of the way and advancing your character, but you couldn't do both at the same time, and neither could anyone else, so the chances of two people being outside an instance at the same time were kinda tiny, if you think about it a little.

The dungeons were actually pretty cool, they had secret doors (that a stupid paladin could never find) and tricks (that a paladin pretty much had to ignore) and named monsters (ah finally something I can kill!) and stuff, don't get me wrong.

And they were even pretty challenging, especially if you tried to solo them on hard, although it could get pretty annoying being insta-killed by death magic or something and you lost a chunk of your experience points every time you had to re-enter the dungeon.

The only thing that REALLY sucked about them was all the Crate Smashing.

You were awarded a 10% bonus (or something, I forget) to your experience points if you smashed all the crates in a dungeon.

This is what actually forced me to group, because I didn't want to have to do all that crate smashing shit over and over again, y'know, just get me a big gang of little kids to foller 'round that actually like all that stupid crate smashing shit and I'm all good.

And you gotta remember, I'm just playing this stupid ass paladin 'cause I wanna unlock a dark elf and play something else.

So as I approached the point where I was getting totally sick of the game, I started thinking about how I'd have to play the whole goddam crate-smashing extravaganza all over again from the beginning when I finally reached my goal.

And then what the hell was I gonna do with my Dark Elf guy anyways?

And I don't even like elves ahaha.

I did think their built-in voicecom thing was pretty cool, but something Big Ed said helped me mentally prepare myself for a bunch of whiny D&D nerd voices going "okay everybody let's make sure we all buy enough potions" so I had a foot up on that heh.

Oh man, and I thought the graphics were pretty good, and they were all totally smooth and responsive compared to most MMOs.

And the dungeon design (if you woulda got rid of the goddam crate-smashing thing) was actually pretty damn cool, uh, the first time you did 'em, 'cept the typical thing about the lack of variety with Sewer and Warehouse maps and stuff, but every game is like that, and I'm judging it on more what they did with what they had.

Anyways I wouldn't even begin to know how to fix that game up to make it fun to play in an emulator or something, aside from making it quicker to finish and yanking out crates, it seems sorta hopelessly crippled and pointless from the get-go when you think about it like that, don't it?

So there you have it, oh no, seriously, go ahead, you can keep it, I'm on to better things already, like remembering being in a gang of those Engineer Rock Men in Asheron's Call 2 who built those forts out of ice and rock with the Fred Flintstone machine guns, endlessly pulling those Armadillo-things into our death trap through the buggy terrain, and doing their dungeons, that was pretty damn cool, too, and look, it only took me a couple of sentence fragments to do an entire review of everything good-n-bad in that one ahaha.

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