Monday, May 19, 2014

Screenshot of the Day: Dungeons & Dragons Online

You see chunky terrain surrounded by an imposing user interface.

Dungeons & Dragons Online is an MMORPG set in the D&D Forgotten Realms. It looks and plays a lot like Lord of the Rings Online, but that's understandable: both MMOs were developed by Turbine. For some reason, though, I liked LotRO much more than DDO. Three reasons, actually. First is the setting; Middle Earth is a lot more interesting to me than the Forgotten Realms. I seriously enjoyed Baldur's Gate and literally memorized the contents of each area of the Sword Coast during the course of dozens of playthroughs, but Middle Earth always seems more majestic and engaging than the various hills, forests, and caves that I've encountered so far in DDO.

Secondly, digitizing AD&D rules is all well and good, but in my opinion, it makes DDO less immersive; a die is shown on the screen for every combat roll, and an NPC Dungeon Master does a terrible job at making the world come alive. Again, in my opinion, applying board game rules to a video game usually isn't a good idea. The creative events and stories that come with having a human Dungeon Master are lost in DDO.

There's a lot more issues that could serve as reason three for my dislike, but let me just choose the most trivial one. Call me casual, but I can't stand mana that doesn't automatically regenerate. Crazy stuff. I'll balance all those negatives with one positive: I got a two-handed axe very early in the game, and it's such fun to use that I've stopped paying attention to the plot completely; most quests are resolved if I just go around hitting things with my axe for long enough. Dungeons & Dragons Online isn't necessarily a bad game, it just isn't my cup of tea.

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