What have I been up to? I formed a DDO static group.
You wanna know more? Click on the DDO link in my menu.
What have I been up to? I formed a DDO static group.
You wanna know more? Click on the DDO link in my menu.
So last night, in anticipation of the new DDO expansion dropping, I logged on to DDO for the first time in about a month and I had so much fun, it provided a necessary respite from wow and DAoC, and whatever else I have been sporadically sampling of late. I probably won’t be playing it until at least early next month, when I get some time to really explore it, but I wanted to see how much of an impact the news has been having on the mmo blogosphere. Apparently, with some many gaming options out there, even the news of an expansion pack for a great f2p game like DDO has competition.
Although Ten Ton Hammer has a very detailed look at the new expansion, will smaller more fan driven blogs have similar content? Massively.com reported earlier today that the game is available for download from Steam, (fantastic!) but the bulk of their report came from a Turbine press release which did include an interview with the developers.
Other bloggers barely noticed it, it seems.
Tobold, for one, has been writing a lot about D&D table top gaming, as he has been interested in D&D 4E of late, but it doesn’t appear as he is playing DDO much these days, or at all. Tobold writes about puzzles and riddles in mmorpg games and previous to this he was blogging some more about pen and paper D&D. Other blogs focused on diverse topics such as The Secret world beta weekend, discussion of the changing nature of the mmo industry and saturation in the marketplace, and one how movies based on video games usually suck, while the Ancient Gaming Noob is writing about Little Big Planet.
As for me, I think I will be running with some DDO PUGs in Stormreach to get into the mood of DDO once more. It has always been a great game for grouping and running instances, and while it may or may not be as much fun as wow, I think one mistake people have made in the past is comparing it to other mmorpgs. Turbine really has a unique property, while the license may not be unique with Cryptic bringing Neverwinter into the MMO milieu, the game’s mechanics and fully instanced dungeons are a fun and different experience, which is why I keep coming back, at least periodically. Yes, I am excited about playing in the Forgotten Realms setting, and yes I will be giving my warforged toon another go at it in the weeks to come.
The other night I found out my ancient laptop can run LOTRO. I was excited over the possibilities of getting back into Turbine’s other game and doing some skirmishes with my tank.
I logged on to the LOTRO Imladris server and there he was, smiling back at me, my level 16 dwarf Guardian, still decked out in the gear I put him in some 7 months ago.
LOTRO suffers the same ailment as DDO though, a considerable lack of PvP. There is some PVP, there’s the whole monster system, but you have to pay to get into that, and frankly, there are too many free mmorpgs I have yet to check out. That is probably the main reason I got bored and stopped playing LOTRO, though I was surprised to find that it had been more than six months since I played! Now I gotta find a new guild
Speaking of free mmorpgs, I have not been playing DDO as much, not because I don’t like the game but because work and my recent preparations to get into grad school have sapped most of my free time, except for nights.
I have been kicking around the idea of getting back into wow, because my co-worker plays it, and frankly it would be fun to run dungeons with him.
Here are some advantages that DDO has over wow in case anyone is on the fence about them:
This Saturday I am going to a meeting of the Pasadena D&D meet club. Should be a blast to dust off the old books and play some 4E D&D
This time of year there are a number of winter time in game events which make your favorite game more fun to play, or adds an extra element to the mmo experience of your choice. Some games like SWTOR are too new, or would not benefit from having these in game events because it would detract somewhat from the overall storyline, but for more established retro mmorpgs, fans have come to expect them and delight in them every year.
The feast of winter veil is going on currently in Azeroth. I remember previous holiday season spending sometime doing seasonal quests and looking at the colorful graphics in game. In Everquest 2, frostfell meant that members of the community relations team got to hang out with players in selected servers handing out in game goodies. Though the event is now over, The Double Station Cash Stocking Stuffer promotion that SOE has going, lasts through tomorrow (Dec.27)
Over at DDO, Turbine continues to celebrate Festivult by giving players coins from treasure chests which can be turned into the jester for special gifts. LOTRO offered its annual Yule festival with local events in the Shire, Ered Luin and Bree-land, additionally players could travel to the festival-themed mini-area of Frostbluff to participate in a town wide celebration.
Personally, I really am looking forward to the Midwinter Festival event on the DAoC servers, although I probably may not be able to enjoy it for awhile as I have 26 more levels to climb with my savage. Still, the event runs until January 17, so if I extend my DAoC trial into a new month sub, I may be able to catch the tail end of it. Honestly, I am having the most fun playing a game in RvR battlegrounds. The game’s learning curve is a little high for newbies, but I learned that most players don’t really quest but wait until they hit the level needed to do battlegrounds. B.g.s in DAoC are a dicey proposition, people from the other factions in RvR tend to wait until one is pulling aggro on mobs to jump in and try to score a kill. It can get annoying with all the camping, but if you can find a group, you are able to fend off the attacks, provided you are on the high level end of the specific b.g.
No matter what game you choose to play this winter season, may you have fun as we turn the calendar page into a new year, because that is what it is all about is it not??? Peace!
So it turns out that I had been doing it all wrong.
While running around Stormreach the other night I ran into a number of friendly players who pointed out that my warforged paladin built was all wrong. Sure, I had somehow managed to advance four levels, but stats mean a whole heck of a lot more in ddo than in your average mmo, so I asked what was the best combo for a warforged just starting out life and it was unanimously suggested for me to re-roll as a wizard.
Now I know what you’re thinking, didn’t I say last time around that I was thoroughly enjoying warhamer online and was going to make it my summer project to level up my goblin squig herder until my heart’s content?
Yes, but I have been either too lazy or to busy, or maybe both to play around with quieting my noisy vid card. Everytime I log on to Mythic’s game it sounds like it’s going to explode, so I decided to lay off and play some DDO in the interim, Turbine’s game is rather smooth in my ancient rig and my interest in DDO was undoubtedly rekindled by last week’s real table top session in Neverwinter while at Pasadena.
At any rate, I was having fun with my new DDO toon, as I learned how to prepare spells and quested through the newbie zone before shipping out once more to the harbor.
Below is a screenshot detailing my wizard’s stats. Pretty cool!
This game is quite deep, at least for me, there are plenty of zones I have yet to explore, so DDO should keep me satisfied until I return to WAR. For Destruction!!!
“The legendary learning curves of yesterday’s MMOs have been severely smoothed in the post-World of Warcraft era….”
So begins an intriguing article by Sean Kavanagh on a new player’s perspective while playing an older mmo detailed in the September/October edition of Beckett’s Massive Online Gamer magazine. I’m not going to spoil the article for you guys, but suffice it to say that Kavanagh’s premise that gamers can actually enjoy a classic mmo experience (in his case adventuring through 1999′s Asheron’s Call) is a valid one.
I found this article interesting because I have come to the same conclusion playing Dark Age of Camelot, a game which along with Ultima Online and Everquest, is probably as classic in the mmo genre as you’re likely to get without going as far back as the graphical MUD days in which some of the conventions now associated with the genre were not yet invented.
The interesting thing is that I myself rolled a toon in AC not too long ago, only in my case it wasn’t a low population that turned me off the game, but I just could not get used to the graphics. As Kavanagh points out in his piece, a game like Asheron’s Call is no match visually for a modern mmo theme park like RIFT, but if you can get past the limitations of playing in a world whose graphic engine hasn’t been updated for several years, you can get some excitement out of the unique features the game has to offer. I experienced one of those features right off the bat on my first night adventuring through the game’s open ended world.
I was befriended by a long time player who agreed to be my patron and I bound allegiance to his character. This was a cool thing, but I must admit to having been perplexed by the myriad of buffs, spells and gear I was given in order to advance my noobish character. Even with the extra help, I just could not stomach those ancient graphics, Dark Age of Camelot has been an entirely different story.
That is not to say that there aren’t some things which newer MMOs have taken from a game like AC and improved upon. The interface isn’t as polished, for example, and it is true that the learning curve for this game is higher than other games, but someone willing to put in the time can get much enjoyment out of it. Turbine still updates the game and continues to manage it along with its newer properties like Dungeons and Dragons Online.
As far as DAoC is concerned, playing it has left me astounded in regards to how many of the conventions now taken for granted by players in a game like wow were present in this game: flying from zone to zone, trading items between characters, etc. etc. I like DAoC’s combat mechanics better than wow’s myself, with the familiar D&D phrasing (“You hit the rat for 10 points of damage”) refreshingly intact.
I can’t really say if some of these conventions were in place in DAoC prior to their adoption by modern games like wow because I wasn’t playing DAoC back in the day and warcraft was one of the first truly modern mmos I tried, so maybe some of you mmo veterans can help me out. I know DAoC predates wow by at least 3 years, but there have been expansions along the way. It’s really a question of the chicken and the egg: which game adopted which convention from which.
No matter, if you feel like trying an old mmo like Asheron’s Call or DAoC I say more power to you, you will find there are those along the way who are willing to help. The games may have seen more popular days, but it’s refreshing to see players come back to them and it’s good to have them around as alternatives to the more modern games.