The search for the best free mmo — Dungeons and Dragons Online

Dungeons and Dragons Online screenshot

This will be the first of quite a few games I’ll be review­ing that no longer requires a monthly sub­scrip­tion. DDO (Dun­geons and Drag­ons Online) has a unique game­play style – as you play your adven­tures are nar­rated. The nar­ra­tor tells you if your char­ac­ter can hear trolls in the next room for instance. A wel­come warn­ing, but you’ll only get that warn­ing if your lis­ten skill is high enough. The goal with the nar­ra­tion of course being to pro­vide the same feel as if you were sit­ting in a room, play­ing a tra­di­tional game of D&D with a game mas­ter, and it works to a point. The only caveat is that you can’t tell the game mas­ter that you want to try some­thing unortho­dox, and have him come up with some gen­eral rules for it on the spot. The D&D rule set is quite robust, and D&D online does an impres­sive job of repli­cat­ing it, that being said there are some omis­sions, and minor tweaks to make the game trans­late more read­ily to a video game. Per­haps the most notable of which is a change to the cleave and great cleave skills, which now, instead of giv­ing you a free attack after killing an oppo­nent, have become an area of effect attack, hit­ting mul­ti­ple tar­gets at once. The game doesn’t waste any time intro­duc­ing new play­ers to the nar­ra­tive style, directly after mak­ing your char­ac­ter, you’re dropped off on a beach, ship­wrecked, with no per­sonal belong­ings, luck­ily for you there’s a small group of peo­ple nearby who are all too will­ing to help; they get you some armor, and a weapon, but then drag you into their busi­ness, fight­ing off blood­thirsty mon­sters, and solv­ing puz­zles for this small group. Once it’s over you all part ways, and you can begin your quest on tuto­r­ial island! Where DDO starts to intro­duce you to the types of mis­sions, puz­zles, and ene­mies you’ll face in the game. the world is instanced, with town areas being a com­mon ground where play­ers can bump into each other, form par­ties, trade, etc. But once you enter a mis­sion you won’t see any­one who isn’t in your party; part of the fun of early MMOs was bump­ing into play­ers who were also out hunt­ing in the wilder­ness, how­ever it also pre­vents areas from get­ting “camped”, and also allows DDO to present more chal­leng­ing prob­lems that might be too hard if mon­sters kept respawn­ing all around you. There’s plenty of con­tent to reach the max­i­mum level with­out pay­ing for any­thing; how­ever, you will have to run some mis­sions mul­ti­ple times, and prob­a­bly travel to the wilder­ness areas to do a bit of grind­ing. While you only get expe­ri­ence for com­plet­ing objec­tives, the wilder­ness areas pro­vide some lim­ited, grind-​​like kill/​discover objec­tives that take more and more kills to reward expe­ri­ence as you go along. It’s worth not­ing that if you’re will­ing to drop a cou­ple dol­lars here and there on new mis­sions, you might never have to replay a mis­sion twice, or have to do any­thing that feels at all like grind­ing. As a free game, 3.5 stars, but as a paid game 4.5 stars! DDO is truly a mas­ter­fully cre­ated title, but prob­a­bly won’t be sat­is­fy­ing with­out pay­ing for it. You can cre­ate your free account now at http://​www​.ddo​.com/

Dun­geons and Drag­ons Online (as a free title)
A combination of the reviewer's bias, and the objective score
Some games are more than the sum of their parts, this cat­e­gory allows the reviewer to reflect that in his over­all rating.
How fun is the game
How good does the game look?
Sound effects, music, etc.
How long can you play this game before you need to take a break?
An aver­age of the game­play, sound, graph­ics, and replaya­bil­ity categories.

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