Dungeons & Dragons Online News & Events & Guides
Well, okay, maybe it's a little too early to call DDO a "true" online D&D experience. But I can tell you that this little game is a major shift away from the typical MMO level grind, and that's news all by itself, in my opinion. I'm sure the regular readers are well aware of my distaste for days, if not weeks, of stabbing rats to death with a medieval spork and calling it "fun." Been there, done that, got the T-shirt, wore it out, used it for Dan's cage lining, so forth. DDO, instead of sending you off for days (if not weeks) of fetch-or-kill quests, is based around its modules. Yes, that's right--it's not a bog-standard MMO with a big-name license slapped on it. This is D&D, with the textbook character classes (according to the new Eberron flavor, that is), the 3.5 ruleset, and even a display of each dice roll you'd make if you were playing the pen-and-paper version with real, physical people right in front of you. It's almost like being there!
I have to say, though, that Eberron will be a bit jarring for those used to the de facto Forgotten Realms environment--Baldur's Gate, Demon Stone, Dark Alliance, Neverwinter Nights and the old Gold Box classics from TSR and SSI. In Eberron, we're told, magic is a way of life, and approaches the level of DDO Gold. In fact, it seems to surpass it in some ways, with huge levitating airships and fantastical, original building architecture that separate this world from the usual castles and such. The city of Stormreach is also a departure, in a tropical, South American setting instead of a medieval European one.
This city serves as the main hub of the game, and here you'll do the usual things like selling off your gear, turning in quests and getting new ones, and meeting up with people for the various adventures that await. When you go up to a quest giver and start the mission, you'll be instantly teleported to or near the entrance to the module--no tedious travel to or from, although finding the actual entrance looks like it will be part of some quests. In these situations, you'll have to brave all kinds of beasties, from little beasties to hulking giants, none of whom are happy to see you.