The Stream Team: Exploring Dungeons and Dragons Online’s currently free content

    
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With folks stuck at home during the pandemic, DDO has opened all of its quests for free throughout the month of April. Massively OP’s MJ is totally taking advantage of this opportunity! She’s embarking on the quest arc “Phiarlan Carnival” that starts with a series of mystical tasks to convince a giant to become an actor. That definitely sounds like fun! Tune in live at 8:00 p.m. for this free peek into the paid content of…

What: Dungeons & Dragons Online
Who: MJ Guthrie
When: 8:00 p.m. EDT on Thursday, April 2nd, 2020

The show is over now, but we’ve embedded it here just for you. Don’t forget to check out our past streams and videos collection, and stay tuned for our next show!
May 30, 2020
2:00pm EST: Sandbox Saturday - MJ
June 6, 2020
2:00pm EST: Sandbox Saturday - MJ
June 13, 2020
2:00pm EST: Sandbox Saturday - MJ

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Dug From The Earth

For a 14 year old game without giant AAA backing, DDO can offer a lot of fun. Cant have high expectations because it is 14 years old… and not 14 years of them constantly making updates to the engine either. Mechanics and systems have changed dramatically though. Enhancements (ie: the massive amounts of talent trees) werent in the game when I quit playing.

However, the immense brick wall that you slam up against in this game has always been the super old school first gen Free 2 Play model. Sure, it wasnt lockboxes and RNG, but it DID stop you from playing the game at a certain point until you were willing to fork out money.

It was meant to compete and be an alternative to the the subscription model for content. Either pay 60 bucks + 15 a month for content (like WoW), or pay in chunks, as you wanted, only paying for the content when you were ready to play it. This was fine at first, as there was only a handful of content that you were locked out of. You could unlock everything the game had to offer for under 70 bucks. It was an easy sell because that was barely more than the cost of a full game.

Now, however, there is so much locked content, that for a new or returning player, its a huge pay wall if you want to play this game for more than a couple of weeks. DC Universe Online suffers from the SAME thing. LoTRo kinda does as well.

The irony of it all is these games used to be the lesser of two evils when it came to a good F2P model and a bad one. Now, however, you have games that give you 100% of their content up front for free, with the business model being focused on cosmetics and boosts. No dead ends to run into if you arent willing to pay, just to play.

In fact, the best way to play a game like LoTRo or DDO these days, is to be a VIP (ie: subscribe). Which is completely ironic considering that their once iconic free 2 play model has grown into something that is now better avoided, resulting in going back to a subscription model.

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Ben Stone

Jumped into DDO recently just before this free content bonanza. The business model was offputting for many years, although now knowing how much can be unlocked for free or after making your way through a few reincarnations, I wish I had jumped in sooner.

It is definitely looking old (although the newer expansions of Underdark, Ravenloft and Sharn look nicer), but geez the quests and dungeons and character building is just next level. Reminds me of the old Everquest 2 days back when you actually had meaningful character advancement and group content. Traps at higher difficulty levels really freaking hurt, you will need a rogue or artificer to come along (or find some way to avoid them). There are meaningful alternative ways to do quests through various skills. There is just so much freaking attention to detail and cool things.

I think it will keep me enthralled for a while, since there doesn’t look to be anything great on the immediate horizon.

Snax
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Snax

On a relative note, I tried to really get into LOTRO being free and all. I even watched the first movie just to get super hyped to play the next morning. Played for like 4-5 days, racked up about 60 hours in, only reached level 30, because I was trying to take in everything the world of Middle Earth has to offer – explore every area, look under every nook and cranny, that type of thing…

And holy cow, this game is one huge pile of garbage:

1. all servers are in NA, even the ones that say are for EU players, so lag is unbearable – I had encounters with mobs where we stand at each other in battle poses looking at each other for like 10 seconds before either of us takes a swing… and I have a pretty neat internet connection so this was never a problem for me before – it’s only the games with bad netcode that I have problem with

2. the game engine is so outdated and buggy – even on an SSD, when it loads new areas, the game hiccups for a second and FPS drops to 0, inspecting a player causes the FPS to drop to 0 for a moment until the inspect window loads all the information… the x64 bit client barely improves this situation, Alt-Tab back into the game causes the whole area to re-render on the spot, forcing me to play in Borderless Window

3. quests feel like the same mundane crap I do in WoW – go there, kill 10 spiders, collect 8 spider poison sacks, escort this idiot who got captured in that orc camp, collect 5 swamp fly wings… yeah, real adventure in Middle Earth… if only they had boosted the XP rate so one can do only the main quest and not bother with the stupid side-quest crap, it would’ve sucked less as a game

4. every step of the way… EVERY.. STEP .. OF … THE … WAY … the game treats you like a fucking hobo – buy this, purchase that, expand your inventory, expand your gold cap, you’re a freeloader, you’re a loser, you should be worshiping the ground we walk on, because we designed this piss poor WoW clone and decied to make it free, because everyone keeps calling us (SSG) greedy and predatory

5. combat feels like WoW, but worse – there is this delay/queueing thing where you can queue up to 2 or 3 abilities, but instead of making things faster, or easier on you, it just ends up being confusing and annoying, to make matters worse, there is a huge delay between when an ability is being execute and when you get visual and auditory feedback for that, making the game feel even laggier even though it runs at 200 FPS maxed out and about 400 FPS when all settings are on lowest… even when the servers restart for maintenance and you log in right after, before the majority of people do, it’s still laggy as hell

I’ve even had NPCs disappear and pop out of thin air making me look through Wikia articles where exactly they are and making me think I’m at the wrong place, despite the quest markers clearly pointing the place where I’m at.

At this point, I’m to afraid to even try DDO. I’d rather play Neverwinter Online over DDO considering how bad my experience with LOTRO was and how DDO is made in the same engine and by the same developers.

I sincerely hope Amazon’s upcoming Middle Earth MMORPG to completely steal the playerbase from LOTRO and cause it to shut down, because this pathetic WoW clone isn’t even worth it when it’s free.

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styopa

IMO DDO is worse.
Don’t get me wrong, I played a LOT of LotRO – and enjoyed the hell out of it – until I didn’t like mounted combat and then REALLY hated Mordor for the grindy-crap. So already I think my tolerance for the crap that bothered you was probably a little higher because I liked the setting, etc.

And, at least in my experience, mechanically DDO was worse. I really wanted to like it, I’d played last when it first went FTP and was delighted that they found a way to survive.
But last year we gave it another go – I played with my sons so we were constantly livechatting with each other and we laughed that merely opening your inventory would cause the entire game to stutter…we sort of figured that was the cause for all the constant hitching in game, that people were just opening their inventory somewhere in the world. “Oh, hold on, someone’s checking their inventory again”

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sophiskiai

I’ve been playing so, so much DDO almost daily since they made all the content available – am trying to earn as much Favour as possible from it, have almost reached the 2,500 milestone to unlock the Favoured Soul class.