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Meanwhile, in the Other Fantasy World on Game and Player

Meanwhile, in the Other Fantasy World

Heather Richtmyre  //  April 13, 2010


On the most famous tabletop's MMO.

S

o, I have been playing Dungeons & Dragons Online. And despite the relative trials of a party mainly consisting of one rogue and one sorcerer, I've found a lot of things I enjoy, along with a few frustrations.

The campaign setting is Eberron, and I will admit to a certain amount of fondness for one that illustrates itself with such things as a party, situated on a magical airship, fighting off a tribe of gnolls following on magical floating platforms. Plus, the setting brings in such things as the Dragonmarked houses, the sentient constructs known as Warforged, and the psionic Kalashtar, whom my players refer to as "the people with fish-things in their heads."

Fred the Mindflayer is also enjoyable. Partly because there's nothing like realizing your feat trainer is a member of a race more commonly known for extracting characters' brains via face tentacles.



Looks good: some armor pieces, though of little use to my character, have occupied bag space simply because of appearance.
The Dungeons & Dragons "Version 3.5" Player's Handbook provides seven playable races. The Eberron setting introduces four more. In Dungeons & Dragons Online, only four of the seven races from the players handbook are represented, with one more choice from Eberron. Drow is not listed, either. Some missing races might be hard to play, such as the psionic Kalashtar or the shape-shifting Changelings, and others such as Gnomes and Half-Elves would not show much visual difference. But some of the unavailable races are ones I will admit to finding particularly enjoyable to interact with in a tabletop campaign, and their not being implemented causes some disappointment.

I've discovered quite the fondness for exploring, and finding a group of kobolds staging a mock play or half of a ship in the middle of an island just encourages further exploration. Being slaughtered by a large group of scorpions can be discouraging, but hardly dampens the enjoyment of discovering the secrets of an area.

In contrast to the joy of exploration, I've been frustrated over my knack for forgetting what area of Stormreach a particular area's entrance is located in; and a few dungeons where my party spent more time trying to find our way through the instance than on anything else therein. Making some maps accessible outside the immediate area could help with the first problem, and the second has only occurred in a couple dungeons out of all the ones I have run by this point.



Private time: finding a group of kobolds staging a mock play just encourages further exploration.
I'm pleased by the look of clothing and armor. Some pieces, though of little use to my character, have occupied bag space simply because of appearance. Armor also provides similar protection to male and female characters, avoiding the incongruity of scanty plating providing as effective protection for one gender as the other.

A few server and store issues since the release of developer Turbine's newest update have been irritating but not massively distracting, as they have never kept me out of the game for long.

The game's puzzles can be challenging, but usually provide an enjoyable time and some moments of yelling at the sorcerer to not run directly into the firetrap. I'd do so with my AI hirelings as well, but they are not programmed to respond to voice chat.

I was going to name my guild "Our Cleric Worships Keith Baker." Apparently this is not a viable name, likely because of length. Most unfortunate; though in actuality our cleric worships Boccob.




Eddie Carrington (aka Brigwyn) // April 14, 2010 // 1:43 PM

Great article Heather. But I do have 1 question. Did you ever find that button/switch for the bridge?


Ed Kirchgessner // April 15, 2010 // 11:01 AM

Just an observation - I find it interesting that Eberron was chosen as the setting for Dungeons & Dragons Online considering the fact that this setting was the brainchild of an independent GM which was later acquired by Wizards of the Coast. I have very little experience with this particular gameworld, though its inclusion of psychic powers and clockwork technology seem a far cry from the "traditional" fantasy settings which TSR (and later WotC) marketed when I was a serious D&D player — Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance, etc.

Anyway Heather, thanks for making me nostalgic :) One of these days, I'll have to give Dungeons & Dragons Online a shot. I like the fact that it seems tailored for play with smaller adventuring groups. 25-man WoW raids proved not to be my thing...


Jai // April 15, 2010 // 7:07 PM

Actually, dorf, I got dragged off to go quest with a friend and haven't made it back to that dungeon yet. There are still quite a few at my level I haven't even touched yet.

It may be an atypical setting Ed, but I've been quite fond of it so far. Running a 3.5 campaign in Eberron right now, and it's quite fun. And if you decide to start playing DDO, let me know so I can keep you company.


Ed Kirchgessner // April 17, 2010 // 11:45 AM

Awesome, Heather. Since you're still playing with the 3.5 rules, I've got to recommend an independent magazine I've stumbled upon. Kobold Quarterly features a series of articles for 4th Edition, 3.5 and the Pathfinder redesign. You should check it out — there are always great ideas in there. Also, you may want to check out Wolfgang Baur's work. Enjoy!


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