Wednesday, January 16, 2013

My warforged wizard noob toon

I enjoy playing warforged characters as you can probably tell. I wanted to roll a wizard, so I created this one and have been going through all the early level content trying to level this one up.

I was surprised and happy to learn that allows you to look up your character, much like wow does on their battlenet site, so here is my current build and state of my toon.

I was hoping some of you more experienced players could take a look and make suggestions, observations. I decided that I would research as much as I could on equipment, stats and try to optimize the wizard in the correct way, but since DDO is based on D&D 3.5, it can get kind of technical at times, so I have decided not to let that get in the way of my enjoying the game. I think that there are opportunities to change out feats and respec, much like I used to when I was playing Dark Age of Camelot, but I may be wrong about that. Still, any suggestions or observations from the community will be appreciated. Last night I ran through Misery's peak once more with a random PUG and had fun earning xp. I had forgotten what a long quest that was. We shall see how much progress I make this week.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

DDO vs. Wow- Revisited

The Drow of the Underdark are a new area of exploration in DDO

Recently, while looking online for info on mmorpgs, I came across this old blog post talking about why DDO can never compete with World of Warcraft. This is not a new comparison or analysis by any means, but since I have played both games, and have been doing so again of late, I wanted to address some of the points against Turbine and DDO which the author made so long ago.

He writes, "There are a number of things blizzard got right with WoW that DDO just doesn’t. In theory DDO should be a brilliant online game- it’s got the power of the most popular and advanced RPG fighting system behind it, the storytelling power DnD is famous for and it’s got all this in an online game with enormous character uniqueness and customization capability."

So why doesn’t it work ? scale. He goes on to compare the games in terms of scale:

"In WoW you are questing out in the world – you don’t even enter a dungeon until level 15, as you quest you meet other players, some will help you with quests some will just pass you by but 90% of all the things you do happen outside in the world. You’re interacting with people all the time."
This may have been true 2 years ago when this post was written, but in the post-Cataclysm era, I find that it is simply no longer true. In fact, there may be more players now logging in daily to raid and do PvP content, but for a long time most will sit in capital cities, or queue for a dungeon and battleground, leaving most of the open world barren in comparison.

"In DDO every time you start a quest, you get cut off from everybody who isn’t in your party (so if you solo quite a bit while leveling to get used to playing your class – you may as well be playing diablo – the fact that it’s online becomes irrelevant)."
This is also untrue, well not the part about DDO being mostly instanced, but the fact about it being less mmorpg than wow as a result. As a matter of fact, a lot of the dungeons in DDO are simply undoable or too hard to solo which requires either using hirelings, or other players. Luckily, the social function built into the game by Turbine allows you to easily and quickly find other players looking for groups and looking to run dungeons with you, most of which will be divided by level, making it convenient to find a party. Once you do, it is nothing like a single player dungeon crawl, rather a fun interactive and co-op experience.

This is why, perhaps, I’ve yet to see a mount in DDO (I think they don’t exist) – while in WoW they aren’t just nice – they are incredibly useful. Because you’re traversing the world, what fantasy hero doesn’t ride on his quest ? Well unless you’re Tolkiens hobbits – nobody else wants to walk everywhere. It also means to get between areas you have to fly/take a boat. You can’t walk and explore because the city exits lead to combat zones – that don’t have another exit.

Well this is true, but as a guildie once said to me when I mentioned mounts a while back, "who needs mounts when you can just teleport?" This is really true, Stormreach is a huge city, but to see most of the content would take a really long time playing the game, and to traverse to other parts of the world, all one has to do is join a good guild with a functional air ship and use it to port in and out of places, at least that's what I and many others do. It would be cool to see mounts, but as DDO is based on Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 rule sets and that game is meant to be played as a collective of players in a party, they are not really needed in DDO.

Free to play done wrong
DDO because they don’t have a subscription fee pushes the store in your face all the time. True you can earn store points just from playing but that comes pretty slow and so far I’ve spent mine all on healing potions. If you don’t buy you will soon find you cannot compete with those who do. That ultimately slants the game in favor of those with the most cash to burn instead of those with the most skill – and it annoys the hell out of you – especially as a newer player.

I don't think this was ever true, although it is true that a f2p player would find it virtually impossible or would take forever to achieve the same gear or progress than a p2p using mostly the game's "favor" system, now that the game has more a freemium model, the online store is hardly "ever in your face" it is up to you if you want to buy adventure packs or locked classes, but if you prefer to play for free, there is a lot of free content that is still accessible and you can still have a ton of fun playing the game without dropping a dime into it. Is there a competitive advantage? Since there is no PvP to speak of, except for brawling in the taverns as a diversion, I don't feel that there is any significant advantage accrued by VIP players, they simply get parts of the game that are not available to the f2p, and since dungeons can be ran in different difficulty levels, there is content for everyone to enjoy even the newest of players.

Another knock on DDO is a perceived lack of lore, in comparison to the vast game world and overarching back story, but most of the wow players I know don't really care about lore anyway, don't more than half skip reading quest text in favor of going out to grind? Don't get me wrong, I like Blizzard games and I feel the need to play wow from time to time because it is a fun and polished mmorpg, I just don't feel that DDO is lacking in lore, or development of lore in the game, especially now that the Forgottem Realms have been incorporated into DDO, who knows what other DDO settings and staples Turbine will surprise us with next?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

MMO Report No More

I was sad to hear that G4 is cancelling the MMO Report. Though I was often at odds with silly host Casey Schreiner, mostly because he tended to focus on his ego more than on the games he was spotlighting, it's always bad when an avenue for reporting on this often overlooked game genre is closed.

Though the MMO Report used to give more coverage to more big name mmos like wow and Rift and waaay too much coverage to SWTOR before that game came out, and though it often sourced material from massively, it was still a good source of news. I will miss it. Check out the video of the last show.

Running challenge dungeons in DDO with my Warforged

It's been a long time, yes I have been gone a long time and things didn't pan out in terms of me playing DDO, but now I am back, because I am on xmas/winter break from grad school. I plan to update daily, if not every other day, as I play more and more DDO, which is one of my favorite mmorpgs (the others being World of Warcraft and good old Dark Age of Camelot)

But I digress. Earlier tonight I was doing the Proof is in the Poison challenge dungeon with my level 6 warforged. What I didn't know is that this dungeon would be extremely hard to finish on elite, and that it was a long adventure. Fortunately, I didn't undertake it alone, I went in with a bard who brought along a hireling, and later (after I died a few times) we invited some extra muscle.

Unfortunately, the power went out in my place went out for some strange reason (could be that the mini heater I was using sucked up all the electrical juices since it's so freaking cold) and as I screamed in disguist, NOOOOOOO, the room went pitch dark and all my xp went out the window. Considering how long this dungeon takes, even on normal settings, you can imagine I was upset, my party probably all died, although they may have made it all the way through as my fellow bard was a pretty resistant and highly skilled player from what I could tell, maybe they finished it. I guess I will never know. I was kicking myself for a bit because I could have gained a while half a rank of xp had I completed the quest since we were running it on elite!

Curiously enough, I have been scouring youtube and the web for DDO content and tutorials, and though there is a lot of significant content online, the best video I found on this specific dungeon was put together by Total Biscuit. If you also play other mmorpgs, most notably wow, you are already familiar with TB's style, but I found it interesting that he attempted (successfully unlike myself) to two-man this dungeon along with a warrior tank for muscle over a year ago.

 His bard has the ability to heal itself and that's what my PUG friend was doing the whole time on our dungeon run, although I was not aware of it at the time.

Mind you, as he points out, Bards are not the only healers in DDO, but they can solo some instances, especially if they are using mystical armor like he was. TB does as a better job of explaining it in this video, but it's a bit of a long one, so make sure you have time to watch the entire thing. I had to stop it right before the end as I did not want to spoil the entire adventure. I am sure I will be attempting to complete this dungeon, preferably on elite for bonus xp in the days to come. Cheers!!