It is an exciting time to be a Dungeons and Dragons fan at the moment. In addition to two D&D online games, the D&D Fifth edition rules set was rolled out a few weeks back by Wizards of the Coast. It can be downloaded at their official website. I spent the last couple of weeks looking at both the basic rules and at the premade campaign, Lost of Phandelver in preparation for a 5th edition campaign I will be running for friends.
I won't get into many of the new rules changes here as they are thoroughly analyzed all over the web by now. The highlights however include:
Changes in proficiency bonuses. This is a bit different a little than previous editions. There is now a proficiency bonus of +2 for a first level character. Your proficiency bonuses applies to many of the numbers you will be recording on your character.
There are also some changes to the xp system of leveling characters and the basic set allows you to level up to level 5.
Racial chages include no penalties for ability scores. A dwarf speed is not reduced by wearing heavy armor and elves now get dark vision. Dwarves are basically proficient with axes and hammers. Humans get a +1 to all ability scores if they are not using feats.
Backgrounds are also made available for characters. There are the Acolytes which will be popular with Clerics, soldiers and many more.
There is the usual starting wealth, weapons and equipment but there are also some minor changes to armor. For medium armor, bonus to AC is capped at 2. There are also no dexterity modifiers for those wearing heavy armor.
If you are looking for a good summary/rundown/review of the basic rules, I think that Questing Beast provided a concise and good one (scroll to top)
As for DDO, I have been doing house K quests in an effort to level my Barbarian Warforged. Ran the Forgotten Caves, Taming the Flames and Tear of Dhakaan, among others over the double xp weekend and had a blast. I also changed guilds to a new guild that provides me access to level 85 buffs.
Additionally, I played a few hours of Neverwinter on Sunday. This game is so different from DDO, still fun but more of a traditional mmorpg with a D&D skin. You can do questlines from quest hub to quest hub and occasionally do some PVP to break up the grind. Though I enjoyed the zones a character battles in with other players, I find it easier to group in DDO than in Neverwinter and the fact that the latter game has more of a unique feel (Neverwinter feels closer to Everquest 2 and other fantasy themed mmorpgs) keeps me logging on to Eberron more than Cryptic's game. I do like PVP though, so this feature may save Neverwinter from falling off my radar altogether.