As always, the column kicks off with a community roundup. There is a fair amount of information out there already, if you know where to look. We hope this helps you get started, so follow along after the jump to see what the DDO community has to offer.
Dungeons and Dragons Online official site
The official DDO site is a launch pad of sorts, providing a central location with links to the forums, my DDO, and the compendium. You'll also find the latest game news and communication from the developers, as well as an overview of the DDO store.
The Compendium contains information on quests, items, races, classes, and NPCs throughout DDO, and serves as an outline for basic information on everything in the game. A basic search allows you to look for an item, weapon, armor, quest, spell, enhancement, or feat -- don't miss the little drop down menu off to the side or you're probably not going to get the results you are looking for. Advanced search is...well, much more advanced, but a very handy tool. You can break your search down by race, class, level, patron; you name it and there's a little check box for it.
My DDO is a look at the player community as individuals. Here you'll find player blogs, and even more interestingly, player stats. It's a great way to get tips from other players outside of game, when you can look them over at your leisure. Did you group with a player who seemed to be particularly effective? A quick trip to my DDO will allow you to enter the player name and review his or her stats, armor, weapons, and so on. This area of the site is also home to individual player blogs, which range from silly to entertaining to informative. The latest entries are kept up to date in the "player news" section, with the newest entries at the top.
The DDO forums are huge and can seem a bit overwhelming. As with the Compendium, it's best to know what you are looking for when you arrive -- it's a bit much for casual browsing. A full menu down the left side of the main page helps a bit. The forums are divided into sections for free players, news and discussion, servers, classes, races, gameplay, DDO site discussion, community, service and support, beta discussion, and miscellaneous. Furthermore, each section has subsections: each server forum, for example, has subforums for guilds and trading. They are very well organized, but the sheer amount of information can seem like a bit much at first glance.
The DDO Compendium has a fansite listing as well as fansite subforums in their community forums. There are a fair amount of fansites out there -- keep in mind that Dungeons and Dragons Online was around well before it went free-to-play, and the community has some pretty deep roots. Here are a couple of the most informative fansites we found.
Alex Haddox's dungeon maps are an absolute necessity for anyone trying to find their way around DDO. While it's not comprehensive, there are 81 maps listed. Each one includes a screenshot of the fully opened map as well as a listing of XP, bosses, patrons, bonuses, and footnotes with extra information.
The DDO character planner and viewer is a great resource for both giving and receiving character ideas out of game. You can browse through existing characters by class and level to see what other players are doing, and then add your own build to share with everyone else.
Finally, DDM's Realm is a nice hub for quests, items, adventure packs, and so on. Each quest and wilderness listing contains a handy breakdown of XP, rare encounters, and requirements, so it's definitely one that you'll want to bookmark as a reference tool.
The DDO Wiki is a work in progress, but so far is very, very well done. The search function is simple and clear once you know where to look for it (top right hand corner). If you're not paying attention and type your search string in the left hand side -- where most people are used to doing wiki searches -- you'll find that you just volunteered to create a new article. Which is fine if you are so inclined, as they are soliciting help in fleshing it out a bit.
DDOcast is probably the most well-known DDO podcast around, offering a weekly rundown of all the latest news and happenings in the game. DDOcast has been around for just over three years, so the hosts know their stuff and it's an invaluable resource for any fan.
If you're looking for something on the lighter side, check out the DDO Cocktail Hour, where the hosts chat about some of the smaller details of DDO, and just have fun talking about their favorite game.
DDO has fun with the social media side of the their game, even going so far as to let everyone's favorite ham and broccoli in on the act:
Broccoli on Twitter
Tasty Ham on Facebook
On a more serious note, Turbine has created several sites for all the latest information via these sites. You'll want to follow these three for all of the latest little details on the game:
DDO on Facebook
DDO on Youtube
Turbine on Twitter (Note: this serves as Twitter info central for DDO, LotRO, and Asheron's Call.)
The DDO community is unique in that it is both older and well established, and new and growing quickly. The game has been around for years, but its enormous resurgence last summer brought a whole new group to the table. Community websites sprout up constantly, and unfortunately many of them are abandoned after a few months. If you know of an established community site that Exploring Eberron should take a look at, drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org.