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The pros and cons of free to play Dungeons and Dragons Online


Dungeons and Dragons Online going free to play is undoubtedly an awesome announcement. But exactly how awesome of an announcement is it?

Yesterday we were all over the announcement, covering the basics of what can be expected with this changeover from subscription based to free to play. But now, I'd like to break that down even further, and really look at the changes in an in-depth manner.

Certainly not everything about the new version of DDO has been defined by Turbine, but we're going to take a look at the basics of what this new version offers and compare the ups and downs of what's being offered. By the time we're done looking over the new system, you'll be able to answer that one burning question that's plaguing your mind.

Is free to play DDO worth it for you?

The pros to the deal

Right off the bat, there's one pro that very obviously sticks out -- it's a free game. DDO is, by no means, a poorly made game. When you compare DDO to some of the other free-to-play titles out on the market, the game is a masterpiece. It's solidly written, pretty fun to play, and was previously worth the 15 dollars a month. Now that the game can be played without having any money leave your wallet, the game jumps from being a good game to being a great game just that quickly.

Another, less obvious, pro to the whole deal is the shot of community the game needs. DDO, like its parent game, Dungeons and Dragons, needs people working in parties to function properly. You don't solo Dungeons and Dragons and you likewise shouldn't attempt to solo Dungeons and Dragons Online. While Turbine has worked on requests to make the game more solo-friendly through added options like the "solo" difficulty mode on dungeons and the scaling of dungeons to the number of players, the game just feels lackluster when you're dungeoneering alone. More people equals more parties and more populated servers, the perfect solution to low population servers.

"You don't solo Dungeons and Dragons and you likewise shouldn't attempt to solo Dungeons and Dragons Online."

Third on the list is the use of the DDO store being added to the mix. While there's obviously mixed opinion on adding an "item mall" to the game, the Dungeons and Dragons line of RPG books is no stranger to offering optional purchases to players and dungeon masters. If the DDO store offers options such as new modules, stand-alone adventures, classes, and vanity items to players for a low cost, then it's not much different from going out to your local game store and picking up a 30 dollar module for your tabletop group.

Look at it this way -- you buy the things you want for the game, you pay less than 15 a month, you still get what you want, and Turbine still makes money from their product. You save money and are happy, and Turbine makes money and stays in business. It's a win all around.

Furthermore, the DDO store is not restricted to just buying items with money. This is why I've avoided the use of calling it a "cash shop." As you adventure, you actually earn cash shop points for playing. This allows you to make use of the store even if you're not all into offering up your credit card to the Turbine dungeon masters. Think of it like experience... overpowered experience.

However, purchasing items leads me into...

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