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Exploring Eberron: Playtime over the holidays

Rubi Bayer, @@rubi_

It's Christmas Eve, and most everyone is on some sort of holiday break. The interesting thing about holiday "break" is that it's often not so much a break as it is a different kind of hustle and bustle than the usual one.

Still, it's supposed to involve at least a little bit of downtime, and we MMO fans look forward to indulging with some extra time in our favorite games. While it's hard to find time to spend hours raiding, the design of Dungeons and Dragons Online allows players to take a half-hour here and there to relax and play. The downside of this is that there's a lot of content, and it's easy to wind up staring at the game thinking "I have no idea what I want to do." A few suggestions can usually get the ball rolllng, so follow along after the jump for some ideas on how to make the most of your DDO downtime!

Straighten up your inventory

This is the virtual version of "You're bored? Go clean your room!" It's very easy for inventory to get out of control quickly in DDO, so it never hurts to spend 5-10 minutes doing maintenance here and there. Do you have items that you've been meaning to get to a broker or the auction hall? Collector's items that need to be traded in? Things that need to be transferred to another character? Put on your haggling items and start on that pile!

Tackling a small part of your inventory is one of the quickest things you can do in DDO, so if you find yourself with the urge to hang out in Eberron without a ton of time, spend a couple of minutes on inventory management. DDO has some great tools for organizing your storage -- for a price. All sorts of bags, quivers, and now even cookie jars are available in the DDO Store. If you've been playing for any length of time, you've probably got at least a few of those, but maybe it's time to treat yourself to an upgrade and get some extra space.

Check out the new races

Do you have a free character slot on one of the servers? Half-Elves and Half-Orcs were introduced with Update 7, and Half-Elves got a huge tweaking with Update 8. Spend some time in character creation looking them over, create one, and take him or her on a test run through some of the Korthos Island quests. If you just want to look into what they can do, look over the Half-Elf dilettante abilities to get an idea of what they're all about. Even if you looked them over when they were released, the Update 8 changes made a big difference to Half-Elves -- take a look!

Fill out your Adventure Compendium

One of the things I absolutely love about DDO is the Adventure Compendium. Log in, press "P", and it's all laid out in front of you. You can sort by adventure length, level, patron, amount of favor, or progress. It's the quickest way to choose a brief and productive gameplay session. Do you need a little more favor with one house or another? Haven't done a particular dungeon on solo difficulty? The panel makes it easy to scan through and pick out the short dungeons, and the game's geography gets you to your chosen location quickly.

Play with the character creator

Have you looked over last week's Exploring Eberron but not had time to try the Character Planner yet? Take a couple of minutes for some trial-and-error to start getting used to it. Getting used to the interface and setup is a bit of a learning process, but if you do it here and there in your downtime it will be more fun than overwhelming, and you'll be a pro at it before you know it.

Scoop up some Festivult coins!

Festivult is going on now, so make sure you take advantage of it! There are some great areas that you can run in a relatively short amount of time and that have a high number of chests. The DDO forums have a good thread with suggestions and ideas for getting chests quickly, so you'll want to take some time to read through that.

Try something new!

I'm willing to bet there's at least one race and class you haven't tried yet, so why not experiment with something you've not dabbled in before? While I don't recommend a Warforged Healer or anything like that, why not mix it up a bit and see what you can do with an original combination? Take a trip down memory lane and have some fun on Korthos Island to see what your new character can do!

These are just a few ideas to get you underway quickly when you need to unwind for a little bit in the middle of the holiday busyness. Enjoy the holiday festivities with family and friends, and I will see you all next week!

Exploring Eberron is a novice's guide to the world of Dungeons and Dragons Online, found here on Massively every Friday. It's also a series of short summaries of lower-level DDO content, cleverly disguised as a diary of the adventures of OnedAwesome, Massively's DDO guild.

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