Lovely place to visit, ain’t it?
So we had the Mourkain Temple live event over this past weekend, and another one coming up. I had my Slayer Q’d up for about 18 hours in total, and didn’t finish the damn thing. Ended up with 7 Mourkain pops the entire time… Poor luck? Not sure, I was getting other scenarios to pop and had been doing quite well in them. I guess the pretty title just wasn’t for me. Tis a sad thing too since I was hoping to get it done relatively quickly and move on to my Engineer and Archmage. I like my tome unlocks, this one just proved a bit too much for me. It bugs me though, why do I need to queue exclusively to guarantee finishing the Live Event when I’m in game for half as many hours I work in a week? It was like taking a part time job, and failing to culminate in a paycheck. Ah, well. It was frustrating to say the least. Really makes me wonder if there is a good number of people that managed to snag that title.
Had a damn good time running scenarios on my Slayer though. I finally finished off my +disrupt% build and grabbed the CC Immunity renown tactic. I live a good 15-30s longer now in combat, which lets me pump out a ton of damage. I’ll get some of my better scoreboards up by the end of the week. There’s a handful in the 500k range, and I was running pug most of the time. My KB:DB ratio was horrible though, if only it calculated DB’s by the person that did the most damage to a player over time…
I’ve also been talking with some of my officers and a couple other guild leaders about merging. Population is down all over the place, and logging on to an empty guild is rather discouraging. Hence the solo-scenarios. The League of Legends beta got played for about another 3 hours, then I uninstalled it. Of course, with my secondary gaming slot still empty and all, I had to check out something…
So I rolled a dwarf fighter on Khyber and started grinding.
Now, I’m coming into this game with the understanding that it is nothing like WAR. It doesn’t have the quick visceral combat. It doesn’t have the massive body-littered bloody fields. It doesn’t really have much in the way of PvP (except for localized 6v6 arenas). I didn’t come into DDO expecting to find anything like it, so I wasn’t really disappointed. Everything else that I DID expect was fantabulous. Running solo (as I do when playing with brand new toys), was a great experience. The sounds, music, voiceovers, and story in each of these little adventures was really top notch stuff. VERY well done in my opinion. The unique way they instanced pretty much everything feels a bit empty, but none of the wilderness areas are really big enough to encompass more than a dozen people anyway. Mobs are spread out pretty thin, and you really take it one encounter at a time. Itemization is pretty standard if you’ve played DnD 3e. +1 random armor and weapons are abundant, occasional resist items, and the starter zone adventures will give you a pretty nice two piece set that I’m still using at Lv4.
Ah, the leveling. That’s something different they’ve done in this game. One of the concerns was the Lv10 limit. This has been bumped up to Lv20, but free to play is capped every 4 levels along the way. Lucky me, early adopters get some free DDO Shop coins that you can use to unlock Lv5-8 with. The other part is the enhancement mini-levels. Each level is broken up into 4 mini-levels that rewards you with a minor character enhancement. They’re small, but add up over time, and are actually useful considering the amount of work it takes to get them. Consider these mini-levels as if you would leveling in any other game, and it’d add up to about 80 that you get along the way. Makes the game seem a little bit more substantial eh? The challenge ratings per dungeon still work off your actual level however, and each dungeon has difficulty modes you unlock by doing the one prior to it. Most of them have a Solo mode, but those that actually require at least a second body for a trap, or difficult boss, are not available. There’s also a handful of Extreme challenges that require a solid group to git er done. The Kobold Assault was a fun one for me, kill 200 of the little guys as they swarm into your little keep. I manage to take out about 50 of em solo then came back later with a group and had a great time slapping them all over the place.
It’s definitely a PvE experience, but not in the sense that you’re dying to get to the endgame. There really isn’t any endgame. The fun is in the progression through the game and the variety of quests, adventures, bosses, and loot. As far as I’ve seen, there’s no way to powerlevel your way through this game. You can’t go farm mobs for hours on end to level up. XP is only awarded for accomplishing goals instead of killing monsters. This makes for a much more engrossing experience as you no longer need to focus on killing every single last moving thing in an area to maximize your XP output. In fact, you kinda don’t want to go back after you finish an adventure to search for secret rooms since you’re usually low on health and mobs respawn after 15 minutes. That, by the way, is about the average time it takes to finish a normal dungeon. Longer ones take about 30m, and short ones might be as little as 5m. It’s really cool to be able to jump in, run a few dungeons, and be content with your day. There’s no grinding you need to do, it’s just for the fun of it.
I kinda wish I had tried this out before it went free to play.
Which is funny, since I’m one of the incoming throng starting the game for the first time. This new influx of players brings an unsettling to the peace that small populated games develop as the chat channels get quiet. Already I’ve seen far too many references to Barrens chat, really bad Chuck Norris jokes, and the trade channel being used for heckling instead of *gasp* trading. The first day I played was great. People were generally respectful and helpful. They answered questions, gave advice, and suggested caution in random character building. However over the past 48 hours they’ve become more passive and disgruntled. I feel bad for players like myself that come into the game to enjoy it, and appreciate the wisdom of veteran players, that have to deal with the disruption a handful of idiots can cause. Alas is gaming online…
WAR is in no danger of being unsubbed for me. I’ve got it on those silly recurring payments and I just can’t be bothered to turn it off. I might need to find a few more people to run with on a regular basis as many guilds lose their core players (mine included), but I still need me a good killin’ every now and again. Besides, every new patch cycle has a dozen things that keep me attentive and curious to the impact it’ll have on the game. Things keep getting better, and some things just still stay bad (but they’re in the tracker I suppose). All in all, after a year of WAR, I think the game is in a much better state of playability. They just need a few hundred thousand more players to be an outright success.