Monday, November 24, 2014

Free to Play Week: Dungeons & Dragons Online

Avast me hearties and welcome to Day 1 of Free to Play Week. We have chills, spills and thrills awaitin' ye brave enough to journey forward but make no mistake! For death awaits you all with big, sharp, pointy teeth and breath that could concuss a cow. Ahem... excuse me but it is just fun to dramatize now and then.

From the humble beginnings of TSR (Tactical Studies Rules) and from the hands of Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson this realm was devised for table top gaming in 1974 to being a staple in the Wizards of the Coast publications, Dungeons & Dragons has seen four decades in as one of the first role-playing games available. But what if you cannot get all your friends around a table, have soda and rip off famous sci-fi fantasy and horror movie lines?  Enter Turbine's development of Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach.

Death from above!

Beta tested in August 1, 2005, Turbine sent mass emails and invites to a public alpha testing this open ended fantasy game allowing parties to be formed, bonds to be forged and even dragons to be slain as the party learns teamwork and proper treasure sharing... or so we are lead to believe. Within the first hour of being on the attitude of the massive server seems to be XP (experience points) Fantatics, 8 Hour Gamers (Hopping from one long campaign to the next) , the lost NEWBIES (New Person)and the rude NOOBS (New Person who is ignorant, swears and in general demands all the knowledge without any experience). Quests ranging from 20 minutes to up to hours on end can be a hassle to lower appendages, bladder and hunger issues.

Avengers Assem... oh wait, that is a law suit waiting to happen.

After 4 hours on here as I have not frequent it as often as I had in the past, this was a steep learning curve. Fortunately for me, I came across a party of easy going folk that simply wanted to take out goblins and later tackle some orcs. All this for more experience points in order to level up their characters. Our wizard was a bit whiny on needing potions and demanded someone stay by him in order to cast spells and watch his back so he was not jumped but all in all a fun time of hack and slashing evil creatures and looting the bodies.

Now, the hook. Other adventures can only be added to your existing collection if you have either Turbine Points or simply a credit/debit card or Paypal purchase to these different modules. You can even do a monthly charge of 9.99 and there are items, weapons and spells at cost. Make no mistake, guys and dolls this is a money pit if you are not careful. "Hey, where did that guy get that flaming broadsword of many hurts??!!" "Why, I bought it at," Events are held through out the months offering prizes, funds and treasure for the hard hitting dungeon divers as well as the casual player.

Overall, the game play's camaraderie is pretty sound. Yes, there are some rude people hiding being enmity but you will have that in any form of electronic media and these trolls sadly you cannot slay with silver but simply ignore. The graphics are sound, the audio is most impressive but take it from me, if you do not want to hear every town, campsite or dungeon babbled about via narrator or Dungeon Master, go to audio and tweak the sounds. Chatting and IM codes differ from some games like Warcraft but essentially the same. Combat can lag only if you are swarmed by beasties or the servers is overloaded with so many folks onboard. This system will only cost what you put in it, so mind your spending like any other nonessential purchase.

I'M HUGE!!!  Dig me.