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Wow... how did I waste so much time on so many MMOs, and never play this beautiful gem? I'm pretty ashamed for one thing, but I couldn't be happier at the same time. For years I have talked about wanting to play an MMORPG just like this, and it was there all along?! Honestly I guess the main reason I never tried this game or looked into it (before it was F2P) was because I thought it would be too nerdy (ironic and stupid) or like playing the table top game and not so much like a video game - really dumb and closed minded I know, but anyway...
First off I'll say if you like MMORPGs and you like games like The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, but you have never played DDO: just stop reading and go download, install, and play it right now... seriously.
Now onto my informal review/impression of the game:
Graphics and Sound - 8.5/10
- Graphics -
I personally think the graphics are very nice - especially if you download the high resolution package (or whatever it's called) and turn up all the settings (I will even say beautiful in some places in the game). Even on lower settings the game looks very good in my opinion and is detailed. It isn't as high quality as some of the modern games, but I think it looks fine and I don't feel like it's outdated or anything. Overall it is very good looking and polished. The interface for this game is not that great in some areas, but it gets the job done and looks decent at least.
- Sound -
The music hasn't really wooed me or anything, but it is decent. The sound effects however are good and fit in well with the game play. There is audio dialogue for some NPCs and it is well done in my opinion, and the dungeon master is great fun to listen to :P
Game play - 10/10
The game play for DDO is wonderful, and it far exceeded my expectations. There is so much to this game from the character creation and development, to the dungeons, and more.
- Combat -
The combat in this game is quite fun. Instead of just targeting a monster and mashing keys you actually have to aim, click to swing your sword, move around, and all that. There are dungeons and raids in this game, and you not only have to defeat monsters, but you also have to solve challenging puzzles, avoid traps, etc. It is action packed and most importantly FUN.
- Leveling -
This game is -not- about running around killing EXP bags all day monotonously to level up. You only get EXP for certain things like killing a mini boss and completing quests. Most of the time I have never payed attention to quests or what the quest says in other games, but here I pay more attention that usual because (so far) the stories are actually good and interesting - it's not just "oh I need you to kill 20 pigs for <some dumb reason>" it's like "we need you to save the villagers and slay a dragon that is terrorizing the village".
A wonderful thing about this game is that it's group oriented, and even if you don't like grouping with people (or while you are leveling up anyway) it's ok! Because you can hire "hirelings" which are NPCs that group with you and help you in battles! Dungeons in the game have a solo option, a normal group option, and there are harder modes if you want to revist the dungeons for more challenge and better reward.
- Character Creation -
The character creation isn't as fleshed out as some MMORPGs aesthetically, but I would rate it as highly customizable compared to most MMOs I have played. I was able to make a character that I was satisfied with - it had all the basic customization features I like, and there are plenty of options including a lot of skin/lip/hair color and different noses, eyes, and mouths.
There is a wide option of classes and races to choose from. Races in the game have certain cons and benefits, so they aren't just for looks. The classes include melee, tank, spell caster, healer, rogue, archer, buffer etc. but they all can be fleshed out further to your liking and you can even dual class (there are tons of possibilities for your final character). There are so many details to characters like sneaking around in the shadows, disarming traps, charming people, etc.
- Raiding, Crafting, PvP -
I cannot comment personally on raids, crafting, or PvP at this time. From what I understand though there are many raids to choose from, and raiding is as fun and challenging as the dungeons (but with up to 12 people). Crafting isn't the monotonous game of make a hundred of these and a hundred of this for one item. PvP is an afterthought in this game, but you can challenge other players (duel) there are some open PvP areas in taverns, and there are arena teams. But in honesty if you want a game for mainly PvP look elsewhere (this game is seriously a PvE lover's wet dream in my opinion). I would still rate the game play 10/10 even if there was no PvP at all, but the fact that they have duels, open pvp in taverns, and arena is just icing on the cake.
Community - 10/10
I normally would never include this as a factor for rating an MMORPG, but I feel it has to be mentioned. Before I started playing this game I heard how great the community was, and even though I rarely hear that about MMO's I was still skeptical. I'm sure it varies from server to server among other things, but from what I've heard about combined with my experience so far I have to say the community is excellent. I don't think I've ever seen a bigger group of helpful, courteous, friendly players in any other MMO period. When I started playing I had a ton of newbie questions, and there were so many people who helped me out and there was no rude "L2P shut up noob" or anything like that - I was amazed. Some people made some jokes when I asked questions, but it was all in good fun and we shared some laughs. I was not greeted with straight up rudeness or vulgarity like I have experienced in other games. Overall my experience so far has been playing with friendly, mature, funny, nice, helpful people.
Overall - 9.5/10
- Conclusion -
Awesome game from head to toe. The best thing about this game (other than it being a ton of fun, having depth, character, and beauty) is that you can play this game for a couple of hours have a blast, and feel like you actually accomplished something. It is a deep breath of fresh air compared to every MMORPG I have ever played, and I wish I would have played this a long, long time ago and I might have felt like I was doing something somewhat useful with my time (having fun) instead of wasting it (grinding on boring stuff before any chance of fun). If this game suddenly had a subscription fee tomorrow and I had to buy the game I would gladly do both in a heart beat - I don't think I would say that about any F2P game, hell even most P2P games.
The game is free to play (no monthly fee, no cost for the game itself), so if you haven't tried it and you are actually interested in this game or you are bored and looking for something to do you might as well download it and try it! (and really you trying it is better than reading any review)
You can play from level 1 to level 20 (every level and one raid included) for free, but the game makes money by selling extra content (adventure packs - raids, dungeons quests, etc.), classes and races, exp potions, extra character slots, extra hireling slots, and more. Although! you can earn DDO points to buy these things, and these are definitely not necessary to play and enjoy this game (there is PLENTY of content available without spending a cent). Although if you want everything available to you for 'free' (all of the adventure packs, classes, etc.) and better customer service you have the option to pay $14.99 a month, and if you buy anything on the store you automatically gain some perks over standard "free" customers.
Hope you enjoyed my review and impression - Please feel free to leave any questions or comments
FFXIV, TERA, LoL, and HoTS
GPU: GeForce GTX 770, CPU: i7-4790K, Memory: 16 GB RAM