DDO: I’m just not that into you.

September 27, 2009 at 12:25 pm (Exile in DDOville, Navel-Gazing)

Okay, well, after last night, when I decided I preferred to clean my bedroom (well, some of it anyway) to logging onto DDO, I think it may be approaching the time to call the DDO experiment complete.  The portly soprano isn’t singing yet, but she’s definitely clearing her throat.  Since I don’t have to pay for it or anything, I’ll leave it installed and probably pop in every once in a great while.  But so far, it’s definitely not catching on.

For starters, the game has an incredibly weak story, and this is, for me, its fatal flaw.  It’s really a succession of dungeon crawls more than anything else.  Every quest you do is actually its own instance, which is kind of nifty, to be sure, but they start to seem very repetitive after a while.  And so far, at least, there’s very little feeling of an overall story beyond very broad strokes.  On the starter island, you have some sahuagin who are allied with some cultists, and there’s a dragon with them or something.  That’s about as deep as the story gets.  I don’t feel that I want to see what happens next, I just want to get to the treasure chest at the end.  In a sense, this is true to the source material (there’s a reason the company that created D&D was called Tactical Studies Rules).  But RPGs are not just tactical simulations any more.  Well, good ones aren’t, at any rate.

One thing I thought DDO actually does better than WoW (I referenced it previously) is in the area of puzzles and traps.  WoW simply doesn’t have them, and it’s poorer for it.  The problem is, the puzzles in DDO are largely repetitive – flipping around the squares to connect certain nodes to a power source was interesting the first time.  The third time, the novelty’s worn off.  And if you’re not a rogue, traps are just an environmental hazard, not an opportunity to actually do something interesting.

The controls are incredibly clumsy, and even less responsive than LotRO.  Targeting is incredibly irritating (particularly given the tendency to detarget when you’re using the mouse to steer the camera or your character).   You click for each individual attack (there is an autoattack option, but it doesn’t work very well, having a tendency to just shut off, even if the button is still lit up, and frankly, given the lack of special attacks, if you turn on autoattack, it would be completely insufferably boring).    Think “Diablo”, but awkward.

Now, I’m not prepared to call it a day entirely.  The primary thing I haven’t done yet is explore group play, using hirelings, or anything else – I’ve soloed all the dungeons so far.  This is, obviously, a rather gaping hole in my experience.  The source material, after all, is not designed for solo play.  Frankly, I’ve wanted to get better at the game before doing much grouping – nothing worse than being the noob who’s being carried through a dungeon.  But I’m rapidly approaching the point where the options are do some group play to give the game one last shot, or quit entirely.

Also, apparently, grinding instances is how you’re supposed to get the points that allow you to buy new content, or something.  Which would address another issue I have – accrual of whatever those points are that allow you to buy different features is l u d i c   r    o     u       s         l         y                     s           l             o              w.  Pretty sure I’m going to be old and gray before I’m able to buy anything.   Clever from the point of view of luring your players to subscribe.  But that’s not an option for me, so instead, it’s just annoying.

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4 Comments

  1. Tamarind said,

    Kahleena: playing games so the rest of us don’t have to.

    I’m sorry to hear you haven’t found a successful Wow-antidote and I’m still sorry circumstances have deprived you of WoW – but your (mis) adventures are at the very least amusing 🙂

    • Kahleena said,

      “Kahleena’s Gaming For the Newly Destitute.” Hm…..has potential. Anyway, now I just need to find another free MMO to try out. I’d do a series on Second Life, but honestly, I can’t for the life of me figure out what the point of that, uh, “game” is (I gave it a shot for around fifteen minutes – I already have one pathetic excuse for a life, two of them is just piling on.)

  2. Missed Opportunity « Fel Deeds Awake! said,

    […] I have to disclose if I’m being paid to blog about something.  As anybody who read my summary probably gathered, DDO in no way compensated me for trying out its product.  However, if Turbine […]

  3. Comparative MMOlogy – LotRO « Fel Deeds Awake! said,

    […] 30, 2009 at 7:37 pm (Exile in DDOville, Misty Mountain Hop, Navel-Gazing) So, having abandoned the DDO experiment, I figured I was probably done with MMOs.  Well, as I mentioned before, WoW […]

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