So over the weekend I spent most of my game-time in the now “free” version of DDO – and I didn’t even buy any micro-transaction stuff, nor feel the need for it…yet.  Casting classes are still quite challenging to solo with, but with the addition of hirelings, it’s at least sort of doable, although my cleric henchman did die a few times in a couple of the “newbie island” dungeons – usually from standing for prolonged periods in streams of steam, acid, or arctic blasts, so the hireling AI could probably use a little work there. 

So far I’ve levelled four classes to the point they’re eligible to leave “newbie island.”  A sorcerer, ranger, paladin, and rogue.  All were fun to play with the sorcerer having the most difficult time and the pally having the easiest.  With a free account, you only get two characters per server, so I just split servers. I think there are 5 or 6 servers, so it’s pretty easy to play all of the freebie classes by designating one server “casters,” another “fighters,” etc. The rogue is nice, since that’s the only way to get to some of the loot in the dungeons, by lock-picking and finding secret doors, etc.

I even roped a buddy into playing on Sunday afternoon – he rolled up a paladin and we rolled through the newbie dungeons with my sorceror. Once we got to the “real” town, Stormreach, we tried a few quests there – finding some were “solo only” (which surprised me, I don’t remember there being any “solo only” quests in DDO the last time I played – at release), some quests that were way over our capability (like the kill 200 Kobolds quest, which really smacked of WoW laziness to me), and a few that we could actually do – although they were still quite challenging for just two, level 2 players.  One of whom was completely new to DnD, though not to MMO’s.

My favorite thing about it was the combat – probably about as close to a Unreal Tournament/FPS style as you’re going to find in an MMO – that actually works.  It’s not quite that smooth, but it seemed a long ways off from the traditional MMO – tab to auto select target, mash your 1-2-3-4 attack, rinse, repeat style of play.  Anyways I think DDO will keep me busy for the next couple of weeks or so while I play around with the various classes, etc.  I’m fully expecting to hit some kind of wall with this game though – just like last time, where you can only get so far before solo’ing is totally untenable, or just not fun.  We’ll see.

I hope your weekend was awesome, and that this week finds you well and good. Enjoy!