Dungeons & Dragons Online PreviewBrian Dawson
Atari is about to revamp the MMORPG genre with their upcoming title, Dungeons & Dragons Online. Not only does the game stay true to its table top heritage, it also addresses many of the complaints PC gamers have with the current batch of MMORPGs on the market today. The game features several innovations that are sure to please long time MMORPG fans, and draw in a new crowd of PC gamers. Ten character classes, a new tumble technique, and group looting means that MMORPG fans and D&D fans owe it to themselves to check out Atari's latest when it hits store shelves in November.
PC and console gaming have come a long way since their early beginnings. However, there are still many out there who prefer a good table top game to a console or PC title. Loyal Dungeons & Dragons fans are among this group, but soon they may have to put down the dice and pick up a keyboard and mouse. Atari's upcoming Dungeons & Dragons Online remains very close to the original table top game, but still adds enough flare to keep MMO and PC gaming fans pleased.
For D&D purists, Dungeons & Dragons Online uses the 3.5 rule set to ensure its authenticity. Players will be able to choose between 9 or 10 different character classes, including cleric, fighter, barbarian, sorcerer, rogue and more. The character generation remains true to the original table top game with a vast number of options, but a limiting factor to make sure characters start off around the same level of power.
Unlike other MMORPGs, D&D Online starts off in one city, with multiple wards. Instead of having to travel long distances by simply walking, players will be instantly transported to the place they need to be. This has been one of the main gripes from long-time MMO players, and will make things go quite a bit faster in D&D Online. No longer will players have to spend a few minutes traversing the countryside just to reach their destination and finally partake in their given tasks.
No rolling of the dice here: let the computer do all the work!
In standard RPG fashion, each area will have breakable objects that will reveal items. There will also be scripted events to make the game move along at a fluid pace. Once you slay an enemy at the front of a cave, the opening behind you might cave in, forcing you to proceed instead of going back. This would be one example of a scripted event, but another could also result in a deadly trap that will have players fighting for their lives to survive.
Battles in D&D Online take place in real-time combat. Players will have the ability to use a tumble technique to dodge incoming attacks. This will come in handy as eager adventurers battle huge monsters taken from the realm of D&D. Instead of just swinging over and over like you would in other MMORPGs, you'll actually have to watch your enemy and time your tumbles and attacks in order to avoid taking damage. Range also becomes a factor as characters with longer weapons will have an easier time keeping opponents away. Meanwhile, larger bosses with huge weapons will be tough to get hits on. Players will have to use the tumble technique wisely if they wish to topple many of the foes in the game.
As players take on missions, you will have a mission objective list. This list will feature primary and secondary objectives. You can complete the mission by performing all of the primary objectives, but you can gain special items and other bonuses by completing the optional quests. When you die during a mission, you will leave behind a soul stone so that you don't lose all of your items when you are resurrected. In addition, when you find a chest, everyone in your party will be able to gain from the looting. Selfish players won't be able to loot chests all by themselves.
From what we've seen of Dungeons & Dragons Online, Atari is well on their way to addressing many of the complaints players have with current massively multiplayer online role playing games. If you're a fan of D&D, you'll definitely want to give this one a test run when it releases this November. However, if you're not hardcore into the D&D realm, but enjoy a solid MMORPG, D&D Online could be right up your alley, as many of the current fantasy games borrow heavily from D&D. We'll have more on Dungeons & Dragons Online in the near future.