Eberron, Here We Come

My vacation ended on Friday. So yesterday was my first day at work again, and I ran into J, a good friend (student who just started his thesis here), and we realized we both have a decent amount of free time right now. That reminded us to pick up our plans again to start a static group in an MMO.

I’ve never done static groups before; I don’t have many friends that are into MMOs, and we never seemed to be in the same games, or on the same servers. So this is something new to me. We had decided some time ago to try DDO, because we both had little experience in the game (I had played a couple of nights some months ago, he never had), and it seemed to cater well, with its choice of difficulty for each dungeon, to a group of two people. J asked a friend of his, S, and he seemed to be interested too, so the two went off downloading and installing DDO (I still had my copy).

Slow internet connections, some confusion over the registration process (“you’re saying I can’t use my LotRO account because they’re separate, but I also can’t use the same user name, because they share a name space??”), and general indecision with respect to classes meant it took us a couple of hours to get going. We could start around 10pm. I sadly forgot to make screenshots, so you’ll have to take my words for it.

Our group consists of a Cleric (S), a Ranger (J), and a Rogue/Wizard (me). Not sure whether that’s an ideal setup, but I guess we’ll manage. I, especially, felt very useless. This is because I want to make a wizard with just a dash of rogue, for trap detection and disabling. Yet there is a consensus that you have to take the rogue level as the first one though, because it means you’ll get a lot more skill points than if you take wizard (whyever that would be). Of course, whenever I had upgrade choices during the quests, I took the wizard stuff, because this is what I want to end up with. So I ran around with a rusty rapier for half the evening, for a whopping 1d6-1 damage. Plus, I had chosen my stats and skills with wizard in mind. But I bet it will get better as I get a level of Wizard or two.

I like the storytelling in DDO. The story itself on the starter island is quite nice. Basically, you went shipwreck and stranded on a tropical island, which, strangely, has snow falling from the sky. You’re informed that this is because of a white dragon who has messed with the weather (you’ll run across him later). Other than that, your first quests mostly deal with helping the townsfolk by fighting back invaders to the store house, and investigating the town crypt.

I have to say I like the voice of the dungeon master, with its over-the-top voice acting of monsters every now and then. Also the fact that you sometimes have to solve puzzles and not only hack and slash.

We played until all of us hit 2nd level. Due to the fact that we all play together, and that you get experience not for killing monsters, but finishing quests, it was easy to stay close together in XP. By the time we dinged, it was 1am, and I was very tired. We called it a night, and decided to play again later this week. I’m not sure whether both J and S enjoyed the game as much as I hope, but we’ll see. It would be a fun thing to do once a week or so.

Oh, and I already know how to spend my lunch break today: figuring out which skills, feats, and enhancements to take for level 2. DDO shows its DnD heritage there; there’s so many important choices, much more than in your run-of-the-mill MMO. And especially for me, with little DnD experience, and no rails to follow because I customized a multiclass character, it’s really complicated! I do enjoy it though. Meaningful decisions are great.

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