|Dungeons & Dragons Online|
|Designer(s)|| Jason Booth|
|Release date(s)||February 28, 2006|
|Input methods||Keyboard and mouse|
Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach (abbreviated as “DDO”) is a massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) developed by Turbine, Inc. Turbine has developed DDO as an online adaptation of Dungeons & Dragons (abbreviated as D&D). DDO is based loosely on the D&D 3.5 Ruleset and set in the Eberron campaign setting.
Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach was developed by Turbine, Inc. over the course of approximately two years of development. The initial prototyping and concepting was done by Jason Booth, Dan Ogles, Cardell Kerr, Ken Troop, and Michael Sheidow, in coordination with Wizards of the Coast, the current publisher of the Dungeons and Dragons pen and paper game. Later this initial team was moved to work on Turbine's other title in development Lord of the Rings Online, or left the company. Development was then led by James Jones, and DDO was released on February 28, 2006. It is published by Atari.
DDO is set on the fictional continent of Xen'drik, in the world of Eberron. The world of Eberron is a campaign setting, developed by Keith Baker for Wizards of the Coast. Players can create their characters following the revised edition of D&D 3.5 rule-set fashion, and play them in both indoor and outdoor environments, including a large variety of dungeons.
Although the game is based in large part on the D&D 3.5 rule-set, it contains numerous changes from the tabletop game, most of which were introduced due to differences in the dynamics between the media of computer game combat and tabletop gaming. For example, Turbine wanted DDO to use a real time combat engine, where tabletop D&D uses a turn-based system. This brought considerable amount of changes in combat, character skills and feats, situations where Turbine felt the turn-based combat system and real-time combat did not mesh well. Most noticeable differences are greatly increased amount of hit possibilities in round/same amount of time (as much as twelve times more), greatly increased spellcasting resources over rest periods, spellpoint system instead of spellslots, magic items are greatly underpriced (average of 1/8th the D&D prices), magic weapons and armours have only two abilities, characters have considerably higher stats (as much as +9) and last but not least, offensive effects created by characters does not harm their allies. Near complete list of other differences between DDO and D&D have been listed on the DDO Wiki.
The core of the game is set in the city of Stormreach, a giant-scaled city built eons ago, and recently settled by humans. There are a number of areas within Stormreach - the Docks, the Harbor, the Marketplace and the four Dragonmarked Houses - House Deneith, House Jorasco, House Kundarak and House Phiarlan. In addition, there are a number of adventures that are taken beyond the city walls, into distant lands such as Tangleroot Gorge, Threnal, Three Barrel Cove and Sorrowdusk Isle, each home to one or more adventures of their own.
Generally, the issues of the game revolves around the following dark plots:
- Giants attempting to regain mastery over the city of Stormreach and the continent of Xen'drik
- The gate to Xoriat attempting to be reopened
- The Black Abbot and his minions of Khyber (Eberron) and other undead attempting to gain power over Xen'drik
- Devils from Shavarath attempting to invade and conquer Eberron
The game, like many MMORPGs, requires a monthly fee to play ($14.99 USD). There is a ten day free trial available on the game's website.
Standard parties can be up to 6 characters, and Raid parties are up to 12 characters. Characters gain experience by completing quests. Killing monsters will usually increase the size of the experience reward, but are not always central to the reward. In some cases, simply running through a quest from one end to the other will grant an XP reward.
DDO supports solo play, including a special "Solo" level of difficulty on many quests. But a more typical party consists of multiple characters filling roles such as "tank" (fighters, paladins, or barbarians), healer (clerics), caster (wizard or sorcerer), "dps" (damage-per-second rangers, fighters, monks) or "support" (bard or rogue).
There are currently 5 DDO servers for the US market (merged from the original 14), named after various geographic aspects of Eberron. For the European market there were initially 5 servers, named after Eberron deities. After a server merge in early 2007, 2 remain. Characters are transferable from server to server via a request form and $25 fee. In the US, Turbine themselves deploy the game and maintain the day-to-day operations. In Europe this has been outsourced to Codemasters with the help of Alchemic Dream. In China, the game is operated by Shanda.
There are currently no servers for the Oceania market. The game distributed in Australia by Atari is the US version. Players in this region will get a ping of ~300msec to the US servers.
Turbine generally performs weekly maintenance from 6:00AM to 10:00AM Eastern (-4 GMT) on Monday or Tuesday mornings, game upgrades and patches are generally applied from from 6:00AM to 2:00PM Eastern (-4 GMT) on Thursday mornings.
The quests in DDO are organized by character level, difficulty and length. Each quest has a base level, and the XP reward increases if all of the party members are below that level, and decreases if any of the party members are above that level. Characters more than three levels below the "base level" are not allowed to initiate a quest, however they are able to join a quest started by another party member.
Note that most quests have an item or monetary reward when finished, but the character must have talked to the quest giver to receive the reward. Some dungeons require several visits to the quest giver to complete the entire quest chain. Speaking to the quest giver also generally allows you to repeat the quest.
The quests are narrated by a "Dungeon Master" who gives additional details and information to the players about what they see and hear on their adventure. For the "Delera's Tomb" quest chain, the dungeon master duties are performed by (now deceased) D&D co-creator Gary Gygax.
Currently, there are four difficulty levels for quests:
Hard and Elite increase the XP bonus the first time the quest is run at the given level, and generally provide a much more challenging experience to the players. As a bonus, the quality of the "loot" (items, equipment, etc) in the chests in hard and elite is better. Generally speaking, the highest level quests on the Elite setting offer the best loot, although that is not always the case.
On the other hand, Solo offers very little loot, and few, if any special items. Generally, the Solo difficulty section has been added recently to the game (June 2006) in order to make it more accessible to lower-level characters who do not have a group. There was until Module 6 a huge XP reduction for solo play (this was reduced from 50% to 20% with the launch of Module 6), and only low (6th and lower) level dungeons offer this capability.
The game includes built-in voice chat, integrated into the overall experience.
DDO is an instanced game, where each party receives a private "copy" of a dungeon for their own use.
Current player character races are:
The game does not feature a full complement of playable races from the Dungeons and Dragons world, and is missing core races (Gnome and Half-orc), as well as the additional Eberron-specific races of Kalashtar, Shifter and Changeling.
Currently there are ten (10) playable classes with no race restrictions. Following the 3.5 edition rules and the rules of the Eberron campaign, players choose a class to begin with but are not limited to remaining in that class. For example, a cleric may choose to gain a level in the rogue class, as well as any other class the player chooses for a total of three (3) classes; up to a maximum of sixteen (16) total levels.
Current classes are:
Absent from this list are the standard class Druid and the psionic classes, and Artificers (an Eberron-exclusive class). Prestige classes do not exist as standalone character classes (although many are available as enhancements to base classes). There are no experience penalties for multi-class characters.
Dungeons and Dragons Online does not feature the full spectrum of alignments available in Dungeons and Dragons, instead limiting itself to only good and neutral alignments. The ability to play evil aligned characters is unavailable.
The available alignments are:
Updates and modules Edit
Turbine releases major content updates to the game as "modules", named after the module concept in the pen-and-paper version of D&D. Additional content is release between modules as "updates"
Module 1: Dragon's Vault Edit
On April 5 2006 Turbine released its first module, "Dragon's Vault," which included a new dungeon; this new area included additional content and quests as well as the chance for players to battle a red dragon. Also included were a number of fixes to the combat system and minor tweaks to the user interface.
Update 1.1: The Harbor Edit
This first update include changes to the low level Harbor quests.
Update 1.2: Solo EnhancementsEdit
More changes to the Harbor area, including the addition of several solo-only quests there.
Module 2: Twilight ForgeEdit
The "Twilight Forge" module, released July 12 2006, added a new player race: the Drow (playable only if certain requirements have been met), as well as new enhancements, spells, a patron system, in-game mail, and adventures set in the Restless Isles, a new outdoor area.
Update 2.1: Litany of the Dead Part 1: The NecropolisEdit
In August 2006, an update called "Litany of the Dead Part 1: The Necropolis" was released. This update is the first part of the Litany of the Dead series that carried into next year. The update has five full quests as part of the first part of Litany, and culminates in an encounter with a powerful vampire. 
Update 2.2: Stormreach Under Siege!Edit
This update for September 2006 introduced the first quests above level 10, other than the Twilight Forge raid, including a level 12 quest in the previously low-level only Harbor area.
Module 3: Demon SandsEdit
This module, the largest one at the time, was released on October 25, 2006. With this update, Turbine attempted to alleviate many of the player base's most acute concerns. Primarily, it introduced some more meaningfully explorable areas to the game in order to give the world a feeling of greater breadth. It also introduced some consensual PvP (Player vs. Player) elements to the game (in the form of "Tavern Brawl" arenas and objective-based quests; Capture the Flag, Indoor and Outdoor Deathmatch), as well as an auction house, and the first level-cap raise from ten to twelve.
Update 3.1: Evil ResurgentEdit
This December 2006 update included a rework of the social panel, many bug fixes, and six high level quests. Most of these new quests, all of which are rated at level 11, are sequels to previous quests, extending the storylines of the characters involved.
Update 3.2: Litany of the Dead Part 2Edit
Five new monsters (phase spiders, shadows, umbral worgs, umbral gargoyles, and invisible stalkers) were released in this update, along with five quests for party level 8-9. These quests continue the storyline of The Necropolis from Litany of the Dead Part 1.
Update 3.3: Academy TrainingEdit
This update completely revamped the Action Point enhancement system. Also, in celebration of DDO's one-year anniversary, all chests were at +1 level from 2/28 to 3/4, and all xp awarded from 3/2 to 3/4 was +50%.
Module 4: Reaver's BaneEdit
Introduced in April 2007, Reaver's Bane brought the level cap up to 14 from 12 and introduced a new terrain mechanic along with many new spells and abilities for characters of all levels. Two new areas (the Cerulean Hills and Gianthold Ruins) use the new mechanic that includes entrances to traditional quests plus 3 new types of quests: slayer quests (where you get experience for how many monsters you or your party have killed), explorer quests (where you get experience just for visiting a new part of the area for the first time), and rare encounter quests (where you get experience for killing infrequently spawned named monsters).
Update 4.1: Mark of the DragonEdit
Update 4.2: Searing HeightsEdit
This July 2007 update revamped the Menechtarun desert landscape and the Waterworks adventure area. There is an added landscape for level 4 characters to battle the Sulatar firebinders, new spells, abilities, and enhancements including Holy Sword and Warchanter. Players get 3 more weapon set configuration slots, for a total of 7. Also fixed were several bugs. Many new spells were added for all spellcasting classes. Extra enhancements were also added. One additional level 4 dungeon was added.
Module 5: The Accursed AscensionEdit
Released in September 2007, this module includes parts 3 and 4 of the Litany of the Dead; by doing so, it doubled the amount of quests in the Necropolis area. It ends with a new high level raid. Apart from the addition of new enhancements and some minor corrections, the metamagic system went through a major revision and the item tooltips were vastly improved. Some new additions are collectable and gem bags, made to reduce the cluttering of inventory space. 
Starting with this module, the development team made the decision to stop releasing interim updates. Responding to the players' feedback that the interim updates do not provide enough new content, the developers will instead focus on creating significantly larger modules.
Module 6: The Thirteenth EclipseEdit
The January 2008 update, the Thirteenth Eclipse, raised the level cap from 14 to 16, and opened a previously locked area that was partially accessible by players, The Twelve. Also with this area is a new set of quests and a new raid located in an area connected to The Twelve, called the Vale of Twilight.  Included as well with this update is allowance for subscribers to customize the player interface as is available in Turbine's other MMO "Lord of the Rings Online". 
Update 6.1 (released on 27th February 2008) introduced a new, ongoing live event, as well as a slice of anniversary cake. The anniversary cake summons a Djinni that will grant a wish (as the Wish  spell)
Module 7: Way of the Monk Edit
This update, released on 3 June 2008, introduced the Monk class to all servers. It had previously been in testing for a time on the Risia preview server. Included were various city upgrades, bounty subquests that involve collecting remains of monsters, and UI interface tweaks. The Monk class is planned to be updated in the near future.
Module 8: Prisoners Of Prophecy Edit
This update, released 6 November 2008, introduced a new low level area, called Korthos Island. It currently has replaced the starter area in the harbour, as well as most of the low (level 1,2,3) quests and 4 new high adventure areas. They have also integrated Direct X 10 into their graphics with this update.
Npc's known as hirelings have been tested on the Risia server, and also had a preview to get more feedback on the main servers. They will be integrated into Stormreach soon.
Beta testing Edit
On August 1 2005, Turbine sent out invitations to individuals interested in participating in the Public Alpha Test. On November 1, 2005, Turbine announced that the public Beta test was open . On November 22, 2005 Turbine announced that each copy of the January 2006 issue of PC Gamer magazine would contain a "key" to gain access to the beta. Turbine, in association with Fileplanet and IGN, also completed 3 public stress tests of the game, with the most recent ending on February 12, 2006.
Future Updates Edit
On February 22nd 2007, in a public chat event, the developers stated that they are planning to add the Druid class to the game, although it was not made clear exactly what stage of development the class is currently in. DDO's producer stated that, due to the difficulty involved with introducing such a class into the game, Druids would not be playable until "next year at the earliest".
On October 4th 2007 Jim Crowley replaced Jeff Anderson as CEO of Turbine entertainment. Mr. Crowley expressed an interest in moving the IP "forward." DDO Senior Producer Kate Paiz echoed this sentiment during a podcast on October 7th 2007 Ms.Paiz spoke of Crafting, Player and Guild Housing, as well as expanded quests being planned for future updates.
- Best Multiplayer Game, 2006 British Academy Video Games Awards
- Most Anticipated Game, 2005 MMORPG.COM Reader's Choice Awards
- Best Persistent World Game, IGN.com Best of 2006 Awards
- Nominee, Massively Multiplayer Game of the Year, 10th Annual Interactive Achievement Awards
- Third Prize, Best Graphics, Les JOL d'Or 2006
- Third Prize, Public's Award, Les JOL d'Or 2006
- ↑ "PnP differences". DDOwiki. http://ddo.enterwiki.net/page/PnP_differences. Retrieved 2007-02-24.
- ↑ "In Development: Module 4 spells levels 13-14". DDO.com. 2007-02-14. http://www.ddo.com/forums/showthread.php?t=89428. Retrieved 2007-02-24.
- ↑ "Solas' Dev Dairy: Wilderness Quests". DDO.com. 2007-02-16. http://www.ddo.com/forums/showthread.php?t=89705. Retrieved 2007-02-24.
- ↑ "Warcry Dev Chat Transcript". DDO.com. 2007-02-22. http://www.ddo.com/article/835. Retrieved 2007-02-24.
- ↑ New Turbine CEO? :: Lord of the Rings Online @ TenTonHammer.com :: Your Lord of the Rings Online Community Site!
- ↑ PodcastBlaster Podcast Directory
- ↑ "British Academy Video Games Awards, Latest Winners and Nominees". British Academy of Film and Television Arts. 2006-10-05. http://www.bafta.org/site/page413.html. Retrieved 2007-02-24.
- ↑ "2005 Reader's Choice Award Winners". MMORPG.com. http://www.mmorpg.com/showFeature.cfm/loadFeature/388/page/7/from/. Retrieved 2007-02-24.
- ↑ "Best of 2006: PC, Best Persistent World Game". IGN. http://bestof.ign.com/2006/pc/10.html. Retrieved 2007-02-24.
- ↑ "10th Annual Interactive Achievement Awards". The Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences. http://interactive.org/awards.php?winners&year=2007&cat=200726#200726. Retrieved 2007-03-01.
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 "Les JOL d'Or 2006". JeuxOnline. http://www.jeuxonline.info/?art=article&article=3231. Retrieved 2007-03-05.
- Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach - Official website
- Codemasters : Dungeons & Dragons Online - Official website for Europe
- 던전앤드래곤 온라인 - Official website for South Korea Template:Ko icon
- Turbine, Inc. - Publisher of DDO
- Dungeons & Dragons Online - MMO DB - Dungeons & Dragons Online Database
- The DDO Wiki
- Dungeons and Dragons Online Compendium at TenTonHammer.com
- The IGN's D&D Online Vault
- DDO Reviews at Game Rankings (meta-review site, Average Ratio: 76%)
- Article at the Danish Wikipedia
- Article at the German Wikipedia
- Article at the French Wikipedia
- Article at the Portuguese Wikipedia
- Article at the Chinese Wikipedia
Media coverage Edit
- Interview with Alex Rodberg & David Eckleberry from GenCon 2005 at GamerGod.com
- PC Gamer Video Podcast #3 Dungeons and Dragons Online: Stormreach
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