Dungeons & Dragons Online by Turbine

In this new age of desktop supercomputers and the internet, for many gamers, our lives began and begin anew with each new game we buy or download, with each character we create, with each new adventure we embark upon. Then there are the gamers who were born many years before the advent of online gaming. The era of multiplayer gaming began many years ago, often accredited to two men who have etched their place in the history of gaming for all time: Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson.

True to the continuance of the setting of its creation, thousands of pen and paper gamers around the world still gather in basements, at kitchen tables, in living rooms with chairs centered on a table large enough for the dice to keep from rolling away and cheat that precious double damage roll of 20. On numerous occasions, these hardcore zealots of Imagination and loyal minions of the Lady Luck of 20 Sided Die have traversed the boundaries of their corporeal worlds into the virtual.

I must admit I am one of these gaming crocodiles, a phenomenon whose genetic code has remained the same for generations yet persists and even thrives as the industry provides us with ample prey on which to feed. However, as our hunger grows, we must foray into unknown territories, hunt that which we have never eaten and frankly, sometimes, it tastes terrible. Such has been many a gamers experience when it comes to video game translations of Dungeon and Dragons.

Times seem to be changing and at first glance of Dungeons and Dragons Online, it becomes apparent that we starving living fossils are going to get our fill. Scheduled for release sometime during the second half of 2005, DDO is being developed by Turbine (Asheron’s Call 1 and 2, Lord of the Rings Online) and will be published by Atari. Turbine is making it well known that they are working closely with Wizards of the Coast to adhere to the 3rd Addition Rule Set as closely as they can, but will be making adjustments to balance the game for practical use in a mmorpg. The game is currently in Alpha phase and accepting applications for beta testing.

The world chosen this time around is located on the continent of Xen’drik in the world of Eberron, a new Dungeons & Dragons campaign setting created by Keith Baker of Wizards of the Coast. (to obtain further information on Keith Baker and the world of Eberron, visit The playable races of Eberron featured in the game are humans, elves, dwarves, halflings, and warforged. The available core classes will be barbarian, bard, cleric, fighter, paladin, ranger, rogue, sorcerer, and wizard. Turbine has stated that additional races and classes are being planned, possibly for expansion packs or in future updates.

Experience is being handled in a very interesting fashion for a mmorpg, by awarding the party or individual solely on the completion of quests and missions. I believe Turbine puts it best by saying “As long as the quest goals are completed, we don’t really care how many enemies you kill along the way”. Character growth will allow the players to level accordingly and work their way up a single class or by multiclassing (belonging to more than one class). Prestige classes (exclusive classes available only to more experienced characters) will also be available. While the PvP crowd will not find a home in DDO at its release, the PvE and RP gamers will be pleased by the use of instancing for the majority of adventures. All the old favorite haunts such as ruins, dank old warehouses, crypts, islands, aboard ships, caves, indoor/outdoor, above/below ground dungeons and scenarios are planned for implementation.

Graphically speaking, this game has a Willy Wonka sized collection of eye candy to appease even the most finicky palate. The official site ( has a delectable buffet of screenshots to view, and as always there are movies of actual game play to be found out in the boggy marshes of the internet. The movies themselves clearly demonstrate the freedom of movement and dynamic use of the environment to be either your worst enemy or an invaluable asset. Luring a band of kobolds under a well placed murder hole is possible, if not encouraged.

Game play is reported to be fast paced and largely based on character skill rather than “stand and queue”. I can tell you this much; if it doesn’t involve mom barging in to collect dirty laundry while we clear out pizza boxes and mountain dew cans, I personally can’t wait to try this game if it measures up to 10% of what its offering in the way of game play. At the very least, we here at GamerGod recommend having a look or even signing up for the beta. A name alone isn’t enough to produce a good game. Given that this one has the backing of a proven development team, a major publisher and a solid core rule set to base upon, it deserves at least its day in court.

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