So the gaming trio group has rotated around to doing some Dungeons & Dragons Online as a trial for a game to play together. We tried Neverwinter and Star Trek Online recently but the common game engine for those two games was causing major problems for one of us (crash to desktop, issues with default display etc). So we have come back to Korthos, DDO’s starter island as a group, after some years away (2012 according to my blog post history!).
We’ve created new level 1 characters to play together because leaping back into the game, even on relatively low, level 6 characters seemed like a bad idea. The idea is just to play some of the starter island for now: if we chose to continue playing then we may swap back to our old characters instead. We have a Fighter (tank), a Cleric (healer) and I’m trying out the Artificer – to provide damage, some buffs spells and to handle traps and locks.
The game is rock-solid at least, all three of us able to play it at good frame rates and without any issues beyond having to relearn the UI/controls. I have the advantage of having played it solo very recently in that regard. Group play is very different from solo mode, however, and the dynamics are somewhat different from last time we played since we’ve switched trinity roles around completely.
As I’d already noticed with my stealth-character the devs have apparently upped the quality and quantity of loot drops for the early missions. Magical items used to be pretty rare until your character was hitting the second or third section of the game (the harbour and marketplace of Stormreach respectively) but now they drop or are quest-completion choices almost from the start. Power inflation is a fairly common thing in MMORPGs though, it certainly has occurred in WoW and in LOTRO as two examples I can think of – that feeling that your low-level character is overpowered for the starter areas.
Otherwise the game has kept its charms intact. It’s still a joy to run around smashing barrels, especially when you hear that chink as a random potion drops. The verticality of the instance design has always appealed to me. Plenty to climb up or down in the game, and it’s worth looking in nooks and crannies for this reason. That high shelf above might have some barrels or boxes that are worth smashing; there might even be a chest hidden from view above you! I have no problem with the slightly aging graphics, gameplay is more important to me and as a happy bonus it appears the client will run on a netbook, something we’ll probably put to the test soon as one of us will travel with work and the options for gaming would otherwise be limited by this hardware.