9 out of 10
It seems like I’ve been giving out some pretty good reviews on games lately, and DnD on-line isn’t any different. Awhile back, I did a review on Star Wars Galaxies and gave that a pretty good review as well, while Star Wars was a massive game in terms of exploration and quests, DnD is much more compact but the missions are so much better to run.
There are 9 classes to choose from and 6 unique races, all pretty typical DnD stuff. The entire game takes place around the entire city of Stormreach, where you will never leave (you do and you don’t its complex). The nice thing is you don’t waste your time doing a lot of needless exploration and there is no player vs player combat except in certain rooms in certain taverns.
Like most games you run around and do a lot of quests, for experience, fame and loot. You will end up doing nearly every quest it seems a zillion times, but with 4 different difficulty modes the missions are not all that repetitive (plus better loot on higher levels).
With only 6 servers (down from the original 12) the game worlds are usually well populated and there are nearly always people looking for groups, or if you choose to start one yourself, usually doesn’t take more than a couple of minutes to get a full group. While like most MMORPG there are a lot of guilds, but some of the larger ones are very active. I have one character that is in a guild, which has its own web-site and twice a week and experienced leader runs low level quests for experience and on other nights they run ‘raids’ or the big time, high level quests. Generally I never find a dull moment when playing.
The game does have its drawbacks, the game company Turbine tends to go through periods of server trouble, where the servers tend to be off-line for significant amounts of time (usually when my wife tries to play, he he) but at other times the game runs very smooth with only a limited amount of lag (I hardly have any, but it depends where you are). Some subscribers get angry that they pay $14.99 a month to have the servers down and things not working properly, mostly the game company will never make everyone happy. Even I have some qualms about the price, $15 a month seems high, I think I would be happier at 10, but since my wife plays as much as I do (if not more, you have no idea how nice it is to have a gaming wife, who also likes to birdwatching…) it’s only $7.50 per person, still cheaper than going to one movie a month.
The community in the game is loyal and is one reason why people have strong emotions about the game and are quick to anger when anything happens. But as a result of that loyalty you have a dedicated group of gamers, who take their gaming seriously and adds to a more enjoyable gaming experience.
There are a lot of MMO’s out there and I would nearly all have at least a one week or 10 day trial before you buy. I suggest you try them all before you buy. Keep in mind it will likely cost you anywhere from $20 to $50 to install the full version of the game, PLUS $10 to $15 per month to play. The only exception is Guild Wars which is free, but from what I understand has some spamming issues (they all do, just some more than others) and really weird people playing, but try before you buy.