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It isn’t easy to pick just one favorite ‘toon’ out of all the Dungeons and Dragons Online characters I have over two accounts. My first account is my Premium account and my second account is my VIP account. My best character is ‘dungeonraidr’ on the Ghallanda server, a second life melee druid (first life barbarian). He’s very fun to play with all the effects he sends off when he charges into combat. But is he my favorite? Probably not.

My favorite toons are my first toons on the Khyber server, particularly Mirrix Ilagofor. She’s a drow rogue sorceror and build purists would scoff at her stats. But that doesn’t matter to me. She’s an amazingly fun character to play while in an adventure group. She isn’t capable of soloing quests like my later toons, but in a group she is useful. I had to buy her some +5 tomes to keep her relevant but it was worth it. I couldn’t bear the thought of her sitting on the shelf, unplayable.

When I started playing DDO about eight years ago, I started with a dwarf barbarian (still my favorite race/class to play) but when I ran into a few traps on elite difficulty, I realize how nice it would be to have a rogue for when I wasn’t soloing. Mirrix was born and I have no idea why I chose Drow as her race. I guess I must have read something about it on a build guide. And for reasons now lost to me, I gave her a level in the sorceror class. She eventually got four sorc levels.

Mirrix is dextrous, strong, intelligent and charismatic. She moves with a stealthiness that the most accomplished assassin would admire and she is near-impossible to knock off her feet. She can fight with two-weapons or with a quarterstaff and deal significant damage when she engages, but she never stands toe to toe with an enemy. She’s always moving. Her tongue is seductive and she’d make fine a diplomat if not for her roguish ways.

I suppose I’ll TR her eventually but it’s not a priority. I like her just the way she is, the way I built her when I was new to DDO. She’s a challenge to play and I like a challenge.

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My, my, my.  How thing’s have changed.  Champion monsters, the warlock class, the retro-dungeon Temple of Elemental Evil.  Server lag and downtime becoming less frequent.

Though you wouldn’t know it if you spent a lot of time reading the DDO forums, Turbine has made Dungeons and Dragons Online a better place to spend your time if you love Massively-Multiplayer Online gaming.

Admittedly, I’m an eternal optimist as far as DDO is concerned.  I don’t see a dying game (though populations have seemingly decreased across servers) but an evolving one.  The game is never going to challenge newer concepts in first-person or third-person gaming.  Its graphics will never impress more than PS4 games.  But people are still playing and supporting DDO; don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

The game is evolving in other ways, too.  There are more people concerned with elite builds and completionist feats.  There are fewer guilds helping newcomers.  There is a thirst for playing during certain times (i.e. during Otto’s box week or events) rather than socializing with guildies each day.

The latter evolutions don’t bode well for the game.  There is a need for more guilds whose members take time to assist newcomers.  There needs to be more patience with the players who aren’t able to survive on Heroic Elite.  More teachers of the finer points of the game who understand that the experience needs to be fun would help bring in more new adventurers.

All that aside, DDO is still a wonderful game to log onto.  I love playing my older, bad-build characters as much as I love playing my new Epic Destiny toons.  I like being in the same world with other people with imaginations like mine.

So, yes, things have changed.  It’s up to me to change with the game so I still get those same chills when I step into Delera’s or so my heart still picks up the pace when I’m in an accomplished group of TRs running a raid.

Some people are saying that new content should have been the only thing Turbine focused on in 2015.  I’m glad that wasn’t all they focused on.  The game is better now than it was at the end of 2014.  Now its up to the players to grow it back up to its old membership numbers by doing our part.  Let’s make the game fun again for everyone, not just for the long-time mainstays, but for the unassuming player whose just discovered a new game.

 

 

Don’t be fooled, gauged by your earliest adventures in DDO, into thinking that undead are going to be easy foes.  This is not a good indicator of what you will be facing at higher levels of play.  Skeletons and zombies, when first encountered, seem slow and easy to destroy.  If they do land a blow of their own, the damage is barely felt.

ddo mummy in graveyard

A mummy patrols Delera’s Graveyard during DDO’s Mabar Festival.

Source:  Dungeons and Dragons Online

As players begin to take on more challenging adventures, they will find more advanced undead.  As players advance in level and take on more challenging quests, skeletons, zombies, wights and ghouls will begin to appear with some more advanced undead.

Skeletons, that seemed so easy to defeat, are much harder to deal with when they are in groups with skeletal archers and casters.  There are many different types of zombies and skeletons.  The basic models are easy to fight, the later ones, especially zombies, are extremely challenging.

The further you go in the game, the more types of undead you will discover.  Wights, wraiths, specters, vampires, and mummies are fairly common in mid- level dungeons.  Most of them are resistant to certain kinds of attacks.  Conversely, some undead are more susceptible to particular attack types.  For example, a wizard who is able to cast firewall and fireball often, will typically do more damage to most types of undead than one who cannot.

During Halloween week, what used to be the Mabar festival will be replaced by some updated version of the fright festival.  The developers of DDO are rumored to be working on a replacement so adventurers can enjoy Dungeons and Dragon’s undead in a festive setting.

Undead Caster Giant

A powerful undead giant stands atop its treasure hoard.

Source:  Dungeons and Dragons Online

There are very powerful types of magic-using undead in high-level quests.  Most require some sort of battle plan if adventure groups are to have any hope of emerging victorious from fights against such foes.  For unique monsters, advanced players will need to improvise and adapt in stressful circumstance, or they may find themselves haunting the undead creature’s lair for eternity themselves.

Dungeonraider is an apt name to describe the person sitting here, writing this to you from his computer.   I have been a gamer since the mid 1970s.  I started with the original D&D rules, fought grues in Zork, became a legend in Ultima, and matched wits against Mario RPG.

The role-playing game , that is, the game where the player takes on another identity (i.e. your character), has always been a powerful draw for me.  It just appeals to my imagination, which is bent toward fantasy and wonder.

And I wasn’t alone.  When I first started creating imaginary places with those obscure rules brought forth by Gary Gygax, there were few of us that had met up with others that enjoyed the same hobby.  Slowly, it grew, and when computers finally entered into the gaming mix, fantasy role-playing games were a perfect complement to the new technology available to people in the comfort of their own homes.  New ways to explore imaginary worlds were developed, and today, the engines that drive these huge game worlds, like Dungeons and Dragons Online, are producing very realistic settings for role-playing gamers.

What appeals to people that play these types of games, will not appeal to everyone.  They are very time consuming.  People should know that up front.  Those that moderate their time spent playing games will enjoy an MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online), as much as the power gamer will.  Finding the game that best suits your requirements:  amount of time required to reasonably advance in the game, the theme of the game, and any cost (subscription) considerations, will allow you to sit back, relax, and enjoy the MMO you are playing, instead of stressing over any demands that might make you uncomfortable.

The concept of donning full plate armor, having your squire bring you your trusty broadsword, and setting off with friends to plunder untold riches will always make me the last one out of the dungeon, when it comes to playing adventure games.