May 152015

My favorite hobby is pen-and-paper roleplaying games, and I’ve spent countless hours going on adventures to loot ancient crypts, defeat villainous lords, and slay evil monsters. Of course, the main rpg of my era was Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, and that game’s impact upon geek culture cannot be understated. I still roleplay on the weekends, but a good deal of my gaming takes place in the online world of mmo games. Now there are two Dungeons and Dragons mmos on the market today: Dungeons and Dragons Online and Neverwinter.

DDO Gary Gygax memorial

Dungeons and Dragons Online has a memorial to both Gary Gygax (shown here) and Dave Arneson.

I play both Dungeons and Dragons mmos off and on. I was lucky enough to start playing DDO back during its beta, and I’ve played Neverwinter since it launched a couple of years ago. Both are solid mmos, and each offers something different to its players. The things I love about DDO is that it uses the third edition rules and has adventures that are instanced. While most online games feature open areas where one completes a quest, DDO is much more akin to the pen-and-paper rpg in that a quest is a self-contained adventure for the player and his party. Of course, that can be a weakness if one is looking to easily hook up with other players. My main complaint with DDO is the setting of Eberron. I’m not a fan of it, but I do admit that the developers have done some great storylines that have pulled me into that world. I still refuse to play as a Warforged though. The Forgotten Realms was eventually brought into the game, and DDO has had some really great updates featuring Faerun. Another point in DDO’s favor is that it has adventures narrated by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson. (If you don’t know those names, then hang your head in shame. In shame!)

By contrast, Neverwinter uses a version of the fourth edition rules of D&D, which is suited extremely well for an online game. I really like the fluid combat of this game, and Neverwinter does have PvP (which DDO does not). The best feature of Neverwinter is the Foundry, which is a system that a player can use to create their own adventures and share them with others. There are lots of really good Foundry quests that one can undertake, and the rating system can help you avoid a lot of the bad ones. Cryptic has also done a great job of releasing themed modules on a pretty regular basis that adds new content to the game. The main weakness of Neverwinter is their zone design. Most zones are insanely linear, which means that the player is led by their hand from one area to the next. This means that the thrill of exploration will not be found in this game.

Both Dungeons and Dragons mmos are really good, even though they may appeal to different types of online gamers. It is rather sad to see that DDO is fading, which is to be expected as the game is over nine years old. The community of that game is astounding as I’ve really never encountered a troll while playing in it. Of course, my dream would be to see a Dungeons and Dragons mmo that featured Greyhawk or even Ravenloft as a setting. If you could create your own D&D mmo, what setting and features would you have?


One thing I love about Neverwinter is their really awesome depictions of the undead.

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