PC - Windows : Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach Reviews

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Below are user reviews of Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach and on the right are links to professionally written reviews. The summary of review scores shows the distribution of scores given by the professional reviewers for Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach. Column height indicates the number of reviews with a score within the range shown at the bottom of the column. Higher scores (columns further towards the right) are better.

Summary of Review Scores

Game Spot 75
Game FAQs
GamesRadar 70
IGN 75
GameSpy 60
GameZone 70

User Reviews (1 - 11 of 16)

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Fun dungeon crawl, but forced grouping and other issues make longevity questionable

3 Rating: 3, Useful: 17 / 18
Date: March 01, 2006
Author: Amazon User

Dungeons and Dragons Online (DDO) is an above average dungeon crawler that has the potential to be a lot of fun for a while with enjoyable instanced quests and lively gameplay. Unfortunately, there are a lot of little things that will likely make the value of the subscription fee here questionable in a month or two, and even early on many will have issues with forced grouping. Having actually purchased the headstart, I am having a blast - but take a star off of fun for the grouping issue, and two stars off of overall for the rule implementations, lack of PvP, and value proposition, leaving this at 4 fun/3 overall, or 3.5 stars.

With Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) having spawned literally tens of thousands of imitations at the top of the family tree of RPGs, MUDs, and MMORPGS, publisher Turbine has both the blessing of an eager audience and curse of a really tough comparison. The good news is that they've done an enjoyable job of implementing the heart of the D&D experience, which is the dungeon crawl. Unlike many MMORPGs, support classes like rogues are a requirement for almost all dungeons - there's no uber single class build here - and a well designed group and careful gameplay is a more important than any particular player, item, or spell.

However, the group aspect is double-edged. Outside of the first 5 or 6 early dungeons (even less for certain weak combat classes), solo play simply doesn't work - meaning your entire gaming experience will depend on finding a suitable group or guild. The support for this isn't bad, with ingame voice chat and being able to select exactly what you want in terms of a class and level in group search, but even players within a good guild can have significant waiting times while everyone gets ready. Turbine could and should have come up with a way for solo players to do something to advance. All adventure is instanced, which in this implementation makes sense but does mean like Guild Wars the only 'massive multiplayer' aspect of the MMORPG feel is when you're at the taverns.

D&D purists will probably not like the rule implementations either. Monks, druids, and several races are left out as are any number of skills, but the biggest wildcard is adding 4 class and race 'enhancements' which provide benefits far above even the best feats (like +5 to all skills or +3 in a certain statistic). Given how the game is set up, it doesn't really affect balance much - can't solo anyway - but between that and loot drops that rival the taj mahal (down a bit from beta, but not much), it does annoyingly throw traditional character builds out the window. Why bother making an especially stout fighter with high constitution if you're going to get 25 free hit points from the start?

More significant is longer term viability. Advancement is quick enough so the current level cap (10) was actually reached by any number of people in the 10 day beta. This will shortly be raised to 12 and eventually to 20, but the real issue is the lack of any alternative to the dungeon crawl - PvP, crafting, or anything else - that encourages people to stick around to pay the $14.95 monthly fee.

Don't get me wrong. I'm having more fun playing this now than any game in a long time. The issue is that I can also easily see not playing this in 30 or 60 days from now, which is a real shame. Hence, why this is rated 3.5 stars, and why I hope Turbine thinks carefully about how to improve it.


5 Rating: 5, Useful: 17 / 22
Date: March 01, 2006
Author: Amazon User

Long-time fans of fantasy-oriented MMORPGs will remember the glory days of Ultima Online. When that game was heavily distressed by the "next-generation" MMO, EverQuest, fans of both games found themselves at a disadvantage that would continue for nearly a decade. There were no good games. The heavy penalties for death in EverQuest alienated the casual players of the time, while at the same time the open PVP in UO alienated its fair share of folks, causing both games to suffer heavy population detriments. It didn't help when the MMO boom began, either. Dark Age of Camelot, City of Heroes, Asheron's Call, AC2, EverQuest 2, and many others followed in quick succession, each having their own flaws that left MMORPG fans with the plain and saddening belief that no good game would ever see the light of day again. Dungeons and Dragons Online: Stormreach proves this notion wrong.

The biggest and most terrifying thought about this game is that it is based on the Dungeons and Dragons pen-and-paper RPG. Set in the DnD realm of Eberron, players must know the d20 system backwards and forwards if they expect to reach their full potential. This leaves two different groups of people with two different questions. Long-time DnD fanatics will want to know how closely this game sticks to the rules, while at the same time, World of Warcraft junkies will want to know how easy this game is to pick up. Both of them will want to know if it is fun.

First off, DnD. The city of Stormreach and the Eberron campaign operate under Dungeons and Dragons Revision 3.5 Ruleset by Wizards of the Coast. This ruleset features d20 (combat, skills, saves, etc.) and feats. Most of the general rules are followed very closely. Every time a d20 check is made, you see the actual dice roll on your screen. That's right: every swing of your sword, every disarming of a trap, every attempt to use a magical device: the dice are -always- rolling. The huge discrepancy this game has from PnP (pen-and-paper) is Action Points. You do not use Action Points to reroll your dice, as you would in PnP. Instead, four times per level, you achieve a new rank, at which point you gain Action Points to spend on enhancements. Low level enhancements are approximately equal to one additional feat. Higher level enhancements can equal nearly four feats combined (example: level 9 rogues get one that gives +7 to Disable Device and Open Lock simultaneously, passive). All players may have four different enhancements granted to their character at any time. While some may think that this may make your character terribly over-powered, this is not necessarily the case. The game is designed to overcome the problems a live action environment creates with the PnP game, and, as a result, your character will be expected to have the proper enhancements. These abilities are what make characters of varying levels significantly more or less powerful than each other in DDO. Each class and race has their own unique enhancements to choose from, but you must keep in mind as you develop your character that you are limited to having four at any given time. In addition, every time you level, you lose unspent Action Points, and the set of available enhancments will change every level also. The current level cap is 10, which Turbine has announced that it will raise in a few months. Prestige classes are also in the works. Other than Action Points, the game plays largely like PnP DnD, with a few very minor exceptions. Fans of the game will undoubtedly enjoy the MMO atmosphere of DDO.

Now for the gamers. So you're used to sitting in dungeon, blasting away at countless critters until you eventually gain a level? Maybe a few Catacombs raids will do you some good. Not in Stormreach. In this troubled city, you must use your brain more than your braun. Each class has a very specific purpose that you must play well to survive. If a fighter runs ahead of the rest of the party, for example, trying to blaze the way, he will undoubtedly be killed quite quickly by hidden dungeon traps that can only be disarmed by well-equipped rogues. Similarly, a rogue cannot hack and slash his way into a group of enemies without getting severely torn up. You have to use strategy, and you have to read up on your class. Know how the game works. It is very important. This game also features active combat. You click to swing your sword, fire your bow, raise your shield, or tumble away from an attack. DnD features both a targetting cursor and a targetting system, allowing you either to mouse-over the specific enemy you want to shoot at and fire or, if you happen to be trying to aim at a small critter that jumps around quickly, you may decide that you simply want to target it and auto-attack away. Both options are available (when using a weapon--spells can't be autocast). The game has no crafting system, which does not affect your ability to acquire items. The economy (at lower levels) is quite an easy one, with most players giving gear they do not need to other players in their party who do need it, free of charge. Mosts quests also offer very useful item rewards. You do not regenerate spell points or hit points unless you rest or are in a tavern (and resting is only possible at special shrines found in dungeons), although healers can heal you and even sometimes restore your spellpoints. This system makes strategy very important. The game is very easy to play and user-friendly, but difficult to master. You do not need any knowledge of DnD to get started, but, as your interest in the game grows, you will undoubtedly spend hours reading up on how things work and what people think works best. This is a huge boon to the players who take pride in their accomplishments. In addition, DnD features quest-based advancement. You do not get any experience for "grinding". In fact, you do not get any experience at all for killing individual monsters. Your experience comes from quests, which are all instanced. The quests are very well-developed, featuring a wide variety of stories, monsters, and objectives (everything from rescues to obtaining an item to defeating an enemy to solving a mystery and more). The graphics, controls, and musical scores are without a doubt some of the best I have ever seen. I have seen better graphics (namely in Asheron's Call II: breathtaking), but combined with the other artificial elements, this game is very pretty indeed. The avid gamer will not be disappointed. The main issues for some players will be the following: lack of player versus player combat, different gameplay style of Dnd, lack of crafting skills, and necessity to complete quests in order to advance (the good ones are long and involved). The pros of the game, though, heavily outway these potential cons: grouping is VERY heavily encouraged (meaning it is always possible to find a group), the storylines are extremely engaging (if you take the time to read them), combat is intense, and strategy is important. Most gamers will very much enjoy this game.

Overall, then, players will find that DnD Online (also known as DDO) is a great game. It fills a niche that many MMORPGers have sought for years. DDO isn't just your next hack-and-slash, ding, level up game. It is very involving, requires strong knowledge of your character, and features many things never before seen in MMORPGs. The game is fun at all levels; not just at maximum level. You will find the depth of character advancement to be absolutely astonishing. On the whole, Eberron is an amazing world and Stormreach an amazing city. With so many ways to customize your character and so many things to do with him (or her), many DDO players feel confident in calling the game flawless--the best ever made. After all, it is Dungeons and Dragons, which has remained a brilliant RPG for decades. And there you have it: Dungeons and Dragons Online: Stormreach is simply brilliant.

Other game notes: DDO features the races and classes of the DnD 3.5 ruleset, with the current exception of Monks and Druids (which are in development). These classes are Paladin, Ranger, Fighter, Cleric, Rogue, Barbarian, Sorcerer, Wizard, Paladin, and Bard. Each class has its own role in a group, except for the Bard (who is a sort of jack-of-all-trades). Each character may choose one class at character creation and either continue that class to the level cap or multiclass to a second class when they reach their next level (so if a level five Fighter just reached level six and wanted to multiclass to a Ranger, he would become all of the following: a level five Fighter, a level one Ranger, and a level six character, meaning that the sum of your class levels cannot exceed your current character level, which cannot be higher than the level cap). Each character is also of a particular race, and each race receives particular advantages or disadvantages that may allow it to excel at one or more particular class types. Available races in DDO include Humans, Elves, Half Elves, Dwarves, Halflings, and Warforged. You may only select one race. Information on feats, spells, enhancements, skills, racial abilities, and class abilities can be found at many DDO fansites, but documentation on the game can sometimes be hard to find because of so many inaccurate references. Check with reliable sources (open source works best, such as Wikis). The game also features a sort of tutorial area to help new players get started. It is optional.

If you are considering trying this game, do it. Period.

I can't say buy this.

2 Rating: 2, Useful: 12 / 17
Date: March 09, 2006
Author: Amazon User

I am a big fan of Dungeons and Dragons, however this game has some serious problems that make it worthless online. There will be fans come along and rip me up about saying so and claiming that this is a niche game and like arguments. It's just filler arguments to gloss over the fact that the game is seriously lacking in content.

I played all through beta and headstart and am now into the first free month. I won't be subscribing to the game and here is why.

The game had maxxed characters after the first 3 days of release.

The dungeons are repeating. You have to continually re-do the same dungeons over and over if you start new characters. There is no path difference between races. Ever race, every character starts in the exact same spot and levels up through the exact same dungeons. BORING.

There is no world to explore. This game launches from one city where you gather and try to find a group to quest with and then you launch into the dungeon. Fans will say yes thats good.. no time running or porting around.. blah blah blah. What it really means is boring time spent sitting in one place forever. Waiting to find a group to quest a certain dungeon with.

Which brings up the worst problem. The first few days it was easy to get a group to do the dungeons with. As the days go by though, it is getting harder and hard to find good people to quest with each time you log in. Most of the idiots I have ended up grouping with have now desire to run the dungeon as it was made. They only want to rush through the dungeon and get it finished as fast as possible. Rushers.

Another really big problem is that the experience you gain isn't assigned to you as you go along in the quest. Only at the finish. So there are tons of messages (happened to me 3 times so far) from people on the official boards for the game where they have wasted 2-5 hours trying to do a quest, only to have it bug up at the end and not get credit for doing it.

All in all.. the game is fun for what it is. Unfortunately what it is right now is a stand alone game. It's fun the first few times throught the dungeons. Then you find out the problems and the glitches and the repeat content and slowly you realize, this game isn't worth the money.

Sorry to have to put a thumbs down, but this game is really not an MMORPG.

Don't let the fans of the game tell you to just wait and Turbine will bring more content or fix all the problems. That's exctly what they said about Asheron's Call 2 and after people put a lot of time and effort into their characters.. Turbine closed the doors on that game. It wasn't profitable enough for them.

My advice... check out the official forums at ddo.com and pay read what actual players are saying. Pay attention to the tech forums and see all the problems they have. Then wait 6 months and see if it gets any better. I canceled my subscription and will do just that. Wait 6 months and see if they can do anything to make this game better.

You have to group

3 Rating: 3, Useful: 6 / 8
Date: April 02, 2006
Author: Amazon User

This is the only MMORPG I have played, so look to the other reviews for comparisons. I beta-tested DDO for 5 months before it was released. I don't know how other games of this type are, but on DDO, if you want to level, you have to group. The quests and monsters are so hard, and the experience hits you take for soloing lower-level dungeons (which are the only ones you can really solo) are so severe, that you can't really get anywhere unless you group.

If I had a bunch of friends who were into MMORPGs, I would probably have bought the game and subscribed, but I don't. The player base that I encountered was breathakingly rude and intolerant of mistakes and inexperience. When it came time to decide whether to sign on, I realized I just had not been having fun. I don't know whether they've cracked down on world-appropriate names, but I didn't see a whole lot of roleplaying, and there were tons of characters with gangsta-type names. Since the place is marketed as an online version of the tabletop pen and paper game, I found that intrusive and disappointing.

But if you have the hide of a rhinoceros or a group of friends who will go in with you, the graphics are terrific, and you can have a lot of fun fighting monsters. The game as I played it didn't have a lot of customization choices for your avatar, though I can't speak to the current version. Also, my system with its 512MB and Radeon 9600 video card crashed probably once every 24 hours of play, so I'd want a higher-end system to get the most out of it, and, oh yeah, a gamepad because I was always hitting my CapsLock (no function) button instead of the Shift (block) key. There was some learning curve for me on the keyboard controls, but I think a gamepad would help that, as well as lengthen the life of my keyboard. Too bad. I was looking forward to Dungeons & Dragons Online.

Not worth the money, clumsy interface, expensive subscription

1 Rating: 1, Useful: 7 / 15
Date: May 09, 2006
Author: Amazon User

Amateurish interface, this game is just plain bad. but the worst thing about it is that it'll take you at least a week to realize that you've just wasted a week trrying to "advance" a level. Seriously, the keyboard movement interface is terrible, I'm surprised they released this game without running it through some basic testing. If they had done any level of user acceptance testing they would have quickly realized that they were employing the wrong game developers.

You'll find yourself spending too much time backing up and realigning yourself because movement is challenged. In addition to that, you'll be spending half of your time breaking boxes to find hidden items, and when you finally fight a beast, you'l end up running around in circles frantically hitting the right mouse button. I can't imagine anyone is particularly proud of this game, I figure this, the developers probably are not that bad, but the corporation that produced it started to freak out about how much money it was costing to develop this game. I'll bet anything that some suit decided to cut his or her losses and forced the technical team to wrap up early. This whole game just reeks of inadequate testing.

Spend your money on something else, this one is a dud.

Not so good

1 Rating: 1, Useful: 5 / 12
Date: March 12, 2006
Author: Amazon User

If you want an MMORPG this is *NOT* the game you want; you should look to World of Warcraft (still). This game is only 'massive' when you are waiting around, other times its pure instance based. Partying is certainly encouraged, its encouraged so much that you effectively cannot solo, so make sure you find a good group.

If you want a literal interpretation and very good implementation of the D&D rules in a game this *NOT* the game you want; you should try NeverWinter Nights or the forth coming NWN2. This game totally screwed up the rule balance, throwing in random things like '+5 to all skills' and a Mechanoid race in an effort to maintain balance.

The requirements for this game imply that it should be graphically very advanced. Guess again, its kinda far behind the current crop of games from a graphics perspective.

Overall this title could have had *HUGE* potential, but it really failed. Its a mediocre at best game with an 'offical' license attached to the box. Save your money and wait for NWN2 to hit the shelves

Worth the free trial, but not much more

2 Rating: 2, Useful: 3 / 6
Date: April 25, 2006
Author: Amazon User

Bringing D&D to an MMO is an interesting concept that is amusing for a while but has some serious shortcomings.

The dungeons are quite fun. I like the interplay of the classes. I like having the rogue scout for traps, the strongman being needed to bash down certain doors, the wizard activating glyphs. D&D is about teamwork and the uniqueness of each class. I'm not sure if this is inherently fun, or just a breath of fresh air from the monotomy and homogeny of every other MMO.

I liked that health and mana didn't regen in dungeons except for discrete one time only points. In other MMOs stopping for 5-10 minutes between each battle to rest up got really tedious; IE in WoW, 90% of your time in an instance was spent resting up between each micro encounter. It only served to artificially inflate an instance from 20 minutes of content into a 3-4 hour ordeal

The grouping interface seemed a little clunky to me, but with some improvement would be great. It's nice to have a bulletin board so to speak to look for a group, and to be able to say what you're looking for.

I also have to applaud turbine for putting out an MMO without any PvP. I can't say enough how much I hate PvP influence in an RPG and its inevitable effect on attempting to balance the game for both PvP and PvM (ie it doesn't work, and you end up screwing up both of them). I was told City of Heroes was the same way, but I never got around to trying that one.

Last but not least, thank you for putting in a group-based voice system. Counterstrike had this YEARS ago. It's about time an MMO put it in there.

Some of D&Ds strengths are also its weakness though. D&D is sort of like football in that playing alone is pointless; you need a group of people, each with different roles. After the first 30 minutes of the game, you will need to be in a good balanced party in order to accomplish anything. You'll only be able to solo dungeons much lower in level than yourself. It gets boring trying to put a party together without being able to do much in the meantime. In P&P it's only the cruelest of DMs who intentionally designs everything to take advantage of any weakness of the party (no rogue?..then we'll go through a dungeon without monsters, just trap after trap after trap), but almost all of the dungeons in DDO seemed designed to punish you if you don't have the iconic party (rogue, wizard, fighter, cleric).

Also, as much as I hate to admit it, character advancement isn't frequent enough for me. In P&P, fighting, killing, and gaining XP is only a small amount of the game, so not leveling up frequently is just fine. Plus, leveling up frequently is tedious without a computer-based system to do it for you. Keeping track of dozens of random modifiers bogs a P&P game down, where on a computer system it's nothing at all for it to keep track of for you.

In an MMO, fighting, killing, exploring and gaining XP/equipment is pretty much it. RPing is waaaaay to much to expect from an online game that is not actually policed for it. And so, for a CRPG, it just takes too long to really feel rewarded.

The treasure seemed a bit too random as well. When I played a wizard I would receive magic weapons/armor left and right that my fighter 2 levels higher would kill for, but that's all I'd find. When I played my fighter, I found scrolls and wands like no tomorrow, but was still using mundane armor and a MW weapon at lv 3 because of no luck with treasure.

Overall, I don't think the game is going to really take off. It's fun and refreshing for a week or so, but then grows stale.

A game as heavily based off of D&D isn't really good for an MMO (though if other MMOs would cherry pick some of the good things from DDO that'd be a plus for them) and belongs more in the single-player realm ala Baldur's Gate, where you can make and control a well-balanced party. Either that or Neverwinter Nights style, where you just get together with a bunch of people you know and run through some dungeons for a few hours that your DM created just for your party in particular (ala a LAN party, or played over the internet).

see my review under the dvd version

5 Rating: 5, Useful: 3 / 7
Date: May 14, 2006
Author: Amazon User

In there i forgot to mention that the drow elf will soon be a playable character.

Save your money it's buggy and small

1 Rating: 1, Useful: 3 / 8
Date: March 23, 2006
Author: Amazon User

This is the worst save your money
Hello all just a note to tell people to stay away from turbine this game is bad buggy and very little content and they want 14.99 a month to keep playing and playing the same dungeons over and over. I played the beta and thought there would be a lot more content in the game when it realeased there was not and the bigger dungeons that are in the game have been closed half the time since the game was released because of bugs. Also I tried to sell the game on ebay to help recoupe some of my money and turbine complained to ebay and had my game listing removed. Well I hope it was worth it turbine I will never by any software from you or atari again. To many companies release games that are not done and stick us with them with no recorse/return policy I will wait next time and not listen to the hype.

Couldnt Do It

3 Rating: 3, Useful: 1 / 1
Date: December 30, 2007
Author: Amazon User

This game is as good as it gets for someone who loves the D&D world. Character creation was deep enough and the dungeons were good. Problem as said before is forced grouping. After advancing to level 2 solo play is nearly impossible at least for casters which i simply must play. I dont mind grouping, when i feel like grouping but the main problem lies in the fact that you do not really have time to make enough friends before you have to start grouping. Being totally fried on WOW i gave this game several hours and just cannot bring myself to pay for hanging around waiting to group with people who may or may not be fun to be around. Hopefully they will try again and do the D&D world with enough solo quests throughout to keep everyone playing. I would love to see it.

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