Dungeons & Dragons Online
Storm's Cape is the name of the city in which you begin your heroic life in Dungeons & Dragons Online. Storm Cape is the name of the city in which you lead your heroic existence. Storm Cape is the name of the city in which you end your heroic existence. The latter probably very soon - because the online version of the successful pen & paper set of rules Dungeons & Dragons breaks many of the usual online role-playing rules and thus scares potential heroes. What irony: precisely because Dungeons & Dragons Online wants to live up to its name and sticks to the D&D rules, opinions about the game differ widely. Fans of the system praise the accurate implementation of their rules. Those who come to visit quickly from Azeroth or Norrath miss comfort and easy accessibility. In addition, there are frequent server lags and long loading times.
Dungeons & Dragons Online is not located in the Forgotten Realms (Baldur's Gate, Neverwinter Nights), but in the still young Eberron. Fans of the real-time strategy already know the secluded area from Dragonshard from Liquid Entertainment. In the case of D&D Online, you are mainly in the city of Stormreach and its dungeons. A few quests will take you to the city gates, but Storm's Cape is still the largest area in the game. Classic trips on foot or on horseback are not necessary: you accept an order and after a short pause in loading you are in the zone of future heroics. The feeling of space as with other online role-playing games does not want to arise.
You can form a new character from five races and nine classes. Fantasy standards such as humans, halflings, elves, and dwarves dominate the races. Of the extraordinary Eberron peoples, only the machine-like warforged made it into the game. Turbine probably saves converters, changeling and the Kalashtar associated with ghosts for expansion packages.
Lots of instances
If you have accepted an order, walk to the relevant door or the catacomb entrance. Before you start the adventure, the game tells you what level the dungeon corresponds to and roughly how big it is. And a short loading break further you are already in the heart of Dungeons & Dragons Online. Each adventure is an instance, a copy of a quest area made especially for you. Only you and - if any - your group are in the current zone. It's not new, Guild Wars even provides it for no monthly fee. Really well done: A virtual game master leads you through the adventure with a dramatic voice (English, German subtitles) at certain points. Then it quickly becomes less beautiful: You run through caves and vaults, which often look the same, to defend yourself against skeletons, zombies or goblins.
Only in bulk
If you are traveling alone, a quick death is inevitable, because the tasks are designed more for well-balanced groups. And that's the real crux of D&D Online. Finding fellow players is unnecessarily complicated: although a symbol above the characters indicates the active search for companions, for which quests the players are looking for support, you have to find out in direct dialogue. And then you stumble over the next hurdle: While you fade in English terms at the touch of a button in Guild Wars, for example, you often get stuck in the confusion of languages with our European neighbors in D&D Online. In addition, there are not even speech bubbles for the characters, which would make communication at least within a room much easier. & Dragons very action-packed, the reflexes of the adventurers and the teamwork of the group therefore play a major role.
The upper level limit in D&D Online is currently 10, which corresponds to 450,000 experience points. Unlike usual, the system divides a level into five ranks. Depending on the class, there are bonus talents at certain ranks, and every fourth promotion you may increase one of your basic attributes. You will also invest action points in class improvements. Incidentally, you cannot save such points for later levels; unused action points expire with each promotion. Very unusual for an online role-playing game - but not for a pen & paper role-playing game - is the award of experience points. You only get them at the end of a quest or during important events. Killed monsters sometimes leave items behind, but your character does not gain experience after a successful battle. The level up in D&D Online takes significantly longer than in World of WarCraft or Everquest 2. (DS) & Dragons very action-packed, so the adventurers' reflexes and the teamwork of the group play a major role.
You can read the complete test in GameStar issue 06/2006.