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 Dungeons and Dragons Online Preview











Title: Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach

Format: PC

Developer: Turbine

Publisher: Atari

Region: PAL

Players: 1+ Online


Rating: 12+






Recently myself and Chris went to give Atari a visit in London's Hammersmith, for a ‘hands-on' play test of the upcoming D&D title, Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach, a massive multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) set in the D&D world, from US developer Turbine.



To begin, Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach, is an MMORPG that is based on the popular card game. It can easily be compared to the popular World of Warcraft with its fantasy like setting, but this particular MMORPG is very different, with several unique aspects.



The game is set in the world of Ebberon where, like in any MMORPG, you create your character from a slew of options, from hair, eye colour, gender, race, and more. The game promises to have the most customisable feature of character creation ever. Once you create your character the more advanced players have the opportunity to add additional skill points and various powers, whereas new players can simply jump right in with simple generated characters, to edit later.



The main aspect of D&D Online that sets it apart from the other MMORPG available is not only the grand adventure mode but the unique combat system which is presented in true real time; this offers a fresh take on the standard seen in this genre. You don't select an enemy to attack you simply approach your target. The ability to move around freely, and with each mouse click, comes a swing of your sword, you will be able to dodge enemy attacks by rolling and so on. This gives combat an overhaul and a new way to strategise combat and make them more fun and varied.



In addition to this, Turbine have removed the ability to gain experience points (xp) from killing enemies, instead you will only get them from completing tasks or missions. In addition to this, the maximum level a player can reach is 10, but these ten levels are divided into sub levels offering a deep rank system which appears linear at the surface. We are informed however that over 200 casual hours of play time would be required to reach the top level! Also, replenishing hit points (hp) is done different as well. In other titles regaining HP was accomplished by waiting in a safe place, watching your HP fill up, in D&D there are three ways of healing:



1 - The Inn

You can heal yourself by spending time in the Inn, relaxing, making new friends, accepting quests, and most importantly getting healthy.



2 – Healing Post

Healing post's can be found in the games dungeons however these healing posts can only be used once, and they replenish only a limited amount of HP.



3 – Potions

Finally, and most obviously would be potions, available from certain people and places throughout the land.


When you first start the game, you start of in a harbour in the main city of Stormreach . Like any MMORPG you have to complete a few tutorial missions before you are allowed to fully start. The tutorials essentially teach first time players how to get to grips with the system and controls, as well as getting the player to gain initial experience in battle.



When you do arrive on the main server, you have to complete a few single player missions, again making sure you have enough experience to go out and do more advanced tasks.



Once you complete these missions, you can start group tasks, which is what the game really encourages, with most missions involving group activities, and distributing more experience points if certain things are done in groups.



Overall the game is shaping up to be a very polished, unique MMORPG, with innovative adventure elements never before seen in this genre, an exclusive combat system and more. The game in general has a really fresh appeal, and it all runs beautifully smooth.



The D&D franchise holds a huge fan base of over 10million, World of Warcraft most certainly has competition on its hands.
















Preview Score:




























Gameplay: 8.9
Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach is due for release in Europe on the 3rd of March 2006
Graphics: 9.0
Audio: 8.3
Lifespan: 8.1
Total: 8.6

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Buy Dungeons and Dragons Online Preview now at Play.com
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