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D&D Online Goes Free-To-Play in September

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 14 comments
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Turbine's upgrade for Dungeons & Dragons Online has been delayed for a month.

Turbine announced this morning that Dungeons & Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited (DDO Unlimited) will go live on September 9 rather than the previously announced August 6 date. When launched, the free digital upgrade will raise the MMORPG's level cap, add a new player class, and add new major content. However, the upgrade also unlocks the game to everyone, now making it a free-to-play MMORPG.

"We've had a tremendous response to DDO Unlimited from the players and press who are participating in our beta program," said Fernando Paiz, Executive Producer of DDO Unlimited.  "We’ve been holding a series of live events as part of the beta program and have seen an unprecedented level of participation from players."

Indeed, the game is already live to closed beta participants and those of us in the press, and so far, DDO Unlimited is quite impressive. According to Turbine, the game will still offer a subscription plan for players who want everything the game provides. However, conservative fans will be able to play for free while purchasing extra content such as adventure packs, items, and account services through the embedded DDO Store.

Unfortunately, fans anticipating the upgrade in the next few weeks will have to wait another month. "While we are very pleased with the performance of the game and are excited about the response from the players, we are committed to delivering a high-quality experience," Turbine added. "We feel that more time is needed to deliver on this commitment.  As a result, we are delaying our launch to ensure that we can support the massive increase in players that we are expecting and deliver them a free to play experience like none other."

Turbine will provide DDO VIPs (current subscribers) early access to the game beginning September 1, 2009 and will provide free, unlimited access to everyone on September 9, 2009.

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  • 3 Hide
    Wayoffbase , July 31, 2009 8:55 PM
    I got an invite for the beta and didn't bother to actually play it. The current version is a giant yawn-fest, which is too bad because I used to really like tabletop D&D. Using the Eberron campaign setting was a mistake, Dragonlance or Forgotten Realms would have been awesome. The free to play with microtransaction system doesn't give me a good feeling about where the game is going.

    so far, DDO Unlimited is quite impressive

    Seriously? I find that hard to believe. Are you actually playing it, or did you copy that from the press release???
  • 1 Hide
    dman3k , July 31, 2009 9:00 PM
    September 9???

    Sorry, but I'll be playing Beatles Rock Band.
  • -2 Hide
    Anonymous , July 31, 2009 10:24 PM
    I'm waiting for CRPGs based on 4.0, MMO or otherwise, thanks.

    It should be a far, far better system for a CRPG.

    Maybe, just maybe mind you, we'd eventually get a D&D game that actually stays true to the actual game as well. Something like a modern-day ToEE.

    I'd open up my wallet for that.
  • 1 Hide
    buzznut , August 1, 2009 3:57 AM
    The game description in the article got me excited. I am surprised of the negative comments. Or maybe not surprised, I have played many games over the years that were nothing like the D&D experience. Baldur's Gate and a couple others being the exception.
  • 2 Hide
    NuclearShadow , August 1, 2009 4:20 AM
    I honestly think a D&D MMORPG was a bad idea in the first place. Obviously they bet their success on the D&D name and to non D&D players like myself it doesn't interest me. As for D&D players I doubt it interests the majority of them as well because lets face it the game may share the name and things such as classes and races but no way does it play like a actual D&D game.
  • 0 Hide
    Wayoffbase , August 1, 2009 7:30 AM
    buzznutThe game description in the article got me excited. I am surprised of the negative comments. Or maybe not surprised, I have played many games over the years that were nothing like the D&D experience. Baldur's Gate and a couple others being the exception.

    Don't get your hopes up. It's based on the same engine as LOTRO, but way over instanced and sucky.

    I got a pretty decent D&D fix from the first Neverwinter Nights game and the expansions for it. I liked NWN2 also, but the first expansion put me off it.
  • 0 Hide
    jerreece , August 1, 2009 8:57 PM
    As someone who played AD&D growing up, I can't really see how an MMORPG can possibly play like D&D. May have similar concepts in character progression, but cannot possibly have the same intense story and plot configuration. With a real D&D experience, you're living in that world. With an MMORPG, you're just controlling an actor in a world of other actors.
  • 0 Hide
    Todestool , August 1, 2009 9:41 PM
    If someone is willing to pay a subscription for a D&D fix, they'd be best off getting D&D Insider. Wizards of the Coast is working to make it easy to play over the internet, though I don't know if all services are up and running yet. A real DM and a group of real players is the only legitimate D&D experience.
  • 0 Hide
    bpogdowz , August 2, 2009 6:13 PM
    Oh that game is hidiously awful.
  • 0 Hide
    ssddx , August 3, 2009 11:32 AM
    How else would you have them create a D&D online game if not as a MMORPG? I highly doubt people would want to use the old dice rolling setup. Also, be it a sucky game or not: Adding a free to play option is always good news. Yes you are more "limited" but it will still attract more users who would rather "try out" the game without a subscription on their back.
  • 0 Hide
    cimtaurus , August 3, 2009 1:09 PM
    I played the game at launch and stuck with it for the first year. To be fair, the game itself is not so bad, but the lack of content killed it for me. The world was not expansive enough (ran around the same city all of the time) and the quests were designed to be repeated 3 times each since there was not enough content to satisfy the players.

    This game is not terrible, it just failed in some places where you can't afford to fail and expect to keep servers up and running.
  • 0 Hide
    kutark , August 4, 2009 2:27 AM
    What i don't understand is that if a respectable company were to make a mainstream, AAA MMO based in Forgotten Realms, i'd be willing to bet it would turn into a license to print money.
  • 0 Hide
    theholylancer , August 4, 2009 1:39 PM
    Free to play = death of an MMO, they make free to play only to get some fast cash then leave.

    if you have ever played with other free to play korean/chinese mmos you'd know that free to play would have one if not several of the following:

    upgrading items have a chance of breaking said item, unless you buy a special upgrade item that makes it 100%

    purchased "rest" bonus (I.E. 200% exp gain)

    new skins for old crap

    access to "hidden" content.

    paid character class reset/skill reset (think respec in wow)

    paid character transfer, account management

    all of these just kills off a large portion of the game, making it fun for a few people, usually the younger crowd that nags their parent to buy these random crap, and then they eventually leaves and moves on to other things that may be shinier
  • 0 Hide
    Ha-So , December 3, 2009 11:35 PM
    Got this article looking for something else. Funny to read in hindsight cause DDO's population has now exploded and the MMO has ADDED servers (rare occurrence for a 3 year old MMO), even if it's F2P, paid subscriptions are way up, and new content rollouts are so far much faster.