is not your daddy's Dungeons & Dragons.
by Cass Andrusiak
22, 2006 - Dungeons
& Dragons: Stormreach is a lot less dorky than
the dark ages of the 1980s when groups of nerds secretly
gathered around their parent's kitchen table, (while
they were out bowling and getting drunk) to play the
tabletop version of D&D with pen, paper and dice
in hand. D&D was a safe and convenient way of
becoming someone powerful that you'll never be in
real life. It was also surefire protection from ever
getting messed up in a relationship with a member
of the opposite sex. Girls? Who needs 'em when you
have friends like Gimble and Tiny that don't like
Online: Stormreach is a massively online multi-player
game that has more in common with Gauntlet than with
D&D. It's less about individual role-playing,
with a focus on cooperative play as teams of up to
six players take part in exploring dungeons and fighting
monsters they encounter. The leveling-up process is
more drawn out but the action is virtually relentless.
There is seldom a dull moment.
the traditional Lord-of-the-Ring fantasy worlds, Stormreach
is more of a futuristic, sci-fi city with medieval
overtones in the architecture of the buildings and
the dungeons that lie below the city in the aquifers,
caves and sewer systems. The quests, for the most
part, are mission based. There is a sense of purpose
for your actions. Exploring is still a part of the
gameplay but it's downplayed in favor of a more structured
style, one more suited to team play.
you want to go it alone you're in the wrong game.
You can try it if you want but you'll get hit hard
and will end up crawling out of the dungeon instead
of crawling through it. You need other members in
your party in order to survive. Each have different
skills such as magic, healing, strength, melee combat
and the ability to detect booby traps that can help
the party survive. Classes include wizards, barbarians,
rogues, clerics, bards, rangers and healers. There
is less focus on customizing each character individually.
Although they can specialize in certain skills, they
can also be made more adaptable since the parties
are relatively small.
is relatively easy. It's not turn-based but performed
in real-time. The hack-and-slash nature of the combat
guarantees that even beginners will get picked up
online to join more experience party members. Whether
you choose spells or weapons you will be doing a lot
of mashing buttons during combat which usually is
too busy for its own good. It's difficult to see exactly
what you or the enemy is doing, never mind what your
teammates are up to. Online stats display the number
of hit points you have left and the status of your
weapons or spells, but you'll be so preoccupied with
the battles that these stats will be relatively meaningless
until after the end. Experience points are awarded
only after you successfully complete the trials of
crawling is both rewarding and dangerous. It's a good
source of upgrades and experience points but it's
also filled with monsters and pitfalls. Here you will
experience a variety of gameplay elements including
combat, puzzle solving, action, exploring and tactics.
An auto map will help guide you through the dungeon.
You can recover hit points relatively easy in the
dungeons through the use of magic and other items
found, spell points are much more difficult to recover.
Healers will help characters regain their health and
there is at least one recover zone where players can
rest and recharge their health and regain their hit
is essential to a party-based game. All you need is
a microphone and you can chat with players in real-time.
It's way better than typing. The chat works great
in the dungeons where you need to work together to
defeat the monsters and foil the traps but it also
comes in handy when you're meeting in the town pub
in between missions. These rest stops aren't very
long since there seems to be plenty of people waiting
to tag along. Once you get a team together it's off
most RPGs, you're not encouraged to re-visit the same
dungeons time after time in an effort to earn more
experience points. In fact, you will earn less points
each time you re-visit a dungeon. Sometimes you'll
need the extra points before you go to the next dungeon
but the game basically forces you to take chances
by taking on new missions and exploring new dungeons.
If you're a beginner you'll probably encounter players
that have been through these dungeons several times.
It's up to you if you want them to spoil the surprises
or if you want to take the time to recruit all new
players so the experience is fresh for the entire
team. Each dungeon crawl is unique for each team as
it's unaffected by other teams' previous visits.
Online is not a great looking game but it's diverse.
The characters suffer from some blocky graphics which
make them look like origami figures, especially in
the limb sections. Even some of the animations are
a little stiff. A dungeon master presides over each
dungeon, highlighting the tales of antiquity of your
next dangerous adventure. It's a good addition that
instantly creates a specific atmosphere for each stage
which is enhanced by the soundtrack.
first month online is free with the purchase of the
game. If you want to continue past that you're going
to have to pay a monthly fee. More content is continually
being added so by the time you complete the first
month, you might have another month or two of content
to keep you busy. It's certainly worth the price for
the first month and if you find a team of friends
that you really like, this could be your new social
Create a unique individual with millions of different
combinations of looks, skills, stats, feats, races,
Turbine's highly advanced 3rd generation 3D game
engine brings the city of Strormreach, characters,
dungeons, and monsters to life!
Use your brawn, your stealth, and your wits to survive
dungeons filled with monsters, traps, puzzles, and
other interactive challenges.
Fast: Get to the fun quickly with DDO's exclusive
Instaport feature which eliminates tedious travel
Elements like d20 and DM text make it authentic
Dungeons & Dragons, lovingly created for the
Gain masterful skills and world-dominating powers
without endless combat with DDO's quest-based experience
Custom adventures for you and your party provide
instances to shine as a hero - or a team - without
interference from other players. Public adventures
provide opportunities for large groups to tackle
even bigger challenges.