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Dungeons & Dragons Online Review
Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach delivers an amazing experience
By: Blair Morris | Game Data | 10:37pm, March 14, 2006
When entering the gaming world of Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach, multiple sights and impressions come over you. At first look, the newest Turbine title looks and feels very similar to other MMORPG’s, but after the first few days in the game, the uniqueness of the game starts standing out. Multiple features borrowed from other games are evident, but are presented in a way that stands alone and gives the player a sense of first-time experiences. Though, the secrets and thrills of Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach unfold with time, creating possibly one of the first enjoyable and exciting titles for 2006.

For those that have never played and type of Dungeons & Dragons game, or a MMORPG of any type, Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach is a game that welcomes any newcomer to both worlds in a friendly and easy way. When stepping into this fantasy laced world for the first time, the player is presented with and in-depth and easy navigational character creation. You’ll be able to create a character from five different races, nine classes, and hundreds of skills, feats and looks. Your first step into the world of Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach will place you in a tutorial city which provides you with the knowledge you’ll need to advance in the game. With playable tutorials, the process of learning the game no matter your character race, class or skills will come quickly.

For many veterans to MMORPG’s, you’ll quickly notice some major differences in this game. There is no crafting system of any type. You’ll need to purchase, collect drops, or trade with other players to get items, weapons or armor instead of making your own. Leveling is very time consuming. It’ll take you at least two or three hours of straight game play to level from one to two. The reasoning behind this is because the cap in the current game is level 10. Monsters are also very scarce, adding to the amount of time it’ll take to level your character.  Strengthening your character is more guided toward skills and the player’s ability to solve problems and adjusting to the familiarizing tactics of the game play (much like the pen and paper Dungeons & Dragons). Though in some cases, different ideas and change to what’s become familiar can be viewed in a bad light, but when giving differences and changes some time to and experiencing it, it really take nothing away from the quality.

The vocal narration of the “Gamemaster” adds much to the game, while keeping ties to what has become familiar in most Dungeons & Dragons game of all types. Keeping true to the identity of the franchise is something that becomes apparent in this MMORPG. Though some extreme purest may criticize Turbine for its take of the franchise, for the most part, the feel of the game is much like what Dungeons & Dragons fans have come to love. The story is thought provoking and entertaining, there are multiple quests from each level of player, and each quest can be repeated for a more challenging experience. Using intellect and problem solving become vital to advance in some quest, taking much of the game play experience of the computer monitor and into your mind.

The visuals and sounds of the game are incredible. Though the game doesn’t revolutionize anything in this field, you may find yourself staring at the computer screen marveling over the details of the landscape and turning up the speakers to catch detail in the surrounding sounds around you. Character art, from playable and non-playable characters is quite detailed as well. The animation of the game is very smooth and expands into a wide range of motion. The composition of sound also aides to drawing your imagination into this fantasy world making the entire gaming experience more enjoyable.

The interface and navigation of the game is great. For any newcomers to MMORPG’s getting the hang of the controls and commands may seem difficult at first, but in no time you’ll be navigating like a pro. The game’s interface doesn’t clog up too much of the screen, and can be customized to your preference. However, probably the most notable trait of the interface and navigation is that despite its depth, it’s easy to learn and use.

The game’s community, for most MMORPG’s, is very vital. Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach, despite its recent launch, has a large community of gamers. Through all interaction experienced thus far, all are very helpful and willing to join into parties to aid in quest completion or just for the occasional, out-of-the-way party fun. This is a great asset since you will need to party up with player to advance in the game. To add to the community assets, most of the experienced gamers are very helpful and knowledgeable. Chances are if you have a question about anything, there’s some one not too far away that will be more than willing to help you out. Plus just interacting with new people in pubs or in the open fields from different countries can add to the time spent within this world.

The game’s replayabiltiy is quite high. You’ll be coming back day after day for all the various quest, discovering new places, admiring the landscapes, huge collection of items to gather, and interaction with others in the community. There are loads of incentives in Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach that bring you back, and keeps you online for hours at a time (if your have the time). Let alone, just experiencing a great game is cause enough to bring you back day after day, week after week, and month after month.

Overall, Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach is a great game, and could quickly become a favorite of MMORPG fans of all kinds (new and old alike). There is little, if anything, to find at fault with this game. The only problem that comes to mind is this may not be a game for everyone. If you’re scared of change and new takes on ideas, or if you’re an extreme purest, this may not be a game for you. However, Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach should be applauded for taking a chance on changes from the norm, especially since quality-wise, they hit a grand slam. There is little doubt; Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach is an early front-runner for game of the year in 2006.

9.6 Gameplay 101010 10
Replayability 999 9
Interface 999 9
Community 101010 10
Reviewer's Tilt 101010 10
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