There are some major changes coming to Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach as the game is Rebranded Dungeons & Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited [EU] on September 1st, 2009. Dungeons & Dragons Online [DDO], which is in its third year of release, not only is DDO the first game to transition to Micro-Transactions it also the first major western MMO to adopt Micro-Transactions in the first place. Many in the industry believe Micro-Transactions will be the payment model in very near future for all MMOs so DDO definitely will not be the last to make the transition.
From September 1st through September 9th will be a head-start access to the new game for exisiting Subscribers (hence forth called VIPs), former players, and those players who tried DDO:EU in closed adn open beta. There is one catch, you must have an exisiting DDO Client installed on your computer. The client can currently be downloaded from http://www.ddo.com/ddosupport/download-ddo. This client will be removed on September 1st, so download it now.
In a micro-transaction supported game rather than a everyone paying a monthly subscription fee to support the game people play the game for free and only pay for the items they want to utilize, it is an À la carte system if you prefer.
DDO will switch from being monthly subscription based game to a game supported by Micro-Transaction on September 1st. Unlike most Micro-Transaction supported games in DDO you can still choose to pay a month subscription, called VIPs, and have access to the entirety of the content or you may also choose the Free-to-Play system where you only pay for the parts of the game, À la carte, you want to play.
With the transition to Micro-Transactions DDO will be supported by the sales of adventure packs [a series of related quests] and other items in the in-game store as well as the option for monthly subscription. Turbine Points are the currency of the in-game store and may be either purchased or earned during game play.
While the exact cost of Turbine Points [Points] may change slightly as the game moves from Beta to Live here is the cost of Points in Beta as of July 21st, 2009.
400 - $6.25
900 - $11.99
1500 - $18.99
3300 - $38.99
25 - per reaching multiple of 100 favor per character.
500 - per month as a VIP
Unlike many Micro-Transaction supported games you have the opportunity to earn Points just by playing DDO once EU is released. As your Characters complete Quests they earn Favor, depending on the level of quest, difficulty setting and length of the quest the amount of favor you earn is somewhat variable. Every time a character earns a multiple of 100 Favor Points you are rewarded with 25 Turbine Points. This is a novel feature and one that could allow a player to see the entirety of the content without paying a single dollar to Turbine.
Because you can buy things in the in-game store other than adventure packs being a VIP gets you a monthly stipend of 500 Points when you pay your subscription fee.
If you choose to play the game via the Free-To-Play [F2P] route you will have access to the Core Game System, and the quests and adventure areas located on Korthos Island [New Player Experience] and the Stormreach Harbor plus a few adventures located in the Marketplace and in the Dragonmarked Houses for absolutely no cost. Other quests and adventure areas can be purchased in "Adventure Packs"; currently there are 20 Adventure Packs available ranging in cost from 150 to 900 Turbine Points. Once you buy an Adventure Pack it available to every one of your characters on every server.
Listed below are the current Adventure Packs [in relative order by level] and their cost in Points.
The Sharn Syndicate - 250 Points
Shan-to-Kor - 150
The Catacombs - 150
Tangleroot Gorge - 450
Three Barrel Cove - 600
The Necropolis Part 1 - 150
Sorrowdusk Isle - 295 (Grey Moon and Cult of Six)
Delara's Tomb - 595 (9 Quests)
Ruins of Therenal - 450
The Necropolis Part 2 - 250
Vault of Night - 750 (Dragon Vault)
Demon Sands - 750 (10 Adventures and Raid)
Restless Isles - 600 (Twilight Forge)
Gianthold - 895
The Necropolis Part 3 - 250
The Necropolis Part 4 - 750 (Abbot Raid)
Vale of Twilight - 595
Reaver's Reach - 295
Devils of Shavarth - 595
Dungeon Devil Assault - 125
The in-game store sells more than just adventure packs, a quick sampling of items include:
Spell Components - 5 Points
Ammo (prices vary)
Wands / Rods (prices vary)
Cure Potions - Light 30 ….. Critical 90
Cure Wands - Light 90 ….. Critical 240 (50 Charges)
Raise Dead Cake - 90
Rest Shrines - 595
XP and Loot Boosts
Lesser (10% for 3 hours) - 30
Medium (10% for 6 hours) - 45
Greater (20% for 3 hours) - 60
Major (20% for 6 hours) - 90
+1 Tomes (Yes I said Tomes) - 355
Armor (+2 …) - 90 - 120 based on exact Item
Weapon (+2 …) 90 - 120 based on exact item
As a F2P player your characters are limited to first four levels [20 Ranks] unless you find or receive as an end reward a "level sigil" during your game play or purchase a "level sigil" from the In-Game Store. Again if you find the appropriate Sigil in game there is no cost to play; however the cost in the in-game store (as well as availability) is still be discussed.
Currently in Beta there have been little problem finding the appropriate "Level Sigil" and the player bases is worried there drop rate will be decreases somewhat on live.
As a F2P you are limited to Two or Four character slots (depending on whether or not you played previousily), VIPs are limited to TEN character slots. You may purchase additional Character Slots for 595 Turbine Points each. There is no limit to the number of total character slots you can purchase beyond the initial allocation.
As a former subscriber if you are returning to the game as a F2P player you must choose which four characters you want active before you can play.
As an F2P you are somewhat limited to the Character Classes and Races you may play.
The races currently requiring purchase is Warforged which costs 300 Points to purchase and Drow which cost 595 Points. We are anticipating Gnome, Half-Elf, and Half-Orc races to be available in the next year or so and expect them to cost a similar amount. Other Monster races have been rumored but no details from Turbine have been announced.
The first class requiring purchase is the Monk Class which costs
595 Points and includes the new Class Favored Soul. In addition you may unlock the Favored Soul Class by earning 2500 points of Favor to have access to that
class. We are anticipating the Druid class and a couple other unnamed classes to be added to the game over the next year.
Via the use of some Favor and the grinding for the Level Sigils it is entirely possible to play DDO, have access to every quest and reach level Cap without paying a single penny to Turbine. However it is going to be a long grind. Spending a few points along the way will greatly shorten your path is you move forward.
I have been asked how I would utilize the new system as a returning player to get the most out of the game for the least money. The problem with this is there are so many potential scenarios and no one scenario fits all cases or even the most cases. So below are a couple of options on how I would consider using subscription and F2P to get the most out of my gaming experience.
For a player who is returning to DDO with multiple 16th level characters already, my suggestion is to pay for one month subscription, you will get 500 points and have the opportunity to get all your characters in order. Remember you are only getting four character slots, move gear around, plat/gold, and just be ready for the transition from 10 character slots to 4. I don't suggest deleting any characters rather get any gear you may want off the characters you are not going to use on to characters you are.
It is important not to spend the 500 Points earned as a VIP on anything for that first month. Before the next month billing switch to F2P.
Once your are transitioned to a F2P account use the 500 points plus purchase 1500 points for $18.99 giving you 2000 points, plus any additional point you may have earned over the month.
Purchase Vale of Twilight (595), Reaver's Reach (295), Devil's of Shavarth (595) and potentially Restless Isles (595), you'll need to find 80 Turbine Points, probably in Favor (400 points) and you have virtually everything you need to play high level characters right now. Total cost $32.
Unlike Subscription based MMO's if Turbine doesn't add anything to the game between now and say Jan 1st. Your additional cost is zilch.
When you select your characters I would suggest that you keep at
least one character very low level (new character preferred). As you play this low level character you will earn a decent amount of favor and consequentially
Turbine Points, many of which can be used to unlock lower level content and character slots and the like.
You will be limited to four characters and will be limited to the high level quests, but it is an extremely inexpensive option to play occasionally.
It is a slightly different story if you only have one level 16 character, or mostly mid level characters.
The issue is the best XP AND Favor for your buck while looking at some of the most expensive content in the game:
750 Turbine Points for Demon Sands (Demon Queen/Sand of Menchtarun) and 895 Turbine Points for the Gianthold. My advice here is a little more difficult.
There are two decent approaches to this but are slightly different in execution. Both are similar but while the first option buys the content all at once the second option is less money intensive over the course of one month.
1) Purchase 3300 Turbine Points for $38.99 using the points to buy the following content:
Sorrowdusk Isle (295)
Demon Sands (750) or Vault of Night (750)
Restless isles (600)
Vale of Twilight (595)
These purchases are the Best XP and Favor for your points as well as equipment.
I should note the Demon Sands will provide slightly more content,
thus more Favor and more XP, but many people feel the Vault of Night is a better series of adventures, so I leave it in the player's choice.
2) Purchase 1500 Turbine Points for $18.99 using these points buy the following content:
895 - Gianthold,
295 Sorrowdusk Isle
Saving the remaining Points (310) for month where the points will be combined with another purchase of 1500 Points to be used to purchase the remaining content:
Demon Sands or Vault of Night (750)
Restless Isles (600)
Vale of Twilight (595).
You will need to earn a few Favor Points during the first month to purchase this content all at once or you can put some of it off while you earn favor.
Either way opens up the entire middle section of the game and more important high level content (Shroud) you are going to need to level up. This should be a large section for earning favor as well creating the potential for 650 to 750 Turbine Points earning total favor on three characters from these quests. Which is approximately enough Points to purchase Reaver's Reach and Devils of Shavarath when you get characters ready to go at that level or back fill the other mid-level content (Vault of Night).
Finally if just starting from scratch on a F2P system, it a completely different story. There are so many ways to approach it is all going to depend on your play style. My advice is to supplement your favor points with an occasional purchase of Turbine Points in small quantities. When you buy Turbine Points in small amounts you are least likely going to spend them in one chunk. You are going to want to pick up Shan-to-Kor and Tangleroot Gorge Fairly early on, which is slightly more Turbine Points than you can Earn. Plan on playing Two Characters as you work your way up, it will generate far more Favor and thus more Turbine Points.
We look forward to seeing everyone in game.