Thursday, May 26, 2011
Three days in Eberron
I'm still playing DDO, and enjoying it. Although I've read in reviews that it isn't so much true later on, at the moment at least, this game is a solo player's dream. Every quest takes place in its' own instance, and as mentioned, the difficulty is fully adjustable; Casual, Normal, Hard, Elite.
I tend to go in on Normal to get the feel for a place, and then kick it up to Hard for a second run through. Depending on how I did on Hard, I'll then go for Elite. The rewards scale with the difficulty, as well; on Casual, XP/rep gains are 50% of Normal, while on Elite, XP gains are 8-10% more.
It isn't all completely rosy, however. DDO's interface isn't quite as slick as WoW's. I have to have my bow and melee weapons assigned as different weapon sets, and use two hotkeys to manually switch between each. There can also be a noticeable delay when switching during combat, so if I'm going to initially kite or shoot a target, I have to time switching to make sure I've got my axe out when a mob reaches me.
The other major bugbear is the targeting, which tends to ping pong back and forth between targets, depending on what my mouse is hovering over. From memory there's an option to turn auto targetting off, though, and I also already have sticky targetting assigned to the F key, so I think I will be able to sort that out. That's just the usual sort of initial teething problem when starting any new game, really.
I only have two combat skills at the moment; Trip and Sunder. My spells apparently come much later. Trip is very useful, because it makes my character perform a foot sweep which knocks a mob's legs out from under them, and sends them to the ground. This makes them much more vulnerable, so I'm usually able to kill them in one hit after that. Sunder is like Sunder Armour for Warriors in WoW; it reduces a mob's armor class for a bit, so I can kill it more easily.
The Ranger Tempest is meant to be a dual wielding class as well, but I think I already mentioned that being a Half-Orc means I get initial two handed proficiency early on. This is a real lifesaver, because while I'm levelling up, before I get the full bonus from Two Weapon Fighting, I've still got a hit penalty to the offhand, similar to what I actually had when dual wielding as a Survival Hunter in WoW.
As far as shooting is concerned, my Strength is sufficiently high that I do almost as much damage with my bow as with my axe; but because my Dexterity is lower, my hit chance is only around 10-20%, currently.
More than anything else, I'm actually enjoying the feel of being low level again. It makes things challenging, and means that I really have to focus on what I'm doing, in order to survive; especially if I keep the difficulty on Hard or above. Kiting is a lot more tricky than in WoW, particularly given that I don't have auto attack, and have to click to fire as I freelook with the mouse; but I'll get it eventually.
It's a funny paradox, you know. DDO has all these funny little interface quirks that WoW had smoothed out at release on the one hand; but now, DDO also actually has enough real challenge that it can keep me interested in playing on the other. DDO is not homogenised in any sense of the word. I suspect that even if WoW does somehow manage to recover from its' current slump, that fact will mean that Turbine will continue to receive my money.