I had hoped that this article would be about "Dungeons and Dragons Online : Free To Play." I had hoped that the people at Turbine had learned their lesson about Pando Media Booster and abandoned that method of distribution in favor of something more reliable - say "smoke signals." Believe me, I could probably transmit 7 gigabytes of data faster by smoke signals than I would be able to download it using Pando.
But no, what this article is about is the fact that "Free" doesn't always mean "good." I tried to use the Dungeons and Dragons installer to download the game, and what I got was continuous disconnects and restarts. Unlike LOTRO, where this sort of thing happened every few hours, the DDO downloader was restarting itself every few minutes, and never made any progress over 2 days of attempts.
Since the Pando Media Booster download was a bust (I even went so far as to run their diagnostics through the control panel - everything passed) I decided to try the ":play now" which is supposed to download in the background while allowing me to play - supposedly.....
The "play as you download" downloader says I have to get all 7.1 Gig of the game to play. It also says that my download speed is roughly .5 Mbps. My typical downloads on this particular connection average well over twice that - for equally large files. But hey, at least it's moving. It has only taken me 30 minutes to achieve a whopping 15 Megabytes downloaded!
Obviously, something is terribly wrong with DDO's distribution model. I'm not in the mood to tie up my machine for another 2 days to download this game, so I'm hoping that stopping this downloader and restarting it tonight after I go to bed won't be a problem.
I don't know if it's because it's free, or because Turbine's distribution model is just broken, but since I am not paying for it, I can only warn others that this may not be worth the download - and that's before I take my first step in the virtual world.