Dungeons & Dragons Online Free To Play is published by Turbine, the same people who bring you the Lord of the Rings Online, so I had high hopes for this title. While I wasn't quite sure what to expect, I did not expect the level of disappointment I experienced.
I outlined my initial problems downloading the game in a previous article here. I was finally able to overcome the download issues by using the "download while playing" option, which ended up doing the full 7.2 Gigabyte download, but at least the download engine worked.
If you have ever played "Dungeons & Dragons" then you know it is a dice-based role playing game of imagination and adventure. One person is the "dungeon master" and his or her job is to take responsibility for the adventure milieu - world - while the players explore and attempt to complete various quests placed before them. Quests, however, are very optional - a good Dungeon Master must be quick on his feet, adjusting the world for the unpredictable nature of the whims of his players.
Perhaps it's that very "open" nature that I remember from years of being on both sides of the adventure that I feel so cheated by Dungeons & Dragons Online. The quests are linear. The world starts off as anything but open. The storytelling is long on explanation and short on any actual challenge. The first few hours (probably structured as a tutorial) are a mindless slog through a very linear experience. There aren't even any real decisions to be made - go hear, do this, go there, do that. Every secret passage is pointed out, every villain is easily defeated - it just wasn't any fun.
The opening sequence took so long, and was so boring, that by the time I completed it, I really didn't have any incentive to continue. There were some random chests lying around on one of the paths that gave free money when destroyed, random pottery (always glowing) that provided some treasure - it's as if the Dungeon Master, not wanting to waste any time on story or character development, just wanted to give away free stuff.
I was very disappointed overall with the game, and found it to be not worth the download at all. Perhaps someone with more patience, who had never played the dice and paper version, would be more forgiving. I'll stay with LOTRO - which provides a much richer environment, better graphics and combat system, and much less of a "this isn't what I was hoping for" experience.