Sharpen your blades. Review your spell books. It’s time to celebrate 15 years of Dungeons & Dragons Online! One of the longest running Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Games (MMORPG), Dungeons & Dragons Online has survived moving from premium to a free to play model, multiple corporate buyouts, and the highs and lows of player population to become an enduring classic in its own right.
And as a thank you to its loyal player base, Standing Stone Games is giving away free gifts, as well as holding a special event to celebrate the landmark anniversary.
The DDO game worlds will be unavailable on Wednesday, February 24th from 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM Eastern (-5 GMT) to release Update 48.4. Release Notes: https://t.co/pydipBduGU This is our anniversary patch! #DDO pic.twitter.com/SL3QRZpmCG
— DDO Unlimited (@DDOUnlimited) February 23, 2021
A Brief History of Dungeons & Dragons Online
Debuting on February 28, 2006, Dungeons & Dragons Online was one of the many high profile IPs that were born out of the success of games like Everquest and World of Warcraft. Originally titled Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach, the MMORPG started as a subscription-based model. The game used a modified version of the tabletop Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 Edition, adjusted for MMO standards.
Set in the then-new Eberron Campaign setting, it incorporates many of the familiar elements from the tabletop roleplaying game. These include the standard fantasy races of Elves, Dwarves, and Halflings, as well as the character classes like Fighters, Clerics, Rogues, and Wizards. However, it also injects unique features of the setting such as the Steampunk-esque technology, Warforged (living magical constructs) and Dragonborne as playable races, and locations such as the wilderness of Korthos Island or the high towers of the City of Sharn.
Dungeons & Dragons Online was developed by Turbine and published by Atari, alongside its sister title, Lord of the Rings Online. The two games use the same game engine, but follow different core mechanics. By 2008, the subscriber base dropped to below 100,000, which prompted a revision of its profit model. By 2009, the game went to a hybrid free to play model. Although it did not regain its initial numbers, Dungeons & Dragons Online remained profitable thanks to having a more ideal cost-to-net ratio.
Despite this, corporate ownership of Dungeons & Dragons Online and Lord of the Rings Online has changed hands multiple times. Warner Bros. Interactive took over from Atari, and then later the games settled with Daybreak Games. The development team has also changed from Turbine to Standing Stone Games. In 2020, Daybreak Games was acquired by Enad Global 7 (EG7), a Swedish video game holding company which has also acquired properties like DC Universe Online, Everquest, and Mechwarrior.
Dungeons & Dragons Online Gameplay
Character Creation and customization in Dungeons & Dragons Online is extremely involved and versatile. Whereas most other MMORPGS are locked into fixed roles (DPS, Tank, Healer/Buff, Nuke), Dungeons & Dragons Online has more options. This is due to multiclassing and the enhancement system. It is rare for a character in the game to be completely the same as another.
Skills are also a huge part of the Dungeons & Dragons Online game experience. Jump and Swim are important in traversing terrain. Listen, Spot, and Search help with finding key quest requirements. And thieving skills like Disable Device and Open Locks can deal with hazards and traps. This goes beyond the usual skill systems in other MMORPGs that are usually only important for crafting.
Unlike other MMORPGs that are fully open-world maps, Dungeons & Dragons Online uses an instanced system. Every quest area, such as dungeons and wilds, is unique for each party of players. The experience system is also unique and you are awarded for accomplishing tasks. This is in contrast to games like World of Warcraft where XP is given for enemies slain. Thus, it is not possible to simply grind and zerg enemies to gain levels. Quests are also narrated by dungeon masters, some of which by celebrities like Wil Wheaton and Satine Phoenix, and even the late Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson, the actual creators of the Dungeons & Dragons tabletop game.
The game has also expanded to include other Dungeons & Dragons settings such as the Forgotten Realms, Ravenloft, and Feywild. New adventure areas based on classic modules have also been added, such as the Keep of the Borderlands and the Temple of Elemental Evil. With the success of D&D 5th edition, Dungeons & Dragons Online has also adopted elements from it, such as spells, feats, and action surges. As the tabletop game has evolved, so has Dungeons & Dragons Online.
DDO 15th Anniversary Details
With update 48.4 and the 15th anniversary of Dungeons & Dragons Online, Standing Stone Games released a special coupon code. By entering the coupon code HAPPY15DDO in the in-game store, players will receive a Raid Item token. This token can be exchanged at the Djinni found in the Phiarlan Enclave in Stormreach.
The Raid Item list is mostly from the Ascension Chamber, The Titan Awakes, Defiler of the Just, Fire on Thunderpeak, and Plane of Night raids. These raid items are generally difficult to acquire and farm, due to the drop rates and the complexity of the raids involved. For those who are not interested in the raid items, they can also choose Commendations of Heroism and 100,000 XP tokens instead.
Aside from the free raid item, activating the coupon code also automatically grants every character that the player owns a special cosmetic cloak. This includes characters the player logs in with and new characters that the player creates, regardless of server.
Furthermore, the annual "Party Crashers" event will be running through the game until March 23. In this event, players can go on a special quest in the Phiarlan Enclave that pits them against bosses that are based on the game’s developers and community managers, such as Severlin and Cordovan. Successfully completing the quest awards Party Favors. Players may also purchase Party Punch from the DDO Store. Consuming this item gives a one hour buff that grants a 5% chance that any enemy defeated produces a Party Favor.
These Party Favors can then be exchanged to the NPC Tolero. The list of things that can be exchanged for Party Favors are extensive, from very useful weapons and armor for 5th, 10th, 15th, 20th, 25th, and 30th level characters, to cosmetic pets and the unique Sentient Jewel of the Kobold. New to the list are the 13 Eberron Cosmetic Cloaks (previously given away in the 14th anniversary), a Dretch Cosmetic Pet, and a Red Crystal Crown cosmetic headgear that matches the freebie cloak.
Other 15th Anniversary Goodies
That’s not all! Until March 3rd, Dungeons & Dragons Online will have +15% Heroic and Epic XP. VIP subscribers also get an additional +15% XP bonus gained. The DDO Store will also have discounts on the following until March 4:
- Classes, Races, and Iconic Classes
- Tomes (Ability, Action Point, Fate, Skill, and Lesser/Greater Experience)
- Select Adventure Packs
- XP Elixirs (which grant long lasting buffs to XP gained that stack with other bonuses)
Although not strictly part of the anniversary celebrations, update 48.4 for Dungeons & Dragons Online also debuts the new Legendary Raid "The Dryad and The Demigod" for players who own the Feywild Expansion.
Keep an eye out for Xfire’s continued coverage of Dungeons & Dragons Online.