I just thought I would do the community a service and mention to those of you who may not know (though the target audience of this material probably already does), that Dungeons and Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited, recently went live with unlimited free play. This is the same game that was released by in 2006 through Turbine, now with free account options.
If, however, you decide to subscribe (I’m looking at tossing some money at them myself), you get access to 10 character slots per realm (instead of the 2 slots on a free account), and you gain access to the Warforged race and the Monk class, which you have to unlock through “Turbine Points” which you get by doing various quests in the game that earn you favor with the various Houses of Eberron. There is also the Drow race and the Favored Soul class which even paid subscribers have to purchase through their turbine points.
I decided to download the client and give it a shot and was pleasantly surprised. The game runs very nicely, and there were no “kill 10 of this monster and come back to me” quests for the first few hours of gameplay. I was quickly thrown into the defense of Korthos Island from a group of Sahuagin and their cult of human followers, the tutorial area ending with the climactic climb up Misery’s Peak to destroy an artifact through which a Mindflayer was controlling a White Dragon and therefore, the rest of the island
The game still holds up a few years after it’s initial release, looking fairly graphically impressive. Characters are fully rendered, and there isn’t the “cartoony” approach that they seem to have taken with WoW (of which I have seen many players coming over to just “check it out” lately).
Leveling is very interesting. As in the tabletop, you have 20 levels you can advance through. However, each of these levels is broken down into 4 “ranks.” At each rank you receive an “Action Point” (which, as a side note, were a mechanic introduced by Eberron creator Keith Baker specifically for this setting. These action points can then be spent to augment y0ur class and racial abilities, such as allowing Dwarves to do more damage with axes or more damage against goblinoids, or giving Paladins extra uses of Smite Evil or Lay on Hands, or even some activated abilities such as granting bonuses to Defenses, Attacks, or Saves for 20 seconds. You gain access to more of these as you level up, and the beautiful thing about them is, that if you decide you don’t want to keep something, you can reset your abilities once every so often for a small fee (as in your characters gold pieces, not your charge card). Once you have progressed through all four ranks, you can level up to the next level, either advancing in the same class or multiclassing to diversify your character.
Grouping is fairly simple, and makes certain quests much easier (and is essentially the spirit of the game anyway), allowing for a maximum party size of 6. However, even if you don’t have a group of friends online at the time, you can always buy a hireling from one of the vendors in town to help you through a dungeon, giving you a fighter or barbarian to help with combat if your a physically weaker class, a cleric to help you with healing if you’re lacking it, or a wizard to provide arcane support if you’re lacking it.
To make a long story short, definitely give this game a chance if you’re even remotely interested. It’s a fun play experience and a wonderful way to get into MMOs. I have never played one before, and all this has done is gotten me truly excited for the forthcoming Star Wars: The Old Republic MMO coming out later next year.