Monk for Sale

I finally had the time to sit down and enjoy my beta invitation for D&D Online: Unlimited today. I've always wanted to try this game since its initial launch back in 2006. But, since I was just out of school and jobless, I couldn't afford the monthly subscription back then. By the time I got myself a job a lot of good MMORPG were already out in the market, and DDO's number of subscribers have been falling rapidly. So I skipped it and jumped into Lord of the Rings Online, World of Warcraft and then Warhammer Online.

A few months ago, however, I was surprised when Turbine announced that they're restructuring DDO's model, making it a free-2-play game. So I dug hard into it (that's how I got my beta invitation) and now that I've tried the beta version of the game, all I can say about it is: not bad. Not bad at all.

Flurry of Blows FTW!

If you've played any D&D 3 to 3.5 games (like Neverwinter Nights, Temple of Elemental Evil, or Icewind Dale) and liked them, then you'll definitely like this one too. I rolled as an Elven Cleric on my first run and everything seems to be intact -the Elven and Cleric feats/abilities. With my healing abilities and spells, I pretty much breezed through dungeons by myself. Leveling, however, is different, and also difficult, in this game. Because you must gain 5 ranks first before you reach level 2, and another 5 before your reach level 3. But each rank gives you an action point, which you can spend to buy an ability, improving your character a little bit.

Some classes and races, however, are not available to those with free accounts. These are called "premiums". So if you want to play as a Drow Ranger, then you better shell out some real cash and buy the Drow race. As for me, since I couldn't resist because it's my favorite class, I paid real money just so I could play the Monk. All premium classes and race costs 595 Turbine points. So I bought a bundle of 900 points for $12 in order to unlock the Monk. But it really is a premium class since they've put some new bells and whistles, like the elemental stance and finishing moves, to make the Monk a much more martial arts oriented class.

All in all, D&D Online: Unlimited is shaping up to be an nice game. Some people argues that Turbine has locked and reserved all the good features of the game from non-subscribers, and that you'll end up paying more by buying points. But I just don't see that. The free content is fine by itself. Of course, things might be different when the game goes live this early August. But, hey, it's free. You've got nothing to lose here.

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