Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Which should I play DDO or LOTRO?

I have a question here from da man over at witchcraft and wizardry:
Hey I need your help with something besides Wizard 101. I've been thinking about other games (not that I'm leaving wiz 101) and I need your feedback. I'm stuck between D&D online or LOTRO> D&DO is free but LOtro appeals to me a little more. Thx in advance!
Cool, yup, and you've noticed that I've played both of those games at one time or another.

Let me start this with a quote I heard. I was at a conference the other day and the speaker flashed this quote up on the screen. It's a monster of a quote from Einstein, so don't get intimidated.
The area of scientific knowledge has been enormously extended, and theoretical knowledge has become vastly more profound in every department of science. But the assimilative power of the human intellect is and remains strictly limited. Hence it was inevitable that the activity of the individual investigator should be confined to a smaller and smaller section of human knowledge. Worse still, this specialization makes it increasingly difficult to keep even our general understanding of science as a whole, without which the true spirit of research is inevitably handicapped, in step with scientific progress. Every serious scientific worker is painfully conscious of this involuntary relegation to an ever-narrowing sphere of knowledge, which threatens to deprive the investigator of his broad horizon and degrades him to the level of a mechanic ...
It is just as important to make knowledge live and to keep it alive as to solve specific problems. (Albert Einstein, 1954)

And let me translate for those that think Einstein is being a bit wordy, "HEY! Science guys! If we keep specializing in everything, it limits our potential and makes our ability to solve problems worse! Get it? Cool."

That idea can be applied in a lot of areas, even in MMOs. There's a lot of gamers out there who bark a lot about game loyalty and even worse, there's a lot of Wizard101 players who bark a lot about class loyalty. Don't listen to them.

It's perfectly ok to go play a different video game outside Wizard101 and it's perfectly ok to go play a different class outside of your main class. In fact, doing these things will make you a better Wizard101 player and a better player of your main class. It will help you understand why you like Wizard101 so much as well.

So, I'm not that worried that you might be "leaving wiz 101" and your friends should cut you some slack too.

One of my greatest disappointments about Wizard101 is that they did away with the bosses that "cheat." Completely did away with them! They didn't even offer you the ability to fight them in hard mode. I can't believe people weren't excited about the new challenges of figuring out how to beat the harder bosses! Why do we want Kingsisle to make it so easy for us? Yeah, I know these are kids playing this game, but guess who was busy trying to figure out how to beat the "cheating" Malistaire? The kids over at Central.

There are thousands and thousands of games out there, ranging all over the place in difficulty. Even first-person shooter games have puzzles in them and bosses that you have to use certain strategies against to beat . . . it's not supposed to be easy. Don't limit yourself!

Ok, sorry for the rant.

DDO is the latest craze ever since it went free to play. It's alive with people. One problem for parents might be that there isn't a chat filter, so already that's pushing the rating up for me. You might read something in chat that's inappropriate.

LOTRO is now an established game that's a couple years old. It has an established audience with a lot of higher level players and people playing through the game again with lower level characters. Chat is also not filtered, so once again, you might read something in chat that's inappropriate.

Now, if you're a teen and your parents are cool with that, then more power to ya.

Both games are from Turbine, which is an excellent company that delivers a quality product. There are aspects of those games which are very similar. Here's my take on it so far.

LOTRO is based on a lot of the material from Lord of the Rings. It is a story that is more based on the classic struggle of good and evil. You're going to encounter characters from that story as you progress in the game. You'll meet up with Gandalf, who will send you on a quest. You'll meet up with the hobbits. You'll meet up with ALL the characters at one point or another. So if you're familiar with the books, then you'll really enjoy that aspect of the game.

Basic game play in LOTRO includes the classic MMO quest structure.

Mail quests: deliver this potion to so and so.
Kill quests: kill 10 wolves.
Gather quests: collect 10 flowers.
Escort quests: dwarf guy is trapped! Help him escape!

A big complaint with LOTRO is that you have a tendency to kill the same kind of thing over and over and over. Sigh. Kill more bears? Kill more wolves? Kill more orcs? Kill *harder* bears? kill *harder* wolves? Kill *harder* orcs? Kill *hardest* bears? Kill *hardest* wolves? Kill *hardest* orcs? Oh wait, there are harder orcs than the hardest orcs? You want me to kill them as well? Ok!

LOTRO is very mellow as far as game environments go. You're not going to find the funky dance moves of other games.

Raiding is huge of course. You're only going to be raiding if you invest A LOT of time in that game. Most LOTRO raids involve 12 to 24 people at the same time. It's where you get the best loot in the game and the most complex strategies are executed here.

Now for DDO . . .

DDO is based heavily on Dungeons and Dragons. That said, there's a lot more dungeons and a lot more dragons and what I would call funky monsters. There was a good attempt to recreate the "dungeon master" aspect of playing the pen and paper Dungeons and Dragons game that I enjoyed as a kid in the 70's and 80's. You'll walk into a dungeon and a narrator will voice over your expedition. "You feel a draft from this area" . . . stuff like that that helps cue you into the fact that something important is right here.

There's a LOT of dungeon delving so far. I'm liking that aspect. I like exploring dank dark places in games and clicking on big shining chests at the end of the tunnel to get some loot. It really feeds the geek in me.

Now, I've only played DDO a little while, so I can't go into raiding and all the specifics there, but have to say that so far I'm liking DDO better than LOTRO as a game. I liked LOTRO as someone that enjoyed the LOTR books and movies, but I lean towards funky monsters and a narrator so far.

And DDO is free. I haven't paid a thing . . . yet . . . and I've put multiple hours into the game. You can't beat free entertainment. eh?

My recommendation: BOTH! (try DDO first /wink) There's a lot of fun to be had, and don't worry about "leaving Wizard101." I've played both LOTRO and DDO, and I still enjoy Wizard101. I like the pace. I like the people. I like that I can play here with my kids. I love the community! It's a fun place to be. :-)

Happy Dueling!


alex deathshade said...

try playing FATE. it isnt mmo but it is rpg (you have to buy the disk)

Fred Firepants said...

I never could get past the fourth dungeon in DDO -.-;

darth dave said...

I played both. I happen to have a lifetime account to lotro. So I find myself going in and out of it over time. The story is really engaging, but I just wish the worlds were more populated with players to quest with at lower levels. It seems like no new players are joining the ranks of the game. So unless you have a buddy who is willing to start new characters with you, it can be kind of intimidating at lower levels.

JGoof said...

I agree with you about the cheating monsters in Wizard101. My most memorable fight is beating the birds in the coven during the time they were cheating. Awesome fight for my buddies and me :-)

da man said...

Thanks for the info! I'm leaning turns DDO because it's free (and I play the board game), but I'm definetly trying the trial of LOTRO because I'm a lord of the rings junkie. Thanks for the info though, I'll let you know on my final answer.

Bpaul said...

Excellent post sir.

Yours from Oregon,


stingite said...

@alex: FATE sounds cool!

@fred: which one was that?

@darth: I know what you mean about not gaining new players. Sometimes Bree seems just vacant.

@Jgoof: That, sir, is an accomplishment indeed! I wish they'd bring them back as an optional fight.

@da man: let me know!

@Bpaul: Thank you, sir! Good to see you around here again. :-)

Christina said...

So, ah, a link to DDO wasn't in the cards? You're gonna make Icy do a Google search, arncha. Sigh.

Jacob Rainbowshard said...

i would say DDO :D

Penny said...

It depends on your interest and specialty.

Anonymous said...

That what a well written, cohesive and logical explanation of your opinion sir, I was asking myself the same question after finding out LOTRO is free now, but your words have prompted me to give D&D a whirl first thumbs up!

Axe said...

I have only tried DDO...must say it's been a year 5 to 7hrs a day...wife joined in...will be playin till the game dies I think...start is a bit mellow n inactive, but once u start moving up its a killer, no interest in even exploring anything else...