The key factor here, I think, and the one that led Turbine to this decision, is that DDO subscriptions have increased under its free-to-play model. And not just jumped a bit, but tripled. Not to mention that overall revenue is up tenfold, last we heard.
Pretend for a moment that you are a Turbine executive, circa 2008. Someone on the DDO team presents the free-to-play proposal. S/he includes a slide predicting that subscriptions would triple. You would have laughed him/her out of the room, wouldn’t you? I would have expected some decline in month-to-month subscribers with potentially increased revenues from new and old players engaging in microtransactions. This must be the most successful free trial program ever, to say nothing of the microtransaction revenue.
Dungeons and Dragons Online (DDO) is coming out with a pretty cool update at the end of this month. It has a new adventure pack, some new skills and what not, but the biggest feature, in my opinion, are the guild airships. The guild airships effectively take the place of guild halls and guild banks that appear in other MMOs. The guild airships feature coincides with a guild leveling mechanic that will also launch with Update 5. I think that in many MMOs guilds are one of the most overlooked features, and having a guild project will be a great addition to DDO.
I infiltrated your warehouse the other day and, well, perhaps I shouldn’t be saying this but I think you guys are getting some bad advice. You see, some of the barrels in your warehouse are rather clearly labeled as “Explosive Barrel” and yet each and every last one of you chose to stand right next to one. I mean, even though it made it quite enjoyable to put you guys out of business, you might find more success standing next the the plain old “barrel” next time.
During the week off, I took my Cleric out back and had him shot, to be replaced with a Ranger. I spent some time getting him back up to level 2 so he would be ready to go. Even still, I had a lot of things to learn. For example, how to use a quiver. It’s not obvious. It kind of works like a bag. You equip it and then you open it and put your arrows in it. However, not all quivers are alike. The two varieties I could find for sale at a vendor are called “narrow” and “wide”. They both can hold 1,200 arrows (that’s a big quiver!). The “wide” quiver can hold 6 types of arrows, with a maximum of 200 each type. The narrow can hold 3 types of arrows, with a maximum of 400 each. Since I only had 2 types of arrows I opted for the “narrow” quiver so I could hold 400 of the arrows I’m using right now.
Ravious has hit his quota of DDO posts so I’ve been forced to do the final update on the “Saga of Super Rewards”.
Marketroid posted a “final” update on the story here. The important part may be this:
Based on your feedback, we’re stepping away from the ‘Offer’ category for now. We’ll keep exploring alternate ways for players who want points to get them. We’ll also continue to innovate in pricing and accessibility because that’s who we are. As of today, the Offer Wall is coming down. We’ll collect all the feedback we’ve received over the last few days and will use it to guide future decisions.
Follow the link above to read the rest. In my opinion this should have never gotten off the ground floor but at they did a pretty decent job of responding to the player base (and finally responding to the security complaints). And hey, at least they didn’t charge folks 21 times for the last month. Bazinga!
In defiance, I played Dungeons and Dragons Online last night. The Docks and Marketplace seemed oddly calm given the storm of chaos that blew through alternate worlds earlier in the day. A little shing-shing to get the dust off of my dual khopeshes, and I was ready to roll. One nice thing about Dungeons and Dragons Online is it promotes a very arcade-like wholesale slaughter of mook mobs. This is where kobolds come in. There is nothing mookier than the little reptile-weasel humanoids. Their existence practically begs for a gibbing.
The latest: “We’re currently investigating the reports of privacy concerns with our new Offer Wall. That feedback has been escalated to our partners for deeper investigation. Until that investigation is complete we’ve taken the Super Rewards option out of the Offer Wall. We’ll let you know when we have more information!”
Patience sent out a decent post on the DDO forum (thanks Ethic) regarding the shadiness of the whole thing. It sounds like they have some really strict guidelines, which just weren’t fully in effect at launch. (But, what is ever is fully in effect at an MMO launch, lololol… /sad) Anyway, it is good that Turbine quickly responded, and I hope against hope that the filters will be enough to make it a decent option. Forum posts are reporting that most offers require more real purchases, such as Netflix or buying shoes online. Still, please be aware that the email linked to your Turbine account still seems to pass through the internet unencrypted.
Yesterday Turbine dropped an unexpected announcement on the Dungeons and Dragons Online players. They have made a deal with the company Super Rewards to provide another way for players to receive the cash shop points for Dungeons and Dragons Online. It’s quite simple really. Head on over to the Offer Wall to find current promotions along with the amount of Turbine Points a player would gain from doing the task. It is great Turbine is finding another way to enjoy the game where points can be bought, earned in game, and now given via the Offer Wall. The positives mostly end there.
Last night was the first night of the Massively DDO static night, officially called “Massively’s Nights of Eberron”. I’ve always said that I’d love to play DDO in a static group so I rolled up a Cleric the night before and then logged in last night. I expected maybe 15 or 20 people to show up. I’d guess it was closer to 50, including some famous folks like Psychochild and Green Armadillo. Syp would have been there but instead he was off doing something important like “welcoming a new baby into the world”. Yeah, whatever dude. Seriously though, congratulations!
The first thing that confused me is that we all were on Korthos but some of us had snow and some had sun. We had to all get to the sunny version which meant we had to sail to Stormreach and then back to Korthos. At this point we tried to form groups of 5 to do some quests. I invited one person and we stood around waiting for others to express interest. Eventually we got a group of 4 together, 1 Cleric and 3 Rogues. Off we went with voice chat enabled.
1) I hold a very principled stance firmly against the Micro Transaction based MMO business model. It is the root of all MMO evil et. cetera…
2) I have played DDO, and it sucks. It was crappy in Beta and it never improved. Poor implementation of some decent concepts, coupled with extensive poor choices for the balance of the design, resulted in an overall dry and uninspired game with little good to write about and quite a bit bad. DDO is doomed to fail, and will never recover. Period. De Facto and all that…
3) I have become so disillusioned with MMOs in general, and the diku model in particular, that I am doomed to watch reruns of Two and a Half Men and Mash for the rest of my life. Until I die. Old and bored…