Dungeons & Dragons Online Previews

Both GameSpy and OGaming are offering up new hands-on previews of Turbine's Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach. A snip from GameSpy's article:
Throughout the entire experience, I had to constantly fight game-playing instincts honed on World of Warcraft and similar games. I kept expecting the wrong things and it was hampering my enjoyment of the game. Take the game's pace. Dungeons & Dragons will feel pretty slow to anyone used to MMOs where every mob drops some sort of prize and players can hit the level cap in a month. Dungeons & Dragons Online's quests only give out a few prizes each, mostly in chests, and mostly in the form of money. It takes 10,000 experience points to reach level 2 in a game where the level cap is 10. That might rankle those who pride themselves on being the first on the server to reach the level cap. Then there's combat. I kept rushing into combat with everything I came across, convinced that I somehow had to "clear" the dungeons. I didn't. Monsters don't give XP in D&D Online (although there is a small XP multiplier given for killing lots of stuff). Instead, experience is awarded for completing quests.

And a snip from OGaming's article:
While the graphics were a major improvement over the Alpha stage, there were a number of new features unveiled by Turbine in the Beta stage which had me excited. First and foremost was a new friends list, as well as an experience gain window, and a robust new guild system (which is one of the keys of a game based in the Dungeons and Dragons universe). The Beta stage of DDO also featured a vastly expanded armor loot table, including a number of new graphical armor meshes, armor colors, and armor was finally added to the loot table for armor slots which had no presence in the Alpha. Finally, particle effects have been added to the weapons, making the weapons truly come alive. Gone are the days of a short sword with flame damage that looks like an ordinary short sword, in the DDO Beta, a flame imbued short sword has pillars of flame which whirl around the sword at all times. One thing Turbine has proved with its past games (Asheron's Call and Asheron's Call 2) is that it can tap the fantasy elements players look for in the appearance and design of loot items, and DDO is no different.