GameSpy is offering up their first impressions of Turbine's Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach, now that the MMORPG has been on store shelves for about a week. Check it out:
No slack here -- the D20 system clearly wasn't built for real-time, massively multiplayer online games. Sometimes the strain shows. Take a concept like "aggro," which is how monsters decide who to attack -- most MMOGs have ways for players to control and manage this, but it's not built into the D&D system, which impacts gameplay. They've made a few skills apply to managing monster aggro, but it's not built into the class system at the game's core. On the other hand, I like that the whole system is transparent. I can actually see the die rolls and my bonuses whiz across the screen, and I know what's going on. ("Natural 20! Woohoo!") This really is D&D Online in the literal sense -- like an old friend in new clothes. I think it plays much stronger for people who are familiar with the pen and paper game. Personally I like it, but I think it hurts the game's overall appeal. The D&D rules turn out to be a liability.