Note: Answers provided by Ken Troop, Dungeons & Dragons Online Lead Designer
Q: How will D&D Online differ from other MMPs available today?
A: First, D&D Online is the real thing. Almost all MMORPGs derive their character systems from a D&D model, but only D&D Online will offer players the opportunity to create a character that plays and feels like your original D&D character.
Also, combat in most MMPs tends to be very static and turn-based – you press an attack button and sit back and watch the show. Combat in D&D Online is intense and real-time, requiring tactical decisions at each moment of gameplay. You actually have to play the game to succeed in combat, instead of just watching the action go by.
Finally, too many MMPs have lost sight of the community dynamics present in MUDs, the games that spawned MMPs. Players in MUDs felt like they were part of a social fabric because of the relative small size of a server population, not in spite of it. When you play on a world with several thousand other people, you usually won't know the majority of the other characters that play there. Your actions and experiences in-game get lost in the churn of thousands of other players. We're making sure that D&D Online recreates that sense of a close-knit community. This is a world where you definitely won't be anonymous. The actions you take – and bonds you make – become very important.
Q: Which aspects and areas of D&D Online are you most excited about?
A: So many current and upcoming MMPs focus on being expansive with an abundance of landscape to explore, but there really is nothing to see – just endless dreary settings filled with random creatures to fight. Turbine and Atari are making sure you feel like you're adventuring and exploring a real place when you play D&D Online. We want players to recapture that sense from the best D&D campaigns where you're getting glimpses into this other world, one no less real than our own, instead of just playing a game. In D&D Online, the city and dungeon spaces don't exist in a vacuum – there is a story and motivation for everything you're interacting with. And there is far more density of content in these spaces. Every square inch of D&D Online is worthy of exploration.
Out of all the MMPs that are currently out or coming out, Dungeons and Dragons Online is the world I'd most want to play in – and not just because I am the lead designer. Long before we teamed up with Atari to create D&D Online, nearly everyone on our development team had spent countless hours playing and thinking about D&D Dungeons and Dragons is the epitome of what our expectations of a fantasy role playing experience should be. D&D Online will be the game for hardcore players who have a life!
Q: What can you tell us about dungeon adventuring in D&D Online?
A: Dungeon exploration is the central theme of adventuring in Dungeons and Dragons, and we want to make sure we do it justice in D&D Online. These dungeons are built on the premise of, "Only the wary shall survive." They are scary, malicious places, full of tricks, traps and monsters. The deeper you go, the more frightening it gets. Proper planning will be a priority for making it through the dungeons with your head still attached – you'll need to prepare a strategy, keep on your toes and work well with your adventuring party if you want to emerge victorious at the end.