Dungeons & Dragons Online Previews

Two new previews of Atari and Turbine's Dungeons & Dragons Online have made their way to the 'net. The first is over at GameSpot:
According to lead designer Ken Troop, the combat system will add additional layers of strategy to the game on top of creating and developing a distinctive and powerful character with the appropriate skills and heroic feats--which are special abilities that Dungeons & Dragons characters may choose to acquire as they gain experience levels. For instance, by choosing the "dodge" feat, you'll receive a basic defensive bonus that your character will benefit from whenever you're attacked, but it will also let you perform an evasive roll-away maneuver with your keyboard. As another example, Troop explained that according to the standard pen-and-paper rules, high-level characters gain "base attack bonuses" that increase their chances to strike true in combat. This ability will be represented by special attacks that can be pulled off with good timing. So a fighter character with a +5 attack bonus might have a five-part sword attack that can be pulled off by clicking the mouse button in a correctly timed fashion.

And the second is at IGN PC:
While the classes will be familiar to almost any RPG player, Turbine is looking toward other MMOs to see what could be improved, and are trying to address some of the biggest downfalls of current MMOs. One way they're doing this is the aforementioned density of content system, where even people who are only able to play a few hours a week will get their money's worth out of the game. Another is a random loot system that should dissuade camping a certain creature just because he's the only thing in the game world that drops a certain item you've been craving. Every dungeon in the game will also be an instanced dungeon unique to each party, meaning your group won't have to compete with other adventurers in the area for hunting and loot, although you can group together in large raiding parties with multiple groups allowed in one dungeon.