Rolling a Nat 20 with Our DDO Tenth Anniversary Event Review

By Jeff Francis
DDO tenth anniversary review

In this day and age of mmorpg games, it's quite an achievement for an online game to reach an anniversary as exalted as the tenth one. Dungeons and Dragons Online is now one of those rare games that can claim such an honor as it started celebrating its tenth anniversary on February 29th. I decided to take my rogue out of mothballs and venture back into Stormreach to partake of the festivities (and get some free loot!). Let's raise our goblets in a toast as we offer our Dungeons and Dragons Online tenth anniversary review.

Dungeons and Dragons Online Elminster

Let me start off our DDO tenth anniversary review by discussing my history with the mmo. While I now go back and play the game whenever a new update is released, DDO was my go-to game for a good number of years. I had started playing the game in its early beta stage and immediately loved it. Of course, it did help that I've been playing the D&D pen-and-paper roleplaying game since 1981, so I was very familiar with the underlying system and mechanics. My gaming group used DDO (which you can play for free here) as a substitute for tabletop gaming when everybody moved to different parts of the USA. One other facet of DDO is that the game helped usher in the free-to-play model when it became the first major mmo to switch from being subscription-based to the hybrid f2p/subscription model that is still in use today.

Now let's get on to the Dungeons and Dragons Online tenth anniversary review proper. When the player logs into the game, they're automatically gifted with a token that can be redeemed for one of the game's fabled items. There are around thirty-six items up for grabs in exchange for the anniversary token. Some of these are very rare items whilst others are more easily had, but the fact remains that this is a generous gesture from Turbine. They looked at the feedback given by the players on what items would make the list, and they wanted to feature some of the most sought after items in the game's history. I went back and forth on what item I was going to pick up. There were some nice rings and boots that would have helped out my rogue but picking them would have broken up some equipment sets I had going. In the end, I decided on a pretty sweet blade to complement my rogue's main blade.

Dungeons and Dragons Online anniversary party

The focus of the DDO tenth anniversary is the Anniversary Party, which is being held in House Phiarlan. Finding the adventure is pretty easy, and the player can begin by clicking on the challenge sign and picking the level they want to run the adventure at. The story behind the Anniversary Party adventure is that the Coin Lords are holding a pretty big anniversary party, but there is a fly in the ointment. Some person calling themselves the Dark Overlord has riled up the kobolds who dwell in the sewers, saying that they were not invited (which they were not). The kobolds are crashing the party, and it's up to the player to sort out the mess.

Once the player enters the party, they can walk around and mingle with the partygoers. There are plenty of notable NPCs sprinkled throughout the room that the player would have had dealings with during their adventures. Of particular note is the succubus Malicia, one of the more colorful bosses within the game. There is some amusing dialogue that the player can overhear, but my absolute favorite bit was seeing some NPCs, including Elminster, essentially playing tabletop D&D in one corner. Another amusing find was coming across a dessert tray with a gelatinous cube sitting there. It's little touches such as these that made me enjoy my time playing through the anniversary adventure. There are side quests where the player can go toe-to-toe with four different devs. The fights vary depending upon the dev, such as one being a spellcaster whilst another summons undead, and each completed fight awards a star for the adventure's completion. The more stars earned, the greater the xp and party favors, which can be redeemed for items from an anniversary event vendor.

Dungeons and Dragons Online Malicia

The main thrust of the adventure is to seek out the Dark Overlord by heading below the main party to where the kobolds have been held in check. The player will find that the kobolds have been industrious and have built a substantial camp throughout the complex. The player will have to fight their way through the kobolds and listen to their pitiful cries as they are put down. (I mean it, the kobolds do sound quite pitiful when being dispatched.) There are some chests to loot and bear traps to avoid. Towards the end, there is a locked gate that can only be opened by a key held by the kobolds. The player will come across several kobolds arguing about who will go after the key, which has been dropped beneath the stands of the theater. Naturally, there are some nasty things (undead) awaiting the player when they go to retrieve the key. Once the player reaches the Dark Overlord, they realize that it's Jeets, the halfling rogue that most players will have had extensive dealings with as they leveled up. It appears Jeets has chosen to lead the kobolds in order to impress the succubus Malicia. At this point, the player convinces Malicia to send the players into the mind of Jeets in order to sort him out. The last confrontation is pretty whimsical as the player has to beat the mental Jeets and the bad stuff his psyche has been feeding off of (such as self-loathing and inadequacy issues). After Jeets has been restored, the player gets their well deserved loot.

So what's our verdict for our DDO tenth anniversary review? Overall, I enjoyed it a good bit. While a lot of players will focus on the free swag handed out for the event, I liked the little touches of humor and in-game jokes found within the Anniversary Party instance. Seeing a giant Malicia prancing around in the mind of Jeets was really amusing to me, especially as the real Malicia was not thrilled with his lustful train of thought. The dialogue that the kobolds throw out is pretty funny as they're ticked off about not being invited to the party. Fighting the devs is definitively meta, and the dev that was the vampire head with bat wings was pretty tough. The design is pretty strong as the event is open to characters of every level within the free mmo. Players can rerun the adventure in order to earn party favors which can be exchanged for rewards. I'm willing to do it again just to see Elminster playing D&D with other NPCs.

Mar022016

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