Dungeons & Dragons Online is a free-to-play fantasy MMORPG with real-time combat developed by Turbine, Inc. for Microsoft Windows and Macintosh personal computers in 2006. Turbine developed DDO as an online adaptation of Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) based loosely on the D&D 3.5 rule set. The game is set in the unexplored continent of Xen’drik within the Eberron campaign setting and in the Kingdom of Cormyr within the Forgotten Realms campaign setting; and features all usual MMORPG gameplay and components including quests, group formation, community areas, obviously many dungeons, etc.
Centered in the city of Stormreach, DDO is set on the fictional continent of Xen’drik, in the world of Eberron, a Dungeons and Dragons campaign setting. Xen’drik is a vastly unexplored and wild locale, once the center of the Advanced Giant Civilization, which was destroyed thousands of years before. Players can create their characters following the revised edition of D&D 3.5 rule-set fashion, and play them in both indoor and outdoor environments, including dungeons.
Although the game is based in large part on the tabletop D&D 3.5 rule set, it contains changes, some which were introduced due to differences in the dynamics of video game combat and tabletop gaming. For example, Turbine wanted DDO to use a real-time combat engine, whereas tabletop D&D uses a turn-based system. This meant considerable changes in the handling of combat, character skills, and feats—areas where Turbine felt the turn-based combat system and real-time combat did not mesh. Differences include increased hit possibilities in a round (as much as twelve times more), increased spell casting resources over rest periods, and the use of a spell point system instead of spell slots. Magical items are low cost (they average 1/8 of the tabletop D&D prices), characters have higher stats, and offensive effects created by characters do not harm their allies.
The game is set in the city of Stormreach, a giant-scaled city built ages ago, and recently settled by humans. Areas in Stormreach are the Harbor, the Marketplace, and five Dragonmarked Houses (House Cannith, Deneith, Jorasco, Kundarak and Phiarlan). Adventures and quests are available beyond the city walls into other areas across the continent.
After creating a player character, the player starts the game shipwrecked on the shores of Korthos Island. The character is helped by a band of citizens (Jeets, Cellimas, and Talbron) who want to end the rule of the Sahuagin on Korthos Island and send them back to the sea. The Dragon Aussircaex is plaguing the island; a Mindflayer Creature is controlling it with a Mindsunder Artifact. Once the player character destroys the Mindsunder Artifact, Aussircaex destroys the Mindflayer and returns Korthos Island back to its old ways, ending Sahuagin rule. After achieving fame in Korthos Island, the player is sent to Stormreach to gain fame and clear all threats to the city.
From that point on, events in the game revolve around Stormreach. The player has to save the city from many threats, including:
Giants attempts to regain mastery over the city of Stormreach and the continent of Xen’drik.
The reopening of the gate to Xoriat.
The Black Abbot and his minions of Khyber (Eberron) and other undead attempt to gain power over Xen’drik.
Devils from Shavarath attempt to invade and conquer Eberron.
Pirates and undead pirates attempt to make a foothold in House Deneith before conquering Stormreach.
Droaam, an army of Medusas, orcs, kobolds, and gnolls attempt to play war games with the lords of Stormreach. They mine under the Lordsmarch Plaza and attack.
Quori from the Plane of Nightmares invades peoples’ minds and uses them as hosts on the material plane.
The Lord of Blades takes over a Quori creation forge under Stormreach and tries to use it to wipe out all living races.
The Master Artificer Toven tries to destroy the souls of all warforged in Xen’drik.
DDO is an Action role-playing game presented in Real-time tactics combat. The camera follows behind the player and can be adjusted to view surroundings. The camera view can be changed to a first-person perspective. The game is controlled either by keyboard or gamepad. Every action in game can be remapped to suit the player, even controller buttons. Within a toolbar on screen, items and action abilities may be placed and activated at will. Exploration and battles are real-time; characters move in 3D with directional keys and may dodge long range attacks.
A party system places emphasis on multiple players joining together in groups. Joining a party or creating one is accessed by the Grouping panel. Players interact with screen chat windows, or by voice chat among party members.