Pay Not To Fail (Or How I Ragequit DDO At Level 1/1)

Ok, I didn’t really “ragequit” DDO. I was pleasantly surprised by my re-visit to Eberron. It’s been a while, maybe since Saint’s Row 2, since a game so charmed me right out of the box (aka cable modem) with no expectations.

I wanted to comment with some feedback for Turbine, but I figured the forums were pointless, and I was told furthermore that any bold comparisons of DDO to WoW in the forums would be met with merciless derision.

I originally played DDO at launch, but there were bugs, texture problems with my hair (bad hair is bad!), and stuttering, and I quit very quickly. I was inspired to look at DDO again because of the Underdark and Forgotten Realms expansion announcement. I really want to go there.

DDO has fun dungeon gameplay and decent voiceovers. It played fairly smoothly except for some minor server issues on Thelanis, and looked great for its age. The quests were totally unlike Wow, which was refreshing. The deep and respectable D&D character system was a daunting plus.

I also liked the cool things like climbing ladders and swimming that didn’t make it into LotRO. Why not? I’d love for LotRO dungeons to be more like DDO. Trap skills for my Burglar? Yes, please.

Did Not Load The interface isn’t terribly attractive, but it’s surprisingly functional once you get used to it, and the store buttons seemed less conspicuous than in LotRO. I appreciated this.

I wanted to play this game and get into it, and probably convert to a subscriber down the line. Yolari was playing with me, and she was more psyched about DDO than I’ve seen her recently.

There was only one problem–they gave us a default 28 points to distribute to our stats to start the game, unless we paid $20 for the 1500 TP needed to unlock the superior 32 point builds.

After I learned this, I simply couldn’t bring myself to start a default character missing 4 points. I also couldn’t make myself, on principle, pay $20 cash to Turbine just to make my first L1 character not a failure right out of the gate. I didn’t want to oblige Yolari to pay either, if I did.

I doubt if I’m coining a new MMO term here–I’m not that brilliant, but pay not to fail is the best description for how I felt in this specific case. It got me thinking in a different way about F2P in LotRO and other games.

I mean, are we really paying to win sometimes, or are we really, deep down, paying not to be a failure? It’s something to maybe evaluate and ponder when you’re considering plunking down money for something. Of course, this concept doesn’t apply to vanity items.

I honestly can’t think offhand of how Turbine could have done this thing differently. I don’t blame their design. They had to do their thing. I had to do my thing. It’s just too bad our things couldn’t mesh.

I also felt like things were maybe too expensive for F2P. I figured $60 just to unlock all of the classes and races in the character selection and $10 for an extra character slot based on the current prices in the store for TP. This didn’t make F2P seem like a viable way to play given the apparent difficulty of earning TP in this game.

Between the store issues and no dual-boxing in DDO (no follow command), this game is scratched off of my list of candidates for what to play. I’ll be paying the $20 to buy Dragon Age 2 next, which promises passion and romance in addition to the graphic bloodbath.

I also have an interested eye on the new LotRO expansion zone on the Anduin, which may offer a fresh and different way to reach the Isengard level cap. I really enjoyed Lothlorien, which is situated in a similar position to Moria as the Great River might be to Dunland, in terms of leveling.

Further Reading:

Some good news stories turned up today, including:

A clear description of how good and creative the Kingdoms of Amalur character advancement system is with destinies.

A reassurance from CCP that World of Darkness is well on track
, and that we might actually hear a release date this year (that’s how I interpreted it.) I assume they don’t mean the MMO could release this year.

About Silverangel View all posts by Silverangel

8 responses to “Pay Not To Fail (Or How I Ragequit DDO At Level 1/1)

  • Jayson

    You should realize that you can unlock everything in the game FOR FREE just by playing it – it’s actually a really great game. You should consider giving it a chance. The difference between 28 and 32 point builds is really not that significant, and unlocking 32 point builds really doesn’t take that much if you like the game and want to play.

  • ArcL!ght

    As Jayson says you CAN unlock everything if you play enough but it’s not realistic to expect to do it in any sort of enjoyable way.

    My suggestion –
    1) Start with a 28 point build to try it out .. you will have a gimp but you wont be alone, and it wont last forever.
    2) Most of the free content is low level – Exhaust this before dropping any money on the game – make sure you like it.
    3) After #1 & 2 you should have “unlocked” Drow – Drow have 4 extra points in their base build so they play like a 32 point build even though you only get 28 points to spend – switch to a drow for a more powerful build!
    4) Play every server available for 100 Favor – This will net you a BUNCH of free points – well worth the grind.
    5) During #1 through 4 you may get lucky and hit a “Double Points” Promotion period on VIP points – sign up for 1 month (about $12) and youll get 1000 Turbine points (instead of the usual 500). DDO has Points bundle promotions all the time – Grab a points bundle when theres one on to maximize your ROI.
    6) Play as much ccontent as you can during your VIP month to familiarize yourself with content and maximize your takehome of “Free” points. Once your paid VIP period is done your account will be permamnently upgraded to a “Premium” account which give you (among other things) access to 4 character slots instead of the usual 2.
    7) If you make it to lvl 20 – Reincarnate and earn al lthe points all over again.

    You are now well on your way to being a DDO freetard. Last tips :- Never spend points on consumables. Never spend points on things you can “unlock” on the server without spending any points. Try to only purchase content (the only worthwhile use of all those free points) When its on promotional discount – frequently 20% (Try to hold out for 50%)

    • Jacquotte

      This is a nice little guide, ArcL!ight. Thanks for posting it. I hope it’s a copy-paste, or you are sharing it elsewhere. I did spend some hours trying to figure all of those tricks out for myself by googling and reading the forums, which was part of the exasperation. It’s tempting to follow your advice. Another aspect is that any money I spend on old games that my computer can handle could also be spent on a new computer to run Rift better and check out the new MMO’s. 😛 We’ll see. I do love D&D. Thanks again for your perspective. I hope it helps other readers as well.

      • Llantis Al'Durran the Thief

        Another great resource on how to be a permanent F2P without spending a dime can be found on DDO Wiki. I’m not sure if we’re allowed to post links, but if you google DDO Wiki and your search criteria, I know you’ll find the things you seek, like the amount of favor needed to unlock freebies, which quests are default F2P and which you have to unlock with Turbine Points (You really don’t ever have to buy, but the biggest thing is, you can actually ENJOY playing while you’re building up your free Turbine point stash for more content!)
        The one thing no one ever mentions either, as a 28 point build out of the gate… break a few barrels, get literally a few silver, and you can get a healer (or other) lvl 1 hireling (computer controlled character) with in game money to assist you, right in the tutorial zone, Korthos. There are also in-game money-purchased hirelings for all levels. It really doesn’t matter if you’re 28 or 32, or max reincarnated as a 36 point build… there’s gear, difficulty settings, play styles, character builds, and much, much more for every type of MMORPG gamer out there, all in DDO. The main point is, have fun. It’s a game. It should be enjoyed. That’s why they made it. And that’s how I use it. ^_^ Great article, btw!

      • Silverangel

        Thanks for the note, Llantis. Grinding TP is definitely an option for those with the time. If I’d known Neverwinter would be such as it is, and if I wasn’t obliging my play partner to also pay, I might have just ponied up the cash for this. It would have been nice to see the higher level areas and D&D monsters.

  • wumpus

    As of U16 (November, 2012), turbine is stepping up their pace in pay 2 win with even more intrusive advertising including offering to increase those stats dear to the heart of our offer for some money imported from the big blue room. Even worse, should you be level drained (and it can happen fast and often in some lethal battles) your vision will somewhat blocked with a popup from turbine reminding you that you can pay to have that penalty removed (they don’t tell you were you can buy the potions for in game plat).

    As far as “pay not to lose”, that is a somewhat questionable way to look at the difference between 28 and 32 point characters. One way to avoid it is to create a barbarian, wizard, or sorcerer. In each case, crank your most important stat (strength, intelligence, and charisma respectively) all the way up (18 if human), then constitution (16 if human), and finally use the last two spots in one other stat (dexterity, strength, and strength respectively. Note that all characters need some strength as enemy wizards love to cast weakening spells: if they reduce you to zero you are helpless). If you go this route, the only reason to cough up money is to make your sorcerer a robot (warforged). Yes, this will reduce your charisma. It will also make it a pain to play the first few levels as the gear (initiate’s robe) that fleshlings autoget is much better for newbie casters. In the end, self-healing is such a powerful feature that it is worth it (high level sorcerers can heal themselves through convincing heal scrolls that the sorcerer is simply too cool to not be allowed to be cast (don’t ask me why “use magic device” works off charisma). This is only somewhat reliable and tends to fail when you really need it. Go warforged if you have it. Note that fleshling wizards can become palemasters and heal themselves without issue. Barbarians nearly need to strap a cleric to their backs.

    For other builds, the difference is often a single +1, as you will eat the entire 4 point build difference going from 14 to 16 (going from 16 to 18 costs 6 points). Since anything but the for classes mentioned are going to want points in more than 2 stats, expect the difference between 32 point and 28 point to be a single stat (likely constitution) can be 16 instead of 14. Also expect long time DDO players to make builds assuming certain “stat tomes” that let you hit certain required stats without burning any of their 32 (or more) build points. Stat tomes are available on the auction house (+2 anyway, +3 might require more plat than it can accept) but should be affordable to players by the time the need them (prices have crashed as more types of tomes drop). As mentioned, impatient players can purchase tomes far before that (at outrageous prices).

    One huge thing for beginners is that our author did her(?) homework and avoided the huge noob trap that is DDO character creation. Unless you click on “custom” under “path” and then carefully type in a predefined plan (typically here:, but if you really do your homework you can plan one out yourself using this: you can expect a character that can be anywhere from completely gimped and unusable to only slightly worse than the difference between 32 and 28 point builds. My guess is that such a character is typically deleted before level 4, and becomes incredibly painful by level 14. Any information from DDO/Turbine on character creation can be assumed to be an attempt to force you to spend roughly $10 on a “heart of wood” a “fix my gimped character” item that can [nearly] only be found in the store.

  • rosendo aramil

    how my 100 balance of load become vip 1??

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