Inexpensive, but just as addictive: D&D

The times, they are a changing. One of the greatest things humanity has seen is the past few years in the leaps and bounds made by technology. One of the most changed areas of technology is the current state of video games.

In 1972, Pong was released, a game that bounced a white ball back and forth across a screen. Boring, but addictive. But now we are given gorgeous cinematic experiences with games such as Bioshock 2 and Final Fantasy XIII.

For college students, there is just one problem. Money.

A new game will typically run around $60, far over the average entertainment budget for a college-going person. Instead of picking the latest and greatest game, he is left to ogle the store windows in the rain while his friends huddle around the warm glow of a PS3 power light.

Luckily, there are a plethora of great free-to-play games out there, as long as you know where to look. That’s where I come in.

Updated graphics and new character options make Dungeon and Dragons Online a hit among students. With no monthly cost, gamers can play as little or as often as they like. Photo by Artie Phillips

One MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role playing game) should sound familiar.

Dungeons and Dragons Online was originally a pay-to-play game, but the creators switched to a free method of play in June 2010. Set in the D&D universe, the gameplay feels very familiar to long-time fans of the dice and paper game, yet it remains friendly to first time adventurers and gamers alike.

Six different character classes are available right out of the gate. There is the hardy fighter, the devout cleric and the sneaky rogue, just to name a few.

The options don’t end there, either. Like classic D&D, the player can also select a race for his character to be. Options include old favorites like the human or elf, with some new ones  such as the metallic warforged thrown in.

The story begins with the chosen character washing up on the shore of the island of Korthos after a white dragon destroyed the ship the player was traveling in.

For a free online game, the scenery is gorgeous to look at. Textured waves lap at the shore of the beach, and character facial expressions convey a wide range of emotions. Birds flit through the air, and the starting zone actually feels like an island jungle ripe for exploring.

If the scenery stands out as a contender with online games, the combat brings home the gold.

While typical online games are just one-button hack-and-slashers, a lot of thought went into DDO to make it feel like the source material. Each class has their own set of skills that they can use in a wide variety of situations, and they each gain more as they level up.

All told, the style of DDO makes it stand apart from other online games that don’t have a truly progressive storyline. The depth of character and flowing storyline truly make the game shine out in a bleak world of expensive console games.

Author: Artie Phillips

Bio info coming soon!

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