D&D Online Wasted My Time

Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach

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I usually don’t mind if I waste time on a computer game, and CRPGs are my favorite. I have been playing D&D games since the Gold Box Games when I got my first PC. Pool Of Radiance and Curse of The Azure Bonds are still two of my favorite computer games of all time.  The original Baldur’s Gate ate up more of my time that I care to talk about. Even though I never finished it, I was one of the few people I know who actually liked Pool of Radiance: Ruins of Myth Drannor (the soundtrack CD that came with the Special Edition was great). The Icewind Dale games were also fun even though they were a bit more sparse in terms of storytelling.

I absolutely loved the Neverwinter Nights PC game even though I never played the original AOL game. I thought it was a great idea and played dozens of player created modules. I would have created a few modules of my own but the scripting language seemed to have been created with the fledgling game developer in mind and not the interested dilettante in mind, so after scripting out a couple of stories, I took one look at the documentation and decided to just be a player. I still think that if Bioware had made that portion of the game a bit more idiot proof they would have had a lot more user created modules out there. A lot of them may have been total crap but mine would have been out there and it was really cool. Maybe I will try and find my notes and post them one day.

I bought all of the different expansion packs for Neverwinter Nights and even took my second foray into online gaming. The first was playing Duke Nukem 3D on the LAN at work with my little brother and youngest daughter. (Side note: We are still looking forward to playing one another in Duke Nukem Forever, but that is a post for a different day.) Neverwinter Nights whet an appetite for online gaming that I didn’t even realize I had because even though I preferred playing the single player modules I started looking for multiplayers as well.

I passed on Neverwinter Nights 2 for a variety of reasons and from everything I read it was a good thing that I didn’t waste my time on the game because the single player game was pretty weak and there were no improvements to the multiplayer aspect. However I read that the module creation was improved drastically. I don’t know if that means that it is more powerful or if it is a lot easier to create, but that is the only thing that intrigues me about NWN2.

However, I was very interested in trying out D&D Online. I wasn’t one of those people who scoured the net looking for any tidbit of information, in fact I didn’t even know it had been released. Of course, I heard when it was free to play (in the US only I think) which of course means that you would have to pay for premium upgrades, but such is life when you want to play online games for nothing and I wasn’t bent of shape about it.

When I got the time, I went to the site and found out there were three different types of download: 1) A streamlined version that apparently downloads and installs WHILE YOU PLAY THE GAME. That sounds all sorts of cool, but at the same time something seems dodgy and slow about that; 2) a standard res version and 3) a high res version with all of the bells and whistles. I chose the almost 4GB high res version.

I downloaded a little downloader which in turn downloaded the install files. While I was waiting for the files to download I went to the website and created an account. The game took almost three hours for the actual download to finish. Then there was another half hour for the install to finish.

Once the game was installed, I was excited to finally play. But first I had to configure my firewall to let everything through. Since this was the first time I played, I just cut my firewall off altogether and let the updates update. It took another half hour while the updates ran. I starting to get a little frustrated.

I was finally able to start the game and login with the account I created earlier. Once I logged in, I had to choose a world to play in. Cool right? Not really because that’s where things stopped cold. The client tried to connect to the game world but after 20 attempts the game kicked me out with a time-out error.

Since my Comodo firewall was not giving me any errors, I went to the DDO Support site and found out which files needed to be added to the firewall exceptions. I started Windows Firewall and added the needed executables. Happy that everything was set up properly, I restarted the client and it timed out again.

I disabled all software firewalls and tried again. It timed out again.

I gave up. Almost five hours later and I couldn’t get the game to start. So I uninstalled it. I tried and it didn’t work. My time was wasted. It doesn’t matter ultimately where the problem lies: ill configured firewalls, full game world servers or the return of Tyranthaxus to wreak havoc on my online connection. In the end I was unable to play the game and a lot of time was wasted in the process. I won’t be giving D&D Online another chance.

However, I heard rumor of a possible Neverwinter Nights Online game, so it looks like they may reach into my pocket and suck more money out or worse, into my clock and take some time out. Oh who am I kidding, I’m pretty much fiending to play some more computerized D&D. Then again, I don’t think I ever finished Baldur’s Gate 2: Shadows of Amn. Hmmm…

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