The Armchair Empire writes in with an interview on Dungeons and Dragons Online's move to free-to-play.
Armchair Empire: Why did you decide to switch to a Free-to-Play model for DDO?
DDO: We launched DDO over 3 years ago and LOTRO just over 2 years ago. Since then we’ve launched the games across Asia where they were competing with very successful free-to-play games. For several years we have had plans to enter this space. After looking at titles to import and even new games to create based on this model, we realized that DDO was very well suited due to unique form of gameplay. D&D was always marketed in this way where players could buy a series of adventures and then when they were ready, they could head down to the hobby store and pick up some new ones and enhance their game experience with new dice, minis and other items. Everything just clicked, and a little over a year ago we went to work re-engineering the game to create a unique model that provided players with a choice in how they pay and play our game.
Armchair Empire: Were there any concerns about DDO’s existing community while deciding whether to adopt the Free-to-Play model?
DDO: We put a lot of focus on ensuring that our existing player base would get even more value out of their subscription and maintain the experience they have come to love over the years.
Armchair Empire: Was there a particular reason why Turbine chose Eberron Unlimited for taking a stab at the Free-to-Play model, as opposed to Lord of the Rings Online?
DDO: DDO Unlimited is much more suited for this model. LOTRO is a large, open world MMO and is doing quite well with its traditional subscription model.
Armchair Empire: What sort of gameplay / content updates are planned to coincide with Eberron Unlimited?
DDO: When DDO Unlimited goes live, the level cap will be raised to 20. It’s important to note that 20 levels in DDO Unlimited are equal to 80 levels in a traditional MMO due to the D&D ruleset. We will be introducing a new class, a new 12-player raid and over a dozen new dungeons as part of a new adventure pack. This content will all be free to our VIP players and our free players will be able to purchase the new adventures in the new DDO store. There is also a wealth of new enhancements to the game, particularly our combat system which is one of the best in the industry.
Armchair Empire: Will items that players buy in the store be bound to characters / accounts?
Armchair Empire: Can you give us an idea of the sorts of things players will (DDO Gold)be able to buy via micro transactions?
DDO: The DDO Store offers convenience items as well as premium dungeon packs, additional character slots, hirelings (hired muscle), potions, character customization and more. The best loot is still found by questing through the game.
Armchair Empire: What sort of time line are we looking at for Eberron Unlimited to come out of beta and go live?
DDO: We will launch when the game is ready. We have tens of thousands of players already signed up for the beta and if all goes to plan we hope to launch later this summer.