Dungeons & Dragons Online delayed

Atari's MMORPG now set for Q1 2006; public alpha-testing period opens today.

Players eager to get their hands on Atari's upcoming Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach will have to wait a little bit longer, as the game's release has slipped from November back into the first quarter of 2006.

However, fans of the pen-and-paper fantasy game whose friends scoffed when they rolled a luck of 18 have a chance to get into developer Turbine's public alpha testing of the game, which officially begins today. To qualify, would-be heroes must register at the game's official Web site. Those with message board accounts at the site will receive priority selection.

Stormreach will be built on the 3.5 Edition rules of Dungeons & Dragons, but it's definitely taking a new approach to the genre. The gameworld players inhabit will be smaller and less populated in order to foster a closer sense of player community and so that players' actions have larger ramifications. Experience and treasure will also be doled out based on how many quests are accomplished instead of how many enemies are killed.

Turbine is gaining plenty of experience developing massively multiplayer online role-playing games from high-profile licenses these days. Its game The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar is also due early next year. The company's previous work includes the Asheron's Call series of MMORPGs.

Stormreach is the first MMORPG to use the venerable Dungeons & Dragons license from TSR and Hasbro subsidiary Wizards of the Coast. Check out GameSpot's previous coverage for more.

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