Turbine Inc.'s Dungeons & Dragons Online hasn't exactly risen above the crowd of massively multiplayer online role-playing games since its February 2006 launch. In a bid to reverse the game's fortunes, Turbine has opted to relaunch the game under a new free-to-play, microtransaction-supported business model. Today, the developer announced that the free-to-play option, along with a host of new content included in the Eberron Unlimited expansion, is now available.
As part of DDO's new pricing scheme, online gamers can play the game for free, purchasing adventure packs, items, and other content individually through the new DDO Store. The game itself is also available as a free download through Turbine's official Web site. Alternatively, players can continue to subscribe to the game, receiving all newly released content as part of their monthly purchase.
The relaunch comes as Turbine enters into the legal battlefield with DDO publisher Atari. Last month, the developer abruptly sued Atari, claiming that the publisher was underpromoting the relaunch of DDO in a bid to trigger a licensing-termination clause for the rights to make online D&D games. The strategy, Turbine claimed, was part of Atari's plan to create a new D&D-themed MMOG, which is rumored to be based on the Neverwinter Nights universe and in development at Cryptic Studios.
Responding to Turbine's suit, Atari called the litigation "frivolous," saying that it filed its own motions to dismiss the case and recovery money related to the original licensing deal. "Last week, with no warning, Turbine filed what can only be viewed as a frivolous lawsuit against Atari," the publisher said. "Turbine's actions also appear intended to divert attention from the contractual obligations that Turbine owes to Atari."
For more information, check out GameSpot's previous coverage of Dungeons & Dragons Online.