Dungeons & Dragons Online now free

Turbine's sword-and-sorcery MMOG relaunched with new content, DDO Store, <i>gratis</i> option.


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.

It now costs absolutely nothing to slaughter this poor, defenseless nether-spawn.
It now costs absolutely nothing to slaughter this poor, defenseless nether-spawn.

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.

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Avatar image for armouredpriest

For me, I don't like the concept of monthly fees. I feel obligated to play, and my prefered play style is to jump around from game to game. So I'm personally OK with the microtransaction model in this case. DDO as a pay-per-month MMO was mediocre at best. I'll admit it, its not especially accessible and not very easy compared to WoW...although this does have the effect of keeping a lot of annoying internet "kids" off of the servers (Kids in this case refering to anyone acting annoyingly juvenile, regardless of actual age). To be fair, people with a D&D background are probably going to have an easier time getting into this game (I could bring up the whole 3rd edition vs 4th edition argument but I won't...other then to say while I personally prefer the 3rd ed rules set, the 4th ed rule set would have been easier to translate into MMO form, and probably be easier to learn. Again, I'm pretty OK with how things turned out, mostly this is just an observation). Anyway, my main observation here is perceived competition: As a monthy fee MMO, DDO was mediocre at best. As a free, microtransaction MMO and the competition there, its pretty good. Look at it this way: You could be playing a game like Maple Story (not a terrible game, but I found it kinda boring), or for the same cost structure you could play DDO.

Avatar image for kennylinwood

For cryin out loud will u stop comparing WoW with other mmos please and WoW copied other things from other mmos

Avatar image for Merc_Scar

I tried it, but nothing can take down the juggernaut that is World of Warcraft. WoW is just so accessible and easy compared to other MMO's.

Avatar image for kram590

Blows my mind that the monthy fee for any game would have any effect on decision to play it. If a crappy game is free to play, then it makes it a good game? Besides, wake up people, nothing in life is free. They will pull the money out of you one way or another. Just play a game is you enjoy it. You have to go with what you like. :)

Avatar image for PiercePlatinum

I've played this game and it's alot of fun... good customization of weapons and armor and the players I've played with were pretty cool. I found myself repeating a lot of quests, though. Overall, good fun and the action is pretty fast paced.

Avatar image for leoleez

why r they all suing each other, just sit down and make good games, that all we ask and pay for

Avatar image for dudemanbro22

Wow, vicsrealms makes my nosebleed from the awesomeness that is his knowledge of D&D.

Avatar image for vicsrealms

If it was in a different setting I might be interested, but Ebberron is not my favorite DnD world. I would have preferred Krynn but they destroyed my interest in that world with the Fifth Age nonsense. Or even better would have been Toril, but they have currently done the same thing to Toril with the death of Midnight and the whole spell plague mess. Shoot, that mess with Toril has even made me lose interest in the last Drizzt series of books and I have been a huge fan of those since I was introduced to the Dark Elf Trilogy in the 90's. I haven't even been thrilled with the latest Forgotten Realms novels that have come out since the spell plague. Besides, if I do pull away from WoW it will most likely be for Star Wars the Old Republic. I'm running out of content to explore on WoTLK since I'm not a Raider or a PvPer.

Avatar image for AzatiS

Its worth a try , and worthed my instant unistall also... Really bad game to begin with , for free is ok though you can play way better free games nowdays. Great dungeon atmosphere that ruined from bad actor voices , sloppy animations , bad controls , confusing items , way complicated and for no reason hard to understand spells and skills ( not all but some are )... Didnt like it at all ,a fter 20 minutes i unistall it. But try it maybe you like it

Avatar image for Inconnux

it's worth a try ...

Avatar image for MindTricked

Okay, they've fixed/updated the account set-up. Now it's easy as cake. Guess I'll be getting my D&D on now... until the free content dries up a la Free Realms.

Avatar image for athenian29

Finally. Now I get to check it out!

Avatar image for tommynj

If people didn't like this game before what makes you think they will like it now ? It hasn't changed a bit except the new business model.

Avatar image for MindTricked

I guess I'll try AGAIN to set up an account so I can play the thing. Mein Gott in Himmel* but Turbine doesn't make it easy. If it doesn't take this time, I'm un-installing the turkey and going back to Guild Wars. *thank you Nightcrawler/Chris Claremont

Avatar image for FlashCharge

Sounds like an ever ending corporate battle which maybe more exciting than the game itself.

Avatar image for atopp399

I will be checking this out tonight. I am against microtransactions generally but if the game is free to download and play I will try it out. I normally don't like trials because I hate losing my character at the end of it so this will be a good option I think.

I played the free version of Runescape back in the day and had a lot of fun even though it was limited compared to the member game so maybe this could work the same way to pass some time without the need to log in every single night. As long as the free game isn't TOO limiting.

I just hope they are prepared for the influx of new players. It is going to be a stress on their servers if they aren't ready. I have a feeling the maturity level of the players will also decrease going to a free based system simply for the fact that a lot of younger players who did not have access to a paid subscription type game are going to increase by a lot.

Avatar image for shandi235

That video is over 2 years old. that is NOT the current official trailer. The level cap for the video was 12. It is currently 20. If you want to see the real current video go to the game's website

Avatar image for NynoMan

whats wrong when i try to make my acc and download the game there is an error,why? help plz

Avatar image for FoeCrusher

I tried to get it to work but it still wanted my credit card.

Avatar image for kargion

This is incorrect. D&D online is 100% free from now on with cash shop. Anything you can buy is optional.

Avatar image for Rickirock

It's a free game, but there's gonna be released a new Dungeons & Dragons online game that you have to buy

Avatar image for bodylotion

if it's free why does it still say in the trailer "Buy Now"? And is this a real free game or just a free game you can walk in and have to buy the weapons with real money or something?

Avatar image for quadraleap

I might give that a whirl someday.

Avatar image for Phylos_downs

I have been trying to play since launch (yesterday), but never have I encountered so much difficulty in writing my name in the account creation page, which they didn't actually open till late in the night and of course with a site crash. At this rate we'll be playing the game in November :((

Avatar image for zig_star


Avatar image for BloodMist

Well if it's free i suppose i'll give it a try...y'know, some day.

Avatar image for Weddum

Its free, so theres no need for people to start getting all defensive about microtransactions and whatnot. Chances are the game will be perfectly playable without having to pay extra money. Think of it as an extended demo.

Avatar image for rann89

This is a good idea to market their game further. Everyone's going to download it for free just to try it out. The microtransactional was probably done because they turn it in into a win/win situation. Anyone that really likes the game (and now they can find out, because they can download it for free) will end up paying the subscription anyway. I was curious about DDO myself but I didn't want to pay for something in the off-chance that I just bought a game I don't even like. Now I can download it and if I like, awesome. If I don't, well I didn't waste anything but time finding out.

Avatar image for thibbledorfP

Microtransactions can work, as long as the 'free' game costs retail price up front and offers a full experience. Just look at Guildwards. Guildwars, however, has had a consistently decent following, D&D Onlines woes may relate to the game content not being that special, unfortunately. The fact that D&D Online can be downloaded for free, however, means that they will pretty much have to gimp the free service over time by providing huge incentives to paying customers. Otherwise where is the money coming from?

Avatar image for QuasarZ71

Atari has become one of the worst publishers. I will never buy a game published by them again.

Avatar image for NoLifeGamin

ANY GAME that involves micro-transactions is definitely FAIL, sadly those guys at Blizzard is smart enough not to do this with WoW, which is unfortunate for gamers like me who just want to watch it die ^_^

Avatar image for flammable_zeus

"Turbine has opted to relaunch the game under a new free-to-play, microtransaction-supported business model." Stopped reading there. Not free to play if you have to actually pay money to compete at all. I'd sooner pay monthly and be on an even-footing with everybody than suck just because everybody else has more money than I do.

Avatar image for Leg3nd4ry

Well, i never played it when it was p2p but im currently downloading it now, why not? its got to be better then the myriad of existing f2p grindfests out there right now. Guess i can play this for my mmo fix until guild wars 2 comes along.

Avatar image for poordude1089

Can't hurt to try it out.

Avatar image for brian_13un

Great that's great

Avatar image for Diernes

It's not a bad game, never really got me though. probably never should have been a pay to play.

Avatar image for fedejico

I've just played the game for a good couple of hours and this is what I have to say. Some of the quest mechanics (especially about rewards) are brilliant. DnD rules here feel less pen and paper and more natural than in some other DnD based games (you never get the feeling of "watiting for the round to end" to start the next attack). Difficulty is alright. Of course time will tell about keeping the player's interest, variety, replayability, etc.

Avatar image for JohnMafia

Turbine needs to just give up on this game and concentrate on LotrO. Lot more potential there.

Avatar image for method115

This was a good game. It wasn't worth paying for by just a small margin to me. I still wanted to play it after I wad done with the trial period just not enough to pay monthly.

Avatar image for TrueIori

free? i check it out

Avatar image for halloran95

haha just checked it out... looks like the website crashed

Avatar image for Plaidboy1

Hmm, I just went to try and down load it and the offical website is down. I'd like to give it a try.

Avatar image for James00715

From what I have read on it, the game doesn't have many quests, so it only takes a few months to finish everything. Then, all you can do is make another class and do the same quests over again. Might not be bad for a free game though. Still, I don't think microtransactions are the way to go. I would even support ingame ads over them. Microtransactions just unbalance the game. You end up having to pay money to compete, so it essentially becomes no different than a pay2play game.

Avatar image for evilross

This is a very good game actually. Its a shame it was overlooked thanks to the WoW juggernaut. A lot of the casual WoW MMO gamers will not get into this game, as it is heavy in the stats and rules department, and the combat is very action oriented, its not a auto-attack click fest. The character creation is deep, its the richest character building option out there in MMO's (it is D&D after all). I've played this off and on since launch, and I can say to anyone out there with a interest in online RPG's this is worth checking out. It's free, so give it a try. This is a deep and high quality game, with tons more content then was avalible at launch.

Avatar image for evilross

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Avatar image for dennisheadley

Been trying it out and for a free game its not that bad at all, but it is more like Guild Wars than it is World of Warcraft in that it's a lot of instanced zones. I really like the fact that rogues are more than damage dealers in this game and their skills are actually useful.

Avatar image for jasongm

If its free i'm sold!

Avatar image for ReaperV7


Avatar image for Darkmoone1

hmmm.....might check it out.