The "Best Free-to-Play MMO of 2009" based on the popular roleplaying game, Dungeons & Dragons Online, gets new free dungeons, a new "casual" difficulty level and two live events.
Dungeons & Dragons Online has been around for a while now. Launched in 2006 as a subscription service by Turbine, the MMOG was set in the newest fantasy setting from D&D-makers Wizards of the Coast, the swashbuckling somewhat steampunky world of Eberron. As of September of '09, DDO is free to download and play, with adventure packs and other goodies available for purchase in the DDO Store. So far, the microtransaction model appears to be working as DDO was recently named the Best Free-to-Play MMO of 2009, by multiple websites like MMORPG.com, Massively.com, ZAM and TenTonHammer.
The update released today looks like it packs some decent features. There are more free high-level adventures which pit you and your party against some classic D&D monsters like a marilith sorceress, a pack of beholders and even an eponymous black dragon. The update also introduces a "Casual Mode" which relaxes the difficulty of dungeons for any party so they can enjoy the content at their own pace, a feature which was restricted to only solo play before. There are also two winter-themed events, "The Traveler's Scavenger Hunt" and "The Risia Ice Games," the latter of which allows you to compete in minigames like ski jumping and halfpipe skating. Both of these events are timed to let players celebrate DDO's 4th anniversary on Feb. 28th.
"2009 was a phenomenal year for DDO. We launched successfully to critical acclaim and have received several awards that have firmly established DDO Unlimited as the best free-to-play MMO in the world," said Executive Producer Fernando Paiz in a statement. "The best free-to-play game just got better as our first update of 2010 is all about rewarding our players for their support by delivering more free content while also removing the leveling sigils that were required to advance through the game to make it even easier and more fun than ever to play DDO Unlimited!"
As I'm a fan of both D&D and MMOG, it's a wonder that I haven't even tried DDO. Maybe it's time to rectify that.