Dungeons and Dragons has been around for forty years. Even most long-time players of the internet MMORGP are unaware that the game existed long before most people owned a home computer.
The role-playing game started out with pen, paper, and dice. Fantasy fans fell in love with the concept and soon D&D became the game of choice for medieval adventure seekers.
In 2006, game developers at Turbine, Inc. released the first version of Dungeons and Dragons in a massively-multiplayer online format. As word spread among long-time fans of the pen and paper game, the online community grew in a rather unique way: younger players found a new MMO that appealed to them in much the same way table top Dungeons and Dragons appealed to board game aficionados in the mid-Seventies and experienced D&D players found that their imaginary worlds had been recreated in a single online venue of vast proportions.
So how does an aging game like Dungeons and Dragons still stay relevant in the 2010s? The answer is simple: its community demands it. There are other games that have extensive followings, but there are none that have their following steeped so deep in tradition. If you were to peer behind the characters in DDO, you’d find a fascinating blend of people of all ages from all over the world guiding them.
Dungeons and Dragons Online engineers and developers are keenly aware of the their community and its wants. They respond to player’s reactions to changes in the game like no other game publishers. If some new aspect in the game is met with distaste in the game’s community, the developers will react. This is a rare commodity in an age of ignored e-mails and dodgy replies in large game publishing circles.
Moreover, Dungeons and Dragons has stayed true to its roots. Though there have been some exceptions, Warner Bros., who acquired the game, has left the developers alone. DDO is a traditional game with a largely traditional community. Exploring a dangerous swamp infested with will-o-wisps, ogres, and trolls is very much the same in DDO as it was in Dungeons and Dragons almost forty years ago. The only difference, of course, is that players don’t have to imagine what the swamp and its denizens might look and behave like.
Additionally, when new players appear in Stormreach Harbor after completing a few introductory quests, they aren’t met with bravado and ridicule. They are, for the most part, engaged by other players willing to help them become better players. Many DDO veterans will go out of their way to see that players new to the experience of medieval fantasy gaming will enjoy the experience as much as they do.
Playing Dungeons and Dragons Online is an adventure in itself. Its complexities and size are such that adventurers can take the game as seriously as they want to.
And in a twist that co-creator Gary Gygax would have loved, players have the freedom and choices to make the game whatever they want it to be; it is a world where the most stoic of dragon slayers can co-exist amicably with the undetermined and sometimes silly socialites of the online Dungeons and Dragon world.