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D&D Online: Interview @ FileFront

(PC: MMORPG) | Posted by Moriendor @ Thursday - December 02, 2004 - 23:54 -
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Ken Troop, Lead Designer on 'Dungeons & Dragons Online' is on the receiving end in this interview over at FileFront as we get an update about the latest status of this high profile MMORPG.
Q: Have you yet experienced any trouble in keeping the mechanics of the old pen and paper D&D to the new, improved, and somewhat shiny-er D&D Online?

A: First of all, I don’t think anyone on the dev team thinks of the pen-and-paper (PnP) version of D&D as old or out of date. It’s true that the game’s been around for 30 years, but it’s been constantly evolving and continuously updated over that period. In fact, the 3.5 edition rules, which form the foundation of the DDO ruleset, were just released last year.

When we started working on this game, one of our first realizations was that, not surprisingly, the PnP rules are perfectly suited for the PnP game. A corollary to this is that the PnP rules are not perfectly suited to an MMO game – they simply weren’t designed with an MMO in mind. As a result, we decided very early on that we weren’t going to attempt a direct, literal translation of PnP D&D.

Instead, what we’re trying to do is create a faithful representation of D&D in a massively-multiplayer context. We’re preserving as much of the original rules as we can – the six stats, the three saving throws, the d20 mechanic, feats, skills, etc. Wizards and sorcerers can cast magic missile and fireball, and you’ll face kobolds, hobgoblins, and the occasional beholder.

But there are certain elements of the game, most notably the turn-based combat system, that we felt just wouldn’t work well in an MMORPG. In cases when preserving the rules would make the end result less fun, we aren’t hesitating to change things. We’ve been working with Wizards of the Coast on the nature and scope of these changes. Their input has been invaluable – one of the more pleasant surprises of the whole process is when they have been even stronger advocates for tweaks of the PnP ruleset than we had originally suggested; they understand that changing the medium sometimes means changing the approach.
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