Digital Tabletop: DDO’s Expansion Pre-Order By The Numbers
by Ashe Collins on March 5, 2012

Dungeons and Dragons Online is spreading its wings across the Dungeons and Dragons worlds, leaving Eberron and venturing into the Underdark of Faerun in their latest upcoming expansion, Menace of the Underdark. With this new expansion they’ve followed the pre-order model they first laid out in Lord of the Rings Online: Rise of Isengard, only I actually think the Collector’s Edition of the Dungeons and Dragons Online expansion is even better than the Isengard one, but not for the reasons you’re really thinking of. I’m looking at comparing it to the other versions available for pre-order and breaking it down by cost, what you’re getting for your cost in the one currency that is universal in their games, Turbine Points.

Turbine Points are what they use in their store and can be bought in their games or with point cards from retailers. For my breakdown I’m going with the $25 for 2000 Turbine Points model as a frame of reference. They have better deals on their site sometimes, but seeing as you can get these from retailers across the board and it doesn’t change, I’m figuring it’s pretty consistent. They’ve got a $80 (6400 TP), $50 (4000 TP), and the bare bones $30 (2400 TP) version.

Let’s first break down what you get in each version, regardless of what tier you decide on when you pre-order. Each version contains Three Adventure Packs placed in the Forgotten Realms setting, covering three areas – the King’s Forest, The Underdark, and The Demonweb. You also get Epic Destinies, which is something that runs parallel to leveling your character past 20 as the level cap is going up to 25, which is actually a bigger deal in Dungeons & Dragons than it is in other games that might cap you at level 60 or higher. So really that’s what you’re getting with the barebones pre-order aside from a pet and 1 free Tome of Learning per DDO game world. Totaling up the estimates, for 2400 TP, or $30, you’re getting 4430 TP worth of content. Not a bad deal at all really, as when it goes live, all that will cost you the full estimated amount of points which would be around $56. This is something you would have to pay for regardless of being a VIP player, Premium, or Free to Play.

The Collector’s Edition and the Standard Edition have more bonuses added into them for pre-order. You get access to the Druid Class, and the Evening Star Challenge Pack, both of which are free to VIP (subscribers), however you do have to favor unlock the class, which means if you don’t’ have the favor as a VIP you can’t play them right away on every server, so buying them is almost always preferable, much like the Artificer and Favored Soul. You also get 1 Greater Tome of Learning per server, Veteran Status Tier 1 (let’s you start out with a level 4 character and is a favor unlock), the DDO Classics Adventure Pack Bundle that contains the Phiarlan Carnival, Attack on Stormreach, Path of Inspiration, and Dreaming Dark, and you also get two creature companions. This starts us off with both the Collector’s Edition and Standard giving us 9080 TP, or $114, of content that they share. If you take out what’s unlockable, this lowers our TP value to 8085, and if you take out what VIP’s get for free, it lowers it to 5490 TP, or $68. This isn’t all these editions give us, this is just what they share between them.

So with everything else we get, the Standard Edition also comes with a Spider Cult Mask that gives stat bonuses and a resistance to poison, and 1000 Turbine Points. We have no idea what the masks value is at this point, but going with a low estimate of 100 points, we come up with the Standard Edition totaling in at a nice 10180 Turbine Points, or $128, which is well over the 4000 Turbine Point value. What if we take out what’s unlockable though? That brings us down to 9185, or $115, and if you’re a VIP player, or someone who’s got the adventure packs already, minus the Eveningstar Challenge Pack, 6590, or $82 which is still a great deal for $50.

The Collector’s Edition has a slight variance on the Standard Edition. You don’t get the same mask, but instead get a more powerful version in a different color scheme, a Figurine of Wonderous Power: Black Panther (Drizz’t fans will instantly know what that emulates), 1 free Lesser Tome of Learning per character per server (considering the max is 30 when you buy more slots this is insane), 2000 Turbine Points, Veteran Status Level II which lets you start out at level 7 (this is unlockable with favor), the DDO Epic Classics Adventure Pack Bundle that contains the Vault of Night, Red Fens, Stormeach Sentinels, and Devil Assault packs, and another pet companion. For this I’m going to break it down and assume that the person looking at this isn’t an alt-aholic like I am and doesn’t have 25 slots open to them (I’m just shy of the max on VIP), and only has the 10 free slots.

Bear in mind I’m estimating a few things that we don’t have Turbine Point costs for, and since they’re pre-order exclusives, may never have costs for, but here’s how the Collector’s Edition ultimately breaks down. I’m going with the idea that the Lesser Tome of Learning will hit you for about 950 TP in the DDO Store. If you’re not VIP and don’t take into account unlockable account options, you’re looking at a 24,525 Turbine Point value which equates to about $306 for around $80. Again this is going with only 10 character slots as you get one of the Tomes per character per server. If you’ve unlocked all 30 slots, and play one multiple servers, this is one hell of a deal. If you only play on one server though and still have thirty slots, you’re looking at almost 44,000 Turbine Points for a value, which is around $550. Taking a look at it minus the unlockables, it’s a 22,035 TP value at $275, and for VIP players it’s 17,440 TP or $218. Now this is the $80 Collector’s Edition.

The Tomes of Learning aren’t really something I’d have bought as they only apply up to level 20, but they do stay with your character through reincarnations. There’s plenty of Experience in the game now to get you to your level cap now, so they aren’t necessary, but they make skipping hated quests even sweeter and easier to do. Getting them as part of the package only sweetens the deal, regardless of whether you’d have bought them normally or not. Right now I’m a VIP player again, but I fluctuate a lot between VIP and Premium. If I’m playing a lot I go VIP just for the ability to open quests on Elite at the beginning and the monthly TP stipend. If I’m not I let it slide back into Premium and pick up any quests I need.

So I figured out that as a Premium player I’d be getting $318 of content value for myself (on just my main server) for $80 or 25,465 TP for 6,400 TP. If we take out the little extras and stick to the meat and potatoes and drop the tomes, which I’d have never paid for in the first place, that TP total drops to a cooler 9175 TP or $114. You can actually unlock Veteran Status II by simply hitting 3k in Favor Rewards which I’m damn close to on my main server, so taking that out, its 7680, which is still well over the 6400 TP cost we initially estimated. That $80 pack is still a good value, an extremely good value actually, for what I’m getting out of it, although most of which I’d either not have actually purchased or have already purchased. While I do think they could have benefited from having two different versions of the Collector’s Edition available without the Adventure Packs and supplementing it with something else, I do personally think it is still a good value even for the long time player, and if you’re just getting started with Dungeons and Dragons Online and like it, you’d be hard-pressed to find a deal that includes this much DDO content for this cheap. For the player who just wants the packs though, it’s still better to pre-order, because when it goes live, you’re looking at almost twice the cost to pick those packs up.




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