Hands on your heart; you know that the music in DDO was always – lacking. In some areas it was lowkey and interesting (like the one spot in the vale high up where the music almost gets soaring but then completely goes away). Or downright – wierd – like in dreaming dark. Most of the time it’s kind of like Stormreach. Sounds of sea gulls and street music. Nothing note worthy. Okay – but not something that makes you go – WOW. Now compare that to Skyrim. If you’re not haunted by echoing menacing orchestral scores you’re lulled into a sense of discovery with the hollow distant atmospheric sounds that gives you an idea of time, space and unlimited open areas to explore.
Well that is about to change in a good way with the xpack. From the sense of high fantasy in Eveningstar to the wonderment of the Kings forest to the action music as you get attacked and to the many different tunes in the quests themselves. It doesn’t just feel like they hired a guy that used to make music for Nintendo or Days of our lives. It’s almost like they realize that all senses needs to be stimulated for that complete feeling of immersion.
Turbine is making DDO not just the game that have a better combat system then any other MMO out there, they’re also tapping into what makes some so engrossing and truly puts you in a unknown time, divorced from the realities we all face and where my two-three hours at night feels like I left the daily toils of real life grind and exposed myself to a fantasy drama. The more we incorporate all our senses into a game, the better it gets. And we can walk away from it as if we weren’t just grinding out XP, gear, levels and whatever we hoped to achieve – but that we’ve experienced a sense of exploration and ‘growth’. It’s hard to explain that last word, ‘growth’. We’ve all played a game or watched a movie were we sense a beginning and a end. Something that taught us something. Felt like we’ve grown with it. Like Forrest Gump. Like we walked there with him through childhood to adulthood and come full circle as he watches his kid go on a school bus.
Or that one game where you start as early level and go through all the travails and emerge towards the end as something else. That feeling of early innocense and transformation into adolesence. That something have changed. Maybe that sounds corny; but DDO have not felt like that since my first characters cap at 20 and then TR. After that it has been grind, gearing, trying out new classes and races but seldom even with new material as if I did anything but getting loot, levelling and trying to get that ‘ultimate’ setup.
Corny as that might be, the xpack adds a new sense of discovery. Maybe it’s more than just the sound – maybe it’s a fresh new start somewhere else but I think it’s everything. The entire package that gives you a sense of discovery again. Where I’m not just running through a wilderness area because I know where all the rare spawns and I’m just ‘blowing’ 30 minutes for that final run. Or doing that quest because I want to get in another level. Or taking advantage of some bonus day to get x done.
I’m discovering. And the scores that haunts us as we go into that familiar areas still fools us to believe that it’s not old. it’s not the nooks and crannies that we know; it’s new. Something else is out there. And it’s a perfect day to discover what that is.
Provided it’s not 5 hungry dire bears that is.