Against the Grain: Soloing and PvP in D&D Online

We all know that soloing is really not the right way to approach D&D Online. With at least one regular group on the horizon (one new player added to the list today, and room for more,) I figured on seeing what I could do with one of my existing characters.

This is Rafian of the Nine Lakes, a character I’ve had since the start of DDO’s free-to-play period. Now a level 2 Ranger. I’d finished all the Korthos Island stuff with him, packed him off to Stormreach, and then got torn away by the PC fisco and other stuff. Last night I started him on some of that Stormreach Harbor content.

Understand that there are options for people who want to solo in DDO. The content on Korthos island is all soloable, in principle… but you’d better pick a class that’s somewhat solo-friendly. Wizards and Sorcerers will find even the early Korthos Village dungeons challenging at normal difficulty, and the later Korthos Island ones mercilessly difficult. But there are also hirelings, which are an angle I haven’t explored yet – because Rafian didn’t have to.

DDO’s Ranger is a fairly solo-friendly class. Not so much as Paladins, Clerics or even straight Fighters, but easier than Wizards, Sorcerers, Rogues or Bards. But your missile abilities aren’t very useful unless you want to do a lot of kiting, which is possible, and you don’t start to see healing stuff until level 4, until which you’re dependent on potions.

Ironically, soloing actually becomes a little bit easier once you hit Stormreach Harbor, where there are dedicated solo dungeons. I ran a bunch of these last night, and had fun with them, but in comparison to the normal group-oriented DDO dunegons they felt a bit half-baked. Plus the rewards were not so great.

If you do all the content but don’t repeat anything, you should leave Korthos Island some time after hitting level 2. There’s easily enough stuff to do solo (between the solo dungeons and the group dungeons that are soloable at normal difficulty,) to reach level 3 – maybe higher. And this is probably in the neighborhood of 8-10 hours of play time.

D&D Online also has – and this may come as a surprise to some – PvP. Fairly good PvP at that, assuming that the levels involved are roughly balanced, considering especially the nature of the main format, which is a sort of PvP pit in certain taverns. I tried some of this out last night as well and had fun with it until some level 20’s rolled in and made it impractical for the level 2-4s that I could meaningfully compete with to participate.

There are also instanced battleground-type affairs which are level-bracketed, but I haven’t tried that yet. When I do, I shall certainly report on it.

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