Guide to Free to Play
Yes, you can play this game for free! Monthly-pay content (VIP accounts) consists of extra classes, races and quests beyond the free ones, as well as various cosmetic items and other bonuses to make the game easier, and pay-per-item (Premium accounts) can unlock some nice perks for just a little real cash, but, yes, you can play 100% free without any problem all the way to end-game. In fact (and not to brag, but...) DDO is recognized by some as a high standard for free MMO games.
The proportion of quests that are free is smaller at higher levels. However, content can be paid for using DDO Points and free to play (F2P) accounts automatically earn free DDO Points through standard game play. In theory the amount of free DDO Points is unlimited, although in practice it's enough to purchase only a limited number of higher level Adventure Packs - but enough to get you to end-game. This is fine if you mostly play solo, but if you want to play with a group on raids, make sure you find out what Adventure Pack is best to purchase to gain access to the raid. Otherwise get a pack that has quests with a Heroic and Epic version if you want to level characters beyond level 20. If you're in a guild (which are free for anyone to join, but cost non-VIP accounts DDO Points to create), ask them what adventure pack(s) would be best.
Note that you can also play "almost free" with any purchase in the DDO Store (currently a minimum of about $7.99 in the USA, but less during Sales), which makes your account upgrade to a Premium Account even if you never spend anything on the game again.
- See Account comparisons.
Budget for a free Adventure Pack
See Earning DDO Points.
You earn free DP by winning favor. You earn favor by completing quests. Each character receives 25 DP for every 100 favor they earn. In addition you receive more DP the first time any single character on a server achieves a certain level of favor. The fastest way to get a few hundred DP is to get a character on each server (currently there are eight servers) to run The Grotto and the first three quests. Each of those quests is worth 2 favor, and when your character has 5 favor you are given 50 DP. You can do this on each server (it takes fifteen to thirty minutes per server) for a total of about 400 DP. But you'll need more. If you play for three or four hours your character can get 100 favor (at about level 3-4 with about 10-40 quests completed, depending on difficulty). This is worth an additional 75 DP per character, for 125 DP for each character that reaches 100 Favor on a new server. That's a total of 1000 DP across all eight servers for maybe a half-dozen hours of play!
In addition, any main character on an individual server will pick up (some) more free DP as they level beyond level 4 and reach 200, 300, 400 favor (etc.) for your account on that particular server. (This is multiplied if you put each main character on a different server.) At the moment there are regular sales on Adventure Packs of 20% or sometimes 25% off (and rarely more!), so if you can figure out which pack you want, you can budget for it. Finally you can create new characters on a server where you already have had a character beyond about level 4, but this will only earn you the 25 DP when that character has achieved 100 favor. You are limited to three characters per server with F2P accounts but you can delete a character you used only to earn DP points and create another.
Example #1: Vale of Twilight
- The Vale of Twilight adventure pack is a popular choice for higher level characters (in mid-late teen levels) as it gives access to Green Steel items.
- It currently costs 850 DP at the DDO store
- Assuming a 20% off sale (which might happen perhaps every 2–3 months ???), the cost is...
- 680 DP required
- Your main character might have earned 500 favor, for 275 DP, just with regular play.
- 405 more points are needed.
- You can achieve that with low level characters on the other seven servers.
- 6 characters each running just the first 3 quests = 6 x 50
- = +300 DP
- 7th character running on the last server (of the 8 available) to 100 favor
- = +125 DP
- = 425 DP, + 500 (from other character(s)) = 925 DP Total, quest pack earned, and can be purchased via the DDO Store link in-game.
Example #2: Vale of Twilight + Ruins of Gianthold
- The Ruins of Gianthold adventure pack contains quests with Heroic Levels ~13-15 (plus Epic level quests) so it's an extremely popular choice.
- They currently cost 850 + 950 = total 1800 DP at the DDO store
- Assuming a 25% off sale, the cost is 637 + 712 =... : 1349 DP required
- You run two main characters, each on different ("new") servers, with 500 favor each, for 550 DP.
- 799 more points are needed.
- To achieve that, you start with low level characters on the other 6 servers. 6 characters each running to 100 favor = 6 x 125...
- = +750 DP
- To get the remaining 49 points you will to need run 2 more characters through to 100 favor, for +25 DP each. (They are only worth 25 DP each instead of 125, because they do not get a "first time" bonus of 100 on a new server.)
- = +50 DP, + 750 + 550 = 1350 DP Total, both quest packs earned, and can be purchased via the DDO Store link in-game.
Tips on scoring DDO Points with minor characters
You have to run The Grotto quest on each server once. Run it with a character that you do NOT intend to earn DP with. The second character on a server can opt to skip the Korthos Island quests and go to Stormreach. That doesn't matter if you only need to get the first 50 DP, which requires completing only 3 quests, but if you need to get 125 DP, you'll need to run about 30-40 quests and you won't want to have to run all over Korthos Island and complete the very long Misery's Peak quest to earn the right to go to Stormreach with its plentiful number of short low level quests.
You may want to experiment with different classes, but if you just want to do it as fast as possible try a character that has access to Expeditious Retreat which will make you faster running between quests as well as in them. All humans can get it using a Dragonmark feat. You'll be able to get 100 favor around level 4, so even spell casters should have a lot of Strength, because you'll mostly be hitting things even with spell casters.
Free to Play (F2P) players will have to run every quest three times in order to reach the final maximum Favor for that quest. That means running it on Normal, Hard, and Elite. If the quest takes you 30 minutes to complete once, then you must spend no less than one-and-a-half hours grinding your way through the same thing repeatedly, which can get old fast. Quests that have a Casual/Solo listing generally have only one mode and do not unlock Normal, Hard, or Elite modes.
You can only by-pass this requirement for earning favor if you can get into a group, whose leader has either already run the quest (completing Hard mode), has already run (and completed) Elite mode on that quest (but is willing to run it yet again), or is either a VIP or Premium pay-to-play player. That group leader can then select the Elite setting, by-passing all the earlier quest requirements. Group members can then follow after the Elite setting has been selected (unlocking Elite mode for that quest on the quest entry window - Permanently unlocking that mode for that quest, if the Elite quest is then completed).
Example DP Runner:
Barbarian 1/Wizard 1/Fighter 2
- A DP Runner is built to get through those early quests as quickly as possible, and then be erased, forgotten, or (at best) designated as a mule for other, long-term build characters. This build would start to fail around Level 6, but for Level 1-2 quests on Elite, and/or Level 3 on Normal, it's pure gold.
- Level 1: Human Barbarian (For Martial Weapons (Great Axe), but also for Barb's +10% run speed to make things that much faster.)
(You can access the Enhancements screen at any time by pressing Ctrl + r. You can't select/change enhancements while in a quest or wilderness area.)
Choose to take a Great Axe at the start, then use the best 2-handed martial weapon (Great Axe, Great Sword, Falchion, Maul, or even Great Club or Staff) that you find along the way (but the first ones listed are "better".)
Note - Be sure to open the character sheet (by pressing c), and under the Enhancements tab, drag any "active" enhancements (square ones) to your hotbar to use/activate. Passive (round/octagonal) are automatic, but you have to click on Active ones to activate/use them.
When you have enough experience points to make Level 2, a new icon will appear top-left on your screen, a silhouette of a body in blue. Find a Wizard Trainer (above Korthos town square on the hill, or in northeast Harbor on the docks, or south-central Harbor along that street), and talk to them.
- Level 2: Wizard (For some combat support (pet dog), a 2nd Cleave, and Invisibility - the "easy" button. A character who completes the 4 Korthos Village quests on Elite should easily make Level 2 before continuing to Korthos Island quests.)
- Wizard Feat: Augment Summoning
- Skills: 1 point each Balance, Search, Spot.
- Spells: Summon Monster I (dog), Jump, and Shield (and as your 4th pick, a random 1st level spell - but you'll (almost?) never have a need for it, and can only slot 3. Don't count on any "offensive/combat" spells, not with only a 12 Int!)
- Enhancements: Archmage Core: Illusion (Invisibility SLA); Eldritch Knight Core: Eldritch Strike (a magical Cleave); Human Core: Damage Boost; Frenzied Berzerker Core: Die Hard.
Be sure to go into the tavern (green "mug" icon on the map) and slot your spells (found under that section of your Character Sheet) and drag/drop to a hotbar, and then buy ~100 "pinches of sand" (it's cheap) from the vendor in the square before you go out the gate to the Island quests. Right-click the spell in its hotbar slot to make sure Summon Monster is benefiting from Augment Summoning ("Always on"). You don't care about Arcane Spell Failure due to your armor, none of these are "in-combat" spells - you'll cast all these at the start of a quest, before your first steps, so a couple failures only cost a few moments more. For you, these spells last 5 minutes, plenty for starter quests - if you're questing slowly, or anytime after you use a shrine, just remember to recast (or when the dog dies).
- Level 3: Fighter (You should hit Level 3 by the time you're done with Korthos Island Elite and head for The Harbor quests by talking to the NPC down on the Korthos dock. (Don't bother with Misery's Peak for now; it's a good quest, just too long for what we're doing here, which is just grabbing 100 fast favor).)
- Feats: Lvl 3: Cleave; Fighter: 2-Handed Fighting
- Skills: 1 point each Balance, Search, Spot.
- Enhancements: FB Die Harder III (it's just more Hit Points); and ignore the 4th AP - I'd be surprised if you get it before you gain 100 Favor, unless you don't find an opener and have to run every quest 3 times (N/H/E).
Fighter trainers are as above for Wizard, except in Korthos they're in the town square, closer to the gate out to Korthos Island.
- Level 4: Fighter (If you need a 4th level!)
- Feats: Ftr 2: Weapon Focus: Slash (or Bludgeon if you have a maul you love. It's a tiny bump to Melee Power.)
- Level-up ability: Strength
- Skills: max Jump, the rest wherever
- Enhancements: wherever - you should be a lowbie killing machine already, take whatever looks good. Rav: Cracking Shot for boss-beating, FB: Power Rage for more Str while Raging, Human Healing Amp for a little more potion love, whatever.
Variation - Go with 11 Int (dump Haggle @ Lvl 1, then Balance), 11 Cha and 8 Dex, and choose Bard as your 3rd class. Make sure to take 4 levels of Perform, choose Cure Light Wound for your spell, and Enhancement: Warchanter Core: Skaldic Rage - much longer lasting, and you can still cast CLW!
Remember - This build is not recommended for long-term play, it's designed to front-load some strong abilities early, and then be deleted (or retired to being "a mule" to store your excess items). If you like something about it, there are better ways to start with Level 20 in mind - this one will probably start to fail around Level 5-8. However, if you really enjoy a struggle, you could continue with either Barbarian or Fighter (not both) up to Level 20, sticking with the 2-hand weapon feats, and pumping Strength at each increase. (Or, if you went Bard for Level 3, stick with Bard and go mostly with Warchanter enhancements - tho' that is an even tougher road with this start.)
All Favor amounts are listed for completing the quest on Elite difficulty. A F2P account will normally have to run the quest on Normal, then Hard, then Elite difficulty to get all favor. One third of the total favor is awarded after each. Base XP is the experience for completing the quest on Normal difficulty without any bonuses or optionals. Quests that only have a Solo difficulty are marked with (S). This table is sortable by Quest Name, Base XP, Quest Level, Total Favor, Patron, Acquired At and Bestowed By.
|Total Favor per Patron||House Cannith||House Deneith||House Jorasco||House Kundarak||House Phiarlan||Purple Dragon Knights||The Coin Lords||The Free Agents||The Harpers||The Silver Flame||The Twelve|
Since update 12, House Cannith favor can be earned in Challenges with free "daily menu" tokens. The NPC that provides free Daily Challenge Tokens can be found in the middle of the House Cannith Enclave or Eveningstar. The free Challenge Tokens can be earned once a day by talking to the NPC and they are stackable.
Can this game actually be played without spending a dime?
RoBi3.0's Free to Play Guide. Everything you need to know to get the most out of this game. Credit goes to everyone who contributed inon the official forums.
Some quick math to confirm:
Currently there are 89 free to play quests in game (Including The Grotto which gives 0 Favor) and the U12 House Cannith Challenges. These quests provide 1263 favor. That is enough favor to unlock Server favor up to the 5th tier which will give you 250 DP. Do this on every server and you get a total of 1750 DP. Free quests will also give enough favor to earn you 250 DP through per-character favor rewards. A F2P player gets 3 character slots on each server, so if you do this on every server you will get 5250 DP. Combine that with the 1750 we totaled earlier and you get 7000 DP, from grinding 100% free content. You can then use those DP to purchase Adventure Packs which you can then grind to earn more points.
Then of course there is the option of rerolling which can provide more DP and will only be limited by your willingness to keep rerolling.