A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the commitment level for this game is high. It requires Internet access, and you must pay approximately $15 each month on top of the purchase price to play. Players gain experience through quests, which usually require the assistance of other players; an entire quest must be finished to acquire points, so there is often pressure to play longer than intended. Common Sense Media does not recommend online play for anyone under 12.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS ONLINE: STORMREACH gets many of its cues directly from the circa-1970s pen-and-paper version of the game. A Dungeon Master narrates elements of the game. For example, when entering a dungeon, players may hear the DM tell them something along the lines of, \"...it's evident this room hasn't been used for years, as the thick dust on the floor is disturbed only by the faint footprints of rats and mice.\"
Unlike most RPGs that give out points for defeating individual enemies, experience points in D&D Online are awarded only at the completion of the quest. Players will find it difficult to pull out in the middle of a mission, since other players are depending on them. Players unfamiliar with the pen-and-paper version of the game may be puzzled by references to things like \"saving rolls\" and skill checks. For example, in true D&D style, damage is indicated in figures like 1d8 + 2 (the roll of one eight-sided die plus 2).
Is it any good?
While this game is entertaining, teens (and their parents) may want to make sure it's the right fit for them before signing up for the $15-a-month fee. The main concern: This game is a major time suck. Social interaction isn't just encouraged --- it's very nearly a requirement. Few of the game's quests are easy enough for a single player to complete, requiring players to join into parties, mixing and matching the skills of their individual characters to help each other out.
The game offers impressive displays of scenery, but the quests are typically staged in cramped dungeons, cellars, and underground caverns, which rarely seem as vivid as players might expect. As with many online games, the game can lag. Popular common areas can get jerky and slow, to the point of locking up the computer. There is plenty to admire here, but parents should set serious guidelines before allowing their kids to play.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the popularity of games that charge a monthly fee on top of the purchase price. Does the added cost pressure you to play, even when you don't have the time? Are there advantages -- or disadvantages -- to a game that is played entirely online versus a game played individually? Parents whose kids are new to online gaming should check out our guidelines for gaming.
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.