So this past week, we went back to Free Realms in class to take a closer look at all the game and how it compares to Dungeons and Dragons Online. It was really difficult for me to get back into Free Realms after playing DDO for so long. I had to get used to the simplicity and the slower pace of everything, but I did manage to learn some more things about the game itself throughout the session. While the purpose and general mechanics of these two games are quite different, there are still some similarities to speak of.
The quality of the graphics are much better in DDO than Free Realms. The characters are able to move more easily and have more "personality" as it relates to the game. DDO's plot line specifically involves the character you are playing, in some cases even including your name when the quest is bestowed upon you. I almost feel as though Free Realms is less interactive, to a point where I don't really involve myself in the game as much. I find myself completely drawn into DDO in a way that I cannot really explain. Background noise fades out, I'm a member of my group, battling evil demons and zombies. I love it! I must say that it is nice to have the ability to teleport in Free Realms. The map is far too huge to be able to successfully run around everywhere, and it made it easier for our group to stay together. DDO has a much smaller map, so running around a village or town is manageable, but without the communication, we would have a hard time finding one another.
One similarity between DDO and Free Realms is the camera angle and the general look of the game. I have already mentioned how the graphics are not on the same page in terms of quality, but there are certainly some similarities between the character actions and the general landscapes used in the games. For me, Free Realms just isn't as exciting of a game as DDO. I noticed that the quests we were actually doing in Free Realms as a team were probably as close to a DDO challenge as we could get. What I mean by that is we were choosing to do quests that required a lot of direct combat, facing huge numbers with our small group of only four people. I like the similarity within the group dynamics of both DDO and Free Realms. We all worked together to make sure we stayed alive and got through each mission together. No matter how entertaining or boring the game might have been, we stuck together.
The chat option for me was never something I ever considered using. We had the convenience before of sitting next to one another so communication was simple and didn't require us to remove ourselves from the situation to address matters at a moments notice. Most of the time, I am too involved in the game I am playing to even look at it, since it is just sitting in the corner of the screen. I am usually just more focused on the action that I am partaking in. The chat kind of showed me a little bit about my group members. The amount that they used the chat was usually the amount that we had talked amongst ourselves in general. Everyone was really willing to help one another out though. I was definitely a little hesitant not being able to ask questions every few moments, but being forced to use the chat box really kind of allowed me to explore some things on my own and try to figure them out for myself, like I would have to do if I were not playing the game in this setting initially. I really found out a lot about myself through the use of the chat box, though. I was slightly more engaged in the game that I had previously been, but still no where near the level of engagement with DDO.
My group! We're all pretty much awesome.