I’m going to cut to the chase: I like DDO’s Daily Dice. If you’re easily swayed by virtual opinions, you can skip all my wordy babble and just go away from this blog now with the fuzzy, warm knowledge that Daily Dice are A Bew Thing. Because they are.
For those of you with the heroic fortitude to endure lengthier discourse on the subject, strap in, and get your dice rollin’. Do you feel lucky?
For a big chunk of February and March, I had an unplanned sabbatical from playing Dungeons & Dragons Online. I decided to make a transition from Working Woman in America to Grad Student. In the midst of changing careers and life balance, DDO just wasn‘t a priority. I had a thimbleful of free time. I chose food and sleep over play. (Things I heartily recommend for virtual adventurers in order to stay their very Internet best!)
As a consequence, I skipped updates 17 and 17.1, logging onto DDO like waking from a dream to find Bobby Ewing in the shower. The first thing I noticed when logging in after my absence was a shiny new button next to the mailbox status icon. Lo, and behold, I had discovered Daily Dice!
I am not the most observant person in the world, and I don’t go hunting for all the spoilers and info about new content I can get. Still, between blogs, forums and word on the street, you tend to hear about new content. I don’t remember seeing any advance notice for Daily Dice. Like the Monster Manual, this game feature seems to have appeared as fortuitously as Tymora’s undergarments.
To me, this is actually a welcome and effective replacement for MyDDO’s Lottery system. Yes, I’ll miss MyDDO’s content and community when it goes bye-bye, but the lottery was always hit-and-miss. Some players’ characters could get broken and they just couldn’t participate in the lottery at all. I can’t count the number of times I tried to enter a drawing and the whole thing just timed out. Bummer. Daily Dice actually work. This is definitely a plus in its favor!
Like the legacy lottery, players get free stuff when they participate. They have the chance to win the same cornucopia of items they can loot in a dungeon or buy in the DDO Store: plat, buffs, boosts, tomes, and significantly, astral shards. While the lottery had the advantage that you could tell what you were rolling for before you entered the drawing, you didn’t necessarily win anything. With Daily Dice, you always win something just for participating. Okay, so maybe scoring a Blessed Candle is the Eberron equivalent of a year’s supply of turtle wax, but it’s still loot for the price of clicking the word, ROLL! What’s more, this is obviously a more effective mechanic for Turbine, because it encourages players to log into the game every day to get their freebie. With the legacy lottery, players only had to log in to collect if they won, which might never happen. It’s also a boon to Turbine because of…
…Astral Shards. What is that I hear? The moans and lamentations of Bewbewcocha, Mayan Doomsayer, wailing the song of her people, the Paytowinii? There’s a faction of players that have complained that people can purchase Astral Shards, and use them toward rolling as many dice as their heart’s desire, therefore Daily Dice has Pay-To-Win cooties.
Every time something is introduced to the game that involves a potential money for gameplay exchange, I have to sit quietly with philosophy and a mojito to decide whether I’m going to hop on the wahmbulance. Sometimes, when the amount of gameplay effort I perceive is great, I get bittersweet about it, such as in the case of +4 Ability Tomes. Sometimes, when I feel the feature isn’t necessarily doing the intended audience any favors, such as Stones of Experience, I express my misgivings.
In the case of the Daily Dice, I don’t care that you can buy extra rolls, or amped-loot ‘Gold rolls.’ I think it’s insignificant. Why do I think it’s insignificant? Because you can win Astral Shards with your free dice rolls, and use those to pay for extra rolls if you feel you must have them. You don’t have to spend money on it if you don’t want to shell out for shards. What’s more, your characters will not suddenly fail at DDO because you didn’t roll Daily Dice. It’s a game of chance. If you really, really want a particular item from the DDO Store, it makes no sense to spend money on a chance to win it, when you could just buy it outright on the DDO store. If I paid for extra rolls, I’d be doing it because I wanted to test my luck, not because I thought it was an effective way to make my character uber-sauce with boosts. If people have fun paying for rolls, and Turbine makes a few extra bucks off of it, hooray! That just means they’ll be around longer for me to continue getting my free stuff!
I’ll add on that two members of my guild, Photo and Hematoma, both pointed out that they’d like to be able to click a ‘Hold’ button instead of rolling their daily free dice, so they could elect to roll gold dice every four days for free instead. I agree it would be a nice tweak, and it maintains the structure of encouraging players to log in daily. I don’t really feel a sense that I’m missing out if I never roll gold dice, though. As I’ve said before, you can win enough shards through chance to upgrade your roll, so I don’t see an actual gap here.
Ultimately, I feel Daily Dice is a positive addition to DDO. I’ve enjoyed it fathoms more than I ever did the lottery. Maybe I’m a sucker for instant gratification. Maybe I just want to hoard Blessed Candles in case a hurricane ever hits Stormreach.
Whatever. Fun is fun, and free* fun? That’s priceless!
*Quit crying, Bewbewcocha!