The DDO Season Pass

My record with Dungeons & Dragons Online has been spotty since I saw it on the shelf at Fry’s just after it launched in 2006.  I picked up the box and there, on the side just by the system requirements, was a statement about grouping with other players being required to play the game.

The box I saw back then…

No solo.  That worked in 1999, but this was 2006 and World of Warcraft had been on the scene for long enough that the lack of solo was a deal breaker for many.  And, at the time I wasn’t in any regular group, so I was in that deal breaker boat.

I put the box back on the shelf and moved on, a preview of my ongoing attempts to play the game over the years.  And I did try.  I even made a category for it here on the blog, something reserved for games I expect to play and write about regularly.  It just never clicked with me for several reasons.  I complain about the look and UI in LOTRO at times, but DDO feels like the rough draft for even that.

So when Standing Stone Games announced the DDO Season Pass option, I could tell you right away that I was not the target audience.  Still, I want to look at it because I imagine if it sells then we will see the same thing coming up in LOTRO sooner or later, the way that free to play success with DDO led to the free to play conversion of LOTRODDO remains the trial balloon.

So what do you get for $299?

Two Years of VIP Status

In the world of DDO and LOTRO, VIP stands in for subscriber.  You get to be a subscriber and have all the benefits that gives you over a non-subscriber (as listed out here) including boosted experience progress, 500 coins for the cash shop every month, a “free” roll on a gold chest once a week (I assume that is akin to the daily and weekly hobbit gifts in LOTRO), access to more races (half-elf, half-orc, and warforged) and classes, and access to content that you would otherwise have to buy separately so long as you remain a VIP.

There are a range of prices you can pay to be a VIP, including the long time standard $14.99 a month if you want to go month-to-month.

DDO VIP Pricing Chart

So while $299 for two years is cheaper than paying $14.99 a month for two year, if you’re the sort of person who can commit to an MMORPG for two years, the 12 month subscription seems like a way to save $50 a year.

But the VIP access isn’t all you get, or we’d be done here.

Keep All the Content

The first selling point after VIP is that if you buy the season pass not only do you get access to VIP content for free, you get to keep your access to any VIP content released during the duration of the season pass, even if you go back to being a free to play chump.

That’s not nothing.  And I suspect that will be a selling point for somebody.  But my gut says that if you’re that serious about the game, then you’ll be VIP when you’re playing.  And you get all that access back if and when you go back to being a VIP.

Daily Golden Dice Rolls

I think that the golden dice rolls are the things that determine what you get in your golden chest… maybe?  SSG is unhelpfully using mixed terminology.  But if I am reading this correct, you get golden chest level stuff on a daily basis rather than a weekly basis.

Like the hobbit gifts in LOTRO, I won’t turn my nose up at something being handed to me.  But if SSG asked me to pay extra for those gifts I am not sure that I would.

Silver Dragon Armor

A cosmetic armor set.  Cosmetics are important to people, so this could be a selling point for some.

Silver Dragon Armor

Heroic Otto’s Box

You get a free one of these, which if I read this correctly, is an item in the DDO cash shop currently with a price of 4,995 points, which translates to about $50 at the default point price.  Otto’s box includes:

  • 1 Stone of Heroic Experience (2 million XP)
  • 5 Superior Experience Elixirs
  • 5 Major Slayer Count Boosts
  • 5 Huge Jewels of Fortune
  • 5 Siberys Spirit Cakes
  • 3 Greater Siberys Spirit Cakes
  • 1 Complete Reincarnation Timer Reset
  • Your choice of either a Cyan Gelatinous Cube Creature Companion or 65 Astral Shards

A few of those sound familiar as a LOTRO player, though I am a bit surprised at a straight up sale of experience.   Whatever.

The High Pressure Sale

Oh, and one key aspect of this season pass is that it is available for a limited time, December 7 though 10, and has a cap of 1,000 on the total number allowed to be sold.

That seems like a pretty transparent attempt to get people to buy in because the clock is ticking.  I would be surprised if the artificial limit of 1,000 was reached.

Is it Worth $299?

I don’t know.

I mean, for me, no it is not worth it, and not just because I don’t play the game.  I am also aware of my own gaming history and, given that, signing up for two years would be a bad plan.  I’m more of a “six months at a stretch” type of player.

The idea of offering a special package with incentives isn’t new.  CCP does it with subscriptions and PLEX deals every year, throwing in special SKINs and such.  Even Blizzard does it now and then, most recently with the Dreadwake mount they were giving away if people would just sign up for six months of game time.

But those packages give you something extra for the normal price in an effort to boost sales.  The DDO season pass is more akin to collectors edition offers, where they are charging significantly more for items that are not key to playing the game.  The VIP time is the key element, the rest I would argue is mostly fluff even if it has some in-game value.

I don’t get bent out of shape over collector’s editions, though I tend to avoid them, so I shouldn’t get bent out of shape about this.  But I can predict that I will give this sort of season pass deal a critical assessment should SSG move the idea over to LOTRO.

This seems like a good point for a poll.

There is a poll above this line that you might not see if you are using an ad blocker and probably can’t use unless you visit the site directly.

Finally, the paranoid in me wonders if something is coming up in regards to the game in 2020.  Why lock people in for two years?  Does the license for the IP come up for renewal then?  Is this, as some love to say, just a cash grab, or is there some other motivation.

Addendum: I had this slated to post tomorrow, but then SSG got out there and announced a LOTRO version of this idea.  Look for a post on that tomorrow.

Addendum: Despite the poll above running somewhat against the idea, it appears that SSG sold their 1,000 2 Year DDO Season Passes.  I guess if you like a game enough $300 isn’t much of a barrier.  I’m not sure I would spend that much in one go on any game, but maybe I just haven’t gotten the right offer yet.

7 thoughts on “The DDO Season Pass

  1. Bhagpuss

    When I saw the DDO offer I thought it was ludicrous. $299 is a huge amount of money to ask for up front for a rag-tag package like that. Who is it meant to appeal to?

    DDO is an aging MMO that has no visible traction in the marketplace despite having a theoretically major IP attached. It’s not only old but it looks old and has a newer, better-looking, better known and most likely more successful competitor using the same IP in Neverwinter Online. The chances of getting anyone not currently playing to start at a price point of a dollar short of $300 seem infinitesimal. Surely anyone already interested is already playing or is going to try the game for free. Who would jump in at this stage at that price?

    That means the market must be people already playing, who like the game sufficently to be prepared to pay $300 for two years of access that they’re surely already paying for already. It is, as you say, a kind of “Collector’s Edition” for committed hardcore players. In other words, it’s fishing for whales in the pond where the game’s already floating. Whether DDO has a thousand whales like that, who knows?

    I’ll save comment on the LotRO offer until your post on it, except to say that it’s not only a hundred dollars cheaper but it looks like far better value, to the point where I wonder if the DDO offer was designed to make it look good.


  2. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Bhagpuss – As I noted, the whole limited time, limited numbers aspect of the deal seems very much designed to prey on people who fear they will miss out on any exciting offer. If SSG really believed in the deal it would run until Christmas and have no limit.


  3. Opus

    On the experience stone… In DDO, depending on the type of character you rolled, you can TR (True Resurection) your character at either level 20 or 30 (30 is actually 20 Heroic and 10 Epic). This starts you over again at level 1. The only thing you can’t change at that point is your name. The first two times you do this, you get two more points to spend on you abilities, your character is a little taller, and you have to get 25% additional XP over standard in order to level (for a total of 4 extra ability points and needing 150% XP per level). There’s probably some other benefits I am forgetting (it’s late). If you do this with every class, you get a serious buff to your skill and ability scores (until the next class comes out). Then there are TRs for races, Epic TRs, Iconic TRs… All with their own set of benefits. So most people use those stones to help them get through a “life” in a hurry, either because they don’t like to play the class in question, or because they want to rush their Completionist feat. I hope all of that made sense.


  4. fatherofdaughters

    I was lucky enough to pick up a lifetime sub for LOTRO in 2009 when the UK distributor offered a very short lived promotion on them for only UK £75 (about $100). It was two years after release but it was still a fantastic deal as I continued to play the game for at least four more years.


  5. Yeebo

    Two years of sub time is $200, so what you are really getting is daily gold rolls with an Otto’s box thrown in for $100. That’s a decent deal if the randomness of it appeals and you’d be subbing anyway.

    However I don’t think you particularly need VIP in DDO. I buy content as I go. I have bought nearly every race, class, expansion, and adventure pack directly. I’m only missing wood elf, one iconic and two or three packs, and it has cost me a lot less than subbing the whole time I’ve been playing would have.

    The main thing VIP gets, apart from immediate access to a lot of content you need to either buy or farm points for otherwise, is the ability to open quests on any difficulty. I find first life 32 point builds are a generally lot more fun in normal difficulty quests. Multiple life characters do need the challenge of elite, but can also open quests on elite whether you sub or not. Since I already own almost everything, VIP offers me very little. For me the Season Pass would be a terrible deal.


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