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  1. #1
    Community Member Goalt's Avatar
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    Default How to maximize your gains as a F2P player (DDO)

    Before reading this, there are two things that you should take into account for this game:

    1. First off, this game is very much grind-based. You won't feel it much at first going through those first few F2P levels, 1-5, but after you get to around 8 or 9, and certainly after 10, the DDO point grind is going to hit you hard. And after that, once you get your packs and everything (from the aft mentioned grinding), you'll feel the so-called "quest grind" - your inability to open quests on anything higher than normal pretty much ensures that you have to repeat each and every quest 3 times in a row, for the most part. Besides those two major grinding points in the game (born solely of your F2P status), you'll also eventually encounter at one point or another the other grinds in the game, those VIPs also have to deal with (i.e. named loot grinding, Reaper XP grinding, Past Life/PL grinding, Epic Past Life grinding, etc. etc.)*.
    *I'll make a full list for anyone new players who are interested; the list is extensive.

    2. Secondly, the F2P style of this game isn't supported at all by both the game's community and its developers. What you've got to understand is that SSG wants cash - bad. You're just a potential customer to them, and to that end, they'll try to get you to spend money either through the in-game mechanics (bank space and other such conveniences) or the well-used tactic of sales. The majority of updates are geared toward VIP players, and they are the majority of the population in this game.

    Understanding these two mechanics that the game's F2P system runs on is essential to knowing whether or not this game is right for you.

    Now, I've already discussed the two major points of this game that are going to be grindy for you: before you get adventure packs, and when you own those packs.
    To split them up

    Phase 1: Getting Packs
    Disclaimer: Earning points this way is not worth it, time-wise. Even at maximum efficiency, farming out enough favor, 100, for just 25 DDO points takes roughly an hour, give or take. For that amount of time, you can make (through minimum wage in the U.S.), around $12.00. The DDO store sells DDO points in bundles, the largest being $200 for 23K points, or around 115 points per dollar. If you worked just 8 hours a week (4 hours for 2 days), you would already have earned~$48, enough to buy ~5.5K points. Compare that to the 25 points an hour you'll make grinding out F2P, and it should give you an idea of just how uneven the ratio between the two activities is (earning money/grinding).

    The most difficult part of your DDO adventure is going to be undoubtedly grinding up the points to buy the packs you need, because, whether you like it or not, as a F2P player you're going to eventually need adventure packs; they offer too much to pass over.

    Each game server offers up to 125 points for the first character created on it, provided they earn 100 favor. Therefore, with 8 servers, there is a possible fast 1,000 points to be earned to begin with. After these "easy points" have been earned (just run a character through 100 favor's worth of quests), use the following steps to grind out more points.

    How to grind out points "efficiently" (see Disclaimer):
    1. Create an "opener" account - this account, separate from the main one you have been playing up to now, will help the favor character ("toon") on your main account earn favor faster, around three times so.
    2. Run a newly created character on the opener account through all the quests you plan on favor-grinding. Make sure the character can open these quests on elite. Keep yourself logged into this character while you proceed to Step 3.
    3. Log into your main account. Pick the SAME server the opener account's favor runner was made on and create a "trash" character (that will later be deleted). Create a party (press "O" and select "Create LFM") and have the opener's character join it.

    The rest should be pretty straightforward - have both characters enter the same quest instance on elite. This time, unlike the beginning when you were grinding out favor on all 8 servers, you should be able to enter immediately on elite with your main account's character, basically shortening the duration needed to grind out favor by a factor of 3.

    Once you have enough points (around 1300ish should suffice), move on to Phase 2.



    Phase 2: Deciding on Packs
    With your account full of points and your toons yearning for new adventures, it's time to buy some adventure packs. Right off the bat, if you've been doing any reading up on the subject, you should know that you should get both Gianthold (950 TP) and Vale of Twilight (995 TP). Why the expensive price tags on these two packs, the most expensive in the game (expansions excluded)? Well, for one, they offer great xp, which you need to level up. More importantly, they offer good favor...

    --------------------------------------
    What Constitutes "Good Favor"?
    To understand the importance of favor for a F2P player, you've got to see that it is what we rely on to earn points. Wasting DDO points are low-favor adventure packs will only hurt your account in the end as you are forced greater and greater extremes of grinding. To put, favor is your lifeblood. Favor rewards are given in tiers, with reaching the highest tiers possible (and thus most rewards) being your goal. For patrons, the NPCs that award you for (you guessed it) earning favor for their faction, there are a couple of important ones that your packs should aim to knock out:

    -Agents of Argonessen
    -the Twelve
    -the Yugoloth
    -House Phiarlan
    -House Deneith

    All of these factions I would recommend you try to fill, that is, their favor, because each only requires a single adventure pack to achieve the highest tier of favor rewards. Basically, you only need one adventure pack for each of these patrons to maximize your favor being earned.

    There are also a couple of Favor Patrons that are already covered by F2P quests. On the whole, avoid getting packs that award favor for these patrons and their factions (because your F2P quests already cover them):
    -House Jorasco
    -House Kundurak
    -the Coin Lords
    -the Free Agents

    You can grab buffs, two extra inventory bags, two extra bags of bank space, and a merchant (who is unlocked) with the favor offered by these patrons.

    In addition to the two categories above, there also some Favor Patrons that, given your position as a F2P player, are realistically impossible to earn enough (or any) favor for; avoid their corresponding adventure packs at all costs:
    -the Purple Dragon Knights (PDK)
    -the Keepers of the Feather (KotF)
    -the Sharn City Council (SCC)
    -the Harpers
    -the Gatekeepers
    -the Silver Flame
    -House Cannith

    The PDK, KotF, and SCC are all factions in which their corresponding quests are expansions; expansions cost money; therefore, that is a no-no for a F2P player. The Harpers have only one favor tier that is worth it - their highest one (an enhancement tree), and that requires multiple costly adventure packs which offer few other benefits to buy. The Silver Flame also suffers from the same problem, though it is conceivable to get the faction's main adventure pack series, Necropolis I, II, III, and IV, on a 75% sale for pretty cheap. House Cannith, aside from the time investment needed to get a group together for all of the favor offered in its one pack, also requires the player to complete Challenges to earn its Favor Tiers (Challenges are hard without a group), so it's not worth it.
    --------------------------------------


    Vale of Twilight, despite costing almost 1,000 points, fills up the entire the Twelve favor tier. In addition to this, it contains over 350 favor, more than 6 times the favor found in similarly priced packs (I'm looking at you, Keep on the Borderlands). Aside from that, it also comes with multiple long quests, raids, and wilderness areas. The value offered in this pack is unheard of today. It also completes House Deneith's last favor tier for you, along the way.

    Gianthold comes from a similar clutch. It fills the 10-15 level gap for F2P players, something desperately needed considering there are only around 10 quests total for F2P in that level range (the same can be said of Vale for the 15-20 level range; it is a lvl 17 adventure pack). It unlocks, fully and by itself, the entire Agents of Argonessen favor tier, the likes of which include benefits such as increased HP and an extra inventory bag (through the Tier-2 Collapsed Portable Hole).


    Get these two packs, and you should be good to go. Note: Many old-time players believe the Vault of Night, a level 8-10 adventure pack, to also be an "essential buy". I disagree with this, seeing as how: a) it offers redundant Kundurak favor, and b) it costs 750 points while only offering 6 (technically 4, plus a raid) quests.


    Section 2.1: Filler Packs
    So you've gotten Gianthold and the Vale of Twilight. You've mastered both packs and are getting bored. What should you buy next? The filler pack is the one you can go to when you're bored, so ideally you want to have around 2 or 3 of them at least, 4 or 5 if you want luxury/comfort. Filler packs ignore the basic concepts of favor above - they're just for fun, nothing serious. Have a poke around the DDO Wiki and read up on some of the adventure packs that DDO has. Pick one up when its on sale, and you're good to go. Grind points as needed.

    Section 2.2: Races/Classes
    The only reason I don't focus on races in this guide is because, without new adventure packs to freshen up your experience, you're going to find it all too soon pretty dull to run the same old quests over and over again. However, it's fine to spend your points on whatever race or class you want to play; a couple around sales time always go off for 75%. Keep in mind though, that even for such a high sale, you're still going to be spending 250+ points on each new race/class you want to unlock, whereas with an adventure pack a 75% sale could get the pack as low as, say, 90 points (this is because races/classes are generally more expensive than adventure packs).

    Section 2.3: Other Things to Consider
    Sales in the DDO in-game store happen around two times of the year. Keep a watch out for them, because the discounts for these sales are steep. Around the middle of Summer, DDO will have a special "Summer Sales" where packs, races, and even tomes (not that you need them) can go for as high as 75% off. More often, packs are put at a 50% discount. The same pattern applies for Races and Classes, so if you're looking for those, then's your chance. The sales last for four weeks, with each week opening up with different items on sale.

    The second major (F2P concerned) sales that DDO holds annually are the Winter/Christmas sales. These happen in December, as you might have guessed, and go on for four weeks like the Summer Sales. They're pretty much the same as Summer sales in terms of discounts (deep discounts for some items, less deep for others, etc.), so make sure you have some points saved up for around that time of year, too.
    Hint: One of the most often discounted packs during Winter Sales is the Vale of Twilight for 75% off (267 points).

  2. #2
    Community Member C-Dog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Goalt View Post
    1. First off, this game is very much grind-based.
    I disagree 100%.

    It can be very much that, depending on your goals. Doesn't have to be, not at all. If you are not trying to lead the kill count and "be the best" in the party, you can make do with droploot and a simple (non-grindy) level of Cannith Crafting, not much else.

    Quote Originally Posted by Goalt View Post
    2. Secondly, the F2P style of this game isn't supported at all by both the game's community and its developers.
    Don't know exactly what you mean by "supported".

    I've been F2P for most of a decade, seems fine to me. I can run R3, which is more than I need (R1 is ample, and even that is more than is really "needed").


    Now, from the point of view of someone who needs to compete w/ VIP - sure, I guess. But all you have to do is let that go, and it all becomes a non-issue.

  3. #3
    Community Member C-Dog's Avatar
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    (After a good sit-down read...)

    All of what you've said has been posted elsewhere, but it's a nice summation. A couple points worth making...

    (And see various related links in my sig for more comments on specifics - as a long-term F2P player, this is all in my wheelhouse, and has been for a while.

    Also, the DDOWiki has more information on all these topics, and more!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Goalt View Post
    Disclaimer: Earning points this way is not worth it, time-wise.
    100%. Getting any part-time job - wash a neighbor's car, mow their lawn, walk some dogs - you can make quantums more money/hour than you can "earn" by favor farming for DDO Points (aka "DP").

    However, if you enjoy "playing the game", then this farming isn't "grinding" - it's playing the game. If that works for you, then do it - if not, don't. A very ymmv thing.


    Each game server offers up to 125 points for the first character created on it, provided they earn 100 favor.
    Not untrue, but over-simplified.

    Whenever you earn 100 favor on a server - new server, old one, new character, old one - you earn 25 DP. That's the base reward.

    But the first time your account earns favor on a new server, and hits certain benchmarks, you get a DP bonus. You get a +50 DP bonus at your first 5(!) favor, and +25 DP at 25 Favor, and +25 again at 50! So, while making your first 100 favor on any server, you get a bonus 100 DP, for the 125 total that Goalt mentions.

    However, if you want a faster return, you can also just earn your a quick first 25 favor on each server for 50 DP/, and have 400 DP in an hour or three. And you can always come back and earn the other 600 DP (75 more x 8 Servers) at some later time.

    Take note that this is the first time that an account earns that favor on any Server, not the first time a new character does. Once the account has earned a "first time" bonus on any specific server, all characters on that server then need to earn a full 100 Favor for 25 DP, flat.

    DDOWiki:


    Quote Originally Posted by Goalt View Post
    Once you have enough points (around 1300ish should suffice), move on to Phase 2.
    No reason to wait for 1,300.

    First, you can buy one pack at a time. Get the pack that your character needs "now" or "soon". Once you have that pack, you'll earn the Favor there and that will help pay for the next one(s).

    Second, you want to buy On Sale. Weekly sales give 20-35% off, and the three big yearly sales* can offer 50-75% off a select few packs. So if your DDO Points are precious to you, wait for a sale!

    (* These are 1) each week in July, 2) the end of November (Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend), and 3) the mid-winter holidaze. Rarely (maybe once/year?), there is an equally big sale over a weekend, but those are random and unexpected.)


    But more - all this may(?!) soon be irrelevant!

    SSG, the company that owns DDO, has announced an upcoming "Free Questing Coupon", details to be announced soon. Specifics are unclear as to exactly what this means, so keep an eye on the forums for when this goes live to all!

    o https://www.ddo.com/en/news/free-que...ng-stone-games


    Quote Originally Posted by Goalt View Post
    What Constitutes "Good Favor"?
    Here it is in a nutshell - depending on your priorities, you don't want to spend 1,000 DP for a pack that gives 50 favor (20:1) when you could spend 400 DP on a pack that gives 100 favor (4:1) = a MUCH better value!

    And this is true whether you're chasing the rewards from Total Favor, or a specific Patron.



    The last column in this table compares "Favor per 100 DP spent" for all packs - higher numbers are better values.

    Now, Favor/DP is only one of many possible reasons that any player might value one pack over another - again, if you value your DP, read the link in my sig for a full discussion.


    Quote Originally Posted by Goalt View Post
    You can grab buffs, two extra inventory bags, two extra bags of bank space...
    The Coin Lord favor is not everything you need for the 2nd additional backpack/inventory tab*, and you want Vault of Night if you want your 2nd bank tab before Level 14 or so. Just sayin'.

    (* You also need a Collapsed Portable Hole, which is rare/expensive, or can be earned for free via Favor via Ruins of Gianthold.)


    Quote Originally Posted by Goalt View Post
    Note: Many old-time players believe the Vault of Night, a level 8-10 adventure pack, to also be an "essential buy". I disagree with this, seeing as how: a) it offers redundant Kundurak favor, and b) it costs 750 points while only offering 6 (technically 4, plus a raid) quests.
    I 100% agree that everything you say is 100% true - for you. And for all players who have the same values. And that's the problem - not all do.

    So, for others (or for anyone who is not sure where they stand), here are the counter-arguments...

    a) re "redundant favor" - Total Favor is never "redundant" - it's more DP, it's larger rewards*. There is, indeed, enough free House K favor to earn your 2nd bank tab - by Level 14 or so. But if you have Vault of Night, you can earn it about 4 levels earlier, by level 10 or so (and without doing annoying quests like Taming the Flames - ouch).

    (* Free +2 Tome and 32 point builds at 1,750 total favor, Favored Soul at 2,500, etc. etc., up to a free +5 Tome at 5,000 Total favor. See https://ddowiki.com/page/Favor#Total_Favor )

    b) "value" - Many ways to measure "value", and VoN does fine on most all of them. Not "top notch", but good enough. Again, this chart shows that the Favor/DP is average-ish, ~17 Favor/100 DP spent. (For comparison, Gianthold is very good (~25/), and Vale of Twilight is 2nd best overall at 32/!)

    The missing factors are c) experience (xp), d) filling a questing gap and d) overall popularity, and for a reason.

    c) "Experience" - VoN offers high experience value per quest*. Why run 8 quests to earn a level when you can just run 6 (or whatever, spitballing). I'm comfortable saying that it's on most vets' "once/life" list to hit as they level up for exactly that reason.

    (* And for veteran zergers, who value quick xp as they chase Level 20 (or 30!) for Reincarnations, great xp/minute!)

    d) "Fills a gap" - there is a "thin spot" in Free to Play quests around Level 9-10, and VoN fills this gap nicely. Not "perfectly", but really well, getting you to where you can start thinking about Gianthold, the next pack you'll want.

    You could get away without it, but you'd be repeating the same F2P quests to get through this stretch.

    e) "Popularity" - It's very common to find an LFM* for VoN quests - almost surprising if you don't see one up during peak times. And there's a reason for that - it's popular. And there's a reason it's popular - because of all of the above. This above all else speaks to the overall value of this pack.

    (* "Looking for More" - hit [o] in the game to bring up the panel for "Grouping" advertisements for more players.)

    Now, if I had to put these three (VoN, GH & VoT) in order - yeah, I'd probably put Vault of Night 3rd out of 3 - but still on the list.


    All that said, as I mentioned above, how any single player values these different points is 100% up to them. "Fun" is how you find it, not how any other player thinks you should. And again, for a full discussion of this, see link in my sig - if your DP are valuable to you, then spending a while reading and considering how best to spend them is a good investment of your time.

  4. #4
    Founder Enkidu's Avatar
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    I think there's still like 8 servers times 2250 DDO points for the first time 6000 favor each gives you 18K DDO points and another 8K for filling up monster manuals. Plus you'll unlock drow, FvS, 32 point builds, and level 7 starts on every server while checking them out to find the one the suits you best. You do things like this and you'll see why you can play for free for ten years. It's extra nice playing now that you don't have to buy packs as you're earning favor, but even before this you could level up across the servers and earn more than enough DDO points to buy the next pack needed for leveling. I think those first couple of months spent opening servers was some of the best times I had in the game. It's funny how much getting those +5 stat tomes used to mean to me. Good times!

  5. #5
    Community Member Nebless's Avatar
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    Of course a lot of what you've written has now gone out the window. First every thing's free to play until Aug 31st and second watch for the coupon code that'll let you keep all non-expansion quests free forever.
    Aias Iceforge. Barbarian Ice Dwarf - Khyber

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