I took great interest in Dungeons and Dragons Online when it relaunched as "Eberron Unlimited", a free-to-play MMO. One of my major criticisms of DDO when it first launched was that it consisted largely of small party instances rather than the big open areas I've come to consider archetypal of MMORPGs. It seemed like a game where you'd largely play with the same group of people, so why pay a subscription to play with everyone else? The free-to-play model seems to have suited DDO far better, as not only did I consider it a far better deal but, from all accounts I've read, the game has become much more successful.
Turbine apparently wanted it to become even more successful, so partnered with some advertising agency or another to create an "Offer Wall." I've seen these scammy things before and they always make me recoil in horror: complete some advertising "deal" and get "points" and cash them in for "prizes." Usually these take the guise of horrid websites offering free iPods if you sign up to a billion and one ads, I never expected to see one tied to an otherwise respectable MMO. I don't really know the ins and outs of the advertisements offered to DDO players, but according to reports at MMORPG.com, there may have been some problems with privacy concerns. In any event, Turbine officially announced they were getting rid of the Offer Wall, and I think that's probably the best move. I think I speak for most gamers when I say that advertising is a necessary evil at best and highly disruptive at worst; and this "Offer Wall" sounds like it gets pretty close to the worst form of advertisement.
Anyways, I can't just do a story about a game and leave it to random news and not discuss the game itself. I have to admit I haven't played DDO much lately; I got really frustrated with the party formation process in DDO after WoW introduced the automatic dungeon finder. I suggested DDO implement something similar on the official forums, though of course I mainly got shot down by all the forum trolls. In any event, DDO certainly did feel like it needed some mechanic to get parties going in more quests, because the same problem that plagued the game in beta (that people would just do the same few quests over and over again) seems to continue to plague the current implementation. With such a varied selection of quests, DDO needs to embrace some system to direct all players to see as much content as possible; and as any other game suffering from "I need a group" syndrome, the game mechanics have to actively direct random pugs to the same quests in order to get those quests completed.
I should update DDO and drop in again tomorrow. Expect another update soon.