Earlier I posted this on the wrong blog. Here's the right one!
One of our assignments for class was to compare DDO and Free Realms from the perspective as a game designer. We were also supposed to make use of the chat tools on Free Realms, and here's the conclusions that I have come to:
From the perspective of a game designer, I think that both Free Realms and DDO have their own distinct advantages and disadvantages, and both will appeal to different types of gamers. Free Realms includes a wider range of types of games, by allowing players to choose occupations that have different types of mini games. It is obviously geared toward a younger audience who simply wants to log on and have some fun playing a computer game. Free Realms makes use of player vs player (or player vs. computer), collection, spatial reasoning and building, depending on the occupation that a player chooses. Free Realms is also good because players are able to freely choose different occupations if they decide they do not like the occupation they have chosen.
DDO on the other hand mostly consists of going on quests that require players to search for something and also fight enemies (player vs. computer or player vs. player). There is less flexibility in the occupation that a character chooses because it takes a significant amount of work to be proficient in whatever type of character a player chooses. This is not to say that it is impossible to change occupations, but a player has to be a little bit more decisive. DDO also has an advantage over Free Realms for gamers who wish to be absorbed in the game, because it was a more well-thought out and consistent story. Free Realms is kind of all over the map-- it has a magical world where people have race cars and can fly, but seems to be largely devoid of other modern conveniences. DDO gives a player a more specific storyline to adhere to and the environment of the game allows the user to be absorbed by it more. I also think it is easier to use the movement control in DDO, but that's probably just because I've played it more.
Another disadvantage to free realms is the censorship on the game. There were times where I could not communicate with anyone unless I actually spoke to them. Obviously if you were trying to meet someone online and make friends with them, this would be incredibly difficult. I couldn't even say "people!" For this reason I think it'll be difficult to profile a free realms gamer. I did try to talk to someone in the game who was not in Games class, and all I managed was asking how she was, and getting a "Fine, u?" in response.
I do think the censorship is a good thing though (despite the fact that as a 'journalist' I'm avidly opposed to censorship), because Free Realms is geared toward a younger audience, that needs a greater amount of help with internet usage. Many kids may not know what information to release or not release over the internet, and merely the fact that they are young and there are creepy people out there makes these censorships somewhat necessary. Certainly not to the extent that they have been done though. As long as there is a way for people who wish to communicate to each other without censorship to do so, then its okay the Free Realms has these networking blocks. I found the DDO chat much more user friendly.
I have no idea why this says we're all taking "a sleeping", but whatever. here is my awesome group playing free realms. I'm the fairy on the right, Amelia Brightdawn.