How-To get addicted to MMOs with Dungeons and Dragons Online

World of Warcraft put Massively Multiplayer Online RPGs onto the map of mainstream consciousness with millions of subscribers worldwide. But many people are also playing other MMOs like Dungeons and Dragons Online (DDO).

As the names says, DDO is built around the famous board game D&D. It uses a modified version of the D&D 3.5 rules to allow real-time game play (instead of the turn-based game play of the board game) and it is free to play. Yes, you read that correctly, I said free to play.

That “F” word really catches my eye, and it fits very well with the Linux philosophy of being free. So, how can we Linux gamers get a piece of that delicious free cake? Here’s how to install and run it:

1. Go to DDO’s site and download the client installer.

2. While that’s downloading you might as well install WINE. If you haven’t got it installed already then do so by using your package manager or by typing this into a terminal:

sudo apt-get install wine

3. You’ll also need a native launcher to patch the game and login to the DDO servers. It’s called PyLotRO and  you can check it out here, while you’re waiting for the download to finish. To install it do the following:

  • Open Synaptic and search for “python-qt4
  • Mark for installation the package named “python-qt4”. You’ll get a little window that wants to install some dependencies- hit “Mark”.
  • Now search for “4suite”
  • Mark for installation the package named “python-4suite-xml”. You may get a window asking to install some dependencies- hit “Mark”.
  • Now hit the “Apply” button in Synaptic’s main window. Then hit “Apply” in the little window that comes up.
  • Let Synaptic do it’s job and exit out after everything’s installed.
  • Download PyLotRO itself with this link and then hit “Save”. You can also go to the PyLotRO download page and get the source there.
  • Open up your file browser and go to where you saved the tarball to. Right click it and hit “Extract Here”. You can delete the tarball when everything has finished extracting.
  • Open up a terminal and cd into the directory you just extracted PyLotRO into and then run the installer as root: sudo ./setup.py install

You should now have a new entry in your system menu under “Games” called something like “The Lord of the Rings Online”. Don’t worry, we’re not going to install Lord of the Rings Online; just be patient.

4. Now to actually install the game open a terminal and cd to the directory where you saved the download from the DDO site (i.e. ~/Desktop/ddo_download).

  • Run the installer using wine: wine ./dndsetup.exe
  • The installer may ask you where to install to- just leave it at the default “Program Files” directory on your C: drive. This makes it easier down the road to configure PyLotRO
  • The installer may also pop up an error message at the end- just hit the “OK” button and continue.
  • Finally, the installer will present you with a trio of check boxes- uncheck all three of them and then exit the installer.

5. Now we need a patch client for DDO (instead of Lord of the Rings) that PyLotRO can use.

  • Go here and download the patch client .dll. This will allow PyLotRO to patch your DDO client instead of trying to patch Lord of the Rings Online.
  • Now extract the tarball and rename the file “patchclient.dll” to something else (i.e. “ddopatcher.dll”).
  • Now copy the .dll into the top level directory where you installed DDO. For example, if you installed it to the default “C:” drive in the installer then you’ll need to put it into “~/.wine/drive_c/Program Files/Turbine/DDO Unlimited”

6. All that is left is to tweak PyLotRO to use what we have.

  • Start PyLotRO by hitting it in the system menu, or by typing pylotro into a terminal.
  • Then go to the “Tools >> Settings Wizard” menu.
  • Set the “Application” drop-down menu to “Wine”, then set the “Game” drop-down to “Dungeons and Dragons Online”.
  • Now hit the button that says “Find Games” and DDO should come up in the list- select it and then hit “Apply”.
  • Now go into the “Tools >> Switch Game” menu and set it to DDO Unlimited, then hit “Apply”.
  • Last, but not least, go into “Tools >> Options” and check the “Advanced Options” checkbox.
  • Now set the “Patch Client DLL” field to what you named it in Step 5. (i.e. “ddopatcher.dll”)

7. Assuming that you already set up your DDO account then simply log in and play.

D&D Online

My lvl 7 rogue

Q&A

Q: I have to alt+tab to DDO every time I run it. Tell me there’s a way to fix this, it’s annoying.

A: Set WINE to run under Windows 2000 mode.

  • Open a terminal and type winecfg to bring up WINE’s configuration applet.
  • Under the “Applications” tab set the “Windows Version” drop-down menu to “Windows 2000”

Q: When I run the game it crashes and says that I don’t have the current version of the client. I thought PyLotRO was supposed to patch DDO.

A: If things aren’t patching automatically then hit “Tools >> Patch” to patch your game.

Q: When I alt+tab out of the game and then alt+tab back I can still see my GNOME or xfce panels and they cover up parts of the screen. How do I fix this?

A: Run winecfg from a terminal, go into the “Graphics” tab and uncheck the box that says “Allow the window manager to control the windows”. Now you won’t see your panels in DDO, but you’ll see a little square icon in the bottom left of your screen when you’re alt+tabbed into your desktop. To get back to DDO just click on that little square.


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