Review: Dungeons & Dragons Tiny Adventures on Facebook
Dungeons and Dragons Tiny Adventures brings D&D to Facebook.
I've been a Dungeons and Dragons fanatic most of my life, first and foremost playing with paper and pen. I loved the Strategic Simulations, Inc. (SSI) video games of the late eighties and early nineties set in the D&D world of the Forgotten Realms. These were followed by the amazing games made by Bioware which were also set in the Forgotten Realms and then Turbine's Dungeons and Dragons Online set in Eberron. I was really excited when I first found out that there was a Dungeons and Dragons Facebook application. I figured it would be a great way to meld two of my favourite pastimes. Then I played it. Considering that I like text based games and I love writing fiction, I find I get some enjoyment out of Tiny Adventures, but I doubt the vast majority of Facebook gamers will.
In Dungeon and Dragons Tiny Adventures you can play one of the eight pre-rolled characters and nothing else. Once you have chosen you can then pick an adventures to go on. You start off with only low-level adventures and new ones are added as you level up. You can buy new equipment for your hero at the shop, or gain it through adventuring. You can also buff and heal your friends characters or compare different stats. Unfortunately that is about it. When you adventure, it consists of choosing up to two potions to take with you and choosing the adventure you wish to play. After that events take place with or without your participation. A timer counts down, each time it reaches zero the next encounter in the adventure will reveal itself, along with the result of that encounter. You can choose to use your potions at any time during the adventure but that is all you can do. The encounters are kind of like reading a flash fiction series, they don't seem to really piece together well, nor do they stand alone. If I didn't love D&D I would find this app more than useless. As it is, I have trouble justifying to myself why I waste my time playing it. I know this sounds harsh, but give it a try, you will see what I mean pretty fast.
As much as I have just cut down Dungeons and Dragons Tiny Adventures, it does have a few redeeming qualities. First off, if you like MUDs like Threshold then you may find the simple interactions in Tiny Adventures fun, however limiting. Also, if you are a fiction writer or a play the role of a Dungeon Master in the pen and paper version of Dungeons and Dragons, then you might find it insightful or even helpful in your writing or campaign building. Unfortunately that is about all I could come up with for pros, the game just doesn't have that many in my opinion.
To be fair, this game could have been good. I really mean it, it could have been, but it isn't. There just isn't enough to do. I understand that the Wizards of the Coast wanted a presence on Facebook. I don't think there is a company that large that wouldn't, particularly when you consider their demographic, but I'm pretty sure they could have done better than this application. The game has no actual player interaction, and the choices you can make are very limited. As an example, the games equipment shop typically only carries up to six “Limited Time Offers" and four “Personal Offers" and these items are not guaranteed to even work with your character's class. When questing you can only take a maximum of two potions with you. Considering how simplistic the quests themselves are, it's no real surprise that you can only bring two potions.
Wizards of the Coast chose an unfortunate path to start their Facebook life. I sincerely hope that they consider releasing another, more complete, version of Tiny Adventures in the future. If Wizards of the Coast added more items and character customization, it would be a great start. If they went even further and added some decision making to the quests then they might be able to create a compelling Facebook application. The current game basically plays out like a poorly written choose your own adventure novel. With these modifications, or something like them, Wizards of the Coast might draw people to other Dungeons and Dragons products instead of boring them with their current app.