MMORPG on a Netbook Isn’t Half Bad in a Pinch


I probably should have tried this a long time ago, but I just installed an MMORPG, or Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game on my netbook. Thanks to GottaBeMobile, I read the Ars report about Dungeons & Dragons Online going free. There’s still a paid, premium version, but for intents and purposes, DDO is mostly free. I figured that’s the best kind of test to do — a free one. So even though I’ve shied away from these types of games, mainly worried about the time suck, I downloaded the 2.8GB installation to the Windows XP partition of my Toshiba NB205. Aside from the Atom N280 and my 2GB RAM upgrade, this is your common netbook in terms of hardware. So how’d it do?

I really can’t complain, even with the lowly Intel integrated graphics. Of course, I’m limited to lower quality visuals, but it’s still pretty decent to look at and play with. The minimum res for the game is 800 x 600 and I’m using it at 1024 x 600, which is the native resolution of my display. I’ve only played the introductory quest that gets me some XP and basic items — it’s no fun running around in your skivvies with nary a weapon, after all — but I didn’t have any major lags or other noticeable issues.

If you’re looking for a 30fps or better experience, this isn’t going to be it. However, it’s not unplayable by any means for a short time. The small screen and low resolution can be limitations as so many things can be on the screen — see the shot with my Inventory above. Real gamers would likely pass, but I’d probably play this on a netbook as a secondary experience; my primary one would be on something with more graphical power. Or I could run this Windows game on my Mac using Parallels. For now, it’s good enough in a pinch or for casual use on the netbook. With a basic, but versatile portable computer and connectivity, I have a whole new way to waste hours of my time now. ;)


Kevin C. Tofel

Great video demo the concept. It’s definitely playable. :) One question — is that the FPS in the top left?

I’ve stayed away from WOW from the get go because I know I’d spend way too much time on it and I didn’t want to spend the $ each month. I already have an Xbox 360 and I’ve had an Xbox Live account since day one, so that’s enough $ and gaming for me. I throughly enjoyed Oblivion on the 360 though! :)


Yes, that’s the FPS recorded using fraps. WoW was definitely a big time sucker, so I forced myself to quit.
And that’s interesting Kevin, because coincidentally, I also got an Xbox 360 with a few RPG titles which I play instead of it now, lol


SimCity 3 would probably run nicely as well on the NB205, considering I used to run it on an old P3 notebook. I wouldn’t be surprised if Civilization 3 would work on netbooks as well. These two games are just great to kill time with, assuming you like turn-based strategy games. Oh, and they don’t require a CD drive to run.


I used to play World of Warcraft on my 1st gen Samsung Q1 and it ran fine. The only time I had issues was when I went into cities.


My concern with DDO going free was with the additional software you have to download. I’d be concerned with what that software might do to my machine. I opted to not install it on my machine until I can determine if it’s full of security holes or not.


I have World of Warcraft loaded on my Gateway LT3101u, and it is playable. I also have WoW loaded on a 16 GB flash drive and play it on my Fujitsu LifeBook u810. Both are great in a pinch, as I would not use either to group quest, pvp or raid. Both are running Windows 7 with the Gateway running 64 bit.

Sean Brady

Kevin. While I do appreciate your reporting on this, I want you to know that you have most likely cost me a lot of time. :) I will have to give this a try on my 1005ha. I really shouldn’t though as my addictive gamer personality does not need a new outlet.

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