I was also rather unimpressed with the free week demo I got. Leveling is too slow (I suspect this is because other MMORPGs have 40-60 levels, whereas if DDO goes by the normal D20 system, they cap out at level 20 without having to go epic, which seems like too much work for DDO.) However, each level seemed to be divded up into ranks, so you got mini-levels to increase certain abilities and such at about the same rate as another MMORPG.
Re: seeing the diece roll, you only see one die, and it’s just your attack roll. Which brings up the issue of combat. It’s the only MMORPG system where actually moving around, and actively dodging/parrying/attacking is how you actually attack. In other systems, you jsut give the command and away it goes, in DDO, you have to click for every swing of the sword, move to dodge, etc…which turns it into more of an action game, which is not what I was looking for.
And magic is COMPLETLY different than D&D. It uses a spell point system. I only played one spellcasting class (cleric), so I have no idea how it works for sorcerors or mages, but I had a list of spells I knew, and depending on my level, chose what spells I wanted to be able to cast that day. I could then cast each one as many times as I watned, provided I had enoguh spell points. I don’t know how it is worked with the arcane classes, since the whole point behind those in the real D20 system is that a mage knows more spells, but has to prepare them ahead of itme, whereas a sorcerer only knows a few spells, but can cast any one of them on the fly. Someone more familiar can chime in about the difference between them in DDO.
Also, you can ONLY gain XP through quests. There isn’t a place to just run out an bash monsters at. My guess is that this was done to eliminate or at least reduce power gaming.