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MMORPG | Genre:Fantasy | Status:Final  (rel 02/28/06)  | Pub:Atari
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Dungeons & Dragons Online Previews: The Dreaming Dark Preview

By Jaime Skelton on December 16, 2009

It's been a little over a month since Update 1 was launched for Eberron Unlimited, and players were introduced to the strange cult of the Path of Inspiration. Jeets Shimis, and others held under the sway of the Dar Qat cult, may now be free, but there's more battles ahead for players against the Dreaming Dark. Update 2 introduces a new adventure pack, set to launch on Wednesday, December 16th for all VIP players, and available for purchase on December 18th in the DDO Store, which will send players back into battle against the beings from the Plane of Nightmares.

I had a chance to sit down with Fernando Paiz (Executive Producer), Steve Muray (Lead Systems Designer), Eric Boyer (Producer), and Ricardo Liu (Sr. Content Designer), and take a tour of this new adventure, to see just what lies in store for players who return to this quest series.

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Returning to the Inspiration Quarter, players find themselves introduced to another old, familiar face - that of Lord Gerald Goodblade. It seems that he has come across a Warforged Titan, and claims that it can bestow visions of the future. Daring passerbys to gaze into the Titan's eyes, we move forward to the massive creation and enter the first quest in the five quest series.

We are transported into a special time and place after looking into the Titan's eyes, and find ourselves looking into a replay of the Titan's memories. It seems the Dreaming Dark had attempted to invade Eberron before, thousands of years ago, and is attempting to revisit these memories to analyze their failure in the past so they can succeed in a second invasion. The players, however, are also present and will learn of the same critical information - but the Dreaming Dark has no desire for them to interfere, and continue to pause the memories of the Titan to try to defeat the party.

We continue into the depths of the ancient temple in the Titan's memories and find the Titan in battle with giants. At the steps of the temple to the ancient Stormreaver, players witness the Titan's fall and the pivotal moment that defeats the Dreaming Dark in its first invasion. Within, players find the Interdiction Lens, a magical artifact that helped defeat the Dreaming Dark, but they are not alone. They must face a Dreamstealer, a high ranked being among the Dreaming Dark, and it won't be the first one they face in their quest to put an early end to a second invasion.

From the memory, players will continue on to a new location, the Isle of Forgotten Dreams, a home of remote tribe of Drow. This Isle houses the ancient temple of the Titan's memories, and players will find themselves on the heels of the Path of the Inspiration as they track backwards through the Temple to search for the Lens. Here, too, players will be reminded of ancient Drow lore, as Drow slaves are summoned up to do the bidding of their Giant masters. Unfortunately, players will find themselves arriving too late.

Two quests will open up to the player at this point, offering a choice of how to proceed. Although one quest is geared, like the others, for the group to complete, a second quest offers a special solo-only quest for players who enjoy challenges, offering a combination of traps, jumping, height, and the use of 3D space to complete.

Whichever way the player chooses, they will eventually find themselves within the Plane of Nightmares again, and this time not through the dreams of a victim of the Path of Inspiration. Here, the Dreaming Dark has control over the physics of the realm, so players will find themselves in heavy gravity when attacked, while in other places find themselves lifted up by light gravity. That light gravity, in fact, is one of the most enjoyable portions of the entire adventure pack, as you must struggle to solve platform puzzles while being lifted up high, and sometimes dangerously so, and must navigate a safe landing.

There are, of course, many other challenges that will face the party as they progress into the Plane of Nightmares to fight the Devourer of Dreams, and the designers promise that you won't be disappointed with the challenge and climatic end. The loot isn't disappointing either, particularly for players who have gone through the Path of Inspiration adventure pack from the first update. Items that were found during that update with suppressed power may now have their powers unlocked through the Dreamforge, by collecting essences and other special items that, when combined, will unlock the true power of these items.

Like the Path of Inspiration, the Dreaming Dark adventure pack is exciting and challenging, completing the rich storyline that begun in the last update. Many secrets await the inquisitive, and lots of new features and puzzles will leave you incredibly satisfied with the new quests. All around, with a unique experience waiting, part two is designed to be just as exciting as the first.

Jaime Skelton / For fourteen years - since the days of Ultima Online - I've been playing MMORPGs with a passion, from paid subscriptions to free imports. Online gaming has become one of my most passionate hobbies, as the games internally and externally evolve over time, providing an ever-changing gaming experience. I write for several websites about MMOs, including MMOSite, Examiner, and BrightHub.

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