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Dungeons & Dragons Online Previews: PAX - Update 11 Preview

By Carolyn Koh on September 08, 2011

Dungeons and Dragons Online Executive Producer Fernando Paiz was on hand at Pax Prime to give us an in depth preview of Update 11: Secrets of the Artificers and he totally spilled the beans on the events and slipped tips on defeating them that beta players have been trying to discover.  Update 11 is one of the largest to date, according to Fernando, and brings a new class and a new enclave to the game apart from additional dungeons.

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The new enclave is that of House Cannith. They are artificers who are able to imbue items with magical powers so in this enclave, players will see airships and use floating platforms. The floating platforms are a function of their Turbine’s improved engine, and in the new enclave, they used it at ever chance, Fernando admitted, and indeed it was fun as he showed off a few of them. Players who know the background of Eberron will also know that the Warforged were originally created by House Cannith, and the Artificer is the new class introduced in this update and as the “engineer” or “tinker” class, will have bonuses to crafting.

The Artificer is a hybrid class that has rogue like abilities.  They are able to open locks and disable traps, they have a little bit of arcane casting and have ranged abilities in the repeating cross-bow.  They also have a Rune-arm. This is a runic armament in their off-hand which makes them the first duel-wielding ranged class.  The Rune arm needs to be charged to be use, and players will have to stand still enough if they wish to use the five projectiles that it is capable of firing off in one shot. This charge does not hold but will fade or decrease if the player moves. 

The Artificer is also a pet class and players will be able to build their own pet, the Iron Defender that they will be able to customize and level up. It will have enhancements and action points to spend, and like a hireling, will have its own hot bar, but unlike a hireling, does not count as a party member. Players will be able to equip it with armor modules and weapon modules such as fire breath, and repair it when necessary.  Warforge Artificers will also be able to repair themselves.

The launch of this pet class, Fernando confirmed, is part of their development of mechanics that leads them a step closer to the Druid class. Future plans also encompass familiars for Sorcerers and Animal Companions for Rangers.

We moved through the enclave with Fernando showing me the fantastic architecture as House Cannith is a rich society. There were sparkling fountains, buildings trimmed with gold and evidence of their symbol, the bull was abundant in statues and house ornamentation. Remember those moving platforms? We’re not speaking just elevators. These platforms move like magical flying carpets; horizontally, vertically and diagonally at different angles. Again, this development in their engine will lead to future class possibilities.

The two new scalable 12 player raids introduced in this update will both be found in the enclave, in the Cannith Manufactury which also serves as a dungeon for 6 player adventures. Fernando took me through a scenic tour of the Manufactory, something players will also get as they play through this dungeon, getting the back-story of the Warforged and discovering Cannith Melting Stations, crafting stations inside the Manufactory that players have to fight through mobs to secure and use. Drops found in this update are the resources required to create equipment in the stations and accessing them and examining the items provide the recipes.

The 12-man raids are against Lord of Blades, a Warforged who led his peoples’ fight for freedom from their creators, revered by some as a great prophet and worshiped by some as a god. He is found in the Creation Forge, surrounded by a blue liquid moat which burns like lava, standing under a beam of blue light which imbues him with power.  The key to success is to lure him out of the blue beam of light and to be under it yourselves when it comes on, as the Power of the Forge provides players too with power.  A whole 25% more power to use, faster movement speed, and while the power is surging in you; spells will also cost less power to use.  After taking advantage of the forge, the trick then is to destroy the generator by destroying the columns that hold it up to collapse the entire structure. Deprived of the healing and buffing power of the forge, Lord of Blades is still no pansy-ass and it will take a full 12-man raid to take him down.

The second raid is that against Toven d’Cannith, the creator of the Warforged. If you thought Lord of Blades was a tough fight, how so the fight against his creator?  Toven d’Cannith is also found in the Cannith Manufactory, in his workshop which is a gigantic metal construction. He encases himself in a bubble of invulnerability and unleashes waves of minions and cannons at players as well as electrifying the floor, which luckily happens in a pattern that is quickly discernable. Players will have to take down all the minions and destroy power crystals that he is drawing on.

If you get through all that, he unleashes his Titans. Two huge forged creatures. One uses ranged weapons, the other is a melee creature. The trick here is to kill both at the same time. If you take one down, Toven can repair it. If both die, it takes his entire concentration trying to repair them and you can take him down. If this isn’t tough enough, the raid is scalable, up to epic difficulty for players who want an epic challenge.

Other tweaks and improvements that players can look forward to in Update 11 also include the following:

  • Meta magic can be turned on individually for each spell.
  • A new level of customization now allows individual items to show or not, such as helms and goggles.
  • Players can also decide on how and which vitals they want to see, and how much detail they wish to see.
  • A new affordable portable deconstruction device will be available, and finally, last but certainly not least,
  • A full crafting system that players have been looking forward to will go live this update

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