To say there are big changes coming to Dungeons & Dragons Online is an understatement. We spoke with the team at Turbine this past week, and there are massive sweeping changes coming to the game which will truly break ground for D&D and gamers all over the MMO space. As the game begins its sixth anniversary the new content coming is a huge shift for D&D fans. Prepare gamers as you are about to enter The Underdark!
Yes it is true; Dungeons & Dragons Online is bridging Ebberon into one of the most famous D&D settings of all times, The Forgotten Realms. Now the story details are a bit unclear to start, but players will make their way into the Underdark via the first true DDO expansion ever released. The Menace of the Underdark pits players against Lloth and her minions. Not sure who Lloth is? Spider Goddess of the Dark Elves. Lloth has been around D&D for an eternity however she became very popular with the Forgotten Realms series and as Drizzt Do’Urden’s nemesis. So Menace of the Underdark begins a massive shift for DDO into a new realm. With the free to play model boosting the game to new heights it will be great to watch how players react and join the new era for Dungeons & Dragons Online.
Wait though, they’re not done. If that was not enough, another class is coming to the fold. The iconic Druid will be playable for characters adding in some magic and fighting abilities straight out of the forest. The druid should round out the iconic D&D classes in the game. Turbine could not give too many details about the class skills yet, but rest assured it is coming in all of its woodland glory.
Now, Update 13 is coming in Feburary and players will be able to start down the path to the Underdark by playing through the storyline. Also coming with the update is the cosmetic pet system. Players will be able to collect more pets. This was added into the game after player feedback was calling for more fluff. Thanks to the success of the F2P model, Turbine is now in a great position to listen to the players and react. The adventure pack is free for players so too the journey to the Underdark.
DDO is not abandoning Ebberon by any means, but they are bridging the gap and opening a new chapter in the story. Turbine is working closely with Wizards of the Coast on this to get fan insight similar to the announcement for 5th Edition D&D. Now in order to tell the story of the transition into a new world, Turbine and Wizards are working hand in hand. For the most part this is pretty amazing news.
Also the game will be expanding into epic levels and boosting the level cap to 25. The team has a lot on the table for veteran players and is looking to reward their loyalty as well. There will be lots of customization added to the game at high levels.
The other thing coming with the adventure packs and new expansion will be the addition of lots more content and story. Bridging into the new world, there are a lot of story elements that must fit together. These stories will be told in the adventure packs and the expansion but also break out into new ground with future expansion packs down the line. The team at Turbine was very serious in making all this feel like the beginning of a new campaign for players.
So what does all of this mean? Well, it brings up the question of how Wizards of the Coast is licensing multiple aspects of the Forgotten Realms IP with both DDO at Turbine and Neverwinter at Perfect World. However, overall this seems to be the right direction for DDO to take. With the boost in players from moving to the free to play model and more gamers looking to expand into the world, taking the game into a new direction is very important. It really does seem like Turbine and Wizards are making the right choices here in growing the game. DDO continues to have one of the better combat systems in MMOs and with the new updates and constant attention to player feedback this game could become a real winner as it moves into its sixth year of service.
The talk I had with Turbine last week got me very excited about the future of Dungeons & Dragons Online. We will continue to have first looks and previews of all of the storylines and new content as well as looks at the new class and zones. For now, it’s time to wonder how they’ll bring the Underdark to life. If you are a fan of Forgotten Realms, then get ready for some great new material coming to Dungeons & Dragons Online.