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Dungeons & Dragons Online Interviews: Wayback Wednesday with DDO Devs

By Robert Lashley on May 09, 2012

Hello everyone, and welcome back to another edition of the Wayback Wednesday Recap.  Last week I played Dungeons and Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited with Senior Producer Erik Boyer and a few additional members of the DDO team (you’ll have to watch to find out whom).  DDO is the first MMO with D&D as the setting.  When DDO was launched over six years ago it was used as the vehicle to usher in the new campaign setting of Eberron.

When DDO was released you were required to purchase the client and pay a monthly subscription fee.  This is no longer true.  Turbine is an industry leader in converting AAA quality MMOs from a subscription based business model to a free to play, sometimes referred to as a “freemium” model.  They began this transition with DDO and followed up with Lord of The Rings Online a year later.  DDO inherently lends itself to this a la carte system which allows you to pick and choose what you purchase.  Much like D&D itself once you have the core rule books: The Dungeon Master’s Guide, the Players Handbook, you can purchase adventure packs which simulate D&D’s modules.

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During our play session Erik talked about some of the changes we will see coming to DDO in the upcoming expansion, Menace of the Underdark.  One of the features I was most excited to hear about, other than The Forgotten Realms, was the Monster Manual which I equate to crack for gamers.  The Monster Manual in its basic form will start off as a free feature for all users.  Turbine plans to have the Monster Manual keep statistics on your kills and at certain kill intervals release new lore on the monster you are massacring.  The Monster Manual will also have original artwork from the current pen and paper Monster Manuals imported into DDO.  Additional planned features are limited to VIP members or can be purchased in the Turbine Store.  Another feature Turbine is looking to add for VIPs is a Veteran recognition program.

What is a good old fashion dungeon romp without the loot?  DDO has loot galore but one of the problems with the current system is that the loot does not always match the corresponding level of the instance.  Turbine has plans to address this issue.  With the expansion pack their will be a fix for the CR matching system so the chests in Eberron will drop more level appropriate gear.

The improvements to DDO are not just limited to in game systems.  Players can also expect to see an improvement to the encounter mechanics, specifically mentioned were dragon battles.  In previous engagements dragons were limited to ground combat; Turbine has finally cut the chains and let these creatures take to the air.  You can expect these namesake monsters to have aerial attacks that were previously absent like wing buffets and swipe attacks. 


I had a blast gaming with Erik and the rest of the Turbine team, the lore was flowing and the laughs kept coming.  We completed the prequel mission that leads up to the expansion pack and found out just exactly why Inquisitor Gnomon is so evil.  We then tried our hand, less successfully, at the Crystal Cove.  The mechanics for CC are interesting and not something I had previously done in an MMO.  One of the last things we talked about in CC are the prestige classes for Druids.  I learned that while there will be three PREs, only two PREs will be available at launch.  If you want to know what the two launch PREs are and their abilities check out the video and see what Erik and Jeff have to say at the 1:01:00 mark.  As always thanks for watching and I look forward to seeing you again soon.  Also make sure to keep on the lookout for DDO announcements.  The dates for the Beta should be released this week.

  • 00:30 Introductions
  • 03:10 Shaman Pet
  • 04:00 What's up with the pumpkin heads?
  • 05:10 Onyx Panther
  • 06:15 After 6 years why an expansion now?
  • 09:10 What is the excitement level like shifting from Eberron to The Forgotten Realms?
  • 13:00 Erik asks me what brought me back?
  • 14:00 Talk about dungeon master simulation
  • 16:00 Erik talks about update 13 and the prologue to the expansion
  • 17:00 Action based combat
  • 20:30 Chatroom tells us to stop breaking barrels.
  • 21:18 Hirelings
  • 22:25 Is the game to grindy?  Talks about epic XP.
  • 25:15 Erik encourages the dev team to "feel the pain"
  • 26:50 Free to play conversion
  • 28:30 Monster Manual being added as an in game feature.
  • 30:30 Voice acting
  • 32:30 We find out what Gnomon was really up to.
  • 33:30 Yes his hands are supposed to be like that.
  • 35:40 Improving loot drops based on CR
  • 37:30 How much of Stormreach will people have to go through with the release of the expansion?
  • 41:00 Trying to figure out feets. Talks about the new progression system.
  • 46:00 How to use the DDO store.
  • 48:00 Crystal Cove (warning.. it does not end well).
  • 51:20 Low level challenges at house Cannith
  • 53:00 Druid prestige classes.  1:01:00 More about druid PRE. 
  • 1:02:30 Green dragon info.  New changes to dragons.
  • 1:05:00 We'll bring you a beta reveal soooooon.
  • 1:07:00 What is the best form of feedback from players?
  • 1:08:00 Jeff(Dndart) the creeper!
  • 1:09:45 New guild features
  • 1:11:00 New VIP features
  • 1:12:00 Favorite food and beer.  It's the same answer!

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