One of the promises that Turbine made to their players with the launch of the Menace of the Underdark expansion for Dungeons and Dragons Online was to increase the pace at which they release content updates. So far it looks like Turbine is making good on that promise. On November 12th, players will receive the second content update since the launch of MotU: The Netherese Legacy.
Last Thursday I was given a guided tour of Update 16, the Netherese Legacy, by Senior Producer Erik Boyer and Senior Community Specialist Amanda Grow. Digital Communications Manager Leo Tan also made a cameo appearance. Our adventure began by talking about the not-so-secret secret society, The Harpers. After this humorous explanation by Erik we spent the bulk of our time in The Highroad adventure area. This is a new area of the game located north west of the King's Forest. Like the previous wilderness areas before if The Highroad is full of random encounters, like any good D&D campaign should.
Fortunately the encounter gods were on our side and we were actually able to participate in two such random encounters that were no match for Erik and Amanda's GM powers. At 19:30 into the video you can see us tackle a pack of werewolves, and at 24:00 you can watch us take on the Druid Brothers encounter. It really does pay to explore the outdoor wilderness areas. In addition to random encounters you can also find Explorer Journals which provide your character with lore and a good chunk of experience: roughly 1500 to 2000 XP per discovery. The Explorer Journals are also fully voiced by the Dungeon Master.
Without giving too much of the story away you will be tasked by the Harpers to collect Nether scroll pieces throughout this mission pack. There are 5 new dungeons in Update 16 and as we progressed through the tour we made our way through the fifth dungeon and at the end faced off with our new nemesis, an Abyssal Lord named Razagnol. Update 16 marks only the beginning of the Netherese story. This story arc will continue into future updates.
Update 16 also adds the new epic destiny, Primal Avatar. The Primal Avatar ultimate ability is the Avatar of Nature. When activated your character shifts into a large plant like creature. Your character becomes slower but also becomes much stronger. Every 3 seconds you will gain a bonus to size, strength, and constitution. You can see this shift at 15:30 into the video. There are also 3 new abilities: Friends of Nature, Dryad Elder, Stormrage. Friends of Nature allows you to call out to small forest creatures to aid you in your travels. They are noncombat pets that provide your character will small buffs. Dryad Elder allows you to summon a Dryad Elder to help you with your adventures. The Dryad is a powerful elemental caster that also has healing magic and can revive fallen players. Stormrage is a new elemental ability that deals additional lightning damage to your foes.
Due out on November 12th, Update 16 will be free to VIP players. The new content will also be available in the Turbine store as The Highroad adventure pack. At the end of the tour Erik mentioned that The Winter games are coming to Forgotten Realms. The content designers are currently hard at work winterizing the river around Eveningstar and this will become available through a patch in December.