We had the great pleasure of meeting with Jerry Snook (Community Lead), Ricardo Liu (Lead Designer), Charles Miles (Senior Designer), and Leo Tan (Digital Communications Manager) of the Turbine Team to talk about and get a sneak peak at the new expansion for Dungeons & Dragons Online (DDO) called The Shadowfell Conspiracy, due to be released on August 19th.
With this upcoming expansion, players will be able to explore two new areas, Wheloon Prison and the Stormhorn Mountains, as well as have the chance to create Iconic Heroes: Bladeforged Paladin, Sun Elf Morninglord, Purple Dragon Knight, and Shadar-kai Assassin. A level cap raise to Level 28 is also expected.
Wheloon Prison has an ominous mood, set with dark tones and light but constant rain. It is a place filled with criminals, shadows, and gargoyles. The gargoyles, by far, were my favorite creature I encountered within the Wheloon Prison, pulling off a fascinating combination of stone and leather appearance at once. The Prison is also being used as the staging ground for the Netherese to raise an army to take over the city. Danger can be found lurking between large boxes, alleyways, and even the rooftops. Players navigate the rooftops using connecting ramps, fighting above the city as they battle through packs of enemies.
The Storm Horns, while quite beautiful, are also fraught with peril. Along the quietly flowing river and mountain paths you will encounter many creatures, including satyrs, griffons, harpies, orcs, and giants. Within this area is an impressive waterfall with a trail beyond leading to a lone mountain peak. On the peak of the mountain the Netherese are in the process of collecting large amounts of raw magic power for their devious plots.
In both new areas, players are tasked with disrupting the Netherese plans. While my stay was brief, of the two new areas, I found the Wheloon Prison to be the most intriguing. I think this is due to the masterful way the dark overtones are carried out, from the rain, to fighting on the rooftops, it definitely left me wanting more time to explore.
Characters will also be getting some love from the developers with the release of The Shadowfell Conspiracy. Players will be able to create Iconic Heroes, special race and class combinations that may begin their adventures at Level 15. A great deal of work has been done on the Enhancement layout as well, providing players with an easier view of racial and class enhancements. Numerous combinations can be made to design characters in unique ways.
Although I have limited experience with DDO, the time I spent today touring the new areas left quite an impression. Visually, I can see how much has changed, and was quite impressed with those changes compared to the last time I played DDO. Having Cordovan as my personal escort and bodyguard also had its benefits, as no giant or shadow could take us down. I really wanted to work with the new enhancement panels and begin making a Purple Dragon Knight on the spot, but unfortunately time was short and I was not able to do so. I look forward to exploring this new expansion at my leisure, and trying out one of the new Iconic Heroes.
Of all the things I experienced today, probably the most important lesson I took away with me was that jumping from the top of the waterfall in the Storm Horns without Feather Fall is not a good idea, although my guides could have told me this before I took a swan dive off the top!