On February 28th, this upcoming Thursday, Turbine and thousands of DDO players celebrate the two year anniversary of Dungeons & Dragons Online. This past Thursday at the Game Developer’s Conference I had a chance to talk with Kate Paiz, Senior Producer of DDO. Not only did I get the dirt on the upcoming update 7, but we discussed the events planned to celebrate the game’s birthday.
First up in the line of birthday presents is a “price and lock” – users can purchase a 6 month subscription at the price of $9.99 per month, a total price of $59.94. This is almost $18 less than the normal monthly fee! This offer is available to past, present, and future subscribers, as long as they purchase during the anniversary celebration.
Next, the anniversary event will be the unveiling of new live event tech first used in Lord of the Rings Online, another Turbine title. The tech allows Turbine to program scripted moments such as changes in the environment, NPC activities, spawns, etc. Enhanced with live GMs, this new technology allows Turbine to offer more impressive – and easier to create! – in-game events. This will likely lead to more live events in DDO, starting with a big anniversary event lasting until the 9th of March. Kate wouldn’t give me many details, but did say “the city of Stormreach will never be the same again, and you can quote me on that.”
Turbine listens closely to community input and feedback; one feature that DDO users have long been asking for is the Wish spell. As this spell is extremely blurry, it’s most easily implemented as an event – and that’s just what Turbine is doing. As another event during the anniversary, there will be an item giveaway for subscribers that is, Kate told me, a variation on the D&D Wish spell.
Next up we discussed Update 7. With the upcoming release of D&D’s 4.0 ruleset, I had to ask if DDO’s Update 7 would include these new rules. Unfortuenntly, the ruleset for 4.0 is still in beta, so update 7 will not feature any 4.0 ruleset changes.
What it WILL feature is the introduction of a new class: the monk. To facilitate the introduction of the monk, Turbine is updating the new player experience – if you want to reroll, don’t worry, there will be new content! And if you were a fan of the Harbor, don’t worry; while the tutorial is being completely replaced, the rest of the old content will remain; you just have more content to choose between, now!
Of course, they’re not ignoring the high levels either. This update will introduce new raid and wilderness areas. The content will be a continuation of the Shabarath invasion; while I didn’t get much detail on the raids, the wilderness area will be a vast underground space with lots of little spots of beauty: crystals and waterfalls will adorn the cave, but it is an invasion area and it’s not all sunshine and rainbows.
If you’re a DDO player who likes crafting, there’s more good news with update 7: crafting will be expanded into the main game, making it more accessable to lower levels and non-raiders.
Looking farther into the future, Kate told me that we could expect druids and half orcs near the end of the year, as well as another level cap raise to 20.