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Dungeons and Dragons Online introduced solo content at early levels, we asked them about it

Garrett Fuller asks a range of questions on the recently introduced solo content in Dungeons & Dragons Online. Originally, a group based game, Turbine made these changes to make it easier for new players at early levels.

MMORPG.com: Explain the Solo option players will be able to use in Dungeons and Dragons Online™: Stormreach™ (DDO)? How will it impact new players?

The new solo option we are adding will allow players to select a 4th difficulty level on adventures. Currently DDO includes Normal, Hard and Elite modes and with this addition there is now a Solo mode. In this first rollout of solo content we have focused on the lower level new player experience specifically as it becomes easier to solo existing group content as your character gains levels and acquires more spells, skills and items. When you play an adventure on solo mode it is still the same adventure as it is on the other modes -- it’s just the difficulty of the monsters and traps are geared towards a single player of the appropriate level.

MMORPG.com: Many players have been looking for more solo content in the game, is this change in reaction to player outcry?

Absolutely, we have been listening to our customers and are working to respond to their specific feedback. We already know that DDO is the best group experience out there, and we will continue to focus on great group experiences. The voice of the community was loud and clear -- that they wanted to be able to play on their own and wanted more activities to do in between the great group adventures. We will be continuing to add content that supports both solo play, group adventures and raid type encounters, as we are getting requests for all of that.

There is actually a long list of additional features that we will be adding, including more solo content over the next 12 to 18 months that is in response to player feedback. Most of these features are geared towards the communities’ feedback specifically around giving players more things to do between adventures. But we will also continue to add features that support guilds and social game play as well. Some things on our proposed list are: tavern games, pvp duels and tournaments, crafting, wide open landscapes, more levels, more races and classes and other systems we’re not quite ready to talk about.

MMORPG.com: Will the Solo option on quests only be available in the Harbor? Or will we see similar options in the Marketplace and other zones?

In our next update, we have focused on adding solo mode to dungeons in the Harbor. Beyond the Harbor, players are a higher level and can already solo some of the content or can return to the Harbor and play through adventures on Normal as a solo player. We want the early experience to be fun for the new player who hasn’t had the chance to meet friends and join a guild yet. The solo option will allow players to learn their chosen class, and become more comfortable with the unique combat experience that DDO provides at their own pace.

MMORPG.com: How will Solo mode compare to the Normal, Hard and Elite settings?

Solo mode contains all the monsters and traps that you’d find if you tackled a dungeon at a higher difficulty level with a group. The monsters and traps are not as potent as they are at the group difficulty settings. They will still provide ample challenge for the single player, but a much more manageable one.

MMORPG.com: Will the Solo option be open to all dungeons, or will some instances still require a group to complete?

As we mentioned, we focused on the Harbor in the release. We decided that we wanted to keep a few of the Harbor adventures group based (Water Works, Irestone Inlet and Kobold Assault) But we added three new adventures to the Harbor that have solo mode to offset reserving these for groups.

MMORPG.com: Can you give us some insight into the changes in the Experience Table?

The experience requirements have been lowered for levels 1 and 2, requiring 10,000 less total experience points. This will allow a character to progress through their first 10 ranks at a much faster pace, while gaining new enhancements, feats and spells earlier in the game so that they can be more powerful by the time they leave the Harbor behind.

The total experience requirement will be less for each level. But the amount necessary to move from level 3 to level 4 will be the same as it had been before. So, while it now takes 50,000 total experience points to reach level 4 (down from 60,000), it still requires 30,000 experience points gained between levels 3 and 4 to advance.

MMORPG.com: Along with these changes can we expect to see any other game play options for players in the near future?

Of course! We are dedicated to making DDO the best possible game we can. Our follow up to the Twilight Forge will be released in the fall. It will contain the biggest additions to DDO yet: PvP, rank & level cap increase and a new feature we haven’t disclosed yet! Players will compete in tournaments to increase their reputations and gain the favor of the houses of Eberron. You should keep an eye on DDO.com, because we will be releasing more and more details on the system as we get closer to release.

In addition to increasing the level cap in DDO and opening up ranks 50 through 60 (Levels 11 & 12), we will be releasing new dungeon adventures, spells, items and enhancements for those ranks as well. It’s not enough to just let you get to higher levels, we are being diligent in making sure we do this level increase properly by including all the additions you would expect to go with it.

In the Twilight Forge module, we are going to be releasing the patron system, where players can complete tasks to gain the favor of the different houses of the Eberron® lore. It’s one of the most interesting aspects of the Eberron world, and we’re going to utilize it so that players can advance their character in another direction, in addition to the experience points and levels. By gaining the favor of the different houses, you’ll be able to unlock certain bonuses that further improve your character and game-play experience. It’s rumored that some of the houses will even give players more inventory and bank slots if they have high enough favor.

Beyond that, we have mapped out a long term plan and will be releasing more information on a regular basis about new game updates. Some of the largest features we are looking at are crafting, improved pets, NPC party members, prestige classes, more levels, more adventures, moving outside the walls of Stormreach by adding large outdoor landscapes from Xen’drik, travel to other areas of Eberron, and of course, more treasure, spells, items, skills, and those classic D&D® monsters.

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