This week, the Dungeons and Dragons Online team ran a livestream with a public preview of Update 25, featuring their latest dungeon experience, the Temple of Elemental Evil. They showcased a few of the sections of the temple without giving away too many spoilers and answered questions from their players.
Facilitated by Community Manager Cordovan and featuring developers Severlin, Steelstar, and Knockback, the stream is great for anyone who wants to get a taste of upcoming content without having to seek out the Preview server to have gone through and ferreted out all the details.
The Gatekeepers have used Mysterious Remnants collected by players to open a portal in the Hall of Heroes to a new location where they can sense more Mysterious Remnants. This portal leads to the Temple of Elemental Evil, so clearly this will be no walk in a pleasant park. They noted that the Heroic version of the temple becomes available at level 7, while the Epic version opens up at level 30. The experience itself is divided into two major zones, labeled as Part One and Part Two, and players can go to Part Two either via the portal or from within Part One. Like any other DDO dungeon, each part has to be restarted if you go in and fail to complete it for whatever reason. The dev team showed us the initial room of the temple, and it might be in the running for the largest gamespace in the entire game. It justified breaking the content into two separate pieces to avoid a huge timesink or abnormally high percentages of people failing to finish it and thus having to restart it over and over.
The new content in the game is based on the AD&D module of the same name written by Gary Gygax and Frank Mentzer and originally published in 1985, so players from the old school will find a great deal here that's very familiar to them. However, they were clear on the fact that they weren't slavishly following along with the module, so the new rares introduced and the random encounter system will ensure that players of the original module won't feel it's all same stuff, different decade.
Each temple has its own layout, and players were advised that unlike the other temples, the Fire temple's denizens aren't initially hostile, but they could be made so, although it was wiser not to upset them. In the Air temple, light gravity is brought back as a mechanic to help with all the jumping that will be going on. In the second half of the two-part dungeon experience, players would traverse nodes representing the four elements and have to acquire certain items to enable them to get to the dungeon's ultimate boss Zuggtmoy.
DDO is clearly going for the nostalgia crowd with this, with this module and its boss often highly ranked in various lists of greatest D&D content. The update is free to VIPs, but the Turbine Point price point hasn't been finalized for non-VIPs. Cordovan said it should be in a similar range to the Haunted Halls of Evening Star. He also announced that there would be a new edition of the Monster Manual in this update and that next week will see a stream about the new Rogue updates. As for Update 25, he pointed out that it would certainly not go live this upcoming week starting March 29th, but could go live the week starting April 5th, but that date wasn't set in stone.