Druids, Drow, and destinies in an epic DDO expansion tour
On Thursday, Turbine will consider the wraps off of Dungeons and Dragons On the internet: Menace of the Underdark and commence with the closed beta. It’s a heady time for the two the group and playerbase, as this 2007 title steps into the massive leagues of expansion-holding MMOs. And simply because we know you hate waiting for all the goods, we joined Turbine on the check server for an advance look at some of the hottest functions coming with June’s launch.
On the cellphone with us was Senior Producer Eric Boyer, Community Specialist Amanda Grove, and Style Director Ian Currie. “We want to show gamers how large the expansion pack is and how a lot it’ll be changing the game,” Boyer began, telling us that levels one particular via twenty had been just “heroic” — now it’ll be time to make the move into epic territory.
From a look at the considerably-anticipated Druid and the previously vague Epic Destinies to a lightning tour of your initial day in the Forgotten Realms, the group was out to convince us that Menace of the Underdark is totally worthy of the “expansion” moniker. How’s it hunting so far? Consider a appear for oneself!
Bears and wolves and elementals, oh my!
It’s protected to say that the Druid has been the most demanded and anticipated class in DDO considering that, properly, permanently. It really is been a lengthy time coming simply because Turbine’s wanted to do the shapeshifting class correct. Even though we didn’t get a likelihood to play the Druid ourselves, we did get an up-near search at a dev exhibiting off the a variety of kinds and fighting moves that this class has to offer you.
The Druid promises to be the two a versatile and highly effective class. “Adaptability” was the essential word that Turbine adhered to when developing the Druid, and this begins with the class’ four basic kinds. Gamers can shift from humanoid to a bear (a melee tank with an emphasis on strength), a wolf (a large-DPS melee attacker), a fire elemental (strong fire spells but weak towards ice and water), and a water elemental (fundamentally the opposite of its fire counterpart). If specced right, the Druid can also unlock greater versions of its animal types: the dire bear and winter wolf.
We asked which types the team have been partial to, and the response was, well, it depends on the day! Wolf employed to be the type du jour, but lately bears have become the golden youngster. Boyer confessed a preference to fire elementals and their great DPS output.
Druids are restricted in armor to leather, as putting on metal plate or sporting a shield will conflict with their druidic oath and render several spells null. In addition to shapeshifting, Druids can summon a pet to help them in combat (a new pet opens up at each degree).
The devs laughed and said that players could be a 1-person wolf pack in the correct predicament: “You can be a wolf, you have a pet wolf, you can charm wolves, and you can have a creature companion that’s a wolf,” Boyer stated.
While they do not begin as powerhouse healers, Druids do get access to sturdy healing magic later on on in their careers. These spells contain a mass heal and their type of resurrection named reincarnation.
At first, Druids will be offered only to individuals who obtain the expansion. You can anticipate to uncover Druids in the DDO store when Update 15 hits a number of months later as well.
It is… your epic destiny
While we previously heard of “epic destinies,” all we had was a vague description that the technique would help gamers customize their characters past degree 20. Now Turbine is ready to expose the method for all the min/maxers to select apart at their leisure.
The notion is that the epic destiny program will take over the function of enhancements the moment you hit level 20. You will be asked which a single of 10 destiny lines you want to initially pursue, from Faesinger to Grandmaster of Flowers. Every epic destiny loosely corresponds with a single of the game’s classes, though Turbine’s intent is that they are more about roles than about specific class skills. Some epic destinies will synergize better with specific classes.
Once you have picked, you may level up your epic destiny from zero to 5 with special expertise factors that will be awarded alongside classic XP. You’ll accrue a total of 24 points to assign to a 50+ point tree to select the active and passive skills that best suit you.
While this sounds significantly like any other MMO’s talent trees, there’s a neat twist in that you can acquire further epic destinies (and eventually, all of them). When you hit degree 3 on any epic destiny, you can claim 1 of the neighboring destinies that are linked on a particular in-game map. From then on, you determine which epic destiny you want active, and it’s that epic destiny line that gets XP and determines which talents are active on your character. Switching in between them is rather painless, we’re told.
To take some of the sting out of switching into an epic destiny that isn’t as strong for your class or function, Turbine’s also providing gamers the capacity to earn “fate points.” Get enough of these factors and you can unlock up to 3 particular Twist of Fate slots. It really is right here that you can drag any capability from the 1st two tiers on your unlocked epic destiny trees and retain their use no matter which epic destiny you use.
“There will be some quite intriguing combinations — not just which epic destiny you pursue but how you mix them,” Currie commented.
Epic destinies are loosely divided into arcane, divine, martial, and ranged specialties. Turbine mentioned that if you determine to reincarnate at a large level, you are going to retain your epic destiny progress on that character (but cannot use those skills until finally you achieve those levels the moment more).
Your first day in the Forgotten Realms
From there we took the men and women-mover through the first set of quests and zones that lead from Eberron to the Forgotten Realms. The initial step will be an instance called The Rift Among the Worlds, which has you stepping into a colorful abyss. If you appear to the left, we have been informed, you can see the giant pink nest of evil Lolth. Above right here to the appropriate is a guy named Elminster. You have almost certainly in no way heard of him.
Following that was a jaunt into the giant Underdark, a cavern method that reminded us strongly of Lord of the Rings Online’s Moria. As soon as we were through, we rescued a number of villagers, such as an essential NPC named Ana. Apparently, when you’ve gone by means of this quest, you’ll be flagged on that character so that you can jump amongst worlds on a whim.
We took a look at the town of Eveningstar, and appropriate away it was obvious that this was a a lot diverse planet from Eberron. The architecture, sky, and even plants all reflected this. If you have DX10 or eleven enabled, you are going to be treated to some new visual tricks, like tall grass moving in your wake as you run by way of.
In the neighboring King’s Forest, we encountered some hostile Drow who have been popping up out of the Underdark with growing frequency. Apparently the Drow can summon one thing known as The Darkening, which turns the sky black and red, to avoid acquiring those significant sunburns that are their undoing.
Back in the Underdark, we were shown one of the a lot of unique encounters that adventurers can uncover in their journeys: a giant purple worm that can and will swallow group members. What takes place then? Why, you have to battle your way out from the inside, of course!
Plans in movement
Turbine’s received loads of tasks in the combine following Menace of the Underdark’s release. The UI is currently being reworked step by step and will include an improved menu button and an interface that a lot more accurately reflects standard MMO setups. The group also is working to revamp the enhancement program so that it supports the fashion and ease of the epic destiny screens.
Menace of the Underdark goes into closed beta on Might 10th and releases on June 25th.
Massively’s not huge on scored testimonials — what use are individuals to ever-modifying MMOs? That is why we bring you initial impressions, previews,