Ten Ton Hammer: Can you
talk about the weapon customization in more detail? It sounds
interesting, but I’m trying to figure out how it’s
going to be D&D while also holding true to MMOG crafting
the raid encounters, players will initially acquire a customizable
weapon, then they’ll have the opportunity to upgrade it at
various points throughout the raid using items that they’ve
acquired and carry with them in the encounter.
In the Eberron campaign setting, they introduced the idea of eldritch
devices that can do anything the DM really requires. They are an
artifact level item, and we’ve taken them another step and
put them into this new raid crafting system.
Rather than forcing players to spend their own XP on items,
we’ll be working through these devices in order to allow
players to augment things they already own and create entirely new
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Eldritch items will be used to make the customizable weapons.
Ten Ton Hammer: So
you’re making an “Eldritch Forge” or
something like that?
Basically as you go through the raid you’ll be collecting
materials that you can forge together into items that can then be
placed into your weapon and/or equipment. As you continue through the
raid, you’ll gain access to more and more materials that can,
if placed together correctly, create items that have only been dreamed
Some of the items players can create are really, really cool.
Ten Ton Hammer: Along
with the new items, you’re also doing a level cap increase,
the level cap increase, players will now have access to 8th level
spells, which include the powerful incantations Trap the Soul and
Horrid Wilting. Horrid Wilting was previously restricted only to
monsters, so I’m sure players will be ready for some pay back.
We’ve also continued our enhancement series, and this time
around the Ranger got their day in the sun with the Arcane Archer,
Deepwood Sniper, and Tempest enhancements. Those allow more
customization for the characters and address certain needs that the
players have asked for in the past.
Ten Ton Hammer: As you
continually increase the level cap, are you ever going to run into
spells that don’t necessarily fit into your world? Like, for
instance, the Wish spell?
actually have a few ideas on how to implement the Wish spell.
It’s likely that when we run into a conflict between the
needs of an MMO and that of the pen-and-paper game, we’ll
make some modifications in order to make things work. For instance,
monsters have three times the hit point caps they do in the
pen-and-paper version of the game.
When we do run into something iconic, we usually try to make things
Ten Ton Hammer: As your
player population continues to increase in levels, do you still try to
make quests and content for lower level players?
Absolutely. When we are putting together a new release, we tend to
focus on a consistent level band in order to make a decent story, but
when we integrate new classes into the game – like the Monk
– we do try and go back and address the earlier levels to
freshen up the areas and provide players with new opportunities and
We’re especially going to be looking at Three Barrel Cove.
It’s one of my favorite areas, but the landscape leading up
to the area can be a little tricky for players so we’re going
to be going back and retrofitting that landscape and decking it out
with new wilderness tech that we have and making it a robust and broad
experience for players.
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The DDO developers
have a weekly call with the Wizards of the Coast team.
This year we already reworked the Cerulean Hills and the Searing
Heights for players, and they’re now really big explorable
areas that players can adventure in and encounter a variety of
monsters. We want to continue to explore some of the fundamental
characteristics of MMOGs and continue to introduce elements that DDO
may not have included in the past.
Ten Ton Hammer: How
closely do you work with Wizards of the Coast to keep the DDO version
of Eberron as close to the pen and paper version as possible?
Kate: We do
have a weekly call, and we also share all of our documentation with
them. We certainly go back and forth on concept art so that
we’re staying very consistent with the body of work and art
styles that they’ve already published. We want to insure that
when players come to the game it’s a very consistent look to
what they’ve previously experienced in D&D.
That’s a shared goal between Wizards of the Coast and
Ten Ton Hammer: Do you
find that the people who play DDO are pen-and-paper gamers? Or are
there more MMO enthusiasts in your audience?
It’s definitely a combination of both. I think that a lot of
people who voice their opinions on the forums are true D&D
gamers and are very invested in that game world. A lot of the
feedback we get from our most vocal players is consistent with what a
D&D player might tell us, and we take that feedback seriously
before we make any decisions.
It’s such a rich brand and such a great universe that
we’re pulling from, and we’re always incredibly
grateful to have that body of work to fall back on. With the Plane of
Shavarath, it’s been great to look in the books and pull out
pieces to put into the game.
Ten Ton Hammer: You
mentioned that the army that is invading Eberron is made up of devils;
will you be introducing a demon army at a later date?
It’s possible that the balance has been shaken in Shavarath,
and the demons have an opportunity to gain power, so don’t be
surprised if a demon is willing to give you a hand in some of these
Ten Ton Hammer: Maybe
we’ll see a Balor square off against a Pit Fiend….
We’re definitely employing some “enemy of my enemy
is my friend” sort of scenarios in this upcoming module.
We’re definitely going to be exploring this situation over
the next year and introducing the relationship between the devils,
demons, and archons.
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The future of DDO looks very bright with this development team on board.
Ten Ton Hammer: Are the
archons going to play a role in the player encounters during the devil
this point the archons have been beaten back by the devils, which is
what allowed them to invade Eberron in the first place. There will be a
group of eladrin that come to the players’ aid, but I think
I’d rather save most of the details for the players to
Ten Ton Hammer: What are
your long-term goals for Dungeons and Dragons Online?
have three main focuses. One is to continue to develop the D&D
experience. We’re looking at prestige classes.
We’re looking at epic levels. Even other classes from the
Eberron setting are fair game, like the Artificer perhaps for the
’09 release year.
We also want to continue polishing what we have. Continue to iterate on
the most critical systems in our library. We’ve already
introduced a ton of new aspects, but we want to continue the process in
finding which adventures people enjoy and adding more of those type of
scenarios into the game.
Finally, we want to simply add more of the core game experience into
DDO. Crafting is just going to start rolling at the beginning of 2008.
We can’t give away too many more details, but we just want
the players to know that we’re going to continue to work on
the game because we really love this game and this community and want
to bring as many cool things to the experience as possible.
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Dungeons & Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited Game Page.