DDO to Offer New Class and Content with Update 11

Turbine’s latest expansion for Dungeons and Dragons Online, Update 11, features the new artificer class, end-game raids, and more. Ten Ton Hammer caught up with Erik Boyer, DDO’s producer, at gamescom 2011 to get the juicy details.

The latest expansion for Dungeons and Dragons Online, Update 11, is full of red meat! Update 11 features the new artificer class, a new quest hub, 3 dungeons, a new wilderness area, 2 end-game raids, and an update to crafting. Ten Ton Hammer’s Ethec has braved the hordes at gamescom 2011 and secured a sneak peek from DDO producer Erik Boyer, who gave out a lot of juicy details that will surely fire up players.

The Artificer

First and foremost, the newest class to appear in DDO makes its debut in Update 11, the artificer. The artificers fuse magic and technology and were responsible for the creation of the warforged and have a lot of unique abilities. First, they get some really nice spells. Erik gleefully described the Mass Deconstruction spell that wreaks havoc on warforged gone bad. Further enhancing their combat abilities is their use of the rune arm, which is a device that allows them to focus their energy in order to cast a more powerful spell. These devices can be charged up to increase their effectiveness. There are a total of five tiers of charging and the spell damage is multiplied by the tier charge. It has a good range of roughly 60 meters, but Erik laments that he has yet to bring down an airship with one. Normally, the charge in the rune arm drops during movement, but an artificer can take enhancements to negate that effect.

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Artificers also have the ability to use a flame turret, which acts as a vicious trap. Erik pointed out that NPC artificers have them too, so expect to see them while you’re questing. To round out their combat skills, artificers also can use the new repeating crossbow to pincushion their enemies.

Another aspect of the artificer is that they can have a pet. The standard pet is everybody’s favorite warehouse watchdog: the iron defender. When you first get one, it starts out as a puppy with big feet. (Erik thinks they’re cute, but anything that can tear the flesh off your bones ain’t cute in my book!) As a player gains levels, so too does your pet in the form of training. You can have your pet increase his aggro by taking specific enhancements. In addition, you’ll be able to modify their appearance so that everyone will know that Old Rusty is your dog!

At the current time, the artificer is a pay-only class to be found in the DDO store. Turbine expects the final price to be in the mid-range cost for classes, even though it has the most features.

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Goggles

A new item piece comes into DDO in the form of goggles. Players will be able to toggle their goggles (nice rhyme, eh?) on their equipment page. They’ll be a number of different lens colors and some of them will glow. The epic goggles will glow purple in their epic majesty. Every player will get a free pair of randomly generated goggles for them to be profiling and styling.

House Cannith

House Cannith is the newest enclave to be added to Stormreach and is accessible from the Marketplace. House Cannith is a human house that specializes in artificers, but you’ll find plenty of warforged in the area. You will notice a difference in interaction with the NPCs if you’re a warforged as opposed to being a member of another race. Moving around the enclave will require you to use various moving platforms as that House Cannith is always bustling with activity.

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House Cannith serves as the quest hub for Update 11. Erik remarked that this is the first time in over two years that the content (quest-wise) was geared for end-game players. The levels for the adventures start at 19. Overall, there are three quests and 2 raids, most of which feature in or around the wilderness area, the Cannith Manufactury. This sprawling structure is the epicenter of the enclave. You will spend a lot of time in the Manufactury now, and in the future as well. Erik mentioned that more quests will take you back into the Manufactury in Update 12.

As you travel through the Manufactury, you’ll get clues to the ongoing story by finding records in the various explorer points. These records are voiced in character to more fully draw you into the story.



Crafting

Turbine officially takes the training wheels off of crafting in Update 11. They are officially removing the beta tag from crafting. Players will be able to craft goggles and rune arms. A new crafting device will be introduced in the form of Runestones, which can be used for crowd control devices. If you gain enough favor with House Cannith, you’ll also be able to reduce the minimum level requirement for magic items by two. Time to hit all the quests on elite!

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Raids

Now, we get to the heart of the content in Update 11: the raids. The two new raids take place under the Manufactury and follow two plot lines. The first storyline is the Lord of Blades, the legendary warforged who has come from Eberron’s main continent to Stormreach in search of the Creation Forge. The Creation Forge was used to create the warforged titans and the Lord of Blades has big plans for it. Since he is consumed by hate for all those made of flesh, he wishes to use the Creation Forge to empower himself and to create an army of warforged. However, things have become even more complicated.

It seems that the Creation Forge is still linked to the Plane of Dreams and creatures from that plane have crossed over to Eberron. These beings possess sentient beings and use them as a vessel. Players that have True Seeing up will be able to detect them. The mighty Lord of Blades has been affected by these beings and is no longer in control of himself. It’ll fall to the players to beat some sense into him and free him of his possession and stop his use of the Creation Forge. This 12 man raid will culminate in a titanic battle where the Lord of Blades will unleash deadly spin attacks and, after leaping high into the air, will land and pound the ground behind you, knocking you on your butt. Erik says that there are a lot of custom animations, new soundtracks, and dialogue to make the raid a memorable experience.

The second raid deals with what Erik calls the CEO of House Cannith, Tobin. This artificer feels that he’s been double-crossed and feels only rage against the warforged. To that end, he’s created a device that will essentially lobotomize all warforged and make them automatons, no longer capable of sentient and independent thought. To stop him, you’ll venture down into Tobin’s Laboratory to defeat him. However, he is a powerful artificer.

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Players will face a host of danger. You’ll be assaulted by waves of enemies that include warforged titans. Tobin has created a couple of these bad boys and they have some new tricks up their sleeves. However, Erik’s favorite part was the puzzle in the laboratory. Above the floor is a grid that shows a number of different patterns. Tobin will program the grid to electrify the floor. To avoid getting hit by an electrical charge, you’ll have to follow the pattern and there’ll be more than one. One misstep and you’ll be taking hundreds of points of electrical damage. Erik was practically cackling with glee as he described it as a murderous version of Simon Says.

Update 11 is packed to the gills with new content for players. In addition to the new quests, raids, and the new class, there are other things such as improved explosives so that players will know where to move once a party member sets one. There’ll also be mage-cannons to be encountered as you adventure. These deadly weapons can be disarmed by rogues or artificers and be used by the players against their enemies.

The biggest things in Update 11 are the introduction of the artificer class and the inclusion of content geared for level-capped players. They’ve been due some love and attention for some time and it’s good that they’re finally getting it. I assume that they’ll get more attention in Update 12 as Erik mentioned more quests in the Cannith Manufactury in that upcoming Update. So let’s strap on some cool ass goggles, raise our metallic puppies, and go on some raids!

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