2011 was a banner year for Dungeons and Dragons Online, the MMO that changed the industry with its F2P model. DDO celebrated its fifth anniversary, added lots of new content, added the new Artificer class, launched French and German versions of the game in Europe, and created challenges to satisfy the mini-game hunger in all of us.
With all that Turbine accomplished in 2011, they began with a bold promise: that 2012 will be the biggest year yet. Ten Ton Hammer talked with Fernando Paiz, Executive Producer, and Erik Boyer, Senior Producer, to get all what’s coming for DDO in the first half of 2012. D&D and DDO fans will rejoice at the biggest news: the introduction of the Druid class and adding Forgotten Realms content to DDO!
Turbine plans to release DDO’s thirteenth update around the time of the sixth anniversary of DDO. This update will include a new free adventure pack, which will serve as the beginning of an important storyline of how the worlds of Eberron and Forgotten Realms (Faerun) are connected. The level range for the new adventure pack is level 16, which means that it’s playable for characters level 14 and up.
Also appearing in Update 13 is a cosmetic pet system. These creature companions can be collected by players. While these pets do not affect gameplay, you can give them gear and eventually teach them tricks. A few pets will become available in Update 13 with more to come later in the year.
Forgotten Realms – Menace of the Underdark
Releasing this summer will be DDO’s first expansion: Menace of the Underdark. This content package follows in LotRO’s Rise of Isengard expansion wake in that all players must purchase the expansion pack to access all the content.
The big news here is that Turbine is (finally) working closely with Wizards of the Coast to bring Forgotten Realms into DDO. Players will strive to thwart the plans of Lolth and her followers, the evil Drow of the Underdark, and her plans of world domination.
As someone who’s played D&D for thirty years, this is huge news for me. While I’ve enjoyed playing in Eberron, I’ve always wished to adventure in the setting that I’ve spent so many years playing in, Forgotten Realms. Plus, fighting against the most iconic evil race, the Drow, in their natural setting, the Underdark, fills me with glee (and some dread as I hated facing the Drow in second edition AD&D!). Fernando and Erik also discussed the amount of new art created for the Forgotten Realms setting, which has a much more vivid, high fantasy palette as opposed to the brownish, grimy world of Eberron.
Players have been clamoring for Druids since the game launched and now those pleas have been answered. This shape-shifting class arrives in Menace of the Underdark and is true to its D&D roots. If you want to defend Mother Nature by shape-shifting into an animal form and rip out the throats of litterbugs, now’s your chance! Druids will also have animal companions, but few other details about DDO’s newest class are available at this point.
Also included in the Menace of the Underdark expansion pack is a level upgrade. Players can now gain epic levels after level 20; ranging from 21 to 25. Most of the future content coming in 2012 will be for epic levels.
Fernando and Erik would not commit to a specific number of updates for DDO in 2012, but they stated that Turbine will be aggressive in getting out new content. The development team of DDO has been expanded, so we can safely assume that there’ll be a good amount of content coming out this year with new adventure packs and new challenges. There will also be a focus on creating cosmetic items, something which the game could use for those who like to roleplay.
The additional Forgotten Realms content that is upcoming after the Menace of the Underdark expansion will be for end-game players. So if you want to breathe the sweet air of Faerun, you better start leveling your characters! It seems that the village of Eveningstar, located in Cormyr, will serve as the hub for the characters’ adventures.
2012 seems like it will be the biggest year for DDO since their launch with the addition of Druids and Forgotten Realms content. D&D fanboys, such as myself, can’t wait to get their hands on the expansion pack and start delivering some blows against Lolth and her Drow followers. Don’t forget that all the items discussed above will be added in the first half of 2012, so there’s likely a lot more to look forward to this year in DDO.
Our thanks to Fernando Paiz, Executive Producer, and Erik Boyer, Senior Producer, for discussing DDO’s plans with us, and we’ll bring you more information as we learn more.