DDO Update 12: Vaults of the Artificers Hands-On Preview

DDO adds not only new content with Update 12: Vaults of the Artificers, but also new gameplay in the form of Challenges. TTH sat down with Turbine to preview the new Challenges and other updates coming soon.

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Update 11
added Artificers and House Cannith to href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/ddo">Dungeons
and Dragons
Now Turbine is adding new gameplay and other improvements to
in Update 12: Vaults of the
. Yours truly got to
sit down
with DDO’s
very own Fernando Paiz, Executive Producer, and
Erik Boyer, Producer to get a hands-on impression of DDO
Update 12:
Vaults of the Artificer

Challenges in DDO Update 12:
Vaults of the Artificer

The main focus of DDO Update
is the new Challenges that
players can
undertake. These Challenges are designed not in the usual story-focused
manner of normal quests, but rather in a more popcorn, arcade-like
style. Turbine first tried this type of gameplay when they created
Challenge: Treasure of the Crystal Cove
for their fifth
anniversary. They’ve been created to allow players who have
15-20 minutes to kill to do something fun, try to beat their previous
high scores, and to get some xp and loot in the bargain. When Update

releases in mid-November, there will be four Challenges:

  • Dr. Rushmore's Mansion:
    Behind the Door
  • Dr. Rushmore's Mansion:
    Moving Targets
  • Kobold Island: Kobold Chaos
  • Kobold Island: The Disruptor
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Fighting a boss in Dr.
Rushmore's mansion.

Challenges are repeatable with the only limit being the number of Daily
Challenge tokens that a player has. To obtain these tokens, players
need to talk to Kariya ir’Vannis, located in House Cannith
along with the Challenges. VIP players will get additional tokens. Each
day, one Challenge will be available for players to get tokens to. The
tokens do not have an expiration date, so you can save them up for use
at a later time. Players will also be able to buy additional tokens
from the DDO
store. Free-to-play players will want to log in every day
to talk to the token NPC to grab the free tokens and save them up. If
players want full access to every Challenge on a daily basis, they can
also purchase the Challenge pack. Challenges also cover almost the
entire level range, ranging from level 4 to 20.

Gameplay in the DDO Update 12

There are four Challenges, which means that there are four maps. Each
Challenge also has three rules variants, which tweak some rules and
have optional objectives. The Challenges can also be played on Epic
level. All of the Challenges are timed, so you’ll need to
keep moving. Within each Challenge, there are objectives that
you’ll need to achieve. As you progress through the
Challenge, you accumulate points. When you get enough points, you get a
star. You must get at least one star to get any xp and items. For each
star you get, you receive Favor with House Cannith. Between href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/ddo/gamescom/2011/update-11-preview">DDO

and DDO Update 12,
players will now be able to get enough Favor to
unlock the Artificer class to play. You can track your progress in the
Challenges by opening up your Adventure Compendium, where a new tab has
been created for Challenges.

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The new Challenge tab in your
Adventure Compendium.

Once you enter a Challenge, you will need to work fast to achieve the
objectives. To help you out, you can get powerups that will drop during
the Challenge or you can get one from a Cannith Supply Vault. You can
only access a single Cannith Supply Vault per Challenge, and you will
need a token to do so. To get the powerup, you just run through it. My
personal favorite was Quad Damage. Sweet. You can also receive time
extensions whilst in a Challenge.

I was run through two of the Challenges by Fernando Paiz and Erik
Boyer. The first was Dr. Rushmore’s Mansion: Behind the Door.
This Challenge was an Assassination Challenge, wherein your purpose is
to penetrate the mansion and kill at least one boss of
Rushmore’s party. Needless to say, there are quite a few
bosses lurking around. The map is huge and there are multiple paths a
party can take. Most doors are sealed and you’ll need to find
crests to open them. As we passed by paintings, phantasmal creatures
would spawn and attack us. One item that cracked me up was in the
mansion’s restroom, where a rest shrine was available, but it
was the toilet paper dispenser.

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The rest shrine in the
mansion's bathroom.

The second Challenge from DDO
Update 12
I experienced was
Island: Kobold Chaos. This Challenge took place on Kobold Island, an
area that I remember when DDO
launched. This particular Challenge was a
tower defense, where players need to activate extractors to mine
shards, but they also need to protect the extractors as well. To get
the extractors working, players need to get parts, which is done by
killing kobolds or destroying little shrines. Kobolds spawn around the
shrines, but you aren’t guaranteed of getting any parts off
of them when you kill them. You are guaranteed to get parts when you
destroy a shrine. The more extractors you have working, the more shards
you accumulate. You can use parts and shards to upgrade the extractors
and to build cannons to defend the towers if you aren’t
there. To help you keep track of the situation, new icons have been
created for maps to keep you quickly informed.

The best part of the Kobold Chaos Challenge was the dialogue from the
kobolds that kept cracking me up. For some reason, I always love
slaying kobolds in DDO.
Anyway, as you fight the kobolds, they spout
off quite a few great lines. My favorite was, “You steal
kobold’s only possession….how cold.”
When DDO Update 12
goes live, players will be able to hear these lines
as that all the kobold dialogue will be voiced.

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Poor pitiful kobold...

Other Changes in DDO Update 12

DDO Update 12: Vaults of the
brings more than
Challenges to
the game. There will be four new armor kits available, with two kits
reserved for warforged. Shared banks will now have a deposit/withdraw
function for platinum, which will allow players to easily transfer
funds from one character to another. The limit for the shared bank will
be 50,000 platinum and players can buy limit increases from the DDO
store. Name change parchments will also be able to be purchased either
for a first or last name. Also, raids from level 16 on up have upgraded
on the elite setting. This upgrade ups the difficulty but also upgrades
the rewards. Lastly, the hyper-aggression of hirelings will be tamed.
They will no longer leave your side to venture to the farthest reaches
of the dungeon to fight. In addition, you will see the cooldowns on
your hireling’s abilities and instructions given them will be
put into a queue. If your cleric’s Cure Serious Wounds is
still in cooldown and you click on it, they will cast it once the
cooldown has passed.

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The differing objectives you
can do in one Challenge.

I’m really looking forward to the release of Update
12: Vault
of the Artificers
for DDO.
A new, fun style of gameplay that can easily
be accessed by both VIP and F2P players only makes the game better.
Perfectionists will want to go for that high score, while people like
me will do the Challenges for Favor and loot. Sadly, there is one thing
that is lacking….pandas. I tried to talk Fernando and Erik
to getting on the panda bandwagon and that all games need pandas, but
alas. I was told that DDO
would always be panda-free.

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