Updated Mon, Feb 27, 2012 by jeffprime
Update 13: Web of Chaos launches today for Dungeons and Dragons Online! Ten Ton Hammer sat down with Fernando Paiz, Executive Producer, and Adam Merksy, Director of Communications, for a hands-on preview plus some info on the upcoming Menace of the Underdark expansion!
Update 13: Web of Chaos serves as a prequel to the upcoming expansion, Menace of the Underdark. Not only is there a free adventure pack in Update 13, but there are some other welcome additions and changes to the game.
The main component of Update 13 for Dungeons and Dragons Online is the new adventure pack, Web of Chaos, which is free for all players. This adventure pack contains three adventures (The Lords of Dust, Servants of the Overlord, and The Spinner of Shadows) which serve as a prequel to the events in the upcoming Menace of the Underdark expansion, slated for release on June 25th!
In the Web of Chaos adventures, players will attempt to deal with a group of cultists, comprised of Rakshasas and Drow, who are attempting to free the demonic Overlords who have been imprisoned in Khyber. The Drow encountered in the adventures aren’t your typical Eberron Drow. Instead, they are Drow who have begun worshipping Lolth and wish to further her evil aims.
For those who are unfamiliar with Lolth, she’s a central component of the Forgotten Realms setting for Dungeons and Dragons. She is an exceptionally evil god who rules from the Demonweb Pits (a plane of existence that you don’t want to go to!) and serves as the principal deity of the Drow in the Forgotten Realms setting. She is vicious, sadistic, cold-hearted, and has no compassion at all. In other words, she’s bad news!
Fernando Paiz ran me through the first and third adventures in the adventure pack. The first thing players will notice that a crack has appeared in one of the giant artifacts found in the Harbor that the city of Stormreach has been built upon. Surely nothing bad can be happening from such a circumstance? There’s no reason to worry why the Silver Flame are gathering in force around the crack, is there? Well of course there is and it’s up to the players to figure out what’s happening.
In the first adventure, The Lords of Dust, we fought through hordes of cultists, saw some unexpected events, and attempted to stop an unholy ritual. The story elements are strong in these adventures, but what really struck me was the increased use of voice acting within them. Instead of the usual DM voice mimicking other voices, Turbine now has different voice actors portraying various key NPCs within the adventures.
Eventually players realize that the cult is attempting to free an Overlord called the Spinner of Shadows, which is an aspect of Lolth on Eberron. In the third adventure, players attempt to stop the freeing of the Spinner of Shadows, but are too late. What follows is an epic fight to force the Spinner of Shadows back into containment. To do this, players will need to kill Flame Eater spiders, which eat the power of the Silver Flame guardian, and use that energy to rekindle the torches surrounding the altar.
The Spinner of Shadows looks amazing and my long-running hatred of Lolth (I’ve been playing D&D for 30 years) came roaring back as I fought to defeat her. Sadly, the players aren’t successful and the Spinner of Shadows opens a portal to the Demon Web and players get a glimpse of the true Lolth. Luckily, the players are pulled back out before it’s too late. The portal will get a lot of use later on as that it serves as the gateway to Faerun and the Forgotten Realms setting in the Menace of the Underdark expansion.
In Update 13, players will be able to collect cosmetic pets. If players pre-purchase the Menace of the Underdark expansion, they will receive up to three different pets, depending upon the expansion edition they buy. These pets are accessed through your inventory, which will feature a new tab once you have a pet. Pets appear account-wide, so once you’ve bought a pet, all your characters receive them. The pets are cosmetic and don’t help in combat, but you can give them gear and they will perform tricks. Additional pets will be made available in the future.