DDO Update 9 Preview: Crafting! Quests! Did I Mention Crafting?

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Players have been clamoring for a robust crafting system in style="font-style: italic;">Dungeons
and Dragons Online and
Turbine has answered their pleas. With the
upcoming Update 9, Turbine not only adds a crafting system that should
not only please players, but still remains true to the pen-and-paper
roots of the game. Not only is there a new crafting system, there is
also a brand new adventure pack featuring the first appearance of a
hideous new creature, new enhancements, tweaks to combat, and a host of
other changes and new things. I was lucky enough to get a hands-on
preview of the new content from Fernando Paiz, Executive Producer, and
Erik Boyer, Producer.


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You get a new Crafting tab for your character sheet!

The bulk of my hands-on time was spent in the crafting hall (located in
House Kundarak just inside the entrance to the Marketplace) going over
the new crafting system. There are three schools of crafting: Arcane,
Divine, and Elemental. You are not restricted by having to choose a
particular school as that you can level all three. The crafting process
is comprised of three distinct steps, all of which take place at a
different crafting machine in the hall. The three steps are: item
deconstruction, shard crafting, and item crafting.

  • style="font-weight: bold;">Step 1 - Item
    Deconstruction: This step
    allows you to break items down for raw materials. The items used are
    the items that you pick up while adventuring and looting from chests,
    basically the vendor trash you usually sell off. You have a few options
    at this stage. You can strip the enhancement off an item (such as the
    +2 enhancement for a weapon), you can remove the prefix or suffix
    properties off an item (such as frost, good, evil, etc), or you can
    disjunction an item making it a blank item that you can add to later on.
  • style="font-weight: bold;">Step 2 - Shard Crafting:
    This is where you get the bulk of the experience for leveling your
    crafting skills. Here you use the raw materials gained from the item
    deconstruction stage and other items (such as the shards you pick up
    while adventuring) to create shards of various effects. You can make a
    bound shard or an unbound shard. An unbound shard you can sell off or
    trade, but requires more components to make.
  • style="font-weight: bold;">Step 3 - Item Crafting:
    This final stage is where you take the blank item you created in the
    first step and combine it with shards created in the second step to
    create a new item. Using a bound shard creates a bound item, while
    using an unbound shard creates an unbound item.

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One of the crafting stations
that you will spend a lot of time at.

The crafting is simple and
straightforward, but there is a lot of room
for customization. Basically, you can view the recipes and see what
ingredients are needed. All the drudge work is taken out of the
equation: you do not have to learn, purchase, or scribe any recipes,
and if you click on a recipe, the required ingredients will be
automatically pulled from your backpack. As of right now, items in
storage bags will not be automatically pulled so you will want to move
them from the bags straight into your normal inventory. Erik and
Fernando mentioned that Turbine is working on this and they hope to
have the necessary ingredients pulled from the storage bags in the

Every recipe has a recommended level, but crafters can create items
that are higher level than your crafting skill. For each recipe, the
chance to successfully create the item successfully is listed. You need
at least a 50% chance to create an item for the game to allow you to
make the attempt. If you fail to create the item, you run the risk of
losing components. While that isn’t a big deal at lower
levels, it will definitely get expensive as you level up.

In addition to the ease and fluidity of crafting, what especially
struck me was how the crafting system is close to the spirit of magic
items in the pen-and-paper style="font-style: italic;">Dungeons
and Dragons
game, which I’ve been playing for 30 years. (Yes,
I’m old!) If you want gloves that provide a bonus to Strength
and a bonus to Open Lock and Disable Device, you are now free to do so.
This system puts the power of creation in the players’ hands.
We can create the items that we want to use. We can consolidate bonuses
into a single item so we don’t have to switch back and forth.
Granted, you’ll have to work at it if you want Gloves of Uber
Roguedom, but the components come from adventuring, not grinding away
looking for veins of ore and having some asshat steal your ore while
you’re clearing the area.

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Some of the shard recipes for
crafting step #2.

Fernando and Erik took great pains to remind me that this crafting
system is considered an style="font-weight: bold;">open beta.
When Update 9 is released, there will be a level cap for the crafting
schools that will be increased with future patches and Update 10. There
might be some tweaking to the items in future patches, but you will style="font-weight: bold;">not
lose any items that you created or any experience in crafting. So you
can safely craft away to your heart’s content.

Other New Features

A new adventure pack, Harbinger of Madness, makes its introduction in
Update 9. You and your fellow stout adventurers will investigate the
disappearance of locals from the Saltire neighborhood and eventually
confront the hideous evil behind the sinister abductions. A new
monster, the Taken, make their gut-wrenching debut in this adventure
pack. I only got to see one part of the adventure pack, the Fear
Factory, but other aspects of the adventure pack were shown to Ethec at
Pax East and can be seen href="http://www.tentonhammer.com/ddo/video/update-9-and-new-crafting-system">here
in this video.

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The hideous foulness of the

Favored Souls and Sorcerers will rejoice to hear that they finally get
a prestige class. Favored Souls can become Angels of Vengeance whilst
Sorcerers can become Earth, Air, Fire, or Water Savants. In addition,
all spellcasters have had the spell points needed for casting spells
reduced. Turbine is striving to make the spell points needed equate to
the usefulness of the spell. With lowered spell costs, spellcasters
will have more choices while adventuring.

Some of the combat animations have been changed for abilities such as
Trip and Sunder, thus making it easier for you to know that your
ability really did go off. There is also a new feat, Shuriken
Expertise, and a host of new enhancements. Some new items have been
added to the style="font-style: italic;">DDO
Store, such as new armor kits (for stylin’ and
profilin’) and slaying boosts for clearing wilderness areas.
A slayer boost of 25% means that for every four creatures you kill, you
get credit for five. For max level players, there has been a
rebalancing of adventures on epic difficulty. Now, a great deal of the
immunities have been removed, especially from trash mobs, and hit
points have been reduced.

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colspan="2" rowspan="1">A
look at the new spring fashions in
Update 9.

Since DDO
was launched in French and German, there have been a slew of new
players pouring into the game. In fact, any style="font-style: italic;">DDO
client can select French or German as the language. Update 9 is the
first update for style="font-style: italic;">DDO
that launches for everybody around the world at the same time.

Overall, there is a tremendous amount of content coming
players’ way in Update 9. A new adventure pack featuring a
new monster, new prestige classes, new enhancements, new armor kits,
and, of course, the crafting system. I can safely predict that the
crafting hall will be overflowing with players when Update 9 launches
Wednesday, April 27th. It’s good to adventure in the world of

A sincere thank you to Fernando Paiz and Erik Boyer for taking the time
to show me the new content in Update 9.

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