Updated Wed, Jun 24, 2009 by Ethec
Dungeons & Dragons Online Eberron Unlimited will usher in a new era of free-to-play DDO along with content and items bought in the Turbine store, but for the present DDO Unlimited has simply ushered in a lot of cautious enthusiasm, righteous indignation, and a whole host of tough questions. Ten Ton Hammer posed a number of these questions to DDO Executive Producer Fernando Paiz, Senior Producer Kate Paiz, Turbine PR Director Adam Mersky about the edgier aspects of the upcoming re-release and received some candid answers in return.
Did DDO Eberron Unlimited go beyond T for Teen with the Succubus? Nope.
Cody Bye, Ten Ton Hammer: First, the question on everyone's mind: what will the new class be? Is it the Favored Soul?
Fernando Paiz: Unfortunately we can’t talk about the new class just yet. We have a process that we go through and at this point we’re just not ready to talk. That said, we should have new information for everyone sometime next week, so keep checking the official site and news websites for the information.
Ten Ton Hammer: There seems to be a big ruckus going on over the “sexy” avatar that you’re using to promote DDOU. Why’d you go with the big-chested succubus?
Kate Paiz: The succubus came out so well when we created her that it sort of felt like a real natural fit for what we were doing. Obviously she's provocative. The whole lore basis for what she is and what she does; it really took course from that rendering. What you see on all the marketing materials and the website is the same character that you're going to play against in game. And this is really about reaching out to a new audience, getting some new attention, generating some new buzz, and it felt like the succubus really helps us do that.
Ten Ton Hammer: For the real DDO enthusiasts and those who aren't yet in beta, would you describe some of the specific items that we might be able to purchase from the store? Stuff that hardcore DDO'ers would be interested in hearing about, not just the potions.
Kate Paiz: Some of the things that I'm really excited about as a player are the rez cakes. If you think back when we did the holiday festival events, we had the Irian Jelly Cakes which allowed you to rez on the spot one of your friends in the party. That was so beneficial; you really felt the difference in your party's ability to survive some of the more advanced challenges. Giving that opportunity to players who are playing solo and they can raise themselves or for anyone that's in a pinch - I think it's going to help a lot. Based on the forum feedback, we've made them so that they're not usable in raids so that they're not breaking the basic gameplay that we're looking for.
Ten Ton Hammer: That leads me to my next question. On the Ten Ton Hammer forums, we had one poster that was vehemently upset. His belief was that being able to buy resurrections will lead to the removal of shrines and other core aspects of the game. How can you let players know that, while you'll be able to purchase items and content from the store, the core experience of DDO isn't changing?
Fernando Paiz: I guess the best thing we can say is: look at what we've done with the game. We aren't actually jacking up the difficulty, we aren't taking away cure potions from the vendors, we haven't made the game kick your ass in the new content any more than we normally do. There's still plenty of rest shrines, there's attention given to more casual players, the smaller groups, and even the solo groups through hirelings. It will all be easier in the final release. So the best thing we can say is our actions will probably convince you more than our words.
Quest series and instances are among the premium items available for purchase in the DDO store.
Ten Ton Hammer: Another poster speculated that content difficulty would be adjusted if not in the current content, than in future content. Obviously difficulty is being adjusted downward in current content, but can you give any assurances that you won't adjust the difficulty upward in the future to force players to use store bought consumables?
Fernando Paiz: What we're trying to do is give players options as to what kind of experience they want to get. I think on elite, it's appropriate for something to be really hard - not to drive you to the store necessarily, but to challenge the party. I think you might see us adding in new difficulty levels or something like that in the future which might be very difficult but there is always a player choice: you want to go for that thing and do you want to try and use store items to attack that thing, or not?
Ten Ton Hammer: Should players expect smaller, more frequent content updates that add more things to the shop for people to purchase? Is that something that's going to happen on a more regular basis?
Kate Paiz: I wouldn't say that we have a particular schedule in mind, but the store updates are something that we hope to roll out often. 'Often' to be defined when we get through beta and get through this process, but it's a lot easier for us to roll out a couple items here and there than to do an entire adventure pack.
Adam Mersky: We're deep in beta making sure we get everything polished up and all the things you would do in a beta, but the team's deep in development on the first major update to DDO Unlimited, which will be coming out soon after we launch. And very soon after we launch we'll give people a more forward looking view of what's coming and when it's coming.