The Dreaming Dark - A Look at DDO's Next Update

How many game updates does it take to keep a player interested in a MMOG?
How many game updates does it take to keep a player interested in a MMOG? Turbine believes that updating Dungeons and Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited with something new every month is a good start. It’s hard to argue against that. According to DDO Executive Producer, Fernando Paiz, Turbine’s goal is to have something new added to the game every month and a major content update every other month. All updates will have some playable content, whether purchasable through the DDO store or free to all players, while the larger updates will also include new systems and features. The team has already committed to six updates for the next year.

Ten Ton Hammer got together with the folks at Turbine for an in-game tour of Update 2, otherwise known as The Dreaming Dark. It’s the first content-only update, although it does include some bug fixes. The Dreaming Dark adventure pack will be available to VIPs this Wednesday, the 16th and it is targeted towards high level players. Non-VIPs will be able to purchase the adventure pack Friday, the 18th of December. The update is a continuation of The Path of Inspiration which was released at the end of October of this year. The story over these two modules was intended as a two parter, and we see the conclusion in The Dreaming Dark.

The Isle of Forgotten Dreams serves as a quest and merchant hub in The Dreaming Dark adventure pack.

In case you missed it, in the last update a group from the city of Dar Qat known as the Path of Inspiration was discovered as a front for the Dreaming Dark—creatures from the Plane of Dreams. In the upcoming update players will finally be able to face the Devourer of Dreams, the leader of the Dreaming Dark, and put an end to their invasion of Eberron. The update comes with five quests that will have players playing through the story, unraveling the secrets of the adventure, and learning of the whereabouts of the Devourer of Dreams.

To begin the tour we gathered up in the Inspired Quarter which was revealed in the last adventure pack. This area will be remembered by long-term DDO players, but it’s been changed since it was taken over by the Path of Inspiration. Players may also remember Lord Gerald Goodblade from the original launch of Stormreach. He has returned, this time having discovered some curious artifacts, namely a broken warforged titan which at one time was a raid boss for level 10 adventurers.

The first quest to the update took us through the memory of the broken warforged titan as it remembered its last mission. As it turns out the memory was that of a mission the titan performed for the Dreaming Dark when they were fighting a war with the Giants thousands of years ago. At that time the Stormreaver, a hero of the giants, defeated the titan and placed an Interdiction Lens in place that prevented Dreaming Dark creatures from travelling to Eberron. The Dreaming Dark won’t want you to figure out the secret though, so they’ll try to stop you at every turn throughout the memory.

The Dreaming Dark attempts to block you from uncovering a dangerous secret while playing through the memory of a broken warforged titan.

The entire instance feels quite like a dream or memory as you watch the titan take on the giants, with an almost grayscale palette in many areas and a blurred vision framing the screen through the quest. The screen effects will change when the memory is as it should be, and when it gets interrupted by the Dreaming Dark in their efforts to stop you. All in all it makes for a surreal experience that’s a lot of fun to adventure through.

Attempting not to spoil anything, the rest of the adventure pack has a great story that involves seeking out the Interdiction Lens in an effort to stop the Dreaming Dark. As mentioned earlier, players will eventually face the Devourer of Dreams and have to defeat it in battle in one of the most challenging fights yet. The only way players will be able to finish the adventure is if they draw on their previous experiences to defeat some of the bosses and if they have a sharp mind to solve some of the particularly well-crafted puzzles. As an extra incentive, psionic items are now unlocked so players will be able to use the Dreamforge at the end of the quest series to unlock the psionic powers of the crystals and items they have been collecting.

After some gravitational puzzles, players will face the Devourer of Dreams to yield prized rewards.

It’s obvious that the development team has put a lot of thought into the upcoming update. The final quest alone is a memorable one that will have players literally defying gravity and solving puzzles that use the entire playfield—on all three axes. Turbine has gone the extra mile in this update to bring fresh ideas to the genre. Forget what you think you know about MMOGs. You’ll be learning whole new tricks this time around and only the most clever of players will solve some of the optional riddles.

So are these updates enough to keep players coming back? If subscription numbers are any indication, it’s a pretty clear ‘yes.’ Dungeons and Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited continues to grow in population with more and more active players and VIP members signing up every month. For Turbine, “it’s reason to invest even more into the franchise,” states Paiz. “We always had high hopes for what DDO Unlimited was going to do, and it’s proving itself. We’re growing the team; we’re committing to six updates next year; we have [the holiday events] going on now; and then we have even more surprises coming up next year.” So it looks like DDO Unlimited is going to be around for a while and players will continue to see thoughtful, fun, often ingenious content come to their game.

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Dungeons & Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited Game Page.

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