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Another Leap Forward - A Preview of DDO Update 3

Posted Mon, Jan 25, 2010 by B. de la Durantaye

It’s almost time for Dungeons & Dragons Online: Eberron Unlimited to patch in their next free content update. Last time we were impressed with all that came with Update 2 so we were particularly excited to see what was in store for players with the first of six content updates planned for this year. When Turbine offered for us to take a look, we gladly accepted.

Accessibility remains a focus for the team. In fact, Update 3 makes the game even more accessible to more players. First, no more leveling sigils. This means all players on all types of accounts, including free accounts, will be able to level up all the way to maximum level without having to hunt down leveling sigils or buy anything from the DDO Store. While, overall, most players seemed to understand and accept the leveling sigil system, Turbine feels that it’s important to remove obstacles that may impede players’ enjoyment of the game.

Another change in accessibility is a new dungeon challenge level of “casual.” This difficulty setting replaces the “solo” setting in many dungeons, and is a new option to almost all higher level dungeons. And the best part? This setting is available for all quests right up to level 20, except those that are solo- or raid-only. Previously solo content started running thin around level six but this will no longer be the case and players will now be able to enjoy all the content despite their group size.  Setting a quest to the Casual setting will allow players to bring a group of any size, be it a solo player or a full group of six. In addition, the adventure select panel will now tell players the difficulty of the selected adventure, allowing them to prepare for a small or large group should they want to tackle the missions on another setting apart from Casual.

Notice Boards are making their way into Eberron. These boards are placed throughout the city wards and will help guide players to other level-appropriate content. No more will new players have any problem finding content to do at their level.

Of course, all updates come with new quests. Update 3 is no different, offering four new quests for high level characters. The cool thing this time is that these new quests are all free content as well and won’t need to be purchased through the DDO Store.

The first quest we took a look at is entitled “Delerium.” Without spoiling too much of the story and secrets here, I will say that Turbine continues to push the envelope when it comes to creativity. Players will experience new puzzles and new creative interaction with NPCs. They’ll even be challenging some NPCs in solving puzzles. The quest is labeled appropriately since the entire quest takes place in an inn. What is real and what is a figment of the inebriated mind? You’ll have to figure it out. But you will have a lot of fun, and face some pretty hefty challenges. Be sure to bring your sense of humor with you. The devs had a lot of fun with this one, and it shows.

The second quest we were guided through was “Mired in Kobolds.” This is another adventure that players can really use the environment to their advantage. Players will soon figure out that the puzzles they need to solve to progress through the map also have a really fun side effect if triggered at the right time. The end of the quest will pit players against a juvenile dragon, which is no slouch, even on Casual setting. But beware! Something else awaits players in this quest, and let’s just say that it’s HUGE.

The two other quests are “In the Demon’s Den,” and “Acid Wit.” The four quests range in level from Casual Rating 13 up to Casual Rating 18.


Something huge.

The holidays may be over, but that doesn’t mean in-game events need to stop. As a sort of celebration of the 2010 Winter Olympics, Turbine has introduced some ice-themed events. The Risia Ice Games will have players skiing and skating around Stormreach. There’s even a really cool ski jump. If you can time it right, jump at just the right time, and figure out some other tricks, you can cash in big by collecting floating ice coins to craft unique rewards.

Stormreach’s birthday takes place near the end of February too, and there will be a festival. The Festival of the Traveler will kick off with a scavenger hunt for players to earn more rewards.

But what about older content?

Reincarnation will see a boost with new Lesser and Greater Reincarnation options. Selecting either Lesser or Greater Reincarnation will allow players to recreate their characters while maintaining their items and quest progress. The purpose of the reincarnations is to allow players to re-visit decisions they made earlier, whether at character creation or later advancement. Think of it as a hardcore re-spec where players will return to level 1. Lesser reincarnation will allow players to keep their experience, and their level selections will remain the same, but they'll be able to make different selections with their abilities and spells. Greater Reincarnation will allow the re-roll, except as a 32 point build instead of the standard 28. There are also +1 and +3 iterations of Greater Reincarnation which will additionally allow a player to change one or three class choices (such as secondary classes).

The classic Vault of Night adventure pack will be beefed up a bit and will be able to be done on Epic mode for level 20 parties. New quests for Red Dragon Scale Armor will also be introduced to this adventure pack and will be available for those who complete the epic raid and fight against the Red Dragon Velah.

To push the immersion a little more, all public city areas will have a shared night time mode. This is simply a cosmetic change, but it really helps make the world feel more alive. And it looks great.

Update 3 is set to launch February 3rd. With more free content than ever, more accessibility for casual play, easier leveling for free accounts, really cool new quests, new events and old content updated, so far this year Turbine is sticking to their word of making the game better than ever with their updates. Player numbers keep climbing, and it’s easy to see why when there’s this level of developer dedication.

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