Gaming Today: Divining the Future of Dungeons and Dragons Online Eberron Unlimited
The Tower of the Twelve is opening it doors to heroes as the twelve face their greatest hour of need. Within its walls, the Planecallers will gate you to Shavarath, Plane of Battle. Here the devils, demons and archons issue forth from their fortresses to clash endlessly on the wasted battlefield.
I recently had the pleasure of going on an expedition to Shavarath lead by Kate Paiz, Senior Producer of Dungeons & Dragons Online. As we fought our way across the blasted battlegrounds, she revealed a wealth of information about the future of DDO: Eberron Unleashed. Prepare for a divination on the Eberron setting, the DDO store, the free-to-play model and why keeping your subscription and becoming a VIP member is an awesome deal.
The Infernal forces have breached the borders of the planes. The destruction has even struck at the heart of Stormreach itself. Soon stalwart heroes will step up to strike back, taking the fight to these devils, tieflings and other dread minions. From the rise where you teleport in, you can see the Infernal abode of the devils, as well as the Abyssal lair of the demons and the Celestial fortress of the archons giving you a glimpse into future content releases. You will not fight alone in this desolate place. A warforged titan stands ready to battle beside you. This immense construct is awe inspiring in itself. You’ll be grateful its your ally.
The design of Shavarath is a tribute too just how good graphics and effects can be done not only in DirectX 10, but in DirectX 9 as well. The menu options allow you to choose how you view your world and the effects and animations. As you prepare for battle remember to select your favorite key mapping option from the menu. You can choose between the classic DDO setup, the more common MMO key mapping or a setting geared towards FPS fans.
The Shavarath raid is just one of several new adventure modules for DDO Eberron Unlimited. Players will also battle in Gianthold and Sorrowdusk. The Drow Crime wave premium adventure is also on the horizon for excitement and intrigue that doesn’t require as great an investment of time. There are two new adventures set in the Cerulean Hills as well for everyone to enjoy. One of the features of DDO that makes it ideal for a free-to-play model is that when you don’t have the time to log in for hours to complete a module, you can find quick adventures close at hand to play on a 15 minute break.
The new challenge scaling system tailors adventures to each player or party based on what types of characters and how many party members are adventuring together. The initial assessment is made when instance starts, but will change on the fly as hirelings are brought in or players have to drop out. This should really take the pressure off players who find it hard to schedule in their fun. Life happens and DDO is prepared to roll with it.
As in the pen and paper DnD, your characters progress slowly through levels. However you earn action points along the way that allow you to upgrade your characters abilities as you progress. This also gives you the chance to tailor your character to your personal gameplay style. You could have 3 clerics in your party that are very different in how they play.
The DDO store allows players to purchase premium items, modules and other fun stuff like. There are several handy features you should check out. Everyone should take a look at the list of popular items to see what other players have found useful. The store has a cart to help you work within your budget and prioritize purchases. You can add items that you shop for regularly like healing potions, buffs and hireling contracts to your Favorites list for easy grab and go. You can’t sell, trade or auction DDO store premium items. However DDO points are shared across servers. You can use them to purchase a shared bank tab, at the bank or in the DDO store, which will allow all characters on a server to use your premium content.
You can purchase Turbine points to spend at the DDO shop, but you’ll also earn them as Favor Awards as you play. Each of your characters will be awarded these at certain milestones. This allows those who have the time to invest, but not money to farm points for premium items. The popular Drow race and the Favored Soul, a clerical version of the sorcerer, are unlockable as well as available for purchase.
Players whose time is more valuable than their money can purchase experience buffs and other convenience items like magic armor and weapons with up to a +2 bonus. However, you’ll find that the best items are still the ones given as quest rewards, found as drops or in chests. Of course if you’re deep in the heart of a dungeon and a rust monster just ate your favorite flail or you’ve run out of spell components, you can hit the store and make a purchase right then and there and have it waiting for you in your inventory without having to leave the instance.
DDO Eberron Unlimited may be free-to-play, but Turbine is making current subscribers quite a deal. These players will transition to VIP accounts. Those fortunate few will receive a generous monthly stipend of Turbine points to spend at the DDO shop. They’ll automatically have access to premium modules and content such as the monk and warforged classes as well as a gratis shared bank. VIP players embark on adventures in Eberron with a 2 day head start beginning August 4th. The Bazaar tent will be raised once more as DDO: Eberron Unlimited goes free-to-play for everyone August 6th. I recommend you check it out. After all the price is right.