Thoughts on the Latest News for DDO
Before you judge based on the title of this post, let me explain. In great detail. So as to put off said judgement. For as long as possible.
On Tuesday, January 30th of 2018, Executive Producer Severlin put out the latest Producer’s Letter for Dungeons and Dragons Online. Though at first glace, there doesn’t seem to be much to be excited about, when one reads deeper into the letter and takes certain points into consideration it is clear that there is indeed great reason for which to rejoice!
Twenty Seventeen, for me, was a year of much disappointment. At one point amidst the summer heat, I decided it was time for a break. Fed up with the game- or, more accurately my inability to play it well- and became more and more disenfranchised.
Which games I tried to replace DDO with do not matter, though anyone curious enough may find at least one of them in my previous posts, and suffice it to say the time it took for me to tire of those games was even more rapid. I knew that my return to DDO was an inevitable, and by fall I was once again held in its thrall.
When you leave an MMO that is in constant evolution like DDO, a great deal can change, even in the expanse of a three month absence. The changes done while I was away were minor, which for me was very fortunate. I was also thankful that by the release of Ravenloft, a very big reason for my return, I had learned about all the changes and had become acclimated.
Ravenloft left me astounded. It was gorgeous, lush, alive, and- most of all- enormous. My review of the expansion can be found here, but for now, let’s not digress.
When DDO was under Turbine, it seemed a big release like Ravenloft meant that, for a while at least, there would be very little to which we could forward. Yet there it was, bright as day and bold as night: The producer’s letter and all that it entailed. Standing Stone Games has kept the game the same for the most part, but the way it is run sure seems to have flourished!
I shall break the letter down in order to best comment on the letter, and do so in sections so that no ground is forsaken.
Our first year as Standing Stone Games is behind us, and we want to thank our fans for being part of a wonderful year. We feel truly fortunate to have wonderful players, and we are excited for the upcoming year. I wanted to take some time to talk about our plans for the upcoming months. The reason we are here is because YOU are here, and we look forward to hearing from you.
As many players know, gaming companies exist only because of our support. Lines like these I seldom believe, since they are words many companies spout. From what follows in the letter, however, Severlin seems sincere.
Update 38 will arrive this Spring, and will return adventurers to Eberron. The magic that has long protected Stormreach is failing, and a strange plague is sweeping through the city. You’ll join forces with the healers of House Jorasco to find a cure and save your adopted home. This new adventure pack will be level 14 on Heroic difficulty, and level 31 on Legendary difficulty. Part of this work will allow us to tweak House Jorasco as well, to help players get around the space.
More adventures in Stormreach is awesome news! The fact that the quests will be accessible from levels 14 on is more great news as from what I have heard and read, quests in that range seem to be in demand.
The second portion deals with a “tweak” to House J. One can hope the Devs will take into consideration how long we’ve played in that area and the changes won’t be drastic. As most are aware, a “tweak” has the potential to either improve or ruin.
We will also be doing a bit of work on the Anniversary Event, including some new event rewards, as we celebrate DDO’s 12th year! We will have a special gift for players as well, but do not want to spoil the surprise.
New toys from the Anniversary Event is excellent news. Though the process buries one deep in the grind, the items one can acquire should far outweigh any complaints. This holds especially true for new players, or those- like myself- that never run raids.
One of the things we have long heard from you about is the desire to have a third Artificer Enhancement tree, and we’re pleased to be able to say that the Renegade Mastermaker will be coming in the near future. This tree will focus on improving your Repair spells, Curative Admixtures, personal Defense, and building things to buff both yourself and your allies. We also intend to add a third Favored Soul tree, update the Cleric Warpriest, and do extensive work on the Druid class. For Druid, we will be working on the core of the class, its animal forms, and both of its existing enhancement trees in addition to a brand new enhancement tree.
I’ll be honest. I didn’t even realize that not all classes had less than three enhancement trees. The frequency with which I play Paladins, Clerics, Rangers, and Wizards (Pale Masters) is such that all other classes fall to the sides, so when I learned that not all had three, I was astonished.
I am of the opinion that all classes should have the same number of options as every other, but not the same. I’m glad that those classes that have up to now been neglected are in queue to receive their much needed updates. I also hope that the trees live up to players’ expectations and that all involved are pleased with the outcome.
The update to Cleric Warpriest has me intrigued. I shall withhold all speculation until I have had a chance to review the changes and their effect can be gauged.
Another thing we have long wanted to do is update our Treasure of Crystal Cove event, and we intend to start doing that work in the coming months by updating the reward list. Speaking of events, we have plans for Night Revels to update the public space to work similar to the Challenge system its dungeons use, and add a new dungeon for our favorite Halloween event. October is historically one of our biggest months, and we think you’ll love what we have in store.
Ugh. Crystal Cove. I don’t mind giving voice to my frustration over this event. I hope that the updates include new/ updated items as well as the challenge(s). As the event is at present, I proclaim it must at all costs be avoided.
An update to Night Revels is both wanted and anticipated. New quest as well as an update to how the challenge system is worked? YES, PLEASE! One can hope that these changes reduce the lag issues we all find so intolerable.
I hope SSG realize just how high they’ve now gotten my expectations for Night Revels. I shall be disappointed with any result lower than perfection! 😉
Next, we are pleased to announce our next classic adventure! An eccentric wizard has hidden three famous Sentient weapons inside of a volcano, and challenged all comers to try to retrieve them. Can you make it through fiendish obstacles and deadly traps? Have you guessed the pack yet? It’s White Plume Mountain, a classic 1979 dungeon that was also recently brought to 5th Edition in the Tales from the Yawning Portal book. We’ll be giving this intense test of skill the DDO treatment later this summer in an adventure pack that will also feature several other stand-alone dungeons themed around wizards and their arcane environments.
I’m sure this announcement was supposed to engender in the MMO’s older players a sense of thrill. As a player of the first three editions of D&D and AD&D, I can honestly say I have never even heard of this adventure. My expectations for this run parallel to the Elemental Temple of Evil, another series of quests in which I do not partake. There is, however, a point that I will make later about how this effects the game in a broader sense that deserves players’ attentions!
We are happy with the feedback we received about Sentient Weapons with the release of Mists of Ravenloft, and plan to continue to support that system in 2018. In addition to the Sentient Weapons available in White Plume Mountain, we intend to add a Kobold-themed Sentient Jewel for our 12th Anniversary, and create a Dragon-themed jewel for an as-yet unannounced release date.
New Sentient Jewels! I have yet to hear more than a single Jewel’s persona, but the more from which we get to choose, the better the game will be as a result.
I temper my excitement for Kobold and Dragon themed jewels, however, as I can see how their voices and vocalizations could rake many player’s nerves. And yes, my own would be included in that list, though I seem quite capable to deal with the Resolute.
Also, to the person I know will have words for me for that opinion: it’s just that; my opinion.
We have another big announcement to make later this year, but we’re not ready to hint about that news yet, sorry. Stay tuned soon for an announcement about an adventure that has been on many of our players’ wish lists for years. We can’t wait to tell you about it!
This bit has me irritated.
New feature/ content teases without further information get me annoyed because there is no need for it to even be mentioned. There will be no news forthcoming anytime soon, so we’re not sure if it’s even worthwhile to anticipate. Perhaps I am alone in this, but that is my mindset.
On behalf of everyone on the Dungeons & Dragons Online team, we thank you for your support. We’ve been humbled by the response to the Mists of Ravenloft, and we look forward to continuing our amazing tabletop-to-screen journey with you in 2018 and beyond!
Overall, this producer’s letter was short, but sweet. Most of the news was welcome and the buzz about the game has been renewed. This is the exact purpose of a producer’s letter; generate interest, excite the player base, and watch the game be rejuvenated.
There is one point that remains hidden from view at first read. There is something that is not stated outright, but still needs to be addressed.
Despite all the features on horizon, despite whether you find them to be great or couldn’t care less:
Dungeons and Dragons Online still has a foreseeable future!
For a game an MMO as old as DDO, there is always the threat that support for the game or even the game itself shall cease. We can continue on as usual with the knowledge that, for the next year at least, our favorite MMO shall continue to exist!
Please feel free to share your own thoughts in the comments section below! I’d love to hear other opinions and points that perhaps I’ve never even considered!
As always, thank you so much for your time and patience to read through the great mess of thoughts of which I am constituted. I hope you enjoyed your time here, and that you will return again next week.