Stormreach under attack: Massively's tour of DDO's newest adventure pack

Remember back in October when a mysterious Droaam agent showed up in Dungeons and Dragons Online? Hesstess the Medusa claimed to be an ambassador of Droaam seeking to establish a nice, friendly colony.

We found out pretty quickly that Hesstess was full of it and that there was an entire Droaam army ready to attack. DDO's Update 8 brings us Attack on Stormreach, an adventure pack that continues the tale with -- surprise -- an attack on Stormreach by the Droaam army. As usual, the Turbine crew escorted me though part of the new content, so follow along after the jump for a first peek at Attack on Stormreach!

Let's start with some of the basics. Attack on Stormreach continues Turbine's increased attention to higher-level content. It's a level 13 adventure pack -- a level higher than its predecessor -- and contains four dungeons. Attack on Summerfield begins the Droaam siege on Stormreach, Blockade Buster sends you through a blockade of Droaam mines to find and destroy its source, Undermine is an explosive trip through a tunnel to the Droaam base, and Siegebreaker wraps up the storyline with a powerful new boss.

Attack on Stormreach opens Summerfield, a district new to DDO, and will release along with the entirety of Update 8 on December 13th. While it's a continuation of the Update 7 adventure pack, you won't be required to complete the first to participate in the second.

Attack on Summerfield

We began with the first adventure in the set, entering a Summerfield that was a confusing mass of flames and panicked citizens. Portals opened at random intervals and locations to spit out more enemies, so the first order of business was staying ahead of the spawns and figuring out how to stop them.

We finally got the portals taken care of and took off to check on the Stormreach guards, who had taken a bit of a battering. Finding and bandaging the wounded guards was an optional objective. It wasn't the easiest thing, since we had to travel outside of the main area and explore multiple alleyways and piles of rubble. Various enemies -- including a lot of Rangers firing from hard-to-see locations -- made the search even more interesting.

This is a fun, multi-level adventure that requires quick thinking and the ability to navigate between ground-level and rooftop combat fairly rapidly. It served as a perfect introduction to the Attack on Stormreach pack. Finally, I'd be remiss if I didn't give a nod to the artists who rendered this version of Summerfield. The place was dark, smoky, and in flames, and it consisted of broken buildings in many areas. Everything, right down to the firelight on the trees, was beautifully done. The look and sounds of this besieged area were spot on .

Undermine

This quest took us back to Lordsmarch Plaza to investigate some strange noises. We arrived just in time for the ground to shake beneath our feet and a corner of the Plaza to collapse, revealing a group of Droaam soldiers who announced, "We have made it past their pitiful walls!" Of course we fought them off -- them, and all of their buddies who kept leaping out of the newly made giant hole in the ground until there were no more emerging.

The next obvious step was to see where they had come from, so into the chasm we went. The other end contained a surprisingly elaborate tunnel full of walkways and exploding Kobolds. No, really. The quests from here on out are all about demolitions, and things are blowing up everywhere -- including some of these Kobolds, so look out. We soon encountered a named foe: Kaboom the Kobold. We were close to taking him down when he wised up and bolted, leaving behind a small gift. No, not that kind of gift -- he left a mine.

This mine introduced me to what will almost certainly be heaven for mechanically inclined Rogues. This mine, along with all the others in these quests, can be disarmed just like any other trap. Be very careful approaching them, though. Just like the mines that player Rogues set, these can be set off by the vibration of your footsteps, and they hurt. Be sure to sneak when you are approaching them.

I noticed some fun goings-on here and there as we tracked Kaboom through the tunnels: Kobold workers were feeling a little rebellious and beginning to demand more rights. This sense of fun and silliness in the little details is a large part of what makes DDO what it is, so keep your eyes peeled as you progress. You'll be glad you did.

We caught up with Kaboom, but he evaded us again by creating a larger explosion and sealing us in. This was the introduction to the really explosive part of the quest. We found a box of demolition charges that (to my delight) turned out to be usable by us. From then on, the quest was a series of introductions to fun new elements. The demolition charges can create some seriously impressive pyrotechnics, Earth Elementals have a new look that reflects the rock they emerged from, there are minefields galore, and there's even a surprise nod to Indiana Jones.

I loved this quest for all of the new details but also for its part in the Attack on Stormreach storyline. We concluded our tour with a look at the Armor Appearance Kits that will be included in Update 8. The kits will be in the DDO Store for costs ranging from 150-450 Turbine Points. They include various patterns and colors and range from the simple to the elaborate. They should be a welcome addition for the many players who have been asking for some sort of dye system.

That was the end of my sneak peek at Update 8 -- be sure to check out the gallery below for a better look, and thanks to the Turbine crew for your time!
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This article was originally published on Massively.