A tour of DDO Update 17: Return to Gianthold

A tour of DDO Update 17 Return to Gianthold
Just because Dungeons and Dragons Online has spent the better part of a year fawning all over the Forgotten Realms doesn't mean that Turbine is finished with Eberron. As a matter of fact, the team called us in to check out next month's Update 17, which is all about Eberron and some classic content made fresh and new once more.

Update 17: Return to Gianthold revisits the popular Gianthold content that came out with DDO's second level-cap increase. The devs said that players love to run it for its variety of quests, loot, and experience, which is why they wanted to tweak up the existing content as well as add a brand-new raid for epic-level characters.

Read on as we take a look at Gianthold 2.0 and other exciting additions coming to DDO in February!

A tour of DDO Update 17 Return to Gianthold
Back to Eberron...

The first thing the team did when they reapproached Gianthold's content was to give it a facelift. Graphics, textures, lighting, and fog were all on the agenda so that adventurers exploring the wilderness area would see something more in line with 2013-era DDO.

The team also wanted to revisit the story of dragons vs. giants that was left dangling for years. The devs revised it a little for clarity and added new voice journals left around the landscape that delivered jolts of lore from both the villain and hero's perspective. Another new feature in the wilderness is the addition of random encounters. Unpredictable events may occur when you go exploring, such as discovering a slumbering dragon who has some tempting loot if you're stealthy -- and daring -- enough to snatch it.

A tour of DDO Update 17 Return to Gianthold
New raid: The Fall of Truth

The gem of Update 17, however, is the new high-level raid called The Fall of Truth. It's a showdown between Stormreaver and a bone dragon named The Truthful, and if players think they've seen it all in Gianthold before, then it's time to erase all presumptions. After a short play between the giant and dragon, players fall through the floor to immediately begin a difficult boss fight between a pair of giants. Turbine's taken the previous quests and boss encounters and given them several upgrades so that they'll be challenging even for the most seasoned Gianthold veteran.

After the giants fall, The Truthful comes down to deal with you in person, and he brings along a revitalized doomsday device with him. We didn't want to spoil the rest of the raid, but the devs did say that the relationship between the dragon and the giant will have dire consequences on the story and outcome of the raid.

Another slight spoiler? Turbine said that there are several huge chests chock-full of loot -- more than players are used to seeing. Several pieces of this loot are epic versions of the lower-level heroic named loot, just once again updated for 2013. The team says that the raid's proven to be a favorite among testers, and they're excited to get it out to the larger community.

Because the wilderness revamp and Fall of Truth raid are all part of the Gianthold adventure pack, players who have purchased it already (or are VIPs) will receive this content for free. Those who haven't purchased Gianthold? Well, Turbine's hoping that the increased value of the package will make it a tempting deal.

A tour of DDO Update 17 Return to Gianthold
Update 17 odds and ends

Gianthold isn't the only focus of Update 17. Turbine's bringing back augmented loot and making it available for levels eight through 25. So now you'll be discovering gear all over the place that has special augment slots. These can be filled with crystals (which look like colorful D20s) that will add special effects and damage types to a weapon. It's remarkably easy to equip an augment, as the devs wanted players to be able to do this on the go.

Update 17 is also heralding the third volume of the monster manual, which will include, among other things, Hill Giants. Again, the volume is free for VIPs and purchasable for everyone else.

We should be seeing Update 17 sometime in February in time for DDO's seventh anniversary. Speaking of which, yes, Turbine has a special present in store for everyone who logs in for the celebration.

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This article was originally published on Massively.