Latest in Gaming

Image credit:

D&DO Module 7: Other updates, and the future of DDO

Mike Schramm

The new content wasn't all we saw -- there were a number of other good UI and feature updates we were shown that are set to enter the game in Module 7. One of the most interesting changes is something that we heard about for the first time on the walkthrough: the devs are going to be introducing a new quest type that players will be able to do once per day (examples given were for bounties and trophies on the local wildlife). They said that a lot of players had asked for quests that could be completed within a short period of time to advance their character -- obviously, World of Warcraft's daily quests design jumps to mind, and by the time they had finished explaining the idea to us, even they were using the words "daily quests." But whether the idea is lifted or not, it is a good one, and it should give more casual players (and anyone else with some extra time to spend) some more to do in game.

There were some good UI updates as well -- the main update we saw was a revamped ingame map, that will show dungeons as red and green doors, so that players can easily see where the quests are and which ones they can enter at a glance. Also, the map now shows where a player has been with a "fog of war" type effect, though uncovered parts of the map are now shown at 50% opacity, so if you look close, you can even see details of where you haven't been.

And we were also told that the Module will feature an improved chat system, as well as the addition of quivers to the inventory (so players can save all of their ammo in one inventory slot, rather than taking up extra space with all of it). And of course the crafting system is getting an anticipated update as well -- there are thirty to forty recipes being added, as well as "about a half dozen" eldritch rituals, so there should be more for players to mess around with in that system as well.

Finally, we had a nice long conversation about the future of DDO. Goals for Mod 8, we were told, include the aforementioned player invasion of Shavarath, and the devs are working on a new tutorial section, as well as revamping the character generator (in order to make it easier for new characters who don't want to spend so much time choosing where to put skill points and abilities).

"This is a marathon, not a sprint."

And we also asked what the devs thought about the Age of Conan launch, and if any of the games on the radar this year were going to have an effect on their licensed property. Mersky, Turbine's director of communications spoke up at this point, and he pointed out that Turbine knows exactly what Funcom is going through right now: launching a major MMO is a tough but super exciting task and they wish them well. But at the same time, DDO's devs seem content to faithfully do their own thing, and not worry too much about the new kids on the block -- Paiz told us that their "very devoted audience" was "a pleasure to work for," and Mersky said that Turbine is in this competition as "a marathon, not a sprint." He said that both Lord of the Rings Online (another big licensed Turbine property) and DDO have ten year plans stretching out ahead of them, and that Turbine is committed to building their games over time, steadily releasing content and improvements with updates.

We've heard for a long time that DDO was considering different forms of payment for their game (they've already tested the waters of free-to-play for former players, and Mersky said that the recently reopened lifetime option helps take the onus off of players to stick to just one game, so they'll keep considering options available for payment plans.

Finally, we chatted about the MMO market at large, and it seemed we all agreed that big things are happening as the genre grows. Mersky said he was extremely happy that the industry is becoming "more than the WoW-killer story" -- that as more and more games enter the space, people are less concerned with having a gigantic online world, and more concerned with carving out their own niche and innovations with what they as a development team can do. Module 7 isn't a groundbreaking update for Dungeons & Dragons Online, but it is a solid core update -- the new classes and new mid and higher level content are serious additions and improvements to the game and large.

We have one more treat for you -- an exclusive video of the areas and bosses we visited in Module 7.

Click one last time to check it out.

From around the web

ear iconeye icontext filevr