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Exploring Eberron: The Offer Wall is gone and Lars Heyton is a big chicken

Rubi Bayer, @@rubi_

Wow! It's been an interesting few days for Dungeons and Dragons Online, both on the player side and the development side. The community response to the now-defunct Offer Wall was huge, but not quite in the way that Turbine anticipated. Since the uproar consisted of an approximately 60/40 split between legitimate concern and outraged name-calling, the decision for today's Exploring Eberron was an easy one: we're going to look at the facts.

On a much more fun note, last night was the second installment of Nights of Eberron, and a great time was had by all. Things were definitely more organized than during week one, thanks in large part to our very own Justin "Zergmaster" Olivetti and several fantastic OnedAwesome members who stepped up as group leaders. OnedAweseme now sports over 50 members, 33 of whom showed up to party last night. The guild formed their groups and headed out to tackle the Korthos Wilderness areas. How did it go? Follow along after the jump for the full story as well as discussion of the Dungeons and Dragons Online Offer Wall.

The Offer Wall

Contrary to what you may have heard over the past few days, merely being in the same room with a computer that is displaying the DDO Offer Wall will not dispatch ninjas to your home to fill your hard drive with mashed potatoes and leave flaming sacks of poo on your doorstep, we promise.

Okay, nobody actually said that, but a lot of over-the-top things were said. To my way of thinking, making up silly names for the parties involved, indulging in provocative hyperbole and speculating about what might happen in the future as a consequence of viewing the Offer Wall doesn't do much toward solving the problem, so I'm bypassing all of that and giving a rundown of the facts as they stand now. In an effort to keep the mood light, and to avoid posting yet another screenshot of the DDO Offer Wall, these facts will include incidents of Massively staff hilarity during last night's Nights of Eberron. Enjoy:

The Offer Wall launched Monday afternoon. With in a few hours, a quick-thinking community member had pulled together a post reminding everyone of a very basic fact: always read what you are getting into. Always. Do we know this? Yes. Do we always do it? No. I'm just as guilty as anyone of scrolling to the bottom of a game's EULA quickly so I can click accept and move on with my life. If nothing else, Turbine has reminded us that getting lazy about our personal security is unwise. When the Offer Wall launched, clear warnings accompanied it to do this very thing. The warnings were enough for some members to do some digging, and another post with some logs and facts came up the following day. The portion of the post that listed hard facts was extremely informative. (A semi-related note: WoW phishing emails are an old, old, old issue and not unique to the Offer Wall or any one game in particular.)

By this time, community concerns were well established and the Turbine crew was working overtime to get a handle on the situation. Turbine's Patience sent out a forum post that evening, letting fans know where Turbine currently stood in regards to the problem and revealing more details about the Offer Wall rules. Within 90 minutes, the post had gained an addendum.: "Updated: We're currently investigating the reports of privacy concerns with our new Offer Wall. That feedback has been escalated to our partners for deeper investigation. Until that investigation is complete we've taken the Super Rewards option out of the Offer Wall. We'll let you know when we have more information!"

The final call came yesterday afternoon. Marketroid posted the news that "the Offer Wall is coming down." A large portion of the community was very relieved, but another large portion completely missed an important point in the post. You see, as events progressed, concerns focused increasingly on one thing: visiting the Offer Wall on the DDO site sent out your username and the associated email to UltimatePay. Marketroid addressed that issue directly in the update post, and provided Further clarification a bit later.

That is where the situation stands now. We will, of course, keep a close eye out to see what happens next. In the meantime, I'll join much of the DDO fan base in giving a big thanks to Turbine. The situation did not turn out at all like they expected, but in under 48 hours they responded to player feedback and made the decision to undo a program that took a lot longer than 48 hours to create and implement, all the while keeping the lines of communication open with the community.

Nights of Eberron
Whew. That's taken care of and we even have some room left for the fun stuff! Nights of Eberron #2 went down last night, and was a huge hit. We took on the Korthos wilderness quests, including Stopping the Sahuagan in which Gunnar Bauerson told us to jump off a cliff, and Redemption, where we watched Lars Heyton veer wildly between defiant shouting at the Sahuagan and pants-wetting terror at their impending arrival. Most groups finished up the evening in Misery's Peak, and the first look at the dragon running below the ice floor was a memorable moment for quite a few of our new players.

Next Wednesday we'll be descending on Stormreach, so here are a few things to do to get ready. Head to Stormreach, and make sure you talk to Mari Mosshand, one of the first NPCs you'll see upon your arrival. She'll give you two handy bags for things you'll find on Stormreach: gems and collectibles. As you pick those items up in your travels, you'll find the bags invaluable for saving inventory space. Once you've done that, head up those stairs right beside Mari. Don't fall on your way up! No, seriously. You'll land in the water and have to swim around trying to find a ladder. At the top of the stairs you'll find the Leaky Dinghy Tavern, and that's where we will meet next Wednesday at 9PM EST.

What we're going to do is up in the air at the moment. Choice number one is the Waterworks, which is similar to the Korthos wilderness area, but a lot damper and ickier. It's an explorable area with bosses, kill quests, and a series of linked quests that offer up some nice XP and loot. The alternative is taking on several of the quicker quests sprinkled here and there in the beginning part of Stormreach. If you're all feeling ambitious, we can tackle both as well, so feel free to jump in and let me know!

In the meantime, pay a visit to Mari, and if you need some company wrapping up anything in Korthos, feel free to give a shout on our Facebook Nights of Eberron discussion.

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