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Turbine makes 'biggest announcement since free-to-play' for Dungeons and Dragons Online

Rubi Bayer, @@rubi_

The Dungeons and Dragons Online developers have been enjoying the game's success, and things are running smoothly, but fans know that doesn't mean the team's been kicking back and relaxing. We've had content updates regularly, and not just little token patches but rather new adventure packs, new races and classes, the addition of crafting, and much more.

Have you enjoyed the past year or so in DDO? Well, hang on to your hats because we spent some time chatting with Eric Boyer and Fernando Paiz and... well, those updates aren't the only thing the developers have been working on.

Click past the break to see what's about to take DDO by storm.

DDO's anniversary brings Update 13

Let's start with DDO's upcoming sixth birthday. The date is February 22nd, and Turbine will be celebrating around that time with the launch of Update 13. Update 13 will bring a lot of exciting additions to the game, including a cosmetic pet system. Much like last year's crafting system introduction, the cosmetic pet system will be rolled out over time. As Fernando explained, "Those are things you'll see rolled out over time. We'll have a few options at first, and then we'll introduce a whole stable of different little pets that players can collect or try to earn or find. There will be a few different ways to get them. They're all really fun and cute DnD critters."

Pets aren't the only thing on Update 13's agenda, however. The update will bring a new adventure pack that opens the door to a new storyline. Best of all, it's free! We'll hear more about that -- and have an in-depth look here on Massively -- as the date draws closer, but for now, it's time to move on to the next part of DDO's plan for 2012.

Menace of the Underdark

Get ready to move beyond Eberron because this summer will bring DDO's first-ever expansion: Menace of the Underdark. This premium expansion will take DDO players into the Forgotten Realms. The expansion's storyline will set up your travel there, and you'll enter the land of Cormyr to take on the demigoddess Lolth. Lolth and her faithful followers, the Drow of the Underdark, form an epic, challenging storyline with familiar landmarks to longtime DnD fans.

Oh, there was one other small note from Turbine: Druids will be released along with Menace of the Underdark. Yes, you heard right; Druids are finally coming to DDO. It will be a shape-shifting class with various available animal forms.

Level-cap increase

The expansion is extremely exciting, but the DDO crew had a few more surprises up its sleeve. As Fernando Paiz told us, "The content that [Turbine will] be introducing there is going to be part of [the] epic-level expansion for characters. [Turbine is] going to introduce levels up to 25, and those will be epic levels."

Players will find plenty to do to achieve level 25 not only within Menace of the Underdark but in Eberron as well. Turbine's keeping mum on that at this point but promises to "find ways for all that to stay relevant."

This is, of course, only a brief outline of what Turbine has planned for 2012, and as you can see, it's pretty huge. As the first half of the year progresses, we'll be working closely with Turbine to take an in-depth look at each new addition to the game, so keep a close eye on Massively as Eberron gets a big shake-up!

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