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Eberron and beyond: Seven years of Dungeons and Dragons Online


Dungeons and Dragons Online has always been a strange creature in the realm of MMOs. Ever since its launch, it decided to veer off in its own direction instead of following the rest of the pack. It brought back complicated character creation, somehow worked the arcane rules of D&D into an MMO format, and put a huge emphasis on group instanced content instead of world exploration.

Then when Turbine turned DDO into an experimental platform for a successful free-to-play model, suddenly the rest of the industry was following DDO instead. Virtually overnight, a small-teetering-on-extinction MMO became a modest hit well into its lifespan.

As DDO celebrates its seventh anniversary and looks back on the past year, let's look at how this odd duck of a game continues to surprise and delight gamers. Join us as we consider the journey that bridged the gap from last February to this one -- and see if, just maybe, DDO is calling you to roll its dice once more.

Eberron and beyond 7 years of DDO
Menace of the Underdark

Nobody was more surprised than we were to hear that Turbine decided to release DDO's first expansion over six years after the game had launched. Then again, Menace of the Underdark was all about surprises: It crossed over into the Forgotten Realms campaign setting, added the highly demanded Druid class, raised the level cap, and added epic destinies for even more character growth.

With the expansion came a new score by Chance Thomas. We spoke to Thomas about his focus for the soundtrack and followed up with a preview of several of Menace's tracks.

Eberron and beyond 7 years of DDO
Update 15: Song of Druid's Deep

Fleshing out the expansion content was an obvious priority for the studio, and Turbine quickly did so with Update 15. A really cool adventure line featuring a mysterious plant-based plague sucked players into a thorny conspiracy, and there was a new challenge to boot.

Perhaps the most interesting addition that came with this update was the brand-new monster manual: an achievement system that rewarded players for exterminating and hunting down specific mobs. The manual would get another addition with Update 17.

Eberron and beyond 7 years of DDO
Update 16: The Netherese Legacy

Update 16 became another solid, meaty content addition to the game. It focused on the Forgotten Realms setting by adding a "generous helping of adventures" and a wilderness area while also fleshing Druids out with their own epic destiny line. Once again, Massively was on the scene with an in-depth look at the update, complete with developer commentary.

Eberron and beyond 7 years of DDO
Update 17: Return to Gianthold

For its final update of the year, Turbine decided to return to the pastures of Eberron instead of solely focusing on Forgotten Realms. Update 17 revised the area of Gianthold, added a new epic-level raid, and added a new volume onto the monster manual.

We sat down with the developers to tour through Update 17 prior to its release and enjoyed several screenshots that gave us a feel for the new content.

The studio also announced around this time that it was building and testing a Mac client for DDO, although it's not yet made it to an "official" launch.

And that's it for a busy, busy year! What were your favorite Dungeons and Dragons memories that you'd like to share on its seventh anniversary?

Massively's not big on scored reviews -- what use are those to ever-changing MMOs? That's why we bring you first impressions, previews, hands-on experiences, and even follow-up impressions for nearly every game we stumble across. First impressions count for a lot, but games evolve, so why shouldn't our opinions?

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