ZAM learns the dirty details of DDO's 13th update... and more!
Menace of the Underdark
Executive Producer Fernando Paiz gave us a glimpse past update 13 at what DDO players can anticipate for the expansion, "Menace of the Underdark." Long story short: different editions with companion creatures, dragons, and the druid class! DDO has a lot to offer come this summer… and ZAM has the scoop!
Starting us off right away, Fernando spoke about the launch date of the expansion. "The launch date is June 25th, 2012" he said, "When we said summer, I don't think our players could have imagined the fifth day of summer!" The pricing options come in three varieties: basic, standard, and the limited collector's edition.
The basic edition will run for $29.99, include a lesser tome of learning, the three expansion packs, and the Demonweb Spiderling.
The standard edition will sell for $49.99, include the others before (except a greater tome instead of a lesser), the druid class and the challenge pack (both also for VIPs), the druid wolf pet, and the spider cult mask.
The limited time collector's edition will have all of the above for $79.99, as well as both the greater and lesser tomes, veteran status 7, 2000 extra Turbine points, the Onyx Panther Cub, a melee combatant, and an epic spider mask.
Now first, what are these tomes? The lesser tome of learning will come with the basic expansion pack and will increase all experience gained from levels 1-20. Furthermore, it will increase all experience from the first dungeon on a character by 25%! "This is a permanent boost," Fernando said, "and stacks with all other experience boosts, like those from DDO store items or server events." The Greater Tome of Learning is more of the same; 20% experience from 1-20, and 50% in the first dungeons a player explores. It is for those who preorder the collector's edition; but Fernando mentioned that lesser tomes can be upgraded in the DDO store as well, so players do not need to shovel out the full $30 extra for the collector's edition if they want speedy leveling!
As for the content, the Turbine team warped me to a serving server to show off their biggest achievement: new dragons! "It's odd," Fernando said, "We haven't been asked too many questions about the dragons that are coming! I thought we'd be asked a lot more, especially after I teased people with the Chinese Year of the Dragon! Some dragons are around the same size we have currently, but we have two new types of dragons: the red and the green. The red we've seen in the game but this is a new build. We've added some new technology that will allow us to make new and adjustable dragons faster than before. But the red dragon is the first we've brought back over because it is pretty much our mascot!"
Spoiler alert: Gnomon's ultimate employer...
"Compare the red to the green (outside note: the green dragons in the testing area were AT LEAST twice the size of the largest red dragons). We've fought red, white, black and blue dragons before, but never the green. And the green is the size of a fully grown elder dragon. This should give you a size of the field of ranges we're using on our dragons!"
Leaving the dragon breeding area (for my own safety, Fernando assured me), we tried out a "wolf trick;" aka, the druid class! "This character here is a druid wolf! He can run around with wolf form and let you do so too!" Indeed, my character had turned into a wolf, with unique attack animations, dances, and a new avatar. Fernando also informed me that druids get to summon a wolf companion, and run around with a pack; actually, the more in a pack, the more bonuses the druid receives. Outside the shapeshifting, druids can call down offensive magic and heal as well; making them a pretty powerful class overall. As for availability, Fernando noted "the druid class will be available for all our VIPs. Even if you're currently subscribing but don't want to pre-order the expansion, you can still play the druid class!"
While not explicitly stated, I feel like "Lolth" is "LOL"ing at your efforts to save Eberron
After fooling around as a druid wolf for a bit (including seeing the swimming animations, which were based off true dog recordings), Fernando returned to the subject of the expansion options. As mentioned before, the tomes of learning offered a nice benefit for leveling up to 20 and preparing players for the next 5 epic levels added in the expansion; and the companion creatures also were brought to the forefront. He also mentioned the "Figure of Wondrous Power" from the collector's edition; this item summons a level 18 onyx panther melee combatant that should be useful up through level 25 if a group is missing a member.
If all that doesn't whet your appetite for the "Menace of the Underdark" expansion, nothing will! Keep checking back on ZAM as June approaches; we'll be sure to add more details to the expansion and cover what it coming up in updates and releases!
Paul "LockeColeMA" Cleveland, Staff Writer