PAX East 2010 – Dungeons & Dragons Online Update 4 Impressions

by: Tina -
Turbine has committed to a total of 6 new updates for this year in Dungeons and Dragons Online. Update 3 has already been shipped for its February release date and will provide the purpose of making DDO more casual for those players who need it to be. The introduction of the new casual difficulty setting and the discarding of the leveling sigils will all see to that. Turbine wanted to be sure to offer players the option of buying modules when and as they see fit, all while ensuring that the new content and new dungeons are there for grabs.

Hit the jump to read on about the next update Turbine has planned for DDO players.

Update 4, the spotlight for PAX East this year, is a whole new adventure pack scheduled to be released on April 9th. It will introduce DDO players to a storyline with a chain of 5 quests that can be completed under 5 different difficulties, including the new epic difficulty. (Subscribers will have early – and at no extra charge – access to this pack on April 5th). For players who have reached the level cap, epic difficulty will drop level 20 weaponry that contain augmentation slots to make their battles worth the effort.

Entitled The Sentinels, the adventure pack includes a few new additions and updates. Updates to guilds will allow guild members to earn status that will come to fruition with various rewards. One such reward is that of the Guild Airships (see my PAX floor capture below) that will allow players to add decorations and amenities including storage, a mailbox, and an in-airship auctioneer. The rewards and amenities can be purchased with either in-game coin or real-life coin, giving you more leeway to spend your money how you decide to.

By the end of the year, Turbine plans to introduce a new race, as well. Players of the original Dungeons and Dragons will recall the half-orc that had bonuses to strength. The introduction of this race to DDO will make it the strongest character you can play. Combinations with Barbarians and Fighter classes will make the best of this new addition.

The content itself revolves around the House of Deneith, which is run by the Sentinels of Stormreach. The Sentinels are made up of an elite group of mercenaries who generally undertake missions of good nature. In this particular storyline, the Sentinels have been hired to deal with a gang of pirates called the Bloodtide. The pirates in question have been hijacking and selling the stolen goods on the black market, and are soon realized to be a force to be reckoned with as they wage attacks on the Sentinels. Who else but the players can now lend a hand?

Setting your travels toward the Black Loch brings you to your encounter with said pirates. However, players will soon make an encounter with another enemy: the necromancer that is in league with the pirates. Therein Turbine introduces one of the new enemies in this update: the zombie pirates. Zombie pirates can move at full speed, wield weapons and cast spells. These are no typical, slow-minded zombies.

I am then led across to the next quest, entitled “Storm the Beaches.” In this quest, three NPCs will propose three separate plans as to how to wage your attack against the pirate fortress. This makes group endeavors interesting, as you can split up into different attack groups and meet back at the fortress. The Captain of Deneith will suggest the up-front, guns blazing method of approaching with his warship. The spy prefers using the secret passageway he has discovered that will lead into the fortress. This path is laden with enemies, but you won’t be encountering the zombie pirates. Finally, the Archmage insists that teleportation to a secret underwater entrance is the best direction. If you choose to go his route, you’ll find yourself in various mishaps given the fortress’ protection against teleportation magic.

Using the teleportation effectively in an old save file, I am introduced to another new enemy: that of the water elementals. They can be nefarious little fiends, especially when grouped up with cold damage.

Before heading on to the climax of the chain, I am taken on a guide through the optional quest available, by the name of Blood Road. It consists of level 8 enemies, and is heavy in traps and puzzle elements similar to the experience of The Pit. The 3-dimensional platforming puzzles you will encounter require a lot of jumping skill to traverse the dungeon.

Finally, the climax will take you to the Sentinel Tower that has been overtaken by the Bloodtide. After fighting your way up the tower, you’ll catch your first look at the Crimson Moon – the pirates’ airship where Captain Tew (pirate leader) is based. Of course, what happens after is left up to you.
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