Happy 7th Anniversary DDO Nation! We’ve been together a long time now; in some US states we’d be common law married! With that, my name is Erik Boyer, also known as ‘Producer Glin’ and I am the Senior Producer on DDO. I myself am starting on my seventh anniversary here at Turbine, working on DDO. I have worked with an amazing team over the years as we took DDO thru its many evolutionary changes and recently expanded into the Forgotten Realms. Supporting both the Eberron and Forgotten Realms’ Campaign, we now have a vast array of options for stories and environments and we are excited to continue delivering classic D&D adventures for you for another year.
This is going to be another amazing year for DDO and I am excited to get to share with you some big news on our plans. Just last week, we launched Update 17 where we got the chance to go back to Gianthold and give it a refresh. We managed to put some giants into Gianthold, not to mention more dragons and that infamous Dracolitch we’ve been talking about since year one. It’s challenging but also exciting when we get the chance to update beloved DDO features to make them even better, and you’ll see that happening on a few different fronts this year. On that topic, I know what you all want to hear about! And yes, its true, – we’ll be overhauling our bug reporting tool with updated functionality to help us capture even more of your problem details and feedback, and process them more efficiently. With that news, I know now, you are thinking, “that sounds really good… but I was sort of thinking of the rumors of an updated character enhancements system.” And I also have great news to share on that!
Work on the new enhancement system is well underway and it will be heading to its first public beta this spring. In its current iteration, each class has at least two prestige class paths. The UI, similar to the Epic Destiny tree, will be a long awaited simplification to planning your character build, but more importantly, the goal is to make better choices more accessible for both new and advanced players in the heroic levels. We are planning an extended beta for this one. We’ll be doing multiple trips to Lamannia and lots of player events to give us all an opportunity to try it on various characters and gather lots of feedback.
Another area where you will see several changes is in the introduction of more uses for Astral Diamond shards throughout our game. Volume 3 of the monster manual, which is now available as of Update 17, not only offers a chance to earn your own beholder pet, we also now let you earn direct-to-pocket Astral Shards. In the near future we will add more ways for you to earn free shards as well as some compelling new ways to use them to enhance your DDO gaming experience.
As I have always said, one of the strengths of DDO is great adventures to undertake and that is why I am most pleased to announce DDO’s second expansion titled ‘Shadowfell Conspiracy’ coming this summer! We are turning our attention back to the Forgotten Realms and we are taking you to some new regions in Cormyr. We will be taking brave heroes, level 15 and up, to a foreboding prison city to the south east of Eveningstar called Wheloon, and high up into the Stormhorn Mountains, north of the high road.
Shadowfell Conspiracy will have more than just new quests and regions, we will also be raising the level cap to 28 and providing something often requested by fans: faster access to the Forgotten Realms! With a new prestige character feature we are calling Iconic Heroes; we think we have an innovative solution that will get you right into the Forgotten Realms starting at level 15. Each of these Forgotten Realms born characters will start as a race class combination with new racial abilities. I can’t wait to tell you more about these characters in the coming months.
Later in the year we have some other great stories planned and we plan to focus our attention on the True Reincarnation options and update the system to work for Epic level players. Epic True Reincarnation would also introduce a new completionist track. What would two more stat points do to your TR character? Well, stay tuned this summer for an update on our development progress!
There’s a lot more to talk about, and my heart races as I am selectively sharing just hints of what we already have in development! This year is going to be another great year for DDO - with a big, cool new storyline, new D&D monster varieties and powerful new character abilities. We will start communicating more about enhancements and other content very soon. Of course I can’t end without one last bit of awesome upcoming news: I have seen the first rendition of the owlbear monster and I can assure everyone this thing will go from mysteriously acquired pelt to fully animated encounter before long.
Thank you for the many years of fun and feedback, and especially for the many PUGs you may have run with me during that time, and in advance for the next ones.
Happy birthday DDO and community