DDO: Menace of the Underdark

Dungeons and Dragons On-line: Menace of the Underdark (DDO:MotU) is the most recent enlargement for DDO.  It’s also the primary paid enlargement for the sport in DDO’s six yr historical past.  There have been many extremely acclaimed and really profitable Dungeons and Dragons RPGs over time however these video games have had each other factor in frequent apart from the D&D title model: All of them befell within the Forgotten Realms.   The Forgotten Realms marketing campaign setting could be very expansive and acquainted to pen and paper D&D gamers. This reputation is because of supply guides and novels written by Ed Greenwood and R.A. Salvatore and the long-lasting characters they created to populate the realms resembling Greenwood’s Elminster and Salvatore’s Companions of the Corridor.  The richness that the Forgotten Realms can present as a backdrop is one thing that DDO by no means had, till now, and what many thought-about to be DDO’s deadly flaw.  Over the past 6 years DDO has taken place in Eberron.  Eberron created a world that’s inhabited by typical excessive fantasy creations but additionally has machines and airships which are powered by magic.

DDO: MotU actually bridges the hole between Eberron and the fan favourite Forgotten Realms marketing campaign settings.  The group at Turbine has completed a great job at weaving a story that includes components from D&D cannon that enables them to create a pathway anchoring one realm metaphysically to the opposite.  Traversing this pathway is the place characters will begin their journey at the start of this enlargement.

 

Aesthetics: 7.5

There are two totally different purchasers you may obtain to run Dungeons and Dragons On-line.  You’ll be able to select between a regular mode which is DirectX 9 suitable or you may select the excessive decision consumer which is DirectX 11.  Six years in the past when DDO was first launched it had very good graphics and helped set the usual for what an MMO may do; nonetheless in 2012 DDO is beginning to present her age.  With video games like TERA and The Secret World presently in the marketplace you’ll not be enjoying DDO as a result of it appears to be like fairly.  Taking that into consideration the brand new metropolis of Eveningstar does do a good job setting the temper for Cormyr and distinguishing itself from Stormreach, whereas nonetheless reaming true to the DDO really feel.  Two of DDO’s vital options nonetheless stay in MotU: Voiced Dungeon Masters to set the temper for no matter occasion you’re in and the great ‘ol 20 sided die to point out you your rolls.

Gameplay: 7.5

Taking part in DDO has at all times felt just a little like steering a ship at sea.  You at all times appear to run just a little quick and coast by your goal or wander as much as it very tentatively so as to not crash into it.  Whereas the management mechanics should not completely infuriating they could be a bit annoying after some time.  If in case you have ever watched a bunch member miss a bounce for the 10th time in a row you’ll begin to perceive.  They’ve a talent for that although (leaping).  Since we’re on the subject of expertise, DDO has loads of them.  In addition they have a ton of feats.  The abilities and feats which are finest suited in your class should not at all times apparent on the early sport so you may count on to reset your talent factors a time or two in your journey.  I used to be by no means in a position to actually discover anybody that was severe about crafting in DDO although you will see loads of crafting supplies in your journey.  They’re readily ample.  The fight additionally seems like a precursor to the newer TERA.  Even when you wouldn’t have your goal chosen when you level at them with a melee weapon and swing you’ll hit them and deal injury.  DDO was one of many originators of true motion fight and it’s nonetheless enjoyable at the moment.

Innovation: eight

The normal stage cap in pen and paper D&D is 20.  The builders at Turbine needed to create a intelligent strategy to transcend this incumbent barrier.  To do that they created Epic Ranges which elevate the extent cap to 25.  A single stage in DDO equals 5 ranks, so basically 1 stage in DDO equals 5 ranges in some other MMO.  They got here up with this rank construction earlier than the unique launch to present a way of development in your character between leveling. For Menace of the Underdark they’ve give you an extra leveling system for Epic Ranges.  These 5 further Epic Ranges let you unlock epic destinies in your character granting you the flexibility to personalize your character to your playstyle.  There are 10 totally different destinies and every have their very own set of talents that over time each character can unlock.  Even after you attain the brand new stage cap of 25 you’ll not be losing your expertise.  You’re additionally allowed to maintain a capability from as much as three different destinies whilst you work on unlocking a fourth.  These are referred to as twists of destiny.  These twists of destiny may grant barbarians the flexibility to have self heals.  Whereas not essentially optimum it’s practical and permits gamers to tailor their very own particular person character.

The druid class can also be being launched on this enlargement.  The druid is a robust caster for D&D lore.  In DDO your will likely be allowed to shift into 6 totally different kinds as the principle crux of the category mechanic.  There two bear kinds, two world kinds, and two caster kinds.  Within the caster kind you may select between water and hearth.  When you are in hearth kind you’ll strengthen your hearth spells and weaken your water spells and vice versa in case you are in water kind. It’s a category that performs fairly properly, and really uniquely from others within the sport.

 

Polish: eight.5

The sport runs actually easy. In spite of everything this time, how may it now? Within the time that I’ve performed DDO I’ve not run into any bugged quests or cases and none of annoyances I noticed are particular to the MotU enlargement.  The sport does have extraordinarily lengthy load screens and when you do load into an space it’s normally a minute or extra earlier than you may transfer.  Throughout that point you may spin round and take a look at issues however you can not transfer ahead, backward, or aspect to aspect.  You’ll be able to spin like a prime all you need although.  I’ve additionally examine server lag on the boards however I by no means skilled this for myself.  I’ve seen Turbine take their servers down to repair points however they normally have them again up and going once more with just a few hours and they seem like very proactive in attacking server points when they’re recognized.

Longevity: 7

Like most MMO’s DDO has a handful of hardcore loyalists that play day in and time out and will likely be round for a very long time.  This enlargement affords the loyalists a brand new world to discover, and if Turbine retains their promise of an aggressive replace cycle, loads of new content material to come back within the Forgotten Realms for the subsequent few years.  Nevertheless new and informal gamers could possibly be actually delay by this enlargement.  If a brand new participant decides to buy the bottom enlargement they are going to be caught leveling by loads of the Eberron content material that they most likely didn’t like to start with.  If an individual needed to play in Eberron they might already be enjoying DDO.  They might not have waited for an enlargement that takes them to the Forgotten Realms to start out enjoying the sport. Whereas I perceive that builders need gamers to understand the mechanics of the sport, they need to merely pressure new gamers to run by the fundamental tutorial to study their class, and never by 16 full ranges of Eberron.  The free to play choice and epic destinies do add to the video games longevity and assist offset this rating.  Additionally after you have bought the enlargement the content material is yours to maintain and you may stroll away from the sport for months, and in some circumstances even years, and return to play your character everytime you need.

Social: 7

Stormreach was once filled with lots of people that needed to let you know play your character or how they may beat you at PvP in a bar brawl.  With the introduction of MotU that is not the case anymore.  Turbine did one thing actually sensible as a bonus with the enlargement pack and it’s having the impact of gamers being very nice to different gamers.  Forcing gamers to run by 16 ranges of content material in Eberron after they actually wish to go to the Forgotten Realms is a nasty thought, and Turbine is aware of this.  As a way to soften this leveling curve you may have your character bestowed with a Stone of Expertise.  These Stones got to gamers who buy the enlargement.  It’s the reward for utilizing these stones on different gamers which have turned could be grouches into benevolent mates.  The third time a participant makes use of the Stone of Expertise they’re granted a Snow Panther Cub creature companion.

 

Worth: 7

There are two choices to buy Menace of the Underdark.  The Base version contains the three Forgotten Realms Journey Packs, the Epic Destinies, and a Lesser Tome of Studying which grants your character a bonus 10% expertise factors the primary time finishing a dungeon.  The Commonplace Version contains the contents of the Base version plus 1000 Turbine factors (which is roughly $10 USD). It additionally contains Veteran Standing Stage four, which lets you immediately make a stage four character, a Larger Tome of Studying which grants 20% as an alternative of 10% expertise achieve, and the DDO Classics pack which grants entry to among the previous Eberron content material that you would need to buy with Turbine factors, and naturally entry to the Druid class.  If bought individually the druid will value at the least 1000 turbine factors and never be obtainable till August.  These costs for a free to play sport with an elective VIP subscription appear a bit steep.  In the event you plan on shopping for the druid at any level you should buy the Commonplace Version.  The Base version will find yourself costing you extra in the long term.