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Dungeons & Dragons Online: Demon Sands: Module 3 Preview

DanaDana Halifax, NSPosts: 2,415Member

Carolyn Koh took a tour with four key Dungeons and Dragons Online developers and learned a lot more about the forthcoming Demon Sands module.

image Sleepy clumped around the marketplace, glaring at the Warforged lounging around the place. I put on my headphones and called in. After some initial technical difficulties (with the telephone) I entered the call and was greeted by James Jones, Executive Producer; Kate Paiz, Producer; Derek Flippo, Design Manager; Joseph Barry, Associate Designer and David Eckelberry, Lead Systems Designer as well as a couple of others who wandered in and out. Well, that answered my unasked question, "Why a conference call and not in-game chat?" Without further ado, we grouped up and were off.

In the eight months since DDO was released, there have been two major content additions with Demon Sands being the third and due end October.

The whole preview is here.

Dana Massey
Formerly of
Currently Lead Designer for Bit Trap Studios


  • ArielAriel Columbia, MOPosts: 33Member

    Is anyone who bought this game at launch still actually playing it? I seriously doubt it.
    I've played D&D for 25 years, in every edition of the game published since 1980. I own 26 hardbacks for D&D 3.5 (plus more for Modern/SW, etc).
    I started played DDO beginning in alpha 1.2 and stuck with it as long as I could. I begged them not to release it before adding more content (not to mention lots of gameplay adjustments). In my semi-professional, semi-unbiased  opinion, with this update/module, it looks like DDO is finally ready for commercial launch. I think at this point I could legitimately endorse it for purchase and play.

    Like many fans of Eberron, I've been bemused with the lack of Eberron-ness in DDO. I personally wouldn't mind if they set it in a generic (entirely made up) world. But they really shouldn't have bothered to take the Eberron setting and then ignore it completely.
    So, my main caveat would be to anyone picking up DDO wanting to see Eberron "come to life." You'll be severely disappointed. This expansion is no exception. Xen'drik is basically a lost jungle continent full of forgotten artifacts and fallen civilizations (Giants and Drow among them). To expand into the lone non-jungle area of Xen'drik (i.e., the desert) is like taking your kids to Walt Disney World, staying in one of the resort hotels for a week, but never setting foot in one of the parks. The resorts are kind of fun, I suppose, but they're not the reason anyone goes there.

    But if you don't know a thing about Eberron, or don't care, then don't worry.
    As with previous "versions" of DDO, the game is heavily skewed to players of D&D 3.0 and 3.5--if you are only familiar with AD&D or 2nd Ed., you may not enjoy DDO much.
    If you've never played enough D&D to learn the rules, then the DDO mechanics shouldn't bother you.

  • VallenarVallenar Madison, WIPosts: 124Member
    If I wasn't looking forward to the relase of LoTRO I would probably be playing this game.  For all of its faults Turbine did create a nice atmosphere within the city.  I also have to give them kudos for really listening to the player base and doing something about it.  Not every company can claim that.  While they may have started with a broken game you can easily see they are doing everything they can to fix it.  I think it will pay off for them in the end.
  • ArielAriel Columbia, MOPosts: 33Member

    LOTRO is to LOTR what DDO is to D&D. Take that as you will.

    On the plus side, just about any game will have more content than DDO did at launch. I'd love to have the perfect game (of course) but I think when you get close to $50 box +$30 subscription for 3 months of solid entertainment, you have just about got your money's worth. Obviously, if you are a very casual player, you can stretch that value out quite a bit. For comparison purposes, power-gamers should look at 2-3 weeks enjoyment out of (the original) DDO and about twice that from LOTRO. Obviously the longer you can wait to get into a game, the more there will be to do, but the farther behind the power curve you will be.

  • GorukhaGorukha WarsawPosts: 1,441Member
      People still play D&D pen and pencil ?!!!

    It's better be hated for who you are, than loved for who you aren't.

  • OdyssesOdysses Anacortes, WAPosts: 581Member
    I just resubbed.   I got a 60 day card for going to the PAX show.    Just hit lvl 11 so I will be having fun while my sub is active, if the next patch continues like the last one I will stay subbed for a bit.
  • aumortisaumortis LublinPosts: 10Member

    Originally posted by Gorukha   People still play D&D pen and pencil ?!!!
    Yeah, some do. And I still think that pen and pencil RPG beats any cRPG, including MMO :) especially in terms of interaction with world which is pretty limited in cRPGs ;)
  • EndemondiaEndemondia SalfordPosts: 231Member

    I loved this game for 2 months before retiring to my favourate online game.

    I miss the combat system which is the best I have ever come across in any online game (primarily because it is way more fun without boring old auto target which is uber naff).

    I was toying with the idea of returning but in my humble opinion all the added features come across to me as making the game worse not better. I had 7 characters (2 accounts with one max level cleric) so would call my self hard core and yet none of the expansions make this game any better except the feature to move items between characters.

    What this game really needs is random (instanced) dungeons.

    Not only would this be true to the spirit of Gygax's D&D but it would have solved the problem of very low content

    (...yeah I did nearly all missions 10 plus times yawn...always the same and very repetitive. Only the different team members made this at all exciting.)

    Random dungeons...if Diablo 2 can do it and Dungeon Runners will too then why could Turbine not figure out this obvious solution. I would still be playing now if every time I entered a dungeon there was still the chance of the unexpected where as the reality is that doing it once or twice ok but doing it 3 times on different settings (easy, medium and hard) was frickin pointless, just like City of Villains!

    The servers will remain empty (certainly compared with DDO's release back in Feb) and for any one still still playing...enjoy.


  • jamidonaldjamidonald Lincoln, NEPosts: 5Member

    This game was a major disappointment to me.  Dodging Magic Missiles? Please.  I will never buy another Turbine game.

  • RekiemRekiem LisbonPosts: 39Member

    Originally posted by Gorukha
      People still play D&D pen and pencil ?!!!
    way better then the online game :P



  • oakthornnoakthornn Browns Mills, NJPosts: 862Member

    I played D&D for years and read most of the Dragonlance/Forgotten Realms/Ravenloft and even non TSR Fantasy Novels.. DDO was the biggest pile of trash of an mmog I've ever played..And I played almost every MMO to date..Its a shame to because some of the features in DDO were actually pretty cool..I loved the fact that the mobs could actually think and had abilities based on their race and clas origins of D&D..The encounters overall were kinda fun the first time around.I liked how it wasn't just a spamfest rinse and repeat combat system like every other MMO.. But the biggest problem with DDO is quite obvious and still 8 months later hasn't really been recitified..  Here is what makes the game horrible..

    The only way to progress in the game is to find npc's that will give you quests..U then accept the quest and run like a puppy dog to the sewer,ruins,cemetary,etc which is 30 seconds away from u to complete the quest..Once the quest is completed,you move on to another quest basically rinsing and repeating..THERE IS NO FREEDOM IN DDO.. And after reading about the newest expansion,there still isn't absolute freedom to do what u want and make your own mark in the world of Eberron.. I have to admit tho,this new expansion should excite and make current players alot happier..Because the game up to this point was just horrible.. I like the PVP idea,this should entertain those who desire pvp.. But the only thing keeping DDO from platinum status is all the restrictions the game currently has right now.. Open up the world of Eberron and allow players to explore new lands,cities,towns,etc.. Don't make EVERYTHING instanced..Its the dumbest thing about DDO..And no,I'm not the only person who believes this..Its what the other 100,000 ppl who were so interested in DDO a year ago believe as well..Its why they are either playing Vanguard Beta,went back to EQ2,and WoW...


    For your next expansion how about putting in some "NON INSTANCED CONTENT." Add a continent filled with towns,cities,fortresses,castles,etc to explore..Give the players some freedom of finding their own way in Eberron and allow them to truly adventure new and uncharted lands..Allow players to interract with one another and not just restrict this to taverns and the small city.. Allow players to fight monsters and gain in exp without making them be on a quest to do this.. If you want to make this an experiment,then just do this with one continent to see which players prefer..I guarantee 99% of the players would rather play on a opened up area allowing us to be free,interract with other ppl,fight and do as we please,as opposed to being restricted to have fun..

    Rallithon Oakthornn
    (Retired Heirophant of the 60th season)

  • RexfelisRexfelis Phoenix, AZPosts: 40Member

    Module 3 is really good for D&D Online. I re-subed after playing other games for two months to play it. I recommend that those who enjoyed DDO before try the game again. Don't think of DDO as a game that you will be playing 5 days a week for many months. Instead, log on and pay to play as long as it is fun then cancel and wait for new content and fixes before you resub again. It works for me !

    Module 3 content is not for players who are used to rushing through dungeons without using any strategy at all. You need good teamwork for these level 11 to 14 dungeons and the death penalties for these new levels are harsh enough that non-social, non-guilded, instant gratification-style players are unhappy with it. Make some friends that are good players. Join a guild with good players. Learn to play your class as part of a team and think before you attack. There is almost always a wizard spell that needs to be cast at the enemy before you attack that will help you survive. Give that wizard a chance to save your character's life. You have been warned. Welcome to the advanced stage of D&D Online.

  • MIDN3rdCMIDN3rdC New Haven, CTPosts: 1Member

    Turbine has really disappointed me, and I have as of today cancelled my sub for the game.  Not only did they seem to bug out whenever they patch for new content, their decisions on respecting is horrible. First off, MOD3 should've never been released on the day it was.  Too many bugs too little care.  Second off, the respect cost not only an arm and a leg but could be even somebody's job.  They changed the spec of things yet make the casual gamers suffer, did they forget its those casual gamers bring in the big bucks for the company?!  Wish them best of luck and hope they start making some good decisions instead of bad.  I'm sure they'll see sub count drop dramatically sooner or later and realize that they have screw up.

  • SupertoddSupertodd Loves Park, ILPosts: 3Member

    In PvP play, players will not gain nor loose XP.

    You can't loose XP, but you can lose it.

  • EightyFourEightyFour Sacramento, CAPosts: 4Member
    I liked the way that DDO did all of their art and animation. Their game design left a lot. I'm glad to see that they are improving it. I like the addition of the PvP, even though it is resricted. But I can understand that not everyone want's to play a PvP game. So I think they handled this mostly well. I haven't played the game sence I quit back in April. But with this I'm looking into coming back. We well see, gonna do some poking around see what I can find out.

    I liked the addition of the auction house. Now I don't have to get up at 3 in the morning just so I can buy some sword that no one else has. I haven't heard anything, but I think Turbine is letting the players set their own amounts. So you don't run into the problem of people just not putting items on the auction because they don't want to sell it that low.

    Even though it maybe a small issue compared with the three listed, I still don't see cloaks visualy displayed on the character, or at least that's what I'm told. I just don't understand how cloaks could be so hard. They are not hard to model, is there some kind of memory issues with the character's having a cloak on?

    Most of the community asked for cloaks and they haven't been devlopred nor was there any word on them, like if they are even on the list. I would say that it's pretty important issue when most of the community, like in the high 90 percent asks for something. You listen and at least say we have it on the list but we don't have a date, something to let the community known that they have been heard. It's like talking on the phone and you expect a responce and nothing comes, so you say hello a few times, and maybe wait a couple of seconds, but after that you hang up. Or in this case you hang up the game.

    That's called listening to the community, however I still give them points for addressing some of the more important issues on the table.

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