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Page 2 of 3GB: You've already made some references to a Module 9 update, too. What will Module 9 bring to the table and what sort of timeline are you looking at for its release?
Kate: Module 9, currently slated for our 3rd anniversary, will feature a bunch of great changes, some of which we are sharing and some which we are keeping mum about at present.
We'll definitely be continuing the infernal invasion storyline by taking the players to Shavarath to fight the Devils on their home turf. Players will make friends of old enemies once again as they make their way across the battle scared ruins of the Plane of Battle to once again deflect the expansionist tendencies of the Devils.
Module 9 will also increase the level cap to 20. We're looking forward to players enjoying a full suite of standard abilities, 9th level spells, and a variety of rich enhancements.
GB: What new raids will be introduced in Module 8 and Module 9? Any chance you can give us an example or two of new raid loot being introduced in either of these two modules?
Kate: Well, Module 8 doesn't include a raid we heard from a lot of players that raids as the only end game wasn't ideal, so we are giving those who don't love raids a break in this module with a final dungeon that is a very challenging 6 person adventure. Module 9 will definitely include a fantastic raid (hope you like a whole lot of Pit Fiends and Horned Devils) and we've got some great raid loot to go with it. These raid items will not leverage the crafting system that is something for M8, but in M9 we are focusing on more traditional named raid items that instead combine to greater heights. Some of the high-level Enhancements players can get at level 20 will also stack with the raid set bonuses to give even greater benefits.
GB: How is work progressing on the Druid class and the Half-Orc/Half-Elf races? What advantages will these new additions offer to players?
Kate: Work is going well :). The Druid class will feature classic abilities, like shape-shifting, and we're very excited about getting it out to players sometime mid next year. The Half Orc and Half Elf will be coming sooner, probably in Module 10, and will also echo their classic, D&D player handbook selves. Everyone is very excited about the Half-Orc's +2 strength bonus as well as customizing their tusks.
GB: During Gen Con, it was mentioned that we'll be visiting other planes of existence in DDO sometime in the near future. Which planes do you have in mind and what types of environments, adventures, and creatures will we run across there?
Kate: We've been enjoying the alternate realms for some time, and players will be able to really dig deep into Shavarath in Module 9. Shavarath will come with a celestial host of Archons (like the Solar Archon), a demonic host including some old favorites like the Marilith, Efreeti, and Djinn, and an infernal host of Barbazu, Orthons, Pit Fiends, and Horned Devils.
The planes feature both the environmental hazards that you would expect out of them and also appropriate monsters to give players good variety and challenge in addition to the Eberron based adventures. Players can travel to Dal Quor in the Prison of the Mind, to search through a 3D maze of traps and monsters for the Mistress Orphne. Risia, Fernia, Lamannia, and Dolurrh (among others) also pop up in various places, especially in Prison of the Planes, where players must journey into the alternate planes to collect orbs to help thwart the Stormreaver the first time.
GB: Green Steel crafting was introduced in Module 6 and expanded a bit in Module 7. Do you plan to expand crafting even further with new items and potential effects? If so, are there any examples you can give us?
Kate: Module 8's loot system allows players to craft armor in addition to the accessories and weapons they were able to get from the Shroud eldritch devices. Players get three types of runes from the adventures in the Reaver's Reach, and can apply one of each type to a +5 armor blank appropriate to their class type. The trick is that players don't know which effect will be applied by the rune they've got, so there is a chance that as they explore the system they'll come across something they don't really want. No big deal, though, because they can just overwrite with another rune of the appropriate type. Once they've gotten the right effect from, say, the Tempest rune set, they can move onto maximizing the eldritch or sovereign runes.