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The developers over at Standing Stone Games have recently announced the Masterminds of Sharn expansion for their long-running MMORPG Dungeons & Dragons Online. You can already pre-order the expansion from the official website, but if you'd like to learn a thing or two about it prior to that, you can now check out a couple of developer interviews.
First, there's a video interview on the Strimtom YouTube channel where a number of SSG developers share plenty of Masterminds of Sharn-related details. Have a look:
Then, there's also this MMO Central interview with SSG's Rob Ciccolini and Jerry Snook where they talk about the upcoming DDO expansion, and then follow that up with a fairly beefy The Lord of the Rings Online discussion. An excerpt:
MMOC: Masterminds of Sharn. How’s that going for you?
Ciccolini: Fantastic. So there’s been a lot of excitement over it and it’s been doing very well. The servers are up, a lot of people are in playing Tiefling, and a lot of people are in playing the Inquisitor tree. There’s a lot in it and being able to fire a crossbow in each hand is pretty cool.
MMOC: Dual-wielding crossbows sound pretty cool. I built a character that’s a paladin/rogue/artificer… no, paladin/ranger/artificer to be able to conjure bolts and use crossbow, but if I could do dual-wielding crossbows, that sounds pretty badass, I have to say.
Ciccolini: It’s also nice because the conceit is that you know how to modify light crossbows and so you equip a light crossbow and it just works if you had one in each hand. But it gives a use for light crossbows and heavy crossbows, which had gotten overshadowed by great crossbows and repeaters for mechanic artificer.
MMOC: And you’d mentioned the Tieflings, and they’re playable right now in-game. Now, I did actually look at them in Lamannia [the DDO public test server] the first time they went up. Have there been any significant modifications to them since they’ve been on Lamannia?
Ciccolini: I think we changed the skin palette to be more inclusive, extra colors, and we may have more horn options. We fixed a lot of the animations too.
MMOC: I did notice at the time that you could only do the Tiefling Scoundrel as the iconic class and you had the fiddle or violin variant there and I’m like hmm, that looks kinda familiar because it came over from the other side. Is there the concept of possibly bringing over more musical instruments from the other side on in or is that the basic notion of having the bard class just be able to play the fiddle as an alternate to the lute.
Ciccolini: Attaching the fiddle to the race was something that was special for Tiefling, unlike LotRO‘s rich sort of musical system, DDO does have bards but having alternate animations for various instruments is something that would be cool, but not something that we have plans for. The fiddle was iconic for a character of that bent, so we wanted to go with that in terms of that. And that was all animated fresh, so if it looks like the LotRO one, I think that’s just because, well, there’s only so many ways you can play the fiddle.