Dungeons & Dragons Online Interview

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GB: What can we expect in terms of feats, spells, and other additions when the level cap is raised to 18? How about when the cap reaches 20?

Kate: Players are going to enjoy some amazing spells from the 9th level list, including Mordenkainen's Disjunction, which will temporarily strip all the magical properties off equipped items. We've also got the instant death spells of Weird and Wail of the Banshee, and players will be pleased that they will be able to cast Meteor Swarm (the Pit Fiends can't have all the fun!) Regretfully, Wish and Time Stop will not be introduced with Module 9, though, as the challenges in bringing them to life in an MMO still require more balance and tuning testing. We will also be filling in some lower level spells, such as the Prismatic spells, so that lower level players get some additional abilities as well.

In addition to the expected feats, players will be able to choose from a selection of Prestige enhancements that really add to the character's abilities. One such enhancement, the Paladin's Hunter of the Dead, will make Paladin more resistant to the attacks of the undead and gives any attack they make against the undead have a chance of behaving like a Vorpal Strike.

GB: Once the level cap reaches 20, do you plan on adding Epic level content? How about prestige classes? Any hints to what sort of post-20 additions we might expect?

Kate: We have lots of great plans around epic levels, Prestige classes, and more planar adventures. We'll talk about that more as we get closer to Module 9's launch :).

GB: Some of the game's earlier raids have become a lot less popular over the years, simply because a majority of the loot isn't as good as what can be found in later raids and getting raid-ready (for Vault of Night and Zawabi's Revenge, in particular) requires much more of a time investment. Are there any plans to make some of the earlier raids more enticing and accessible?

Kate: We've been focusing on creating new content, but have heard a lot of requests to update the older raids to a more accessible model. It's not planned at present, but is something we discuss on a regular basis so while I don't have an announcement on that at present, it is definitely possible we'll go back and revise them at some point in the near future.

GB: What sort of plans do you have for DDO in the coming months on the technical side of things? For example, our groups seem to be experiencing more lag recently, there are still some Windows Vista compatibility issues, and, the last time I checked, high resolutions like 2560x1600 could be picked but still can't be accepted.

Kate: The resolution issue has been fixed with Module 8, as have some of the Vista compatibility issues. Module 8 also brings support for DX10 for those players with Vista. Also, in the past week we've made some hardware and software improvements which should ameliorate certain types of lag, though the lag monster is a multi-headed beast, and we'll continue to work on it in the coming months.

GB: At one point, there were rumors that Turbine was working on a full expansion pack for Dungeons & Dragons Online. There were even retail listings for a "Dungeons & Dragons Online: Forsaken Lands". Just to set the record straight, was an expansion ever in development? If so, why was it cancelled or put on hold? If not, would you ever consider releasing some type of add-on, if only to get the game back on retail shelves?

Kate: We've put out 18 free live updates or modules over the last two and a half years, but have never done an expansion pack. At one point, we were talking with Atari about going back to retail, but decided to focus instead to getting great, fun content out to our subscribers. We do not currently have an expansion in development, but are working on some things that I think players will really like for Module 9, and look forward to talking with you more about them in a few months.

Thanks for your time, Kate!