Dungeons & Dragons Online - August 2022 Producer's Letter

Following the relatively recent release of the Isle of Dread expansion for Dungeons & Dragons Online, Standing Stone Games now brings us this Producer's Letter that highlights some upcoming updates for the long-running MMORPG. The standout features there are a number of new class archetypes and an overhaul of the game's take on the Temple of Elemental Evil adventure.

Check it out:

Greetings! For those of you who don’t know me yet, my name is Amanda “Tolero” Grow and I leveled up to the rank of Producer this year, after previously working for Standing Stone Games in Community, Commerce, and other behind-the-scenes roles. You can read more about me in my introductory Producer's Letter from February!

I’ve had a lot of fun watching everyone play the Isle of Dread expansion content so far. After all this dinosaur hunting, now we’re going to turn the tables with an updated ruleset for our new season of the Hardcore permadeath league “A Dangerous Game”. The hunters are now the hunted, mwuhahaha! The Hardcore League tests your ability to quest in Dungeons & Dragons Online without dying! You can read more about the Hardcore League on DDO.com, and our sixth season runs until the morning of October 24th. We expect to continue our periodic seasons of Hardcore in the future, and we look forward to reading your thoughts about this season on the DDO Forums and elsewhere! Good luck to everyone being hunted!

In my last Producer's Letter I mentioned new character build options that would be coming later this year, and today I'm here to share more with you about our plans. Archetypes are a new way we’re adding soon to play a class type. So for example, you can play a Cleric, but now as the Cleric archetype called “Dark Apostate”, which takes a darker look at the traditional cleric role. These archetypes can be almost anything - they can have different enhancement trees, spells, feats, special abilities, and past lives - and are meant to explore tons of unused design space for our existing classes. We'd done some of this in the past through Universal Enhancement Trees, but Archetypes give us much more room to create into, and we expect to see the debut of many more archetypes in the future. Our first set of three archetypes debut in Update 56, and are as follows:
  • Dark Apostate (Cleric): This undead-shrouded channeler focuses on Negative energy and darker magic.
  • Stormsinger (Bard): This archetype focuses on the magic of music along with Sonic and Electric-focused spellcasting.
  • Sacred Fist (Paladin): Play a handwraps-using Paladin that combines Ki with Holy energies!
I encourage you to try out these new Archetypes on our Lamannia preview server!

Update 56 also gives us the opportunity to take a fresh look at our classic adventure pack Temple of Elemental Evil! We’ll be making some changes to the heroic version, and also adding support for Legendary levels. We've heard from you over the years about some of the tougher and more confusing parts of Part One and Part Two, and we'll be breaking up these exceptionally long dungeons into a series of smaller quests! Now you can make progress in the Temple without feeling like you have to go back to the drawing board if you can’t get through it all in one sitting. We're also looking at some of the more difficult boss encounters (looking at you, Zuggtmoy...) and updating the entrance to the temple, among other things. Expect to see this work soon on Lamannia!

Temple isn’t the only classic DDO thing getting some love. I'm excited to tell you about changes coming in September to our Crystal Cove event! This work will make it easier for players to get into Crystal Cove, and we’ve identified some changes to improve performance during the event. No more gathering Treasure Map pieces and waiting around for the mining challenge to open. Instead you can simply open the door to the Kobold challenge as long as the event is running and you have a Treasure Compass to enter! You'll be able to turn in your old map pieces for doubloons. Speaking of doubloons, you'll find them randomly in chests while the event runs, and you'll have a chance to get a Treasure Compass whenever you defeat new “Ghost Champions” that can appear in dungeons whenever the event is active. We'll have more information on Lamannia and elsewhere as we get closer to the event!

Looking later into the year we are working on a new adventure pack for Update 57 that continues the story of Peril of the Planar Eyes! Morgrave University has learned more about the Planar Eyes, and so has the Hidden Hand, the cult in Eberron that now worships Vecna! Race against time to claim the remaining Planar Eyes and learn more about the secrets of the Codex of the Infinite Planes, while thwarting the plans of others seeking the same treasure. Players can also expect our typical seasonal events of Night Revels and Festivult to round out the year.

Thank you for reading, and I'll have a new letter for you when we are ready to unveil our plans for 2023!