Producer letter/October 2010
A letter to our players on Update 7
Hi everyone- The day we’ve all been waiting for is finally here! After many months of development, we are proud and excited to finally release Update 7: Half-Bloods to you, the fans who have made DDO Unlimited a huge hit over the past year.
And what a year it has been!
Update 7 comes just on the heels of our one year anniversary of DDO’s re-launch as a free-to-play game. By introducing our new take on free-to-play, DDO has rocked the MMO scene! We’ve shown that a combination of great game play and giving players a choice in how and when they pay for their MMO gaming is a recipe for success. Accolades, awards, and over 2 million new player sign-ups quickly followed.
We’ve done our part too, releasing 6 major updates to the game which have introduced 6 new adventure packs, reincarnation, guild renown and airships, epic and casual mode, tons of new DDO store items, and a whole lot more. And we are far from slowing down! We are thrilled to be able to continue to grow our investment in the DDO franchise and we remain dedicated to ongoing improvements to the DDO service. But actions speak louder than words, and I can’t think of a better way to show our dedication to the game than to talk about Update 7, our biggest update yet to DDO Unlimited.
No doubt you have already heard about many of the big ticket items in Update 7. First and foremost, we are all eager to create new characters with the new classic D&D races, the brutish half-orc and the gracious half-elf! We are also happy to offer an all new free(!) level 12 adventure pack called “Deception in Stormreach” which introduces an important new faction to the game, the monster kingdom of Droaam. Those players creating new half-orcs, or still playing characters in the early parts of the game, can enjoy a very cool new level 6 raid “The Chronoscope!” The raid is also available in epic mode for our level 20 players and has been added to a revamped Devil Assault adventure pack! The adventure pack has improved gameplay, now also supports epic mode, and more treasure drops (ahem - shroud components)! Meanwhile, the game UI has received some major upgrades, especially with the new keyword search features in the Inventory and Auctions panels. And last but not least, just in time for Halloween, we are also debuting a huge new seasonal event, the Endless Night Festival (check out the preview happening tonight on the live servers!).
Phew! That’s a ton of big things coming to DDO today! But that is far from all there is to today’s release. Update 7 is filled to the brim with a lot more good stuff . For example, did you know that the summon monster spell now has a choice of 3 monsters you can summon at each level? (tip: drag your favorite choice from the spell selection panel to your hotbar for one-click access.) Another small game improvement I am personally excited about is the revisions to the UI and graphics effects you see when you die. The system is more intuitive and it’s easier for you to still see the action even if your character is “waiting for a rez”.
Hirelings have also gotten a lot love. Bard and Favored Soul contracts are back, and also now available at in-game hireling vendors! Hireling contracts (like XP, loot and renown boosts) now have timers that pause in public areas. Hireling casters use more discretion when deciding which spells they cast. The hireling toolbars even load in the same spot you left them last time! Crazy!
There are lots more player-requested polish items and bug fixes in there too! We have more PREs updates for Bards, Wizard and Monks. Our VIP plan is also better than ever with the addition of the new races, content and a new perk that lets VIPs get access to elite difficulty in all quests without needing to play on Hard first. And, we have dealt another mighty blow to the lag-monster! And there is a lot more I don’t have space for here. Check out the release notes to see even more!
Yes, Update 7 is “the big one” for DDO in 2010. Our team has been working on it all year and we hope you have as much fun playing it as we have had bringing it to you. Never satisfied, when we aren’t wandering Stormreach with you, trying to level our new half-elves and half-orcs, the crew at Turbine is hard at work on Update 8 (a release that finishes up our 2010 updates) and is busy making big plans for the new content and features that will be coming your way in 2011 as well. We are excited to keep growing DDO on a similar pace as we did last year, and to expand the service to be a true international service with users in multiple languages playing all around the world. From all of us, we thank you for helping DDO become the leading free-to-play fantasy MMO in North America! Here’s to a great end of 2010 for DDO and a promising future in 2011 and beyond!
See you in Eberron! -(former producer).