This week, Turbine is set to release their latest Module update for Dungeons & Dragons Online: Stormreach. JR “Razor” Sutich and I had the pleasure of getting a sneak peak of what is in store for the upcoming module.
Our tour begins outside the gates to the every taunting zone “The Twelve”. I remember getting the chance to see this zone once during beta. The tower was immense, but the members of the Twelve were off living in a world above our meager comprehension. With this the Coin Lords decided to seal the gates. Here we are two years after the closing of the Twelve and the gates are opening once again. Apparently, The Twelve have realized that had erred and now are in desperate need of our help. So with my level 16 Paladin and JR’s Ranger we are lead into the newly opened Tower of the Twelve. The dust had barely settled in on the new renovations including a tavern and vendor shop.
Oh you noticed that I mentioned level 16 characters, well with this module update once again the level cap has been raised to level 16 also affectionately known as rank 80. Not to mention the XP death penalties are no more. Also of note we learned that Solo XP amounts have increased from 50% to 80%, helping new adventures level faster. This is some great news as players are sure to re-roll toons in Module 7 to try out the Monk class.
So while we are in the Tower of the Twelve we learn about missing members of the Twelve and a little bit about the planes. Immediately, we head out towards the Vale of the Twilight which is one of the largest adventure zones in DDO. And I have to say one of the most spectacular zones. Having gone through some dark times with battling Undead and the Abbot, it is refreshing to wander around trees and butterflies. One of the things, Senior Producer Kate Paiz pointed out to us with the horizon. We were standing on a cliff staring out across the value and in the distance you could see the tree line. Now if you have played The Lord of the Rings Online you may have noticed this effect. The Vale of the Twilight is the first area to introduce the tech into DDO, and I have to say it really does look great. Now you may be say “butterflies” in DDO, this is an outrage, well let me be the first to tell you that you will come to appreciate them.
As with other adventure zones the Vale of the Twilight is riddled with explorer and slayer quests, along with a handful of dungeons. One key difference in Module 6 versus previous modules is you must complete a series of quests in the dungeons before you are flagged for the raid adventure. There is an important story being told here and you really need to make sure you understand what is happening or all. In a nutshell, once every three thousand years there is a perfect eclipse. This eclipse is of all thirteen moons and the aligning of the Vale and the nature plane Lammania. However, this time a powerful enemy Arraetrikos wants to make a slight change to the normal outcome and disrupt the conjunction and realign the Vale with his home plane of demons and devils, making himself more powerful in the process of course.
We popped in and out of several of the dungeons and getting a feel for new features, more powerful creatures such as bearded devils. Of course, the Troglodytes and Gnolls think they should help out the cause. We are introduced to several new tribes that like to worship demons and devils.
The dungeons are interesting in that you must find the dungeons while exploring the landscape of the Vale of Twilight. No NPC to send you to the dungeon. In each of the dungeons you are working on finding one of the missing members of the Twelve. Now I remember in my old Pen & Paper games, we always had to walk through a dungeon carrying a torch. This was a feature the developers always wanted to implement, well they grinded out the code and the content to make this happen and on enter the dungeon “Rainbow in the Dark” one member needs to carry a torch (well a scepter that has a light spell on it). I was the lucky one to pick up the scepter and off I went. Our party was fighting a group of rust monsters and I ran forward to fight the next one near me. All of the sudden I hear “Get back here! I can’t see”. Yep, I had gone too far with the light and our Wizard was in the dark. It was funny as all get out.
All of the dungeons work at having new features or improved features and great story line. And based on the “Rainbow in the Dark”, I have to say they did a great job of succeeding.
After saving all of the missing members of The Twelve, it was time to put a stop to Arraetrikos evil plans. So into the Shroud we went. The Shroud is the raid portion of the module and I just have to say “Awesome!”
One thing that makes this raid different than previous raids is that you can see the entire area you are battling through. So in standing in stage 3 you can actually see where you have been. Oh the great outdoors 🙂
So entering in the first stage we are presented with a Gauntlet where we must fight off waves of Troglodytes, while trying to destroy the portals.
The Gauntlet offers a nice homage to the arcade classic that I used to have rolls of quarters sitting ready to go with my friends. In this homage, we see the dead party of four in front of the first portal. On each of their bodies is a relic item that is very useful during this stage. The plus side here is that each of the items is awesome power, but the downside is that they are only usable in the Gauntlet.
So we start battling wave after wave of portals and Troglodytes as they appear making sure not to be too slow at taking them out. One wave we were a bit slow and face to face with the Orthon. Now he is bad enough, but our guides warned us that if you really decide to take the slow road even more trouble comes as the master of the portal will visit. However, I will leave the details of the portal master a surprise for you. Oh and if you do get the pleasure of meeting the portal master, dispatch him quickly.
Finishing off the last of the portals we are able to move forward to our just treasure for running the Gauntlet. A couple of chests and a rather weird looking device almost like a squished Beholder. Our tour guides proceeded to explain this intriguing device. It is called an Eldritch device. Opening the device up I was presented with several slots where I could put items in. Having looted the chests, I had received a few items that were labeled usable by an Eldritch device. Now to understand the mechanics of this device I was handed a Green Steel Warhammer and a few components. Sorry, I am going to keep it a surprise on what I was given to use. However, a small hint for all you old time Asheron’s Call players: Remember the days of figuring our spell recipes? I so loved trying different tapers and such. On the bright side with over one thousand recipes and thousands of combinations, we don’t have to worry about our unique character taper.
So, I insert my warhammer, my new components, and click the Forge button. The Eldritch device starts closing, makes some noises and spits out my Green Steel Warhammer with some really nice properties added. Our illustrious guides tell us that we will visit another of these later and we will get a chance to see more of the devices abilities later and how the power shards required affect the outcome of the item.
With me new Warhammer in hand, we are off to visit the next stage of our raid encounter. Here we pay homage to the days of Pac-Man. Our party enters into the building spread out and we must find our way to the center. Wandering around in almost a maze like fashion we all get to the center we come across a crystal and some mean boss creatures. Did I mention mean? Yeah after getting pummeled to the ground a few times, JR and I were able to discover what needed to be done. Of course the devs were enjoying watching the torture and helped up achieve the goal of the area. And you ask why this area homage to Pac-Man is? Well what do the ghosts do after they are beaten? You will see!
After making it through the stage we were able to retrieve our rewards and a much needed rest. No Eldritch device, here but we were told that we would come across one in after the next stage. We are teleported into separate rooms that are much like cells. Inside the cells are what appear to be a puzzle and a fountain. We are warned that we need to make it through this stage quickly before the Prismatic Wall starts circulating. Not to mention once we make it out of the cell, we are annoyed (painfully I might add) by flying blades. On the plus side, no monsters attack here. This stage is very a fun challenge and taking a rogue with you can make the challenge a bit less difficult. With the help of the developers we solve the puzzles and are able to retrieve our rewards, and as promised we are able to use another Eldritch device. I am given a few more components, this time slightly different in the power source and items. Putting all the ingredients in along with my warhammer, I once again start to forge a new and improved item. And wow was it improved.
Of course the developers informed us that we would next extra power as we were heading into the next stage of the raid. Here we get to meet the big guy himself (Arraetrikos), and man is he mean, I think he was like a CR28. Basically you go through waves of fighting him and his friends that are willing to sacrifice their lives for him. Not to mention a few bearded devils. They are neat looking, but man do they pack a punch. Arraetrikos at times will take flight and soar over you casting one of the new spells, Meteor Swarm. In the end, you just don’t feel like you beat him and head off for rest, relaxation and a bit of treasure. Now we are up to the final stage and all great adventurers must make the ultimate sacrifice to save the Vale and all of Eberron. As you lie helpless, you see Arraetrikos preparing the final stage of the alignment with the eclipse. Here you must battle the extra powerful pit fiend and all that he throws at you. Once you win, you are again able to reap your rewards and the final Eldritch device in the Shroud. Again, I was given the necessary items to upgrade my warhammer and let me tell you I can’t wait to have one of these for keeps! Have you ever seen random lightning strikes? Yeah cool stuff.
With the world saved, we are taken back to the tower of Twelve where we are cheered for our valiant work and receive favor with the Twelve. I also picked up a small ingredients bag, which I missed earlier and was told that I with more favor I will be able to use the tower Eldritch devices and receive a large ingredients bag.
With our tour finished, we thanked our tour guides Kate Paiz, Adam Mersky, JW Barry, Jesse Smith, Troy Pruyt, and Greg Yungman for taking time out of their busy day to take us on a tour of Module 6.
Module 6 is the best so far and Turbine doesn’t have any plans on stopping there with Monks coming in Module 7 and the mysterious Module 6.1 coming for the 2nd anniversary. I did hear a rumor that makes it a good idea to have your subscriptions active for Module 6.1.
Module 6: The Thirteenth Eclipse is set to go live on January 30th with 14 new spells, an increase in level cap to level 16, 5 new dungeons, the largest outside adventure zone to date, 1 new raid, new favor faction with rewards, the removal of death XP debt, and more of which I am positive I am missing.