Dungeons and Dragons Online Update 20 Review
Dungeons and Dragons Online has been cranking out quite a bit of content set in the popular Forgotten Realms setting. Starting with Menace in the Underdark and continuing through the Shadowfell Conspiracy, a number of long time players have been vocal about the lack of new content for the original Eberron setting for the mmorpg. Fans of fantasy steampunk can rejoice in that some new Eberron content is released in Update 20 and is free-to-play to boot! So how does Update 20 fare with the seasoned adventurer? Read on for our Dungeons and Dragons Update 20 review.
Update 20 for DDO is not as big as other updates released by Turbine, and this is no surprise as it comes on the heels of the Shadowfell Conspiracy expansion. Still, it does add two new adventures (Brothers of the Forge and A Study in Sable) as well as changes to the game's reincarnation system and a new eldritch knight enhancement tree. The interesting thing about update 20 is that the content is spread across both fantasy settings found within the mmo, with one adventure set firmly in the Forgotten Realms and the other in Eberron.
Let's take a quick look at the non-adventure additions found in DDO's Update 20. The eldritch knight enhancement tree is available for both sorcerers and wizards. This tree adds some martial punch to the normally frail classes as casters can empower their weapons with magical energies that deals spell damage through physical attacks. Reincarnation gets a facelift as well in this update. Players will need to travel to the Hall of Heroes, which can be accessed through both Stormreach and Eveningstar, to undergo reincarnation for their characters. Kruz, the npc that handled reincarnations in the past and found in House Jorasco, has moved to a higher plane and gamers will now have to speak to the Life-Shaper in the Hall of Heroes. There are multiple modes of reincarnation, depending upon the player's need, and include Iconic True Reincarnation and Epic Reincarnation.
For me, the meat of Update 20 for Dungeons and Dragons Online are the two adventures. I'm a new content junkie and I'm always game to play a new adventure. The first adventure is Brothers of the Forge and is a CR 28 dungeon. This adventure is set in Eberron and shows how the warforged became such powerful warriors. There's quite a bit of lore found in this adventure as well. The quest is pretty straightforward, but I do recommend bringing additional weapons as you'll be banging on metallic creatures like crazy and you'll wear some weapons out. Overall, this is a solid adventure and fans of the Eberron setting should really enjoy it. Personally, I'm not the biggest Eberron fan and prefer the emphasis that Turbine has been placing on the Forgotten Realms setting. This is to be expected as the Forgotten Realms is the most popular, and most used, setting in the D&D game.
This brings us to the shining jewel in DDO's Update 20: A Study in Sable. This adventure finds the player entering a creepy mansion and working to destroy a vampire lord who is rising from his bonds. The situation is complicated in that the vampire, Lord Sable, has had guests brought to the mansion and is enthralling them to serve as his slaves. I can't praise this adventure high enough. This CR 26 adventure has the players talking to the various guests to find out which one is enthralled at a particular time, while also searching through the mysterious mansion in search of the various objects needed to break the enchantment. The adventure progresses in day and night cycles and as time passes, closed off sections of the mansion are opened for exploration. Some rare monsters can also spawn as well, such as a flesh golem on the roof that resembles the Frankenstein monster and is actually named Wollstonecraft. The layout of the mansion is incredibly well done and looks fresh and original despite using standard setting elements. Another bonus for this adventure is that the victims and item locations are randomized for enhanced replayability. I particularly liked the nod that was given to the board game Clue when a servant said, "Someone attacked Sir Ebermund in the conservatory with a knife!" I admit that this made me laugh when I saw it within the game.
Update 20 for Dungeons and Dragons Online is on a smaller scale than previous updates but does pack some punch. Eberron fans will be glad to see that they haven't been forgotten and the A Study in Sable adventure is simply superb. (Other mmo games should take note how that particular adventure was designed). All players will get some benefit from the updated reincarnation system as well as the new enhancement tree for wizards and sorcerers. Overall, a very solid content update.