DDO: A Look at Module 7 Part Two – Beyond the Monk

Today, Tuesday June 3rd is an important day for fans of Dungeons and Dragons Online as the game, an MMO based on Wizards of the Coast’s smash-hit pen and paper game. Today, you see, marks the launch of the game’s newest Module (their word for update). Module 7: The Way of the Monk, as the name implies, adds the Monk class to the game. While this is certainly the addition that is getting the most attention, the new class isn’t all that Module 7 has to offer.

In a previous article, we talked about the addition of the new class, but now I want to talk a little bit about Module 7: Beyond the Monk.

During a recent tour of the new Module, I was taken through Three Barrel Cove. TBC (my clever acronym for Three Barrel Cove) is a name that might be familiar to players and former players of the game, but what you might not know is that in Module 7, the challenge rating 5 (which means that it’s appropriate for a party of level 5 players) gets a brand new facelift.

The developers looked at Three Barrel Cove and replaced a good deal of the landscape and added three new dungeon areas. Add this to the four that were already in (and still are after the update), and you have yourself an ever-growing area.

Fortunately for me, my play session wasn’t limited to TBC and jumping around doing kick-ass ninja moves with my Monk (seriously though, the Monk animations are really cool). We also took a quick romp through one of the new dungeons. Say what you will about Dungeons and Dragons Online as a whole, but you really have to admire their ability to create an interesting and engaging dungeon. I won’t give anything away really (I don’t want to spoil things), but it always feels to me like DDO’s dungeons are well thought out and appeal to a part of me as a gamer that’s tired of just smashing things all the time, grinding their bones to make my XP. DDO consistently presents interesting traps and puzzles to go along with the killing and making of XP and Module 7 is no exception. Now, I remember that I promised not to give too much away, but I’ll say this: When you find the guy in the giant cage that seems to be hooked up to a frightening and magical Tesla machine… Fry him at least once. It’s worth it just to hear him complain.

In the end, I think my favorite part of the areas that the developers had me running around (including TBC) was the theme. A place like TBC just wouldn’t feel complete without pirates to go along with it. No worries on that front, Turbine took care of the pirate detail, but they did it by adding a “pirate template” to some of their pre-existing models. Now, by pirate template, I mean that they gave some NPCs a piratey look (you know, bandana, that sort of thing). I was amazed at how much of a difference a wardrobe change could make. While you might not notice at first that the costumed NPCs and mobs are adding to the feel of the zone, there is a subtle difference that I appreciated. I would also like to say for the record that there really isn’t anything funnier than seeing a Warforged in a pirate bandana. Trust me, it’s worth checking out.

DDO’s Module 7 will also see the addition of a number of new monsters. As usual, these critters are familiar to players of the game’s pen and paper forefather, but perhaps none moreso than the dreaded Sahaugen. These sea-people prove as formidable an enemy in DDO as they do in the live version (and I know, my group’s DM has an odd obsession with that race).

As long as we’re talking about monsters, the Sahaugen isn’t the only new mob of interest. This new module will also see the introduction of Living Spells. Now, Living Spells are pretty much exactly what their name implies. They are spells that have gained a kind of form and sentience. It’s a pretty cool concept that Turbine represents well visually. What really interested me about the Living Spells was the fact that the Turbine team went into their game information and found out what spells had been cast most often in the area;. Those are the spells that gained sentience and became living spells. This, I was told, was done to try to reflect the players’ contributions to the game world.

Well, that pretty much wraps it up for me in terms of this preview. After playing through some of this new material even I, who was unimpressed with the game at launch, have to admit that it’s come a long way. If you’re one of those people who counted this game out in the beginning, I suggest you go back and take a peek, you might like what you see.

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