My DDooooommMM-ish outlook from yesterday is gone. Today I am standing straight and tall, soaking in the moment. For today, today we are eight. Eight! Can you imagine? Back when DDO was in its infancy and facing upcoming releases from Conan, Vanguard and Lord of the Rings, it was hard to imagine that the game would make it for eight years. But it did.
And again, when it seemed (to us) to be winding down while Turbine was secretly converting it to the Fremium model, again, no way I would have imagined it would make it this far. But it did.
Eight! Who’d a thunk it?
Change is scary, because it is so different, and no one can tell in advance if it is going to make things better or make them worse. Change is the most scary when things are going well because things are already going so well; the better/worse probability scenario seems unfairly tilted towards worse.
DDO is no different. Changes are always coming, they always frighten us, and sometimes they do indeed make things worse. But unexpectedly often, the changes have resolved to be for the better.
We discussed one such change earlier this week; female Halflings run much better than they did before the change. This one is a perfect example in that it was not necessary at all, was supposed to be a difficult fix (all art and animation work is supposed to be extra difficult) and then in spite of that, change. For the better.
And now, in no particular order, here are ten of my favorite DDO game changes. Some of these are incredibly minor, some relatively major, but all of them are changes for the better:
The new interface for vendors and crafters is far superior to the previous methods which can be best described as “a thousand clicks and lots of hope”. Barter windows are faster, less error-prone, and far more able to show you all of the choices available from that vendor/crafting station.
Now you can see what you want and simply select it.
Desert Crossing Duration: Ten Minutes
When this quest was first released it had a 30 minute duration! Thirty minutes! The only reason anyone ever ran it was that you had to in order to get to the Desert; it was the only way. You did what you had to in order to complete it once and then never attempted it again.
Now it is a pretty fun quest with good loot and XP for the effort.
Obscuring Mist no longer prevents all visibility
One could not really cast this spell as it totally obscured all visibility for everyone except the monsters.
Now it casts a smoky fog that is still translucent rather than inky blackness that is impenetrable.
This was a huge change, and also a very early one, but for most of DDO’s first year, there were only city instances and quests. And taverns. And nothing else.
Now we have lots of very very large adventure areas. I imagine one could cap without ever running a quest.
House Phiarlan ponds no longer slow movement
Perhaps the most minor change on this list but still a welcome change. It used to be that running through House P would inevitably mean running through pools of water that would stop your movement and require either super-slow wading, or continuous jumping to stay above the water. Very annoying.
Now House P has magic water that offers no frictional resistance whatsoever. Some sort of elvish Teflon water, you slide right through like it is not even there.
Fog of War in Adventure Areas
When Adventure Areas were introduced, Fog of War was never removed for more than three sessions worth of exploration. No matter if you cleared the entire area, if you ran three sessions (in any adventure area, not just the one you cleared) you’d lose all that clearing and have to do it again.
Now, once you hit all of the area’s exploration points/scrolls/voiceover triggers, it clears completely, and stays that way indefinitely.
UI Layout Save/Load
So many times my screen has been a jumble of seemingly-random hot bars and UI artifacts. So many. But now, once I get it the way I want it, I can save it, permanently.
Now I can tame my user interface even on a brand-new character by simply loading a saved UI layout.
Air Jets in Coalescence Chamber
Something about this quest seems to encourage separation. Especially in a PUG or when showing someone new, inevitably, someone falls And with the way the quest was structured, one must wander back through the entire quest to reunite, dealing with respawns and so forth the entire way.
Now, you still have to climb manually once, but then you can enable the air jets. Lost players can simply jump on them to climb most of the main shaft and reunite your party. No more having to solo the entire quest just to catch back up.
Potion timers pause in public
This one seems like such a no-brainer in retrospect that it is hard to imagine that XP and renown and slayer-boost potions formerly continued counting down even while you were in public instances. But they did.
Now, they do not.
Bravery Bonus & First Time Completion Bonus
I wasn’t going to include this set of changes because they are part of a grander change away from emphasis on the Heroic levels and encouraging emphasis on Epics; changes in game goals are more sweeping than the kinds of changes I am including here. But then I remember what it used to be like when you wanted to power-level your character: E/H/N/N/N/N/N/N. At least four and more likely 8-10 runs in a row through the exact same quest. Ick.
Now you can level as quickly without repeating the same quest at all.
I have more but I can’t make sense of some of the other ones I’ve got on my list. I’ve been keeping this list on a post-it note that is now five or six years old and shows every minute of its age. Some I can’t read at all, others no longer make sense to me (what does “entry UI levels now dynamic” mean?).
And besides, ten seems like a good number. An anniversary top-ten list.
Happy Birthday DDO!
🙂 😀 🙂