DDO has a lot of different kinds of monsters. A lot! Apparently, creating the art for a monster is the hardest part. Or at least, the most expensive. Meaning that once we get a monster in the game, it is pretty unlikely that we will get other versions of the same monster.
In fact, modeling a new monster is so expensive that we commonly get developers copying an existing monster, making a minor tweak to its abilities, and calling it a new monster even everyone knows better. And yes, I am looking at you Vine Horror, we all know that you are just a Troll that was given an Acid Blast spell, you can stop pretending.
But strangely, there is an exception. Only one, but still the one exists. Shadows have been around since Necropolis II, which I think was 2007? A perfectly good monster, Shadows look like floating vaguely-humanoids that are surrounded with an ever-present cloud of inky darkness, like an undead Pig Pen except much more menacing. On a successful melee hit, Shadows drain Strength. But that’s okay, they are supposed to; that is how they’ve always worked.
Turbine even followed the monster-copy/paste playbook with Shadows, creating Quells from the same model and template, but painting them white and removing the cloud of darkness. A Quell is just a Shadow with some new powers.
They even used to explode the same way when you defeated them. They don’t explode any more, I think the explosion was removed as part of a lag-reduction pass. Too bad, exploding them was the best part. And it made it easier to tell when they were defeated, something that is not always obvious when you encounter them in a dark, tangled group. But regardless.
Then suddenly we got the Shadowfell Conspiracy expansion pack. And it had Shadows, as you would expect from the name, except they were all-new Shadows. Completely different, both in appearance and in action. Not a copy/paste at all, this is an entirely new monster. Even though the first Shadows are still around and still work perfectly fine.
The new Shadows no longer drain Strength, but instead have an all-new behavior: they can turn completely flat. Two-dimensional. Just like a real shadow, flat on the ground. In Two-D form they can scuttle about behind and between things and are very difficult to hit.
An interesting and very literal interpretation of the word “Shadow”. Highly creative. And very, very different.
Once the new Shadows existed, they too went through the monster copy/paste process, resulting in Shadow Puppeteers and Shadow Stalkers. And maybe others, I forget; the Shadowfell is just full of the things.
Two different monsters, same name, same role. Did someone forget that Shadows were already in the game? Or was the new Shadow idea so cool that they decided to put it in regardless?
The new Shadows are indeed pretty cool. But so are the old ones.
There are other monsters that come in multiple flavors; for instance, Kobold casters seems to be a different model than other Kobolds. There may be more than one Hobgoblin. And I am probably forgetting other examples. Nonetheless, I am pretty certain that this is the only monster in the game that comes in two distinctly different versions.
Both types are Undead, both are Incorporeal, both are equally capable of being significant pains in the ass although in entirely different ways.
Shadows. Or, Shadows. Which one do you prefer?
🙂 😀 🙂