A slow clap for the new patch
Once again the series of tubes that make up our beloved internet are filled with the bits and bytes of a new update/patch, flowing their way to production servers (and soon to game clients), bringing digital joy to all the world’s DDO players.
Or at least some new and different stuff for us to complain about.
The official release notes are not posted as I write this, but the latest Lamannia notes (posted here) are almost always the same as the released version.
So let’s take a look at what awaits us when the servers reopen this afternoon. The bullet point summary of the new release:
- New Warpriest enhancement tree for clerics
- New Sagas and Saga quest givers
- Mabar is coming and has been tweaked
There’s more of course, probably a dozen changes to enhancements, and a couple of the ever-present but inexplicable miscellany-type changes.
A collection of bugfixes too, nowhere near as many enhancement bug fixes as are needed, but they hit what are probably the most critical: raid completion counters, and being able to kill Pale Masters with light spells in public zones. Although really I like the idea of lighting up the Pale Masters. Nasty lot, that, and deserving of all the light we can give ‘em.
This will be a popular addition to the clerical enhancement line; so many people like battle clerics. Me? Meh. I liked the extra resilience that I was able to give my occasional-cleric Brymn, I am not that good at playing him and every extra bit of survivability is a plus. But the Protection enhancement tree is gone now, and my hand is forced.
I think we can assume that the new tree will contain at least some of the defensive aids that existed in the old tree, but clearly not all, and offensive melee DPS is not interesting to Brymn in any way.
But my personal opinions matter only to me, and I remain convinced that this will indeed be a popular change.
I like the idea of sagas: group a bunch of related quests into a larger story arc and then provide motivation for players to run it in entirety. It is a good idea, and I’m glad it exists and is being expanded.
But I am a bit nonplussed by the specific saga choices represented in this patch. Some of the quest choices do not seem very related. Or even related at all. Maybe I am just bad at the finding-things-in-common game? Look at this list of quests and see if you can find the common story line:
- Beyond the Rift
- The Lost Thread
- Trial by Fury
- The Deal and the Demon
- Reclaiming the Rift
- Lost in the Swamp
- A Stay at the Inn
- Rest Stop
- End of the Road
- Through a Mirror Darkly
Did you find it? Am I just being obtuse and difficult?
Most of the rest are similar, a seemingly odd assortment of Faerun quests thrown together, often having the same quest in more than one Saga. There is only the one Eberron saga, Gianthold, although there are both Heroic and an Epic versions.
Overall, I like the Sagas, and these are fine, but I think they could be improved by having more Eberron sagas, less quest overlap between sagas, and more of a cohesive storyline behind each saga (unless of course there is one and I am just too dense to see it).
Monsters in Delera’s graveyard have changed: there are less red-names, no giant skellies, and new monsters that aren’t undead (shadar-kai? Not sure what, but something). Okay. I guess. But sometimes different is just different.
A bigger change, the Shadow Dragon now drops something called a Signet of the Endless Night when killed. I am not certain if this is instead of the usual dragon scale or in addition to. I suspect in addition to, since the scale is needed for so many Mabar item recipes. Plus, the release notes specify that one may only earn one signet per day.
These new Signets can be traded in for some interesting new loot:
- +6 tome (Limited to one per character)
- +5 tome (Limited to one per character)
- Cosmetic Hat: Jack-O-Lantern
- Cosmetic Hat: Mabarian Head-Spider
- Ruby of Ghostbane Augment
- Ruby of the Vampire Slayer Augment
- Ruby of the Endless Night Augment
- Enchant Weapon: Festival Solar
Hard to argue with +5 and +6 tomes. And I wonder what the augments do? Apparently Delera’s Graveyard will be crowded again this year.
All in all, definitely a patch worth having, but I surely would like to see more effort put into fixing bugs. Some of these bugs are just so annoying. It is hard to understand why we needed things like “Lots of updates to the Enhancement Icons!” and “Checking the mail in Eveningstar just got better” when things that effect everyone like the zoom wheel remains broken, and half my guild mates have to log in twice to play the game at all.
If only I was in charge