May 252015
 

Turbine, Inc.
For what I believe to be the first time ever, we have a second Producer Letter within a single calendar year, both from the same Producer!

We’ve had years with multiple letters before, but always to introduce the latest new DDO Producer. Frankly, that hasn’t gone all that well. But this is different, this is more information, not different information, and from the same guy that gave us the information last time.

That last sentence seems a little chaotic, let me take another run at it: I am pleased that our new DDO producer Severlin has managed to remain the DDO producer long enough to create two consecutive producer letters. We haven’t had that for awhile. Good for Severlin, and more importantly, good for DDO.

But enough about the letter itself. What did he say?

Greetings!

It’s been extremely busy and fun for us here on the DDO team this year and we feel the time is right to provide an update on some of our plans over the next few months.

We’ve made some excellent strides to reduce lag and improve stability, and we are continuing to work towards these goals. One of the larger projects that we are working on is a transfer of our game servers and other hardware to a new data center. The new facility will provide both Dungeons and Dragons Online and our friends over at The Lord of the Rings Online with more stability, greater CPU power, and a better networking capability. This will complement our ongoing efforts to reduce lag. It’s a big project and as the year progresses we will be working toward a date where we will migrate to the new datacenter.

Hard to see anything but good in this. If you are satisfied with Turbine’s current hosting arrangements, then all I can say is you must not play on Ghallanda.

Update 26 is coming in June, and it will focus mainly on a new class; the Warlock! Warlocks make pacts with powerful otherworldly patrons and channel that eldritch power into powerful blasts and arcane spells. The Warlock can choose a pact with Fiends, Archfey, or even a Great Old One. The Warlock will also have three enhancement trees; the Tainted Scholar, the Souleater, and the Enlightened Spirit.

I am not all that fired-up about the Warlock. Partly because they are mainly an evil class, and I am not an evil player. But mainly because we already have most of the capabilities of this class inherent in existing classes. Nonetheless, a new class generates excitement and there is plenty of forum buzz about this one.

Interesting that they are going to have an entire update containing nothing but the new class. No content. Just Warlock. Which would be bad, very bad, except:

Update 27 will follow in July. It includes an all-new adventure pack that returns to Shavarath, showcasing the Archons’ side of its endless war. With your help the Gatekeepers have gathered enough Mysterious Remnants to continue their research. They’ve tracked the Remnants back to Shavarath, the Plane of Battle. You need to travel there to recruit the help of the Archons in unravelling this mystery. The Archons, however, will only aid those who are worthy, and you find yourself embroiled not only in their tests, but in their eternal struggle with the Devils and the Demons. This adventure pack will include three new dungeons and a new raid, and as usual will be free to VIPs.

Ah hah! We begin to see the larger story behind the Mysterious Remnants! And more new content, which is the best part of any DDO update! And only one month behind the Warlock update.

This looks to me like they were simply not going to be done with planned stuff in time for a June release. And rather than shortcut everything and push it out anyway (the plan of choice for nine years) they are pushing back the release date. Calling Warlock “Update 26” seems like a clever way for the team to hit their promised deadlines while at the same time gaining additional schedule time so that they can wait and release a quality product. Maybe? Hopefully? Quality?

It could happen, right?

We’ve also been hearing your feedback that you’d like an improved experience when using the DDO Store, and we’re happy to say that we’ll be introducing a new store in the near future! We expect the updated DDO Store to offer a streamlined experience when making purchases and many other improvements. We’re planning to start rolling out the new DDO Store to players later this summer. You will still be able to purchase Turbine Points with a credit/debit card, PayPal, and a wide selection of alternate payment methods. We’ll have more to say about the DDO Store as we get closer to its launch.

Okay, everyone who has been flooding Turbine with demands for an “improved DDO Store experience” chime in here.

[Crickets]

No seriously, raise your hands, make some noise!

[Crickets]

At least murmur in agreement?

[Crickets]

Yeah that’s what I thought. But regardless of the duplicity that may or may not be inherent in Severlin’s statement, it is hard to get too up in arms over DDO Store work. The game has to have an income.

We’ll have more updates this year as well, of course. Players will be able to increase their character level to 30. We’ll have more adventure packs for you. We’ll have an Epic and extended version of our popular Shroud raid and a new adventure pack that relates to the Vale of Twilight. Players will be able to use an updated and epic version of Greensteel to craft more powerful gear. We are excited to bring this content to you!

Thank you for being a part of the Dungeons & Dragons Online community, and we love hearing your feedback. It’s been a pleasure to talk to everyone here, and we hope to see you in-game for a long time to come.

Robert “Severlin” Ciccolini

Taking a quick look at Severlin’s State of the Game letter from earlier this year, I don’t see anything missing; this is not an attempt to walk back earlier promises. It is truly additional contact, provided (one assumes) purely to clarify the back-to-back release schedule coming this summer, and reassure Ghallanda players that yes, something is being done about their traumatic situation.

Wow. Developer-to-player communication. Nothing new, nothing taken away, nothing bad. Not “damage control”, just communication. From a DDO producer of all things!

Who’d a thunk it?

🙂 😀 🙂

  4 Responses to “The Year in DDO (According to Severlin)”

Comments (4)
  1. Severlin will probably be DDO’s Producer indefinitely. Sev was promoted from Asheron’s Call, of which he was the Producer for a number of years. This may not bode well for DDO, as Sev has a history of being put in change of Turbine games with a shrinking player population (e.g., Asheron’s Call).

    I am glad that Update 27 is visiting the Archon side of the Plane of Battle, as this is what I suggested on the forums several times last year. We have the loose ends of the Mad Archon cave and whatever the Yugoloths are keeping behind those prison gates in Amrath, so Update 27 could fill in those parts of the story which have been mysteries for years.

    Both the DDO and LOTRO game Stores are getting face lifts, so this move is something Turbine decided to do internally and not because of any specific problem with the DDO Store.

  2. Regarding the store: I’m actually hearing complaints/seeing forum posts about this all the time, you must’ve missed those. “Improved store experience” is probably just a politically correct term for “a store that friggin’ works more than half the time”. Hopefully.

    I also hope this means that they fix the error where they block certain accounts from using the store, but after all the time that I spent on that error, I’m not holding my breath.

  3. I think (hope?) U26 maybe will have something else as a surprise. Like…tieflings as a playable race. Pure wishful thinking but that would be terrific. If that does come to pass, I really hope they’re the cool looking kind and not just humans with gimpy horns.

  4. Monetization is crucial to DDO, so a store facelift is critical. All the content in the world (literally) is nothing if Turbine can’t generate revenue, and the store is key to this. The fact we’re continue to get fresh content suggests to me that the DDO profit model is more stable than our fears believe, but always needs TLC to keep people coming back (or even in).

    And poor Ghallanda. My home base for virtually all my life, but I’ve now built a home on Cannith, things were so bad there until recently where crashes are less frequent.

What do you think?

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