Nov 112015

From the Mouths of the Devs

DDOCast 405 was another in the recurring series of “Ask the Devs”, where one or more Turbine developers make themselves available and Patrick asks them questions.

There have been many Ask the Dev segments over the years, but generally, they are not very informative. The developers are wary as they aren’t allowed to “leak” information, DDOCast is wary as they want to be able to re-invite the developers in the future. All that wariness adds up to not much substance coming out. Interesting flavor and backstory, sure, but little beyond that.

Until now. This one, DDOCast 405, was chock full of information about the upcoming Update 29. Chock full. Whatever that means (full of chock? Full up to the chock level? Whatever the chock level might be?). Vargouille, Steelstar, Knockback and Cordovan seemed to be taking turns seeing who could spill the biggest dish.

But I digress. Hold onto your chocks, astute readers, here are the best bits of the entire 45 minute conversation, distilled down to the critical essence.

These are summaries and paraphrases. When I am including actual quotes, I will attribute them and use quote marks so you can tell them apart from my inane drivel.

On Legendary Raids

  • The Shroud, The Hound of Xoriat, and Tempest Spine will all be released in Update 29
  • All three will be Legendary
  • Legendary means above level 30 – Steelstar clarifies that Legendary means CR31 or higher on Normal difficulty
  • Hound and Tempest Spine will be harder versions of what we have now
  • Shroud will have some changes from the original version
  • Greensteel will be Legendary too

Reaper Mode

  • Is not coming in Update 29
  • It is something they “want to get to someday” but is not currently on the development schedule
  • It would be a new difficulty level, apply to all quests, and according to Vargouille, is for “people who really want to get hurt”

Mortal Fear

There has been conversation about changes to Mortal Fear on the forums. I am not up to date on the changes, so instead will just quote the entire brief conversation on the subject:

  • Patrick: “Mortal fear wouldn’t apply to those quests … it would be where Normal is 31 or higher … that’s where we’re going to make that definition”
  • Vargouille: “Yep. Some of that is still under discussion but basically yes it would not apply to any current quests, it would only apply to new high level quests starting with Update 29”

New Feats

There are going to be new Heroic, Epic Destiny, and Legendary feats

  • At level 29, you will be able to choose from those Epic Destiny Feats that already exist, or one of the all-new ones.
    • New ED feats will require three capped destinies, some of which cross multiple spheres.
  • At 30, you can choose from the Heroic and Epic feats that already exist, or one of the new Legendary feats
    • 10 Legendary feats will exist
    • Legenday feats are themed around “archetypes” and are not class-specific
    • Steelstar: “They are a pretty significant jump in power over what you’d see from a normal feat”
  • New feats are coming in the Heroic levels too, aimed at increasing Spell Power in the Epic levels
Win the LAST COPY of The Stormreach Campaign

Enter as many times as you like

Fate Points

  • “May” be a new feat point at level 29 and 30, just for achieving the level
  • “May” be another twist of fate slot at level 30

(They said “may” but looked at each other knowingly as they said it so …)

Random Loot Generator Overhaul

  • The Players Council is vetting design ideas right now; the design is done (subject to changes of course)
  • The goal is to make random loot more desirable and increase loot diversity
  • They had to do some of this work anyway to get random loot to level 30
  • Item effects will scale more consistently
  • In general, power is going up; things are not intended to get weaker
  • Existing loot will not change; changes will apply to new loot only
  • Existing prefixes and suffixes are not going away
  • A random Mythic attribute may be coming to random loot


  • Scaling is hand-crafted
  • Under the covers, monsters are just like player characters; stats, PRR, dodge, etc.
  • Actual stats, spell lists, all of that, has to be hand-crafted per encounter for every quest
  • Raid monsters too, although they are hand-set a little higher

Update 29

  • Will be coming to Lamannia in pieces, rather than all at once, beginning in three weeks (as of 11/6)
  • Should go live around the end of the year

Other miscellany

  • Retroactively adding Spell power at every epic level
  • They are unexpectedly candid about the fact that they had to dial some attributes back (they even use the word “nerf”). They tried to do all the nerfs at once, on purpose, to avoid continuously changing people’s builds over time
  • Knockback on design intent: “For a regular dungeon, our expectation is that a normal DDO player should be able to beat it, more or less the first time, if they take their time. On normal. That is not our expectation for a raid”
  • Cordovan will shave the DDO logo onto his head if the Movember page raises $10,000.

Things I Am Not Including In This Recap

A whole lot of words were used up that are not reflected here, either because they didn’t actually say anything, or the information is already available elsewhere.

  • Gnomes (2:20 – 3:40 ) The only specific thing mentioned is that their stats and so forth aren’t yet designed
  • Class balance (19:50 – 28:30) Lots of stuff about why, and goals, that repeats information already available on the forums
  • Hints about new monsters (33:20 – 35:00) Just hints. Nothing useful
  • How to be a dev (35:50 – 40:00 ) Can summarize the discussion with “make games”


DDOCast is always informative, always interesting, always a good listen. But it is rarely a source for learning about the game’s future. This is an exception; and a significant at that.

This time, the chocks were flying. Everywhere. Whatever it is that chocks may turn out to actually be.

๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ™‚

  9 Responses to “Update 29 Preview: From the Mouths of Devs”

Comments (9)
  1. Well, poop… I guess this means my timetable is now accelerated… (cue ominous 80’s cartoon villain music)

  2. I still don’t understand why they are nerfing Mortal Fear in exactly the place you’ll be using it. MF weapons are ML 28. So you get you use them for 2 levels before they become useless? That’s asinine.

  3. Very good summary, Geoff. Thank you!

  4. one thing you missed for the level 30 feat, it is not OR! It is a “regular progression” feat (heroic/epic) AND a “legendary” feat!

    for the rest good summarization!

  5. “blah-blah … Random Loot Generator Overhaul” Oh! Oh … loot is so confusing. “blah, blah … Gnomes” Did they narrow down a vague time frame within 2016? “blah, blah”.

    (I keep forgetting it’s Movember.)

  6. I too do not understand this desire to make Mortal Fear useless after level 31. The developers gave it to us for reaching a level of game expertise that is hard enough to come by for any standard player. Perhaps instead of nerfing MF the devs should opt to allow those players who feel MF is making “their” gameplay too easy to re-craft their items to drop MF. I say this because I have been playing the game for 5 years now and have only just developed a character who has the ability to solo some EE content finally. And I use a thunder-forged rapier with Mortal Fear on it to help me do so.
    I feel these Super players really don’t care about the DDO community but rather their own selfish gaming experience. And I am at a loss to understand why the devs cowtow to this overly vocal minority.
    (steps off soapbox!)

What do you think?

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