New Content Night! My favorite night in the DDO calendar; oh if only it came more often.
Update 31 sort of snuck up on me. I knew it was coming, I’d even written about it. Several times. But it was on Lamannia for only one weekend, and incompletely at that; I’d expected us to be getting another preview of a more complete version before it went live.
But instead, New Content Night! Yay!
Except it is not an unmitigated Yay. More of a throat-muffled, half-voiced, spoken-without-moving-your-lips kind of Yay. Because .. well, reasons, which we will discuss.
But before we get caught up in all that, it is worth remembering that Yay. The net of this is good. And some of it is very good, very good indeed.
But let’s start with …
Yes, it is New Content Night, but a rather smallish version of New Content day. The smallest ever. Only three quests. A partial fighter balancing pass. And that was that.
It is not really an Update at all. More of an Updatelette? A MiniDate?
And all of the quests are “teleport to get there” quests meaning no new wilderness area. Considering that Update 30 had no new content at all, this is pretty sparse. We are halfway through 2016 and we have a total of three unrelated new quests.
Not good. Bad.
Turbine has the worst development process that I have ever encountered, and it just never gets better. This is not baseless hyperbole: I’ve spent decades experiencing a huge variety of development processes (I am a contracting developer). I’ve spent thousands of hours playing hundreds (probably thousands) of different games as a game consumer. But in all that time I have never seen released software of such poor quality.*
Yet DDO does it time and time again.
One of the three quests can’t be completed. The two quests that can completed both feature significant, hard-to-miss bugs. The fighter changes weren’t finished. Even after subtracting the incomplete fighter changes, even then, some of the remainder were found to be missing too. The new loot is bugged. The one interesting quality of life change in the release … isn’t in the release. At all.
So it is a tiny release, and most of what made it out the door is broken. That is hard to take.
* This is a slight exaggeration. There was one game that was even worse, but only one, and that was 15 years ago.
I’m saving the good part for last because the good part is really good! I don’t want it to get lost while slogging through The Bad and The Ugly.
The two quests that can be run are fun! Very fun! Both of them feature all-new monsters, and one of those monsters – the Umber Hulk – is an all-new monster model! At least, as far as I can tell, maybe it is a re-skin of something else, and I will be disappointed again. but the Umber Hulk appears to be the rarest of all things DDO in that it seems to be entirely new. Yay!
Both of the quests are long too! Not ten-room quickies, but meaty expeditions with optional directions and places you may never go. Places you have to work to find. Places that reward the thorough explorer.
And even better, the lag monster is not featured in either quest!
I guess it is too soon to say that for sure, after all it was only Tuesday night, but the server seemed pretty populated and the instances housing the new quests even more so. And yet, even with a decent player load, there was only one instance of lag all night. Only one. And it was a short, four-or-five-second burst where we could not tell where we were actually standing, and then as suddenly as it started, it was over. Not to return.
Two fun quests and and minimal, entirely acceptable amounts of lag.
Maybe Turbine’s lag-fighting efforts explain why this is such a tiny, incomplete Update.
And if so, and if Friday Raid nights are as lag-free as Tuesday New Content Nights, well, then this may turn out to have been one of the best updates ever.
🙂 😀 🙂