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Dungeons and Dragons Online

One Shots: Do you always dress like that?

Screenshots, Dungeons and Dragons Online, Lineage 2, Lord of the Rings Online, Tabula Rasa, One Shots, Humor, Miscellaneous

One Shots Do you always dress like that
Here's a tip from your friendly One Shots coordinator: If you send in a screenshot from a game that hardly ever gets featured in this column, there's a better-than-average chance that I'm going to bump it right up to the top of the pack. Case in point: this groovy shot from Lineage II.

Reader Johnny said he played this game back in 2007: "Behind me we can see the endgame, the Baium Raid Boss. Baium resides on the 13th floor of a the Tower of Insolence, a massive, non-instanced hunting ground with 13 fully accessible and monster-packed floors. The weapon I am holding is a Flaming Dragon Skull, an A-grade blunt weapon."

Be prepared for A-grade awesome screenshots and B-grade commentary as you forge on in this week's repository of player-submitted pictures!

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DDO screens bring us into a city prison

Fantasy, Galleries, Screenshots, Dungeons and Dragons Online, Expansions, Free-to-Play

DDO expansion screenies  see team email
We recently learned of the dark prison city of Wheloon that Dungeons and Dragons Online players will be entering when Shadowfell Conspiracy releases this August. Turbine sent us several new screenshots of the interior of Wheloon, showing us that the slammer isn't always the jovial, cheery place that the movies make it out to be.

Wheloon used to be a normal town, but when it became infested with Shar cultists, the King of Cormyr walled it off and turned it into a massive prison. As if it weren't already a place to actively avoid, the Shadowfell plane has opened up into Wheloon, inviting a bunch of nasty monsters to mix it up with hardened criminals. And yes, you'll be sent into the mix because that's what heroes do. Well, that and start up internet petitions.

A tale of Forgotten Realms: DDO's Update 18 and the Shadowfell Conspiracy

Fantasy, Dungeons and Dragons Online, Classes, Expansions, Patches, Previews, Free-to-Play, Races

A tale of Forgotten Realms DDO's Update 18 and the Shadowfell Conspiracy
Dungeons and Dragons Online's second expansion will not be like the first. In fact, Shadowfell Conspiracy might even be seen as a pseudo-sequel to DDO, a game-within-a-game that's offering players a fresh start in a favorite land. When the expansion hits on August 19th, players will be able to ignore all of DDO's Eberron content to start a new character at level 15 in the Forgotten Realms. Between the Forgotten Realms content that Turbine's added to the game in the past year and the new missions coming with Shadowfell Conspiracy, players could conceivably level solely in this setting.

It's obvious that Turbine's a little Forgotten-Realms-mad right now, although that's not a bad thing. The setting is a favorite among D&D fans, and while Eberron has its supporters, the studio obviously sees the Forgotten Realms as the future of this long-running MMO. While the expansion is still a couple of months away, today's Update 18: Disciples of Shadow update will serve as a prologue so that players can get started on their journey through this fresh land.

We sat down with DDO's team to talk about Update 18, the new races coming with Shadowfell Conspiracy, and the pre-purchase program that promises to give you head start. Read on, or else the wrath of the owl bear will be upon thee!

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The Turbine billing system has attained sentience (not really)

Fantasy, Dungeons and Dragons Online, Bugs, Business Models, Events (Real-World), MMO Industry, News Items, Free-to-Play

Turbine
We hope you've got a little extra money squirreled away in your bank account because the Turbine billing system is hungry. It seems that some players were charged a bit more than usual for their Dungeons and Dragons Online accounts this week, some of them as many as 100 times their normal VIP fee.

TurbineTolero took to the forums to clarify the issue:
This impacted a limited number of players after the maintenance work, and we have a list of the affected users. We're working with our partners to make sure that over charges are reversed. You do not need to contact us to receive help, but if you have any questions you are welcome to call or send a ticket (phone is 1-855-WBGAMES and tickets contact can be done via http://support.turbine.com).
Our sympathies extend to those affected more than passingly by the bug.

[Thanks to Marc for the tip!]

One Shots: Soggy beginnings

Screenshots, Dungeons and Dragons Online, Culture, One Shots, Star Wars: The Old Republic, RIFT, Miscellaneous

One Shots Soggy beginnings
Dungeons and Dragons Online newcomers and veterans alike are quite familiar with the waterlogged Sahuagin and all of their wacky antics. Basically think "level 1 mermaids from hell" and you're right with the rest of us. It's a good thing that the game doesn't have smell-o-vision because the tutorial would be reeking of a fishery, that's all I'm saying.

Reader Sharvis photographed his initial journey through the game and delivered this familiar image of an odd cellar. "Oh great, the Wavecrest Tavern's basement has flooded," he writes. "And who let the Sahuagin in? They're making everything look tacky again!"

We'll get the sump pump working while you check out the rest of today's player-submitted screenshots!

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Neverwinter Days: The DDO connection

Betas, Fantasy, Dungeons and Dragons Online, MMO Industry, Free-to-Play, Neverwinter, Neverwinter Days

Neverwinter Days The DDO connection
You know what's something I didn't think I'd be saying about Neverwinter prior to getting my hands on the beta? It shares way more in common with Dungeons & Dragons Online than I'd assumed.

Yeah yeah, they're both D&D games and MMOs, and there's bound to be similarities on a basic level. But what I'm talking about is more than that: an uncanny connection between the games and a deliberate design philosophy that both seem to share. As a player who's done a couple of tours of duty in DDO, I think I have enough experience to claim this.

Besides, everyone's already thinking about "the Dice Duel of 2013" as the papers are calling it. Two D&D MMOs will be facing off against each other, one with a new expansion and the other with a game launch, and both are gunning for the same piece of the pie. So let's deal with this situation now rather than later and look at why DDO and Neverwinter are more than kissing cousins.

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Eberron and beyond: Seven years of Dungeons and Dragons Online

Fantasy, Dungeons and Dragons Online, Free-to-Play, Anniversaries

Eberron and beyond 7 years of DDO
Dungeons and Dragons Online has always been a strange creature in the realm of MMOs. Ever since its launch, it decided to veer off in its own direction instead of following the rest of the pack. It brought back complicated character creation, somehow worked the arcane rules of D&D into an MMO format, and put a huge emphasis on group instanced content instead of world exploration.

Then when Turbine turned DDO into an experimental platform for a successful free-to-play model, suddenly the rest of the industry was following DDO instead. Virtually overnight, a small-teetering-on-extinction MMO became a modest hit well into its lifespan.

As DDO celebrates its seventh anniversary and looks back on the past year, let's look at how this odd duck of a game continues to surprise and delight gamers. Join us as we consider the journey that bridged the gap from last February to this one -- and see if, just maybe, DDO is calling you to roll its dice once more.

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Turbine announces Shadowfell Conspiracy expansion for DDO

Fantasy, Dungeons and Dragons Online, Expansions, News Items, Free-to-Play

Turbine announces Shadowfell Conspiracy expansion for DDO
In a post wishing Dungeons & Dragons Online a happy anniversary, Senior Producer Erik Boyer did more than just reminisce on how far the game has come in the last seven years. He touched on a new enhancement system and incoming changes to astral diamond shards before slipping in the announcement of DDO's second expansion, which will launch this summer.

Named Shadowfall Conspiracy, the expansion turns attention back toward the Forgotten Realms and will feature new regions, new quests, and an increased level cap (28). Players will also have faster access to the Forgotten Realms thanks to a new prestige character feature called Iconic Heroes that gets you into the action starting at level 15. More information on this feature will be available in the coming months.

Boyer concludes his remarks with a hint about the true reincarnation system that will be focused on later in the year and a promise that "this year is going to be another great year for DDO -- with a big, cool new storyline, new D&D monster varieties, and powerful new character abilities."

Leaderboard: DDO vs. Neverwinter

Fantasy, Dungeons and Dragons Online, MMO Industry, Opinion, Free-to-Play, Leaderboard, Neverwinter

Dungeons and Dragons Online - Beholder
By now you've probably had a chance to sample the new Neverwinter MMO, and if not then you've surely availed yourself of all our excellent textual and video coverage during the ongoing beta. You probably also know that Neverwinter marks the second official Dungeons and Dragons-based MMO to grace our favorite genre, the first being 2006's Dungeons and Dragons Online.

While it may not seem fair to pit a seven-year-old game against the new shiny, we're going to do it anyway because there's something to be said for age and experience. So, how about it? DDO vs. Neverwinter, 3.5 vs. 4th edition, Eberron vs. the Forgotten Realms, and Turbine vs. Cryptic. What say you Massively readers? Vote after the cut!

Ever wish that you could put to rest a long-standing MMO debate once and for all? Then welcome to the battle royal of Massively's Leaderboard, where two sides enter the pit o' judgment -- and only one leaves. Vote to make your opinion known, and see whether your choice tops the Leaderboard!

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DDO celebrates a birthday, shares Update 17 notes, and introduces new Augments

Fantasy, Dungeons and Dragons Online, Patches, News Items, Free-to-Play, Anniversaries

DDO celebrates a birthday, shares Update 17 notes, and revokes ghasts' ghoul status
Happy seventh birthday to Dungeons and Dragons Online! Like every good game, DDO is celebrating its anniversary-birthday-thing by giving out presents. Update 17 is live, a gift in its own right, and characters that were created before the patch will find that they've got a giftbox in their inventory.

But wait, there's more! Update 17 is a substantial patch. A whole slew of updates have been made to different bits of the game. On the DDO Store (and free to VIPs) is a new Monster Manual edition that features new deeds and objectives and two new Creature Companions. In what is arguably the most significant update, Restless Bats -- which don't exist and never have existed ever -- have been removed from the manual.

Augments, a new way to customize your equipment, have been added to the game. Items with augment slots can be, well, Augmented. Slotted Augments give their host item an additional effect for as long as they're slotted. People will be able to find named items with augment slots, pick augmentable items up from the DDO Store, or trust their luck to find one of the 5% of randomly generated items to have an augment slot. This system replaces the old Epic and Guild Augments. You can read up about Augments here.

Turbine gives bonuses to welcome back players

Fantasy, Dungeons and Dragons Online, Lord of the Rings Online, Events (In-Game), Free-to-Play, Promotions

LotRO gives bonuses to welcome back players
It goes without saying that many Turbine players were disheartened by last week's excessive downtime. To make it up to the players, the studio announced that it's turning on the happy bonus switch in some of its games as a way to welcome fans back.

Lord of the Rings Online
players will get 100% more XP per monster kill and an increased drop rate for lootboxes until February 26th. These bonuses come on top of the 250 Turbine Points that will be given to established players as compensation for the downtime.

Dungeons and Dragons Online
players will see +2 quality loot in chests and receive +25% Heroic and Epic XP. These bonuses last through February 20th.

Turbine's servers down 34 hours and counting, studio comps players

Fantasy, Asheron's Call, Dungeons and Dragons Online, Lord of the Rings Online, MMO Industry, Free-to-Play

Turbine's servers down 34 hours and counting, studio comps players
A period of global maintenance for Turbine's servers is now pushing well into its second day of downtime for all of the studio's games. Dungeons and Dragons Online, Lord of the Rings Online, and both Asheron's Call titles have been offline since 6:00 a.m. on February 14th. The servers were scheduled to be brought back online after 24 hours, but as of the time of this writing, they are still down as the studio works on issues that "cropped up during the night."

The downtime was to overhaul the billing system and other back-end projects.

LotRO CM Sapience posted this update at 4:20 p.m. EST:
"We are working to resolve ongoing issues with our system maintenance. At this time we do not have a specific estimate for when the game servers will be available. Our goal is to make the games available as soon as possible. However we would like to advise players that the service may continue to be unavailable this evening. We will continue to provide updates as we have them.

"As a thank you for your understanding and patience during this downtime, all Premium and VIP players who have logged into their account in the past 30 days (as of 6:00 a.m. EST on 2/14/2013) will receive 250 Turbine points. In addition, all VIP players who have logged in during the same period will have their accounts credited one day of VIP time for each day of downtime, plus one additional day. All points and additional time will be granted automatically as soon as our regular service is restored and stable."

Take a gander at DDO's Update 17 screens

Fantasy, Galleries, Screenshots, Dungeons and Dragons Online, Patches, Free-to-Play

Take a gander at DDO's Update 17 screens
Players will be experiencing the new and improved Gianthold when Dungeons and Dragons Online releases Update 17 this month. Turbine's launched a new page dedicated to the update, and that page contains many, many pretty pictures that convey story and wonder in a digitized format.

Check out 10 of these new screenshots in the gallery below, and while you're at it, why not read up on our recent tour of Update 17?

Gallery: DDO Update 17

A tour of DDO Update 17: Return to Gianthold

Fantasy, Dungeons and Dragons Online, Patches, Previews, Free-to-Play

A tour of DDO Update 17 Return to Gianthold
Just because Dungeons and Dragons Online has spent the better part of a year fawning all over the Forgotten Realms doesn't mean that Turbine is finished with Eberron. As a matter of fact, the team called us in to check out next month's Update 17, which is all about Eberron and some classic content made fresh and new once more.

Update 17: Return to Gianthold revisits the popular Gianthold content that came out with DDO's second level-cap increase. The devs said that players love to run it for its variety of quests, loot, and experience, which is why they wanted to tweak up the existing content as well as add a brand-new raid for epic-level characters.

Read on as we take a look at Gianthold 2.0 and other exciting additions coming to DDO in February!

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Jukebox Heroes: Eleven MMO soundtracks you can get for free

Anarchy Online, Dungeons and Dragons Online, EVE Online, Ryzom, RuneScape, Global Agenda, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Atlantica Online, Giveaways, Miscellaneous, Jukebox Heroes, Music

Jukebox Heroes Eleven MMO soundtracks you can get for free
Collecting MMO soundtracks is a scattered, scavenger-like experience. Releasing video game soundtracks isn't exactly high up on studio and publisher to-do lists (although we're seeing more love from digital stores), so whether or not a title will get a music release is really a crapshoot. What does get released is never in the same place twice: Some game soundtracks are released as special editions only, some only as CDs, some as full MP3 album releases, some directly from the composer, some are buried on websites, and so on.

So I'm constantly looking everywhere trying to beef up my MMO soundtrack library, and as a result I've uncovered several scores that the studios are giving away for free. I'm all over free (legal) music, especially when it's in my area of interest!

If you've been looking to start an MMO soundtrack collection or are looking to add to what you have, I've put together a list of 11 MMO scores that you can get today free of charge. Sound good? It does to me!

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