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Exploring Eberron

Exploring Eberron: Waiter, there's a scrooge in my Festivult!

Fantasy, Dungeons and Dragons Online, Events (In-Game), Free-to-Play, Exploring Eberron

I'm looking forward to the Festivult events. I love sales, I love the Risia Ice Games (even though I stink at platforming), I love gathering Festivult coins, and I will love it even more once I have a cookie jar to stick all my new goodies in. There's even a giveaway that will award one lucky player 100,000 Turbine Points!

I had fun writing last week's newbie's guide to Festivult, and once it was done, I spent a fair amount of time browsing the DDO site and the forums in preparation for the upcoming events. In the middle of all my holiday fun and anticipation, I noticed something both on the forums and in game: discontent.

Wait, discontent over such a fun event? What's going on here? Who put this anger in my Festivult? Follow along after the jump as I take a closer look.

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Exploring Eberron: We need a little Festivult, right this very minute

Fantasy, Dungeons and Dragons Online, Events (In-Game), Free-to-Play, Exploring Eberron

There's been a lot of chat and interest regarding the approach of Update 8 in Dungeons and Dragons Online. What is the new adventure pack going to be like? How will all the tweaks affect gameplay? Will the Half-Elf updates improve the new race? Here at Massively, we're looking forward to it as well -- in fact, we've got an exclusive tour of the new adventure pack coming up later today. It's exciting, but there's another event to look forward to as well.

It's that time of year again: Festivult is approaching in DDO. While the big event hasn't arrived yet, Turbine has been keeping plenty busy with preparations.

While you wait for the Jester of the Festivult to arrive later this month, check out some of the other December events in DDO. There are sales and a great contest, and the community members are working together to plan ahead for the events. Follow along after the break to see what is happening in December in DDO!

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Exploring Eberron: A first glance at Update 8

Fantasy, Dungeons and Dragons Online, Patches, Free-to-Play, Exploring Eberron

The Dungeons and Dragons Online development team has been hard at work lately. The Endless Night event and aftermath kept the developers hopping in between updates, but now we've got the next update to look forward to!

Update 8 is coming in December, and it's exciting to see all of the tweaks and refinements -- especially to one of the new races -- as well as little treats like the cookie jar, cosmetic fixes all over the game, and brand-new content! Join me behind the cut for what I'm excited to see in Update 8!

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Exploring Eberron: Which race should I play?

Fantasy, Dungeons and Dragons Online, Classes, Free-to-Play, Races, Exploring Eberron

Hallelujah, I finally get to cover the races of Dungeons and Dragons Online! This is a fun topic for me, but it's been getting pushed back by current events lately.

We needed the counterpart for our recent class discussion, though, because choosing a race can be almost as complicated as trying to choose a class. Each race has its own inherent strengths and weaknesses, and you want to find something that you like and that works well with your chosen class. So what are our choices?

Follow along after the jump to find out!

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Exploring Eberron: The race discussion has been banned

Fantasy, Dungeons and Dragons Online, Culture, Free-to-Play, Exploring Eberron

Don't worry, it's just a one-week ban. Once again, it was an interesting week for Dungeons and Dragons Online fans. Tuesday night's banhammer took everyone by surprise, and the reactions on both sides were pretty interesting.

I was really excited to discuss DDO races this week, but this week's problems left me thinking long and hard about the dynamics of player/developer interaction in this game. Check out that handy comments section at the end too, because I'd really love to hear what you have to say on the banning issue.

Follow along after the break, then weigh in!

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Exploring Eberron: Which class should I play?

Fantasy, Dungeons and Dragons Online, Classes, Free-to-Play, Exploring Eberron

I've been looking forward to this week's column for a while now. I've been wanting to look at the intricacies of class and race selection and setup in Dungeons and Dragons Online for several weeks, but Halloween events and Update 7 took precedence for obvious reasons.

Now that it's settled down a bit, I can finally dive in. Over the next few weeks I'm going to do a series of overviews on getting started. DDO is a funny game when it comes to this sort of thing, because you can throw together pretty much anything (within reason) and get through the first five levels or so just fine. It's not until you get past that point that you start finding out the hard way that the selections you make at character creation are pretty important.

Much of the process is trial-and-error for many newer players. You roll a character, play it until things start getting more difficult than they should, figure out where you messed up, and either reincarnate or start another character. I hope to make this process a little less tedious and painful, so follow along after the jump and let's get started!

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Exploring Eberron: Spooky fun, Turbine news, and making a new character

Fantasy, Dungeons and Dragons Online, Classes, Events (In-Game), Free-to-Play, Races, Exploring Eberron

My gosh, what a week! I've got to start by sending a huge congratulations to Jerry Snook of DDOcast, who is closing down his long-running podcast. If that doesn't sound like something to celebrate, then you have not heard Jerry's news: he's been hired by Turbine and today's episode of DDOcast will be the last. Jerry, you deserve it and we at Massively are thrilled for you (and your new coworker!)

OnedAwesome, Massively's Dungeons and Dragons Online guild is continuing to work with a floating schedule, scheduling groups and quests as various schedules permit. This has opened us up quite a bit to players who could not previously join on Wednesday night. Want to see what we're up to? Join our forums and check out the scheduling forum to see what's going on. As always, you can send an in-game tell or mail to Rubialina, Aunwiira, or Tebraen to add a character to the guild.

It's been a busy week in other areas of DDO-land as well, and I still want to focus on character stats a bit, so follow along after the jump and lets get started!

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Exploring Eberron: Endless Night and guild changes

Fantasy, Dungeons and Dragons Online, Events (In-Game), Free-to-Play, Exploring Eberron

Wow, there is so much to talk about this week! I wanted to focus exclusively on character stats and what to do with them, but a couple of other events have made me put that on the back burner until next week.

OnedAwesome, the Massively Dungeons and Dragons Online guild, met last night as usual, but there are some big changes coming. Update 7 launched yesterday along with a special surprise: a preview of the "Endless Night" Halloween event. That preview was a bit of a surprise in more ways than one, as some severe bugs caused an early shutdown and an irate group of players.

Follow along after the jump as I sort through these latest events!

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Exploring Eberron: Closing the community gap

Fantasy, Dungeons and Dragons Online, Free-to-Play, Exploring Eberron

In last week's Exploring Eberron, I talked quite a bit about the community divide in Dungeons and Dragons Online and why it exists. Update 7 seems to be ushering in a new era of DDO, one in which the devs turn their attention back to the veteran and high-level players.

I've been around DDO for about a year, and Exploring Eberron is geared toward the less experienced player, so I sincerely understand and appreciate Turbine's effort over the past year or so to provide plenty of content for the "new kids." It's something that made complete sense -- what good are thousands of new customers if you don't have a rich, in-depth game to keep them around?

However, I can understand the frustration of the veteran players who are sort of sitting around saying, "But what about us?" Will the next year solve this? Follow along after the jump while I gaze into my crystal ball.

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Exploring Eberron: Community and community division

Fantasy, Dungeons and Dragons Online, Patches, Free-to-Play, Exploring Eberron

It's been an interesting week for me in Dungeons and Dragons Online, and while that's obviously just a personal perspective, I've come away from it with some observations on the community.

Executive Producer Fernando Paiz told me at PAX that Turbine will start turning its collective eye back to the veteran players, and it looks like Update 7 is the first step in that direction. My Update 7 tour set me thinking, as did Wednesday night's outing with OnedAwesome, Massively's DDO guild. Follow along after the jump as I take a look at what these factors have told me about the community in Dungeons and Dragons Online.

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Exploring Eberron: Happy Halloween, here's a giant dragon

Fantasy, Dungeons and Dragons Online, Events (In-Game), Free-to-Play, Exploring Eberron

Welcome to October. It's time for ghouls, ghosts, things that go bump in the night, and shambling undead. Halloween events are a grand tradition in nearly every MMO, and Dungeons and Dragons Online has something special this year. The developers have really scaled things up for this holiday, but how well will it work?

Fernando Paiz and the team teased us with hints of the event last month at PAX, showing off a creepy red sky in Delera's Graveyard. Unfortunately for this curious DDO fan, the tour stopped there, leaving me to wait and wonder.

Yesterday my wondering was over, because we spent some time during my tour of Update 7 to explore the event. If you were in the area Thursday and noticed a sudden spawn of pumpkins, undead, and collectors in the graveyard, that was courtesy of Fernando. He was kind enough to turn the event on briefly and give me a little tour of what the holiday will have to offer.

Follow along after the cut for my thoughts on the good, the bad, and the creepy of the upcoming DDO Halloween event. Don't forget to check the link at the very end to see what OnedAwesome, Massively's DDO guild, is up to next week too!

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Exploring Eberron: Stromvauld's Mine and your character's alignment

Fantasy, Dungeons and Dragons Online, Game Mechanics, Free-to-Play, Exploring Eberron

Last week I talked a bit about Beholders and why they hurt so much, and I promised a look at an offshoot of that conversation this week: alignment. If you weren't a PnP player before Dungeons and Dragons Online, alignment is probably something you didn't pay much attention to on your first character. The system of alignment has its roots in Dungeons and Dragons and can seem a little complicated at first, but it's not too difficult once you have the basics.

Follow along after the jump to see what the big deal is and to see what Massively's DDO guild has been doing lately!

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Exploring Eberron: The eye of the Beholder

Fantasy, Dungeons and Dragons Online, Game Mechanics, Free-to-Play, Exploring Eberron

You've not heard much lately about OneDAwesome, Massively's Dungeons and Dragons Online guild, but it's still going strong. In fact, we've spent the past weeks taking on our most ambitious project to date: Vault of Night.

Vault of Night is a story arc that consists of six quests and culminates in two raids, one of which pits you against Velah, The Red Dragon. Given that the guild has a fair amount of newer players, it's been an interesting experience for many of us. More than one guild member learned exciting words like "Deathblock" and "Beholder" and "ouch."

I want to take a moment to give a huge round of applause to the members of the guild -- they deserve the public kudos. My schedule for the past five weeks has been a mess. Between the back-to-school-and-sports insanity with my children, PAX, and the subsequent illness, I was an absent leader more often than not, and the members of OdA stepped in and exemplified what's great about MMO communities. They offered well wishes and kept things active and fun when I couldn't -- they're an example of what every guild should be. Well done, you guys.

OnedAwesome will be taking on its first raid next week as we tackle the (almost) end of Vault of Night. As always, we'll meet up at Wednesday at 9:00 p.m. EDT on the Cannith server, and the more the merrier, so join us!

As I was thinking on what to talk about this week, my mind wandered to the fun and frustration the guild has had over the past weeks. We've learned a lot and had a great time, but many of us learned a painful lesson. Follow along after the jump, and I'll see if I can save you the pain of learning it the same way.

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Exploring Eberron: The sum of their parts

Fantasy, Dungeons and Dragons Online, Free-to-Play, Exploring Eberron

I'm free! I've been locked in a trunk all summer while Justin pretended to be me and took my Dungeons and Dragons Online column! Thankfully a rogue with a lockpick happened by, and now I shall exact my reve... ah, you know what? The truth is, I was pretty buried with the kids out of school for the summer, and Justin graciously stepped in for the past few months while I spent extra time with my little gamers-in-training.

But now I'm back, and I want to take a moment to ask you guys to join me in giving Justin a huge round of applause. He helped save my sanity and did a bang-up job on Exploring Eberron. Justin, you are awesome.

So follow along after the jump for Exploring Eberron: The "I am finally back" edition!

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Exploring Eberron: Neverwinter nightcaps

Fantasy, Dungeons and Dragons Online, Business Models, New Titles, Free-to-Play, Exploring Eberron

Depending on how much stock you put in the rumors or in Cryptic in general, this past week's announcement of a second Dungeons & Dragons MMO -- pardon me, an "OMG" -- either rocked you back on your heels or cooled off your heels. Something to do with heels, at any rate.

In a Daily Grind this past May, I asked readers how they would make another D&D MMO. There were a lot of thoughtful responses, a few instances of keyboard gibberish, and a contingent adamant that the D&D license was locked up in DDO and couldn't be handed out elsewhere. I guess the latter argument is a moot point right now -- obviously, Turbine doesn't have a monopoly on an online D&D -- although its existence brings to mind not just a few questions.

Is the world big enough for two online D&D titles? What does this announcement mean for our beloved DDO? Is Neverwinter positioning itself to be direct competition, or a different entity altogether? Has the Cryptic crew learned its lessons? In my final Exploring Eberron (Rubi returns next week, so you may start doing your happy dance... now), I'm going to answer all of these queries in such a way that your world will forever be rocked. On its heels.

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