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D&D Online - Module 8 Hands-On

John Funk | 22 Oct 2008 23:35
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With time against us, we used admin powers to skip straight to Sor'Jek's sanctum, where the Giant-Lich is busy preparing his nefarious ritual. There are four mini-dungeons here, the standard fantasy staples of earth, ice, fire, and air - and each one unlocks when the one before it is cleared. Sor'Jek has enlisted the aid of his fellow giants, and certain types that correspond to their respective dungeons (Frost Giants, Cloud Giants, and so on) will be the most common enemies for players to face here.

Players are given a quest with a time limit: they must successfully clear all four sub-dungeons to fully uncover the source of power behind Sor'Jek's ritual, and once they have done that will have the option to fight the big guy himself. Like the Scorpion Monastery, all of the subdungeons have their own little quirks and traps. For example, the Ice dungeon has players activate switches that temporarily deactivate air jets, allowing the party to quickly cross a narrow bridge.

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By far, my favorite of the four was the Air sub-dungeon, which was also the last. Unlike the other three, which were all in different types of caverns, the Air realm is essentially one big semi-spiral path that stretches high into the sky. To make things worse (or better, depending on your point of view), there aren't any railings, and wandering tornado-like elementals have a tendency to knock you high into the air. It's possible to land back on the platform, but it's also possible to fall off - which thankfully only brings you back to Sor'Jek's main chamber, so it's more of a nuisance than a fatal catastrophe.

All four were certainly entertaining, but the Air realm in particular had a great sense of "platformer" about it. The team intended the Sor'Jek timed quest to be completed by a coordinated, skilled group of players, said Paiz - it was meant to be challenging. Groups would have to split up, especially in the Air subdungeon, with players having to push buttons and pull levers to clear a path for their teammates. Though the team joked that they were "sadistic," Paiz explained that the DDO community was very, very resourceful. One of the biggest challenges for the developers was keeping up with their players and finding new ways to make them work for their rewards.

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After we'd disrupted Sor'Jek's ritual, the angry undead Giant attacked us on sight. After all, he'd enjoyed being alive, and was now very reluctantly undead due to player intervention - and had just had his plans stymied yet another time. Being a storm giant, the fight naturally incorporates elements like thick, obscuring fog ... though the team didn't want to show me too much, lest I give it all away.

Of course, the release date of Module 8 is right around the corner, so players will soon get the chance to match wits with the developers' fiendish creations themselves! Some of them might even succeed - as long as they watch out for bouncing Gelatinous Cubes, that is.

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