Time to take a break from dusty warehouses in Dungeons and Dragons Online and explore some mother nature! Which, this being D&D, is chock-full of things that want to kill me. Sounds like a nice change of pace.
Following both a quest and some advice from a reader, I took an excursion out to the Harbor’s neighboring wilderness area, Cerulean Hills. Wilderness areas, for those not familiar with DDO, are more free-form exploratory areas that provide some counter-balance to the more rigid and structured dungeons. Basically, you head out and earn XP from exploring, discovering areas, and engaging in rare encounters. It’s relaxing and quite enjoyable, reminding me a lot of Guild Wars 1’s maps.
This is one of the earlier wilderness areas of the game, if I recall correctly, but it’s still quite easy on the eyes. Hey, any amount of greenery is going to be welcome after all of those warehouses and sewers! I started exploring around the edges of the map, which proved to be a lot bigger than I had expected.
Wilderness areas do contain quest locations, such as this one in which I was rescuing some posh lady from a whole mess of orcs. At least the NPCs, when rescued, stayed around to help me out in the fight.
Lots of good screenshot opportunities, such as this tranquil waterfall pool. Well, tranquil after I killed the four lions prowling around it.
Weather effects kicked in after a while, delivering a short rain storm. I thought the raindrop and water effects were pretty well done, all things considered.
Wilderness areas also contain little pocket dungeons or outposts that you can go in and clear out. More times than not, there’s no real loot in them, but there’s XP to be had for the slayer quest, so might as well! Plus, I always feel macho when I gun down seventeen orcs in the span of mere seconds.
I did another quest in which I saved a farmhouse from a massive orc takeover. Had some opportunities to screenshot the wild as I progressed through. Good stuff, and this really was one of the most enjoyable gaming nights I had for this past week. Going to have to make sure I do more of these wilderness areas in the future!