Enough talk and waiting to go into DDO’s latest expansion, let’s do it why not? Let’s go!
Piloting a very fresh level 11 Artificer, I stepped through the mists portal in House J to appear in a land that is quite unlike Stormreach…
Welcome to Mists of Ravenloft’s Barovia. The dark screenshots really don’t do these areas justice — they’re moody and creepy as all get out. It has just the right amount of foliage to get in the way of your eyeline so that you don’t always see enemies lying ahead as you’re moving through the woods. Right away, the music and setting made me feel alone and in trouble.
Then again, I had a clockwork dog and a machine gun crossbow at my side. THEY should be afraid of ME.
I did the very short introduction quest “Into the Mists.” Here, you get a taste for the expansion and its campaign setting. It’s Transylvania: The Game pretty much. The mists here aren’t just for decoration, either. I stepped inside one and instantly suffered a negative level debuff. Ouch. Going to avoid those for the foreseeable future.
The guy up there is a friendly revenant with some swords sticking through his chest. He’s one of the few good guys trying to fight the forces of the evil vampire Strahd, and he gives me some tips. Like don’t get bit.
I know it’s been said elsewhere, but I’m going to repeat it: Standing Stone Games really did not skimp on the visuals here. I find that this studio still does such a great job with its zones, and this one instantly nailed that old world horror vibe.
Of course, as a Secret World player, I had to laugh at the incredible similarities that that game’s Transylvania and this game’s Bavaria have, right down to the evil scarecrows. Sure, they’re working off the same source material and D&D predates TSW by quite a bit, but I found it a little hard to get that spooked by this area because I felt like I had been here many, many times before. Even gave the scarecrow a high-five.
Lots of other interesting mobs to fight: wisps, dire bears, werewolves, flying heads (?), and these oh-so-classic witches. I tip my hat to any fantasy game that breaks out the traditional halloween witch like this. She never gets that much play.
After the first mission, the game dumped me into the Land of Barovia wilderness zone. Dude, it is HUGE. That map up there, just look at all of those teeny tiny notations. It’s pretty sizable. I’m torn between exploring and just moving on with quests! Probably will do the latter for story purposes, but I do appreciate how much work went into all of this.