DDO: Gnomes, noises, noses, and nostalgia

I won’t bore you too terribly with my own personal gaming crisis, because (a) it only applies to me, (b) will come off sounding like I’m a petulant man-boy who can never be entertained, and (c) further illustrates how wishy-washy I am on any given day toward various MMOs. To sum it up, I haven’t been able to really settle down with MMORPGs this summer. The burnout that started in WoW seems to be extending all over the place for me, and all I really want at this point is one game that will grab me, keep my interest, and give me plenty of goals.

I’ve been flicking through various titles just to get outside of my immediate roster, kind of like how you might do with other games or books or movies (for the record, I’ve been scaling back on games this month to do more writing and reading, so it’s not like I depend solely on MMOs to be my free time entertainment). Revisiting some older titles, trying out a few different ones, and thinking about ESO’s Morrowind now that it’s gotten some good reviews and word-of-mouth.

One of my old favorites I did return to was Dungeons and Dragons Online. It was like jacking into an overdose of nostalgia. Back in the day — around the beginning of Bio Break’s run, in fact — DDO was a heavy part of my gaming rotation. I loved this game so very much and enjoyed the group runs with friends immensely. I still think that the format, the multiple campaign worlds, the sheer variety of class and race builds, and the GM narration is brilliant. Of course, the visuals are dating even more so than LOTRO, but I suppose you have to get over that if you’re going to give the game a chance in 2017.

I rolled up a Gnome Bard. The Bard wasn’t new to me, but the Gnome was. Somewhat bigger nose, funkier hairdos, and a little leaner than the halfling race. I liked it, and I know that I always had a fondness for the Bard’s hybrid approach. I didn’t do any grouping that night, but I did run through the familiar tutorial quest and then the first dungeon solo, trusting in my fleet footing and ability to heal myself to save the day.

When going back to old favorite games, I find that sound design is a crucial key to unlocking memories and familiarity with a title. DDO has such distinct sounds, and it wasn’t long before they were triggering a flood of feels.

I have no idea how many people play DDO these days, but I think I might spend a little time finding that out and seeing if a brand-new character can find any company for some of these dungeon runs. There has been so much content and so many features added to the game since I last played in, oh, 2010 or so that I imagine that I’d be set for most of the summer if this was something I really wanted to do.

For now, I’m going to bash some skeletons, see if I can find my machine-gun crossbow again, and have a lighthearted fling with a former friend.

6 reactions to the new LOTRO/DDO studio

standing

I’ve had a little over a day to process the rather sudden and shocking news that LOTRO and DDO are being transferred to a new indie studio, Standing Stone Games, and that Asheron’s Call (and AC2) are being shuttered next month. I don’t have a cohesive essay on the subject, but rather a half-dozen internal reactions on this move.

1. Turbine is done as an MMO studio. And it might be done for good.

Once upon a time, Turbine was a shining beacon of what an indie MMO studio could be. It was blazing out titles, with two Asheron’s Call, DDO, and LOTRO. It was on the forefront of the F2P revolution. Then it sold itself to WB, started to get out of the MMO-only business by branching off into MOBAs with the disastrous Infinite Crisis, and shrunk in both size and importance. Earlier this year it made the statement that Turbine was a mobile-only studio, so I suppose offloading LOTRO and DDO logically follows that.

My prediction? Turbine’s mobile games will flop and the studio will be no more in a year or two, tops. This is EA Mythic all over again — remember that studio’s flopped MOBA (Wrath of Heroes) and flopped mobile game (Ultima Forever) and how it offloaded its MMOs to a new indie studio (Broadsword)? Turbine’s done as a relevant studio and that’s sad.

2. I’m really glad that Standing Stone is keeping the devs.

It’s the people who care about these games and have experience with them instead of a brand-new team. Business as usual, just under a new name and with perhaps less baggage? We’re already seeing a little more communication from the team about the games’ upcoming future (such as LOTRO’s avatar revamp, which sounds pretty neat).

3. I’m cautiously hopeful this is a good move for LOTRO and DDO.

Going back to indie roots, shedding the WB overhead and non-MMO side projects seems like the best possible chance for these games to succeed (or not) solely on their own merits. If Standing Stone handles the finances well and keeps it trim, tight, and hungry, I can envision a more functional studio emerging.

4. I’m a little worried about the licensing but not about Daybreak.

Both DDO and LOTRO are tied to pretty significant IP licenses. The studio said that they’re retaining the licensing relationships, but could the Tolkien Estate and Wizards of the Coast look at the now-indie studio handling these games and get cold feet? Renegotiate? I really doubt that Standing Stone will have the resources to create a brand-new MMO from scratch if they lose one or both of their titles.

Daybreak is the publisher for out-of-country operations, and here Daybreak might actually be a solid choice due to its experience in handling MMOs worldwide for decades now. But then again, it’s Daybreak. I’m not getting worked up about it.

5. All of the publicity is reviving interest in LOTRO.

Weirdly enough, LOTRO seems to be coming back into the public consciousness as of late, and not just for Standing Stone. I’ve seen more than a few people saying they want to go back, and it’s always better to see people fleeing toward a game when big news like this hits than away from.

6. I’m sincerely bummed about Asheron’s Call.

Sure, AC probably had a very, very tiny population, but this is a legacy game that goes back to the first generation of 3-D graphic MMOs. Standing Stone should have acquired it and kept the lights on — or Turbine should have made good on its word to turn the source code over to the players to allow them to make private servers. This just sours the start of a new studio.

At least there’s a new home for these players to move into:

The transitioning Turbine

turbine

“Turbine is transitioning into a free-to-play, mobile development studio, and as a result we are eliminating some positions. The Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons and Dragons online games will continue to operate as they do now. Re-focusing and reducing the studio size was a difficult decision for the company, and we are grateful to all of the Turbine staff for their considerable contributions.”

So grateful, in fact, that we kicked them out of the building! So long, see ya, we’re mobile now!

Oh Turbine, what happened to you? A death of a thousand cuts or a hundred bad decisions? Was it free-to-play in the end? Trying too hard to do too much? Your Infinite Crisis gambit? The decline of the MMO industry? Selling out to WB?

You used to be this mighty indie studio that pumped out beloved hits. You looked forward on MMOs and delivered an incredible vision of Middle-earth that we loved for years. You had three highly lucrative IPs under your belt.

I’m kind of furious about these layoffs. It makes me downright mad to see a studio that used to show such passion and talent for MMOs to be groveling for the scraps of mobile gaming. It ticks me off that good people who have poured so much work into these titles have been shown the door. And it makes me quite nervous for the future of the current library of titles.

Notice that Asheron’s Call 1/2 isn’t mentioned there. Maybe it doesn’t need to be; these games were put into maintenance mode last year and probably make next to no profit. But at least the gamers had the hopes that the light switch would stay on. That above statement does not give me the confidence that this will be the case.

And that whole “will continue to operate as they do now” is such an ominous and nebulous statement. What does that mean? This could be saying that the games will be kept running but no more development will happen (again, maintenance mode while they drain the last dollars from the pockets of the loyalists). It could be a statement of assurance that the games will continue running and receive some attention, perhaps from a reduced team. We really don’t know, mostly because bland and unhelpful PR statements like this are the worst.

Turbine execs, you better be going to bed tonight sick to your stomach at what has happened on your watch. Mobile studio? Shoot, you haven’t even proven you can do that much yet. And with that, I don’t have any further reason to care about what you do.

Five MMOs I’d be playing if I had all of the time in the world (which I don’t)

eso

I don’t care who you are — there ain’t none of us who have the time to do more than either scratch at the surface of a handful of MMOs or really dig deep into one or two of them. Even if you’re so “fortunate” as to have few responsibilities and copious amounts of free time.

Well, unless you’re this lady from NCIS, who apparently figured out how to beat all MMOs:

“You hold the high score in virtually every massively multiplayer online roleplaying game!”

Man, that clip never fails to crack me up.

While I certainly wouldn’t trade my job and family for something as frivolous as having more time just to game, it doesn’t stop me from creating impossible hypothetical situations in my mind such as, “If I had as much gaming time in a day as I wanted, what other MMOs would I play?”

As it stands now, I’m pretty contained into three games: Star Trek Online, World of Warcraft, and The Secret World. I feel like I have a great balance going and can dip lightly into each of these to pursue various goals. But if I was to add more to the pile without concern for time, here’s what I might tackle:

Elder Scrolls Online

This is probably just because ESO has had a good run of news lately, but I’ll admit to always being attracted to/impressed by MMOs that have fleshed out content offerings, have a thriving community, and are showing signs of future growth. ESO has all of these in spades, and perhaps if I had gobs of time, I could end up liking this game as much as any other MMO. My one and only foray into it was rough and unimpressive, but first impressions aren’t always spot-on.

Fallen Earth

Yeah, Fallen Earth probably doesn’t have many years ahead of it or great amounts of future content, but it’s pretty much the best post-apocalyptic MMO out there and one that I had a great time playing. It’s also a total time gobbler, so that’s kept me from heading back into it. I just miss riding my horse across the irradiated wild west and blasting mutated hermit crabs with my shotgun.

Dungeons and Dragons Online

It’s been a very long time since I played this regularly, but I still haven’t come across an MMO that’s quite like this one. The focus on dungeon runs, the dual campaigns, the free-form character creation, the dungeon master, the passionate community… these are all speak in favor of DDO’s worth. And Turbine keeps adding onto it, too. Probably more content in that game right now than I could get out of it in a couple of years of hardcore playing.

EverQuest 2

I and all of the fortune tellers and industry analysts in the world couldn’t tell you what Daybreak has in store for the EverQuest franchise at this point (if anything). The premature demise of EverQuest Next is still rippling out across the MMO community, sending the impression that the lineage of EverQuest has come to a sad end with Landmark.

Yet there’s still EverQuest 2 and it’s still getting expansions and some dev love. This has always been one of those MMOs that I feel that, in a parallel universe, I would be totally into. It certainly checks all of the boxes of my wish list, has a vibrant playerbase, and is so packed with content at this point that it’s almost intimidating to consider playing. Which is probably why I don’t.

RIFT

I’ve always seen RIFT as a “safety” MMO. If I’m disillusioned or burned out on whatever I’m playing, there’s always RIFT to go back to. Good comfort gaming: lots of features, regular updates, and that sweet, sweet soul system. I think back to the first year or two of playing this game and trigger all sorts of nostalgic love for the fun I had in the game. I never stick around long when I do go back, but I usually have a great time.

So what about you? If time wasn’t a restrictive factor, what additional games would you be playing (if anything)?

Guest post: DDO — Search and Rescue

Pic 0 Gnomework

Syp is AFK on vacation this week and put out a call for substitute writers! Today’s guest post is brought to you by DDOCentral. Check out his blog for more great word-stuff!

Dungeons and Dragons Online (DDO) recently celebrated its 10th anniversary in February 2016, which is a milestone within the MMORPG gaming community. Not only is DDO one of the few MMOs to have supported its fantasy world continuously for over ten years but was also the pioneer of the hybrid free to play business model now common with PC based MMOs.

There are currently 128 free to play quests in DDO, with the three most recent f2p quests released on May 10th, 2016 as an extension of the 10th anniversary celebration. The official 10th anniversary update earlier this year introduced the Gnome and the Iconic Deep Gnome player races to DDO and the subsequent Update 31 is appropriately entitled, Gnomework.

All three of the f2p quests feature a Gnome NPC quest giver and each of the quests somehow involve one or more of the gnomish qualities of exploration, illusion mastery, and invention. ‘Good Intentions’, ‘Memoirs of an Illusory Larcener’, and ‘Search and Rescue’ are offered at both the mid-level Heroic and upper level Legendary quest difficulties.

Search and Rescue

The third quest in Gnomework is the only one that takes place in The Forgotten Realms; the gnome NPC Popkin ‘The Shiv’ Shortshanks is found in front of The Lonesome Tankard inn near the village of Eveningstar’s periphery. Popkin explains that she and her comrades were exploring an ancient tomb in the Stonelands after hearing rumors of treasure buried there and then things went sour.

Reconnaissance had been going well until Popkin found a secret door at the back of the tomb leading to an underground cave complex. The party entered the passageway and were ambushed, with everyone splitting up during the fighting. Popkin escaped out a back entrance but is now afraid to re-enter the tomb by herself to find her lost friends.

Pic 15 Meet The Shiv

The young female gnome implores the adventurers to recover her five disappeared compatriots: Tristran, Lianter, Kirina, Helayna, and Jarus. An old man in a “funny hat” (probably Elminster) gave Popkin five Word of Recall trinkets that will transport the party members back to Eveningstar when used from the Stonelands. The adventurers take a wagon to the Stonelands Crevasse and are greeted by a cacophony of harpies after sliding down a rope into the rocky chasm.

Pic 16 The harpies are alright

Once the party has dispatched the harpies and some Stoneland scorpions, the players enter the tomb of which the walls are lined with glowing Netherese orbs. The orbs can be smashed which will dim what little light exists in the tomb’s chambers.

Pic 17 Hallway to the unknown

Waves of undead come at the party and chamber’s secret door can be opened by locating two control orbs among the breakable orbs. Further fighting brings the party to the Master of the Tomb, a mummy named Laeron and his Helmed Horror honor legion. Destroying the mummy allows the party to find a lever behind the throne.

pic18

The lever is pulled back to reveal a delved cave entrance. The players are set upon almost immediately by subterranean monsters, including Umber Hulks.

Pic 19 Umber Hulks are here too

The five lost adventurers are all over the map, but the first one found is most likely to be Jarus the Purple Dragon Knight. Some dialogue will explain what the preceding party had encountered in the underground tunnels and then the players can send Jarus and the others back to Eveningstar.

Pic 20 Nothing a little aspirin can’t fix

pic21

 

As the party explores the cave network, there are more mobs and finally a band of powerful kobolds blocking the path to a lava filled hemispherical cyst in the crust of the layers of stone beneath the Netherese tomb. If the kobolds are beaten, the wall of fire preventing entrance to the lair of Daeronnax the red dragon will drop.

Pic 22 Ready for a fight

Slaying Daeronnax and his kobold entourage will set free the fourth lost party member. The fifth party member (or what remains of him) needs to be found behind a sealed door
elsewhere among the passages to complete the main quest.

As enjoyable as the primary section of Search and Rescue is, the quest’s optional is that much better. The optional for this dungeon is the most extensive in DDO and is effectively another quest by itself.

If the players thoroughly probe all of the dead ends in the cave network, they will find an entrance to the upper fringes of The Underdark. Beyond some burrowing Umber Hulks, the opening to more caves can be found in a partially collapsed tunnel.

Once inside, the party finds the area is a drow elf outpost and must battle drow archers, drow casters, and driders to move deeper into the maze of caves and underground
lakes.

Pic 23 No one expected this

Obtaining a silver key is necessary to open the drow vault’s door where more of the dark elves are guarding the drow command’s living quarters as well as the entrance to a lower level summoning chamber used by drow arcanists.

Pic 24 The bedroom where the drow high command commit their unspeakable depravities…and also get a good night’s sleep

The end fight takes place in the summoning chamber where the party must subdue summoned slaadi (of the red, green, and blue varieties), more driders and drow elves, and finally Il’tharis the Terrible. Il’tharis is a grey slaad, from the executioner sub-species in slaadi society, and is the first appearance of a grey slaad in DDO.

Pic 25 Drow summoning chamber

Executing the high priestess of Lolth, Mistress Laerion’vyr, in her chambers ends the optional after the summoning chamber altercation.

The drow outpost optional in Search and Rescue is nearly pure Menace of the Underdark, the largest and most popular of DDO’s two paid expansions over the game’s history. Players have been clamoring for more drow elves and more Forgotten Realms and they receive those things in spades with this update.

There is even an easter egg for the observant behind some rocks near the opening to the Underdark optional. The avalanche caused by umber hulk activity has crushed what
appears to be a dead Phaerimm, a malicious creature found in The Great Sand Sea of Anauroch  in the Forgotten Realms.

Pic 26 Watch for falling rocks

The Stonelands are on the way north to Anauroch, so this squashed Phaerimm may portend a future update featuring a showdown with the shadow mages of Netheril.

Gnomework is free to all and the quests begin in the mid-level Heroic range, with one quest (Memoirs of an Illusory Larcener) set at Level 13 on Heroic Normal. Even if you have never played DDO before, you can jump into the action and try out these quests by purchasing the Iconic Deep Gnome player race from the DDO Store. All Iconic classes start at Level 15 and are fully geared. See you in game!

Guest post: DDO — Memoirs of an Illusory Larcener

Pic 0 Gnomework

Syp is AFK on vacation this week and put out a call for substitute writers! Today’s guest post is brought to you by DDOCentral. Check out his blog for more great word-stuff!

Dungeons and Dragons Online (DDO) recently celebrated its 10th anniversary in February 2016, which is a milestone within the MMORPG gaming community. Not only is DDO one of the few MMOs to have supported its fantasy world continuously for over ten years but was also the pioneer of the hybrid free to play business model now common with PC based MMOs.

There are currently 128 free to play quests in DDO, with the three most recent f2p quests released on May 10th, 2016 as an extension of the 10th anniversary celebration. The official 10th anniversary update earlier this year introduced the Gnome and the Iconic Deep Gnome player races to DDO and the subsequent Update 31 is appropriately entitled, Gnomework.

All three of the f2p quests feature a Gnome NPC quest giver and each of the quests somehow involve one or more of the gnomish qualities of exploration, illusion mastery, and invention. ‘Good Intentions’, ‘Memoirs of an Illusory Larcener’, and ‘Search and Rescue’ are offered at both the mid-level Heroic and upper level Legendary quest difficulties.

Memoirs of an Illusory Larcener

The second quest in Gnomework is also in the Harbor area, near the gates to The Inspired Quarter. The party meets the gnome master illusionist, Callumnie (a calumny is a kind of false statement), who entices the players with an offer to tell an exciting story. Callumnie explains that he has travelled all over the world of Eberron, from the gnome kingdom of Zilargo to the distant, nearly uncharted continent of Argonnessen which is home to a race of Dragons. Callumnie assures the adventurers his tales are so vivid in their descriptions that those who hear them will believe themselves to be actual participants.

The party agrees to hear the compelling yarn, so the gnome illusionist invites them into his humble abode.

Pic 6 The gnome at home

Callumnie then asks the party to step through the double doors adjacent to his dwelling’s foyer, into the hallway, and onto a luminescent blue circle covered in glyphs. Once the party has gathered on the illusionary spot, the players are surrounded by heavy mists and are transported to an urban scene which appears similar to Stormreach Harbor but perhaps a dream-like version of it.

Pic 7 Where it all begins…

Callumnie’s voice is heard in the players’ heads and he instructs the party to find an Upstanding Citizen to begin the story but warns that she is a “master of disguise.” The Upstanding Citizen is standing in the middle of the street as the party enters the City and is a lone halfling female.

The streets of the Harbor are populated with NPCs bearing often absurd names – for example, Completely Ordinary Citizen and Extremely Dull Citizen – who will state nonsensical things if the players speak to them. “If I was actually in this story, I would have something interesting to say.” The names of the NPCs will change randomly each time the quest is done or based on other factors that are not yet clear.

To advance the story, the players must take a “missive” from the Upstanding Citizen to two human thugs named Julius and Vincent. The goons are just down the street but, in keeping with the often bizarre nature of dreams, the players must walk a dozen or so yards to the men and hand them the letter personally. Julius and Vincent accept the letter after some harsh dialogue and request that the players give Upstanding Citizen their own handwritten letter.

When the letter is returned to Upstanding Citizen, she asks the players for another errand. This time, they are to retrieve “an artifact” from an Elf holed up in the local tavern. Upstanding Citizen says that this Elf deserves to die as he is a thief, murderer, or pretentious abuser of grammar (these text options change as well, depending on what the players say to the halfling).

The party finds the pub after a quick jaunt down several streets and enters to see a small army of elvish rangers with bows guarding the Elf.

Pic 8 Stepping in for a drink…or maybe not

The party finds the Elf in the back corner of the pub with his bodyguard. The players must extract the artifact from the Elf, which soon turns into a fight involving everyone in the room. After defeating the Elf and his escort, the players must beat a hasty retreat with the artifact as many more elven rangers gather outside the tavern to prevent the artifact from being stolen.

Pic 9 The welcoming committee

Pic 10 The welcoming committee’s friends

 

After battling waves of belligerent elves in the City’s streets, the players notice Julius and Vincent down an alley with an escape route to an airship waiting in the clouds.

Pic 11 Julius and Vincent are more pleasant than they first appeared

Once aboard, the players learn that they are on a Sharn Syndicate airship and must meet its commander, the halfling Lucy Lawful. The Sharn Syndicate is a criminal organization in Eberron known for its use of feral halflings as muscle.

Pic 12 Celebrities do sometimes show up in people’s dreams

The players learn from Lucy that no reward is offered for the artifact and that they are to be dropped off on land empty handed. The players leave the commander’s quarters and bump into Upstanding Citizen as they return to the lower decks.

Upstanding Citizen says that the Sharn Syndicate would never let the players leave the ship alive and that they should swap out the real artifact with a counterfeit one supplied by her. The real artifact can then be used as a bargaining chip to secure safe passage. The players agree and must fight their way through the ship’s crew once the deception is revealed.

pic13

Following the Sharn Syndicate crew’s defeat, the party is teleported out of the airship from another blue circle into a flat, seemingly manufactured forest. The players fight scattered Sharn Syndicate brigands until they come upon a clearing in the woods with yet one more blue circle. Callumnie’s voice is heard again, this time telling the players to step onto the final portal to finish the story.

As soon as the players touch the circle’s border an ambush is sprung of all of the characters in Callumnie’s story that were backstabbed by the party, including Lucy Lawful.

Pic 14 They are the types to hold a grudge

When the Sharn Syndicate gang is defeated, the players enter the blue circle once more to be teleported back to Callumnie’s home for the quest end reward. Callumnie tells the party that even he was surprised by the outcome of the story as it is different every time.

Interestingly enough none of the mobs in ‘Memoirs of an Illusory Larcener’ are counted as kills in the Monster Manual, affirming the phantasmal nature of the quest’s opponents.

Guest post: DDO — Good Intentions

Pic 0 Gnomework

Syp is AFK on vacation this week and put out a call for substitute writers! Today’s guest post is brought to you by DDOCentral. Check out his blog for more great word-stuff!

Dungeons and Dragons Online (DDO) recently celebrated its 10th anniversary in February 2016, which is a milestone within the MMORPG gaming community. Not only is DDO one of the few MMOs to have supported its fantasy world continuously for over ten years but was also the pioneer of the hybrid free to play business model now common with PC based MMOs.

There are currently 128 free to play quests in DDO, with the three most recent f2p quests released on May 10th, 2016 as an extension of the 10th anniversary celebration. The official 10th anniversary update earlier this year introduced the Gnome and the Iconic Deep Gnome player races to DDO and the subsequent Update 31 is appropriately entitled, Gnomework.

All three of the f2p quests feature a Gnome NPC quest giver and each of the quests somehow involve one or more of the gnomish qualities of exploration, illusion mastery, and invention. ‘Good Intentions’, ‘Memoirs of an Illusory Larcener’, and ‘Search and Rescue’ are offered at both the mid-level Heroic and upper level Legendary quest difficulties.

Good Intentions

The adventurers meet one Orben Romblemore – Inventor and Genius – in Eberron’s Stormreach Harbor, standing at the entrance to the Saltire District. The Saltire District was previously the setting for the Lovecraftian Harbinger of Madness quest chain but has since been reclaimed by Stormreach’s residents following the expulsion of the extraplanar interlopers from Xoriat. The Saltire District is now gentrified and is home to the Exposition of the Arcane, a magical bazaar run by many of Stormreach’s wizards and artificers.

pic1

Romblemore explains to the party that he has invented an Animatic which “will change Stormreach forever!” The Animatic is intended to clean up debris from the constant
destruction caused by marauding pirates, Devil invasions, tavern brawls and the like using Animated Objects controlled via The Animatic’s force field. The bespectacled gnome wants to present his new device in the Exposition of the Arcane, so he offers to teleport the party to the showplace for his construct.

Pic 2 A view of the Exposition of the Arcane from a turret

Once the party finds Romblemore among the vendor stalls, he announces the power that The Animatic possesses. The party is doubtful that this imposing looking Iron Golem will be able to bring to artificial life tools and building materials but the diminutive wizard goes forward with the demonstration anyway.

Things do not go as planned and nearby animated crates selected for the exhibition begin to attack everyone in sight. Romblemore then reveals that The Animatic was built out of a refurbished House Deneith war golem – “Some of its old hostile commands must still be operational!”

As the malfunctioning war golem continues to go berserk and animate yet more crates, Romblemore says that he could make a wand to deactivate The Animatic but that he lacks
the proper ingredients. The gnome wizard needs a Beholder Eye, some Pixie Dust, and finally a Unicorn Horn for the wand itself and explains where these items might be found
in the District.

The Saltire District consists of indoor shops along shallow canals, taverns, sewer tunnels, courtyards, and stone manors, which are now filled with hostile objects animated by the rogue golem’s energy field. Romblemore will attempt to slow down The Animatic while the adventurers search for the enchanted components scattered over the quest map.

The revised Saltire District is expansive with a number of twists and turns through the indoor areas and among its rooftops. DDO is now of the age where it has its own in
jokes and two of the three ingredients are held by noted Harbor area NPCs: Goldscuttle the Kobold, who accepts prayer bead Collectibles for Augments outside this quest, and Durk the Deranged, the bestower of several quests in the Harbor, the Marketplace, and The Twelve.

Pic 3 Durk the Deranged in his sewer hideout

Most of the mobs in Good Intentions are animated furniture, training dummies, implements, weapons, more crates, and even fruit that will attack characters who are not in stealth mode or who are not using an invisibility buff. The time to complete the quest can be shortened considerably by avoiding these mobs altogether and heading directly to the three ingredients once their locations are known.

Pic 4 Animated Objects in the Saltire District shops

There are also random elements to Good Intentions – an optional which spawns two of five possible named monsters of immense strength, including the new as of the Gnomework update Umber Hulk and another which places local madman Durk’s pet squirrel, Nibbles, in varying parts of the quest map.

When the three pieces of the inchoate deactivation wand have been recovered, the party returns to Orben Romblemore and The Animatic. Orben assembles the magic wand and then lowers his containment bubble to shut The Animatic down permanently but the wand fizzles out as soon as the golem is freed.

Pic 5 This won’t hold The Animatic for much longer

The boss fight with The Animatic, now fortified inside a floating gazebo, will complete the quest after the machine’s defeat.