Monday, July 09, 2012

Dungeon and Dragons The Menace of the Underdark a review

Thanks to for the image
Well The Menace of the Underdark expansion is now upon us and Dungeons and Dragons online changed.  The game has been simplified and made easier.  Perhaps more alarmingly is a hint of fourth edition D&D mechanics creeping into the underlying game.  All and all I don't know if I like it as I am seeing less solid game play.  This would include coming from myself.

To dig into the expansion a bit they have changed the EPIC system so that there are now three versions of the epic dungeon.  Those are Normal, Hard and Elite.  Normal and Hard are pretty damn easy which sort of sucks.  The Elite is an increase over the old Epic which makes for a challenging run. This has the good effect of removing the equipment barrier from epics as now you can suck dick and do just fine in quests.  It also removes from of the separation between the TR and the non TR character.  As you don't have to fight through Epic quests that are out classing you to get tokens.

The new Epic leaves that you will be going through for level 20 to 25 are a combination of epic destiny and classes.  The class levels can be though of as non specific unclassed level that give a generic set of HP , save and skills to everyone.  So casters will be getting the same HP as the fighter. There are some epic feats which are pretty nice, the Bard song feat is an absolute must have.

The epic destinies are sort of the like the epic version of enhancements.  You start off with the freedom to select one of these, which should probably be the one associated with your class.  From there your points go into an advancement tree that is pretty World of Warcrafty.  These are cool as they allow you to fix problems with your character and are pretty easy to start attaining.  What I mean is you can get Hit point pretty easily through these destinies if you are low by taking the Barbarian tree.  The bard tree auto grants spell level increase which helps with my low DC's.  So I could start working up my crappy paladin and take hit points so he could go from pathetic to just plain bad.

The equipment awards in these quests is also very generous.  New equipment is on par with much of the green steel pieces.  Don't get me wrong you still want your Min2 Khopesh but you can easily do with some off hand that you find in epic quests.  The armor also get you near to the point of epic quests.  Finally some of the Forgotten Realms area quests yield collectibles that can be turned in for almost epic quality items.

All in all this allows for a pretty easy path to leveling up to twenty five and gaining high end equipment.  Changes in epic token yield makes challenges a must for TRing and I have got to say the first run of an epic quest can yield incredible experience points for not a lot of work.  For me this is a bit like the quarter change in coin op games.  You can have a great character with not a lot of skill.  Yes they have defanged many of the time sinks which is good but taking out the difficulty puts a lot more noobs in my pug groups.  And if I am in the group you already have at least one suck player.

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