Touring with Turbine: DDO's 'Crafty' New Update 9

Dungeons & Dragons Online's Update 9 shows that Turbine isn't afraid to do whatever they want in the name of expanding their in-game experience. We got details on the new crafting system and more!

More consistent than any other MMO team in the industry, the people over at Dungeons & Dragons Online have been hard at work to get Update 9 out the door and, as usual, I met up in-game with DDO's Executive Producer and Producer, Fernando Paiz and Eric Boyer, to check out what's to come on April 27.

Getting right into the tour, Eric and Fernando were eager to show off their brand new crafting system; a feature that's been in development for a long time. To give a rough breakdown of DDO's new crafting system, the basic premise is summed up as one of breaking down weapons into specific components, and then using those same components to rebuild a weapon of your choice. For those unfamiliar with DDO's loot system, a good amount of gear in the game is based on four specific things: the upgrade level, the material of the equipment, the suffix and the prefix. What DDO's crafting system does is break down equipment into these four components, with players being able to break their loot down to get the desired prefix, suffix, upgrade level or base piece of equipment, where they can then add that to a different piece of gear. 

Currently, there are three "specializations" of crafting in the game — Arcane, Divine and Elemental — and Turbine really wants players to see crafting as being a natural extension of their character growth, as opposed to being an entirely different sphere of play, like with Final Fantasy XI. This also means that Turbine doesn't want crafting to be a time sink that only a small portion of the community can really get into.

Even with such a long development time behind it, however, Turbine is being careful with the implementation of this new crafting mechanic, as they have no "pre-launch" beta to test it out on. Thus, the only way to really gauge the effect this new system will have on DDO is by testing it, step by step, on the live servers. In this way, Turbine is labelling their new crafting launch as something of a beta on the live servers. Players will still be able to gain the crafting levels they'll need for endgame creations, but Turbine has also deliberately set the crafting level cap quite low so that they can gauge the impact that crafting will have on the economy and the community. In other words, Turbine gets to test and tweak their new system as the days pass, and players will still be able to explore this new system knowing that they're going to get something out of it.

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