Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Dungeons & Dragons Online: Menace of the Underdark

Impressions: DDO: Menace of the Underdark

5:00 PM on 07.30.2012 // Joshua Derocher

Dungeons & Dragons Online (DDO) has been around for over six years now. When it went free to play, the game picked up over a million new players and its revenue increased by 500%. I'd call that successful. It was one of the first games to prove that "free to play" doesn't mean sub-par gameplay.

I've dabbled with DDO here and there since its launch back in 2006, and the thing that has always kept me from playing it more was the setting. When DDO came out, it was set in the Ebberon universe, which was probably a good choice because the developers had more freedom to create things since there is less lore and fantasy connected to it than other Dungeons & Dragons campaign settings. But I wanted to be able to run around in my favorite D&D setting, The Forgetton Realms. The Forgetton Realms has been used as the universe for most D&D PC games including Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale, and Neverwinter Nights. It's a familiar setting to RPG gamers, and it's one that I would love to explore in an MMO.

The first expansion pack to DDO, called Menace of the Underdark, will allow players to quest in the lands of The Forgotten Realms with three new massive quest packs. The druid has also been added as a playable class. While DDO is still free, this new expansion will cost you at least $29.99 to play. That's not too much to ask, but is it worth it? Let's find out!

The Underdark

The evil spider deity Lloth has decided to try and attack Ebberon. Any level 16 character can get a quest that will let them discover this in a series of dungeons. A rift has been opened between the worlds of Ebberon and the Forgotten Realms. Players travel to the city of Evengstar in the Forgetton Realms to start their questing. The first major zone players will get to enter is The King's Forest, which is huge and filled with things to do. Later on, players will also get a chance to enter the Underdark to kick some Drow ass. The final adventure pack brings the fight to Lloth's home plane, The Demonweb. 

These three adventure packs add over 40 hours of new content. It's all interesting content, too. The quests are narrated by Elminster, a wizard that pops up all over the place in the Forgotten Realms. His crackly old voice is perfect for describing the dark regions that players will explore. The quests just seem like more fun to me. I can't put a finger on anything that they are doing differently, but they are more enjoyable. I know that being in the Forgotten Realms makes me more interested in what's going on, and I feel like most RPG players will agree. Even if you haven't played a D&D game like Baldur's Gate, the setting will still feel familiar with its giant green forests and dark caverns to explore. It's much more of a traditional fantasy setting than the slightly steampunk Ebberon.

All of this new content is cool, but it's meaningless unless players can continue to progress. Players can now level up to 25 and they have access to Epic Destinies. Epic Destinies will take the place of enhancements as characters work their way towards level 25.

Players get to pick which Epic Destiny they want to have and they earn points for that destiny as they gain experience points. Epic Destinies have five levels; once a character reaches level five in a Destiny, they can choose to have another Destiny active instead. They will then start to level up that Destiny from level one. It's possible to reach level five in every Epic Destiny with enough time.

Switching Destinies is simple enough. Players just have to pay a visit to a Fatespinner, which are now in most public areas next to class trainers. You don't lose any progress you might have made leveling another Destiny, but you can't use any of the abilities from it unless it's active and you can't level it up if it's not active. 

The Epic Destinies are divided into four spheres: Arcane, Divine, Martial, and Primal. Each sphere has classes associated with it, and you must have at least six levels in that class to start with a Destiny in that sphere. For example, if I have a level 20 Wizard with no levels in any other class, I'll have to start with the Arcane Destiny. Once a character reaches level three in an Destiny, they can switch to a another Destiny in the same sphere, and at level four it will start to be possible to unlock Destinies in other spheres.

I lied a little bit about not being able to use abilities from a non-active Destiny. There is a system in place called a Twist of Fate which allows a character to use an ability from another Destiny. Fate points are awarded every time three Destiny levels are earned and can then be used to unlock slots to equip abilities from other Destinies. These slots at first will only allow access to low-level abilities, but Fate points can be used to improve the slots and allow the use of better abilities.

All of this stuff might sound really complicated to non D&D players, but you don't have to learn all of it at once and it's introduced gradually into the game. It's simple to learn and quite easy to use. It's also deep and if players want to spend time maximizing their stats and abilities, there is plenty to play around with here.

Rounding out all of this new content is the addition of the Druid class. The Druid will be familiar to just about anyone who knows the basics of D&D. And if you don't know anything about D&D, pretty much every druid in any videogame is based on the D&D Druid class.

The Druid can change his shape into a wolf, bear, fire elemental, or a water elemental. Each of these shapes has a set of special abilities. Druids can also summon animals to fight with them as pets. Early on, they are mostly a melee class that can cast the occasional spell, but a high-level Druid is an awesome spellcaster that can take on the role of a healer, damage dealer, or even a tank.

It's a good, multi-purpose role that can flex to the needs of the party. If you are a VIP subscriber, you'll have access to the Druid without having to buy the expansion.

Menace of the Underdark has a lot of content in it. It breathes some much-needed life into a six-year-old game and serves as a great reason to jump back in if you haven't played in a while. If you have never played DDO, you might want to give it a try. It won't cost you a dime to get started. Sadly none of this new content really affects the free portions of the game. You'll have to dish out some cash to play this new content.

I know there will be people on the Internet complaining that they'll have to spend money in a free-to-play game, but not everything can be completely free. $29.99 will get you into Menace of the Underdark with the Base edition, and that's less than the price of two months in a paid MMO. The Standard edition of the game is priced at $49.99.

There is definitely enough content to keep you busy for a couple of months, and if you stick around, you'll just get to keep playing for free. It's a pretty good deal to me.

Photo Gallery: (21 images)
Click to zoom - browse by swipe, or use arrow keys

Joshua Derocher, PC Contributor
 Follow Blog + disclosure Josh_Derocher Tips
Josh is a PC gamer. He can usually be found flying around in EVE Online. He's been known to enjoy playing role-playing games like Dragon Age: Origins, Skyrim, and Planescape Torment. He starte... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:
Dungeons & Dragons Online: Menace of the Underdark

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!

Things I'm Thankful For

Cblogs of 11/25/15 + Turkey N Stuff

Cheat Codes Podcast - Ep. 73: Stay Classy

NVGR: Updated Album "ADBC" (No longer an EP)

Fun2Play: Downwell

So that just happened: The Talos Principle

Sick, Sad and just dumb news: 25th November - Leighapalooza

Context Matters! Fanservice's Secrets EXPOSED!

To editorialize or not to editorialize: An editorial

Tiny Dangerous Dungeons REVIEW - The Pocket Metroidvania

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

Amna Umen avatarAmna Umen
Don't forget [img][/img]
Mike Wallace avatarMike Wallace
I wonder how far the show would be taken out of context if the lyrics were "Go, Go Power Rangers, you Mighty Morphine Power Rangers."
Rad Party God avatarRad Party God
I just tried out Skyforge, and... [img][/img]
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Is it weird I finally want a Samurai Warriors game because I think Koshosho is super fab? [img][/img]
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
I've never cleaned my comp in the 3-4 years I have had it. Soon I will dust it. I....I dont know what I will find, hidden in the dust.
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
Happy late thanksgiving Dtoid. I played Doodle God and Murasaki Baby on PSVita, and am now Achievement grinding in Forza Horizon 2 Presents Fast and Furious on Xbox One. Super easy 1000G, I need it.
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Black Friday pick ups so far are Shantae and the Pirate's Curse, Titan Souls and tomorrow Devil Survivor 2 Break Record ($29.99 at GameStop).
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
This thanksgiving, give thanks for the fact that your family wasnt 1 of the 3 to have picked out a wasp filled turkey, buying a meal and becoming a meal. Next year, may not bring such.....dissapointing results.
Nekrosys avatarNekrosys
So I'm pretty sure you all should be giving thanks to Nekro. For he is the one true perfect being. Be thankful that your lives have been blessed by the addition of a Nekro. For that is the true meaning of Thanksgiving.
Solar Pony Django avatarSolar Pony Django
Happy Thanksgiving Dtoid! Here's hoping you didn't fall off a chair while hanging Christmas lights and bash your shin and foot into the concrete like I did!
Sr Churros avatarSr Churros
Listening to Pokémon SoulSilver OST while doing some college work. Suddenly I feel a great amount of guilty taking over me for loosing my PokéWalker 2 years ago... :(
OrochiLeona avatarOrochiLeona
Ok you thanksgiving motherfuckers. 5 favourite Arcade games (as in coin-op) No order necessary. Go!
Lawman avatarLawman
Happy Turkeygeddon everyone! I'd like to spend it playing something, but I'm too busy drinking instead. Alcohol is better. Alcohol mixed with games is best, but unfortunately, I'm a little too lost to the world for that right now!
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
I've got to try Pocket God vs. Desert Ashes. Mostly because I loved pocket god when it came out. Great memories
ikiryou avatarikiryou
I intended to say something important and relevant to how pretty Atelier Shallie Plus looks on the Vita but then I got this annoying sudden nosebleed [img][/img]
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Time for Thanksgiving dinner, then more Shantae! [img][/img]
LinkSlayer64 avatarLinkSlayer64
So Macy's parade had that performance from "The Wiz" which made me realize I'd much rather have seen "The Wizard" where everyone is dancing around wearing power gloves. Come on Nintendo, THE TIME IS NOW!
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
Happy #Darksiders2 day-I mean Thanksgiving. Happy Thanksgiving everybody!
Shinta avatarShinta
Transformers Devastation PS4 - $24. The Order 1886 $10. Digital flash sale on PSN. I think I'm going to have to bite on both these. And I hate digital if I can avoid it ...
SpielerDad avatarSpielerDad
Remember folks, don't forget to smoke cigarettes in between courses during thanksgiving to help in digestion.
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -