So back in January of 2012, Turbine announced “Menace of the Underdark,” the first paid expansion for Dungeons and Dragons Online. One of the things announced for MotU was a new tree based enhancement system. I, for one, couldn’t wait. As much as I like DDO, the enhancement system drove me crazy. Hunting for each thing on the current list format was tedious. This seemed like It would speed up the process a bit. Soon after we were treated to a mockup of the new system.
Well “Menace of the Underdark” came out, but no enhancement system. Turbine said it just wasn’t ready. So with that I waited. Then in this past February, “The Shadowfell Conspiracy” was announced, and I thought that the enhancement system had been thrown to the way side. Thankfully, I was proven wrong. About two weeks ago (from the time this is being written) the new enhancement was rolled out on the beta server, Lamannia. So now we come to whether I feel that the new enhancement system really does make the game better. For that we’re going to look at how it effects my main character on the Orien server, Renockus d’Phiarlan. Renockus (Renny for short) is a rogue fighter. Wave hi to everyone Renny.
Please remember that his is how it effects him and your results may vary. Also the enhancements I chose were to try and recreate as close to the original build that I used for him. It can be found here.
So the first thing I had to do was transfer my character over to Lamannia. Thankfully transfers over to the test server in a free service done by turbine. Normally a server transfers cost about $25. Also I performed a Lesser Reincarnation. The reason was because he had two feats he no longer needed. You see, He had all three dragonmark feats, and they actually made taking the lesser and greater feats unnecessary, a change I very much like. How did they do that. Well lets look at the racial tree.
The path to the right is the new dragonmark path, meaning that I now had two more feats to take. I chose to take Weapon Focus (Piercing Weapons) and Improved Critical (Piercing Weapons), it works sense I use daggers and rapiers. Now one of the things they also did was swap the greater dragonmark and lesser dragonmark abilities. Allow me to show you what they do on the beta, then just swap them to get what they do on live:
Personally, I’m not complaining. Shadow Walk always felt a tad underpowered as a greater dragonmark ability. Also now, if you spend the points for it, your greater dragonmark gives you a second ability. My mark of shadow gives me an ability called Binding Shadows.
The new powers use up uses of your greater dragonmark. From what I’ve seen though. They are well worth it. I tried them in a few dungeons, and fighting enemies that are a)slowed and b) have taken negative levels is incredible. They drop amazingly fast. So that’s some of the new stuff in the racial tree.There are some other new abilities (an entanglement for one) and many of the old racial enhancements have been added and tweaked to to the tree.
So now on the the class trees. Each class has one to three trees depending on how many prestige enhancements that class had before the preview. Sense Renny is a cross class, he has three rogue trees.They are assassin, mechanic, and thief-acrobat. However, he’s also a fighter. Fighters have access to the stalwart defender, and kensai. So in order to access one of my fighter trees, I had to close out one of my rogue trees. I chose to close out thief-acrobat. This Is what my class enhancement trees looked like.
So for the enhancements from the assassin tree, I chose abilities that a) weakened, and b) hurt… A LOT.
So just to let you know when something says something like “1W” it means it does the same damage as you primary weapon. So lets look at a couple of abilities I chose.
I chose this because I wanted a ranged ability that deals some decent damage. That’s exactly what this did. The added bonus of the chance for them to be blind works well. Throw this, then hit them with the next choice.
When a creature is blinded, they are able to be sneak attacked, and sense I use rapiers, I hit them for 3d6 worth of damage. That’s pretty mean. And if I use the next ability to make them bleed:
Well, maybe I should explain bleeding first. See when a creature is bleeding, they take a continual stream of damage. If I’m right its ether a d4 or a d8. Not sure yet. If I have them taking enough damage from bleeding, then I hit them with Execute, they are going to be hurt, bad.
So the question is, What’s an assassin without poison? Well I do have poison. First I have Poison Damage:
As well as an actual poison:
I even have a move that, if I catch an opponent off guard with it, It makes them even more susceptible to poison (if I get them with a sneak attack):
Also what do assassins do? Well, they:
Yeah. I know that was corny, but it was the best segway I could come up with. I really like this ability. Except that I have to be stealthed to use it. It deals a butt ton of damage, even killing something if it fails its save.
So going through all of this you may be wondering what I took from that kensai tree. Well I took a few more enhancements that helped with the damage of my rapiers and daggers. I also took one ability.
Unfortunately I think I may have messed up by taking this, because every time I went to go use this, it didn’t work. O well, lessen learned.
So after doing all of this, Do I feel the new enhancement system is better for the game. To be honest… yeah, I do. It opens up new abilities and option that used to not be available to characters, and steam lines the process of choosing enhancements. There is a reason why so many games used this system to begin with. It works. Are there things about it I would change? Yeah a couple, but they’re minor nitpicks. I legitimately feel that the customization of the characters benefits from this system. You chose the tree’s that you want to spend your points into. You don’t need to dump a certain number of points into a tree to unlock another one to spend points in. In the end just like before, the choices are yours. The new abilities also give characters options they never had before. Such as a pale master being able to temporally raise a party member as an undead. It means If the healer goes down, they have a way to come back without a soul stone run. I personally can’t wait for this system to hit live, sense I already know what’s going to happen with Renny when it does.