DDO Menace of the Underdark Sees The Light Today

Let's all sing 'hordes of the underdark' to the tune of Girls Aloud's Sound of the Underground

Revitalised by going microtransaction-to-play last year, Dungeons & Dragons Online has found itself in a healthy enough state to launch what appears to be a pretty beefy ‘premium expansion.’ Menace of the Underdark is, somehow, DDO’s first ever full-fat add-on after six years of hanging onto its servers for dear life until business models changed. It brings the more appealing, darker, undergroundy, demonic’n’Drowy aspects of the Forgotten Realms setting to the fore, as well as introducing the skinchanging Druid class for the first time. I am genuinely amazed this game didn’t have Druids before now. Aren’t all fantasy MMOs supposed to have Druids?

Take a look at the new stuff, settings, enemies, classes and “Epic levels to 25” in a four-part video, which also talks about luminescent algae.

Lolth is a funny name for a big baddie. Lol!

The new settings/adventure packs are these:

o The King’s Forest: Explore deep into the King’s Forest and defend the village of Eveningstar from Lolth’s Drow legions.
o The Underdark: Venture down into the Underdark and confront Lolth’s elite followers in the Drow city of Sschindlyryn.
o The Demonweb: Journey to Lolth’s home plane, battle demon hordes and confront the spider goddess herself as you attempt to stop her scheme.

And all that launches later today. You can still play the base game for free, with the Underdark content ranging in price from $30 to $80 depending on how many bonus bits you want. You don’t get the Druid unless you spend at least $44, while $80 gets you tons of special items (I can tell they’re special because they’re written in a purple font) including a hat shaped like a spider and “a figurine of Wonderous [sic] Power.” Waitagoddarnminnit. There’s only one figurine of wonderous [sic] power in the world, but I can’t for the life of me working out how they’re going to explain introducing the original Optimus Prime toy into the Dungeons & Dragons universe.

Details/places to spend money.


  1. MadMatty says:

    its been FTP for years

  2. InternetBatman says:

    DDO is one of my favorite MMOs. If anyone hasn’t tried it you should. The classes have huge and unique differences, the dungeons have cool mechanics that are a little more like actual D&D dungeons, and the DM in each dungeon is pretty cool.

    • Vexing Vision says:

      And not only that – there isn’t any other MMO out there that allows me to have so much variety within a single class.

      This is from someone who has four highlevel fighters (and only one of them is splashed with a ranger class) who all play very, very, very differently from each other.

  3. EPICTHEFAIL says:

    Druids. Great, here comes CoDzilla, making half the classes obsolete since 3rd ed.!

    • Kaira- says:

      I am actually looking forward what kind of crazy builds people come up with druids. I remember someone speculated a build on forums based on 3.5E where the druid could heal almost as well as a cleric, hit hard like barbarian and have crazy AC like fighter.

      Did I already tell that I love druids? I love druids.

      • EPICTHEFAIL says:

        Which is what I just described. I`m not saying I won`t play druid, mind you. I`m just saying it may well be utterly broken. Welcome back, 3.5 e.

    • InternetBatman says:

      I just want to ability to speak to animals. Also make a bearmage. (An utterly unoptimized bear that can shoot fireballs).

    • Namey says:

      It is wroth pointing out that such is not the case in DDO. It’s so far removed from 3.5 at this stage, that it has its own mechanical quirks and arguably far better balance. Clerics in DDO aren’t melee juggernauts that obsolete fighters, for example. Nor do they out-blast the likes of Sorcerers, or shut down enemies as well as wizards or bards. They can certainly branch out to different things, but to truly excel at anything in DDO you need to specialize, and specializing comes at a cost.

      • InternetBatman says:

        I haven’t played it in awhile, so I could be wrong, but while that’s mostly true, certain things like multiclassing to get evasion is a huge for a melee class, especially tanks.

  4. YogSo says:

    “…but I can’t for the life of me working out how they’re going to explain introducing the original Optimus Prime toy into the Dungeons & Dragons universe.”

    A wizard did it? ;p

  5. Kaira- says:

    Right, a new class. This is sure to feed my alt-a-holic nature. It’s not like I started a bard/fighter/barbarian few weeks ago. Whoo boy.

  6. Bisyss says:



  7. Torgen says:

    To be fair to Turbine, there have been regular, substantial, FREE updates ever since the game launched, adding new classes, new dungeons, all sorts of QoL stuff. They caught a lot of shit (including from me) for being the first big MMO that ran almost completely on instances, but I’ve really liked how the game has filled out (and nearly everyone instances everything now, so can’t really hold that against them.)

    Out of all the MMOs I’ve played, I’m more likely to go back to DDO than any other of the many that I’ve played.

  8. aliksy says:

    If I didn’t completely despise D&D 3e I’d be all over this. I really like how they did instanced dungeons with secrets, traps and goals. I liked the click-to-swing combat, too, since it felt more involved. I just hate spells per day, how it does HP and AC, and some other things that are essential to D&D.

    If they made a game like this with a fresh system designed from the ground up for the PC, I’d… ok, so it’d pretty much be Guild Wars with secrets and traps in the dungeons.

    • Namey says:

      DDO really doesn’t do spells per day at all, you merely choose what spells you can cast from your mana each rest. You can totally spam any spell you have memorized, as much as you want, as long as you SP runs. It’s definitely taken a step away from the PnP version there.

      Also with the expansion, the AC system is getting some much needed revamps. It did use the PnP binary hit/miss system which was getting absurdly unusable DDO. How do you balance moster +Attack when end game player AC’s could range from 30 to 100, and you could only have 1d20 worth of randomization? Thankfully with the expansion, they’re moving to a more damage reduction oriented method of AC, though its still a work in progress at this stage. Still a step in a good direction though.

      • aliksy says:

        You’re right in that it’s not exactly spells per day, but you don’t regenerate your spell points (outside of the last 10, which arent worth much), using limited rest shrines, or convincing someone to play a high level cleric. Some people really like that sort of resource management, but I’m more of a Magicka kind of guy with my magic tastes.

        Actually, even without the casting limitations, I kind of don’t like D&D spells in general. The whole “fighter=linear growth, caster=geometric growth” thing kind of sucks. I saw someone comment elsewhere that D&D’s design seems to give each class strengths and weaknesses, and then gives the casters the ability to trivially circumvent them. I mean, time stop. Seriously. (Caveat: Never actually got to 9th lvl spells in DDO, so i’m basing this based on 7th lvl spells and PnP D&D 3e)

        Now, if they made a game based on D&D 4e, I’d be real interested in that.

        Back in reality, that new armor system sounds interesting, though.

    • age says:

      On the other hand, no MMO I’ve played has done stealth as well as DDO. Progression being linked to completing dungeons means that stealth is more useful then in other MMOs, while the light and sound systems are neat and well implemented. Had a great time just soloing on my Rogue, whittling down large groups by drawing mobs away 1/2 at a time or slowly sneaking up and assassinating lone enemies.

      I liked the idea of the click to slash combat, but I didn’t really like how it was implemented. Hard to pin down why, but it just felt very imprecise. I’d dodge away from an attack and it would hit me when I was well out of range, I’d swing while moving and the hit would occur a second later when I was focused on another enemy. Some precise, punchy combat would improve the game enormously imo.

  9. AstaSyneri says:

    Lolth is a funny name for a big baddie. Lol!

    Arrgh. Infidel. That’s because you didn’t go against the Queen of the Demonweb Pits. That module absolutely struck fear into my players.

    Yup, that’s Advanced Dungeons & Dragons – you were just born then, Alec ;-)

    • Haderak says:

      Preach it, Brother!

      Favourite all-time D&D quote #4: “Who’s the bitch with all the spiders?”

  10. JD Ogre says:

    And, in case anyone wants to try it, DDO hit Steam today – link to store.steampowered.com – with the expansion being *$50*. Ouch.

  11. MadTinkerer says:

    “Lolth is a funny name for a big baddie. Lol!”

    If, in the morning, the police find your dessicated corpse wrapped in webbing and covered with large spiders of a species not previously known in the U.K., we will know why. ;)

  12. Kez says:

    <3 DDO!

    I don't get to play it as much as I'd like but every time I fire it up it's like a flashback to my tabletop days. I might never end up seeing the endgame content (I really don't get to play as often as I'd like) but I keep buying adventure packs and stuff to show my support and appreciation to Turbine. Maybe I'm a sucker, but the game just tickles all the right memory triggers.

  13. Shadram says:

    Have they upgraded the launcher to run in Windows 8, though? I tried playing the other day, but the launcher requires .Net 1.1, which isn’t supported by new Windows since it’s about 132 years old (carbon dated, so definite fact and not an exaggeration).