Something felt wrong when I glanced over the announcement of Dungeons & Dragons Online: Menace of the Underdark. I dismissed it as just another expansion pack for a free-to-play MMO, but that felt wrong. Digging around uncovered what was troubling me: DDO has never had an expansion pack. It was released in 2006 and went free-to-play three years later, but even then it's been a low priority thanks to server sizes and Turbine's Lord Of The Rings Online Tolkien all the people. Because of that, the list of additional content is rather chunky. It'll be out on June 25th, but you can pre-order now.
While the main game is the steampunk-inspired Eberron, Turbine are taking players to the leafier, more traditional fantasy setting of the Forgotten Realms for the new content. That means places like the King's Forest, the Underdark and the Demonweb for your new Druid character to run around in.
There's actually another reason for the bringing the new realm now: Turbine have been hoping to do so for a while, but creating a reason in the game's fiction needed work between the game's company and D&D lore keepers Wizards of The Coast. That's since been spun with the prequel content, The Web of Chaos, launching the connection between the two worlds. Something Gamespot have probed.
You know, there's a really interesting middle ground of games, especially in MMOGs, that I really should take a look at: games that don't make a lot of noise, but here we are, six years on talking about a new expansion. The numbers must play out for it to maintain enough revenue to continue for so long. Is it quietly big, or just quiet enough?