DDO: European players are still hanging in Limbo.

It has dropped a little off the radar, so let’s catch up with how the transfer of European DDO accounts from Codemasters to Turbine is going.

Essentially, it isn’t.

On August 19th, 2010, the European Dungeons and Dragons Online servers were shut down, meaning that the characters that European players have been playing since launch were lost to us. We are still waiting for our characters to be transferred, as promised, to the US servers.

What will happen to European characters?

Character data from the Codemasters European DDO service will be passed to Turbine after the Codemasters Online service is closed on August 19, 2010. We will be providing free character transfers to the new global service and players will be notified when the character transfer is available. As a welcome and thank you, Turbine is offering all current and former European players 5,000 free Turbine Points, worth nearly €50, when they transfer their character(s) to the global DDO service

We haven’t got those points yet either, seeing as we can’t get them until the accounts are transferred.

I have to ask “What the hell is going on over there?”. How hard can it be to convert/merge the character databases? Maybe it is really really hard, but if that is the case then they shouldn’t have shut down the European servers until it was ready! The players may have had minimal warning about the server shut-down, but Turbine certainly did not, and should have gotten the processes sorted.

I don’t know whether it is Turbine or Codemasters that is responsible for all this. They won’t tell us which it is, so I’m inclined to blame both.

The flow of information has been terrible, and any European player who dares ask about it on the US forums gets shouted down and told to reroll. Imagine, their characters have essentially been deleted, and wanting to know when they can have them back is considered to be unreasonable. I appreciate that going F2P has given DDO so many new players that keeping hold of old European players might not seem worth troubling over, but it has left a rather ashen taste in the mouths of many players. Turbine have not played fair with us. As European players we’re pretty used to getting the short end of the stick from US developers, but losing your characters for 9+ weeks is particularly special.

Unfortunately, Turbine has adopted a rather weird attitude towards us. This was a response to a European’s complaint that all Euro characters will end up on the Ghallanda server, and if we want them to end up somewhere else we have to pay $25 per character.

Originally Posted by Tarrant
We’re actually giving you your characters, and $50 worth of points, for free. If you don’t want to transfer your characters, you don’t have to. We’re not charging you anything, and are in fact making a kind gesture by bringing them here and giving you points.

Mr Tarrant. You obviously feel that we’re terribly ungrateful for the bounty you have bestowed upon us. Let us be clear here. YOU (that is, Turbine) chose to sell the rights to DDO in Europe to Codemasters, and YOU blocked Europeans from having a US DDO account even if we wanted to. (Until F2P began). Then someone , either you or Codemasters, decided to end that deal and shut down those European servers. I’m not privy to what went on within your companies, but I’ll tell you one thing I’m sure of: It was not the players who decided to go shutting the servers down. What you call a kind gesture, I call the bare minimum that I would expect, and that was when I thought the transfer would happen on the same day the servers were shut down. The eight week wait takes it far below what I would consider the bare minimum.

A kind gesture? What was the alternative? That you’d just shut the server down and not take the opportunity to gain all of Europe’s players, every one of them a fee-paying subscriber? That you’d make it known that you were happy to just shut down European servers at will, with no recourse for the players? That would have killed Euro-Lotro overnight. If you don’t actually want European players, just say so!

Please do not call how European DDO players have been treated “kind”. It just comes off as incredibly patronising. They’re paying customers who have been messed around on an epic scale.

We’re told that transfers will begin on the 25th of October. I truly hope it goes smoothly.

Update: The transfers have happened now. I’ve written an up to date guide for European players who move to the US servers here.

DDO Europe to be merged with DDO “Global” : A Shocking Burst of News!

Update: This post is obviously rather out of date now. I’ve written an up to date guide for European players who move to the US servers here.

European subscribers to DDO received this in our email today:

Today we announce the next steps for Dungeons & Dragons Online®: Stormreach™ (DDO) for Europe. After operating the European service for over four years, our operating licence has now expired and it is with much sadness we announce our intention to transfer the European game service back to Turbine.

We have been working closely with Turbine on transition plans for European DDO players, and will be helping players integrate into the existing global DDO service operated by Turbine, where they will receive access to the latest version of Dungeons & Dragons Online®: Eberron Unlimited™ (DDO Unlimited).

What does this mean to you as a current European player? It means that Codemasters Online will continue to operate the current European DDO service until August 20, 2010. Beginning August 20th, European players will be able to play the global DDO Unlimited service operated by Turbine. To transfer your character to the global service, you will need to opt in with Turbine. Specific instructions on how to opt in to transfer your character will be provided in a later email.

The last full day of service will be 19th August, 2010. All European DDO game servers will be permanently inactive on the morning of Friday 20th August, UK time. The ability to purchase subscriptions will be disabled and all recurring payments will be turned off as of today. Likewise, the creation of new DDO game accounts/subscriptions is now disabled. For further information, please see our DDO Service Transition FAQ in the forums.

You can start playing on the global DDO Unlimited service beginning 20th August. Just create a free account at www.ddo.com and adventure again in the land of Eberron with no monthly subscription required. With the in-game store, you the player can choose how you pay and play. There are many great changes in the game, including guild airships, new hirelings, and many new adventures. When character transfer becomes available, you will be able to move your current DDO Stormreach characters to the newly created DDO Unlimited account on the new global DDO service. The service is currently available only in English, with additional languages expected by end of year.

As a loyalty and welcome reward, Turbine is offering all current and former DDO Europe players 5,000 Turbine Points (nearly a €50 value) when they transfer their characters to the new global service. The points can be spent in the DDO Store to add adventure packs, character slots to your account, and much more.

It has been a great pleasure for all here at Codemasters Online to work on a game that has brought the wonderful world of Dungeons & Dragons Online®, to the online gaming arena. Over the last four years we’ve had the privilege of working with one of the most passionate and considerate gaming communities we’ve ever seen and we hope that everyone who has enjoyed the DDO European service continues to manifest such attributes when the service transfers over to Turbine.

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who supported DDO. In particular, a special mention goes out to those that went the extra mile, bringing the community the wonderful Stormreach Chronicle, player events and dedicated fan sites.

The Codemasters Online Team

Crikey. I expected DDO Europe to go F2P eventually, but I certainly did not see this coming. It’s not so long ago that Mythic also took control of European operations from GOA, but Codemasters have not really been guilty of any GOA-like mismanagement.

As a Premium player in the US, and an ex-subscriber in Europe, what this means for me is that I’ll be getting 5000 free points, and my old characters back, which is pretty awesome. The 5000 point deal is somewhat more generous than US players received when they went F2P, though there is more content that needs buying now, and the transfer system will be a little more fiddly.

Hopefully two new servers will be opened up with the same names as our original European servers, “Keeper” and “Devourer”, making it easy to keep existing communities together. It would be a horrible mistake to just try to roll the migrating players into the already existing servers, not least because all the good names will already have been taken, which would annoy the already inconvenienced newcomers. Nobody likes having to rename an already existing character, and migrating characters should have first dibs on their character names provided they head to the corresponding server. As I wrote in my last post, DDO could do with some new servers anyway.

I do have some questions though:

1. Will European players keep their Founder flagging, and any pre-order item unlocks for any character created? It might sound silly, but I was very fond of my founder’s hat. It made me look like Batman.

2. How soon will the non-English speaking players have access to the same level of support that they got from Codemasters? The Transition FAQ says “later this year”. That this important part of the necessary support is not ready from the get-go suggests to me that this has been quite a rushed decision to not renew Codemaster’s contract.

3. Will the European servers, if they are recreated, stay in Europe, or will they be consolidated in the US? I do seem to lag worse than my US friends when I currently play, so I would personally prefer it if the new ones were hosted in Europe.

4. What does this mean for Lord of the Rings Online in Europe, which is also currently run by Codemasters? It seems unlikely that they would keep one but not the other, especially with LotRO going Free to play. Will there be a similar announcement from the Codemasters LotRO team in the coming weeks?

Update: There has been the following statement on the Codemasters LotRO forum. Thanks to Gizbyt for the headsup.:

There aren’t any plans to merge the EU game servers with the US ones currently. When we go F2P later this year we’ll still have all the European servers and probably with some new additions to that list!

Update: The transfers have happened now. I’ve written an up to date guide for European players who move to the US servers here.

DDO: In which Cannith is full, and refuses entry to even one wafer-thin wizard.

My DDO server, Cannith, today seems to have become something of a victim of its own success, with players being greeted with the following:

DDO Server Full

Even the loading screen looks impatient.

According to the forum, even VIP subscribers, who have priority over premium folks like myself, can’t get in. It’s possible that the error message is itself erroneous, and the servers are not actually full, but something else is stopping us from being able to log in. The other servers seem to be letting people in fine. As yet there hasn’t been any developer comment.

Cannith is the newest server, launched alongside F2P, and as such received the lion’s share of the new players. Perhaps it is time for another server to be opened. With the server populations booming since the move to Free-to-play, it’s a bit odd that we’re still only on seven servers. One possibility is that with DDO’s instanced style, it might just be preferable to add hardware to existing servers, rather than needing to open up entire new ones, but either way, we want to be able to get in and play!

DDO: Gerard Dryden’s Mace

The end rewards for the Catacombs quest-line got a revamp in Module 5, with many of the end-reward weapons getting an improvement.

Blade of Inquisition: Gained Lesser Undead Bane.
Dagger of Inquisition: Gained Lesser Undead Bane.
Eternal Rest: Gained Lesser Undead Bane.
Guidance: Gained Holy.
Morningstar of the Heretic: Gained Bodyfeeder.
Pillar of Light: Gained Radiance II.

But what Osgard, d’Kundarak engineer, is after today is Gerard Dryden’s Mace. It’s found in a chest behind a locked door in the Dryden Family Tomb. Back when the game was young it was a +1 heavy mace of Undead Bane, but was later changed to being just lesser undead bane. Module 5 changed it back, and changed it’s material to bone, so it is once again fairly desirable for folks looking for a decent skeleton-thumping weapon, as well as being safe for use against rust monsters. With it being usable from level 2 onwards, it can make the many undead dungeons a low level character will face far more pleasant!

DDO Map To The Mace Of Gerard Dryden

Map to Gerard Dryden's Mace

Because it is chest-loot, and not very far in, Osgard is going to engage in something of a wheeze. The Dryden Family Tomb is part four of a fairly long quest series, and you can only get in there if you’re on the right stage of the questline. In order to get as many chances at the mace as possible, once the chest has been checked, Osgard recalls out without completing the quest, and waits for the dungeon to reset after 5 minutes of being empty.

Such antics have, of course, been anticipated by the designers, and after about 8 openings the chest will become “Ransacked”, having no good loot, and will remain that way until a week has past from the first time Osgard opened it. You might need all 8 tries too, as the mace is not terribly common. The best plan would be to take along some loyal friends who don’t want it who can pass it to you if they prove luckier! Gerard Dryden’s Mace does not bind to account until equipped. This one will likely become an heirloom passed down through my characters.

DDO Osgard DKundarak And Molin Caskenflagon In The Tomb Of Gerard Dryden 550x375

What wonders lie within?

As it turned out, Osgard ransacked the chest with no mace to be seen, though he did find a variety of useful bits and pieces. So it was that Ronekra Mirrorborn was called forth to complete the task, not least because I need to prove to myself that the mace drops in that chest before I could post this! Eventually, the random number generator took pity on me, and the mace was passed, with much grumbling from Ronekra, to it’s rightful owner.

DDO Gerard Drydens Mace 550x402

I sense much skeleton bashing in Osgard's near future.

DDO: How to make money in Dungeons and Dragons Online.

Because I was asked, here’s a little guide on how to make money in DDO:

Like anywhere else, becoming rich in Dungeons and Dragons Online involves two things; maximising your income, and minimising your expenses.

Some basics

When shopping for new gear it is best to check the brokers, as well as the auction house. While most of the best random gear does end up for auction, free players can only have one auction at a time, and many other people don’t really want to fiddle about with the AH, so you can find the occasional lovely bit of kit on the brokers, at a non-inflated price.

All the brokers for clothing and jewellery, as well as the lowest level armour and weapons brokers, can be found in the marketplace. The higher level armour brokers can be found in Second Gauntlet Goods, in House Kundarak, conveniently opposite the teleporter. The higher level weapon brokers can be found in Fare Trades within House Deneith.

When selling items that you don’t think are going to be popular enough to be worth auctioning, you should always try to sell it to the appropriate broker, as they will pay significantly more than a general merchant. Knowing what equipment will sell is an inexact science. Try to consider what different classes would be looking for in their equipment, and what item properties work well together on the same item.

Some people like to have a separate character for trading, with maximised charisma and haggling skills. That’s a bit too much fiddling around for my liking, but you should keep hold of the best haggle and charisma gear you find in your adventures, and wear it when doing any significant buying or selling.


Collectables are key to getting a decent moneypile early on in DDO. Grab every single loot bag and prod every collectable node that you see. While most of the items you’ll get for turning collectables in are pretty junky, they’re still worth money. Depending on your class, you may well find the wands you can receive from some harbour and marketplace collections useful, particularly the healing wands. Wands of cure light/moderate are not cheap to buy, and are the sort of thing that can save an adventuring party from disaster.

More importantly, from a financial stand-point, are certain collectables that you’ll find from time to time. There are a few that have a second use, in crafting. Annoyingly, this second purpose is not mentioned on the item, so you should probably jot the following collectables down. On my server they are all worth at least 5000 gold, and often more.

Vial of Pure Water
Tome: Prophecies of Khyber
Silver Flame Hymnal
Luminescent Dust
Sparkling Dust
Fragrant Drowshood
Deadly Feverblanch
Lightning-Split Soarwood

Strings of Prayer Beads and Funerary Tokens are also used in the same crafting system, but are so common that most folks don’t need to buy them. You may still find the occasional high-level purchaser though.

Whether you choose to sell them on the auction house, or save them for your own needs, you need to make sure you don’t accidentally turn them in to a collector! I keep mine safe in the bank to prevent any accidents. You can see the Stone of Change recipes that require them here. Once you know what you’re looking for, you’ll notice that some adventures have nodes more suitable to collecting them than others. As an example, I have always found the nodes in the secret room of the Harbour quest “Bringing the Light” particularly good for Vials of Pure Water.

One other collectable you might find early on are Eberron Dragonshard fragments. These are rather rare, and come in three sizes, but can be found from any collectable node. They’re popular because they can be handed in for xp-bonus potions, but given that they’re worth at least 50,000 gold, you might prefer to just sell them!

For all these collectables, have a look at what other people on your server are selling them for. Whether or not you decide to undercut them depends on how much of a hurry you’re in. Usually there’s something of a standard going rate, and if you put your items up at that price they’ll sell eventually, without you driving the price down.

As you get further into the game you’ll come across other bits and pieces that sell well, such as adamantine ore, but the items available to you in the harbor and marketplace should be enough to get you off to a flying start. Good luck, Moneybags McGee!

That’s pretty much how I’ve made my cash pile over the years (though I’m as good at spending it as making it, alas). If I think of anything else, I’ll add it here.

DDO Ark Tales Woo Oo 550x363

Ark Tales! Woo-oo!

DDO Update 5 Hotfix to rectify Guild Renown lag bug

The US DDO servers are currently down for a hotfix, which began at 1 pm EST, and is due to finish at 5 pm EST.

This is primarily to fix a serious problem that was introduced with yesterday’s Update. The new guild renown system was causing serious and unexpected lag across the servers, and had to be disabled after a couple hours of the servers coming up yesterday. It was a little frustrating for guilds who were fired up and ready to go on a guild-levelling spree, especially given that it was the major feature for the update. With any luck, today’s tweaks will allow everybody to get back on the journey to owning a fancy new airship.

Before the Guild Renown was switched off, we were making pretty good progress towards Guild Level 5. Parcels of renown can be found in chests, as end-rewards, and in small amounts for killing monsters. It is thought that it was the renown from monsters, randomly occurring after kills, that was responsible for the lag.

Here’s the patchnotes for today’s hotfix:

* Guild Renown is once again dropping from monster kills, treasure chests and end rewards.
* It is no longer possible to reassign Guild Renown found in treasure chests to other party members.
* Monk handwraps that have mutations with a save are no longer having the effect go off 100% of the time. The party had to end at some point.
* A bug in the Black Mausoleum quest has been fixed and the adventure will once again be open for players.
* We have resolved the issue behind the server crashes that were occurring after the release of Update 5.

DDO: Update 5 preview patch notes

It’s a major update incoming for Dungeons and Dragons Online tomorrow, as the Carnival of Shadows rolls into Stormreach.

Aside from the new lowish-level adventure series, I’m particularly looking forward to seeing the new guild system in action. I’ll be lending a hand with OnedAwesome’s levelling, and will report on our lovely new flying ship next week.

Clerics and Monks gain new Prestige enhancement lines, and I’ll be aiming my monk at the Daelkyr-fighting Shintao path. The only Wizard Prestige path, the necromantic Pale Master, has been made much more viable by the addition of extra negative energy arcane spells, and other tweaks. My main character, coincidentally called Arkenor, is more of a conjuring/transmuting persuasion, and he’ll find the new Augment Summoning feat a must have, and will be swapping out Eschew Materials for it.

* Augment Summoning
o Benefit: Your summoned creatures, charmed minions, and hirelings have +4 to all ability scores, increased health, and increased fortification.
o Special: Wizards may select this feat when they receive bonus feats.

Augment Summoning looks to be massively useful to Necromancers, Enchanters, Conjurers, and just about anyone anyone who uses hirelings, charms, or summons. As hirelings are getting boosted already in this update, combining that with this feat may lead to to me developing an inferiority complex when I see them in action!

Poor DDO Arkenor might need that boost, because it sounds like his dual-wielding antics are going to be somewhat reduced, as off-hand attacks are changed from being assured at certain points in the attack sequence, to being a chance-based proc. I’m not going to get too upset about that until I see it in action, but it does sound like it might be harsh on dual-wielders who aren’t also rangers. I hope his particular style of melee wizard remains viable.

The dual-wielding changes are intended to reduce lag in raids, mostly, and I would have preferred it if the changes then only applied in raid situations, leaving the rest of the game to use the current system. We’ll see next week how big a difference the new system really makes.

DDO Arkenor And His Twinned Light Maces 550x411

Arkenor and his rooftop Mace Kata.

The new trapmaking feat, that allows you to assemble traps and grenades from ingredients gleaned from traps you’ve dismantled, also sounds pretty great, and leaves me in something of a quandary. Ark is currently Wizard 8/Rogue 3, and I wasn’t planning on him taking any more rogue. However, now that Trapmaking is a free feat with Rogue 4, I’m getting rather tempted. I may resist, and leave trapmaking for my d’Kundarak Paladin/Rogue engineer. (Remind me to do “Dark Moments in Character Building” posts on both those chaps.)

In addition to these changes which caught my eye, there is a thick and nutritious soup of general tweaks and fixes that is sure to leave everybody feeling filled with patch-day wonder. It’s an impressive body of work that leaves me already looking forward to hearing what Update 6 involves. I’m still holding out for GNOMES!

The full notes follow after the leap (If you’re on the front page). They’re the preview release notes from last week on Lamannia, so they may change a little for tomorrow, but probably not by much.

Continue reading DDO: Update 5 preview patch notes