It’s that time again. Dungeons and Dragons Online has their preorders up for the Shadowfell Conspiracy and I’ve got another breakdown on why you should be pre-ordering it before the August 19th cut-off if you play and plan on playing it when it goes live. Turbine gives some really nice bonus gear, leveling bonuses and other assorted cosmetics with their preorders and if you don’t you’ll miss out. Now there is some hubbub about this not being a full expansion. Yes, it is smaller than Menace of the Underdark. There’s five total quests less, one raid, one challenge pack and a wilderness area. If you go Collector’s Edition, though, you’re getting two more iconics than standard and if you preorder you get another iconic. That’s three more ‘classes’ or ‘races’ if you will, than the Druid class we got with Menace of the Underdark. These also start out at level 15 if you so choose. To go with being smaller, the two versions of this are cheaper than their respective Menace of the Underdark packages were during preorder with an optional Legendary Pack you don’t have to buy to sweeten the pot.
I’m breaking it down using the Turbine Points currency in the game based around the current conversion rate of 86TP = $1. That’s if you were buying 2500 Turbine Points off their site right now. The first section details what is included with each edition, then after the break are the preorder bonuses for that edition. Bear in mind, some of these are NOT available right now and I’m basing TP cost based on existing comparable items and that you only play on one server and have four characters. The more characters you have and servers you play on, the better this preorder gets as you still get everything that is listed, only duplicated on another server across your characters. I am, however, guessing with the Owlbear hireling and the Iconics but based the Iconics pricing on the existing Druid Class. The Panther hireling with Menace of the Underdark was never released separately from the expansion so I have no idea what the Owlbear would actually go for, but I took a guess.
So if you’re an average player and pick up the Collector’s Edition along with the Legendary upgrade for roughly $90 you’re getting $330 worth of in-game, usable items. Some of it is decorative, but most of it is very usable, especially the iconic classes, the experience boosts, the hireling and the quests. Out of the whole list of things in the Collector’s Edition, only six of them are cosmetic and fluff. Every other thing you get there is something you’ll use. And in the Legendary upgrade four of the eight things you’re getting are also useable and not just cosmetic or fluff. If you’re just interested in the quests, then definitely go for the standard edition. There are only three ‘fluff’ items and you get access to the quests with a few bonuses. It’s not as good a value, but it all depends on what you’re looking for. Personally I’m angling for all the goodies. It costs more, but is a huge amount of value for as many characters as I’ve got already.
This is all well and good, but let’s put it into practice. My wife, I’ll use as an example, has 32 character slots now, per server. She had 28 before buying the expansion and plays on multiple servers. We’ll break hers down based on two servers and 32 character slots per server. She has more servers and fewer active characters, but let’s assume she’ll make more. She does that. And since this is all account based, any new characters you make should be getting the bonus tomes and companions and such as well. She bought herself the Collector’s Edition and the Legendary Upgrade.
So between my wife’s two servers and 64 available total characters, she’s getting 1,971 U.S. Dollars worth of stuff based on Turbine Point value. Now does she actually have 64 characters? Not at present. I think she’s around 36 or so, that I know of, but if she made new characters, the bonuses from this expansion pop over onto them as well including the skill tomes and other goodies. Three of these slots have already been reserved for the new Iconics when they’re out.
No there isn’t an at level raid with this expansion. Frankly, we don’t need it. Around the level of these quests you have Gianthold, Shroud, Abbot and Demon Queen raids. Just before that is the Titan one hardly anyone runs anymore and Tempest’s Spine along with Vault of Night. We don’t need more at the moment. We need more quests for that level area for TRs and just regular leveling as that section is sparse and this provides them. Plus I’d like to see some more thought put into raids. While the Titan raid is a pain and Vault of Night takes awhile to get through, there are puzzles and challenges you actually have to turn on your brain to get through and it isn’t twelve people beating on different mobs for an hour to completion. While I do think this is a strange design choice not to add any new epic level content considering they’ve raised the level cap a further 3 levels, I can’t fault them for expanding the heroic section they touched on. This is going to mean more grinding on existing content including quests and raids as well as challenges, and I’m sure there’s more content coming, but until then the grind awaits.
I think my point of all these numbers I’m tossing out here, is that Turbine is not trying to rip you off. They’ve put together two new areas and 10 new quests and then added a bunch of new bonuses and iconic classes for people to play while giving you a good value even if you don’t end up using half of what you get. The bonuses aren’t nearly as good if you don’t preorder and I knew a lot of people who regretted not picking up the preorder later when they had to get the whole expansion for Menace of the Underdark anyway or had to wait months for it to show up in the game store. The bottom line is, if you’re getting the expansion anyway, have the money, you’re not hurting yourself by ordering early. You’re giving yourself a nice present of goodies you may not have bought on their own but will ultimately help you in the long run.