Over the past few weeks, just prior to the release of Update 21: The Legendary Halls, DDO lost a number of staff members do to some reshuffling of Turbine by Warner Brothers and DDO got a new franchise director, Vyvyanne. And just recently, after the release of Update 21, it was announced that some of the customer service staff were being cut back and staff would be unavailable for assistance during the late/early hours (can’t remember the specifics, something like 11 pm to 7 am). This lead to a number of posts on the DDO forums wondering if this was the “beginning of the end” for DDO. Although I was concerned about the large number of changes going on, I didn’t necessarily think that the future of DDO was in jeopardy, although DDO is a pretty old game (although there are plenty of other game that are older than DDO and doing quite well). However, one must keep in mind that change is a necessary thing in you want something to move forward and to progress.
Then it was released that Turbine was going to be putting out the last content update for one its other games, Asheron’s Call and Massively.com did an interview with the executive director of Asheron’s Call to discuss the plans for its future. One thing that was pointed out in the interview was that Turbine was going to be working on developing a method for the community of Asheron’s Call to develop its own content. I had actually wondered about this possibility when all of the talk on the forums started to brew up about DDO.
I will be curious to see how this turns out for Asheron’s Call. According to the interview, the idea is to support player based servers. In many aspects, this reminds me of Neverwinter Nights and Neverwinter Nights II. Both of these games have a large and loyal group of players to conduct and complete adventures on player based servers. Both Neverwinter Nights games have a large, if not huge, amount of custom created content that has kept both games “alive”, including the ability for players to host their own game world servers. This concept was also brought forth with the Neverwinter Online MMO through its Foundry.
So, is this movement by Turbine with Asheron’s Call a prelude to the future of DDO? I can’t really say. But what I do know is that DDO has some of the most loyal fans in any game and Turbine were to develop a mechanism that would allow players to generate custom content, I believe the lifespan of DDO would be expanded greatly. I’m hoping, in this aspect, that the Asheron’s Call “experiment” is a successful one and hope it can be applied to DDO if the time comes when Turbine decides to hold off any new development. Only time will tell, but I’m hopeful !!