Who is the Spinner of Shadows? She is a demon overlord. She was trapped within her current prison by the Silver Flame. She is the manifestation within the Eberron universe of Lolth, the cruel demon queen worshipped by the drow of the Forgotten Realms. And in the upcoming update for Dungeons & Dragons Online, entitled Web of Chaos, she becomes a reality.
Web of Chaos, aka Update 13, goes live later this month. This adventure pack is free to all players, and it includes three new quests, all of them at level 16, though they do support epic mode for players that have reached level 20. Turbine Entertainment gave us a tour of the new content, and we put together some of the highlights for you in the video below.
That isn't to say that the missions are all that's new. 2012 marks DDO's six-year anniversary, and as such, all characters will receive a free slice of birthday cake. Six-year-old birthday cake. It isn't clear whether said cake was kept fresh within a freezer somewhere in Stormreach, but if you've got the stomach for stale sweets, you might like the reward for chowing down on it: a genie appears, ready to gift you with untold treasures. OK, not untold treasures; more like your choice of varied treasures, including a +2 ability tome, an item that normally sells in the Dungeons & Dragons Online shop for 600 Turbine points.
Of course, it's the adventure that defines Update 13, and it's an important one. These new quests set up the story for DDO's upcoming expansion, Dungeons & Dragons Online: Menace of the Underdark, which takes place not in Eberron, but in the Forgotten Realms. If you've preordered Menace of the Underdark, you also gain access to creature companions with the update. We had a chance to play with a few of these companions and can confirm the following: They are adorable. There will only be a few of these cosmetic pets at first, but in time, you can expect to find many more for sale and to receive them as bonus rewards.
Our in-game tour started with the first of the three quests, The Lords of Dust, which begins in Stormreach Harbor. Across from the Waterworks, a rift has appeared in the wall, and the citizens are mumbling about a mysterious cult that has sprung up, using a local warehouse as their base. And it's in this warehouse that the adventure begins. Your point of contact is Inquisitor Gnomon with the Silver Flame. You might remember Gnomon: He's the cult-obsessed agent who had you clear out a hidden chapel in the Purge the Heretics quest. He didn't seem on the up-and-up then, and in The Lords of Dust, you discover just how right you were to be suspicious.
We'll let you discover exactly what role Gnomon plays in this quest. Suffice it to say that the cult headquarters is swarming with rakshasa--lawful evil tiger demonoids known for their powerful sorcery. Ultimately, you encounter a drow wearing an unusual mask. In the Forgotten Realms, the drow are the main evil faction, though in Eberron, that isn't necessarily the case. What makes this drow interesting is that mask, which indicates that he is a member of the Spider Cult. This is an important revelation because the drow tribes of Eberron generally worship Vulkoor, a god in the form of a scorpion.
We completed the quest, but not before learning that we were unable to halt the cult's ritual: the crack near the Waterworks has broken open, and it is through this crack that you access Web of Chaos's third quest. (We didn't get a chance to see the middle of this extensive adventure.) Entering this crack leads you to the Spinner of Shadows' prison, where the eight-legged monstrosity awaits. A mess of rakshasa and drow are there to prevent you from reaching the demon, but we skipped right to the good part. Want a glimpse? Watch the above video, but be warned of spoilers if you wish to experience the dungeon for yourself without advance knowledge of the events within.
If you're into Dungeons & Dragons Online, consider Update 13 a mere taste of what's to come--an appetizer to whet your appetite for Menace of the Underdark. We'll have more on the full expansion sooner rather than later.