Vale of Sorrow, the first expansion pack to Internet role-playing game , shows the company's strong commitment to its product and its audience. Not only does Vale of Sorrow add a whole new chunk of terrain to the already enormous world of Meridian (including a magical forest and a winding sewer system), but it also adds a number of excellent new features to the gameplay. And on top of all that, Vale of Sorrow can be downloaded at no cost or purchased on CD for a minimal price.
A couple of nasty, new enemies are introduced in Vale of Sorrow including fireball-lobbing forest faeries and the big, burly Lupoggs, who make Meridian's tough trolls look like pip-squeaks. These newcomers are stronger and look much better than Meridian's standard menagerie, and they're sure to present a challenge to veteran players. Fortunately, you'll be able to take on these hooligans in style wearing the new clothing fashions available in the game.
Meridian's designers are constantly tinkering under the hood to improve the game, and one of the most forgiving features allows player characters who are killed because of Internet latency not to suffer the standard consequences of losing a permanent hit point and their belongings. A new onscreen latency indicator (a color-coded, rotating cube) shows you at a glance just how much lag you're experiencing, and should the worst transpire, it's comforting to know that you won't be punished. But if you perish fair and square, your fellow citizens will rest easy knowing that your angry curses and nasty remarks may be filtered out at the touch of a button. Likewise, if you're feeling under the weather and don't plan on foraging out and battling bad guys, you can always purchase a chess board and a couple mugs of Pietro's from the local tavern and play a game or two with your friends.
Vale of Sorrow doesn't change Meridian drastically, but the improvements it makes are useful and well implemented. 3DO continues to listen attentively to Meridian players and shows no signs of slowing down. And with further expansion packs in the works, Meridian is becoming an even better place to be.