First seen by Massively Overpowered (opens in a new tab)Standing Stone Games, developer of the long-running D&D-based MMO Dungeons & Dragons Online, has just revealed its roadmap for 2023. (opens in a new tab) for the game. Standing Stone is celebrating the 17th anniversary of D&D Online with a new free dungeon and three character archetypes, as well as a “mini-expansion” that will be released sometime between April and June.
D&D Online news is a bit of a blast from the past for me – I was still in high school when this game first released in 2006! Initially focused on D&D’s Eberron campaign setting, the game was expanded in 2012 to include content for the giant Forgotten Realms, home of Baldur’s Gate and Neverwinter. Management of the game transferred from original developer Turbine to Standing Stone in 2016, and D&D Online has continued to receive consistent support. Its latest expansion, Isle of Dread (opens in a new tab)It premiered last June.
The centerpiece of D&D Online’s 2023 plans is Vecna Unleashed, the aforementioned mini-expansion and continuation of the MMO’s ongoing story. Vecna, for those who need to brush up on their D&D lore (how dare you?) is a bugaboo lich supervillain with origins in the original setting of Gary Gygax’s Greyhawk campaign. Since then, the nasty boy has made an appearance in other settings like Ravenloft and the Forgotten Realms, and you might remember snagging his secondhand haunted pajamas at Baldur’s Gate. (opens in a new tab) and Neverwinter Nights.
To take on Vecna, D&D Online has you team up with the adventurer/archaeologist academy at Morgrave University, based in Eberron. My colleague, PC Gamer contributor Jon Bolding, described the plot setup as “basically Indiana Jones vs. the Lich King traveling the multiverse”, so it sounds pretty good.
Although I’m not a D&D Online player myself, there’s still something very encouraging about seeing this generation of MMOs from the late 2000s/early 2010s keep going, even as contemporaries like Tabula Rasa (opens in a new tab) store closed while live service games released more recently like Marvel’s Avengers (opens in a new tab) and Anthem have already entered an unsupported end-of-life state.
My favorite of this classic MMO cohort is probably the fan-made Star Wars Galaxies Revival. (opens in a new tab), which is keeping that ambitious and beloved MMO alive in the 2020s. Meanwhile, the Galaxies killer, my dear old friend The Old Republic, is also keeping the dream alive. The last full expansion of it, Legacy of the Sith (opens in a new tab)released in 2021, while TOR got a Mandalorian-focused content update, Showdown on Rhunuk (opens in a new tab)just last month.