Dungeons and Dragons Online’s getting shifty with the Shifter

    
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Owliest bears.

Dungeons and Dragons Online’s newest race is going through the paces on the test server right now, which means that before long, players will have another option for the MMO’s already robust character creation screen.

Shifters might best be described as half-hearted werewolves that can spec to be tanks or casters, depending on the player’s whim. “Shifters are a basic Eberron race with notable Lycanthropic ancestry,” SSG explained. “They cannot transform entirely into animals, but can shift parts of their bodies to be animal-like for short periods of time. In DDO, this Shifting has similarities (and statistical connections to) Raging.”

The preview of Update 47 also covers the Razorclaw Shifter iconic race, a Feydark Illusionist casting tree, The Promise of Flame dungeon, and more named loot.

Source: DDO. Thanks DDOCentral!
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gamingforfun

Shifters can be made to look very much like Sabertooth from the X-Men or Lion-O from Thundercats. Not all Shifters have to look like werewolves.

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Bryan Turner

Looks like D&D ripped this concept off from another class that is known for shifting into other forms to fill specific roles. According to my research the Shifter was created for the 5th edition of D&D which was released in 2008, where as the concept has been around in gaming longer than that (if we’re talking video games then I’d say that concept dates back to Altered Beast on Sega in 1988)

camren_rooke
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camren_rooke

Oh Shifters! One of the more interesting classes in Eberron.

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Bryan Turner

I don’t get that though, D&D used to be the trend setters back in the 70s, many of our class archetypes are based off of the work they’ve done; all I see here is the opposite of trend setting, a rip off of preexisting ideas with an unimaginative name.

If I’m wrong please educate me.

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GumpsGang

I’m not an ancient history expert, but shifter-type lore goes back to ancient times.

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kvlt_vonnegut

Lycanthropy is not a new idea, no.

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Bruno Brito

Everything D&D “created” has association with fables, history and such. Art is always like that. Nothing is completely from zero.

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sophiskiai

Are you suggesting that Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson and their associates invented the original D&D player races and classes in the 70s out of whole cloth?

That was never the case – they’re drawn from a whole load of cultural sources that were big in the 70s (e.g. the works of Tolkien, Jack Vance, Fritz Leiber) and also from the same sources of mythology and folklore that inspired those works, combined with a tradition of wargaming that itself has a very long history.

Original ideas are incredibly rare, but what matters more is how people interpret and use those ideas. That’s where D&D’s originality lay. New takes on old ideas can sometimes be more interesting that entirely original concepts.

I think it incredibly unlikely that Shifters in Eberron were inspired by some Sega game from the 80s. It’s far, far more likely that both were inspired by folklore and mythology featuring lycanthropes and shapeshifters.