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  1. #21

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    Sentinels of Stormreach
    • Cost: 450 TP
    • Favor: 66 (6.82 TP/Favor: Poor) -- House Deneith
    • Level: 7-8
    • Content: 5 quests
    • Epic: 4 quests
    • Gear of Note: Jidz-Tet'ka, eMidnight Greetings, eElyd Edge
    • Crafting: none
    • Fun: Medium
    • Grade: B-
    • Priority: Medium

    Sentinels of Stormreach is another pirate-themed pack similar to Three-Barrel Cove, with lots of hobgoblins, minotaurs and undead to deal with. There are four quests in the main chain, with a fifth side quest that can be run independently. Inexplicably, the one quest that isn’t epic isn’t the side quest, but instead is in the middle of the chain. This makes saving your bravery bonus for epic levels awkward.

    Sentinels has some interesting quest design elements, though taken as a whole they don’t make up for other shortcomings. One quest (the only non-epic one) gives you three choices how and where you start, with the choice being based on the strategy you want to employ. Sentinels gets high marks for this kind of innovative thinking, but since it only happens in the non-epic quest a bit of the luster is lost.

    Soloing can be tricky thanks to dangerous trap areas in multiple quests. The side quest in particular is a rough solo experience; even with wiki open it can be a marathon struggle of "What do I do now? Where do I go next?" The closest F2P analog would be The Pit, but don’t let that scare you off the pack since the chain quests are much more straightforward. Grouping shouldn’t be too hard because this is an epic pack, and all epic packs get a bump in desirability just by virtue of being epic.

    The primary non-epic gear of note is Jidz-Tet'ka. Monks in fire stance get a stacking 25% healing amp with these equipped, which is stellar for ML5 bracers. Assassin rogues will want to consider Epic Midnight Greetings, which offers the only equipment bonus to assassinate DC in the game. Epic Elyd Edge is a very nice rapier for melee bards, and true tanks might consider Epic Chimera’s Fang & Crown. These are all niche items, though, so if you’re looking for general gear then Sentinels isn’t the place to find it.

    Sentinels is a good buy when you reach level 20 and want as much epic content to run as possible. In heroic levels it’s mediocre and easily delayed in favor of more important packs. While it’s not the most fun pack in the game, it’s not a bad pack by any stretch. If you have one of those niche builds that can use the gear Sentinels becomes an easy pick, but even without them Sentinels is worth picking up at some point.


    sirgog’s initial review:

    Sentinels of Stormreach
    Description: Several medium-length quests in House Deneith or the Searing Heights, that revolve around trying to stop a necromancer from establishing a pirate army. Also available on Epic difficulty.
    Fun factor: Pretty good, although one of the quests is very much like The Pit, requiring precision jumping, trap dodging and little fighting.
    Rewards (XP/loot): XP is pretty mediocre. Pretty solid loot (once you upgrade it) for the level range, but the rewards for Epics are very lackluster indeed (no Epic tokens, no worthwhile Epic items).
    Best feature: Choosing where to begin the 'assault a pirate fort' quest.
    Worst feature: Competes with a lot of other quests at its level. Downright poor loot on Epic despite not being easy to complete.
    Ease of getting a group: Can be a tad hard - few lowbies own the pack, noone runs it on Epic more than once now.
    Overall: Cool quests, but just not enough in-game rewards to expect that you'll be running them much.
    Recommended level range: 7-9 (normal); 9-12 (hard); 10-13(elite); 20 and partially Shroud-geared (epic)
    Rating: 8/10


    sirgog’s revised review:

    Sentinels of Stormreach
    Description: Several medium-length quests in House Deneith or the Searing Heights, that revolve around trying to stop a necromancer from establishing a pirate army. Also available on Epic difficulty.
    Fun factor: Pretty good, although one of the quests is very much like The Pit, requiring precision jumping, trap dodging and little fighting. I like that in moderation; some people hate it like the plague. That quest is completely optional, however - if you don't like it, you can get every item from the pack without touching that quest.
    XP: 5/10. Just not enough XP for the time these quests take.
    Challenge: 7.5/10. These quests are *tough* for their levels, especially above Normal. On Epic, however, they are easier than most.
    Immersion: 6/10. The zombie pirate meme would fit in well in a game like World of Warcraft, where the world has less of a serious feel than Eberron has.
    Loot: 7/10. Would be lower, except for the monk bracers that are useful at all levels.
    High level replayability: 6/10.
    Best feature: Choosing where to begin the 'assault a pirate fort' quest.
    Worst feature: Competes with a lot of other quests at its level. Downright poor loot on Epic.
    Ease of getting a group: Can be a tad hard - few lowbies own the pack, noone runs it on Epic more than once now.
    Overall: Cool quests, but just not enough in-game rewards to expect that you'll be running them much.
    Recommended level range: 7-9 (normal); 9-12 (hard); 10-13(elite); 20 and partially Shroud-geared (epic)
    Rating: 8/10

  2. #22

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    Necropolis Part 2
    • Cost: 350 TP
    • Favor: 81 (4.32 TP/Favor: Good) -- Silver Flame
    • Level: 8-9
    • Content: 5 quests
    • Epic: none
    • Gear of Note: Devout Handwraps, Silver Flame Pendant
    • Crafting: none
    • Fun: D-
    • Grade: C
    • Priority: Low

    As with any necropolis pack you will mostly face undead, but to make it less appealing here they’re all incorporeal. Just like Necropolis Part 1 we have four flagging quests to run the fifth final quest one level higher, and again the same flagging issues can trip up new players so be careful not to re-acquire any quests after you turn them in for end reward.

    They really swung for the fences with the quest design in necropolis 2, but grounded out at first. You can see the care and attention to detail that went into their construction. The end result, however, is four painfully long, unfun, and sometimes extremely difficult flagging quests. Many players would gladly sign up for a root canal over running the necro2 flags. The final quest (Shadow Crypt) makes up for a lot of those shortcomings, with TRs lining up around the block to take advantage of the incredible xp. Shadow Crypt also has a pretty cool puzzle design unique in all of DDO, where the entire quest is one giant puzzle.

    This is not a solo-friendly pack in any way. Traps abound in a couple of the quests, and the ones without traps are confusing enough that you could easily get lost for a long time. You won’t find any exploration groups, either, as necropolis is primarily run only by elite streakers. Many TRs will keep an "opener" alt to open up Shadow Crypt, allowing them to skip the flagging quests entirely. Your best bet for grouping is to get into a bravery group blasting through the chain on elite. Short of that, this pack will have a painful learning curve.

    Gear is lacking, with the Silver Flame Pendant for beholder fights as the only generalized gear worth getting. You don’t technically need this pack for the pendant, though, since you can get the same pendant (as well as a better version) from Necropolis Part 3. Monks may want to farm up a pair of Devout Handwraps from Shadow Crypt.

    If you built with silver flame potions in mind, this pack is worth it for the favor. If you have a third-life TR, this pack is worth it for the incredible xp from Shadow Crypt. Short of that there’s little to recommend. As with all Necropolis packs, the best deal is to hold off on all four and buy the Necropolis Bundle. The overall grade would be a D- or an F except for the awesomeness that is Shadow Crypt.


    sirgog’s initial review:

    The Necropolis part 2
    Description: We go from a shining star to a steaming turd. This consists of five quests, choc full of incorporeal undead that are even less fun to fight than air elementals.
    Fun factor: Non-existant, except for the final quest, The Shadow Crypt, which has an interesting puzzle. (At least I like it)
    Rewards (XP/loot): XP is mediocre for the four prequests and good for The Shadow Crypt. In an experienced group, the XP for The Shadow Crypt is stellar; I've run groups that have got 25000 XP in under fifteen minutes in there, but I know the maze/puzzle backwards as I use that quest to powerlevel often. Loot is poor except for two items, of which one can also be obtained in Necropolis 3, favor is Silver Flame favor again, so not important for 99% of characters.
    Best feature: Once you've done the quests on elite, you never, ever need to go back there.
    Worst features: Incorporeal undead everywhere, endless boring swimming, fights that are ridiculously difficult unless you have an arcane caster with Firewall, I could go on and on.
    Ease of getting a group: Not counting elite 'once only for favor' runs, I've seen LFMs (looking for more postings) up for these quests about once every three months back when everyone had access to them.
    Overall: DO NOT BUY! Under no circumstances should this be purchased, except maybe by former VIPs that know The Shadow Crypt backwards and want to powerlevel with it.
    Recommended level range: 8-10 (normal or hard), 8+ (elite favor runs)
    Rating: 1/10


    sirgog’s revised review:

    The Necropolis part 2
    Description: This consists of five quests, choc full of incorporeal undead.
    Fun factor: Somewhat ruined by one or two really dull quests.
    XP: 10/10. The seasoned zerger can amass as much as 2300-2700 XP per minute in the Shadow Crypt and pretty solid XP in one of the other quests. However, that requires extreme foreknowledge of the quest - without that knowledge, the puzzles in there may not be solvable at all.
    Challenge: 6/10. The main challenge is not falling asleep while doing the swimming quest, or completing the final quest without firewall.
    Immersion: 8/10. Undead, traps, and a vampire mastermind make for a compelling chain.
    Loot: 6/10. This pack has some of the best handwraps in the game.
    High level replayability: 0/10.
    Best feature: The XP from The Shadow Crypt
    Worst features: Incorporeal undead everywhere, endless boring swimming, irritating flagging mechanics, fights that are ridiculously difficult unless you have an arcane caster with Firewall, forced party splitting, I could go on and on. This chain needs a bit of an overhaul.
    Ease of getting a group: Varies by quest.
    Overall: Not recommended.
    Recommended level range: 8-12
    Rating: 4/10

  3. #23

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    Ruins of Threnal
    The Ruins of Threnal includes three quest chains of three quests each in a single unifying story arc, set inside a wilderness-like area that doesn’t have traditional wilderness objectives but instead has mini-quests. The mini-quests are actually kind of fun and somewhat challenging at level.

    There are many types of mobs to fight; at one point I think the kitchen sink takes a swipe at you. Threnal is the first place in the game demons show up in force, and at one point (many points, actually) you can be fighting demons, mephitis, elementals, spiders and oozes all at the same time. That’s not hyperbole; if you do a cleave attack you can literally hit all those kinds of mobs in a single swing as they all inexplicably fight side-by-side in the same hallway.

    Quest design is bad. Very bad. And then they repeat three times, since each chain has only a single dungeon that you run through three times to complete the chain, similar to Tangleroot. The primary mechanic in Threnal is babysitting and escorting. The culmination of this badness is the iconically bad "protect Coyle for 15 minutes" quest of please kill me now. Coyle has gotten much sturdier in recent years, but that quest is still brutally tedious.

    There isn’t much problem soloing Threnal since the traps are infrequent and weak. Fully self-sufficient characters can drag along a hire just for the Coyle quest so as to not worry about an auto-fail, but in the other escort quests a hire won’t help because those NPCs are still weak enough to be one-shot. For those, kill all mobs before moving the NPCs forward. Grouping is a pipe dream. People hate this chain, and I can’t blame them for it despite not personally minding it. A few of the quests I even rather like.

    Much of the final chain reward gear got a decent boost from the recent low level loot overhaul. The best of them remains Mantle of the Worldshaper, but also of note is Retribution for sword & board paladins.

    Nobody should ever buy Threnal except in two circumstances: You own every other pack and you want to own them all, or you currently have a crafter with at least 90 elemental levels and you want to craft heavy fortification. I feel I should repeat that I kind of like Threnal, but man, it is not a good pack.


    See also CE2JRH123's review here.


    sirgog’s initial review:

    The Ruins of Threnal
    This quest has changed since I last ran it. My advice here is based on my experiences with old Threnal.
    Youtube video ad: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1SUjvxbvbtM
    Description: About ten quests set in three or four large dungeons involving a series of attacks on House Deneith and House Kundarak interests at an archaeological site.
    Fun factor: Great the first few times, but quest difficulties vary enormously within the chain - some quests are so easy as to be trivial; others are tough indeed. One particularly annoying quest was difficult to beat on Elite even with capped characters, but this has since been changed. Apparently that quest remains frustrating, but not obnoxiously so.
    Rewards (XP/loot): XP varies from poor for some quests to great for others. Loot is nice for its level, but quickly surpassed, although if you don't have the Voice of the Master from Delara's Tomb, there's a similar item here to replace it (the XP boost does not stack with the Voice, but if you have both you get a useful set bonus)
    Best feature: Flesh Renders. They are cool foes.
    Worst feature: Oozes, and the complicated quest chain system here.
    Ease of getting a group: Not hard in peak times, can be very tough in off-peak. Groups seldom do the whole chain at once, and completing from half-way is awkward to get a group for.
    Overall: Not really recommended, but not an 'avoid at all costs' either. Don't buy if you are on a tight budget, consider it if you are a player that mostly plays weekends when you can find a group easily enough to enjoy these.
    Recommended level range: 7-10 (normal); 9-11 (hard); 9-13 (elite)
    Rating: 7/10


    sirgog’s revised review:

    The Ruins of Threnal
    Youtube video ad: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1SUjvxbvbtM
    Description: About ten quests set in three or four large dungeons involving a series of attacks on House Deneith and House Kundarak interests at an archaeological site.
    Fun factor: Great the first few times, but quest difficulties vary enormously within the chain - some quests are so easy as to be trivial; others are tough indeed. This just makes the chain frustrating, especially if your group is good enough to stomp some of it but can't beat other parts.
    XP: 6.5/10. Parts of this chain offer very good XP, but one part (Protect Coyle) brings the whole pack down.
    Challenge: 8/10. One part of this (Protect Coyle) is extremely difficult for its level, but in a frustrating way ("what? we failed AGAIN because that idiot woke up and aggroed a whole pack of mobs?"). The rest of the chain would be a pretty standard 6-7 here.
    Immersion: 8/10. Good storyline.
    Loot: 6/10. This pack has the best low-to-mid level one-handed weapon in the game (Retribution, a min level 6 longsword), the useful-at-endgame Mantle of the Worldshaper, and pretty much nothing else. The other items here could do with a bit of an overhaul to make them relevant now, particularly the Threnal Ceremonial Blade quest.
    High level replayability: 0/10. You might come back here for the Worldshaper Mantle or favor; you won't enjoy doing so.
    Best feature: Flesh Renders are great foes, and provide an introduction to the concept of DR (damage reduction).
    Worst feature: There are two. Suicidal Coyle, and the absolutely horrible quest chain flagging, where you can very easily accidentally screw up and reset a chain.
    Ease of getting a group: Very hard, except to repeat the high XP parts.
    Overall: This pack really, really needs an overhaul - balancing the XP awards, totally rewriting the flagging mechanics, and giving Coyle an additional 1000hp (on casual and normal), 500 more on Hard and 200 more on Elite. Once that happens, I'll reassess the pretty bad rating it has here. I recommend first totally redesigning East 3, and giving it ~4000 base XP while reducing some other XP awards, then changing the flagging mechanics so that your reward for the West chain is a Kundarak Commendation Token, East grants a Deneith Commendation Token, South grants a Gatekeeper Commendation Token, and you can turn in one of each of those tokens to an NPC to be able to select your choice of end rewards for the chain from a partial list.
    Recommended level range: 7-10 (normal); 9-11 (hard); 9-13 (elite)
    Rating: 4/10

  4. #24

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  5. #25

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    Vault of Night
    • Cost: 750 TP
    • Favor: 126 (5.95 TP/Favor: Fair) -- House Kundarak
    • Level: 8-10
    • Content: 5 quests, 2 raids
    • Epic: 5 quests, 2 raids
    • Gear of Note: (Epic) Sword of Shadow, Flawless Red Dragon Scale
    • Crafting: none
    • Fun: High
    • Grade: A
    • Priority: High

    The Vault of Night is an iconic DDO pack, with one of the original endgame raids and some classic quests. While there are technically five quests, one of them is a pre-quest similar to how Xorian Cipher is set up, so it’s generally considered to be four quests, typically referred to as VON1, VON2, VON3 and VON4. The first two quests offer a variety of enemy mob types, with ogres, trolls, mephits, beholders, spiders and ooze to name a few, while the third quest is mostly drow and the fourth mostly constructs.

    VON quest design is unrivaled. The quests are quite fun, long enough to be satisfying, sufficiently challenging without being impossible, and they offer solid xp. VON3 in particular is one of the best xp farms in the game. The pre-raid (VON5) can too-easily become a pike-fest, where you end up standing around for 20 minutes waiting for other people to do jobs while you have no idea what’s going on, but once you learn what to do it’s a pretty fun raid. And it’s worth a metric ton of xp. VON6 is an iconic dragon fight; what’s better than that?

    Soloing VON1 & 2 is challenging but there’s nothing particularly anti-solo about them. VON3 has a couple trapped doors, but those should be survivable even without trapping skills. There’s a beholder room that may prove difficult, and the last two fights might be rough, so grouping may be a better bet. VON4 is thick with traps; wait for (or be) a trapper before attempting it. As both a great pack and an epic pack, VON is quite popular and very easy to find groups for.

    The gear is both great and bad. The Sword of Shadow, both in its heroic and epic forms, has such an impressive crit profile that it’s one of the best THF weapons in the entire game. As great as it is, it’s incredibly rare and difficult to acquire. Flawless Red Dragon Scales -- awarded from completing both raids -- are both valuable for trading and also used to make very good melee armor.

    The Vault of Night is a great pack you should rank high on your list. It’s not strictly necessary, so maybe don’t make it your very first purchase, but get it early. If you don’t have it by the time you reach level 12, get it as soon as or shortly after you reach level 20.


    See also CE2JRH123's review here.


    sirgog’s initial review:

    The Vault of Night
    Description: A chain of six and a half quests, culminating in a raid where you enter House Kundarak's vault and battle Velah, a red dragon. The quests are extremely varied, very tough for their levels, and mostly long. Once you complete the Velah battle (usually referred to as VON6, for Vault of Night part 6), you cannot reenter VON5 until you wait 66 hours. These quests can all be played on Epic difficulty once you are level 20.
    Fun factor: These quests are a blast to play at level 10 or so in a good group.
    Rewards (XP/loot): The XP is good to great if you are in a group of good players that can beat these tough quests. If in a weak group, the XP is poor as you will take a long time indeed to beat VON3, if you are even capable of doing so at all. The loot from VON6 is amazing at the level you first acquire it, and even now - before all the epic items are known - there's a number of new best items available here.
    Best feature: Looking down on Stormreach from the House K vault in the sky in VON6, the best graphics in the game.
    Worst feature: VON6 is easy to fail due to minor mistakes (a player moving too far forward at the wrong time, for instance). Failing VON6 requires you to repeat the very, very, very long VON5.
    Ease of getting a group: Should be better now that reflagging is no longer required.
    Overall: Worth buying if you have level 20 characters. Worth considering for lower level characters but by no means required.
    **edit: This pack was changed significantly with Update 3. The pack was made more PUG-friendly with changes to VON2 and also the irritating reflagging mechanism has been removed.**
    Recommended level range: 10-13 (normal); 10-14 (hard); 11-19 (elite - 15-19 characters will only be running VON5-6 here); 20 epic. Be warned that VON3 is tough even at the upper ends of this level range.
    Rating: 8.5/10


    sirgog’s revised review:

    The Vault of Night
    Description: A chain of four quests and two raids, culminating in a raid battle against Velah, the red dragon.
    Fun factor: These quests are a blast at level 10 or so, and again at 20 on Epic. They are highly varied.
    XP: 10/10. This is mainly for VON3, which is one of the best XP quests in the game in a good group. Be warned - it's a quest you can easily fail to complete if in a mediocre group. VON5 can be great XP too, but it is hard to find a raid group for at-level.
    Challenge: 8/10: These quests are mostly a little tougher than expected for their levels. On Epic, 1, 2 and 6 are all easier than most epics, 3 and 5 are about average (5 is very, very shrine-light though), and epic VON4 is quite difficult for most groups, although some people regularly solo it.
    Immersion: 6/10: Some things are amazing about this storyline, but some make no sense. Why does Velah not fly? Why don't Pragon Luridae, Champion Deathblood and their Beholder companion help Veil to kill the Marut? And so on.
    Loot: 10/10. For level 20s, this has the best weapon in the game (Epic Sword of Shadows), the best AC armor in the game (Epic Red Dragonscale, which is also the second-best non-docent armor and best docent for enhancing melee DPS), the best non-docent DR armor in the game (Epic Stonemeld Plate), some excellent caster items (Epic Dragon's Eye), +4 tomes and more. While some of the non-epic loot is excellent at mid levels too, you need to be very lucky to acquire it before you outlevel it. The only thing missing is non-epic red dragon scales.
    High level replayability: 10/10.
    Best feature: Probably the first time you look over the side in VON6 and realise just where you are.
    Worst feature: Having to repeat VON5 (usually on normal) every time you want to attempt epic VON6. While it's a very well-made quest, VON5 is so long, and easy, that it just becomes a chore.
    Ease of getting a group: Easy
    Overall: 9.5/10. Highly recommended to anyone with level 20 characters; worth considering for anyone else.
    Recommended level range: 8-12 (normal); 8-13 (hard); 10-15 (elite). 20 with moderate gear on Epic.

  6. #26

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    Red Fens
    • Cost: 450 TP
    • Favor: 54 (8.33 TP/Favor: Terrible) -- House Kundarak
    • Level: 9
    • Content: 4 quests, 1 wilderness
    • Epic: 4 quests
    • Gear of Note: Named item sets
    • Crafting: Mystical Bottle, BTA crafting blanks from individual quest rewards (any)
    • Fun: High
    • Grade: A-
    • Priority: High

    The Red Fens puts you in the middle of a conflict between drow slaves and their sahaugin oppressors. Most of the enemies are sahaugin, but there are also a fair amount of scorpions, elementals, trolls, and even a few giants to contend with. The wilderness area is heroic-only, meaning it can be a chore to slog through it on epic levels, but new players will find the wilderness unexpectedly challenging at level. A first-timer can get overrun if they aren’t careful, and as a new player you’ll feel that you’re in real peril of death. This is a welcome change from the non-threatening lower level wilderness areas.

    The quest design is stellar, with the only exception being the first quest in the story arc. That’s a one-room babysitting mission, but fortunately the NPC you must protect is pretty sturdy. Another quest is neat in that it’s an optionally-stealthy mission; you can opt to sneak your way through, or if you have no patience for that you can simply kill everything in sight without any meaningful penalty. The other two quests both have their own unique water-related quest mechanics, one of which can be used as a nice xp farm. The final quest is just wonderfully crafted from start to finish.

    Red Fens is one of the more soloable packs in the game. No sections require even a hireling to pull levers, though you may want to drag along a cleric hire just to stick on the NPC in the babysitting quest. The final quest is particularly satisfying to complete solo. As an epic pack many premiums will rank this highly so there are plenty of people to run with. The only problem for grouping is that it’s so easily soloed, but if you put up an LFM, they will come.

    The named item sets are the signature gear from Red Fens. These can be wonderful for equipping new players, especially the Mire set which gives 24% striding as a set bonus at ML7. (The description incorrectly states 15%.) The epic versions of the named sets are showing their age and could use an overhaul.

    Before the first expansion pack was introduced with its high-value package deal, I recommended Red Fens as the first pack new players should buy. There is plenty of free content from level 1 through 12 except for level 9, and Red Fens fills that gap nicely. It’s fun, it has good new-player gear, it’s cheap, and it’s epic. Everything you could want in a first purchase. As an added bonus, this is the second-easiest source of BTA crafting blanks in the game, behind only Sharn Syndicate.


    sirgog’s initial review:

    Red Fens was introduced after sirgog's initial reviews.


    sirgog’s revised review:

    The Red Fens
    Description: Four quests and a wilderness area centred on the war between Sahaugin and Drow in a marsh.
    Fun factor: These quests are very varied, with one stealth-based quest, one hack-and-slash with an exploration feel, one defense of a town, and then the final showdown.
    XP: 6.5/10. Nothing much here. The wilderness area has OK XP, but none of the quests offer overl much.
    Challenge: 9/10. Most of this pack isn't overly difficult, but the final quest is. The major optional in Into the Deep is extremely difficult to beat at level, especially on Elite (although it's been nerfed to be more accessible on Epic).
    Immersion: 8.5/10. Good storyline. The final revelation of just who (or what) has been the main antagonist is well set-up.
    Loot: 8/10. This pack has excellent items for a variety of low-level builds, and the Epic upgrades, whilst varied, contain some real gems.
    High level replayability: 10/10. Epic on this pack was really well-done.
    Best feature: DM voiceovers. The number of times I have heard 'RELEASE THE SCRAGS!' shouted into guild voice chat at random times continues to grow.
    Worst feature: 'Underwater' combat that feels like fighting with your Haste dispelled and a Slow spell cast on you.
    Ease of getting a group: Quite easy.
    Overall: A reasonable choice for medium-level characters, and something to get for sure once you are level 20, although it may not be your first pack purchased at 20.
    Recommended level range: 8-10 (normal); 9-12 (hard); 11-15 (elite); 20 (epic)
    Rating: 8/10

  7. #27

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    Demon Sands
    • Cost: 950 TP
    • Favor: 210 (4.52 TP/Favor: Good) -- Free Agents
    • Level: 10-12
    • Content: 10 quests, 1 raid, 1 wilderness
    • Epic: 4 quests, 1 raid
    • Gear of Note: Whirlwind, Torc of Prince Raiyum-de II
    • Crafting: none
    • Fun: Medium
    • Grade: B+
    • Priority: High

    Demon Sands, despite the name, doesn’t have many demons in it. One quest is chock full of them, and the pre-raid and raid have a bunch of djinns fighting alongside Lailat, the Demon Queen, who is a marilith, but most of the pack features gnolls, undead and drow. The wilderness is the largest so far, going by level, and is broken into three sections each with their own slayer counts. Of the ten quests six are walkups, three are flagging quests for the raid, and one is a pre-raid quest that must be re-run (in parties of six) each time you want to run the raid. Getting 12 people together for a raid, then breaking them up into two groups of six to independently run the pre-raid, and then joining back up into a single group for the raid is, at best, awkward.

    The six walkups are generally geometrical, small, kind of boring, and do not have epic versions. The flagging quests are long and interesting and do have epic versions, but with only three of them the content feels sparse on epic levels. The pre-raid is itself a neat puzzle, but it can become tedious if you farm the raid over and over for gear like the torc, which generally requires a 20th list to pull. The raid is a classic one-room boss beatdown, and as far as raid bosses go Lailat is more interesting than many. Some of the quests are excellent xp farms if in self-sufficient groups who can split up to handle different areas at the same time.

    There are no traps in any of the walkups or the raid, but the flagging quests are trap-heavy. This makes most of the pack easily soloable, but when you decide to flag for the raid you’ll likely want to get a group together or else plan to spend hours on them. The raid is the only easily-soloed raid in the game, and is a nice proving ground for caster builds to see if they're up to snuff. Grouping is pretty easy as Demon Sands is a common pack most premiums will buy early, but mostly the groups you find will be for the heroic quests, not epic.

    The raid loot is pretty nice for spell casters, with the Torc of Prince Raiyum-de II as the centerpiece. Pale Masters will also want to consider Bracers of the Demon’s Consort. The low level loot overhaul breathed new life into the heroic gear, most notably Whirlwind for THF melees. See all the low level loot here, here, here and here.

    I did not originally care for this pack, but have gradually warmed up to it over the years. Much of what I grew to like was from solo farming up a couple of torcs for my wizard and paladin, 60 total runs of the raid. I became rather fond of both the raid and the pre-raid, but I still somewhat dislike the flagging quests and find the walkups uninspired. The wilderness area is top notch, though, and it’s a common pack so it’s easy to be social and get groups for it. There’s enough content here to be a solid purchase, and the gear overhaul turned this back into a worthwhile loot farm. Buy this early but not first.


    See also CE2JRH123's review here.


    sirgog’s initial review:

    The Demon Sands
    YouTube video ad: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMVZtQsoC_0
    Edit: This got a major boost with the recent release of Mod 10. The addition of the Epic difficulty has a lot of people (myself included) loving the Desert content again - I've been running this content on normal/hard on my 14th level bard; on elite on my Sor17, and on Epic on my Clr18/Ftr2. There's a lot more people playing it too.
    Description: This is a huge pack, almost the size of Gianthold, with about eight quests plus a raid. The quests are varied, long, fun and rewarding, and there's also an enormous explorer area.
    Fun factor: Pretty good here. There's a lot to explore (particularly in the Chains of Flame and Tomb of the Wizard King quests).
    Rewards (XP/loot): XP varies from mediocre to excellent. Tomb of the Wizard King offers about twenty thousand XP for a full clear on normal done at level 14 (this is a BIG change for people that played pre-Mod 9). Loot in the quests is mediocre, loot in the raid is excellent, loot on Epic difficulty is finally starting to surpass Shroud items.
    Best feature: The quest "Against the Demon Queen", the last quest required to flag for the raid. Great story concept, great quest. If you hadn't noticed, the whole dungeon is in the shape of a marilith. Epic difficulty is the game's premier endgame challenge now.
    Worst feature: The size of the explorer area makes for some loooooong runs to get to the real quests.
    Ease of getting a group: Massively improved with Mod 10 - veteran players and new players alike are heading there in numbers now. Running the raid is the only real exception.
    Overall: Bumped up a bit - I'm now strongly recommending this pack, where prior to the breath of fresh air it got in Mod 10 it was an 8.5 out of 10, it's now a great buy that you'll have fun in from level 10 to 15, then return to at 20 and have a blast.
    Recommended level range: 10-14 (normal); 12-15 (hard); 13-17 (elite); 20 (epic, suitable only for geared and experienced players)
    Rating: 9.5/10


    sirgog’s revised review:

    The Demon Sands
    YouTube video ad: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMVZtQsoC_0
    Description: This is a huge pack, almost the size of Gianthold, with about eight quests plus a raid. The quests are varied, long, fun and rewarding, and there's also an enormous explorer area.
    Fun factor: Pretty good here. There's a lot to explore (particularly in the Chains of Flame and Tomb of the Wizard King quests).
    XP: 9/10. Chamber of Raiyum and Offering of Blood are automatic go-tos for every TR'ed character and offer a lot of XP, especially the former. Top-notch groups can manage over 2000xp/minute in Wiz-King (most groups can realistically expect 700).
    Challenge: 10/10 on Epic, 7/10 at level. These quests are generally tougher than Gianthold when run at-level, and on Epic, they are the majority of the tougher epics.
    Immersion: 9/10. Really gets a boost for the Court of Lailat. Look at it from above.
    Loot: 9/10. Several best-in-slot items here on Epic mode, including the extremely coveted Epic Marilith Chain (the top melee DPS armor), the Epic Chaosblade and Epic Unkor's Cleaver (the highest DPS vorpal weapons in the game, the former being worth using even in situations where vorpals do not work, and the Torc of Raiyum, one of the best items for any class that can heal themself from SP. Oh and lots of the non-epic loot is good when you get it, particularly the Spectral Gloves, Bloodstone and Firestorm Greaves, all of which are still used by many level 20 characters. Be warned: Some epic upgrade items have *extremely* low drop rates.
    High level replayability: 10/10. Some of the best epic quests are here.
    Best feature: The quest "Against the Demon Queen", the last quest required to flag for the raid. Great story concept, great quest. If you hadn't noticed, the whole dungeon is in the shape of a marilith.
    Worst feature: The size of the explorer area makes for some loooooong runs to get to the real quests, especially Chains of Flame.
    Important warning: These quests are unforgiving on Epic - they are entirely unsuited to 'fresh' level 20s without gear.
    Ease of getting a group: Quite easy (getting a group that can succeed on Epic is less easy)
    Overall: Quite highly recommended for levelling. Not recommended for people that are new to level 20, but highly recommended to people that have seasoned, geared level 20 characters.
    Recommended level range: 10-14 (normal); 12-15 (hard); 13-17 (elite); 20 (epic, suitable only for geared and experienced players)
    Rating: 9.5/10


    ---------------------------------------------

    sirgog was correct when he wrote this back in 2010, but as the game stands now much of the Demon Sands loot is subpar, and the epics are on the easier side, even on epic elite. Demon Sands is in no way endgame anymore.

  8. #28

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  9. #29

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    Restless Isles
    The Restless Isles pits you against more ogres than you can shake a stick at. There are two quests and two raids, with a wilderness area that’s a neat concept but ends up being more frustrating than anything. The two raids are virtually unplayable due to the extreme difficulty getting groups together.

    The challenge factor is quite high in the quests, making Restless Isles a decent proving ground for builds. The boss fight at the end of Bring Me the Head of Ghola Fan! is a particularly good dps check for solo builds. This is a great quest: challenging, fun, great loot, and neat design touches. For me this quest is the entire pack, which makes it a 350 TP quest. Great quest, terrible value. Slavers of the Shrieking Mines is difficult to get to and includes an annoying "Don’t kill the hostile NPCs" fail mechanic, plus a confusing map. Probably one of the most skipped quests in the game.

    Both quests are soloable, albeit challenging. There are a few traps but they are designed to be navigated by non-trappers without evasion. The biggest barrier to soloing is the sheer challenge of it. New players will find that these enemies hit like Mac trucks and may not even make it to the final boss fight. Veterans will handle the trash easily enough but then may not be able to handle Ghola Fan’s rapid self-healing and the 300 hp disintegrates he likes to spam. (See my cleric’s tale soloing this on elite for bravery.) Grouping is almost impossible because few premiums own the pack and most VIPs avoid it.

    The one place where Restless Isles really shines is gear. The Royal Guard Mask is the only teleport clickie in the whole game, and being both rare and unbound it’s worth a million plat easily. The Helm of Freewill boasts both a green and a colorless slot, allowing you to slot both heavy fortification and vitality +20 to make it a significant upgrade from Minos Legens. The good loot isn’t limited to these two items, but they’re at the top of the list.

    While I really like the Ghola Fan quest, this pack is a misfire. Only two quests, the raids are difficult to get groups for, the wilderness is awkward and unsatisfying, and even crafters don’t need to buy it because Mystical Vessels can be farmed from the free-to-play quest Hiding In Plain Sight. Only buy this if you already own every other pack in the game.


    sirgog’s initial review:

    The Restless Isles
    Description: This pack contains two very long quests and one two-part raid plus an explorer area (note - this raid is currently locked due to technical issues). The quests are interesting but there's little incentive to run them more than once or twice each. The first part of the raid is an enormous puzzle, which requires significant teamwork to solve and is unlike anything else I've ever seen or heard of in any MMO. The second part is a battle against a reasonably mean Warforged Titan raid boss, which requires precision play and tactics rather than brute force, but really only requires a couple of people with everyone other than two or three key people nothing other than spectators.
    Fun factor: I personally didn't find this content all that much fun - your results may vary.
    Rewards (XP/loot): Mediocre to bad XP. Although the first part of the raid pays out more XP than almost any other quest in the game, very few groups can beat it in under an hour (many take two), and few players of appropriate level are flagged for it. The loot, on the other hand, is stellar, including the Chattering Ring and the Seven-Fingered Gloves, which are both extremely powerful items that are not currently surpassed by any other items, and the Belt of Brute Strength, which is also extremely powerful and is hard to replace. There's also some exceptional unbound items, including the Royal Guard Mask and the Ring of the Ancestors. Sadly, these items are all extremely rare.
    Best feature: The loot.
    Worst feature: Waiting around in part 1 of the raid when your subgroup has completed its puzzles but other subgroups haven't and aren't sure what to do - you can be stuck for half an hour sometimes.
    Ease of getting a group: Level appropriate groups are extremely hard to fill, high-level (no XP) groups are not too hard to fill.
    Overall: Only worth buying for the raid loot.
    Recommended level range: 9-11 (normal); 11-14 (hard); 13+ (elite), these quests can be pretty mean on Elite with level-appropriate characters.
    Rating: 6.5/10


    sirgog’s revised review:

    The Restless Isles
    Description: This pack contains two very long quests and one two-part raid plus an explorer area. The quests are interesting but there's little incentive to run them more than once or twice each. The first part of the raid is an enormous puzzle, which requires significant teamwork to solve and is unlike anything else I've ever seen or heard of in any MMO. The second part is a battle against a reasonably mean Warforged Titan raid boss, which requires precision play and tactics rather than brute force, but really only requires a couple of people with everyone other than two or three key people nothing other than spectators.
    Fun factor: I personally didn't find this content all that much fun - your results may vary.
    XP: 4/10. The Titan preraid is really good XP per minute if you can get a group of 12 flagged at-level players that know it well - however, that is close to impossible to organise. The rest is just - meh.
    Challenge: 6.5/10 for the combats; 9/10 for the puzzles.
    Immersion: 4/10. Lazers just make no sense in D&D. Plus, why can't my 38 Intelligence Wizard solve this puzzle just by looking at it?
    Loot: 5/10. The Chattering Ring is the best-in-slot item for AC builds and the Seven-Fingered Gloves and Belt of Brute Strength are fantastic for pre-20th-level characters. This would be higher, but these items are just notoriously hard to get.
    High level replayability: 3/10. Running Titan in a smallish group is somewhat entertaining at all levels.
    Best feature: The loot, and the first time you try to figure out the puzzles.
    Worst feature: Waiting around in part 1 of the raid when your subgroup has completed its puzzles but other subgroups haven't and aren't sure what to do - you can be stuck for half an hour sometimes.
    Ease of getting a group: Hard to fill, especially if you do not know the puzzles.
    Overall: Only worth considering for the raid loot.
    Recommended level range: 9-11 (normal); 11-14 (hard); 13+ (elite), these quests can be pretty mean on Elite with level-appropriate characters.
    Rating: 5/10

  10. #30

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    Necropolis Part 3
    As with any Necropolis pack, expect to face mostly undead. There is a bit more variety here, though, with some mephits, demons and ooze thrown in the mix. Like the other necro packs, there are four flagging quests that must be completed to run the fifth, final quest. Unlike the first two packs the flagging here works without issue. Re-acquiring the quests won’t break flagging, and the final quest can be re-run without any re-flagging headaches.

    The quest design is impressively original, particularly in Tomb of the Tormented but there are also some unique mechanics in 'Blighted and 'Forbidden. Unfortunately these original mechanics don’t add up to fun. Quite the opposite, in fact, as some (many?) players wouldn’t run Tomb of the Tormented if you paid them. The final quest is reminiscent of the final quest in the first necropolis, long to solo but much faster if you split up and handle different area simultaneously. There is an unfortunate "don’t kill the hostile NPCs" fail mechanic but it’s not nearly as bad as, say, Stealthy Repossession.

    There are just enough traps to make soloing a little tricky but overall not too bad. Tomb of the Forbidden has an anti-solo mechanic but it can still be soloed with a hire or pet. Grouping can be difficult, especially if you want to explore the quests for the first time, but one-and-done runs of all four flags on elite for bravery generally fill pretty quickly thanks to the great xp. Expect those runs to be full zerg mode, so be sure you’re on a self-sufficient character if it’s your first exposure to the quests.

    The signature gear from necro 3 is unquestionably the Silver Flame Talisman. It may seem at first glance that you need Necropolis 1, 2 and 3 to make it but you can get it with just necro 3 by rerunning the last quest three times. The other item of note is Dalorent’s Seal, which is a fantastic divine shield, particularly for clerics. The shield is acquired via scarab turn-in, and scarabs are unbound so you don't need the pack to get it. But if you want the necklace, and many characters will, you must have access to necro 3.

    Most people loathe Necropolis 3 but I personally like it quite a bit. I’m particularly fond of Tomb of the Tormented; I think it’s a fantastic solo quest, and I rather like soloing. Necropolis 3 is easily my favorite of the four necro packs, and by a decent margin. I’m giving it a low grade, however, to reflect the general opinion of the pack. It’s much more likely you’ll hate it like most people than enjoy it like I do. Your best bet is to wait and get it with the Necropolis bundle.


    sirgog’s initial review:

    The Necropolis part 3
    Description: Another five undead quests in the Necropolis. These quests are tougher than their level indicates, with the exception of The Cursed Crypt.
    Fun factor: Really varied here. Tomb of the Tormented is an infamous quest - it's a lot of fun for the first half of your first run, then it is just dull. This quest has quite a reputation, and is probably the most hated quest in the game. The other three level 11 quests are far, far tougher than their level indicates and not all that much fun, but The Cursed Crypt makes up for that and is one of my favorite quests in the game even though I have run it more than one hundred times.
    Rewards (XP/loot): Poor to average for the four level 11 quests. XP for The Cursed Crypt is good, and the loot is stellar - there's a powerful binds-on-acquire necklace you can get after three completions (this can also be obtained, with much more difficulty, from Necropolis 4's Black Abbot raid), and there are two of the most sought-after unbound named items in the game, the Scourge Choker and the Docent of Defiance, plus Jinx's Vexation, a good mid-level armor set. The named items have extremely low drop rates, but the big two will fetch around two million platinum each in trades. Even with a 1% drop rate, that's still an average of 40k PP per run, making this the second best loot run in the game (second only to the Shroud raid)
    Best feature: The Cursed Crypt is a fantastic quest with three vampire fights that are a lot of fun and require tactical play.
    Worst feature: Rats in a maze (shudders).
    Ease of getting a group: For the Cursed Crypt - not too hard. For the other four, near to impossible.
    Overall: Like the Catacombs, I'm not going to recommend this, but it's not a purchase you'll regret like Necro 2 is.
    Recommended level range: 11-14 (normal); 12-14 (hard); 12-16 (elite) (quests are harder than their level indicates)
    Rating: 6.5/10


    sirgog’s revised review:

    The Necropolis part 3
    Description: Another five undead quests in the Necropolis. These quests are tougher than their level indicates, with the exception of The Cursed Crypt.
    Fun factor: Really varied here. Tomb of the Tormented is an infamous quest - it's a lot of fun for the first half of your first run, then it is just dull. This quest has quite a reputation, and is probably the most hated quest in the game. The other three level 11 quests are far, far tougher than their level indicates and not all that much fun, but The Cursed Crypt makes up for that and is one of my favorite quests in the game despite dozens of runs.
    XP: 5.5/10. Solid but unspectacular, not very zerger-friendly.
    Challenge: 8/10. These quests are tough for their levels, even on Normal.
    Immersion: 7/10. Some are done well, some aren't.
    Loot: 9/10, for two items - the Docent of Defiance (the best defensive docent in the game for most Warforged builds) and the Silver Flame Talisman, the best defensive item for fighting beholders and some undead.
    High level replayability: 2/10, for the Cursed Crypt along.
    Best feature: The Cursed Crypt is a really interesting and unique quest that rewards tactical play.
    Worst feature: Rats in a maze (shudders).
    Ease of getting a group: For the Cursed Crypt - not too hard. For the other four, near to impossible.
    Overall: Like the Catacombs, I'm not going to recommend this, but it's not a purchase you'll be guaranteed to regret.
    Recommended level range: 11-14 (normal); 12-14 (hard); 12-16 (elite) (quests are harder than their level indicates)
    Rating: 6.5/10

  11. #31

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    Attack on Stormreach
    • Cost: 450 TP
    • Favor: 63 (7.14 TP/Favor: Terrible) -- Coin Lords
    • Level: 13
    • Content: 4 quests
    • Epic: none
    • Gear of Note: Many good first life items
    • Crafting: none
    • Fun: High
    • Grade: A-
    • Priority: High

    The Droamm army will overrun Stormreach unless you can save the day! This pack is a continuation of the free-to-play level 12 Lordsmarch chain, and was the pinnacle of high-quality content development that spanned from Update 5 to Update 10. The Droamm army consists of ogres, gnolls and hobgoblins, with a few other surprises thrown in for good measure.

    All four quests are lovingly crafted, interesting, and super fun. Three of the four have at least one unique mechanic, and they’re all home runs. Who doesn’t like being Indiana Jones? Start off by defending the city, move over to the harbor to take out the invading fleet, close off their secret underground tunnel, and then finally face the leader of the army herself. If there was ever a pack that called out for an Epic version, Attack on Stormreach is it.

    The only real barrier to soloing the chain is that the mobs hit quite hard. Noticeably harder than Gianthold despite being the same level quests. There are precious few traps to worry about; the only ones of consequence show up in the end fight of the last quest. For those a non-trapping soloist will have to power through with hit points and self healing. Grouping is easy because many premiums own it and it’s also one of the packs that come with the Menace of the Underdark standard edition.

    Attack on Stormreach offers a plethora of quality gear for new players on their first life. Any character who uses wisdom should consider a fully upgraded Sora Kell set, both casters and melee alike. There are plenty of nice melee weapons, including Hooked Blades, Vampiric Cleaver, Vampiric Fury Blade, and many other weapon types to choose from. There's even a serviceable arcane caster staff though arcanes will find the least value from the loot here. Monks, by contrast, will have a field day with both Garments of Equilibrium and Vampiric Stonedust Wraps. Any of these are a fine choice to upgrade and use all the way to level 20.

    This is a high priority pack for new players to buy, but note that it comes free with the Menace of the Underdark standard edition for $35 from the DDO Market. I highly recommend you buy the MotU standard edition, so if there’s any chance you will, don’t buy Attack on Stormreach separately. Before MotU, I recommended Attack on Stormreach as the second purchase for new players, after Red Fens. This pack would be an A+, but with only four quests, no wilderness and no epic version there's just not enough content for the highest mark.


    See also CE2JRH123's review here.


    Attack on Stormreach was introduced after sirgog's reviews.

  12. #32

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  13. #33

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    Ruins of Gianthold
    • Cost: 950 TP
    • Favor: 240 (3.96 TP/Favor: Excellent) -- Agents of Argonnessen
    • Level: 13-14, 25
    • Content: 10 quests, 2 raids, 1 wilderness
    • Epic: 10 quests, 1 raid, 1 wilderness
    • Gear of Note: Too much to list
    • Crafting: none
    • Fun: High
    • Grade: A+
    • Priority: Highest

    Gianthold used to be one of the better packs in the game, on par with Vault of Night and Vale of Twilight. The two strikes against it were that it didn’t offer a whole lot of gear, and it didn’t have an epic version. Update 17 fixed both those issues with a bullet, adding an epic version and introducing a metric ton of outstanding gear. Gianthold is now the best pack in the game, bar none.

    All ten quests have both heroic and epic versions. The quests are pretty fun, if “old-school” in their look and feel. The wilderness area has both a heroic and epic version, and while it feels barren and unpopulated for those just running to the quests, there are plenty of interesting elements for fans of wilderness areas. The only downside is that it’s somewhat ugly. One of the raids is heroic-only, and it’s a bit lacking so you may find it hard to get groups for. The other raid is epic-only, and grouping for it is easy because it’s fun, short, and the best source of heroic commendations, which most endgame players want in high quantities.

    Gianthold can be soloed, like pretty much the entire game, but there are so many hard-hitting traps that grouping is your best bet. A couple of the quests have anti-solo mechanics, but those can be handled with hirelings or pets. As the best and most popular pack in the game, grouping for Gianthold is quite easy.

    There is simply too much quality gear to single anything out without mentioning another 20 items. There are excellent leveling items as well as unbeatable endgame items so no matter how long you’ve been playing DDO, Gianthold is an excellent purchase. For a list of all the goodness, see Update 17 named items. Fair warning that there’s so much gear to list that the wiki page may load slowly.

    New players should be aware that this is the first pack where you can’t realistically expect to get the full favor, so if you’re trying to put together enough content for 1750 favor to unlock 32pt builds, figure 174 favor from Gianthold. That said, if you don’t own Gianthold, go buy it right now. Go on, do it. Seriously, stop reading and go buy Gianthold, you have giants to kill! (Actually, there aren’t all that many giants in Gianthold. But there are some dragons!)


    sirgog’s initial review:

    The Ruins of Gianthold
    Description: A huge pack, containing ten quests, one raid and an explorer area. The quests are highly varied (although they share a few things in common).
    Fun factor: These quests are (mostly) awesome. The Crucible is one of the most interesting quests in the game (allow three hours to run it if it is everyone in the group's first attempt and you don't use spoilers, once you know what you are doing, you can get that down to twenty minutes). Gianthold Tor just feels 'epic', and has the best fights against dragons in the game.
    Rewards (XP/loot): XP here used to be incredible, now it's mediocre. There's quite a bit of loot here (mostly in the raid) that is currently the best in the game, especially the Madstone Boots, which are a very powerful melee item.
    Best feature: The number and variety of quests.
    Worst feature: The price. It's worth it however, trust me - it's the same price as a cinema ticket. Oh, and the air elementals - the raid has about 23 of them, and even after the recent nerfs to air elementals, fighting them is about as much fun as cutting yourself with a rusty razor.
    Ease of getting a group: Very easy - there's pretty much always level 11-15 people questing and level 12-20 characters raiding or killing dragons here.
    Overall: The second best adventure pack, very much worth your money.[/color]
    Recommended level range: 12-14 (normal); 13-16 (hard); 14-18 (elite). Note that some quests (in particular Trial by Fire) are easier than this, others (the dragons in Gianthold Tor) are tougher.
    Rating: 9.5/10



    sirgog’s revised review:

    The Ruins of Gianthold
    Description: A huge pack, containing ten quests, one raid and an explorer area. The quests are highly varied (although they share a few things in common).
    Fun factor: These quests are (mostly) awesome. The Crucible is one of the most interesting quests in the game (allow three hours to run it if it is everyone in the group's first attempt and you don't use spoilers, once you know what you are doing, you can get that down to twenty minutes). Gianthold Tor just feels 'epic', and has the best fights against dragons currently in the game.
    XP: 8/10. Some quests offer the seasoned zerger 1100 XP/minute, but the days of getting 2500-3000 XP per minute from some of these have gone the way of the dodo. (Trial by Fire used to have twice its current XP)
    Challenge: 5.5/10. With two exceptions (Elite Crucible, and the Gianthold Tor dragon fights) this pack is pretty easy for its level. The Tor dragons on Elite are great fights, but unfortunately there is no loot incentive to run them above normal, so few people ever experience the fight. This will go up if the devs ever increase the hard/elite drop rate of named items and/or dragon scales in the Tor.
    Immersion: 9/10: Some good storylines, some of the best DM text in the game (albeit the least realistic), which creates a real D&D feel.
    Loot: 8/10. Lots of good stuff, but most of it will be replaced as you level. This pack does offer the Dreamspitter and Madstone Boots, which remain best-in-slot for many builds, at least for situational use, as well as Blue Dragonscale Armor which works well in some builds.
    High level replayability: 5/10. For level 20s, the Reaver's Fate raid and Gianthold Tor still offer some useful rewards, but both are very easy to beat. Can only go up, maybe to a perfect 10, once the epic version of Gianthold Tor that was accidentally leaked to Lamannia some time ago is finished and released.
    Best feature: The number and variety of quests.
    Worst feature: Probably the large number of times you need to repeat quests in here to obtain relics and dragon scales; this is somewhat ameliorated by them being tradeable. Also the raid is somewhat of a letdown.
    Ease of getting a group: Easy for everything except elite Crucible and hard/elite Tor with dragons.
    Overall: 9.5/10. One of the best packs.
    Recommended level range: 12-14 (normal); 13-16 (hard); 14-18 (elite). Note that some quests (in particular Trial by Fire) are easier than this, others (the dragons in Gianthold Tor) are tougher.

  14. #34

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    Necropolis Part 4
    • Cost: 850 TP
    • Favor: 117 (7.26 TP/Favor: Terrible) -- Silver Flame
    • Level: 14-17
    • Content: 5 quests, 1 raid, 1 wilderness
    • Epic: none
    • Gear of Note: Minos Legens, Deathnip, various raid loot
    • Crafting: Mystical Urn
    • Fun: Medium
    • Grade: B+
    • Priority: Medium

    Necropolis 4, like all necropolis packs, is chock full of undead but also adds in a fair few golems, elementals, mephits and demons. The four flagging quests to get into the pre-raid are no longer required for flagging since a change to the wilderness area added the flagging items to the rare chests. The pre-raid is one of the best xp/minute quests in the game, while the raid is unique in design but very buggy; it gets broken nearly every update. The wilderness area is excellent, and not just because it's possibly the only wilderness area to offer decent xp/minute from slayers thanks to one particular rare.

    Quest design is both varied and unusual, in keeping with the general theme of all necro packs. Two are great xp farms, one has a crazy endfight, and another is a confusing maze of "where do I go now?" Just be prepared for a tough doomsphere fight and you should be fine.

    New players will have many problems soloing most of these quests. One has an anti-solo mechanic built into one of the fights, but it is still soloable. Another has an endfight that most new players will be wholly incapable of completing even with a hire due to a mechanic of hitting 5 runes at the same time while being tossed around by air elementals. Another is a confusing maze that will take forever without heavily relying on wiki. Grouping isn’t particularly difficult because this is a “must-have” leveling pack for third life TRs, but what that means is the groups you do find will likely be hardened veteran zergers.

    The iconic item from Necropolis 4 is Minos Legens, which is still a solid item despite having been surpassed by the Helm of Freewill. There is much to like in the raid loot, including but not limited to Litany of the Dead and Quiver of Alacrity. You might also like one of the weapons from tome page turn-in or even one of the shields.

    If your first exposure to Necropolis 4 is trying to solo them on a first life you won’t enjoy the experience, but if you get into a group and blast through both the wilderness and the quests you will find it to be pretty fun. The xp is great but not necessary on a first or second life. Once you start a third life, though, you’ll do well to pick up necro 4. If at all possible, get it as part of the Necropolis bundle in the store.


    sirgog’s initial review:

    Necropolis part 4
    Description: Finally, a bunch of quests in the Necropolis that's not packed full of stinkers! This unlocks five quests and a raid, plus the best explorer area in the game (the Orchard of the Macabre). Although all undead-themed, the quests are highly varied - there's a maze (Inferno of the Damned, really fun quest if you have a patient group that's never seen it before), a straightforward hack-and-slash (Desecrated Temple of Vol), possibly the best non-raid boss fight in the game (Cholthuzz, the boss of Ghosts of Perdition), and some truly unique and memorable encounters in Litany of the Dead.
    Fun factor: I really liked this content - personally I prefer it to Gianthold, although I'm in a small minority there. However, be warned: the Abbot raid is tough, and not in particularly fun ways - parts of it require flawless execution, and a small lagspike at the wrong time can cause a group to fail the raid.
    Rewards (XP/loot): XP is good but not great. The Black Abbot raid has some nice loot, but the most significant item of loot comes from the Orchard of the Macabre explorer area - if you collect twenty Shreds of Tapestry from rare encounter chests out there (they have a high drop rate, about 65%), you can turn them in for one of the game's best helmets, Minos Legens.
    Best feature: There's a lot of good stuff here, but I'd go with the feeling of satisfaction you get when you finally solve the maze of Inferno of the Damned.
    Worst feature: In this entire pack, melee classes are quite weak and will feel (correctly) that their party doesn't really need them. The Abbot raid is an exception - here they are weak but useful. In particular, Rogues will feel terribly weak.
    Ease of getting a group: Reasonable.
    Overall: Recommended. This isn't an essential purchase like the Vale of Twilight, but it's still a great pack.
    Recommended level range: 14-16 (normal); 15-17 (hard); 16-18 (elite) for the quests, 18+ for the raid
    Rating: 8.5/10


    sirgog’s revised review:

    Necropolis part 4
    Description: Finally, a bunch of quests in the Necropolis that's not packed full of stinkers! This unlocks five quests and a raid, plus (IMO) the best explorer area in the game, the Orchard of the Macabre. Although all undead-themed, the quests are highly varied - there's a maze (Inferno of the Damned, really fun quest if you have a patient group that's never seen it before), a straightforward hack-and-slash (Desecrated Temple of Vol), possibly the best non-raid boss fight in the game (Cholthuzz, the boss of Ghosts of Perdition), and some truly unique and memorable encounters in Litany of the Dead.
    Fun factor: I really liked this content - personally I prefer it to Gianthold, although I'm in a small minority there. However, be warned: the Abbot raid is tough, and unforgiving. Parts of it require flawless execution, and a small lagspike at the wrong time can cause a group to fail the raid.
    XP: 8/10. Good XP to be had here, but other than Litany of the Dead (which requires flagging), nothing spectacular. Goes up to 9.5 if you have a group full of geared veterans that can do true speedruns of the quests, but these groups are very rare.
    Challenge: 8/10. These quests are mostly tougher than their level indicates. The Abbot raid is worthy of an 11/10 here.
    Immersion: 7/10. Somewhat mixed here.
    Loot: 9/10. The Black Abbot raid has some nice loot, but the most significant item of loot comes from the Orchard of the Macabre explorer area - if you collect twenty Shreds of Tapestry from rare encounter chests out there (they have a high drop rate, about 60%), you can turn them in for one of the game's best defensive helmets, Minos Legens. You can use this at level 11 and probably will keep it equipped until level 20 on almost any build of any class.
    High level replayability: 6/10. These quests are still tough enough to be entertaining on elite with 'fresh' level 20s and offer some nice gear. The Abbot raid is still difficult at 20 (too difficult for many players).
    Best feature: There's a lot of good stuff here, but I'd go with the feeling of satisfaction you get when you finally solve the maze of Inferno of the Damned.
    Worst feature: In this entire pack, melee classes are quite weak and will feel (correctly) that their party doesn't really need them. The Abbot raid is an exception - here they are weak but useful. In particular, Rogues will feel terribly weak.
    Ease of getting a group: Reasonable.
    Overall: Recommended. This isn't an essential purchase like the Vale of Twilight, but it's still a great pack.
    Recommended level range: 14-16 (normal); 15-17 (hard); 16-18 (elite) for the quests, 18+ for the raid
    Rating: 8.5/10

  15. #35

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    Harbinger of Madness
    The two Madness packs (Harbinger, Reign) finished out the wave of high quality packs released from Update 5 to Update 10. Like most of the packs introduced during this time period, you get 4 fun quests with excellent ambience/art design, a coherent narrative, decent loot, mediocre xp and terrible favor. In the madness packs you face mostly aberrations and demons, though note that as creatures from Xoriat the demons have DR/Byeshk instead of Cold Iron + Good.

    The Harbinger quest chain starts off with a bang, with a satisfyingly creepy introduction to the madness of Xoriat. The ideal first run would be solo, in the dark, with all chat turned off for full immersion, at least for the first quest. The second quest is the weak link, a single room fight that can become tedious, but then the third quest returns to form. The final quest offers the most challenging encounter in the game at level on elite, known by some as the bravery killer.

    Soloing the first 3.9 quests is pretty straightforward, with a minor trap here and there and no anti-soloing mechanics anywhere, but the end fight of the final quest is a real doozy. Experienced veterans can solo that fight without too much issue, but your first time out will be an almost guaranteed wipe. Most pugs will have trouble with it, so don’t expect to just blow through it on elite for bravery. Best advice is to bring a level 18 character to suppress bravery and run it on hard or normal, or wait until you reach epic levels and go back to finish the favor then.

    The good loot is very, very good for the high teens, but as expected it loses its luster when you get to epic levels. Still, it’s quite nice in its own right: bracers with toughness, a bow with an impressive crit profile (19-20x4), and an all-purpose DR-breaking rapier. There are also some armors that can be upgraded in the second Madness pack to add nice touches like +10 reflex save.

    Harbinger is a very good pack, but it’s almost completely unnecessary. You won’t particularly need the loot, the favor isn’t helpful, the xp isn’t that great, it offers nothing for crafters, and you may have trouble completing the last quest even in groups. It's worth buying eventually simply because it's very well constructed, but push it back until later, after you’ve already purchased the more useful packs.


    Harbinger of Madness was introduced after sirgog's reviews.

  16. #36

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  17. #37

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    Vale of Twilight
    • Cost: 850 TP
    • Favor: 207 (4.11 TP/Favor: Good) -- The Twelve
    • Level: 16-17
    • Content: 5 quests, 3 raids, 2 wilderness areas
    • Epic: none
    • Gear of Note: Green Steel
    • Crafting: Mystical Plant
    • Fun: High
    • Grade: A+
    • Priority: Highest

    The Vale of Twilight is the signature pack of DDO, the most iconic and most popular of all the content you can buy. It used to be the clear best pack of all, but once Gianthold got an epic makeover Vale fell to a close second. Your main foes will be devils, gnolls, ogres, spiders, elementals and a few other surprises.

    Vale of Twilight is really two packs in one, each with their own wilderness area and raid(s). The Vale contains all five quests and Shroud, while the Subterrane is a raid wilderness with two raids and no quests. The subt is an afterthought; you can go for years without ever setting foot in it and won’t be missing much.

    On the Vale side of the pack there is an excellent wilderness area with five walkup quests, all of which must be completed in order to flag for Shroud. The five flagging quests feature impressive variety in terms of quest design, and they are some of the better constructed "old school" quests in the game. Be warned that they are all very, very long if you don’t know them well. The centerpiece of the pack is Shroud, the most popular raid in the game by a mile. It’s the community college of raids: Everyone is welcome, so if you’re intimidated by raids Shroud is the best way to get started.

    The quests feature few traps and none are particularly dangerous, but due to quest length plus some unique mechanics first life soloists may find the quests to be brutal slogs the first time through. They get much easier the better you know them. Grouping is about as easy as grouping gets, since everyone owns the pack and everyone wants to run Shroud. Plus, the xp from the quests (and the wilderness) is great so these quests have every incentive to run them: fun, loot, xp.

    The only gear from the Vale side is Green Steel, but oh what gear it is. Customizable weapons and accessories of great power with low minimum level, green steel is both ideal for TR twink items as well as being strong enough to merit a slot or two in endgame gearsets. The subt side has some raid gear that used to be quite nice but has fallen to obsolescence ever since epic levels were introduced. The subt wilderness still offers large bags, though, which are always nice.

    The Vale of Twilight is an excellent purchase, the one buy that everyone has always agreed on. Great xp, great loot, fun quests, the most popular raid in the game, and the right level quests to help 18s reach level 20. Unless you play perma-death, Vale is about as good as it gets.


    sirgog’s initial review:

    The Vale of Twilight
    Description: Contains five quests, a standard wilderness area, a raid group wilderness area (the only one in the game), and three raids, including the most important raid in the game, The Shroud. The quests and raids centre around attacks on Eberron by the devil armies of Shavarrath and their cultists.
    Fun factor: Except for one terrible quest (Coalescence Chamber), these quests are a lot of fun, and the Shroud remains entertaining even after dozens of completions. One part of it is designed to hardly ever play the same way twice, as there's a semi-random selection of key minibosses.
    Rewards (XP/loot): The XP is average to good, but it's the loot crafted in the Shroud that is stellar. In the Shroud you will find the best weapons in the game by a long way, plus many other items - most characters will be able to quickly craft an item (such as a Great Commander Goggles of Existential Stalemate) that's a big upgrade on what they previously had, then you can make it even better after you've run the Shroud a couple of dozen times and amassed the precious Large Ingredients. In addition, the Shroud is the game's best lootrun - on average a successful completion will net 70k PP worth of ingredients (¼ Large Scales plus ¼ Large Stones plus garbage) plus about 15k PP worth of vendor trash. The other raids have worthwhile items too - in particular Tharne's Goggles are an item in the Vision of Destruction raid that pretty much every melee character will want, and the Subterrane wilderness offers the Icy Raiments, the best armor in the game for many high Dexterity builds.
    Best feature: The Shroud, parts 2 and 4 - intense, exciting battles. I personally love the Vision of Destruction raid too.
    Worst feature: Part 1 of The Shroud. It's incredibly easy (even on Elite) and dull, monotonous and long.
    Ease of getting a group: Very easy for everything except Coalescence Chamber and Vision of Destruction. Medium for Coalescence Chamber, VoD can be hard to fill a group for as few clerics want to run it.
    Overall: A must-have.
    Recommended level range: 14-17 (normal); 16-18 (hard); 16-20 (elite) for the quests; 17+ for all three raids on Normal and Hard, 20 for all three raids on Elite.
    Rating: 9.5/10


    sirgog’s revised review:

    The Vale of Twilight
    Special note: This contains two different areas, the Vale of Twilight and the Subterrane. Although you get both for the one purchase, they feel different enough that I'm reviewing them separately.
    Description: Contains five quests, a standard wilderness area, and the most important raid in the game, The Shroud. The quests and raid centre around attacks on Eberron by the devil armies of Shavarrath and their cultists.
    Fun factor: Except for one terrible quest (Coalescence Chamber), these quests are a lot of fun, and the Shroud remains somewhat entertaining even after dozens of completions, although you get sick of it eventually. One part of it is designed to hardly ever play the same way twice, as there's a semi-random selection of key minibosses.
    XP: 7/10. Nothing special, but it's solid. Seasoned zergers will get great XP from two quests, Rainbow in the Dark and Running with the Devils.
    Challenge: 8/10. The difficulty ramps up a bit here, compared to previous content, particularly above normal. The Shroud raid is punishing to ungeared or poorly built toons that have been able to be effective at lower levels, and is particularly punishing to characters that have a mediocre or low hit point total.
    Immersion: 9/10. Great storylines here, and roleplayer types fall in love with Rainbow in the Dark.
    Loot: 12/10. Regardless of your class or build, you will be able to craft items here with 5 abilities, and they will be so powerful you would use them even if you could only get three of the abilities. For example, my main character, who has most of the Epic gear they are chasing after, wears three crafted items from the Shroud nearly the time, and situationally equips four others. Shroud weapons utterly outclass anything other than epic items, and Shroud accessories outclass even most epic items.
    High level replayability: 8/10. Generally quite good, this rating would be higher if there was more of an incentive to run the Shroud above normal, as geared level 20s still want things from it but find it too easy and quite dull on Normal after dozens of runs.
    Best feature: The Shroud, parts 2 and 4 - intense, exciting battles.
    Worst feature: Part 1 of The Shroud. It's incredibly easy (even on Elite) and dull, monotonous and long. Also Coalessence Chamber, although that quest has been improved somewhat.
    Ease of getting a group: Very easy for everything except Coalescence Chamber.
    Overall: A true must-have. The pack to buy, if you buy only one pack.
    Recommended level range: 14+
    Rating: 10/10

    The Subterrane - Free with the Vale of Twilight
    Special note: The Vale of Twilight pack contains two different areas, the Vale of Twilight and the Subterrane. Although you get both for the one purchase, they feel different enough that I'm reviewing them separately.
    Description: Contains two raids and the game's only raid group explorer area, all hiding underneath the Stormreach marketplace.
    Fun factor: Quite high. The raids have some intense battles, and one quite unique puzzle in Hound of Xoriat.
    XP: 5.5/10. This would be higher, except both raids take a while to get to and both are failed (resulting in no XP) occasionally to often, depending upon your group. Plus, most of the XP comes from raids you can only do once per 3 days.
    Challenge: 9.5/10. Even the explorer area is punishing to many builds. The raids are quite accessible on Normal, but both really require a combination of good to excellent tactics and good to excellent gear on hard and elite. Hound of Xoriat on Elite is one of the toughest encounters in the game, and one of the few raids that is pretty much unable to be completed outside of guild groups.
    Immersion: 7/10. Some nice touches - the ancient Giant runes among them - but once he realises you pose a serious threat to him, why doesn't Suulomades just set everything he has onto you at once? Also, what are the undead Giants doing down here?
    Loot: 8/10. Many builds will find one, maybe two best-in-slot items, or close to it, in these raids. However, the lack of weapons found there reduces this factor, as weapons are usually the most important and powerful loot.
    High level replayability: 9/10. These raids manage something virtually no other content in the game manages - they are accessible to more casual players on Normal, yet remain challenging and rewarding to powergamers when played on Elite. More raids should take a leaf out of this book, and should use the unusual loot tables from these raids (where some items are common on Elite but almost never seen on normal).
    Best feature: There's quite a few highlights. Possibly the really unique fight with Garamol in the Subterrane, which is chaotic.
    Worst feature: Having someone fall due to lag (or lack of Mario Brothers skills) en route to VoD, which requires the rest of the group to wait. Also, the explorer area is really under-utilised, there are a lot of nooks and crannies that noone ever explores because there's just no loot incentive to do so, but the area is too tough to explore solo for most builds.
    Ease of getting a group: Not hard if you have appropriate gear for these raids.
    Overall: Would be worth considering even if it wasn't a free bonus.
    Recommended level range: 18+
    Rating: 8/10 (but hey, it's a free bonus with a 10/10 pack so who's complaining?)

  18. #38

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    Reaver’s Reach
    • Cost: 250 TP
    • Favor: 96 (2.60 TP/Favor: Incredible) -- Agents of Argonnessen
    • Level: 17
    • Content: 4 quests, 4 wilderness areas
    • Epic: none
    • Gear of Note: Dragontouched Armor
    • Crafting: none
    • Fun: High
    • Grade: C+
    • Priority: Low

    Reaver’s Reach offers 4 quests, each set in its own wilderness area with its own flavor. The quests will pit you against kobolds, giants, and drow, while the wilderness areas are populated with gnolls, giants and undead.

    Quest design is top notch, with interesting mechanics and impressive artwork. One of the quests has a random maze, which is a very rare puzzle mechanic in DDO. The wilderness areas are small but connected; your slayer counts from any of the first three count toward a single pool. The final quest requires such a convoluted flagging process that many people just skip it altogether.

    Only one of the quests has traps, but those traps are everywhere and hit hard. Even ignoring the traps, every quest in this pack is extremely difficult to solo due to both difficulty and (in two of the quests) significant anti-solo mechanics. Only buy this pack if you like to group. And even then, grouping is difficult for a variety of reasons. Not many people run it, it’s irritating to get to, the flagging is problematic, the content is quite challenging on elite, and dragontouched armor isn’t worth the trouble.

    Reaver’s Reach gear begins and ends with Dragontouched Armor, which used to be quite nice when the level cap was 20 but is now overshadowed by epic armor. The armor requires roughly the same amount of work to craft as dual-shard green steel items, but they don’t have nearly the value of green steel. It’s essentially a dead craft.

    There is some excellent xp to be had for TR veterans, but if that’s not you there’s not much to offer here. If the quests were more soloable it would be worth the low price just to experience the neat design, but with groups hard to come by it’s hard to recommend Reaver’s Reach. Hold off until you already own most content before picking this up.


    sirgog’s initial review:

    Reaver’s Reach
    Description: Four quests and four small explorer areas where you team up with your former nemesis the Stormreaver and try to prevent another former nemesis, Sor'jek Incanni, now a lich, from creating a cluster of powerful undead dragons. The quests are varied, with Monastery of the Scorpion being a puzzle and trap themed dungeon crawl, Enter the Kobold being all about one deadly last fight, Prey on the Hunter being a unique race against time where you must save an evil dragon (one you might recognize from Korthos Island) from being captured and turned into a draco-lich, and Stealer of Souls being a different type of race against time, where you must disrupt a ritual within an hour, then take out Sor'jek himself.
    Fun factor: These quests are reasonably good quests, but the frustrating loot and flagging systems really undermine this.
    Rewards (XP/loot): XP is good. The loot is excellent and (for most characters) the best body armor in the game comes from here. However, it uses an incredibly frustrating random crafting system that is pretty much not fun at all.
    Best feature: The Stealer of Souls (SoS) quest is a blast, when you are flagged for it. Be warned - it's tough even on normal. Elite is brutal indeed.
    Worst feature: Every time you want to run SoS, you must repeat one or more of the three flagging quests. This reflagging is extremely frustrating, particularly when you only want loot from SoS (Sovereign Runes) and don't care about the Tempest Runes and Eldritch Runes from the pre-quests. Plus, the number of the Sovereign Runes you need to grind is random - some people get their perfect crafted armor in three runs, some haven't got it after seventy.
    Ease of getting a group: Currently groups here are slow to fill, I expect this may change over time.
    Overall: An excellent pack that is utterly ruined by two terrible mistakes - the 'lottery' system for crafting, and the reflagging for Stealer of Souls. Probably still worth buying, but it's the last of the endgame content you should buy (get Devils of Shavarrath, Necro 4 and Vale of Twilight first, then consider this pack).
    Recommended level range: 16-20 (normal); 18-20 (hard); 20, geared and experienced players (elite)
    Rating: 8/10


    sirgog’s revised review:

    Reaver’s Reach
    Description: Four quests and four small explorer areas where you team up with your former nemesis the Stormreaver and try to prevent another former nemesis, Sor'jek Incanni, now a lich, from creating a cluster of powerful undead dragons. The quests are varied, with Monastery of the Scorpion being a puzzle and trap themed dungeon crawl, Enter the Kobold being all about one deadly last fight, Prey on the Hunter being a unique race against time where you must save an evil dragon (one you might recognize from Korthos Island) from being captured and turned into a draco-lich, and Stealer of Souls being a different type of race against time, where you must disrupt a ritual within an hour, then take out Sor'jek himself.
    Fun factor: These quests are reasonably good quests, but the combination of extreme hitpoints, weak attacks and rampant immunities make some of the foes quite dull to fight.
    XP: 9/10. These quests are all quite zergable and very rewarding XP-wise to the seasoned veteran, except for Stealer of Souls, which has terrible XP.
    Challenge: 10/10. Except for one (Prey on the Hunter), these quests are all among the toughest in the game on Elite (although all of them are very accessible on Normal except Stealer of Souls, which is still beatable in non-guild groups). Again, like Gianthold Tor, they are seldom run above normal because the loot is essentially the same on all difficulties.
    Immersion: 6/10. Stealer of Souls has a compelling storyline (which drives the chain), but the other quests really don't.
    Loot: 7.5/10. The best armor for some builds and second or third best for many others can be crafted here. Unfortuneately, other than the Dragontouched armor, there's... nothing, just random loot and the joke that is the Toothpick.
    High level replayability: 8/10. These quests aren't a cakewalk at 20, and still offer loot improvements, but suffer from one weakness - there's no real reason to run them on Hard or Elite. As such, you'll eventually just grind them on Normal until you have an armor set that's either perfect or 'good enough', and they get dull on Normal. Prey on the Hunter is an alternate source of white dragonscales for players that want white scale armor (usually as a stepping stone to epic red scale), but Gianthold Tor is more efficient.
    Best feature: The Stealer of Souls (SoS) quest is a blast, when you are flagged for it. Be warned - it's somewhat tough even on normal. Elite is brutal indeed.
    Worst feature: The Frost Giants and White Dragons are tedious to fight - they don't really pose any threat to you as they don't do much damage, but they have extraordinary amounts of hitpoints, and so the fights go on and on and on and on.
    Ease of getting a group: Quite easy if you are willing to accept XP penalties for having level 20s in the group and running Normal. Hard/Elite groups are not easy to fill.
    Overall: A worthwhile pack to purchase, but not a must-have.
    Recommended level range: 16-20 (normal); 18-20 (hard); 20, geared and experienced players (elite)
    Rating: 8/10

  19. #39

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    Reign of Madness
    • Cost: 450 TP
    • Favor: 78 (5.77 TP/Favor: Fair) -- The Twelve
    • Level: 17
    • Content: 4 quests
    • Epic: none
    • Gear of Note: Belashyrra’s Scepter, Altar of Insanity
    • Crafting: Soul gem farm (see below)
    • Fun: High
    • Grade: B
    • Priority: Low

    Reign of Madness is the successor to Harbinger of Madness, ratcheting up the insanity to 11 as you travel to the plane of Xoriat itself. You’ll mostly face xoriat demons, mind flayers, floating eyes, and neutered beholders who don’t level drain or dispel.

    The developers went all in on the insanity in the first quest, and it’s really quite funny to listen to the DM. Marred by a no-fail babysitting mechanic, it’s quite difficult at level on elite due to the demons hitting like a ton of bricks. The second quest is fun to explore but is also a great xp farm; zerg runs finish in 2 minutes or less. The weak link is the third quest, a traditional hack & slash dungeon crawl filled with gargoyles, but the final quest has a neat design.

    Soloing the whole chain is pretty straightforward; no required traps to worry about and scaling brings the mobs down to moderate difficulty. Grouping for the first quest can be tough on elite for bravery due to the extreme difficulty, but the rest of the chain is noticeably easier both to run and to group for.

    Casters may be interested in farming up a specific Belashyrra’s Scepter, though cannith challenge gear gives higher spell power with a lower ML. The real value is for warforged water savants, who won’t find better cold spellpower at-level than Belashyrra’s. Evasion builds will be interested in upgraded an armor or robe from the harbinger chain with +10 reflex in the Altar of Insanity, if only as a swap item. They remain BTA, so a single upgraded reflex robe is probably your best bet.

    Reign is well constructed, fun, funny, and has a nice xp run to help 18s reach 20. It’s not particularly required on a first or even second life, but for third lifers it’s a nice source of xp to help break up the monotony. High level crafters will be most interested in the infinitely-respawning elementals of the last quest on elite, which is the best source of Strong Earth and Strong Water soul gems for crafting electrical and fire absorption shards.


    Reign of Madness was introduced after sirgog's reviews.

  20. #40

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