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  1. #1

    Default Adventure Pack Reviews and Buyer's Guide

    Two things worth highlighting:

    1) For a printable version of the information in this thread, download this pdf from google docs. It's not small so it may take a bit to load. It'll print in higher quality if you download it to your hard drive and print it locally. The full document is 51 pages long. (If that opens to a blank window, choose File => Download from the page's File menu.)

    2) For a list of all pack sales and double bonus point sales since this thread was created see this post. Knowing when the previous sales happened will help with predicting when the next one will be.

  2. #2

    Default Introduction

    The first thing I would tell a brand new player is don't spend any TP (Turbine Points) on anything in the DDO Store when you start playing. All of the level 1 and 2 content is completely free to play, so after downloading the game and rolling up your first character, just hop in and play the free stuff to get a feel for the game.

    The game mechanics encourage running quests 1 or 2 levels below your character level. The lowest level paid content is level 3, meaning until you hit level 4 or 5 don't even worry about what content you get for free and what you should buy.

    Once you get to level 4 or 5, you'll start to have a feel for the game. More importantly, you'll have an idea if this is the kind of game you'd like to pay money for. At that point you'll have several options on how much money you'd like to spend, but you can easily wait until as late as level 13 or 14 to buy anything if you like. The two basic choices are:

    VIP
    DDO offers a recurring payment option called VIP. More information can be found here. Going VIP is certainly less hassle, comes with some nice perks, and doesn't even require a recurring charge but instead can be bought for prolonged periods via single lump payments. If you decide to go VIP, you don't need to worry about buying adventure packs but you will still need to buy expansion packs separately.

    Premium
    The premium option is for buying individual adventure packs a la carte. There are no recurring charges. When you buy a pack you own it for the life of the game, and until you buy a pack you cannot enter any of its quests. Being premium is all about waiting for sales and delayed gratification. The best way to do this will have you buying points during points sales then waiting weeks or months to buy packs during pack sales, repeating the cycle until you own all content. Figure 12-18 months before you own everything, but with proper planning you will be able to level all the way to cap right out of the gate.

    Adventure Pack Level Epic Cost Favor Patron Grade
    Catacombs 3-4 No 250 TP 66 Silver Flame D+
    Seal of Shan-To-Kor 3-5 No 250 TP 48 Coin Lords B
    Tangleroot Gorge 3-7 No 550 TP 99 House Phiarlan B-
    Sharn Syndicate 4 No 350 TP 36 Coin Lords C-
    Phiarlan Carnival 5 Yes 450 TP 48 House Phiarlan A-
    Necropolis Part 1 5-6 No 350 TP 66 Silver Flame D-
    Three-Barrel Cove 5-7 No 550 TP 99 Free Agents D-
    Delera's Tomb 5-11 No 850 TP 129 House Jorasco A
    Sorrowdusk Isle 6-10 No 450 TP 117 House Deneith D+
    Sentinels of Stormreach 7-8 Yes 450 TP 66 House Deneith B-
    Necropolis Part 2 8-9 No 350 TP 81 Silver Flame C
    Ruins of Threnal 8-10 No 450 TP 108 House Phiarlan F
    Vault of Night 8-10 Yes 750 TP 126 House Kundarak A
    Red Fens 9 Yes 450 TP 54 House Kundarak A-
    Demon Sands 10-12 Yes 950 TP 210 Free Agents B+
    Restless Isles 10-12 No 350 TP 84 Free Agents F
    Necropolis Part 3 11-12 No 350 TP 93 Silver Flame D
    Attack on Stormreach 13 No 450 TP 63 Coin Lords A-
    Ruins of Gianthold 13-14 Yes 950 TP 240 Argonnessen A+
    Necropolis Part 4 14-17 No 850 TP 117 Silver Flame B+
    Harbinger of Madness 15 No 450 TP 63 Free Agents B+
    Vale of Twilight 16-17 No 850 TP 207 The Twelve A+
    Reaver's Reach 17 No 250 TP 96 Argonnessen C+
    Reign of Madness 17 No 450 TP 78 The Twelve B
    Druid's Deep 17 Yes 550 TP 75 The Harpers C-
    Devil Assault 18* Yes 350 TP 30 Coin Lords B-
    High Road of Shadows 18 Yes 750 TP 111 The Harpers ?
    Path of Inspiration 18 No 350 TP 90 Coin Lords ?
    Dreaming Dark 19-20 No 350 TP 75 Coin Lords B
    Devils of Shavarath 19-20 No 550 TP 153 Yugoloth C
    Secrets of the Artificers 19-20 Yes 650 TP 99 House Cannith B-
    Cannith Challenges 4-25 Yes 1295 TP 126 House Cannith B
    Eveningstar Challenges 15-30 Yes 695 TP 36 Purple Dragon Knight F
    Menace of the Underdark 21-24 Yes $35 369 Purple Dragon Knight A
    Shadowfell Conspiracy 16-19 Yes $30 213 PDK / Harpers ?

  3. #3

    Default Buyer's Guide

    I recommend you buy into DDO by starting with a single $50 purchase (both expansions), then spend an additional $35 every few months on points (during double bonus point sales) until you own all content. This would get you enough content to level from 1 to 28 immediately, plus all the best content very early on.

    The cheaper alternative, which is still a good value, is to start with a $35 purchase (MotU standard edition) followed by periodic $20 point buys. You'll still be able to level from 1 to 28 immediately and will just be slightly delayed getting the main packs of value.

    The best first purchase a premium player can make will include the Menace of the Underdark standard edition in the DDO Market, which has a list price of $35. The reason this is such a good first purchase is that it includes a bonus of four quality adventure packs as well as 1000 TP to get you started, plus some other goodies. To get to the DDO Market, select the Store dropdown at the very top of this (or any) forum page.

    The best way to get the Menace of the Underdark standard edition is to get any version of the Shadowfell expansion, which when added to your cart in the DDO Market allows you to add the MotU standard edition for half price. Shadowfell itself would be a low priority purchase, but since it gives half off of MotU, this moves Shadowfell up to a top priority. Like MotU, Shadowfell also comes with 1000 TP.

    What this means is that for a premium player, the best deal for getting started is to buy the Shadowfell standard edition ($30) with MotU standard edition for half price ($17.50) in the DDO Market for $50 total after tax. The lowest level content you get with this purchase is Phiarlan Carnival, which is level 5, so you don't need to buy anything until you're level 6 or 7. That $50 purchase gets you:

    Epic Destinies
    Menace of the Underdark
    Shadowfell Conspiracy
    Phiarlan Carnival
    Attack on Stormreach
    Path of Inspiration
    Dreaming Dark
    Eveningstar Challenges
    Druid
    Purple Dragon Knight iconic
    Extra character slot
    Greater Tome of Learning
    Lesser Tome of Epic Learning
    2000 TP

    The 2000 TP and four "free" adventure packs is really what puts this deal over the top. The four adventure packs total 1280 TP if bought during a 20% sale, and all are worth buying. Combined with the 2000 TP that's 3280 TP in value which costs $35 during a double bonus point sale. The net result is that the "extra" $15 you're spending in the $50 expansion pack purchase is buying everything yellow in the above list. That's a tremendous value for $15.

    If you aren't sold enough on DDO to spend $50 when you reach level 6 or 7, you can hold off and keep playing for free until you reach level 13, which is the level of the next "free" pack (Attack on Stormreach) that comes with MotU. By level 13 you'll definitely have enough experience to know if this game is worth your money.

    If you cannot afford a single $50 purchase, but instead are limited to smaller amounts, $35 is the next recommendation. This is a simple purchase: MotU standard edition in the DDO Market. You get MotU, epic destinies, the extra four adventure packs, and 1000 TP. This is a great value, which should highlight just how good the $50 Shadowfell+MotU deal is.

    Finally, if $35 is too expensive for any one purchase, you're looking at $20 purchases. The $20 version of MotU doesn't come with any low level packs, so don't bother with it until you hit level 20. This is perfectly workable, and is how I bought into the game myself.

  4. #4

    Default Sales

    Here are the relevant sales since creating this thread to help gauge when the next one might be:

    Point Sales
    Sep 13th-23rd, 2013 - Double Bonus Points
    Nov 27th-Dec 2nd, 2013 - Double Bonus Points (Black Friday)
    Dec 20th-Jan 2, 2014 - Double Bonus Points (Holiday Specials)
    Apr 4th-10th, 2014 - Double Bonus Points
    July 4th-13th, 2014 - Double Bonus Points
    Aug 29th-Sep 7th, 2014 - Double Bonus Points
    Nov 27th-Dec 1st, 2014 - Double Bonus Points (Black Friday)
    Dec 19th-Jan 4th, 2015 - Double Bonus Points (Holiday Specials)
    Feb 13th-19th, 2015 - Double Bonus Points
    May 22nd-June 1st, 2015 - Double Bonus Points

    Pack Sales
    Sep 20th-26th, 2013 - 20% off adventure packs
    Nov 8th-14th, 2013 - 20% off adventure packs
    Dec 20th-Jan 2nd, 2014 - 25% off adventure packs (Holiday Specials)
    Feb 21st-27th, 2014 - 20% off adventure packs
    July 18th-24th, 2014 - 20% off adventure packs
    Sep 5th-11th, 2014 - 20% off adventure packs
    Sep 19th-21st, 2014 - 25% off Landlubber Bundle (Talk Like a Pirate Day)
    Nov 27th-Dec 4th, 2014 - 20% off adventure packs (Black Friday)
    Feb 13th-19th, 2015 - 20% off adventure packs
    Jun 19th-25th, 2015 - 20% off adventure packs

    Choose Your Own Discount
    May 8th-10th, 2015

    Market Sales
    Nov 27th-Dec 2nd, 2013 - 50% off Shadowfell (Black Friday)
    Dec 2nd, 2013 - 75% off Menace of the Underdark (Cyber Monday)
    Nov 27th-Dec 1st, 2014 - 75% off expansions (Black Friday)

    Challenge Sales
    Sep 13th-19th, 2013 - 20% off challenge packs
    Dec 6th-12th, 2013 - 30% off challenge packs (Winter Deals)
    Mar 28th-Apr 4th, 2014 - 20% off challenge packs
    July 11th-17th, 2014 - 75% off Vaults of the Artificers (Summer "Sails" Event)


    DDO has sales every week, from Thursday afternoon through Friday morning, so they overlap for around 12 hours each week. The content sales are mixed in with a bunch of other sales so check each Thursday night to see what the new sale is. See the current sale here.


    The watchword for premium players is patience, because going premium (as opposed to VIP) means waiting for sales. You wait to buy turbine points when they're on sale, and then wait again to spend those points when the packs are on sale. It's very rare that both points and packs are on sale at the same time; often you'll end up buying points a month or two before you actually spend them. The idea is to always have a couple thousand TP on hand to be ready for a "choose your own discount" sale.

    The standard way to buy points is from the in-game store. You can see the store prices here. Note that each version includes "bonus points." Points don't technically go on sale in that you can never pay less than the listed prices. Instead, point sales mean that the bonus points get doubled. For example, spending $35 on points normally gets you 3150 points, but if you buy it during a double bonus point sale you'll get 4100 points. There was once a triple bonus point sale, but that was only once and unlikely to return. Double bonus point sales happen every few months, so while you're still buying content just grab points during each sale.

    When buying content there are a few types of sales to watch for:
    - 20% off all adventure packs
    - Choose Your Own Discount
    - 20% off challenge packs
    - 50% off expansion packs in the DDO Market

    Choose Your Own Discount sales give a progressive discount the more you spend, and this discount applies to anything you put in your cart. You get 5% off for spending 500 TP, 15% off for spending 1500 TP, and 25% off for spending 2500 or more TP. These totals are based on list price, not the discounted price, so if you add exactly 2500 TP to your cart it will get marked down to 1875.

    Because you never know what the next content sale will be or when it will go into effect, ideally prepare yourself to always be ready for a Choose Your Own Discount sale. This means keeping at least 2000 TP in your account so you can get the full 25% off of a 2500 point purchase. Simply buying points during each double bonus point sale is all you really need to do, and then just wait for content sales.

    Market sales (as opposed to in-game) are pretty rare but they do happen. Even still, the initial buy-in of Shadowfell + MotU for $50 is plenty good enough not to wait for sale first. If you're not getting Shadowfelll but instead just MotU, you could wait for a little while for a market sale but even just MotU is a good purchase at full price.

  5. #5

    Default Other Purchases

    Try not to spend your TP on anything until you own all the content you want, which may very well be ALL content. There a a few exceptions to this:

    Races
    Unless you're VIP, if you want to roll up a character for a premium race you don't own you have to buy it from the store. There's no way around this. Judge for yourself when to buy which races. For me, I've never bought any premium races. The one race you should never buy is drow, though, because drow are easily unlocked the first time you reach 400 favor.

    Classes
    Much like races, non-VIPs need to buy premium classes to play them. Favored Soul can be unlocked (similar to drow) but it requires a hefty 2500 favor on any one character. If you really want to play a FVS and don't have enough content to unlock them, or the patience to grind that much favor, go for it. Artificers can also technically be unlocked via favor but it's extremely difficult to do so. Don't expect to unlock Artificer for at least a year after you start playing, so if you want to play one go ahead and buy it.

    Shared Bank
    The first tier of shared bank (which comes with VIP) is a high priority purchase. Try to grab it early, maybe as part of your first or second purchase after the initial buy-in of the expansions.

    Craftable Trinket
    Even non-crafters can benefit from crafting by paying other players to craft stuff for you. Craftable trinkets are a special case, though, and are virtually impossible to get for new characters you roll up because all in-game ones are BTC. The in-game store sells BTA craftable trinkets, which means you can pass them to brand new characters you roll up using the shared bank. You only need one on your entire account to support all new characters you roll up, so I recommend buying a single craftable trinket from the store.

  6. #6

    Default Bundling Packs

    Here's a list of "bundles" to consider. These aren't actually bundles in the game but instead content of similar priority. Each bundle is targeted to cost 2500 TP list price to take advantage of Choose Your Own Discount sales, and are aimed at costing ~2000 TP after a 20% sale on all packs. The idea for this amount is to fit the budget of someone buying $20 point bundles (1950 points during double bonus point sales) with a minimum amount of favor grinding. If you're buying $35 point purchases (4100 TP) you'll be able to get two bundles at a time instead of one.

    These bundles assume you buy the MotU standard edition, meaning you'll already own Phiarlan Carnival, Attack on Stormreach, Path of Inspiration, Dreaming Dark and Eveningstar challenges. This leaves a total of 12,272 TP worth of content to buy if you buy them all at least 20% off.

    Except for "First Packs", these aren't listed in any particular order. Get them in whichever order suits your playstyle best. You'll also probably want to squeeze in a non-pack bundle pretty early, which would include the shared bank and races / classes you're interested in playing.



    First Packs
    750 Vault of Night (8-10, epic)
    950 Gianthold (13-14, epic)
    850 Vale of Twilight (16-18)
    -----
    2550 (2040 @ 20% off)

    This is the premier set of packs to buy, the first packs you want to get (after buying the expansions) pretty much no matter what. They fill in the holes in the F2P content, provide lots of epic content, tons of xp, and some of the best gear in the game. Plus they're all really fun. Best of all is you can pay for this bundle with the 2000 TP you get from buying both expansions if you can find a sale. The two expansions (with the four packs that come with MotU) plus these three packs is more than enough content to comfortable level all the way from 1 to 28.



    Epic Quests
    450 Sentinels of Stormreach (7-8, epic)
    450 Red Fens (9, epic)
    350 Reaver's Reach (17)
    550 Druid's Deep (17, epic)
    750 High Road of Shadows (18, epic)
    -----
    2550 (2040 @ 20% off)

    This is a group of epic quest packs, plus Reaver's Reach to get it over 2500 TP. All these packs help with leveling to 20, and then (except RR) help quite a bit from getting to 20 to 28. This is a worthy bundle to pick up if you've made it to 20 and are looking to keep questing, or even if you just want to farm up 20 tokens of the twelve so you can TR.



    Epic Raids
    950 Demon Sands (10-12, epic)
    350 Devil Assault (18, epic)
    550 Devils of Shavarath (19-20)
    650 Secrets of the Artificers (19-20, epic)
    -----
    2500 (2000 @ 20% off)

    These packs are technically epic, but they don't offer much for epic questing outside of raids. So while they won't help you much when trying to level from 20-28, they give you something fun to do with guildies once you hit level 20. Shavarath is included even though it isn't epic because it's another high level raid that some guilds like to run. This bundle isn't particularly helpful for leveling from 1-20 apart from Demon Sands, but it's a solid bundle if you like to raid or want to start raiding.



    Heroic Leveling
    250 Seal of Shan-To-Kor (3-5)
    550 Tangleroot Gorge (3-7)
    850 Delera's Tomb (5-11)
    450 Harbinger of Madness (15)
    450 Reign of Madness (17)
    -----
    2550 (2040 @ 20% off)

    This group offers more content and xp to help with leveling from 1 to 20, particularly Delera's Tomb with its nice Voice of the Master. These are all good packs, fun to run, pretty easy to group for, and offer good to great xp. Harbinger is the only pack with poor xp but it boasts nice items and good quest design. Tangleroot is the only one with subpar design (too repetitive) but it makes up for that with a vital piece of unique loot as well as solid xp.



    Silver Flame
    250 Catacombs (3-4)
    350 Sharn Syndicate (4)
    450 Sorrowdusk Isle (6-10)
    1495 Necropolis Bundle (5-17)
    -----
    2545 (2036 @ 20% off)

    If you want silver flame potions you'll need all four necropolis packs plus the catacombs. The best way (by far) to buy all four necro packs is with the bundle, which you'll find in the "Bundled Offers" section of the in-game store. Sharn and Sorrowdusk aren't related to this but are okay packs, nothing great, but they aren't actually bad packs. Which is more than can be said of much of necropolis.



    Completionist
    550 Three-Barrel Cove (5-7)
    450 Ruins of Threnal (8-10)
    350 Restless Isles (10-12)
    1295 Cannith Challenges (4-25)
    -----
    2645 (1984 @ 25% off)

    These are the dregs, the last packs to buy if you are a completionist in the sense of wanting to own all content. (Not to be confused with completionist in the past-life sense.) I can't really recommend buying any of these, but I bought them all and rather enjoy them. Because they're so poor, and because it's rare to find packs and challenges on sale at the same time, once you own all other content wait however long it takes to grab these during a Choose Your Own Discount sale.



    Of course these are all just suggestions; buy whichever packs look interesting in whatever order you please. As long as you're having fun you're doing it right. Happy hunting!

  7. #7

    Default

    ,,,,,,,,,,
    Last edited by EllisDee37; 09-03-2013 at 10:22 PM.

  8. #8

    Default

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    Last edited by EllisDee37; 09-02-2013 at 08:15 PM.

  9. #9

    Default

    Catacombs
    • Cost: 250 TP
    • Favor: 66 (3.79 TP/Favor: Excellent) -- Silver Flame
    • Level: 3-4
    • Content: 8 quests
    • Epic: none
    • Gear of Note: Eternal Wand of Cure Minor Wounds
    • Crafting: BTA crafting blanks from chain reward (any)
    • Fun: Low
    • Grade: D+
    • Priority: Low, or High if want Silver Flame pots

    The Catacombs is the first of the undead packs. Like many of the undead packs there are a few non-undead mobs here and there -- bats, spiders, constructs -- but for the most part it’s all undead all the time. Undead quests take a lot of the variety of the game off the table, so right out of the gate they lose points in the fun department. (Very little or no sneak attacks, critical hits, crowd control, etc...) On the plus side, most undead-heavy packs offer very good favor for the TP spent, and on that score Catacombs is no exception.

    All 8 quests are part of a single chain story-arc. The quests have some variety, with one in particular having a pretty fun end-fight mechanic. One of the quests even has an "Extreme Challenge" warning, so for the new player it can be a fun (or frustrating) challenge the first time through. There is a fair amount of repetition, though, and running back and forth from the chain giver to the individual quests gets tedious.

    The traps can be disabled without a trapper so the pack is solo-friendly. It's not a super popular pack, very low on the priority list, so groups can be hard to find. The best thing it has going for grouping is that all the quests except the very last one are level 3, so it's relatively easy to convince a group to do the entire pack in one shot.

    The chain reward offers low level items that are quickly outleveled but can be useful for new players. The Eternal Wand of Cure Minor Wounds is a source of endless healing, which can help if you don't use hires or (more likely) your hire died and you need to get to the next shrine to raise him. Monks may enjoy the Eternal Rest handwraps, and arcane casters might get some use out of the Robe of Duality.

    The main selling point of the Catacombs is the Silver Flame favor if you want to farm up Silver Flame potions for self-healing. Short of that, this is a very low priority pack.


    Additional thoughts on Catacombs from TheNameIwasntB4 here.


    sirgog’s initial review:

    The Catacombs
    Description:
    This pack unlocks a small chain of quests set in three or four dungeons. The quests are filled with undead and vermin, are quite repetitive, and involve a few times that you'll just be looking around unsure of what to do or where to go (although that won't last too long)
    Fun factor: Pretty low.
    Rewards (XP/loot): Low to medium XP, loot that's nice at the time but quickly discarded as you outlevel it. Awards Silver Flame favor, which is not very important except for Barbarians that like to solo - if that's you, you'll need to buy all the Necropolis chains and beat everything on Elite except for the Black Abbot if you want the Silver Flame healing potions that solo Barbs love.
    Best feature: Cool storyline.
    Worst feature: Uninteresting mobs.
    Ease of getting a group: Currently not hard as a lot of people have purchased this chain; may become harder over time as those players probably won't return to the Catacombs much on new characters.
    Overall: Not recommended, but not a terrible buy.
    Recommended level range: 2-4 (normal); 4-6 (hard); 5-8 (elite)
    Edit - There have been several people that have commented that they had better experiences with this chain than I personally did, and in particular the quest where you must escape while being pursued by an invincible wraith was popular. Rating has been boosted from 5 to 6 due to this feedback.
    Rating: 6/10


    sirgog’s revised review:

    The Catacombs
    Description:
    This pack unlocks a small chain of quests set in three or four dungeons. The quests are filled with undead and vermin. Most of the foes aren't dangerous at all, except for their numbers.
    Fun factor: Mediocre - too many similar foes. One invincible wraith changes things up a bit.
    XP: 4/10
    Challenge: 5/10 (main difficulty is mana conservation, particularly solo)
    Loot: 2/10 (the few mediocre items are outlevelled fast)
    Immersion: 9/10. One of the best story arcs in DDO
    High level replayability: 0/10, like most of the lowbie packs.
    Best feature: Cool storyline.
    Worst features: Uninteresting mobs, and it can be hard to form a group to finish the chain if your group disbands part way through.
    Ease of getting a group: Not too bad.
    Overall: Not recommended, but not a terrible buy unless you are a roleplayer.
    Recommended level range: 2-4 (normal); 4-6 (hard); 5-8 (elite)
    Rating: 6/10

  10. #10

    Default

    Seal of Shan-To-Kor
    • Cost: 250 TP
    • Favor: 48 (5.21 TP/Favor: Fair) -- Coin Lords
    • Level: 3-5
    • Content: 4 quests, 1 pseudo-wilderness
    • Epic: none
    • Gear of Note: none
    • Crafting: BTA crafting blanks from chain reward (any)
    • Fun: High
    • Grade: B
    • Priority: Low

    The Seal of Shan-To-Kor is a well-constructed sewer pack, with more hobgoblins than you can shake a stick at. The main story arc is a 3-quest chain, with a 4th side quest you can run independently. There is a tiny wilderness area to get to the quests, but no proper wilderness objectives. It’s like a smaller, less interesting version of the waterworks wilderness.

    The quests themselves are satisfyingly long and lovingly crafted, and the chain quests lead directly into one another. It’s essentially three Tear of Dhakaan’s strung together in a chain. Overall the pack is pretty fun.

    Traps are a worry in a couple of the chain quests, enough that it’s a difficult pack to solo without a trapper. Because the three chain quests are levels 3, 4 and 5, and they lead directly into one another, you might find groups of level 5 characters want to do the whole chain in one shot. This can make the final quest -- which has a rough trap section -- difficult to complete. Plus as a low priority pack you may have trouble finding groups for it in the first place.

    No gear stands out as being particularly good for its level, and the BTA lootgen for crafting comes from the chain reward. There are much easier way to get those BTA blanks.

    Overall, save this pack as one of your later purchases. It’s well constructed and fun at level, so try to get this one when you’re getting ready to TR a character who can disable or evade traps. You’ll have a blast your first time through if you run it at an appropriate level, but hold off on it until you get the more important packs first. It’ll be a nice bonus on that life.


    sirgog’s initial review:

    The Seal of Shan-to-Kor
    Description: A chain of three quests (plus an optional quest) which see you storm an ancient, well defended hobgoblin city in pursuit of an ancient relic.
    Fun factor: High. This chain is utterly amazing the first time you run it - the caverns en route to the giant city are truly amazing. Other than the totally not fun Misery's Peak, this is the first of many quests in the game that are truly three-dimensional - not just several flat levels on top of each other (like the Waterworks) but areas where you have to climb from the bottom to the top of an enormous city. Just a quick warning: This chain doesn't scale up much from normal to hard, but elite is pretty mean.
    Rewards (XP/loot): Medium to good XP, loot is quickly outlevelled except for the extremely rare (1% drop rate) Ring of Feathers, which fetches a pretty penny indeed on the Auction House.
    Best feature: The scope of the hobgoblin city.
    Worst feature: The last quest is *much* tougher than the first two. Groups that stomp quest 1 and have few troubles with quest 2 can expect quest 3 to cause serious troubles.
    Ease of getting a group: Easy, as most VIPs will run this 2 or 3 times on each new character.
    Overall: Recommended but not essential.
    Recommended level range: 2-4 (normal); 4-6 (hard); 6-9 (elite)
    Rating: 8/10


    sirgog’s revised review:

    The Seal of Shan-to-Kor
    Description: A chain of three quests (plus an optional quest) which see you storm an ancient, well defended hobgoblin city in pursuit of an ancient relic.
    Fun factor: High. This chain is utterly amazing the first time you run it - the caverns en route to the giant city are truly amazing. Other than the mindnumbing Misery's Peak, this is the first of many quests in the game that are truly three-dimensional - not just several flat levels on top of each other (like the Waterworks) but areas where you have to climb from the bottom to the top of an enormous city.
    XP: 6/10. Experienced zergers can milk about 750xp/minute out of this chain.
    Challenge: 6.5/10. Except for one room, this chain is quite forgiving on hard or normal, but running elite at low level requires quite solid play.
    Loot: 4/10. Nothing special here except the Ring of Feathers, which has an ultra-low drop rate and whilst it is nice (and valuable) because it is min level 1, it mimics readily available min level 5 items, so it is easy to live without.
    Immersion: 8/10. The hobgoblin city and mushroom tunnels are astounding.
    High level replayability: 0/10
    Best feature: The scope of the hobgoblin city.
    Worst feature: The last quest is near to impossible at-level on elite without trapsmithing, but you won't realize this until you are right at the end.
    Ease of getting a group: Easy, as most VIPs will run this 2 or 3 times on each new character.
    Overall: Not essential, but not a bad purchase.
    Recommended level range: 2-4 (normal); 4-6 (hard); 5-8 (elite)
    Rating: 7/10

  11. #11

    Default

    Tangleroot Gorge
    • Cost: 550 TP
    • Favor: 99 (5.56 TP/Favor: Fair) -- House Phiarlan
    • Level: 3-7
    • Content: 10 quests, 1 wilderness
    • Epic: none
    • Gear of Note: Visor of the Flesh Render Guards
    • Crafting: BTA crafting blanks from chain reward (belts, helmets, gloves)
    • Fun: Medium
    • Grade: B-
    • Priority: Medium

    Tangleroot Gorge is a repetitive pack that repeats itself in a repetitive series of repetitions. There are 10 quests total, all in a single story arc with a chain reward at the end. Those 10 quests happen in two different dungeons, repeating the first dungeon 7 times and the second 3 times. The setting is so much the same that the chests even share a ransack timer. The wilderness area is underdeveloped, about on par with the Cerulean Hills.

    The main dungeon, which repeats 7 times, is actually quite fun to explore your first time through. It’s reasonably large, with various nooks and crannies to explore and some entertaining NPC interactions. But it’s also designed in a way to be easily zergable, so after you’ve fully explored it you can blast through quickly on subsequent characters or lives. As a bonus, the chain is designed to have almost no running to or from quests.

    There are a couple traps, but they can be timed to pass through untouched without a trapper if you’re running solo. (Note that hires generally don’t time traps very well.) It’s a fairly popular pack for the tasty visors so it shouldn’t be too hard to find a group, but because the level range is so large (level 3 to level 7) and it’s a single unified chain it works awkwardly with the bravery bonus.

    The crown jewel of Tangleroot is the Visor of the Flesh Render Guards. This is a 7-minute deathward clickie, and is the only deathward clickie in the entire game. Tangleroot is worth the purchase for the visors alone, but the pack is probably more expensive than it’s really worth. The visors are BTA, meaning you can pass them to whichever alt needs them via the shared bank. They aren’t exclusive, either, which means you can stockpile as many as you like. I generally carry 3 or 4 on any alt that needs deathward.

    The first time through can be pretty darn fun, and subsequent runs give you that "I’m a zerging god!" feeling, but while it’s not a bad pack it loses points for the extreme repetition. It gains those points back two-fold for the valuable unique loot, though.


    sirgog’s initial review:

    Tangleroot Gorge
    Description:
    This pack unlocks a chain of ten quests set in one enormous, two-part dungeon. You'll launch a series of attacks on the hobgoblins of Splinterskull Fortress. The quests are varied - you'll have to deal with melee brutes such as ogres, hobgoblins that are potent casters, and even a (practically) invincible giant spider that you have to escape from after killing her eggs.
    Fun factor: Fun for the first twenty runs. High. Lots of cool things to discover, such as a flesh render (a reasonably high level foe) that you can set free to wreak havoc amongst the Splinterskull defenders while you watch it from a safe location, and a battle with elementals in a secret underwater cave (this battle is an optional that most players do not attempt as it has poor rewards; it's well worth doing once, however).
    Rewards (XP/loot): Excellent XP. Good loot - most is outlevelled quickly and discarded, but the Visor of the Flesh Render Guards are still good all the way through to endgame. In addition, by completing this chain on elite (hard may be enough if you've done other House P quests), you unlock potent House Phiarlan favor rewards which you'll find exceptionally useful until about level 9 or 10.
    Best feature: Speeds up levelling through having both good XP and loot.
    Worst feature: As you need to complete the entire chain to get end rewards, it's frustrating if you get halfway there and the group disbands - you will probably need to start over with a new group.
    Ease of getting a group: Very easy, every VIP tends to run this chain 3+ times on every new character rolled.
    Overall: Recommended for all players except those on a very tight budget.
    Recommended level range: 4-6 (normal); 4-7 (hard); 6-8 (elite)
    Rating: 8.5/10


    sirgog’s revised review:

    Tangleroot Gorge
    Description:
    This pack unlocks a chain of ten quests set in one enormous, two-part dungeon. You'll launch a series of attacks on the hobgoblins of Splinterskull Fortress. The quests are varied - you'll have to deal with melee brutes such as ogres, hobgoblins that are potent casters, and even a (practically) invincible giant spider that you have to escape from after killing her eggs.
    Each time, you will progress a little further into the complex.
    Fun factor: Quite high. Although the path to completion can get repetitive, there are lots of cool things to discover, such as a flesh render (a reasonably high level foe) that you can set free to wreak havoc amongst the Splinterskull defenders while you watch it from a safe location, and a battle with elementals in a secret underwater cave (this battle is an optional that most players do not attempt as it has poor rewards; it's well worth doing once, however).
    XP: 8/10. Some parts of this chain offer the zerger over 1200 XP/minute. However, don't expect great XP if you aren't both ultra-familiar with the chain and in a group that is purely after XP - this chain has pretty poor XP if run slowly.
    Challenge: 5.5/10. A few fights in the chain can be tough on elite, particularly if you do not know what to expect.
    Loot: 6/10. This pack offers three min level 5 +3 stat items (all bound to account, so you can keep passing them to your new alts if you have the shared bank - even min level 7 unbound ones are quite expensive on the auction house) and Visors of the Flesh Render Guards, a clicky you will use until very high level. Edited downwards - while these items remain as good as they always have been, they are now just outclassed by the Abashai set from Chronoscope (Devil Assault pack), which anyone with a shared bank can pass around from character to character.
    Immersion: 6/10. The hobgoblins can be pretty stupid at times. 'Ooh look, attackers keep coming through this gate, let's leave it open for them next time'.
    High level replayability: 0/10
    Best feature: Speeds up levelling through having both good XP and loot.
    Worst feature: As you need to complete the entire chain to get end rewards, it's frustrating if you get halfway there and the group disbands - you will probably need to start over with a new group.
    Ease of getting a group: Very easy, every VIP tends to run this chain 3+ times on every new character rolled.
    Overall: Recommended for all players except those on a tight budget, but in no way an essential purchase.
    Recommended level range: 4-6 (normal); 4-7 (hard); 6-8 (elite)
    Rating: 7.5/10

  12. #12

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    .....
    Last edited by EllisDee37; 09-02-2013 at 07:43 PM.

  13. #13

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    Sharn Syndicate
    • Cost: 350 TP
    • Favor: 36 (9.72 TP/Favor: Terrible) -- Coin Lords
    • Level: 4
    • Content: 6 quests
    • Epic: none
    • Gear of Note: none
    • Crafting: BTA crafting blanks (any)
    • Fun: Medium
    • Grade: C-
    • Priority: Low

    The Sharn Syndicate is unique as a low level pack in that the mobs are neither undead nor hobgoblins. The closest analog is Swiped Signet, though Sharn is not nearly as difficult.

    The story arc comprises all six quests. Most of the quests are very short, and one of them has an obnoxious babysitting mechanic in the middle of a swarm of traps which greatly reduces the overall fun of the pack. However, this is redeemed somewhat by the final quest, which is both pretty cool and pretty fun.

    This chain can be very difficult to solo without a trapper. All the quests are the same level which helps grouping, but due to the terrible favor and terrible XP of the pack you won’t find that many premiums who own it. This can make grouping problematic, compounded by needing to wait for a trapper.

    The main loot value of Sharn is that it offers far and away the easiest to obtain BTA lootgen for crafting. Each individual quest reward gives you BTA lootgen, compared to the other packs giving them only as chain rewards. Additionally, the quests themselves are very short, so whatever BTA lootgen item you might need is only a few minutes of effort to acquire.

    Even for hardcore crafters, Sharn is a very low priority pack. The only real selling point is that it offers mob variety for the low levels, breaking up the kobold/hobgoblin/undead monotony a little. There isn’t much else to recommend it, so leave this one toward the end of your purchases.


    sirgog’s initial review:

    Sharn Syndicate
    Description: Several short quests in the Marketplace with goals that aren't just the standard 'storm XXX dungeon and slay XXX'. All of these involve combating the Sharn Syndicate criminal gang.
    Fun factor: Finally got around to playing this (solo on Normal difficulty on my level 5 bard), and had a blast. The quests are all highly unique; who hasn't wanted to rob a bank in DDO? In addition, the quests look to reward smart play and teamwork on Elite.
    Rewards (XP/loot): XP seems between mediocre and good (individual quest XP is low, but the quests can be done quickly). Loot provides excellent lowbie weapons that are quickly outlevelled but are as good as some of the better twink weapons in the game when you first earn them, plus some of the best stuff is bound to account, so VIPs (or F2Pers that shell out for the account bank) will be able to share them around.
    Best feature: Eight trapped art objects, that you can perform a series of tasks to 'study' the traps. It's only an optional, but it's cool.
    Worst feature: Competes with a lot of other quests at its level.
    Ease of getting a group: Presently easy (lots of VIPs running their Favored Souls through it); this may change.
    Overall: Excellent quests, but may be too short to be worth your money. If you are playing on a tight budget pass this one up; otherwise buy it.
    Recommended level range: 3-5 (normal); 4-6 (hard); 5-8 (elite)
    Rating: 8/10


    sirgog’s revised review:

    Sharn Syndicate
    Description: Several short quests in the Marketplace with goals that aren't just the standard 'storm XXX dungeon and slay XXX'. All of these involve combating the Sharn Syndicate criminal gang.
    Fun factor: Reasonably high. The quests are all highly unique; who hasn't wanted to rob a bank in DDO? In addition, the quests look to reward smart play and teamwork on Elite.
    XP: 6/10. Quests offer acceptable XP, but nothing special.
    Challenge: 6/10. These quests are very easy on normal, and somewhat mean at-level on elite.
    Immersion: 7/10. The environments are interesting, but the bank robbery is quite implausible.
    Loot: 6/10. The weapons are great at level, but are very quickly outlevelled. The non-weapon item drops are frustrating - minimum level 1 +2 stat items are great, except you outlevel them too fast to even bother keeping them, and they are account-bound.
    High level replayability: 0/10. This could *really* do with Epic mode, or something along those lines like a Paragon mode that jumped the quest up to be like a level 16 elite.
    Best feature: Eight trapped art objects, that you can perform a series of tasks to 'study' the traps. It's only an optional, but it's cool.
    Worst feature: Competes with a lot of other quests at its level.
    Ease of getting a group: Not so easy, especially for the quest that pretty much requires trapsmithing skills on elite.
    Overall: Interesting quests, but may be too short to be worth your money. If you are playing on a tight budget pass this one up; otherwise consider it.
    Recommended level range: 3-5 (normal); 4-6 (hard); 5-8 (elite)
    Rating: 6.5/10

  14. #14

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    Phiarlan Carnival
    • Cost: 450 TP
    • Favor: 48 (9.375 TP/Favor: Terrible) -- House Phiarlan
    • Level: 5
    • Content: 4 quests
    • Epic: 4 quests
    • Gear of Note: Epic Antique Greataxe
    • Crafting: BTA crafting blanks from chain reward (any)
    • Fun: High
    • Grade: A-
    • Priority: High

    Phiarlan Carnival is a single quest chain of four quests, all of which are both level 5 and epic. It’s beautifully constructed, the first in the "golden era" of quest design and artwork that spanned from Update 5 to Update 10. The enemies are quite varied, and the structure of each quest is interesting and pretty fun. The first quest in the chain is the least popular by far, but after soloing it dozens of times hunting for seals I've grown to rather like it. The only real strike against this pack is that it could have more content, but what little it does offer is well done and worth having.

    The first quest ends with a babysitting mission, but the NPC you’re protecting is a huge bag of HP so it’s not hard to keep him alive even solo without a hire. It seems the harder the difficulty the less help he needs. The second and final quests have enough traps that you’ll have some trouble without a real trapper along. (Some of the traps are un-evadable due to being illusory, which attack will saves instead of reflex.) The third quest is a zerger’s paradise, a particularly good solo token farm.

    Carnival has some of the easiest epics, which means that a lot of people know the ins and outs of making the runs easy. Definitely a better grouping experience than solo. Fortunately it’s a popular pack that most premiums have and know well so groups fill quickly and are easy to come by. If you like to make your first run in new content a solo experience, be sure you bring a trapping character.

    While there are a few epic items from Phiarlan Carnival that have some appeal, the clear MVP of the pack is the Epic Antique Greataxe. This is a rock-solid all-purpose DR-breaking greataxe, great for any THF to have.

    A worthy purchase, this one should be high on your list. Note that Carnival is one of the four packs that come with the Menace of the Underdark standard edition ($35) -- which I highly recommend -- and if there’s any chance at all you will buy the MotU standard edition then do not buy Carnival separately. If you definitely won’t ever buy the MotU standard edition, try to get Carnival early but not first. It ranks just below the top tier must-have packs.


    See also CE2JRH123's review here.


    sirgog’s initial review:

    Phiarlan Carnival was introduced after sirgog's initial reviews.


    sirgog’s revised review:

    Phiarlain Carnival
    Description: Several short to medium quests in House P that surround a troupe of tiefling circus actor wannabes.
    Fun factor: Meh. I'm not a fan.
    XP: 4/10. The first quest has low XP and can be easily failed. Later quests don't make up for this.
    Challenge: 6/10. These quests are among the easier epics.
    Immersion: 4/10. A cabal of fiends seeking to infiltrate Stormreach makes sense - but why would they disguise themselves as a travelling carnival to do so?
    Loot: 6/10. The Epic items are mostly mediocre and outclassed by Shroud items, and the pre-epic versions aren't anything special. The Epic Antique Greataxe is the only real exception, and it's a smidgen ahead of similar Shroud weapons that you can equip at level 12.
    Best feature: Hellhounds performing tricks on flaming spheres.
    Worst feature: Pre-epic, competes with a lot of other quests at its level. Epic, some of the fights are just tedious, particularly Crateos and Malicia, both of whom take forever to kill but don't really ever seriously threaten the party.
    Ease of getting a group: Below average.
    Overall: Nothing special.
    Recommended level range: 3-6 (normal); 4-8 (hard); 6-10 (elite); 20 (epic)
    Rating: 6/10

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

    As is obvious, I disagree with sirgog’s assessment. I think a few factors play into this disagreement. Epics worked differently when he wrote these reviews, plus Carnival got an epic loot overhaul later on. (They are still outclassed and obsolete now as a general rule, though.) Back in 2010, min2 greensteel weapons were top notch endgame weapons, and this is what he was comparing to the eAGA. Nowadays min2s are generally considered tr twink weapons at best, and even if you make one an eAGA is significantly better for level 20+.

    Also, he wrote this within a few months of Carnival being introduced, so it may not have been as ubiquitous as it is now in terms of getting groups together. Another strike against Carnival back in 2010 is that epic xp didn't exist and wasn't needed. In today's game, with millions of epic xp needed to hit cap, Carnival is quite nice to have.

    I think he was largely correct when he wrote this -- except that I find the quests quite fun -- but changes to the game have raised Carnival's stock appreciably.

  15. #15

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    Necropolis Part 1
    • Cost: 350 TP
    • Favor: 66 (5.30 TP/Favor: Fair) -- Silver Flame
    • Level: 5-6
    • Content: 5 quests
    • Epic: none
    • Gear of Note: none
    • Crafting: none
    • Fun: Low
    • Grade: D-
    • Priority: Low

    All four Necropolis packs are pretty much all undead all the time. They all share a few defining characteristics: great XP, great favor, innovative quest mechanics, and generally disliked by most of the player base. Necropolis 1 is all of that except it’s even worse in that the quest design is lacking compared to the others.

    The standard Necropolis setup is a five-quest chain, with four flagging quests of a given level and the final quest one level higher. The flagging in Necropolis 1 is awkward and easy to mess up, so be sure to read the Necropolis 1 wiki page to understand the flagging mechanism before you run any of the quests.

    The four flagging quests here are really lacking compared to the other necro packs. They're missing the hallmark innovative quest design of the others, and what we’re left with is a generally unfun mess. I'm unusually fond of Necropolis packs and even I think this pack is substandard.

    Soloing is problematic due to a combination of hard-hitting traps in some of them, anti-solo mechanics (eg: stand on four plates at once to progress) on one and extremely long completion times to finish the final quest if you don’t have a party who can split up. Despite being a low priority pack, the XP in Necropolis is so crazy good that it’s pretty easy to find groups to blast through them at level for "one and done" elite runs.

    There is no gear of note worth having from Necropolis 1. The only thing remotely interesting is the Silver Flame necklace, but you don’t need Necropolis 1 for that so it doesn’t count.

    Your best bet is to not buy Necropolis 1, even though the cheap price and good xp/favor make it tempting. Instead, wait until you own all the important packs and then buy the Necropolis bundle, which is all four Necropolis packs for 1495. Buying all four individually costs 1900 total, so that’s 21% off even without a sale. Waiting for an "everything in your cart x% off" sale and then grabbing the bundle is the best way to go.


    sirgog’s initial review:

    Necropolis Part 1
    Description: Five undead-themed quests, chock full of skeletons, wights, zombies and others. Each time you want to run the final quest (The Bloody Crypt), you need to run the four 'flagging' quests again.
    Fun factor: Not particularly high, save for The Bloody Crypt which has a cool final room (cool the first time you see it), with a boss fight unlike anything else in the game.
    Rewards (XP/loot): Fair to poor for the flagging quests, good to excellent for The Bloody Crypt
    Best feature: The fight with Brother Salazzo or whatever his name is (the vampire at the end of the chain)
    Worst feature: Reflagging every time you want to run The Bloody Crypt, also the fact that one of the quests requires 4 switches pressed simultaneously, making it impossible to solo at all and impossible to duo or trio without Hirelings. Also, see the notes in the Catacombs about Silver Flame favor.
    Ease of getting a group: Very hard, except for a high-level group going for a favor run.
    Overall: Not recommended. Should you buy it, do so at level 4-5.
    Edit: It's worth pointing out that I've had a couple of PMs from people that liked this chain quite a bit. In particular, if you liked the Catacombs, you are more likely to enjoy this. Rating upped to 6/10.
    Recommended level range: 4-7 (normal); 5-8 (hard); 7-10 (elite)
    Rating: 6/10


    sirgog’s revised review:

    Necropolis Part 1
    Description: Five undead-themed quests, chock full of skeletons, wights, zombies and others. Each time you want to run the final quest (The Bloody Crypt), you need to run the four 'flagging' quests again. Can someone please check if that is still the case post Update 8.
    Fun factor: Not particularly high, save for The Bloody Crypt which has a cool final room (cool the first time you see it), with a boss fight unlike anything else in the game.
    XP: 7/10. The Bloody Crypt is worth around 1000 XP/minute to the seasoned zerger, although they will need a party of 4 or more that splits up to achieve that.
    Challenge: 5/10. Only difficulty really is making it to the next shrine without running out of SP, and surviving elite traps.
    Loot: 4/10. Everything is quite quickly outlevelled.
    Immersion: 8/10. Some of these crypts feel creepy, and there's few things more D&D than a crypt full of undead and traps.
    High level replayability: 0/10.
    Best feature: The fight with Brother Salazzo at the end of the chain
    Worst feature: Reflagging every time you want to run The Bloody Crypt, also the fact that one of the quests requires 4 switches pressed simultaneously, making it impossible to solo at all and impossible to duo or trio without Hirelings.
    Ease of getting a group: Moderately tough. This quest chain has a bad reputation, due to being in the same area and being released at about the same time as the Necro 2 pack.
    Overall: Not recommended. Should you buy it, do so at level 4-5.
    Recommended level range: 4-7 (normal); 5-8 (hard); 7-10 (elite)
    Rating: 6/10

  16. #16

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    ......
    Last edited by EllisDee37; 09-02-2013 at 07:44 PM.

  17. #17

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    Three-Barrel Cove
    • Cost: 550 TP
    • Favor: 99 (5.56 TP/Favor: Fair) -- Free Agents
    • Level: 5-7
    • Content: 9 quests, 1 wilderness
    • Epic: none
    • Gear of Note: Scorching Wraps
    • Crafting: none
    • Fun: Medium
    • Grade: D-
    • Priority: Lowest

    Three-Barrel Cove is a pirate-themed pack of nine quests set in a massive wilderness area. The pirates are mostly hobgoblins, minotaurs and humanoids, with a fair amount of undead pirates thrown in for good measure. The wilderness area is the most interesting part of the pack, with vast expanses that include everything from towering vistas to hidden underwater depths. While the wilderness is the pack’s biggest strength it’s also the biggest weakness, in that the result is many minutes of running non-stop just to get to the quests.

    Unfortunately the quest design doesn’t measure up to the quality of the wilderness. The designers swung for the fences in terms of quest variety and largely succeeded in that regard, but some of the quests are short and feel thrown together. A couple are well done with interesting mechanics, but be warned that one of them puts an emphasis on Mario skills, so if that isn’t your thing you may struggle there.

    There are a few minor traps here and there but on the whole this pack is easily soloed. Which is fortunate because almost no premiums own it and very few VIPs bother to run it. Getting groups out to 3BC is a herculean task so most of the value of the pack is in soloing the wilderness.

    A much-needed loot overhaul gave Three-Barrel Cove some interesting gear for new players, but it still falls somewhat short. The Corsair’s Cunning set had potential as a concept but misses the mark. Scorching Wraps are nice for new monks, though, and for charisma builds there’s also the Moonhowl Axe, which can be useful for sorcerers and bards.

    Personally I rather like Three-Barrel Cove but can’t in good conscience recommend it unless you really like wilderness areas. The loot is marginally useful at best, and is immediately outleveled. The quests have some design problems, there is plenty of other content in the level range, free agent favor isn’t needed, there’s nothing for crafters, and to top it off it’s way overpriced. Even doing a one-and-done elite streak is tedious due to all the running; probably 15 solid minutes of sprinting total just to do a streak. Overall, this is one of the last packs you should get.


    sirgog’s initial review:

    Three Barrel Cove
    Note: I've never played through most of these quests at a level where they are still challenging; I'd appreciate feedback on this review from someone that has done so.
    Description: A pirate island with several non-chain quests loosely themed around pirates, with a cool wilderness area (second best one in the game IMO).
    Fun factor: The explorer area is fun to play around in, but some of the quests are pretty frustrating.
    Rewards (XP/loot): Low to medium XP, poor loot.
    Best feature: The variety. The quests here have more variety than any other adventure packs save some of the best endgame ones. There's a puzzle-based quest, quests with undead, and a quest fighting pirates.
    Worst feature: Two of the quests are extremely frustrating. The ladder jumping is horrible, and hard even for high level characters with permanent featherfall and a capped Jump skill.
    Ease of getting a group: Pretty hard to get a group at times - VIPs that focus on powerlevelling don't go out to Three-Barrel at all, and the pack isn't cheap, so won't be as popular amongst F2Pers.
    Overall: Worth buying if and only if you prefer low-level play to high-level (for example, if you like permadeath play). If you consider buying this, you'll want your in-game friends to buy it too so you can get groups there.
    Recommended level range: 3-6 (normal); 4-8 (hard); 6-10 (elite)
    Rating: 7/10


    sirgog’s revised review:

    Three Barrel Cove
    Description: A pirate island with several non-chain quests loosely themed around pirates, with a cool wilderness area (second best one in the game IMO).
    Fun factor: The explorer area is fun to play around in, but some of the quests are pretty frustrating.
    XP: 3/10. The quests offer medium to poor XP and take a long time to run to.
    Challenge: 7/10. Some of these can be tough - but possibly in a frustrating way ("this is the seventeenth time I've missed that jump") rather than a fun way ("gah, that boss, we got so close but he just held on and wiped us at 3%")
    Loot: 0/10. It's all random loot generator stuff, and less chests than several F2P quests in the level range have.
    Immersion: 5/10. There's something about pirates that just doesn't fit some of the quests out there.
    High level replayability: 0/10
    Best feature: The variety. The quests here have more variety than any other adventure packs save some of the best endgame ones. There's a puzzle-based quest, quests with undead, and a quest fighting pirates.
    Worst feature: Two of the quests are extremely frustrating. The ladder jumping is horrible, and hard even for high level characters with permanent featherfall and a capped Jump skill. The XP is terrible.
    Ease of getting a group: Pretty hard to get a group as VIPs that focus on powerlevelling don't go out to Three-Barrel at all, and the pack isn't cheap, so won't be as popular amongst F2Pers.
    Overall: Not recommended. This pack really needs a major overhaul - I'd recommend adding two unbound named items (one generally useful, one more niche item) to each quest, roughly doubling the XP, and adding Epic mode, or something else that makes it worthwhile to higher levels. Do all that, and the pack will be worth 650 points.
    Recommended level range: 3-6 (normal); 4-8 (hard); 6-10 (elite)
    Rating: 4/10

  18. #18

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    Delera’s Tomb
    • Cost: 850 TP
    • Favor: 129 (6.59 TP/Favor: Poor) -- House Jorasco
    • Level: 5-11
    • Content: 8 quests
    • Epic: none
    • Gear of Note: Voice of the Master, Carnifex
    • Crafting: BTA crafting blanks from chain reward (any)
    • Fun: High
    • Grade: A
    • Priority: High

    Delera’s Tomb is another undead pack, but unlike Catacombs and Necropolis it’s pretty fun. It consists of four quests in a single story arc chain plus another four standalone quests. The story arc is narrated by Gary Gygax, who (along with Dave Arneson) created the original D&D pen-and-paper game back in the 1970s.

    The chain quests are well constructed dungeon crawls, full of traps, undead and wraiths jumping out at you. The flagging mechanic for the last quest is unintuitive; you’ll either need to read the wiki for the various quests or have someone lead you through the process. There isn’t a whole lot of variety in the chain, but as far as undead quests go Delera’s is pretty fun. The standalone quests are nicely varied, both in level and mechanics, and provide some interesting challenges.

    There are enough hard-hitting traps that soloing the chain on a non-trapper can be problematic, and the second quest requires at least a hire or pet to pull levers for you. Delera’s is also the first place you’ll really start getting annoyed if you can’t open locks. You don’t need to unlock anything, but the chain endchest is flanked by two locked chests which can be frustrating to be unable to open. Grouping is easy since this is one of the more popular packs thanks to great xp and great loot, and most groups will probably wait for a rogue making the traps and locks a non-issue.

    There is a fair amount of quality gear to be had from the chain reward. The most iconic is Voice of the Master, which grants +5% xp whenever it’s equipped. Many a quest will have someone say "voices" a few seconds before completing to allow people time to equip them for the free bonus xp. Not far behind voice is Carnifex, the best THF melee weapon for low levels. The double-expanded crit profile (17-20x3) makes this a menacing greataxe indeed.

    The only thing Delera’s has going against it is that it’s undead and not epic. In pretty much every other respect this pack shines, and is a high priority buy for just about everyone.


    See also CE2JRH123's review here.


    sirgog’s initial review:

    Delera’s Tomb
    Description: A series of four undead-themed quests where you investigate mysterious disappearances from a graveyard, then take the fight to the necromancer responsible. Lots of traps, lots of skeletons to kill, plus a tense atmosphere. This adventure pack also currently unlocks some other quests as well - two level 11 quests (one long and tough, one short and easy) and a level 6 one plus a level 8 2-quest chain- it's unclear whether these are meant to be part of the adventure pack or free.
    Fun factor: Fun for the first ten or so times. There is a LOT to explore in one of these quests if you want to do so. Note that I'm personally burned out on this chain as I've run it so often, so I don't enjoy it much, but most people do.
    Rewards (XP/loot): Excellent XP, truly stellar loot, so much so that most players will want to run this chain five or more times on each new character. The Voice of the Master (an end reward with a 100% drop rate) is something you'll not take off until you hit level 20 (it grants +5% to ALL quest XP whilst still having useful stats). The Golden Cartouche is another item that 50% of characters will want, and that isn't surpassed until you get certain rare raid items.
    Best feature: The XP and loot.
    Worst feature: Some of the foes are dull to fight - Skeleton Archers in particular.
    Ease of getting a group: Very easy. Every VIP runs this a LOT unless, like me, they've run it 100+ times and are getting a tad burned out on it.
    Overall: Recommended unless you are on a tight budget. Highly recommended if you prefer high-level play to low-level - this chain will get you there faster. Buy this immediately upon hitting level 5, or just before (the Voice of the Master requires level 5 to wear).
    Recommended level range: 5-8 (normal); 5-8 (hard); 8-10 (elite)
    Rating: 8/10


    sirgog’s revised review:

    Delera’s Tomb
    Description: A series of four undead-themed quests where you investigate mysterious disappearances from a graveyard, then take the fight to the necromancer responsible. Lots of traps, lots of skeletons to kill, plus a tense atmosphere.
    Fun factor: Fun for the first ten or so times. There is a LOT to explore in one of these quests if you want to do so. Note that I'm personally burned out on this chain as I've run it so often, so I don't enjoy it much, but most people do.
    XP: 11/10. The quest XP on its own would warrant a 9.5, but the true gem here is an end reward - the Voice of the Master - that adds a 5% bonus to all XP earned while it is equipped. It's a tribute to D&D creater Gary Gygax, who narrated quests here and passed away recently.
    Challenge: 5.5/10. These quests are middle-of-the-range as far as difficulty goes.
    Immersion: 8/10. Great storyline, interesting dialogue, and the characters of Hargo Grimmare and Delara Omaren are well done.
    Loot: 9/10. The Voice of the Master will be used until you hit level 20 on every character, and is always available as an end reward. Carnifex (which has a low drop rate, 10-20%) is the best two-handed weapon in the game until level 10. The Golden Cartouche (~50% drop rate) is an amulet that most characters with the Use Magic Device skill will use until they replace it with raid gear.
    High level replayability: 0/10 (you might come back and run this again for a particular end reward, but you won't have fun doing so).
    Best feature: The XP and loot.
    Worst feature: Some of the foes are dull to fight - Skeleton Archers in particular. These archers aren't dangerous, but just take ages to kill. In addition, it is easy to stuff up the quest progression and miss out on an end reward.
    Ease of getting a group: Very easy. Every VIP runs this a LOT unless, like me, they've run it 100+ times and are getting a tad burned out on it.
    Overall: Recommended unless you are on a tight budget. Highly recommended if you prefer high-level play to low-level - this chain will get you there faster. Buy this immediately upon hitting level 5.
    Recommended level range: 5-8 (normal); 5-8 (hard); 8-10 (elite)
    Rating: 9/10

  19. #19

    Default

    Sorrowdusk Isle
    • Cost: 450 TP
    • Favor: 117 (3.85 TP/Favor: Excellent) -- House Deneith
    • Level: 6-10
    • Content: 10 quests, 1 wilderness
    • Epic: none
    • Gear of Note: Quicksilver Cassok
    • Crafting: Mystical Dried Fish
    • Fun: Medium
    • Grade: D+
    • Priority: Low

    Sorrowdusk’s 10 quests are divided into two chains with one overarching story arc, set in an underdeveloped wilderness area that is both too large and too confining at the same time. The first chain pits you against ogres and trolls, while the second is more varied with humans, undead, mephits and even a few evil outsiders.

    Combining the repetitive nature of Tangleroot with the excessively long runs to get to quests of Three-Barrel Cove, Sorrowdusk has a lot going against it. There are only 5 total dungeons in the pack, all of which are repeated twice in a row, and going back and forth from quest to quest can take multiple minutes each time. The first chain is on rails, but the three dungeons of the second chain are big enough to be fun for exploring while also easy to zerg on later runs. The xp from a one-and-done elite run for bravery is pretty nice, but overall the quest design is uninspired.

    Soloing can be hard for a new player due to a couple nasty traps and one particular tough (but awesome!) mephit ambush. It is certainly possible, though, which is good because grouping is tough. Not many premiums buy this pack but VIPs may do an elite bravery run each life. One thing going for Sorrowdusk is that unlike Tangleroot's single chain, Sorrowdusk is broken into two chains. This makes it easier to group for, but your LFM may still languish for far too long with no takers.

    The Quicksilver Cassok is a remarkably nice melee robe, which sounds funny but check it out. The old-school loot of interest is the Mummified Bat for a handy feather fall swap, but that isn’t as valuable as it once was. The rest of the chain reward loot for the second chain is actually pretty nice; definitely worth a look if you end up buying the pack.

    The primary value of Sorrowdusk is that it gives quite a bit of favor for the price. House Deneith favor isn’t particularly useful, but if you’re trying to get to 1750 to unlock 32pt builds, Sorrowdusk can certainly help the cause. The Mystical Dried Fish is the least interesting of the "Mystical" crafting ingredients so not even crafters will find much of value here. Overall it is kind of fun, though, and the quests are satisfyingly zergable for decent xp, so pick it up eventually. Just not soon.


    sirgog’s initial review:

    Sorrowdusk Island
    Description: Two chain quests and an explorer area. The chain quests first set you against ogres and trolls, then in the second chain sets you against their evil masterminds. This chain oozes the feel of pen and paper D&D more than any other chain in the game, IMO. The first chain is short, easy and has four quests with little variance - the second chain is longer, harder, more varied and is fantastic the first time you run it.
    Fun factor: Grey Moon Waning (the first chain) isn't great, but the Cult of the Six (Co6) chain is great.
    Rewards (XP/loot): Average XP and poor loot for Grey Moon Waning, good XP for Co6, and useful loot, although it is quickly outlevelled. The House Deneith favor is highly important to anyone wanting to use a bow at high level, as it lets you bulk buy several important types of arrows, such as silver arrows for raid bosses like Arraetrikos, Suulomades and General Horoth.
    Best feature: The variety of the Co6 chain, and the near perfect difficulty (one quest requires tactical play to beat).
    Worst feature: The explorer zone is pretty lacklustre, IMO.
    Ease of getting a group: This chain is pretty popular amongst VIPs, most play it 1-3 times on each character.
    Overall: Recommended but not a high priority if you are on a tight budget.
    Recommended level range: 5-6 (normal); 7-8 (hard); 8-10 (elite) for the first chain (Grey Moon) and 8-10 (normal); 9-11 (hard); 9-13 (elite) for Co6.
    Rating: 7.5/10


    sirgog’s revised review:

    Sorrowdusk Island
    Description: Two chain quests and an explorer area. The chain quests first set you against ogres and trolls, then in the second chain sets you against their evil masterminds. This chain oozes the feel of pen and paper D&D more than any other chain in the game, IMO. The first chain is short, easy and has four quests with little variance - the second chain is longer, harder, more varied and is fantastic the first time you run it.
    Fun factor: Grey Moon Waning (the first chain) isn't great, but the Cult of the Six (Co6) chain is great.
    XP: 9/10 for the seasoned zerger, but don't expect overly good XP if you aren't one.
    Challenge: 6.5/10. Some of the quests are downright mean on Elite, although all of them are zergable if you know exactly what you are doing.
    Loot: 4/10. Would be lower, except that the only non-epic featherfall trinket in the game drops here with a good drop rate (it feels like a 50% chance to get it).
    Immersion: 9/10. The storyline here is fantastic, especially the way that the true villains are slowly revealed. The 'it doesn't take a kalashtar...' line in the DM voiceover is good for a laugh too.
    High level replayability: 0/10
    Best feature: The variety of the Co6 chain, and the near perfect difficulty (assuming you don't have foreknowledge of the chain).
    Worst feature: The loot is disappointing by modern standards. Perhaps the end reward list could be a good place for some useful weapons to be added, something like account-bound min level 8 +5 flaming weapons.
    Ease of getting a group: This chain is pretty popular amongst VIPs, most play it 1-3 times on each character.
    Overall: Recommended but not a high priority if you are on a tight budget.
    Recommended level range: 5-6 (normal); 7-8 (hard); 8-10 (elite) for the first chain (Grey Moon) and 8-10 (normal); 9-11 (hard); 9-13 (elite) for Co6.
    Rating: 7.5/10

  20. #20

    Default

    .......
    Last edited by EllisDee37; 09-02-2013 at 07:46 PM.

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