As we have passed the two-week countdown for the Maze Engine release, we are going to focus on the upcoming Module on the next days and are starting off with the new campaign. Expect a full preview a good month into the Module when we have a better understanding of how the quests and progression feels in the general flow and context of the game.
I don’t want to spoil too much as well. The storyline of Underdark is extended and you need to help Bruenor Battlehammer once again to stop another major Demon from using the powerful Maze Engine Artifact for his cruel plans. But there are also new maps, the Drow, a twisted Archmage that might follow his own agenda and much more. I have played up to level ten on preview and am really pleased with it. You feel engaged and are eager to unfold the whole story.
Contrary to that, the structure of the campaign is as simple and linear as it gets. The devs stated they like the overall feel of the Salvatore Dwarven King questline and they have continued with that structure in the Maze Engine. The story quests can be completed as they become available, but to artificially drag the campaign to 30+ days they have inserted grind Interludes that want the player to repel Demon infestations alongside the Sword Coast on five, ten and 15 consecutive days in between. The break is explained with the time different parties need to investigate after you have progressed to a certain point and provided stuff. It’s story, five dailies, story, ten dailies, story, 15 dailies, story. The boons are unlocked along the way and the last campaign task is repeatable and nets you a useful chest with Stronghold currency, XP and some Seals.
Unfortunately those dailies are hella boring and dull. You basically just revisit one of the older areas to fight random Demons in specific locations. Some of these quests are instanced, others are not, but all of them are trivial. You also want to prepare for annoying travel times that are probably longer than the fight in the end if you don’t own a fast Mount or VIP to port yourself back to Mantol Derith.
This is especially annoying since the story is really good and you want to progress, but then need to wait all those days to be able to. Also on days that the story quests become available, you suddenly have a lot to do while the dailies are merely five-minute affairs. Not sure how many chapters there are, but limiting them to one per day as well and cutting down on those stupid Demon dailies wouldn’t have been the worst idea. Putting the campaign on a timer also works against their goal to provide more XP in the 61+ grind. You are not able to fully benefit from the Maze Engine campaign like you are from Dwarven King, because you can only complete so many quests per day and are probably 70 before you wrap up the campaign.
At least this makes the campaign very ALT friendly, but overall it’s a mixed bag of a very intriguing story broken apart by as stupid dailies as you could possibly imagine.
Have you played on preview and want to share your opinion? Do so in the comments or in our corresponding forum thread.