8. Tyranny of Dragons
As fourth overall module Tyranny of Dragons came without an independent adventure area and partially recycled old content. This was not well received by the community although from today’s point of view it’s nothing special. To make things worse, daily progression was a waiting game. It required killing a dragon, leading to either waiting for a spawn or instance hopping. It was a pain to complete on multiple chars. The devs eventually reworked the dragons to become a weekly instead. ToD however remains one of the least appealing campaigns to run in my opinion.
The module additionally introduced a “best-in-slot” race for ZEN in Dragonborn and brought additional refining with Artifact Gear. On the plus side: Scourge Warlock class and group content.
7. Curse of Icewind Dale
Neverwinter’s Module 3, Curse of Icewind Dale, illustrates why fun doesn’t always mean quality. Looking back, I remember that it wasn’t too bad. The Black Ice grind, a system like Voninblod if you aren’t around that long, was indeed a pain. Back then however it was literally the only real thing you had to do, which made it kind of bearable. And even considering that open world and the PVP campaign eventually turned out to be a bust, I had some fun in Dwarven Valley and Icewind Pass.
Other things however contributed to this module not getting ranked higher. First of all it ended the vanilla cycle, which some still think was the best era of the game. Although it might seem silly now, but the devs releasing a full module without a dungeon addition was kind of a shock to players.
Additionally Heroic Encounters were a letdown. People liked the idea of random elite mobs spawning as concept, but flaws started to show soon. The Major HEs dropped essential boots and the scoring system was trash, making it incredibly hard for support classes to get them. And of course nobody envisioned or wanted HEs to become a substantial part of the grind for many modules to come.
The campaign? It’s fast, but I think I’ve never completed it without buying the required currency from Genie’s Gifts. The dailies on the big maps are just too tedious.
6. Tomb of Annihilation
Obviously Tomb of Annihilation is not yet finished, so this is a premature placement. For what it’s worth, I think it’ll ultimately crack the top 5, because I like what I’m seeing so far. Maybe it’s not even all aspects of the module itself, but the game’s recent uptrend. The Thomas Foss era certainly had its low points already, yet it’s not hard to see that we’re moving into the right direction.
Tomb of Annihilation represents that trend pretty well. There’s a fun story, a dungeon with challenging mechanics and grind that’s at least a bit more diversified. The campaign setup is superb and instead of getting layer after layer of new best-in-slot, the progression got more horizontally, making it easier to keep up with alts. I get that this comes at the cost of the highest tier of endgame players, which probably feel like there’s not enough to do in Chult. But after a long time in which players complained that it got increasingly harder to keep up, this is exactly what the game needs right now.
Underdark had tons of great content. First and foremost it finally introduced more ways of acquiring seals and gear and gave players group content to do right after hitting 70. It was an instrumental change after the Elemental Evil mess-up.
The campaign gave players the freedom to run the stuff they wanted and didn’t enforce daily participation. You could acquire Faerzress at your own pace doing various stuff, there only was a 400 weekly limit. Sounds a lot like Tomb of Annihilation right? Additionally having only one campaign currency means that running the content generates its own keys, which is great. The Twisted Weapons from Epic Demogorgon was a welcomed token based grind for a best-in-slot set in an already RNG-heavy environment and then you had the Dwarven King Quest Arc, which was the start to some very strong story-telling that continues until today.
Underdark wasn’t without flaws though. The legendary ring grind is the worst and the module introduced Masterwork, which I’m not too fond of in general. Oh and Coalgate happend! Maybe it’s a bit unfair to hold it against the module since it’s unrelated to it, but it is tied to Underdark nonetheless.
So these are my rankings eight to five. Would you have gone with other modules, another order? Share your thoughts in the comments below and visit the corresponding thread on our message board!
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