Today I’m going to bring my rankings for the Neverwinter modules to a close. After ranking the worst and the average, it’s down to the top ones! So let’s get the drum roll ready and count down the best modules to date!
4. The Cloaked Ascendancy
For me the Claoked Ascendancy is one of the better modules, but I had trouble putting it over the Mod 1/2 glory days (see below). It’s actually a combination of me liking the Cloaked Ascendancy as well as honoring the general direction of the game that this update set in motion. The Thomas Foss era certainly had its low points already, yet it’s not hard to see that we’re on he right track. One thing I talked about in my module review and like to reiterate here is how much I appreciate a more alt-friendly, relaxing approach for example.
The Cloaked Ascendancy offered a deep breath after Storm Kings Thunder had just been stuffed with stupid grind. Voninblod, Heroic Encounters, three zones to run quests in and Fishing. Oh boy! I couldn’t keep pace and in the end I also no longer wanted to. There was no way I was going to fish up one more map no matter how profitable it was. Since the Cloaked Ascendancy I feel like I can do more of the stuff I like to do. I could catch up a little and am up to playing multiple chars regularly again. It just feels great. I get that’s subjective, but tapping the breaks is exactly what the game needed in my eyes.
3. Fury of the Feywild
Although Module 1 and 2 eventually ended up in the top three, it was no easy decision. I mostly had doubts about ranking content so high that is four years old. We basically played a completely different game back then. Many old-timers that are not content with the overall direction have long quit, and most original devs have gone as well. Today that era neither represents Neverwinter or the current playerbase. Consoles never even experienced it at all.
But even considering that, the early stages of the game where just too much fun. To describe the differences between now and then would require a post of its own, but key for me was that dungeons were challenging and rewarding, and skill overall mattered more. Additionally you could maintain an army of alts on a high level, something unthinkable today.
Beating my first Dracolich in the old Castle Never felt like an achievement, actually most dungeons at least required some sort of strategy and groups that knew what they were doing. Kiting adds in the Frozen Heart, those hard boss fights in Spellplague Caverns, Throne of Idris, Gauntlgrym, Dread Vault? Sorry, I gotta say it once more: Those were the days.
Still not everything was perfect, and that’s another reason why I can’t go higher. With many exploits and bots, the game sometimes felt like NW on cocaine. Progression was endless and fast, and maybe that’s a big part of why players loved it. Me having multiple alts exploding with stacks of unbound refining points is just one random example of the craziness. There were so many ways of making AD… unbelievable.
It was too good to be true… The devs designed a game that was completely taken apart by its players. Foundry, the Gateway, dungeon exploiting. The legit community that still exists today was founded at that time to get into legit runs. Because exploiting was indeed the norm. It was a different era and a different game, for better or for worse.
Now to get back to the ranking, Shadowmantle and Fury of the Feywild are probably interchangeable. When I think about and refer to the “vanilla” version of the game, I include everything up to Mod 2 anyway. Shadowmantle however had a new class and the more favorable campaign. That’s why it got the nod.
1. Tomb of Annihilation
For the same reason I couldn’t put Module 1/2 higher on the list, I felt like I had to wrap up the ranking with a more recent module. Tomb of Annihilation is the best piece of content lately and represents the game’s recent uptrend. Not everything is perfect, but I personally hope Foss & Co. have done less crucial mistakes than their predecessors. Tomb of Annihilation as module isn’t without flaws either, but the pros outweigh the cons, scoring it a B+ in my final review.
There’s a fun story, a dungeon with challenging mechanics, and grind that’s at least a bit more diversified. The campaign setup and jungle setting were 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. More endgame content is surely something future modules have to tackle, but for the state the game was in, “ToA” was a great fit.
With that, my ranking comes to a close. Do you agree with it? What would you have ranked differently? Share your thoughts in the comments below and visit the corresponding thread on our message board.
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