Tomb of Annihilation Preview: Hunting

The jungles in Neverwinter’s “Tomb of Annihilation” come with many mysteries and dangers to explore. One of those are so called “Hunts”, special mobs that hide in Soshenstar River and can be tracked down for unique loot. Nobody less than the legendary Volo sends out adventurers to bring him trophies of those mini-bosses. In this article we are going to preview the feature and the rewards attached to it.

Basic Setup

The basic setup of the feature is rather simple. You have four tiers of mobs to work through and the trophies you get from the lower tiers unlock a Hunt of the next higher tier. You can instantly start farming for your first trophy in Soshenstar River. Many of the mobs have a small chance to spawn a rare version instead of a normal one. The common tigers on the map can turn into Smilodons for example. These rare versions then have a chance to drop trophies, which can be exchanged in Volo’s Camp inside Port Nyanzaru for so called “Star Hunt” lures. Trophies are unique items by the way and you can only ever hold one of each variant.

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The Star Hunts then can’t be found on the Soshenstar River, but have to be triggered by placing the lure in certain spots. As seen on the left picture two trophies of One-Star Hunts turn into one Two-Star Hunt lures and trophies of all three Two-Star Hunts are needed to lure out the capstone boss “King of Spines”. The higher tiers additionally have to be unlocked in the campaign.

One-Star Hunts can theoretically be bought on the very first day, but the “King of Spines” (don’t get confused by the Heroic Encounter on the map that’s named the same btw.) should not appear before week four or so. Additionally investing campaign currency in Hunts means you miss out in other areas. So there’s some decision making attached to the process.

10% Hunt, 90% Grind?

The hunt feature starts out really cool, because there’s initially a lot of exploration to do. You need to figure out the different locations of rare spawns, then find the places to lure out the Star Hunts. This effect obviously wears off over time a bit. There is however another major wall that turns hunting into a grind fest pretty soon. All six lures for One-Star Hunts require two trophies. The first one comes from rare mobs that spawn at many locations and should be relatively easy to get. The second one is always a T-Rex Fang and that’s where the trouble begins.

The T-Rex infrequently spawns at only two destinations and since you will have a lot of the other trophies, but no T-Rex Fangs, players will find themselves camping the spawn locations. And well you guessed it, this can be pretty boring. I thought this might eventually lead to instance hopping like the Ship Heroic in River District. One fellow players however rightfully mentioned that the T-Rex doesn’t last long enough, especially if the spawn location is being camped by a crowd. So even if you manage to get an invite to an instance right when the T-Rex appears, you might not make it.

Party Mechanics?

A little bit of this mess can be avoided by partying up. Grinding with four other players and then meeting whenever someone completed the pieces to buy the next lure might make most sense. Also theoretically the full party gets a shot at a trophy. I haven’t tested the party mechanics though. Obviously you shouldn’t get drops from Hunts that you haven’t already unlocked in the campaign, but there’s also a chance that only the one that initiated the Hunt gets drops.

This would suck, but I actually participated in a One-Star Hunt on preview and got nothing. Could be that you need to be in a party with the one that placed the lure, which I wasn’t. Also wouldn’t rule out that I simply didn’t get enough hits in to qualify for loot. Whatever it was, you should definitely communicate in your guild and alliance how hunting and parties interact.

I’d definitely advise you to party up for the encounters by the way. Depending on your item level they can indeed be challenging and the lure is gone even if you don’t manage to down the Hunt.

Rewards

While hunting could turn out to be pretty grindy, it has the rewards to show for it. Hunts’ gear extends the line of custom pieces with unique bonuses, and is item level 480. Since One-Star Hunts already have a chance to drop stuff, players get their hands on new endgame gear relatively early in the module. You definitely want to check out the collection in advance however. Because if you don’t happen to need any of the offered gear, then hunting doesn’t make tons of sense. It simply doesn’t offer much more incentive than the gear.

The rings look hard to dodge though. Even if you find the damage bonus too situational, the stats alone challenge everything that’s currently around. DPS might miss a Power and Critical Strike combo though and all support toons defensive double slots.

Have to say I’m not a huge fan of the rest. Much stuff doesn’t last long enough, falls off too soon to help in relevant boss fights and/or targets stats that you want to reliably cap. I guess summoning mobs to fight for you can be fun, but will they really help? A control/support toon like MoF should definitely look in the Ring of the Curse Bringer though. Neuroshock is an ability that continues to stun enemies over a short period of time.


That’s our preview for the new hunting feature in Chult! Do you like how it works, its rewards or won’t you wait for the T-Rex to spawn all day? Share your thoughts in the comments below and visit the corresponding thread on our message board.

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j0Shi

j0Shi

j0Shi plays the Neverwinter MMORPG since the open BETA in 2013 and is a regular contributor to the blog and the whole UN:Project. Originally a Guardian Fighter, he has built up ALTs of all classes and plays on BIS/near-BIS level.

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