It is a testament to how casual a player I’ve become that I only just now am finishing up the Slave Lords quest series.
Partly because they are long, meaty quests.
Partly because someone in our group inevitably did not have part 1 or part 2 or both.
Mainly because I am super-casual now and only play DDO two or three times a week.
But now I am done and able to comment on the series as a whole. I love it! And also, I do not love it at all. In the same gesture I provide a thumbs up! Yay! And also a thumbs down. Boo.
I am a complicated guy. Let’s look at the details:
The quests are substantial. You do not zoom through them in a few minutes. Especially for the first two parts, there are really two quests in each quest; you have to fight your way through the first half of the quest to find the entrance to the second half.
I referred to them earlier as “meaty” and they are. A double handful. Long, immersing quests.
This is a big plus the first couple of times that you run them. You feel like you’ve accomplished something, something heroic. It becomes less entrancing when you come back in the third or fourth time though, there are no shortcuts, you are going to have to slog your way through most of all that. Again.
Taken as a whole, it seems like a lot of different types of monsters are in here. No new ones of course, although Umber Hulks are still new-ish and they make an appearance. Aspis and Boggles would have been nice, but hey, some things are just hard.
Besides, there are really a lot of kobolds and hobgoblins. Really a lot.
The monsters are organized in the same manner as they are in all of the content that has come out in the post-Temple of Elemental Evil era. In waves. Very large groups of bad guys, lined up in a row, all just standing there for no reason, awaiting your attention. Too many to sneak, too many to run, there is nothing for it but to fight them, all of them, one huge group after the other, even while you can see the next group waiting in the distance. And sometimes, the next group after that too.
Personally, I prefer something that feels more organic. I like more mix, more variety, more “different”. Compare this to … say … Tear of Dhakaan. Dhakaan also features many hobgoblins with little variety, but it does it differently. In Dhakaan, you are fighting hobgoblins in a hallway. Next, they are hiding behind traps. Next, you don’t even see them at first. Next, there is an entire village of them. Etc, etc, etc, multiple hobgoblin encounters in a row but still with a difference one from the next.
Not as much in Slavers. Often it is slam, slam, then slam again. On the plus side, our tank character gets a lot of practice.
My first thought is to compare Slavers to classics like Halls of Shan To Kor. STK filled me with wonder when I first ran it; an amazing example of what could be done in a three-dimensional RPG. So creative.
But it is not a fair comparison. No, Slavers is nowhere near as clever as STK, but it can’t be. We’ve had a hundred quests since then, many just as creative as STK. You can only invent the fire trap room once.
Modern quests have to find cleverness in other ways. And Slavers does – there are clever traps (the Gelatinous Cube pit), clever re-use of existing props and art (see the world’s tiniest bar still to the right), clever dialogs, clever optionals, and clever decorative features like the *roar* bear.
Not groundbreaking, but still, clever.
Unfortunately I am running out of time before I am able to get to the most important part – the loot!
No one will be surprised to hear that I have a lot to say about that.
Check back tomorrow and we’ll talk about it.
🙂 😀 🙂
For part two of this review, click here.