So with all that out of the way* we can talk about loot. There has to be loot, right? The dangly carrot? The pot at the end of the rainbow?
* If you missed part one of this review, you can find it here
I wonder what would happen if there was a quest that offered no loot at all, just a great quest experience (and maybe some XP). Would it ever get run? It would be interesting to see.
But I digress. The Slave Lords quests have a thick layer of loot, so thick that it comes in two distinctly different types:
Between the types, the regular Named loot is pretty good (several interesting caster items, a couple of armors, and one really fine warrior’s trinket), but the build-it-yourself loot is better. Significantly better. Plus, there is potentially more of it; you can theoretically build a belt, bracers, necklace, ring, trinket, and boots: six pieces.
I have to say “theoretically”, because if you are a casual player, the second layer of loot is not something that is actually attainable. It is a daydream, a wisp of what could be but never will.
One could wonder why it is even present if it is such ephemera, but for most of you who may still be reading this drivel, it is not ephemera at all. You will come to own this gear, maybe even full sets of it. Because you are not casual players.
My main complaint about the whole Slavers set of content is not even about the content. It is about this ridiculous crafting system. It is completely and totally geared to the heavy grinder, as has been the case for all of the best loot since the Temple of Elemental Evil. It is how this version of the DDO development team thinks, and it has become how DDO is played.
Rather than throw around baseless opinions, let’s sprinkle in a dash of empiricism:
This chart lists the total ingredients one must collect in order to build one complete item of crafted Slavers gear. Not a complete set, just one item. Towards the right of the chart, you can see my totals collected to-date.
You will note the depressingly low progress rates. I have run Parts 1 and 2 three times each, and part 3 once. All on Hard. About seven hours worth of questing. And I am only 1/25th of the way to completing one item.
This is a worse grind than even the previous world record holding grindfest, the Temple of Elemental Evil.
“Ah, but wait”, you are saying, “you’ve only run part 3 once, and that means you missed the chain end rewards.” Which is a good point. One can earn extra ingredients by completing the entire chain end-to-end, rather than doing individual chapters in random order as I have been doing.
Here is an adjusted chart that assumes I completed part 3 all three times. It assumes I collected additional ingredients during these runs as well as getting the end reward twice more.
So empiricism seems to suggest that one is expected to run the full set of Slavers quests 30 times for each item.
Perhaps my sample size – 1, me – is just too small. Maybe I am off by … I dunno … a staggering 100%. Meaning, maybe the average person only needs to run the full set of quests fifteen times per item. So a mere 45 quests, rather than the 90 it appears to me.
I find that to be pretty depressing. On the other hand, it is also pretty consistent. 30 phlogiston are needed to make a Tier 3 Thunderforged weapon. I don’t even know how many quests are needed to make a double-shard Legendary Green Steel item. I know it is a lot and once I realized that I stopped counting.
“Wait again” you are saying again, and I still hear you – “you are running those quests on Hard. If you run them Elite you get better drop rates”.
Except no, I won’t. Most of the players in my regular groups are also casual. Elite has become out of reach for casual players. I am not arguing that this is a bad thing, I don’t feel that I should be entitled to be able to run Elite successfully just because I want to. Elite should be earned, and I am no longer interesting in doing the work to earn it.
But it has been two years since an update included top-shelf loot that was available to the casual player. Update 23 was the last time someone like me could realistically target a top-tier item and get it. The game has changed a lot in two years, and Epic Orchard gear is no longer enough to enable a character to survive in Legendary Elite.
So Elite is closed to me, and to most of my group.
And so that is that. I like the Slavers quests, I do, even though I can find things about them that I could like more. They are decently fun, and sufficiently inventive, and I will run them a couple more times just to enjoy them.
I will never have any of the Slavers loot, but that is not unusual, I am accustomed to not getting the loot anymore. It is not for me. It is for the people that are willing to grind for it. The gap between me and Elite continues to widen, but … shrug … I will live with that. I have too.
So, in general, thumbs up Turbine. If you released content like this several times a year I would be content.
See what I did there? Content = contentment.
🙂 😀 🙂