Three-Barrel Cove is by far and away my favorite adventure pack in the game. This fact should clue you in to the prospect that I might be a little biased here, but I nevertheless feel that the reasons why I love this pack have at least some basis in reality. This pack has my favorite wilderness area in the game, some very diverse and fun quests which not only offer fantastic experience but some very good items as well, and greater replay value than ever before in the way of an epic remake.
Not to mention its cool pirate aesthetic. What’s not to love about this pack?
Three Barrel Cove offers excellent experience both in heroic and in epic levels, and has only gotten better over time.
Heroic TBC offers the quick 5-minute quest, The Stones Run Red, with a whopping 4,366 base experience on elite, as well as Ghost of a Chance (not to be confused with that Rush song), which has a great 3,300 base experience on elite and an optional which gives 90% of that, and the Legend of Two-Toed Tobias, which provides another 4,196 base experience on elite. I’d also bring up the fact that level 5 is a level where there’s really not that much Free-to-Play content, and of the level 5 adventure packs, TBC offers the most experience. The wilderness area also provides huge clusters of enemies, meaning that it typically doesn’t take that long to get 1,500 slayers. As the icing on the cake, Turbine also gave us the Pirates of the Thunder Sea saga, allowing for another easy 26k experience, provided that you have Sentinels of Stormreach as well.
Epic TBC, while only offering about half of the quests that heroic TBC does, still gives passable experience for those which it does. A Legend Revisited is a prime example of this. In addition, Precious Cargo isn’t the worst quest to run for experience, either.
In heroic levels, the quests themselves have some decent items: Scoundrel’s Cutlass, Scoundrel’s Greatsword, Scoundrel’s Longsword, and Scoundrel’s Repeating Crossbow. The last of these is the highlight of the bunch, being one of the few named heavy repeating crossbows in the heroic game, and a superb one at that. There’s also a trio of more-or-less “flavor” based items from the quests which are fun to use, though by no means optimal.
But if you thought the fun ended there, you’d be sorely mistaken. Although very difficult to obtain (with the exception of Strinati’s Hand Cannon), the wilderness rare chests offer you a shot at some of the best twink items in the game. These include the Orcish Privateer’s Plate, the Scorching Wraps, and the coveted Tiefling’s Assassin Blade. The Chieftain’s Spear is worthy of a mention as well.
The vast majority of the Epic TBC items are useful to a wide variety of builds as well, meaning that even if you’re primarily an epic player rather than heroic, TBC has a lot for you as well.
Fun Factor: 5/5
Again, my favorite pack in the game by a long shot. Even if TBC were released alone as the wilderness, I would still pay the 695 TP for it. I love the wilderness that much. It’s simply gorgeous and hosts one of the largest varieties of scenery I’ve seen in any wilderness area in this game: a volcano, an underwater maze, sunken ships, sailing ships, a flying ship, a port town, a waterfall, jungles, a lighthouse, an inlet, a spider’s nest, multiple enemy encampments, and more that I’m forgetting right now. Take your typical tropical island paradise and inject it with steroids and you have TBC. Here’s a picture, taken from DDO’s official twitter account. It’s views like this which made me know instantly from the time that I stepped into the cove that I would love it.
Additionally, I’m of the belief that the quests themselves are very well thought-out and implemented. Garl’s Tomb and Two-Toed Tobias are very reminiscent of The Goonies, and I mean that in a very good way; these two series of quests have you venturing deeper into a dungeon and seeking out all of their secrets and treasures. Sure, it’s kind of vanilla, but at its heart, isn’t this what DnD is supposed to be about? Exploring unknown territory and getting excited about exploring the unknown? To me, these TBC quests are some of the few which really evoked that feeling of wonder.
Guard Duty, while also arguably vanilla in its “protect” objective, still affords you the chance at some great maritime scenery and perfectly fits the theme of piracy on the high seas. You know, one thing I’ve noticed about TBC after thinking about it is that a good portion of these quests aren’t so much about innovating and starting a new concept so much as they are about taking a time-honored tradition and honing it to perfection.
But even so, there are a few TBC quests which strive to innovate, and do a decent job at doing so. Prove Your Worth has the ladder corridor and a number of other obstacles and traps, while Ghost of a Chance offers you two different ways of completing the quest, as well as some goodies for players who like to obsessively explore every nook of a dungeon. Scoundrel’s Run is a mazelike scavenger-hunt which takes place in a (mostly) abandoned mineshaft.
If I had to choose a weak link in the adventure pack, I’d have to say that that dubious honor goes to the Fire Caves. They’re the most straightforward of the TBC quests, but even so, I find them enjoyable, as they fit the environment of a tropical volcano, and as such, it works. The exp makes it worthwhile, too.
And of course, you wouldn’t expect me to finish this section without mentioning the crowning achievement of the pack, would you? Yeah, yeah, I know that I’ve complained a lot about Turbine’s changes since 2012, but if there’s one single quest that they’ve done right since then, it would have to be Precious Cargo. Maybe I simply have an affinity for it because it involves sky pirates and one of my favorite video games ever is Skies of Arcadia, but even so, I think that the quest is one of the most unique and fun quests in the game. I’d go so far as to say it’s probably my favorite in the entire game. It’s as close to perfection as I’ve ever seen Turbine get; and I think it’d probably be the perfect quest if Turbine either removed Shadar Kai Assassins or nerfed them somehow.
I’d also want to note that, of all of the epic quests, TBC’s are by far the most engaging. Every other quest which has gone from heroic to epic is barely changed at all: same monsters, same dungeon, same objectives, same everything. TBC quests, on the other hand, feel like Turbine actually took the time to make them “feel” more epic and more dynamic. You get different enemies in the Yuan-Ti and Vampires; different quest objectives in “A Legend Revisited;” entirely new boss mechanics in epic “Prove Your Worth,” and, of course, the awesomeness that is Precious Cargo. If every epic quest in the game were changed like this–in other words, if Turbine actually put effort into changing other quests in this manner–then honestly, I would love the epic game. But unfortunately, as it stands, TBC stands out because it’s the exception to the rule and because every other heroic-to-epic transition is lackluster.
So, to summarize: best and most diverse wilderness in the game, a great spread of varied quests which are all fun and feel very DnD-ish, the best heroic-to-epic transition in the game, and Precious Cargo.
TBC seems relatively popular to run in both heroic and epic levels, and for good reason. It offers a little bit for everyone: fun quests and a great wilderness for the casual player, amazing experience and twink loot for the heroic TR junkie, and decent epic experience and even some endgame loot for the epic player.
Yes, I know that 695 would seem quite pricey for this pack. To me, however, it was worth every penny. There’s just so much of value here in regards to everything about the pack. It’s well worth the purchase.
TBC has everything. Great experience for a level which is otherwise quite starved of experience (in heroic levels), spectacular loot, some of the most fun content in the entire game (in my opinion at least), and, like I said, a little bit of content for every type of DDO player. I’m listing this as the third-most essential adventure pack in the game for all of these reasons. It would be #1 overall, but the fact of the matter is that, from a utilitarian perspective, Vale and Gianthold offer more.