Arguably the best adventure pack in the entire game. I can see a case for either Vale or the Ruins of Gianthold, but I think that in light of upcoming epic updates to Vale, in addition to overall better loot, Vale should win out. Even so, Gianthold is a very close second. Regardless of how much you enjoy the quests here, this is definitely a pack which you need to buy, and is without a doubt among the most essential packs in the entire game. Buy this pack if you don’t have it already.
There are too many quests here to go over individually. There are five level 13 quests here which all provide great experience/minute. One of them can be easily farmed. There are an additional five level 14 quests which offer decent experience, with one of them offering great experience and the other being somewhat lackluster. Being in a party who knows what its doing can greatly make some of these quests much faster. You need to complete three of the level 14 quests (Cabal for One, Madstone Crater, Prison of the Planes) in order to flag for the raid, the Reaver’s Fate. People occasionally run this for experience.
I know I’m not talking much about the experience here itself, but the main selling point here is that there are just so many quests here, and they occupy a level range which would otherwise be nearly impossible to get through. While Attack on Stormreach and Trial of the Archons can more or less be considered auxiliary rather than essential, Gianthold is absolutely necessary for its level range.
The addition of Sagas to this game is one of the things which really puts Gianthold over the top. You can do all of these quests on elite and then collect a hefty 46k experience reward for your toils. And then you can do them again, and wait another day and do them again. Rinse and repeat. The addition of the Gianthold saga means that it’s viable to level up solely with Gianthold from level 13 to 17. No other adventure pack in the entire game covers this level range.
If this weren’t enough, Turbine also released an epic version of Gianthold not too long ago, complete with an epic saga. And unlike most heroic-turned-epic packs in the game, every quest here (except the raid) was made epic, a factor which effectively doubles Gianthold’s usefulness. Like the heroic versions of these quests, the epic versions also boast respectable experience/minute.
As the icing on the cake, Gianthold also offers a huge wilderness area with
over 9000 slayers possible, and another 6,256 slayers in the epic version of the wilderness. So, that option is there for those who love wilderness areas.
For one thing, you have Elfcraft/Giantcraft/Dragoncraft armor, and their more powerful analogues in the way of Blue/White/Black Dragonscale armor.
Secondly, you have quest-specific items. Things like Backstabber’s Gloves, Skullsmasher, Ancient Band, Axe of Adaxus, Iron Beads, Charoush’s Inferno, Death’s Locket, Ring of Shadows, Quiver of Poison, Adamantine Knuckles, Shamanic Fetish, Jeweled Cloak, and Jorgundal’s Collar are all anywhere from above average to spectacular at-level loot in the heroic game. Many, if not most, of these items also have epic counterparts which are similarly effective at their level. Gianthold may just have the biggest list of useful named loot in the game.
Thirdly, you have Reaver’s Fate loot, which is some of the only raid loot which hasn’t really gotten worse over time. You have Cloudburst, which can go toe-to-toe with the Sword of Shadows and Green Steel, Dreamspitter, which holds its own with Rahl’s Might, and Treason with its expanded critical threat range. All are weapons which, while arguably not the best out there, are still undeniably a force to be reckoned with. Then you get the Ring of Lies, one of the only non-weapon sources of Improved Deception in the heroic game, Head of Good Fortune which is an all around decent trinket to have, and the famed Madstone Boots. For a long time, these were considered the best boots for melee fighters (and still are for some builds) because of their madstone rage effect, which, to this day, is unique to the boots.
Lastly, there’s the Fall of Truth loot (FoT is the epic raid which is sort of like epic Reaver’s Fate). Almost all of the items from this raid are decent on some builds, so I’ll just leave a link to DDO Wiki’s article on it rather than exhaustively going through each of the items myself.
Fun Factor: 2/5
Maybe it’s a result of me having run through these quests hundreds of times, but I don’t really have that much fun with these quests any more. I’m not sure if I ever did, really, and you should be warned that, irrespective of how much you enjoy them initially, there’s the danger of growing tired of them because you’re doubtless going to be running them very, very frequently.
The one quest here I don’t mind running is The Crucible, which combines a lot of really neat and nifty ideas, including a maze, an agility test, an underwater agility test, and diplomacy checks (something this game is sorely lacking). The quest itself is like a composite of several mini-quests and is still enjoyable to run through, even after all these years.
Aside from the Crucible, though, I can’t really say that any of the quests (barring the raids) are particularly creative. Well, okay, Prison of the Planes has an interesting mechanic to it, but that’s about it. Most of Gianthold is pure hack-and-slash action, which is fine, but not particularly remarkable.
Experience and loot. Does this pack’s popularity really need explaining?
Being 950 TP, it’s one of the priciest packs in the game. But considering how much content you’re getting, I think it’s more than a fair price; in fact, I’d say it’s a bargain.
There’s only one pack which can compete with Gianthold, and that pack is the Vale of Twilight. They’re in a league of their own, and those two packs having their own separate tier should speak volumes about just how essential they are. Like the pack or not, you will inevitably find yourself buying this pack because of how rewarding it is on all fronts.