Back in the pre-U14 days, The Reaver’s Refuge was one of the premier endgame adventure packs which posed some of the best challenges in the game, some of the best experience in the game, and some of the best armors in the game. This used to be an SS-Tier pack, but now I can’t really justify placing it higher than A-Tier.
There are three quests here which must be completed in order to flag for a fourth quest. The three flagging quests are Enter the Kobold, Monastery of the Scorpion, and Prey on the Hunter.
Enter the Kobold and Monastery of the Scorpion still reign supreme as some of the best options for experience in terms of level 16-19 quests, making them great ways to get your experience cap in the heroic levels. People used to farm these two quests for experience all the time, since they were really the only things out there for level 17. Even so, they could be milked for over 200k experience each, making for excellent experience.
Prey on the Hunter isn’t as good in the experience department, though it’s still miles ahead of anything on the High Road or in Druid’s Deep. It’s definitely worth running if you ask me.
I’m not sure if anyone runs Stealer of Souls for experience, nor am I really sure if that’s a good idea. It used to be one of the toughest quests around on elite, although I doubt that it’s as hard today as it used to be. Still, it’s a long quest and I’m not quite sure if it’s worth the time and effort to flag and run the quest.
A last thing to note in regards to experience is that Reaver’s Refuge has a unique wilderness mechanic. There are four wilderness areas in the pack (the fourth is only accessible after flagging for Stealer of Souls), and each offers its own explorers and rares. However, they all share a slayer count, meaning that if you slay 50 monsters in Soami Gardens and then another 50 in Mount Reysalon, you’d get credit for slaying 100 creatures in Reaver’s Reach. Neat, huh?
Dragontouched Armor used to be the go-to armor for endgame players. You can combine three different effects, ranging from things like Incite 10%, Healing Amplification 20/40, Exceptional +1 stats, Crushing Wave Guard, Destruction, and Smiting Weapons. All of this came to create an interesting system wherein no two players’ armors would look exactly alike, and where many formidable combinations could be created for those willing to grind for it… And that’s where problem number one came in.
The perennial problem with Dragontouched Armor has always been its loot mechanic. Each of the three flagging quests drops a random rune, which can be used to imbue your armor. The problem is that these come at complete random, meaning that it could take days or even weeks to get your desired armor combination.
The current problem with Dragontouched is that it’s simply outdated. The epic game has granted us so many better armor options that there’s no reason to continue wearing Dragontouched armor through the endgame. Additionally, it’s arguably not worth wearing the armor from level 16, since that’s already a somewhat late level, only to abandon it at 20 in favor of a superior epic armor. There has also been some slight power creep in the way of some of the Madness armors, such as Fleshshaper’s Brigandine and Beholder Plate Armor, which are as good as Dragontouched and don’t require half the grind.
So while Dragontouched can still be said to be a decent option for the level, it’s simply not worth farming, since it experiences such limited usage nowadays. This is kind of sad, but all things considered, I really don’t mind, since the loot system was ill-conceived to begin with and I’m glad that we can sort of forget about it and focus on other loot systems instead.
Fun Factor: 5/5
Possibly one of the best collections of creative, enjoyable, and challenging quests in one adventure pack.
Every endfight here is challenging. Enter the Kobold’s endfight features loads of fireballs and other such fire spells being hurled at you, while Monastery of the Scorpion requires someone to distract an unstoppable Drow Scorpion while another person works on a Lights Out puzzle to shut it down. It’s a boss fight about resilience, teamwork, and puzzle-solving rather than of brute force. Prey on the Hunter has your party race against time to defeat a party of frost giants before they can kill a white dragon whom you are tasked with defending. Finally, Stealer of Souls features the optional end fight with Sor’jek the undead lich giant. All of the endfights here are adrenaline-pumping and, back when the game was much more challenging than it is now, provided a genuine challenge which was a true joy and accomplishment to overcome. This is the sort of thing that endgame and hardcore players lived for: the ability to test their wits and mettle against a difficult, yet achievable obstacle.
In terms of quest mechanics, the quests here are all unique, too. Enter the Kobold features the Knight’s Tour puzzle and is a testament to how Turbine can actually implement puzzles besides sliding puzzles (nowadays, you might scoff at the idea, but I’m telling you, they have the ability if they put their minds to it…) Prey on the Hunter features a randomly-generated “maze” area and a race against the giants to protect a white dragon. Monastery of the Scorpion also hosts a randomly generated switch, though it’s not really a maze or puzzle in the same way that Prey on the Hunter is. It also has multiple air shafts and a sliding puzzle which is actually unique compared to all the other sliding puzzles in DDO, and a puzzle-based boss.
Stealer of Souls is more-or-less typical hack-and-slash fare, but I like the way that the quest itself was designed. It has you traversing four different elemental dungeons–earth, ice, fire, and finally air–and defeating different types of giants, culminating in an optional endfight with Sor’jek the undead lich.
Another really fun aspect of Reaver’s Refuge is the diversity in wilderness areas. They’re all somewhat small for wilderness areas, but they’re all varied and offer a decent amount of content. I love how they all have their own set of explorers. Aussircaex’s Valley is, to date, DDO’s only snow-themed dungeon (unless you count Storm Horns). Mount Reysalon feels like a more compact version of Searing Heights. Soami Gardens feels like an eerie, abandoned zen garden which has been overtaken by the undead… and the Eerie Forest feels like a smaller version of the Orchard of Macabre. I used to hang out in these areas and do slayers from time to time, and I loved doing it because these places were so varied; if I got tired of slaying in Reysalon, I could just switch to Aussircaex’s Valley and try something completely different.
I really don’t get why this pack has declined so much in popularity. I rarely see LFMs pop up for this pack anymore. So what else are people doing in this level range? It’s by far the superior option to the Eveningstar stuff in the level 17-18 range, and it’s still better than the Reign of Madness stuff. I would expect that this pack would become less popular with the game split into heroic and epic, but still, as far as heroic content goes, I should think that this pack would still be relatively popular.
250 TP. Yes, that’s right. 250. Buy it!
This pack has lost its loot’s usefulness, its challenge, and its popularity, but its fun factor and experience rewards still remain. Furthermore, you could make a case for Dragontouched armor still being half-decent. So even though about half of this pack’s appeal has deteriorated, you have to bear in mind that we’re talking about a pack which I’d consider SS to begin with; even if a SS pack lost a lot, it still has a lot going for it. Its experience still remains the best at its level, it’s still what I’d say a decent challenge, and it still offers some really fun and unique quests. Even if it has fallen from its former glory, it still retains a lot of that glory.