Restless Isles is another unfortunately overlooked pack, and always has been on the more unpopular side. The wilderness area is among the most unconventional in the game, which creates a double-edged sword which some people love and most people hate. This, coupled with dated loot and quests which don’t give all that much experience, means that this pack is more unpopular now than ever before.
Given The Twilight Forge’s spectacular base experience, you might think that people would run it, but there are a few reasons why they don’t (more on that later). Aside from this pre-raid, however, there are very little experience incentives to run The Restless Isles. There are only two “normal” quests here, Bring me the Head of Ghola-Fan and Slavers of the Shrieking Mines, both level 10 and both being excessively long and actually somewhat difficult for their level. On elite, they each have a base 4,299 experience, which is pretty laughable, considering how long the quests can take and how long it can take to actually find the quests.
Because nobody runs this pack, I’m giving it a 0/5.
Yes, there is a wilderness area, but it only goes up to 1,500 kills and really couldn’t be used as a source of experience even if you tried.
There are some items here worth mentioning which are pretty neat, but are by no means necessary. A lot of these items used to be many times more useful than they are today. All are ML 9 unless noted otherwise.
From the level 10 quests:
Royal Guard Mask is the only teleport clicky in the entire game (at least to my knowledge). It’s not necessary by any stretch of the imagination, though it can make traveling a bit more convenient. Teleport/Greater Teleport is also the only way to get to the Portable Hole.
Ring of the Ancestors (ML 11) is the only raise dead clicky in the entire game (aside from craftable Green Steel items), but the catch is that you must be of the “good” alignment to use it. If you never die, this won’t exactly be useful, but it can be handy when you’re in a party… but then again, most people can UMD scrolls by now, or they have hirelings. And with DDO becoming easier and easier over the years, it’s becoming less common to see people die anyway.
From the Raid:
Battle Coin and Jungle Cloak offer some unique healing methods which used to be pretty nice for barbarians, fighters, and other classes who couldn’t heal themselves, but these items are gimmicks more than they are anything else. DDO has been in the era of self-healing and decreasing difficulty for awhile now, which I don’t particularly think is a good thing.
Belt of Brute Strength gives +6 Str and Greater False Life, both effects which are very nice for any strength-using build. Cannith Crafting can easily act as substitutes, however.
Seven Fingered Gloves offer one of the highest UMD bonuses in the game (+5) which can be useful, but the advent of UMD tomes and Artificer past lives makes it much easier to UMD things nowadays.
Titanic Docent (ML 10) has a unique 15-second long clicky which can grant 30 DR/- and 30 Spell Resistance. It can only be used once per rest and is gimmicky as fuck. But you can be sure as hell that it’s fun to use. Not sure if it’s worth farming for, or ever was, though.
Chattering Ring may just be the best item here at the moment, as it offers +6% dodge. No, this isn’t anything great or game-breaking, but it’s arguably still relevant, which sets it apart from most of the other loot here.
So all in all, you’ll notice that the common theme seems to be loot which used to be pretty good but is now either gimmicky or obsolete. This is the case with lots of other loot, ranging from practically every other older pack, such as Threnal and Sands of Menechtarun.
Fun Factor: 4/5
I’ll go out on a limb here and say that I actually find the design of the Isles themselves to be a nice change of pace. As you might be able to tell from the map, the Isles are a bunch of islands which are interconnected via underground pathways, resulting in a labyrinthine setup. There are also various locked doors strewn throughout, with the keys dropping from Ogre Mages randomly. This is why it can be difficult to find your way to the quests.
I personally don’t think it’s all too hard to navigate the place, although I do admit that the key mechanic can make it annoying at times. The place at least has a clearly defined map, and is a reasonable size, which is a lot more than can be said of the Demonweb or the Underdark (and yet for some reason, people seem to love those two places).
The scenery is also really nice and I think it’s really fun to wander around the place. It has an oriental-themed atmosphere similarly to the Pool of Reflection, which I really like. It’s a striking contrast to the rest of DDO’s setting, which is mostly steampunk-inspired; it’s the same sort of contrast that you get in Skies of Arcadia when exploring Yafutoma. The concept behind the Isles, namely that of an interconnected series of islands, is still unique in DDO and something I find to be an enjoyable setting.
Admittedly, my experience with this pack ends with the wilderness area and the two flagging quests. I’ve never run the raid because I’ve never found a group for it, and don’t really need any of the loot from it (and it’s not like anyone’s running it for experience, either). I have run into people who have done the raid, though, and they seem to all enjoy it, so make of that what you will. I’ll keep an open mind about it until I can formulate my own opinions first-hand, and for now all I’ll say about this pack is that I really like the wilderness area and the two quests I’ve played through so far.
Nobody runs this pack.
350 TP is a pretty fair price for this pack, IMO. It may be worth a shot if you want to just try something different and have the TP to burn.
For casual players, I’d recommend this pack without a second thought. It’s unique, original, and something a little different from the rest of the game in terms of both aesthetics and in gameplay. But for the more hardcore type of players, I’d say stay away from this pack because, even though I find it fun, I recognize that it’s not rewarding. All it provides are small experience rewards and loot that is almost universally obsolete, both of which have no place in the world of hardcore MMO players. This is one of those packs that Turbine needs to revisit in order to make it more relevant, because it has the ingredients there to make for an enjoyable pack, but there’s no reason for most of the DDO crowd–which is mostly more on the hardcore end of the spectrum–to run this pack.
Packs like this one and Red Fens are very similar in that they’re not worth running for the sake of progression, but are still rather fun to run on occasion. It’s for packs like these that I’m retrospectively glad that I’m making the distinction between “fun factor” and the more concrete aspects of the game like experience and loot.