Necropolis 4 is the Necropolis with the most content, the best loot, the best experience, the only wilderness area of the Necropolises, the only raids of the Necropolises, and the only Necropolis with an epic difficulty. In other words, it’s the best Necropolis to buy, if you are only going to buy one.
There are four level 14 flagging quests here: Desecrated Temple of Vol, Ghosts of Perdition (named after an Opeth song), The Fleshmaker’s Laboratory, and Inferno of the Damned. The end chests of these flagging quests drop 1 piece of an empty sigil frame every time you complete them. You need 8 pieces of the sigil frame in order to flag for the next quest, so this means that you’ll have to run these quests a minimum of eight times, and probably more. DDO Wiki has a more detailed overview of the sigil frame than I’ll be able to explain.
Most of the flagging quests here provide very good experience/minute, so it’s not like it’s a real chore to complete them several times. Since they’re level 14 (a level range which is mostly devoid of quests aside from the few Gianthold ones) and give above average experience, it’s no surprise that people like to run these quests. Desecrated Temple of Vol and Fleshmaker’s Laboratory can be farmed for easy experience, especially if you have at least two people in your party. Ghosts of Perdition can be soloed, provided you can keep up with the Doomsphere boss. Inferno of the Damned is the one quest here which really can’t be farmed well, although I guess if you know it by heart, you can run it faster. Still, it features a lot of running around, so you can only complete it so quickly, even if you know it well.
Anyway, once you complete your sigil frame, you can talk to a NPC who will then let you enter the level 15 pre-raid, Litany of the Dead. You must complete this quest a minimum of four times in a slightly different manner in order to flag for the raid, The Ascension Chamber. A lot of people eschew this process, however, and instead elect to farm the quest itself because of its phenomenal experience. It can be rushed in around five minutes and its base experience should speak for itself. This is by far the best experience/minute level 15 quest, so people predictably like to farm this one.
Nobody runs the raid itself for experience, so I’m glossing over it.
The pack also offers an epic difficulty. Before it had an epic difficulty, Necropolis 4 would probably be on the B-Tier, but it’s the epic difficulty which really sets it apart nowadays. While the epic quests here are generally somewhat difficult, being level 29 on epic normal, I still see LFMs pop up for these quests. So people do run these for experience. You need to run all four in order to flag for the epic raid, the Mark of Death.
There’s also a wilderness area which can be explored on either heroic or epic difficulty, so the option is there for those who enjoy wilderness areas.
There’s a lot here, both in terms of heroic and epic. I’ll mostly go over the heroic loot here because I care much more about the heroic game and can’t be fucked to talk that much about the epic game (because the epic game is poorly designed and stupid right now), and because there’s just too many epic items to cover in depth.
Rare chests in the wilderness area and in the quests themselves have a chance of dropping Tattered Tapestries, pieces of the Tome of Untold Legends, and fragments of the Shield of Legend. I’ll go over each of these individually.
Tattered Tapestries can be turned in for your choice of a ML 11 hat. By far the most popular choice here is the Minos Legens, which provides a +20 Vitality bonus to HP and 100% fortification. It’s one of the best heroic helmets in the game and has been a perennial favorite of players everywhere. Another useful choice is the Totemic Lavalier, which provides +6 intelligence, +6 charisma, and Magi.
If you’re lucky or persistent enough to gather together all 8 pieces of the Tome of Untold Legend, you can turn them in for your choice of a fantastic ML 14 weapon. The most popular one is Deathnip, a heavy pick with a 18-20 x4 (!!!) multiplier, Seeker +10, Heartseeker 4, and a red augment slot. This might be one of the few heroic items in the game which is actually better than green steel. I don’t think the other items are on the same level as Deathnip, but they’re still very powerful. Razorend also has an expanded threat range, at 15-20 x2 (including keen) and a red augment slot. Twinblade has a very high base damage profile, two augment slots, and axiomatic and anarchic, making it a solid choice for Bastard Sword builds. Lastly, Skiver is an incredibly potent choice for caster builds, since it gives Archmagi, Spell Lore 6, efficient metamagic enhancements for Extend and Empower, and an augment slot.
I’m not too keen on shield builds, but given that the Vanguard tree is now a thing, I think the Shield of Legend is a bit more useful now. Collect all 8 pieces of it and you can trade in for a shield of your choice. Some of the ones which stand out to me are the Talon, which gives Melee Alacrity 10% among other bonuses, Death’s Door because it looks badass, and Fanion as an option for spellcasters.
As far as the heroic game goes, Ascension Chamber also has some nice loot, mostly for Palemasters, which makes sense since this is an undead-themed raid.
Circle of Hatred can double as a recovery clicky for Palemasters and a decent item for tank builds. It’s the only Harm clicky in the game.
Deific Diadem’s clicky effect can potentially be great for Wizard builds. Lesser Heighten is a boon to people using lower level spells like Web, and the +6 intelligence and +2 evocation focus are similarly useful for Wizards in particular. Noxious Embers is a similar story with its lesser maximize clicky.
Shroud of the Abbot is another great item for casters and Palemasters in particular because of its unique “Boon of Undeath” effect, Void Lore 5, and Light Resistance. Lesser Arcane Augmentation is also a good generalist effect for casters.
Yet another fantastic Palemaster item is the Staff of the Petitioner. Power Store, Spell Penetration +3, Enchantment and Necromancy Focus 2, and Potency make this staff useful.
Finally, an item which isn’t useful for casters is the Quiver of Alacrity. With no minimum level and boasting Ranged Alacrity 10% and Striding 30%, this is the best thing around for ranged builds at level 1, and perhaps up until level 20.
Litany of the Dead is one of the best trinkets in the game, and one of the most sought after because it’s simply the best thing around for every build out there. It provides a stacking +1 bonus to all stats, meaning anyone can derive some use from it. For casters, its clicky effect (which is named after that Bob Seger song) can allow for up to 18 seconds/rest of being able to recklessly fling spells around with no fear of running out of SP. For melee and ranged builds, the trinket also offers a stacking +1 bonus to attack and damage.
And that’s just the heroic loot. Epic loot is even better.
Epic Necro 4 hosts some of the best endgame items currently, and they’re so far ahead of the competition that there’s no reason to wear anything else at the cap besides maybe the Defiler of the Just items. Items like Epic Boots of the Innocent and Epic Emerald Gaze offer an abundance of item effects, augment slots, and are overall simply better than anything else, aside from the Defiler items. You can check out DDO Wiki’s list of the epic Necro 4 items, because there are too many for me to list, and just about all of them are good.
Fun Factor: 2/5 (your mileage may vary)
I recognize the appeal of this pack, but to me, the Orchard is so dark and depressing. It’s not hard to navigate or anything like Sands, but it’s still not very fun to explore IMO. This might have something to do with undead quests, because I’ve noticed that of all the packs in the game, I tend to have a higher ratio of undead quests which I dislike to undead quests which I like.
However, I do enjoy Inferno of the Damned and Ghosts of Perdition. Inferno has a neat quest mechanic where the quest takes place in two separate planes, sort of like Through a Mirror Darkly or the overworld in A Link to the Past. This gives the quest another dimension, and coupled with the quest’s rather unique atmosphere which is only really shared by Chains of Flame, you get a quest which is wholly unlike the rest of the Orchard. Ghosts of Perdition takes place in the Glacial Abyss, so together with Inferno, you get quests on both elemental extremes, ice and fire. It’s kind of straightforward, and I think I like the atmosphere here more than anything–it’s a nice change from the rest of the Orchard, which is dark and depressing.
These two quests drive up the fun factor to 2/5 for me, though like I suggested, your mileage may vary. If you like undead quests and like the prospect of going through an undead orchard, then you’ll love this place.
Although the raids are more-or-less dead at the moment, the quests themselves still experience popularity, and the advent of this pack’s epic expansion has only made this pack more popular. They’ve always been popular to run in heroic, especially Litany of the Dead for its huge potential for experience in a level range which is devoid of any better options, and on epic, I seem to see LFMs for this pack pop up every day.
850 TP is pretty steep, but this pack does have a lot of content which spans the heroic and epic levels, so I’m inclined to say the pricing is justified.
Overall: Lower S-Tier.
With heroic raid loot which still hasn’t been made obsolete, and with no shortage of spectacular epic items, this pack has everything that loot-junkies will want. In addition, it’s very easy to find a group for these quests, and since they’re very rewarding in the experience department as well, you get a pack that fires on every utilitarian cylinder. The one thing keeping it back for me is its abysmal fun factor. I don’t like undead quests, and having to explore a large, dead expanse of land to find these quests doesn’t put me in a good mood for questing.