I bought the Shadowfail Conspiracy expansion pack back when I was a bit more oblivious about DDO’s quality decline since 2012. I bought it together with the Menace of the Underdark expansion on Steam because they were having a sale for something like 75% off. Even then, I’m not sure if either purchase was really worth it because Wheloon is such a detestable setting with an abominable collection of quests. And it’s a real shame that Wheloon has to drag down the glory of the Storm Horns, because on it’s own, it’s a very good pack for which I’d gladly spend maybe even 700-800 TP.
There are four level 19 quests (27 on epic) here which need to be completed in any order to access the final quest. They’re mostly mediocre experience (on both heroic and epic), although The Tracker’s Trap and What Goes Up certainly stand out.
In fact, I’d say that What Goes Up is an absolute essential to complete on heroic and epic–maybe even multiple times on each–if you have this pack. Currently, it holds the record for having the highest base experience on every difficulty from heroic casual up to epic elite, and even if the flagging may take awhile, this quest more than makes up for the time taken.
The wilderness area, unlike Wheloon, actually lends itself well to splitting up. It’s the largest in the game–just look at that map! Although I’m unaware of anyone actually completing all the slayers in this area, it seems like it could be an alright idea in theory, and given how well-designed the area itself is and how DDO players seem to universally love the area, I don’t see the harm in trying.
The Storm Horns (along with Wheloon, unfortunately) are part of four sagas, two heroic and the other two epic. This allows for a little more experience.
Most of the effects on these items can be found elsewhere, though it’s worth noting that some of these items are the only way to get +7/8 stat bonuses in the heroic game. Not that it’s that great of a bonus anyway, since +8 only translates to +1 more ability mod over +6 stat bonuses.
Fun Factor: 5/5
This is where this pack really shines. Even if The Tracker’s Trap and Breaking the Ranks are mostly things we’ve all seen before, Lines of Supply is a interesting reversal of the typical “protect NPC” quests by setting the objective as you having to kill enemies which other enemies are trying to protect. A Break in the Ice is a nice throwback to some older quests in the harbor which allowed for slightly more experience in the way of hidden optionals.
These quests may feature some slightly unorthodox mechanics, but in the end, that’s not what I find so fun about them; rather, the one thing I enjoy most about this pack is the atmosphere itself. Take a look at this screenshot taken by someone on the Something Awful forums and I defy you to tell me it isn’t gorgeous.
And that’s only one half of the Storm Horns. The upper half of it is more frozen over and feels like a separate area from the lower half of the wilderness. The place is overall half-tundra, half-taiga, and is very reminiscent of Alderaan, for anyone who’s played SWTOR, or are Star Wars fans in general.
It’s proof incarnate that Turbine still can make wonderful, expansive areas when they put their minds to it. Furthermore, given the canonical geography of Cormyr, I don’t see why they don’t try to expand DDO in more traditional and better-fated ways. I don’t see why Turbine isn’t putting effort on creating more fresh, original content and making more of the Forgotten Realms a reality for DDO, and instead are focusing on half-assed packs that DDO doesn’t need. Only four of the past fourteen updates have been focused on expanding DDO’s Forgotten Realms content: Druid’s Deep (which arguably doesn’t even add all that much to the Forgotten Realms), the Netherese Legacy (which doesn’t even add all that much, since the High Road is simply an inferior clone of the King’s Forest), the Shadowfail Conspiracy (a mixed bag), and the Legendary Halls (wasted potential).
Anyway, I digress. I’ll finish out this section by at least ending on a positive note.
What Goes Up is one of my favorite quests in the game, second only to Precious Cargo. (Funny how these are both post-U14… seems that Turbine has a few “stopped clock” moments amidst over three years of otherwise failure.) It’s a multi-section quest which starts off inside a glacier, similarly to a Break in the Ice. It progresses further up into the glacier, where you’re tasked with stopping evil spellcasters from utilizing this spherical artifact called the “mythallar.” Turns out that you’re too late; the glacier starts flying due to the magic, so you have to go to the top of the glacier and confront the head spellcaster who’s controlling this whole operation. At this point, the outside of the glacier is a veritable flying fortress, which makes for some impressive scenery. Take a look at this guy’s video walkthrough of the quest if you want to see what I consider one of the best-looking quests in the game.
Sadly, it’s relatively difficult to find a group for these. I chalk this up to the game itself dying, because this pack offers both a heroic and epic difficulty setting, both of which are most common run in the epic levels. So even though epic is the more popular game these days, DDO itself is steadily declining in popularity.
The problem with the pricing here is that you need to spend around $20 or 2495 TP in order to get this pack. This is because you can’t purchase the pack individually; it comes as part of the Shadowfail Conspiracy expansion pack, which includes Wheloon, the Storm Horns, and one level 15 quest that nobody cares about (and also an iconic hero if you pay for it with real money instead of TP, but honestly I don’t give a fuck about iconics). 2495 for two adventure packs is a ridiculous price, and even if Storm Horns is an excellent pack, it doesn’t offer enough to counterbalance Wheloon’s awfulness. Even though I consider Storm Horns to be in the B-Tier of adventure packs, I’d advise against buying the Shadowfail Conspiracy expansion pack because 2495 TP is way too much to be spending for Storm Horns alone, and Wheloon adds nothing of value to your purchase.
One of my favorite packs in the game in terms of fun factor, since the wilderness area is awe-inspiring, while What Goes Up is an overall solid gaming experience, in addition to granting solid experience. Sadly, the Storm Horns is hampered by poor loot and the worst pricing in the entire game. Were it sold as a standalone pack, I might’ve even put this in the A-Tier, but as it stands now, the rest of the Shadowfail Conspiracy drags it down too far that I can’t even justify buying it. It’s an anomaly in that even though it’s an above average pack, I will never recommend buying it.