Although the weekend isn’t quite over yet, it has been quite interesting :). On Friday and Saturday, a few of Crypt Crawlers ventured into the Temple of Elemental Evil Part 1 for the first time. And boy was it an experience. My overall impressions of the quest is somewhat mixed. I enjoy the detail that was put into the creation of this classic module and I definitely appreciate the depth and size of the dungeon. However, its extreme length is a little daunting. Of course with it being our first time in this quest, we didn’t really have much of a choice but to explore as much of the quest as we could. It took us about three hours to get through it the first time and over three hours to get through it the second time. I’m sure we’ll be able to progress through it more quickly once we do it more often. My only problem is that I won’t be able to run this particular quest as often as I might some of the other quests (not including the weekend) because of my time constraints. Hopefully it won’t take my slow mind long to come down with a path that allows me to complete it more quickly.
Now, with that said I must also point out that we did this quest on heroic elite, making it a level 9 quest, with three level 10 characters and 3 hirelings. I had taken Erdrique (Rogue) and I was joined by Hellbanisher (Bard) and Cascading (Rogue/Ranger) on Friday and by Twotoe (Barbarian) and Cascading on Saturday. The one thing I can definitely say is that the Temple of Elemental Evil Part 1 is extremely challenging, especially if you are using hirelings. I noticed that are hirelings just seemed to burn through their mana at accelerated rates in the quest. I’m guessing this is mainly because of the large number of enemy mobs we encountered and my lord I must say there were plenty of enemies to deal with. While running through the Temple hallways and exploring its rooms, it was the huge number of enemies that caused us problems as opposed to the various types of enemies. I was actually quite surprised to see how many human type mobs were in the Temple. One thing that I did notice though, was that I wound up getting a number of monster manual deeds as we made our way through the quest the first night, which I thought was interesting.
I found the quest mechanics interesting overall. I thought it was a pretty interesting idea to mix a slayer type count optional objectives within the main objectives of the quest. It gives you something to work forward too if you would rather to continue to explore the dungeon instead of looking for the end fight to complete the quest. I also enjoyed the optional rare encounters and the various orange named mobs. I also enjoyed having a new type of breakable in the quest, with those braziers being breakable, but I did run across a number of those that I couldn’t break and I had hard time selecting on them on as well. One thing I did notice is that for all of the detail put into the various rooms, the entire quest itself lacks in collectibles. With all of those bookcases, desks, cabinets, and crates I would have thought you could have come across something that was interesting to collect. I guess the mushrooms you gather in the chests fill this void but I miss that interaction with the dungeon. However, this is a minor thing and nothing to linger on.
During our first run through on Friday night, we came across three different trap types: magic wards, pressure plates, and bear traps. On Saturday night we only came across the pressure plates and bear traps which I thought was a little interesting. The thing that I found weird about those traps, is that they seemed to be extremely clustered together. I would have thought they would have been spread out through the area a little more. It made disabling easier though :).
The map itself was a little difficult for me to get a hang of at first. I had some difficulty in lining up the doorways with the appropriate areas of the Temple. However, once I figured out how they lined up I was able to understand the map’s layout. It did take us a little while to figure out where to go once we gathered up the keys but once we figured out we needed to head to the Dungeon Level 3 we were good.
The named enemy fights in each temple weren’t that much of an issue, except for the Fire Temple. Those salamanders spawning up from the lava pit was something I wasn’t quite expecting. We got pounded into dust there during both runs. We also had some difficulty with the huge cube that spawns in the Water Temple but kiting that thing around helped with that. However, the earth temple and air temple were relatively straight forward. Now the end fight was a little more interesting. We did have some difficulty dealing with the four elementals (air, water, earth, and fire) and then having to deal with the bebilith, but we did take them down eventually. We didn’t completing get the waves killed before Falrinth sent in his next monstrosity to kill us, nor did we get the bebilith killed before Falrinth showed his impatience and started his attack but luckily most of the elementals and the bebilith were close to be destroyed when Falrinth started his attacks so that wasn’t much of a problem.
Overall, I found the Temple of Elemental Evil Part 1 very intriguing, very challenging, and a peer definition of a dungeon crawl. The extreme length of the quest and the extraordinary number of enemies you encounter is quite different than anything else you will encounter in game. However, I believe this will be minimized in time. I haven’t really invested any time in the new crafting system yet so I don’t really have much to comment on that besides the fact that we have another crafting system which is just another system to keep tabs on. But the quest is definitely fun and it can be frustrating. On Friday night we wound up reentering the quest once and using some resurrection cakes. On Saturday night we reentered the quest about 8 times or so but didn’t use any resurrection cakes. We definitely saw our soul stones more often in this quest than in any other in recent times. Hopefully we will hit up Part 2 next week.
Thanks for reading everybody and happy hunting in the Temple of Elemental Evil.