Dungeon History: Spellplague Caverns

Dungeon History is our column that looks back at outdated or removed group content. The reason why we can contribute a full series to that topic is pretty obvious: Unfortunately the game features a lot of it. The main culprit is the Elemental Evil update and its level cap raise. The devs decided to completely take away all level 60 content and reintroduce some of it as level 70. From the original set of eleven tier 1 and tier 2 dungeons only four have seen reworks so far though. The rest is either removed or plays an insignificant role as leveling dungeon.

Spellplague Caverns

You might know Spellplague Caverns as endgame dungeon from the Cloaked Ascendancy, but the current version is nothing like the old one. “SP” is one of the dungeons that got removed with Elemental Evil, but received a rework later on.

The original dungeon is still present in its leveling version. It however no longer features the difficulty and style from back in the day. Spellplague Caverns was one of the longer dungeons to run and probably featured one of the more interesting end bosses. That’s why the tier 2 helm that dropped from the end chest was substantially harder to get than other armor pieces.

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Punting Era

Even the trash was no pushover. The dungeon was add-heavy and players usually tried to avoid as many mobs as possible. Additionally groups tried to pull mobs on bridges and push them into the acid using CW control powers like Repel or Shield Push. For a certain time that was the fastest way to complete the dungeon. If you played a Wizard you better mastered the necessary timing and techniques.

You however also needed to watch out not to get pushed off yourself. Getting caught by a Nothic Mindwarp’s CC was one of the more embarrassing deaths that could occur.

Plague Reaver

The first boss, the Plague Reaver, could overwhelm you with adds in case you couldn’t kill its Spawning Pits quick enough. Usually one DPS was tasked to take out the spawns while tank and healer took on the boss and CWs controlled and killed the adds. It was a fun fight although not too challenging if everyone knew what to do. Nonetheless groups used several exploits throughout the years to make life easier for themselves. You could for example lure the Plague Reaver outside the boss room to not have to deal with its adds at all.

Mouth of Madness

The second boss was a big giant Maw that presented a challenge in multiple areas. First of all groups had to carefully maneuver the boss room to not pull too many adds. Then you needed to take out Maw adds floating around because fighting with them on top of the boss could become a real pain. The Mouth itself was a one-shotting monster with heavy AoE attacks. You could literally not get hit once or would die immediately. I remember pulling too many adds or not killing them in the correct order led to quite a few shouting matches within groups.

For awhile you could skip this boss as well by jumping over the exit gate. Players hugged the wall to the right, jackie chan’d over the gate and continued on. They fixed this by blocking the door, and they might also have made the boss an objective. So skipping him would cause you to not complete the dungeon.

The Aboleth Overseer

But that was nothing to the pain that the last boss presented. To master the Aboleth Overseer required both coordination and everyone understanding their roles. The DPS took on the boss while the GF kited the adds in the middle of the platform. For a certain time adds were control immune, but once possible the CWs controlled and pushed them into the acid. Every 20% HP, one part of the platform vanished and the DPS had to retreat quickly.

When all four outer platform were gone, the last portion of the fight took place. Since there was no longer enough room to kite the adds away from the boss, and most were control immune permanently, the tank tried to pull the adds as much as possible while everyone else burned the boss. This is where once again the Nothic Mindwarps became super annoying with their pushing CC. It could end up being a real mess, but was also tons of fun.

Oculus the Inflamed

One of the things that made Spellplague special was its hidden boss “Oculus the Inflamed”, one of the few in Neverwinter. I believe it’s still present, but early in the game it was really hard to get to him because of a nasty bug. The dungeon wasn’t fixed for most of the time it existed in that you needed two orbs to unlock it. One orb however was stuck behind an invisible barrier. That’s why you had to run the dungeon twice within 24 hours to acquire enough orbs. The devs eventually relocated the second orb so it was accessible and you could do the secret boss in one run.

RIP CC in Endgame PVE

Spellplague Caverns has a special place in history because it was one of the early PVE dungeons in which CC truly mattered. If you didn’t have a Control Wizard mastering its art, good luck beating the last boss. Later more power trivialized the content as always, and you could also just burn through. In the early days however, the amount of skill required to run the dungeon was fairly high.

What are your memories of the original Spellplague Caverns? Share your thoughts in the comments below and visit the corresponding thread on our message board!

Information provided by putzboy has been used in this article! Thanks bud!

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j0Shi plays the Neverwinter MMORPG since the open BETA in 2013 and is a regular contributor to the blog and the whole UN:Project. Originally a Guardian Fighter, he has built up ALTs of all classes and plays on BIS/near-BIS level.