Depending on the platform you’re playing on Storm Kings Thunder is a few weeks old or will be introduced shortly. Either way it’s about time to close the chapter on Module 9: Maze Engine. We are going through the introduced systems and content and see how it lines up compared to other modules.
I’ve already reviewed the campaign in-depth. So there’s little gain to do it again. Click here for the full article.
Updated Queue System: A-
There’s really not much not to like about the new queue system. Finally players are able to queue into Tiamat and Demogorgon with a full team. To force players into pugs was a failure right from the start. The emergence of private item level restricted channels can probably solely be credited to Mod 5. Thanks to the queue those channels are stronger than ever, but it was the right move because that’s what players were doing anyway.
You could say the new queue contributes to separating the playerbase further though. Also a few minor issues with the queue contribute to a minor downgrade of a perfect rating.
New Leveling Dungeons: C
Contrary to that, it’s hard to find the positives in the new leveling dungeons. I get they are closing a few gaps in the story progression, but the gameplay relevance is non-existent. Even for AD farmers Temple of Spider remains the fastest dungeon to run and outside a few memorial runs I personally haven’t touched them. They dodge a more devastating rating because the Cloak Tower is fast and a reliable source of daily AD for everyone leveling up.
Castle Never: D
This one might not be justified. The dungeon itself is not great, but actually fine and fitting the game’s design. But you can’t help but compare what the old Castle Never stood for. It was long, featured BoE loot, generated ADs by farming PVE and could not be completed by everyone. The new CN however just aligns in the repetition and randomness of the reward structure and is no longer a specific challenge. The bosses feature a few unique mechanics, but overall the skill requirements are low.
Campaign Updates: A-
We’re not quite there yet, but the updates to the campaigns were a major quality-of-life improvement.
Mount System: B-
It’s absolutely amazing that you can now choose from all skins and swap mount powers on the fly. This was a major request by the community and it’s good it finally happened. For my taste the attached stable feature feels a little bit too random though. Outside a few broken early Insignia Bonuses the gameplay relevance for PVE is slim. And in PVP it adds to the disparity between the haves and have-nots. That’s especially annoying since purple Insignias can only be gotten from premium currency, which currently makes BIS a true pay-to-win feature in that area.
The gear from the Maze Engine is getting a fair share of use across the game. I’ve not seen as many players with Demonic Enchantments, but the Dread Enchantment and Demon Lords’ Artifact set developed into the new best-in-slot for some DPS builds. But it’s not helping that the Dread Enchantment was a ZEN exclusive early and the Artifact set only gained so much power because the Lostmauth one was nerfed. Shadowclad completely disappeared after it’s five minutes of glory and the Rings from CN just complement the ones from Module 8.
Overall the module gets an average rating and comes in inferior to Underdark mainly because of its lack of great gameplay additions. The story and quality-of-life improvements are great, but cannot compensate for other areas.
What are your final thoughts on the Maze Engine module? Share it in the comments below or visit the corresponding thread on our message board.