Feast at the Great Hall in Our Neverwinter Shroud of Souls Review

By Jeff Francis
Neverwinter Shroud of Souls review

There's nothing like the virtual equivalent of the new car smell for an online rpg. By this, I mean the release of new content and features for gamers to sink their teeth into. The Cloaked Ascendancy module introduced the River District zone to Neverwinter, along with a trio of powerful wizards seeking to wrest control of the city away from Lord Neverember. While the wizards have been defeated, a dangerous new foe arises to threaten the city of Neverwinter in Shroud of Souls, the expansion to The Cloaked Ascendancy. Will good prevail over evil? Can you drink with the undead? Will dwarven ale ever drop below ten coppers for a mug? Find out the answers to two of these questions in our Neverwinter Shroud of Souls review.


Neverwinter Stronghold Marauders

Let's begin our Neverwinter Shroud of Souls review with the basics. Unlike most expansions for the game (which you can play for free here), Shroud of Souls is very heavy on new features as opposed to lots of new quests. There's a new wrinkle that occurs after the threat of The Cloaked Ascendancy has been dealt with along with a new activity for guild strongholds. There are some interesting new features, such as the guild hall now being open and able to be decorated. In addition, loadouts have been introduced to the free mmo, allowing players to switch between different configurations of their character to fit the current circumstance.

The heart of the Neverwinter Shroud of Souls expansion are the new features that players can enjoy. I particularly like the new loadout feature that allows for different configurations for your characters. Every player gets two loadouts for free (their base character plus an additional one that can be totally different), and players can purchase additional loadout slots for 500 zen each. What makes the loadout feature pretty handy is that almost everything can be changed. Players can mess around with powers, feats, equipment, artifacts, ability scores, boons, and so on. This allows players a lot of flexibility on how they play their character. While the most obvious choices are PvE versus PvP loadouts, there's the possibility of changing your character's paragon path completely, allowing for a refreshing change of pace.

Shroud of Souls Morlanth

Strongholds get quite a bit of love in the Neverwinter Shroud of Souls expansion. First, the guild hall is now open and ready for decorating. Guilds now have a great hall that they can congregate in, and decorative furnishings can be purchased or crafted to really spruce up the place. The list of items players can use to decorate their great hall include chairs, rugs, statues, rugs, fireplaces, tables, paintings, and more. Shroud of Souls also brought temporary structures to the guild stronghold. These structures last for a week and can either generate resources, such as influence or gems, or sell items, such as resources for crafting. Most players look forward to the Mysterious Merchant, who sells some great hall decorations and some really good gear.

The final stronghold feature added in the Neverwinter Shroud of Souls expansion is the Stronghold Marauders event. This event can be triggered at specific times and has guild (and alliance!) members fending off hordes of marauders. Goods are left at three points outside the guild stronghold, and it's up to the players to defend each point. Waves of marauders will appear and attempt to steal the supplies. Defeated marauders who are carrying supplies will drop them, which then allows players to pick them up and return them to the stockpile. There are some wrinkles thrown in, such as catapults appearing in some waves that will siphon off resources as the guild's hall is being damaged. The action in Stronghold Marauders is fast and furious, and you'll need a lot of players to defend all three points. It's pretty common for guilds to focus only on defending a single point. Completing this event will give players 600 influence to donate to their guild once per week, and additional runs will generate vouchers for the stronghold. If players can defend all three points, they can vote to continue doing additional rounds of attacks in order to gain more rewards. Overall, this event is pretty fun and action-packed, but it can get laggy if your computer is older.

Neverwinter Evernight

The quest content in the Neverwinter Shroud of Souls expansion follows the events of The Cloaked Ascendancy. A new danger has arisen due to the bumbling of Lukan, the mad illusionist. It seems that he opened a crypt that was warded and has released a powerful undead necromancer, who is seeking to build an undead army to conquer Neverwinter. Naturally, it's up to the player to stop this from happening. The player is first tasked to defeat a number of wraiths in the River District and investigate a crypt. A helpful ghost points the player in the right direction to where the crypt that Lukan opened is located. Inside the crypt, the player gets their first look at Morlanth, the undead necromancer in question. What follows is a quest chain to gain the items needed to venture into the Shadowfell, specifically the undead city of Evernight. This quest chain will have the player travelling to a number of zones to gather said items, and I found the interaction with the lich that the player picks up to be pretty amusing. The highlight of this narrative is the undead city of Evernight, where the player can even purchase some drinks from the undead. While the time spent in Evernight is pretty short, I do hope the developers expand upon it in the future. The conclusion to the storyline has the player entering The Shard of Night (the floating tower over the River District) and facing Morlanth. I must point out that there can be a bug in the final fight against Morlanth. If you defeat her too quickly, then you will not be able to complete the quest. If this happens, you can go back to the character selection screen, pick the same hero, and then restart the fight. You have to give her time to summon a dragon. Once this is done, then you can go all-out and bring her down. The Shard of Night then becomes repeatable once you complete the quest chain.

So, what's our verdict in this Neverwinter Shroud of Souls review? It's kind of hard to rate it like a full expansion as it's basically an update to the current module. Overall, I think it's a very solid expansion as it adds quite a few new features (loadouts, the great hall, and new temporary structures) to the mmorpg. The new storyline is pretty interesting and introduces some new locations to the player. My only gripe (albeit a small one) is that you can complete the storyline in about an hour-and-a-half. Still, Shroud of Souls does usher in a bunch of new features, a fun new storyline, and some repeatable content (The Shard of Night and Stronghold Marauders).



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