Why did Haunted hall end up being so good and Temple of Elemental Evil not?
It’s the same reason that Diablo II was so loved and the many clones created after that weren’t.
It’s like the curse of all sequels. First; it’s the familiarity. Doing the same thing again but more. Much more. Bigger explosions, bigger stunts but essentially the same tired story. At times it works. Familiarity breeds an emotional connection. But if we’re there to see a surprise like the 6th sense, then doing the same but in a different circles won’t work.
Some tricks only work once.
But in the case of HH and ToEE, it was bigger, better but ultimately more empty. The problem with bigger is having time for everything else. More is only good if more also provides the meat. But if you provide nothing but meat then more and meat just becomes a long arduous slog through one encounter after another.
Which brings us back to HH. Haunted halls is long. But you can finish it fairly quickly by finding that golden path. You could arguably do so with ToEE too, but that means slogging (still) through what feels like one room after another of trash mobs.
Second, HH had villains. But the villains had soul. They were all different. They had lots of HP, true, but they all felt different. All of them offered a slight variant on how to defeat them. A tactic if you like. Some were obnoxious, but given the right class and make up, not trivial, but at least manageable. And even if there were trash mobs, they felt strategic.
In ToEE it was random, most villains were bloated bags of HP and it was more a slayer area than an exploration. There was no soul.
It was pretty mind you. The different elemental nodes. The music. But it was cluttered with endless encounters. It was like filling a big huge space with annoying mouse traps you had to step on.
I love HH. I don’t play it enough since I have all the items I need. But it was the perfect classic adventure and everything ToEE promised to be but never lived up too. There’s nothing wrong with ToEE per say. But ToEE has no soul. It’s a HP meat grinder. Red names are bloated HP bags without any other type of tactic than pure dps. The end battle is different true; but it’s boring – confined to an extremely small space without good use of tactical options.
I don’t know how slavers will be. I did play it for a little bit but never finished the first part. But it’s long. Have some side quests and tons of traps. I don’t mind traps to be honest. I just want the tools to deal with them. Turbine have still not added a higher end hirelings to help people who solo. I don’t expect hirelings for LE or EE quests, but something that work on LH and EH.
I know; why don’t you group up? The problem with grouping is time. Slavers is a long quest. I’m sure some groups will minimize it to the essential run, but even when it was done with ToEE, it was still relatively long. And that puts the strain on any PUG. That’s not an excuse, it’s just a fact.