If you were looking to pre-order the Shadowfell Conspiracy, you’re a bit late as it’s out and now we can get our hands on the Iconics attached to the Expansion in the live version, not just on the preview server. Since I decided I’m going to go over the Iconics first and the new areas before I render my verdict and I’ve already touched on the Bladeforged, I decided to go near and dear to my heart and take the Morninglord, a Sun-Elf Cleric, out for a spin. This is the first of the three Iconics actually from the Forgotten Realms setting and directly related to the Shadowfell Conspiracy that came with the Collector’s Edition, an Iconic character, meaning they start at level 15 with a few tweaks, just five levels before they can enter the Epic level quests, fully geared and ready to go.
Clerics are my bread and butter in Dungeons and Dragons Online. I’ve built more of them from the ground up to know what works and what doesn’t, what should work, what won’t and where a Favored Soul will ultimately soar over a Cleric and where a Cleric can do the job better. The Morninglord is a Sun-Elf Cleric of Amaunator, a Forgotten Realms deity. The Morninglord initially looks like a Battle-Cleric build but it doesn’t quite work that way if you’re going for an offensive or healing caster. They will be nice in the offensive and support roll, getting slight bonuses there. The slight bonuses to melee combat are kind of abysmal so I’d write out doing a Battle Cleric if you’re going straight Cleric with this. You’ll still do better with a Favored Soul, in my opinion, if you want to fight, even with splash levels. The pre-built setup they have, coincidentally, is all about casting offensive and otherwise, so there is that.
There are some neat feats and enhancements tied to the Morninglord, and being a specialized Elf class, your ability enhancements from race are tied to Intelligence along with the negative to Constitution. With the changes to a few of the skills though, getting a bump in Intelligence is not a bad thing as it’ll allow you to put more points into Spellcraft and Heal which will boost your spellpower in offensive and healing spells which is a nice bonus, but the minus in Constitution attached to being an Elf hurts.
You start your life attached to the Ball and Chain Tavern like the other three Forgotten Realms Iconics, with a brief introduction to your life and what you’re getting involved in from Elminster. These are nowhere near as in depth as I thought they’d be and only give the briefest of introductions to the Forgotten Realms and what’s going on. If you’re just jumping into things with these Iconics, the story is going to be kind of a mess, basically. Even if you’re not there’s not much in the way of explaining why you’re getting involved with any of them, which is disappointing.
The bonuses from Amaunator are kind of ho-hum. The way I usually build my clerics, even the offensive ones, includes Radiant Servant and while they can help, they’re not all that great. Some of the feat bonuses are all geared towards attack and damage bonuses, small ones, with Heavy Maces and Mauls which isn’t all that great as Clerics don’t make good melee DPS at all. There are a few others that are interesting but overall I’m kind of underwhelmed. Sunburst is neat to have as a spell-like ability, I will give it that. The Morninglord feels like they weren’t sure what to do with it. There are some good options to splash classes but even then the bonuses aren’t that much different than going with a standard Cleric and using the race you want with it. There isn’t the boost I felt with the Bladeforged. Playing my level fourteen Cleric right after didn’t feel all that much off from the level fifteen except for a few spell choices.
As I mentioned with the Bladeforged, you can take your one level of Cleric since you have no option there and then tell Elminster to stick it and take your other fourteen levels to another trainer and split it out there. You’ll get your starter gear when you hit level fifteen and it is all very much tailored to the Morninglord as a class. One thing I thought was interesting is that they give you two off-hand choices you can swap back and forth to. One is a shield with some decent combat bonuses and the other is an orb that enhances your spell-casting abilities. I used the orb mainly as at level 15 if you’re running around on your own you’re dropping a blade barrier and running NPCs through that instead of standing there beating them down with a mace. I do like the look of the gear on the character. It looks decent and functional and the weapon and shield have a unique look to them. The character creation options are slightly modified from the standard ones much like the Bladeforged so all of the Morninglord’s will have a similar look but there’s enough options that you probably won’t run into your twin all that often, except for initial gear anyway.
While I wasn’t as impressed with the Morninglord as I was with the Bladeforged I do think that the Morninglord is fairly solid. It does open up a few different build options and will make an excellent support line character with some decent offensive options. I did find that I burned through my mana a lot faster on the Morninglord than I did on my other Clerics while I was soloing and I haven’t determined if that’s a gear issue or if I was just pushing more on the Morninglord to see what it could do and knew my limits with my regular toons. Not knowing the area and where all the shrines to replenish my spell points I’m sure didn’t help. The only real downside right now is that none of the Iconics can be True Reincarnated for that stat and feat benefit you get from Reincarnation and you can’t True Reincarnate into an Iconic class. Even if it’s lacking the wow factor I was hoping for, the Morninglord is still a decent class choice and while I’ll probably never have more than one, especially with as many Clerics and Favored Souls I already have attached to my account.