The Favourite Official D&D Products Ranked
  • The Favourite Official D&D Products Ranked


    Looking at EN World's reviews area, where the ratings of commenters are aggregated, it's interesting to look at which are the favourite official D&D books an which are less well-regarded. I've taken the items with 10 or more reviews and ranked them in descending order. Volo's Guide to Monsters is by far the favourite product, with Hoard of the Dragon Queen at the bottom of the list.

    Comments 46 Comments
    1. Gradine's Avatar
      Gradine -
      Surprised the Starter Set wasn't higher, given how popular LMoP was. Also surprised the Basic Rules topped the PHB, if only slightly. I also apparently misread the reception to Xanathar's.

      The DMG being the highest core book is also a bit of a surprise, considering how superfluous many DMs treat any given edition's version of that book.

      The rest doesn't really surprise. Volo's is easily one my favorite official splats ever (up there with 3.5's Tome of Magic & Heroes of Horror).

      In any case, I'm off to try to bump up that number for HotDQ a bit
    1. lowkey13's Avatar
      lowkey13 -
      Interesting. I would take this with a grain of salt, but as a general observation, I think the following points are correct:

      Volo's Guide was awesome. Really. That's a splat book I read cover-to-cover, especially the in-depth sections on specific monsters. That is the type of book WoTC should be aspiring to publish.

      OTOH, SCAG wasn't successful, at all. I am a little surprised that XGTE is so low rated, but, TBH, it also wasn't great (like Volo's). More ... eh. Better than SCAG, but not, you know, really good.

      Finally, it would seem that the general impression is that Strahd and OOTA are the two best APs, with the rest falling in a fairly narrow band after them ... except HoTDQ. Don't do that again.
    1. Dried's Avatar
      Dried -
      Tomb of Annihilation is not in the list. Why?
    1. neuronphaser's Avatar
      neuronphaser -
      Quote Originally Posted by lowkey13 View Post
      Interesting. I would take this with a grain of salt, but as a general observation, I think the following points are correct:

      Volo's Guide was awesome. Really. That's a splat book I read cover-to-cover, especially the in-depth sections on specific monsters. That is the type of book WoTC should be aspiring to publish.

      OTOH, SCAG wasn't successful, at all. I am a little surprised that XGTE is so low rated, but, TBH, it also wasn't great (like Volo's). More ... eh. Better than SCAG, but not, you know, really good.

      Finally, it would seem that the general impression is that Strahd and OOTA are the two best APs, with the rest falling in a fairly narrow band after them ... except HoTDQ. Don't do that again.
      Yeah, I think I have the same feelings across the board there.

      The big surprise for me is how high up Out of the Abyss is, as I think it failed miserably in terms of layout/content to make a sensible story, but succeeded beyond my expectations to make both the Underdark and the Demon Lords into a highly gameable, fun-to-explore environment. It's like it's a sourcebook disguised as an adventure, which is also how I felt about Storm King's Thunder...and yet it's closer to the bottom.

      Granted, it's only the EN World users being counted in this, so it's far from accurate market-wide, but still very interesting.
    1. dalisprime's Avatar
      dalisprime -
      Went through the reviews for XGtE and the 2 star ones seem like blatant trolling. Saying that the material in the book is no good because it was published before as UA playtest is ignoring the point of the playtest.
      For one you can't use UA material in organised play. Two: a lot of that material needs fine tuning. There's a reason why the artificer and mystic aren't official yet - neither class is properly balanced.
      Then the genius who claims it takes 5 minutes to make a subclass: sure, but the subclass won't be cohesive and very likely won't be balanced. Lastly - it won't be official so AL players which make up a rather large bulk of the playerbase can't use your 5 minute homebrew material.
      The name tables probably don't see a lot of use (though really, sometimes they should considering what some people come up with) and reprinting old material stings (though again, AL IS the primary audience for that because of the +1 rule) but it's not a bad book. Doesn't deserve being scored 2 stars or less.
    1. snaggle2th's Avatar
      snaggle2th -
      Quote Originally Posted by Dried View Post
      Tomb of Annihilation is not in the list. Why?
      Fewer than ten reviews? (I haven't looked to see. Just going by the OP's criteria.)
    1. MNblockhead's Avatar
      MNblockhead -
      For the most part, it what I would expect or guess at. But seeing the DM screen in the top 10 really floored me. I found the first few DM screens to be very disappointing. Recent changes have made them more useful, but no iteration of the DM screen would appear in my top 10 list and, based on discussions here and elsewhere, I wouldn't expect it to be on many other players' / DM's lists either. Oh well, I guess my assumption is based on dissatisfied customers being more vocal.
    1. Winghorn's Avatar
      Winghorn -
      Some of the results here are a little unexpected, though when I think about it they may some sense. I loved XG2E, but I've seen a lot of negative reviews from people annoyed about reprinted material and not being a standard PHB2.

      The only one that truly surprises me is SKT - it seemed to have decent reactions at the time, and I can't really think up any reason for the amount of bad reviews.
    1. kenmarable's Avatar
      kenmarable -
      Sure, some rankings might be surprising and many others aren't, but overall, I think another take away is that the worst thing on the list is still over 50%. That's not a great rating, but it could be far worse! So it looks like every single product for this edition has a sizable group of fans.
    1. Morrus's Avatar
      Morrus -
      Quote Originally Posted by kenmarable View Post
      Sure, some rankings might be surprising and many others aren't, but overall, I think another take away is that the worst thing on the list is still over 50%. That's not a great rating, but it could be far worse! So it looks like every single product for this edition has a sizable group of fans.
      Yeah; I think the takeaway here is that they're all high - the top ones are close to 100%.
    1. vpuigdoller's Avatar
      vpuigdoller -
      Personally I didnít love VGTM, I agree with the APs rating. HotDQ have issues.

      Edit to add: I wonder how this compare to their internal (WOTC) ratings.
    1. Enevhar Aldarion's Avatar
      Enevhar Aldarion -
      It is interesting, but I take all online reviews, ratings and rankings of products with not just a grain of salt, but a whole shaker. It is too easy for people to make a bunch of dummy accounts and mass spam either positively or negatively on anything. I am more likely to trust sites that only compile professional reviews.

      As for ToA, it looks like some people went and added reviews of it since this list was made, as there are now 10 reviews and it has a 92.5% rating.
    1. Spookyboots's Avatar
      Spookyboots -
      It's interesting to see this list. I have known three groups that have played Strahd and stopped half way stating that it was a disappointment. That said they are groups that usually never run official campaigns and for sure two felt that the confinement to the AP was not conducive to the creativity of the group. From one extreme too another is hard. I was running Tomb of Annihilation and loved what I read. It was not fun for my group or myself to play through. We stopped about 50% through because it had become a slog. My group enjoys world building and focusing on roleplaying. The RP stuff was fun but they didn't have a stake in the setting so it sometimes felt superficial. Their favorite part was meeting and interacting with the guides funny enough. We play a home brew sandbox generally and have been for three years, I know that added to the challenge. Different strokes for different folks.
    1. Gradine's Avatar
      Gradine -
      HotDQ strived for a very specific purpose (that it did a terrible job of explaining, incidentally) and achieved it magnificently. I also completely understand why so many people disliked it. The editing/maps/rules issues alone were unacceptable
    1. Charles Platt's Avatar
      Charles Platt -
      Ironically, the low-rated Xanathar's Guide To Everything was what ended my RPG drought. I playtested 5E, but had given up on tabletop gaming after that. It was only when a co-worker showed me the cool stuff going on in Xanathar's that I checked DnD out again and fell back in love.
    1. Gradine's Avatar
      Gradine -
      I've enjoyed XGTE quite a bit myself. I think part of the problem might be, this being exclusively ratings on ENWorld, and ENWorld's membership skewed much more heavily towards DMs than the general D&D populace, and XGTE's best content being geared towards players, with little in the way of exciting and new content for DMs (especially DMs who read UA articles regularly, which I'm assuming again is skewed heavily in the case of ENWorld's audience)... I'm not actually that surprised by the lower ratings.
    1. Olaf the Stout -
      Quote Originally Posted by lowkey13 View Post
      Interesting. I would take this with a grain of salt, but as a general observation, I think the following points are correct:

      Volo's Guide was awesome. Really. That's a splat book I read cover-to-cover, especially the in-depth sections on specific monsters. That is the type of book WoTC should be aspiring to publish.

      OTOH, SCAG wasn't successful, at all. I am a little surprised that XGTE is so low rated, but, TBH, it also wasn't great (like Volo's). More ... eh. Better than SCAG, but not, you know, really good.

      Finally, it would seem that the general impression is that Strahd and OOTA are the two best APs, with the rest falling in a fairly narrow band after them ... except HoTDQ. Don't do that again.
      Do you mean Strahd and PotA are the best two APs? PotA scored 87%, compared to 80.5% for OotA.
    1. werecorpse's Avatar
      werecorpse -
      Quote Originally Posted by Gradine View Post
      HotDQ strived for a very specific purpose (that it did a terrible job of explaining, incidentally) and achieved it magnificently. I also completely understand why so many people disliked it. The editing/maps/rules issues alone were unacceptable
      What was the purpose as you understand it?
    1. Gradine's Avatar
      Gradine -
      Quote Originally Posted by werecorpse View Post
      What was the purpose as you understand it?
      Holding new player's hands through a series of very disparate adventure styles (combat-heavy mission-based, infiltration/subterfuge, dungeon crawl, and travel/social encounters) that give a nice balance of the three pillars of play, then putting them in a series of site-based adventures with a broad number of possible solutions and letting them practice what they've learned.

      I think experienced players might chafe under how guided those first few chapters are (some are more railroad-y than others) and the module asks way too much out of the DM for it to be a good module for new DMs, but for an experienced DM teaching a bunch of new players the game it works really damn well.
    1. FitzTheRuke's Avatar
      FitzTheRuke -
      Hmmm... As long as we are speaking about interesting information that comes from a small sliver of the market (taken with a grain of salt), here's my store's rankings on the same books by SALES, for comparison to this information (for fun):

      1. Player's Handbook
      2. Starter Set
      3. Dungeon Master's Guide
      4. Monster Manual
      5. Dungeon Master's Screen
      6. Xanathar's Guide to Everything
      7. Volo's Guide to Monsters
      8. Sword Coast Adv. Guide <-- this surprised me, I thought it was a dud.
      9. Hoard of the Dragon Queen
      10. Out of the Abysss
      11. Storm King's Thunder
      12. Princes of the Apocalypse
      13. Tales from the Yawning Portal
      14. Rise of Tiamat
      15. Curse of Strahd
      16. Tomb of Annihilation

      Now, to be fair, this is ranked in TOTAL UNIT SALES TO DATE, so stuff that has been out longer has an advantage.

      Personally, I think the APs have consistently gotten better each one that comes out. Tomb is my favorite so far, and I've run (at least a little bit of) ALL of them.

      Interesting.

      (Feel free to ask questions).
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