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D&D 5E D&D 5E: Ranking every published adventure, using Amazon reviews

Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
Hello! So I occasionally see folks here asking what their next 5E adventure they should run, but usually the answers given are mixed. Every player and DM has their own personal tastes after all, with some valuing things like colorful maps, or more of a sandbox, or dungeons crawls. So I thought, what is the closest method one could get to an unbiased poll of adventures... without actually doing a poll here (because no offense, this forum is a little skewed towards non-casual gamers).

So here is my attempt at ranking every 5E adventure, using two metrics; overall average score of reviews, with the proportion of "perfect" scores breaking ties (if two books have the same average review, but one has a higher proportion of 5-stars, it moves ahead). Also, this is using Amazon.com, so is primarily US purchases, the biggest market (but not all reviewers). This is also just ranking true adventures, not including boxes or books that include short adventures.

Let me know if you think this ranking is actually fairly accurate... or if there is some quality that this metric completely misses.

Curse of Strahd: 4.9 score, 91%. 4,625 reviews.
Icewind Dale: Rime of the Frostmaiden: 4.8 score, 88%. 5,240 reviews.
Waterdeep: Dragon Heist: 4.8 score, 88%. 3,465 reviews.
Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus: 4.8 score, 88%. 3,312 reviews.
Tomb of Annihilation: 4.8 score, 88%. 2,224 reviews.
Waterdeep: Dungeon of the Mad Mage. 4.8 score, 87%. 2,418 reviews.
Ghosts of Saltmarsh: 4.8 score, 86%. 3,052 reviews.
Tales from the Yawning Portal: 4.8 score, 86%. 2,567 reviews.
Out of the Abyss: 4.8 score, 86%. 1,689 reviews.
Storm King's Thunder: 4.8 score, 86%. 1,653 reviews.
Rise of Tiamat: 4.8 score, 85%. 1,943 reviews.
Candlekeep Mysteries: 4.8 score, 83%. 2,133 reviews.
Hoard of the Dragon Queen: 4.7 score, 83%. 2,530 reviews.
Princes of the Apocalypse: 4.7 score, 81%. 1,335 reviews.
 

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teitan

Legend
Given how many complaints there are about the Tiamat series outside of Amazon, that should probably give one pause about putting too much weight in those 4.7 and 4.8 scores.
It gives me pause on the vocal minority more than whether to trust Amazon scores. The vocal minority will find anything and everything to complain about while the silent majority will tend to just keep trucking. The adventures sold well enough that WOTC put out a limited combined edition last year with extras, more than five years later. Much like the SCAG, I take what I see here or on other forums with a salt shaker.
 

It gives me pause on the vocal minority more than whether to trust Amazon scores. The vocal minority will find anything and everything to complain about while the silent majority will tend to just keep trucking. The adventures sold well enough that WOTC put out a limited combined edition last year with extras, more than five years later. Much like the SCAG, I take what I see here or on other forums with a salt shaker.
One can be skeptical about more than one thing at the same time. ;)
 

teitan

Legend
One can be skeptical about more than one thing at the same time. ;)
Oh sure or one could use the actual evidence and see that it isn't as universally reviled as the online folks say it is...

As Aleister Crowley puts it in his Liber Librae: The sin which is unpardonable is knowingly and wilfully to reject truth, to fear knowledge lest that knowledge pander not to thy prejudices.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
I think most people review on artwork and impressions vs playing the modules.

Princes is not the worst imho it's probably in the middle or just above.

Time, Strahd and Tomb ate the best. Dragon Queen is at the bottom.
 

Charlaquin

Goblin Queen
Oh sure or one could use the actual evidence and see that it isn't as universally reviled as the online folks say it is...
What @Whizbang Dustyboots is getting at is that one can believe this and believe that Amazon reviews are not a good indicator of how well an adventure is received.

I think it’s quite obvious that both are true - the Tiamat adventures are not universally reviled. Indeed, they are quite well liked. But this data isn’t a reliable indicator of that fact.
 

Raith5

Adventurer
My personal experience correlates with this ranking so it must be true! Icewind Dale> Baldur's Gate>Ghosts of Saltmarsh>Princes of the Apocalypse (I still dont quite understand what happened in that one)
 

ccs

41st lv DM
Hmm. Not terribly useful. I see 11/14 entries sitting at a 4.8 rating, with the outliers of that group within %5 points of each other. That doesn't help me narrow a choice down. At the best, and pretending Amazon reviews are all accurate & truthful, that just tells me WoTC produces a very consistent level of content.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
Hmm. Not terribly useful. I see 11/14 entries sitting at a 4.8 rating, with the outliers of that group within %5 points of each other. That doesn't help me narrow a choice down. At the best, and pretending Amazon reviews are all accurate & truthful, that just tells me WoTC produces a very consistent level of content.

Production values are very consistent.
 

teitan

Legend
What @Whizbang Dustyboots is getting at is that one can believe this and believe that Amazon reviews are not a good indicator of how well an adventure is received.

I think it’s quite obvious that both are true - the Tiamat adventures are not universally reviled. Indeed, they are quite well liked. But this data isn’t a reliable indicator of that fact.
Thousands of reviews aren’t an indicator?
 

Thousands of reviews aren’t an indicator?
No. There's an entire industry built around messing around with reviews, for reasons that aren't always obvious. (I don't think WotC is putting fake reviews into the system.)

This site suspects that 45% of the reviews on Hoard of the Dragon Queen are suspect, possibly to intentionally drive down reviews in a programmatic way.

The same issue happens whenever you let the public add reviews, most famously at Rotten Tomatoes.
 



Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
No. There's an entire industry built around messing around with reviews, for reasons that aren't always obvious. (I don't think WotC is putting fake reviews into the system.)

This site suspects that 45% of the reviews on Hoard of the Dragon Queen are suspect, possibly to intentionally drive down reviews in a programmatic way.

The same issue happens whenever you let the public add reviews, most famously at Rotten Tomatoes.
I found this fascinating so decided to re-run all of these using that tool. The results will take a while for it to update them all.
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
Product Name / (Pass Warn or Fail) / Adjusted Rating

Tomb of Annihilation (PASS) 4.7
Curse of Strahd (FAIL) 4.6
Out of the Abyss (WARN) 4.6
Tales from the Yawning Portal (WARN) 4.6
Dungeon of the Mad Mage (FAIL) 4.5
Ghosts of Saltmarsh (WARN) 4.5
Rise of Tiamat (FAIL) 4.5
Storm Kings Thunder (WARN) 4.5
Descent Into Avernus (FAIL) 4.4
Dragon Heist (FAIL) 4.4
Rime of the Frostmaiden (FAIL) 4.4
Hoard of the Dragon Queen (FAIL) 4.3
Princes of the Apocalypse (FAIL) 4.3
Candlekeep Mysteries (FAIL) 4.2
 
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Urriak Uruk

Debate fuels my Fire
No. There's an entire industry built around messing around with reviews, for reasons that aren't always obvious. (I don't think WotC is putting fake reviews into the system.)

This site suspects that 45% of the reviews on Hoard of the Dragon Queen are suspect, possibly to intentionally drive down reviews in a programmatic way.

The same issue happens whenever you let the public add reviews, most famously at Rotten Tomatoes.

When I followed your link, I got zero %... I think we may be in different countries?
 


They all start at or close to 0% until you request a full report. I just ran the report for today and it's now "31% of potentially unnatural reviews removed."
Nice. Mine said they had scheduled another look, which I guess you got. Thirty-one percent is much better than 45%, but that's still a lot of problematic reviews.
 

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