I know this module sometimes catches flack, especially from grognards. It WAS the first of the real 'story' adventures. And it DID have the first 'rock-star' NPC in Strahd. But in my opinion, neither of those things are bad in and of themselves. It's all a matter of personal taste, and this one really did suit mine.
Ravenloft seems to be viewed as the harbinger of things to come - the pivotal moment when TSR shifted from making "old school" modules.I didn't realize until recently that I've always played "old school", meaning I take published RPG products, grab the things I like and throw them into my own sandbox. Usually discarding the story, plot, and NPC backstories. This is how we played Ravenloft, Desert of Desolation, and the Dragonlance series. I don't think we ever played the actual games as intended.
As a shift in gears to a gothic story module, this was AWESOME. As the "harbinger" that Thomas Denmark mentions, it's too bad.I have no problem with "story" modules existing. It's just when they took over everything that I had problems with them.That said, no one ever made it through this module, though one party got close.