26/06/2017

Happy Fourth!

Protector's Jubilee a.k.a. Neverwinter's anniversary has once again come and nearly gone, but I missed most of it this time around because I was away on holiday last week. Bad timining on my part to book a trip during Neverwinter's birthday week, I know!


Still, I just wanted to take a moment to congratulate the game on yet another successful year. People like to moan about the business model used for Cryptic's MMOs (myself included!), but it's clearly working for them - so much so that they recently managed to talk Wizards of the Coast into letting them make a Magic: the Gathering MMO too.

Considering that I'm always happy to keep coming back to my Neverwinter characters - even though I take breaks from the game too - the company is clearly doing something right.

14/06/2017

Orcus Down!

I don't have a video or a screenshot showing the UI and achievement of it because my Nvidia share feature decided to act up again, but this past week, my guild cleared Castle Never in a full guild run for the first time! Unfortunately all I got is this screenshot of Orcus quickly disintegrating as Neverwinter mobs and bosses are wont to do.


We had tried Castle Never only once before and made it up to the last boss back then, but he just one-shot our tank at the start of the fight, every time, so that we could not get any further. This time things went much better, apparently due to the boss's damage having received a heavy nerf in the meantime.

I was my usual useless self and died a lot (if I did any buffing, there are no numbers to prove it), but even I managed to survive the final attempt, which was at least something.

12/06/2017

6 Down, 2 To Go


My oathbound paladin hit level 70, hurrah! That brings my total of character classes at the level cap up to six. Now I'm only missing a guardian fighter (I have one, but she's only in her forties right now), and a scourge warlock, which I'm planning to create soon!

10/06/2017

Too Much Info

One of the things I don't like about Neverwinter is that a character's power level is an extremely complex construct and made up of way too many different parts. My character sheet lists more than forty different stats, and even though not all of them can be found on gear, that is only the beginning.

There are also your basic D&D attributes (strength, wisdom etc.), paragon paths, feats (talents), powers, boons, on-use powers on artifacts, not to be confused with artifact powers on your main- and off-hand, enchantments, overload enchantments (totally different), armour kits, active and passive bonuses bestowed by certain companions, active and passive abilities granted by certain mounts, insignia bonuses from mounts (even though the stable system has been in game for over a year, I literally only learned how these work the other day), and I wouldn't be surprised if there was more that I'm forgetting right now.

I pretty much ignore half of this stuff to be honest and it hasn't really hindered my ability to complete basic quest content. But there is huge potential for min-maxing here, creating a wide gulf between those who can be bothered to figure it all out and those who don't. Plus every time Cryptic adds a new system to the mix, I can't help but suspect that it's mostly meant to give them yet another thing to sell in the store or to put into lockboxes. People are less likely to cry about pay-to-win if they can't even keep track of all the different ways in which you can increase your power.

05/06/2017

Injuries And Mending

If you die or step into a trap in Neverwinter, unlike in many other MMOs, you don't accrue repair bills on your gear. Instead you suffer a growing amount of injuries, which - depending on the exact type - can have effects such as slowing your run speed or reducing your maximum hit points. If you are past a certain rank of VIP, you become immune to injuries. Otherwise, the only way to heal is to use an injury kit from a vendor or to stand next to a campfire for a certain amount of time.

This relatively minor setback can still be amazingly annoying to the casual player, as you may forget to buy kits from the vendor and find yourself unable to treat an injury out in the field, or - despite of gold being virtually useless as a currency for anything else - you might balk at the expense for the kits and waste a lot of time standing around near campfires to save money.

Recently however, I was pleased to find that the amount of time required to heal an injury "naturally" by the fire was radically slashed from 3 minutes to 30 seconds. This is a great quality of life improvement for non-VIPs. Where 3 minutes pretty much meant an AFK break, 30 seconds are as good as over by the time you've even had time to get your bearings after resurrecting at the campfire, meaning that you can get right back into the action.

03/06/2017

Dino Time!



As a commenter on the YouTube video so aptly put it: "That was extremely informative. Thank you, Mr. Dinosaur."

Whatever else you want to say about Neverwinter, there is no such thing as content droughts in this game. Even four years later, they just keep on churning out those modules at an impressive pace.

01/06/2017

Signposted

I've written before about how I used to be sceptical of the VIP program, but I think the benefit that might have sold me on it and which I unlocked only relatively recently is the travel signpost. While Neverwinter's world as a whole is fairly fragmented, with lots of instances and loading screens between zones, some of the outdoor maps are pretty sizeable and more importantly, they tend to only have one or two points where you can enter or exit, so you always need to start from there and usually go on a pretty long ride back after you finished your questing.

The travel signpost on the other hand is a perk that allows you to basically summon a "map exit" anywhere with no cooldown, and that just feels so convenient when you're zooming around the world and changing maps a lot. I really miss it when I don't have VIP now.

30/05/2017

Neverwinter on MassivelyOP

MassivelyOP has a series called Choose My Adventure, where the author is sent to play an MMO that they haven't played (much) and then writes a series of posts about their experiences as a (relative) newbie. Along the way, there are a couple of polls in which readers can vote to steer the author on a certain path in-game, usually by way of choosing what area to level in and things like that.

This month, it's Neverwinter's turn, and the first three posts have been surprisingly positive, especially considering that this particular author has recently made a name for himself by coming up with headlines along the lines of all MMOs are dying and both developers and players are dumb.

Unfortunately it's unlikely that the series will end up being very insightful by its end, considering that it took three weeks for the author's character to even get to the Blacklake District and I've never seen it cover a single MMO for longer than six installments. But hey, it's more detailed coverage than the game usually gets.

27/05/2017

Lucky, Part 2

I've been buying VIP time for the past three months and have been saving the daily lockbox keys I got from it, with the plan of opening a whole bunch of lockboxes at once eventually. I read somewhere that this increases your chances of getting something good, as Cryptic wants to reward big spenders that way - I'm not sure if that's true, but it certainly sounds plausible. Either way, I got what I wanted: a Celestial Stag, the current "top prize" from the most recent set of lockboxes.

This is a win for me in more than one way, because not only do I like the stag model in general, but this is also my first mount of legendary quality, granting me a special combat power and maximum mount speed at last. On the auction house the cheapest one goes for about nine million AD! Now my pet tank finally won't be able to outrun me all the time anymore. (He got a legendary mount some time ago.)

25/05/2017

Alts

My stable of alts keeps growing; the only class I don't have yet is the scourge warlock and I'm planning to create one soon. It's funny to me that I sufficiently enjoy creating alts in this game to do this even though it's not very alt-friendly if you think about it.

Sure, having a lot of alts can be beneficial when it comes to farming certain currencies that are capped per character per day, but getting an alt up to a useful level requires a serious investment of time or money, considering the grind required to get all your boons alone.

Also, the levelling process is highly repetitive: I think the game does a good job at easing new players into new features and mechanics, but when you're on your 7th alt it gets very old to have to go through all the various tutorials about companions, invoking and what not. I wonder if the tomes of experience enable you to just skip some of that stuff? Might have to try that next time.

But while you can do some AFK-levelling via invoking for example to skip zones you are tired of, there aren't really any "active" alternatives to levelling via questing, as activities like dungeons or skirmishes only grant piddly amounts of XP. So where in other MMOs, rolling an alt is an opportunity to see a different starting zone and try a different levelling path, in Neverwinter it's pretty much always the same old.