Dead Zone

My goal for my little hunter ranger is to slowly take her through all the original zones and redo all the quests there to remind myself of their storylines. I only actually did them all once, as all three of my current max-level alts went into "levelling without really playing" mode at one point or another.

In an interesting contrast to most other MMOs I've played, which usually offer a variety of starting experiences for different races or classes, Neverwinter's first couple of levels are the exact same every time. This actually made them the hardest for me to replay yet again, as they all featured content that I had already done multiple times before. I usually do most of the quests up to Neverdeath Graveyard if nothing else, simply because that's where you get your last free bag.

I was pretty relieved once I pushed past that and got into the content I actually wanted to replay, however I was also kind of surprised just how much overall player activity dropped off at that point (around level thirty). Zones suddenly had less than half the number of active instances compared to before, and queue times for skirmishes jumped up from near instant to upwards of ten minutes.

I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised, considering that this is the point where I also usually stop questing on my alts, not to mention the point where my interest originally floundered for a while when I first tried the game at launch. It's still interesting to see that this seems to affect so many people though.



I realised that I never actually gave my opinion on the Underdark module, even though my pet tank and I actually played through its story shortly after it was released, so here goes:

Cryptic made a big deal out of the fact that they had managed to get R. A. Salvatore to write a storyline for them, and even though I've never read any of his books, I thought it was immediately obvious that the Underdark story was very different from their usual fare. Aspects of D&D were referenced that had never been mentioned in Neverwinter before, and there were some interesting twists and turns. Even the voice acting seemed a bit better than usual, though dwarf accents seem to be doomed to be terrible no matter what.

I also liked the small hidden achievements in the various chapters, such as waking up a passed out, drunken orc by poking him. My favourite character was probably Captain Belgold, the guy that hands out all the different chapter quests, simply because his dry sense of humour cracked me up. The decision that one playthrough would also unlock the campaign for any alts also seemed very generous.

My only issue was that it was way too easy to burn through the whole thing in one night and then be left with nothing but a stupid grind for the rest of the campaign.


Rich Spiders

While doing heroic encounters in the guild stronghold, someone made the interesting observation that wealth seems to be distributed surprisingly unevenly among the denizens of the stronghold. Not that anyone kills them for their loot (yay, another rank five enchantment), but it's still funny once you actually start to take notice.

Spiders appear to be the richest creatures by far (three Frozen Treasures from a single spider attack encounter!), followed by beasts and devils. The marauding orcs on the other hand appear to have almost no possessions. No wonder they are kicking up a stink - clearly a case of social unrest caused by extreme poverty.



I talked about the somewhat awkward time-gating of the Maze Engine campaign, however now that I've finished it, I've also been meaning to say that the story was pretty neat and the final showdown with Baphomet quite cool. It was also one of the few pieces of content that made even my pet tank appreciate having someone to group up with. That you can re-do it as a weekly (under the guise of the story being told by a bard, which results in slight variations) is nice as well.



My pet tank's enthusiasm for working on our guild stronghold has been invigorated lately, and as the only thing that we're missing to progress to the next stage right now is a bunch of influence, he's been pulling people from our SWTOR raid team into Neverwinter to make them farm for us (as it has a limit of 400 per character per day). Talk about peer pressure when it's your raid leader who asks you to do something like that!

They don't even have to do much though, just log in, go to the stronghold and join the group; credit can largely be "mooched", even from quite a distance. It's been kind of nice because I've never seen our guild stronghold this full before; we were actually running heroic encounters with a full five-man group sometimes. Everything is more fun with friends.


Still Playing

I should really post here more often, considering that I've actually been playing a fair amount again as of late. Funny how even short posts can sometimes take effort to write.

My newest project is a halfling hunter ranger, since I still had an empty character slot lying around from one of the packs I bought back in the day and I missed the feeling of levelling a character from scratch.

I was actually a bit afraid of making another alt because I'm somewhat addicted to invoking and didn't want to add yet another character that would add to my compulsion of "having to" log in seven times a day to collect free astral diamonds. So I've set myself the rule that I'll only log this particular alt if I'm actually going to play her "properly" that day in some way - I don't need yet another character levelled the AFK way anyway.


Buggy Skirmish

Today I did a lowbie skirmish for the first time in ages.

First thing that happened: the queue bugged. It displayed that 5 out of 5 players had accepted and then timed out! On my next pop I found out why: a single player can count more than once for some reason. I clicked accept, talked to a vendor, and when I exited the vendor screen I was prompted to accept again! The skirmish eventually popped when the counter had reached 7 out of 5, heh.

Then I found out that the skirmish scaled everyone in the group to level 60 even though the mobs inside were only in their low twenties, which turned the whole thing into a ridiculous faceroll.

Never change, Cryptic. Never change.