Bear Cub

I'm a sucker for cute things. The New Life Lockbox was what pushed me over the edge into buying a month of VIP time, because I figured that I'd quite like using one of my daily lockbox keys on one and ending up with an adorable little baby pet. Of course I didn't actually get one, because you never get what you want out of these boxes - that's pretty much the business model.

I didn't really think much about it afterwards, but my pet tank remembered my desire for a cute little companion and when he saw that you could buy a bear cub directly from the trade bar store, he decided to get me a little gift.

The little fella is so cute that the whole guild gathered round just to look at how adorably he rocks back and forth while wiggling his toes. You just can't beat the cute.



Protector's Jubilee is over and I actually achieved all my goals!

Getting the horse for my control wizard was actually very easy as renown was available in spades. I had enough for the mount after only a couple of days, bought the associated outfit for good measure and still had plenty left over.

Getting the Protector's Garden key was trickier. A commenter actually asked me how one could get the required 15 figurines in only 8 days, and the advice I gave was at least partially wrong since I hadn't fully figured out the new system yet. Figurines didn't used to be rare because you'd get them for doing the event daily quests. This year this was changed however so that the quests only rewarded purple boxes... which would grant you a figurine the first time you opened one on any given day, but that appeared to be it.

The only reliable way we found to get extras was to have other people give you gifts through the protector's hospitality, since that had a random chance of dropping a figurine, and actually more than once per day. Fortunately my pet tank was grinding the event like crazy and showered my hunter ranger with all his gifts, plus a few guildies were nice enough to chip in as well. Thanks to their generosity I managed to hit 15 figurines on the last day and got my key.

Also, my hunter ranger - the character on whom I really wanted to take things slowly again - gained about 15 levels throughout the week. There's just no way not to level fast in this game.


Foreign Merchants

The new escort quest for the jubilee event is an excellent way of grinding both renown and the protector's bounty boxes. You only need one person to have the scroll with the quest to get him moving (which is a fairly common drop), everyone else can then tag along without having it and still get the rewards. After every combat the merchant and his horses will drop either a box or some renown for everyone present... which adds up to quite a number as he gets ambushed several times, walks through a bunch of existing mob groups and you can even pull some more on top of him to make him drop extras.

There are a couple of these merchants in different zones - I escorted one in Blacklake District today and there was a huge crowd following the merchant's every step, with the low-level mobs getting one-shotted before they'd even fully spawned. With my guildies I've mostly been farming the stronghold version though - it might have been luck of the draw, but that one seemed to drop a much higher number of bounty boxes for me.

It was probably the most bizarre kind of social content I've participated in so far, constantly running up and down the road as a group to escort more merchants. It was pretty fun and relaxing though.

Foreign merchants showering us with gifts... I think Cryptic is sending a clear pro-immigration message here!


Happy 3rd Birthday, Neverwinter!

Has this on-and-off relationship really been going on for three years already? Congratulations on holding my attention for that long, game!

We found our stronghold decked out in celebratory banners, with confetti raining from the sky absolutely everywhere. There's also a new repeatable escort quest in the stronghold just for the jubilee event, which follows all the bad tropes of an escort quest to a T... well, except for the one where your escortee attacks everything, cause the foreign merchant actually just cowers.

My favourite skirmish, the Protector's Speech, is also back! I just wish they'd actually give him a new speech every year. I have to be careful not to fall down the rabbit hole of grinding it over and over again just because it's easy, fun and rewarding, simply because I do need to get sleep at some point. I do think I would like to get the horse for my control wizard though.

I'm a bit torn on how much to involve my lowbie hunter ranger. On the one hand I want to get her a key to the Protector's Garden because all my other alts have it, on the other hand this risks throwing her levelling journey seriously off course, considering that a single run of the skirmish was enough to net me nearly two levels. I'll probably go ahead with it anyway.

Also, don't forget to claim your free goodie from the Zen store every day for the next week! If nothing else, Cryptic sure knows how to celebrate.


Everything is a Campaign

The latest patch introduced a funny change to the campaign window: All the levelling zones are now counted as quasi-campaigns and reward items of varying value for completion. Some of the low-level ones are pretty amazing for poor players: For example completing the Tower District now rewards a full set of green quality profession workers, one for each profession! Kind of makes me want to bang my head against the wall for all the hours and days I spent levelling up white quality ones... but it's a nice change for new players for sure.

I might even be tempted to go back and finish off the zone on my max-level alts that never completed it. I'm just not sure the campaign window was the right place for this addition, as it looks pretty cluttered now and makes it harder to keep track of your progress in the "real" campaigns.


Guild Run

My pet tank incessantly pestering our guildies to play Neverwinter and level up is starting to pay off: Last night we finally had enough sufficiently geared max-level characters online to run an epic dungeon as a guild group! We took our time to find all the treasure chests and the bonus boss in the side rooms that pugs usually run past, and much fun was had by all. The only downside was that the game's overzealous queuing system swiftly removed one of our guildies from the group when he suffered a disconnect near the end and instantly replaced him with a random pug. Still, a pivotal milestone for our guild's Neverwinter chapter! You can watch the full run and listen to us banter in the video below:



One of the peculiarities of Neverwinter's questing system is that when you are in a group, you will get quest items dropping for you for quests that you don't actually have but your group mates do. This has been driving my pet tank to distraction whenever I take one of my alts to Icewind Dale, as I keep hoovering up all the enchanted weapons (which I don't need) while he hardly seems to get any (the loot is still bound to the individual, so I couldn't trade them). On my rogue I had a proud collection of more than fifty of the things.

This week I finally hit the reputation point where I could pick up the quest myself. It was so exciting to be able to hand it in right away! Only downside? Jubal Oakstaff took my entire collection in one go, even though the quest only requires ten or something. Greedy bugger.