Goodbye, Gateway

The final news post that caught my eye this weekend was about the Neverwinter Gateway having been shut down for good. (Gotta remember to remove that link on the side bar...) For those who didn't know, this was basically Neverwinter's "companion app", letting you access your professions from out of game, enabling you to prevent your celestial coins from disappearing if you couldn't log in (back when that was a thing), and offering the Sword Coast Adventures mini game, where you rolled dice to let your companions explore some small dungeons for loot.

I can't say that I'm personally very saddened by this, as I only ever used it a couple of times, such as to get the little white quality dog pet. But I find it interesting that during a time when people talk about mobile add-ons to MMOs clearly being the future (when even Blizzard does it, it must be so), companies that have had this sort of feature for a while are actually shutting it down again. Cryptic's reasoning was pretty much that it was too much effort for all the abuse it attracted, and RIFT already stopped work on its mobile companion app three years ago.


Fun With Numbers

Also in the news, Cryptic released an info graphic celebrating 2 million players on the PlayStation 4 and 12 million players in total. This is one of those numbers that sound amazing when you first hear it, but of course it's not quite all that once you realise that the game is free to play and they counted everyone who's ever created an account over the past three and a half years.

The part of the info graphic I personally found the most interesting was that (on the PS4) "over 30,000 players have reached the max level cap" because... that's really not that much. It means that the conversion from "I guess I'll try this free game" to "I'll level at least to the level cap" (which really doesn't take very long at all) is only 1.5 percent. If we extrapolate from that to the total number of players, there are only about 180,000 players with max level characters in Neverwinter, and presumably only a small percentage of those actually play regularly. So the overall active population is presumably "only" in the tens of thousands.

I also liked their note that 18 million mounts have already been attained on the PS4. With 3.2 million characters created, that makes for an average of more than five mounts per character - and in reality that number is probably even higher, as I'm sure many lowbies don't even get far enough to acquire more than their first mount.


Level Up

It's been quiet on here because in the past month my attention has been elsewhere once again, which is why I only found out today that ten days ago, Cryptic introduced the option to buy max-level characters from the Zen store. It's actually kind of surprising that it took them this long, considering how many other MMOs already do this and Crytpic's general tendency to let you buy advantages for real money in every possible area of the game.

I'm never really tempted by these offers because I actually enjoy levelling, but this one comes with an extra perk: Every boosted character gets to choose one of five painted owlbear mounts for themselves (picture from the official news post):


Seriously, who wouldn't love to own one of these? I especially like the purple one.

Of course, then I checked the actual price of a boosted character on the Zen market, and it's 5,000 Zen. Even if you buy the biggest bundle to get the most bang for your buck, that's still about thirty quid. No owlbear is worth that to me.