More Free-to-Play Maths

Back in June 2015 I did some maths to figure out how much money I had spent on Neverwinter, especially compared to an old-fashioned MMO subscription. I thought it would be interesting to do a follow-up on that three years later, especially since I realised that I haven't spent any money on the game in one and a half years.

Fun fact: They did actually switch to charging me in £ instead of € eventually, which is why the total will be ever so slightly incorrect as I had to do some backwards currency conversion, but the margin of error should be negligible.

So, looking back at my receipts, I spent £247.95 on Zen in the past three years. Based on blog activity, I was only completely inactive in game for about six months during that time, so spread out across the months in which I actually played that comes to only £8.265 per month, a bit less than your average monthly sub. Go me!

What's interesting to note is that my spending wasn't spread out evenly across that time frame at all. At first I spent a small-ish amount on Zen every three to five months, then I made one slightly bigger purchase that lasted me for about half a year, and then I decided to go all in on a charge rewards promotion that really appealed to me, just for Cryptic to mess up the rewards for that big time. They did eventually resolve the issue, but it still left a sour taste in my mouth.

Since then I haven't spent any money on Neverwinter at all, though funnily enough this had less to do with being grumpy with Cryptic about the messed up promotion (though I certainly was, at least at first) and more with not knowing what to do with all the Zen I bought. Oh sure, Cryptic does have ridiculously expensive bundles in their store I could theoretically buy, but those just never struck me as good value for money, so all I've been spending money on for the past one a half years has been a month of VIP here or a few extra bank slots there. From a fairness point of view it really feels like I should give them some money again considering how much I'm enjoying the game, but I still have over 10k Zen in the bank with nothing I particularly want to spend it on, so... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


Ravenloft Launch Impressions

- First time I launched the game, it crashed before I even made it to the character selection screen. Happy patch day!

- New character selection screen! This time it's not just a new background, there are also new features such as the option to sort your characters differently.

- It looks like this module brought with it some sort of graphics update. I already noticed it on the character selection screen, but certain spell effects in game also looked a lot crisper than before. I don't like that the shade of green used for green quality items is much darker now than it used to be though.

- I thought I'd read somewhere that astral diamonds would now be account wide, but I could find no evidence of this. Maybe there's an option to put them all in the bank or something, I'll have to look again.

- The intro mission to Ravenloft felt quite lovingly crafted. Neverwinter's storytelling animations have always been on the poor side, but there was one cut scene where someone even moved their mouth while talking (gasp) and I liked what they did with the little silhouettes for when you're being told Strahd's story.

- Holy catch-up, Batman! Just completing the intro quest rewards you with a full set of 460 gear including rank 8 enchantments for every slot. Note to self: bring any and all alts to Barovia soon.

- At first glance the new map seems quite fun and like it iterates nicely on Chult. I was happy to see small heroic encounters make a comeback in particular as I sorely missed them in the jungle.

- I already attracted the night terror twice. Fortunately people were quite happy to pile on it whenever it appeared, but sadly it doesn't appear to drop anything, though my two guildies each got a title for killing it (not surprised the cleric gets left out as usual...)

- In a move that feels like over-conveniencing players, Cryptic made it so that you no longer have to actively roll on loot when you're in a party; the game just assumes that you want everything, rolls for everyone and then distributes the items accordingly. I actually feel kind of robbed. I liked seeing half a dozen items pop up on my screen and actively rolling on each one!

- The new, instanced hunts could grow on me, as the introductory one seemed quite fun. Less focus on randomised material gathering and more active hunting fun I hope?


All Classes

It took me five years, but I finally have a level 70 character of every class!

From left to right, top to bottom:

Phaelia, tiefling trickster rogue
Shintar, half elf devoted cleric
Ekaterina, human great weapon fighter
Daerys, drow control wizard
Puck, halfling hunter ranger
Ophelie, sun elf oathbound paladin
Shintank, dwarf guardian fighter
Shareen, half orc scourge warlock

I have a few more character slots available, but to be honest I can't see myself creating any more alts right now until they release another class, especially as Neverwinter is one of the few MMOs where (in my opinion), levelling another alt just for the sake of starting over isn't actually all that fun..

That said, there's still plenty of max-level stuff to do on all of my existing characters to potentially keep me busy for years to come.


Happy Fifth!

Yes, it really has been five years! I honestly continue to be impressed by how well this plucky little MMO has continued to do (based on realistic measurements of success, not WoW killer standards). I don't see a lot of talk about it in my little corner of the MMO blogosphere, but based on what limited player numbers we have to try to gauge its success, such as Steamcharts, it actually seems to be one of the more popular "second tier" MMOs, seemingly outperforming some competitors that seem to get a lot more buzz (again, in my little corner of the blogosphere), such as EVE, Rift or Secret World Legends.

In unhappier news, I managed to time my summer holiday in such a way that it will prevent me from actually participating in the Protector's Jubilee event (except for a quick check-in today) for the second year in a row. I'll never feel bad about going on holiday of course, but I do feel kind of bad about missing out all this free stuff and fun activities. I should really be better at this by now, considering I know exactly when this particular event will occur every year...


Alliance Life

Being in an alliance is quite similar to being in a clique inside a larger guild, except that it feels more "legitimate" in a way since there is a dedicated structure for it, and in terms of gameplay benefits, the guild/clique is actually more important to you than the alliance.

Like with everything else in Neverwinter, I'm more casual about socialising in it than I am in my main MMO, where I've always been super involved with any guild that I've been in. In Neverwinter on the other hand, I don't even read chat most of the time, including the green guild/alliance chat. On the rare occasions when I do look at it I notice that the people who are talking are way more into the game than I am, though I also see the occasional newbie question which serves to reassure me that I'm not completely clueless.

One thing that's interesting is that there are a couple of names that pop up in alliance chat all the time, to the point that I feel I "know" them. There is X-tremoz, the alliance leader, as well as some players called Bron, Bob and Bab who just seem to be online a lot. They don't know me at all of course, but just seeing the same names in chat over and over again gives the alliance a sense of stability even for casual players like me. It makes me appreciate that even guildies that never or rarely talk might be quietly benefitting from reading guild chat, and that in my SWTOR guild for example, someone might well be looking at me as one of those always-around public faces of the guild that hold things together.


Alliance Update

Talking about stronghold sieges made me realise that I never talked about the alliance we're in beyond my initial post about "GOD". At one point some drama occurred between GOD and one of its subordinate guilds, Will of Oblivion (WoO for short). I wasn't really involved in this; all I know is that WoO eventually left, and our mini guild - being one of WoO's direct subordinates - decided to go with them.

We helped them found their own alliance, and were given a higher position in that than we'd previously held, but to be honest it was kind of undeserved based how small we are. Then one day I found that we'd been kicked for inactivity, but since I was actually active enough to notice right away, pet tank immediately went to WoO's leadership and asked for us to be let back in. They obliged, though we ended up at the lowest rank again, which was actually fine.

And that's where we've been since then, now subordinate to a guild called "ASH-2-ASH". I'll write another post about what it's like to be in an alliance at some point.