It doesn’t happen too often these days, but occasionally useful and interesting opinions and theorycrafting is indeed shared on the official message board. In this article I’d like to highlight and quickly touch on one of those. Player “vordayn” posted an interesting take on current endgame meta compositions. In Module 6 the devs made the original MMO trifecta a key reason of their class reworks, yet today groups largely feature four support types, no tank, no healers, and only one damage dealer.
Buff Your Ass Up
The main reason why is the way buffs work in Neverwinter. Most of them are multiplicative, which means that in the vast majority of scenarios it’s more beneficial to enhance the damage of one potent DPS, instead of bringing a second. This is definitely true for DCs, OPs, and GFs, but to a lesser extent also for support CWs and SWs. All of them add more damage through buffs and debuffs than a damage dealer of the same item level.
Now, an easy way to deal with this would be to introduce hard caps for buffs. The devs already made debuffs subject to diminishing returns, this also could happen to several buff mechanics. You could also simply say +200% damage is the max, or whatever really.
With everything in (mmo) life, it’s not that simply however. If you hard cap buffs, then the best available buffer automatically becomes the only choice for parties. You could rework all buff values, but that would require a complete balancing sweep. Given with what “speed” the devs work, that’s hardly possible. So just capping buffs would probably reduce the amount of viable classes even further. Don’t forget one advantage of the current system indeed is that there are a lot of synergies to play around with.
Current Boss Fights Are Build on Buff System
Additionally the latest boss fights are build with the current buff system / issue in mind. So taking players the ability to stack buffs means that the latest dungeons might become too hard. So as you can see, reworking buffs could require wiping attached areas of the game and starting from scratch, which seems highly unlikely. If you still feel that the current system is lacking, then there are basically two things you could do:
- Make skill a much more decisive factor in boss fights. You might not like all the platforming in recent modules, but at least the Cradle features a mechanic you can’t beat, or skip, with DPS alone. There’s plenty of skill based features you could introduce to make fights more challenging, like correct positioning, fire interrupts at specific times, interact with objects at specific times, evading AoEs.
- Let players fill distinct roles. Currently tanking is hardly needed, healing much less. And controlling? Yeah… If players are forced to take protective paths, powers and feats over buffing ones, then you could get rid of the meta without reworking a single class.
I definitely agree that the current meta and especially the situation of DPS specs is not ideal. I personally think however that this is not something you can solve with a single change or balancing pass. It’s probably more about gradually reworking content and roles in an intelligent way to get away from buffing as main factor in dungeons. Anyway, it’s good these discussions are happening and so I’d urge you to read through vordayn’s thread and add your own opinion.
As always, you can also tell us what you think on our social channels, in the comments below, or the corresponding thread on our message board!
Neverwinter UN:Blogged is always looking for writers to contribute to the blog. If you are an active player and search for a way to spread your opinions, analysis, diaries or reviews to more than 40,000 regular visitors, then don’t hesitate and get in touch with us on our contact page or message board! We are currently especially looking for console and PVP content, but that’s not exclusive. There is no frequency requirement, you post how often you want.