Black Ice in Module 3, and even more so its reincarnation in Module 10 as Voninblod, never really grew into a fan-favorite. The mechanic tried to establish upkeep costs for armor pieces if you wanted to sport the highest item levels. That might sound like a reasonable idea at first, get a basic piece of gear and be able to further improve it by investing time, but in a bigger context it was a misconception right from the start.
Neverwinter already featured so much grind that players were simply unwilling to add another bullet to their list of daily activities. Most players were glad when they could finally move on from Black Ice Gear of Icewind Dale, and most definitely Relic Gear of Storm Kings Thunder.
During the preview days of Module 10, the devs did defend reintroducing armor empowerment. Might have even been Asterdahl that said said Black Ice performed well on their end, whatever that means. Now however the opinion inside the studio seems to have changed. The above quote is from the feedback thread of the new professions system in Module 15, which will discontinue Black Ice Shaping.
Asterdahl clearly states that the current team does no longer like the idea of charging items with Black Ice (or equivalents). It certainly took them longer than we hoped to realize the flaws of the system, but better late than never. Empowerment now is a thing of the past, and we guess many of you feel relieved to hear that.
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