Can the ZEN Store Get You to an Endgame Viable Toon in Reasonable Time?

Ever since the devs introduced those Campaign Buyouts and the Knox’s Adventurer Recruitment Order, I asked myself whether the shortcut is worth it. Can it get you to an endgame viable toon in reasonable time? The obvious answer is no, because while the ZEN items get you to 70 and mostly up to speed in terms of boons and campaigns, the toon still lacks all of its gear. On the other hand the game has progressed in a way that Chult, Strongholds and the seal store already offer nice starting packages that are very easy to obtain.

Got Myself a Paladin on Black Friday

So I went out on Black Friday and got myself an Oathbound Paladin. It’s a class that I hadn’t gotten into anyway, so it made sense on multiple fronts. With the 40% the whole package is 9,000 ZEN, which seems like a fair deal for a ready-made rank 70. There are two scenarios I’d like to discuss here, because using the ZEN store to buy yourself an alt or your very first toon are two very different things.

I first started to plan the character in our Ratings Simulator with the gear I have on my account. I was actually mildly surprised that the character hit 11,000 item level with Rank 8 Enchantments and no guild boons. Remember, 11,000 is the requirement for the epic random queue. I’m not sure this is what you would call endgame viable, but it’s most certainly endgame ready. So assuming this can be done with other classes as well, getting an endgame ready alt seems to be a check. In case you can indeed instantly supply all necessary gear, enchantments and refining points etc., you don’t even need to farm anything on the character itself.

Endgame Ready: Check!

It’s obviously not so each when starting from scratch. New players for example don’t have Hunts gear that they farmed with other chars or two Heroic Ring of the Companion +4. That’s why I created a second loadout “Budget” that goes full blue gear from the basic vendors. The only exception are the artifacts, which are really super easy to level, and the Sellsword, because the tool only supports active companions in purple or legendary quality. This build comes in slightly below 11,000 item level. Again without any guild boons.

In that case you need to farm a bit for the necessary items, but generally I don’t see anything that’s causing a major headache. Nothing is super expensive or super hard to get. The biggest challenge while building both loadouts by the way was to hit the Armor Penetration cap. Depending on what gear you can get, you might not be able to avoid slotting Dark Enchantments.

Is it Viable?

In terms of viability you could probably argue that a Paladin, or support in general, is able to contribute more than a DPS on lower item levels. I haven’t run too many dungeons with my new OP so far, but the experience was mostly positive. It definitely feels like the character can tackle most content already. So in case you want to jump right into the action I’d recommend going with a tank or a healer. That’s however not only true when buying yourself a char. Chances to get in groups are always higher on a support build. So the experience on other classes should differ and the same amount of effort and cash might not get you equally close to endgame content.

New Players Should be Cautious

Theoretically you can buy and farm an endgame viable toon in reasonable time. I can absolutely recommend it for alts. If you bring up an in-demand class during a major sale and can supply gear and enchantments, it’s really convenient. You can pretty much instantly start running all content minus Tomb of the Nine Gods.

New players however face a tougher decision. 150$ is a hefty price tag and you still need to do some grinding till you can jump into all relevant dungeons. Without any experience, you additionally risk picking a “bad” class that albeit endgame ready might not really be viable. And it goes without saying that the best way of learning your toon and all aspects of the game is to go through the full progression and story from 1-70 at least once. So overall, although tempting, it might not be the smartest move to get your first character through the ZEN market.


Have you ever bought a full character? If so, what’s your impression on its viability in endgame content? Share your thoughts in the comments below and visit the corresponding thread on our message board!

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j0Shi

j0Shi

j0Shi plays the Neverwinter MMORPG since the open BETA in 2013 and is a regular contributor to the blog and the whole UN:Project. Originally a Guardian Fighter, he has built up ALTs of all classes and plays on BIS/near-BIS level.

4 thoughts on “Can the ZEN Store Get You to an Endgame Viable Toon in Reasonable Time?

  • December 1, 2017 at 2:07 am
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    But if ypu spend $ to buy zen and then convert them to AD you can buy masterwork weapons and armor so there you have the gear.

    Reply
  • December 2, 2017 at 7:08 pm
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    I’ve never done this and never will, although I already have at least two of every class. Maybe if they made a Druid…

    But I doubt I would even farm the currencies on a main to buy the tokens to get double currencies. I mean, if I am farming currencies, why not do it on the new character, and get the Boons as well? If I already had the spare currencies, maybe…

    And Paladin, well, there’s more than one reason why it’s called “OP”. Try it with an SW. 🙂

    I find with my OPs that it’s almost impossible to die in most cases and since they made the Sanctuary less clunky and laggy, it’s even better. And at least you can SEE that your shield is up, unlike my GFs. And OP gets extra DR with self and party Healing to boot. And with Aura of Radiance, you do damage while in Sanctuary.

    But 9000 Zen? In the 40% sale? For a level 70 and all the Campaign unlocks?

    For new players, the main problem with buying your way to power, as j0Shi alludes, is that you have no knowledge of the class, it’s powers and abilities and what makes a good build. You are 11k TIL on Day One, with absolutely ZERO skill and experience. So unless you can join a good guild where experienced OPs will Mentor you and show you how to play the class, for most new players I think it’s a case of A Fool and His Money being Soon Parted.

    Probably like me and my Druid!

    😀

    Reply
    • j0Shi
      December 3, 2017 at 6:19 am
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      Thanks for your comment! I have to disagree on the Patronage System though. It is designed in a way that it always saves five times as much currency as the token costs. So it’s always a win unless you already started the campaign and completed some tasks. Then you would need to do a little math to figure out whether it’s still worth it.

      And you’re right with the “OP”. As mentioned, going the ZEN route for me only makes sense if you know what you’re doing. For new players spending 90$ (normally 150$) is a great commitment into a class that you know little of. And well, in case you pick the wrong one… chances are that you only get frustrated for spending that much money up front.

      Reply
  • December 7, 2017 at 12:29 pm
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    The flip side is someone dropping that cash on a new character doesn’t understand the nuance between end game viable and end game valuable. Even if they have an idea about the class, the dungeon and skirmish levels are brutal. They allow under-geared and under-powered players into them, which can cause frustration, animosity and a general negative experience.

    Reply

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