Design Decisions Vol. 1 – “River District Dig Sites”

Way too often do we not recognise or acknowledge all the small details in a piece of content. This series tries to examine design decisions the devs made, followed by an evaluation in how they impact the game. We will also look at how much work a certain feature required to implement and if that work was justified. Maybe we can even find better answers to design problems? Today we take a deeper look at the dig sites in the River District. Campaign/Map Integration The main idea behind dig sites is bringing back the exploration into Neverwinter that has been missing for so long. It is a core DnD concept to go somewhere, descend into a vault, fight enemies and loot the place. And it works. Kinda. The concept is great but the actual integration could have been much better. I want to praise the creativity behind the idea but at the same time the missed opportunities make me sad. Randomness of spawns This is a straight forward and most welcome feature. Even though the basic concept stays the same there is at least some kind of changing elements. While randomness of mob types and even maps is an easy way to keep content

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Kali Gold and the Difficulty of Making it on Twitch with Neverwinter

If you’re following Neverwinter on Youtube and or Twitch, you probably know Kali Gold as the premier PC streamer of the game. About six months ago he started the ambitious journey to make Neverwinter great again, to bring more viewers to a game that was hovering around a measly 100. Yesterday this journey ended with a video announcement in which Kali basically stated that the effort was no longer worth it. We’d like to thank him for the content he has provided over the last months and wish him all the best on and off the screen going forward. What’s the issue with streaming NW? A streamer quitting is in itself not an overly interesting fact. They come and go, just like the regular gamers that play Neverwinter. But it illustrates the trouble you can run into if you’re putting your effort into streaming on Twitch. Especially an MMO, especially a considerably small one like Neverwinter. Kali Gold did probably receive as much support as you can get. Be it from other streamers, a spotlight on Arcgames or through frequent mentions and features on our site. Yet he never surpassed 150 average viewers on the channel, a far cry from

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The Neverwinter Buyer Beware Guide: The Adventurer’s Helper Pack

As you might know Neverwinter is a free-2-play game. If you want to play it casually, you’re good to go. But what happens when you want to buy something from the cash shop? Are there items that really help your progression. What is useless tosh? And what’s even a scam? My guide should help you to figure it out. What’s really worth its money? Basically nothing! There you have it, we are done. Thanks for reading. Have a nice day! I hope you feel punked. Because that’s exactly the vibe I’m getting from Neverwinter’s cash shop, also called the ZEN market. A lot of items are ludicrous overpriced, utterly useless and some are only there because of a lackluster grind system that makes them worth buying. The Adventurer’s Scammer Pack One Zen-Market item I consider a scam is the Adventurer’s Helper Pack. It costs 1,500 Zen, ~15 dollar, and offers nothing of value. Let’s look at its contents: The Profession Kits are useless. Profession nodes are hardly worth running after several nerfs and even if, the kits are available for gold. Same goes for the Injury Kits. Altars and Identification Scrolls drop like insane and are otherwise dirt cheap to buy in

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Which of the New Dungeon Chest Rewards is Worth Looking at?

A few months have passed since the controversial key changes and the new dungeon chest rewards that came with it. So it’s time to look at the viability of the introduced items. Do they fill a purpose? Which are viable, which are useless? Let’s weight in! Salvage Fodder Unfortunately some items are crap and should be donated to the salvage anvil immediately unless you really do not have any epic replacement on one of your characters. Draconic Guises: I do not like them at all. Aimed at true min-maxers, their viability is limited and your random alt will feel the lack of Hit Points on the gear. Bloodstained Shirt: The Bloodstained Shirt is nice if you need an infusion of Life Steal, but the power buff is inexistent in an environment where players mostly operate at full health. Most current Shirts should serve players better. Brynnyr’s Demise: The buff of Brynnyr’s Demise is weird. Builds that aim for max power normally will get Defense from the item and vice versa. I fail to see a niche unless you’re really looking to get more Defense on an otherwise offensive build. ALT Supply There are quite some items that are viable for alternate characters and even mains

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Today’s Patch Will Bring Massive Devoted Cleric Changes and Much Needed Campaign Improvements

Today Neverwinter will release its first major patch in the Cloaked Ascendancy and it’s safe to say it will shake up the current meta by quite a bit. The Devoted Cleric is getting its rework pushed to live after very limited time on preview to test it. Most feel it’s too early (as usual), but you would assume that Module 11b is already looming and will hit preview soon. So that was probably simply the time they had to present the changes to the audience. Moar damage! We’ll have a more detailed piece at some point next week with community opinions and an in-depth look at the changes, but want to quickly outline the most important points today. The devs tried to tackle multiple issues with their changes. First of all depending on the build, Clerics can run into severe trouble in solo content. They most likely do not die very much, but since their damage is low they have to drag themselves through dailies. So powers are getting a flat 30% increase in damage, which should actually help a lot. It remains to be seen whether this could also make Clerics a true viable DPS option in endgame. The most prominent

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Why PVP Needs an Easier Path to Competitiveness

It’s not hard to feel sorry for PVP these days. The game mode is all but dead and the most recent livestream didn’t reveal any hint that it might change this year. I’m additionally amazed how little the devs and the community seem to understand what PVP is really lacking. I see tons of threads discussing various minor balancing issues. Too much healing, one-rotating builds. This stuff does matter, but is a secondary issue right now. Then Thomas Foss mentioned dueling and maybe an additional map during the stream. Apart from the fact that this is months away because they haven’t even started working on it, nobody is playing PVP on the four maps we have. What makes you think that an additional one or looking into 1v1 and 3v3 will change that? Even queues are not the #1 priority any longer Of course the queues and matchmaking remain a valid point. But even that discussion was so Mod 8 when some guys were actually still interested. Don’t get my wrong, I still think a permanent solo queue for a competitive leaderboard plus a premade one to arrange matches has to happen. But it’s no longer a pressing issue with a constant decline

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Map Design Vol. 2 – “The River District”

This series focuses on the environmental design of Neverwinter within the adventure zones or smaller instances. Today we will take a deeper look at the “River District”, the newest adventure map to be released on the live servers. Tonight’s theme is “Destruction and Nostalgia” The River District follows a theme of lost glory. You can see the houses are big and seem to have inhabited wealthy citizens. There even was a park directly nearby right next to the river and pavilions spread across the map. But the golden days are gone. The River District got hit hard by various catastrophes with the most recent one being the invasion by the Cloaked Ascendancy. The map reflects the story line well as it uses the very old Protector’s Enclave textures for walls and even some models (houses and wells). Conveniently, reusing the old art assets fits perfectly into this module. If you see this as “let’s create a thematic module where we can reuse old assets without backlash” or not is up to you. A love for Details Additionally the devs have done some detailed work to show the actual destructive forces that have hit the River District. There are crooked wells in Gyrion’s region

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Neverwinter and Psychology: Does the Reward Model Work?

As you might now the Game Developer’s Conference ran at the start of the month. I didn’t catch a lot of it other than a few Cryptic and PWE employers attending, but stumbled upon an excellent write-up of user experience researcher Ben Lewis-Evans’ speech about Player Psychology and Rewards. It’s a very interesting article as a whole and although the original topic was more meant to take a shot at the current neuromyths around dopamine, it offers a lot of general advise how rewards should be structured in a successful game. So I was curious to see if Neverwinter matches the claims of Ben Lewis-Evans, and subsequently whether some systems are built to motivate players. RNG is conditioning Sorry guys, but randomness works as motivational reward system. The classic case of operant conditioning would be performing a set number of “responses” (quests) and get a reward.  But players do actually come back and perform tasks, even if they do not know the numbers of needed repetitions. The devs also set up the game well in other very basic areas of motivation. Consistent feedback splits progression in tiny blocks. The XP bar, dailies, weeklies are some examples. More Guidance is Needed Players want to know where to get stuff

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After Change, Voninblod Farm is Right Where it Needs to be

Today I’d like to talk about one of the more underrated changes of the Cloaked Ascendancy update. In the new module, all Relics return 50% more Voninblod. It’s kinda interesting the devs are not getting more credit for the change given how much players protested when they learned Neverwinter would reintroduce Empowerment in Storm Kings Thunder. Maybe it’s because players tend to post only when there’s something to complain about. But maybe it’s also because the mechanic is still a bad design, even with considerable more Voninblod from Relics. The mechanic still has to go To be clear, I still don’t like Empowerment one bit. Any mechanic that requires players to constantly grind in order to maintain their gear is absolutely horrible. For the same reason I’d like to burn all Overload Enchantments, another Icewind Dale invention that can be labeled an utter failure. If you are serious about grinding and progression in this game, you have more than enough stuff to do. Sharandar, Dread Ring, daily ADs, you name it. We never needed Voninblod, because it directly competes with other activities on our daily task list. In case you don’t have unlimited amount of time per day, it’s an either or.

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Evidence of Evil is the Bottleneck in the River District Campaign

A few days have passed in the new Module so it’s time to look at the new campaign progression and bottlenecks a bit. I’ve already covered a lot in my preview, but this post will go a little bit more in-depth in terms of numbers. The most obvious thing players complain about is the lack of the main progression currency Evidence of Evil. The daily quest grants 25 and you can get a few more through Heroic Encounters, Dig Sites and Found Quests. Unless you really invest an enormous amount of time though, you should most likely end your days with 27 to 29. The weekly quests adds 20 to an average of ~220 per week. In case you want to know when the weekly task unlocks and how it works, here’s an excellent thread that covers the details. Not all tasks make sense You’re currently looking at a six weeks completion for the full campaign, seven to eight with a weapon set. I have downgraded my estimation from 8-9 weeks on preview because as of right now, the last two tasks that reduce prices in the campaign store do not make sense. They cost more than you are likely about to

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