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Neverwinter’s success by design is directly related to the game’s ability to bring new players in. That’s why at any given point, but most certainly after module launches, you have a lot of fresh toons wandering around Protector’s Enclave, wondering what the heck to do! Despite its casual approach, Neverwinter can be overwhelming. It has a gazillion currencies, multiple ways of leveling up, and the guidance ingame is almost never sufficient. Additionally, in the ever changing MMO world, the “best practice” of yesterday might no longer apply today. Gladly we’re here to help out with our comprehensive guide on how to bring up new characters! We try to keep this up-to-date with every major release in case there were relevant changes to the approach.
Please note that this is mainly aimed towards people that start on a fresh account. You can very well also level alts using this guide, but it might not be the most effective way. What we’re aiming for in this piece is set up a very basic toon in the 9,000 to 10,000 item level range, with which you can comfortably run the first tier of dungeons.
Getting to Level 70
First of all, you obviously need to get to the current level cap. We have a full leveling guide up for that and I highly recommend reading through it. The single most important thing is to do your random leveling queue! It’s a special category in the queue menu, which randomly throws you into a dungeon and hands out major rewards for your first daily completion. It offers great XP and some ADs. In case you’re unfamiliar with Astral Diamonds (AD): It’s one of the major currencies so you can never start too early to earn some. You’ll mostly need it to buy stuff from the Auction House, but you can for example also exchange it to the premium shop currency ZEN.
Once 70, what are you supposed to do? Generally it’s a good idea to look up the “Sword Coast Chronicles” window that lists all campaigns you can do. There are plenty! Just work your way up. Most campaigns are built around dailies. So in case you run out of stuff to do, just continue with the next zone. What I would definitely do is fast-forward to Ravenloft. Technically it’s the latest campaign, but you should nonetheless go to Lord Neverember in the Protector’s Enclave, pick up the introductory quest for the campaign (it’s called “Unwelcome Guests”) and immediately complete the tutorial.
It can probably get rough for fresh 70s. Between a lot of story and cut-scenes there is however only one real fight involved, which you can let the Vistani NPCs handle for you (just back off and hide). In case you still struggle, maybe a friendly guild-mate or fellow player is willing to help you out. At the end of the intro, you’ll get a full set of item level 460 gear and the “Vistani” Artifact Weapons. This will be your starting kit!
Getting to 9,000 – 10,000 Item Level
The most common mistake players do is queuing up for their first epic dungeon too early (and not using the queue system appropriately). Just getting into the next available dungeon or queue is generally a bad idea because you’ll most likely still be too weak. It’ll only lead to frustration and annoying your teammates. Instead, continue to grind campaigns to get boons, which are minor stat enhancement that add up to a nice boost over time.
Also continue to do the leveling queue at least once per session to earn your ADs. For your first set of gear you should aim at the following:
- “The Beast”, “The Artifact”, “The Ghost”, “The Broken One”, or “The Innocent” armor pieces (example: The Artifact’s Greaves) from the Auction House. Alternatively you can farm the Ravenloft campaign for these or even better sets.
- “Vistani” Artifact Weapons (Vistani Icon)
- 2x “League” Rings (example: League’s Assault Ring) from the Auction House
- Rank 7 Enchantments of your choice from the Auction House for all slots
- Your Class Artifact from the Vault of the Nine quest. A second Artifact from the Artifact Recovery quest. 3rd / 4th Artifact from the Auction House. Pick cheap ones with stats you like, there are plenty. Current examples are Charm of the Serpent, Soul Sight Crystal, or Skull Lord Staff.
- Artifact Neck: Either a cheap one from the Auction House (Mantle of Atropal Essence) or one from the Ravenloft campaign store (Apocalypse Choker). Make sure to not buy outdated stuff by checking this list.
- Artifact Belt: Either a cheap one from the Auction House (Cincture of Atropal Essence) or one from the Ravenloft campaign store (Apocalypse Bindings). Make sure to not buy outdated stuff by checking this list.
- Shirt of the Chultan Merchant and Pants of the Chultan Merchant from the the Merchant Prince’s Folly skirmish.
- Active Companion:
- Passive Companions:
- Get four green cheap ones from the Auction House for your street credibility (aka item level). I wouldn’t care for passive bonuses to be honest. Just fill your slots with whatever.
- Unfortunately it’s not a great time to get Mounts for a bargain. Check running events, because a lot of those offer Mounts as prize for participating. You can also look up this guide that lists other available sources. In case you plan to throw ADs at expensive Mounts, make sure you can use them long-term.
- Buy cheap Insignias from the Auction House. I wouldn’t care for stats and Insignia Bonuses (maybe you don’t even know what I’m talking about here, which is fine) too much. They certainly help, but Insignias at the very early stages are just a filler to help your street credibility (aka item level).
Together with some boons this should get you to 9,000 item level. I would definitely also refine your Artifacts (and Artifact Gear) up to blue quality since that’s very easy to do and the necessary reagents can be bought from the Auction House as well. You should also consider joining a guild that has Guild Boons, which can easily add another 1,000 item level. There are always recruiting guilds that are already well established. Especially if you’re active, you should have no trouble finding a decent one.
Your First Real Dungeon in the Intermediate Queue
Overall I believe the full process from the Sleeping Dragon Bridge intro quest to 9,000 or 10,000 item level should not take longer than a month. By doing the Leveling Random Queue right from the start in each of your sessions, you should be able to buy most of the listed gear relatively early after hitting 70 (most pieces should cost no more than 5,000 each). Once you’ve acquired the gear, you’re ready to get into your first real adventure! Like I said above most players go into dungeons too early (and the wrong ones). Neverwinter offers little rewards for group play outside random queues and farming the latest endgame content (currently Mod 12 and beyond). So just queuing up for any dungeon is generally a bad idea.
What you want to do at this point is adding the “Intermediate Random Queue” to your daily rotation for more AD gain and Seal of the Brave. The queue contains dungeons that should present no trouble to your character. Don’t get too confident however. It is very well possible to handle more difficult content around 10,000 item level, but requires some experience and a team that synergizes well.
The Next Steps
While you get comfortable within the “Intermediate Queue” you should continue doing campaigns. This also means you’re already slowly transferring into the next stage of the progression, which includes:
- Subscribing to VIP
- Finishing campaigns
- Getting into the “Advanced Queue”
- Refining grind
We will cover these topics in subsequent articles, but for now you should be busy following the steps in this piece. It’s really no rocket science to set up a basic character to run the first tier of dungeons with if you know what gear to look for and acquire. You might be surprised that your first setup almost entirely comes from the Auction House, but that’s the current state of the game. The most basic gear is indeed fully buyable, it’s the endgame pieces that usually bind to characters or the account.
Possibility of Pay-2-Accelerate
For all of you impatient folks it also means that you can hit the fast-forward button, charge a couple ZEN, exchange them to ADs, and set up your toon within minutes. It’s not what I would recommend since farming as mentioned shouldn’t take long, but it’s certainly possible.
Either way, have fun with setting up your toon and killing your first bosses inside dungeons! I certainly hope this article will help you to jump-start your Neverwinter adventure!
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