What Would Be the First Thing You Would Improve as Cryptic Lead Designer?

The world certainly would be a worse place without visions. And Neverwinter streamer KaliGold showed yesterday that he’s not afraid to think big. His starting point: If Cryptic called and said that he would need to take over as Lead Designer of the game, what would be the very first thing he’d task his team with?

Although I personally think a new dungeon, even if it’s just a new tier, is a little too ambitious within two weeks (running through the usual production steps alone probably takes longer), it’s actually a nice thought experiment. So I’ll bite.

Wasn’t Too Easy

Off the top of my head there are a lot of things I’d like to improve in the game. Naming that one thing you’d start with was surprisingly hard to choose though. More dungeons is an evergreen, more bugfixing another. Maybe the October Bugfix Month was such a great idea that my pick would go there. I would however probably start somewhere else.

What’s really bugging me most in this game is the fact that there is so much lack in clarity. The tooltips are a mess and more than once devs commented how they had to crawl through the code to find a certain component or interaction. That’s why my first step as Lead Designer would be to introduce very strict documentation standards both in the front and back end. Both the players and the devs shouldn’t have to figure out so much by themselves. The game instead should hand it to them. Whatever you code, make sure that both your colleagues and the players are able to comprehend the change using your documentation.

Let’s Rework Some Standards

That being said, if Cryptic already has sufficient standards, fine. Then we can just move on to the next project. But at least the tooltips need some serious rework as they barely represent what certain powers, feats or boons are doing. I think tweaking fundamentals is more beneficial than just adding specific content to the game, because it will help in all areas going forward.

For the same reason I’d like to have an API to retrieve information from the game. It would suddenly open up a huge field of player generated apps and tools. And a well-oiled foundry could potentially add a massive amount of content as well… Sigh!


Darn, looks like I wasn’t able to stick with one improvement in the end… But maybe you can? What would be the first thing you would change or add or delete as Cryptic Lead Designer? Share your thoughts and opinion 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.

10 thoughts on “What Would Be the First Thing You Would Improve as Cryptic Lead Designer?

  • October 10, 2017 at 11:32 am
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    My first move would be about engaging and retaining players and veterans. Stop the bleeding, by creating content for guilds and alliances.This would give every player a new goal to grind. Create new currencies that you have to obtain as to allow younger guilds to not be even further behind, but also use old currencies so the established guilds are rewarded for their tenure. Every player in the game will want the new plot/boon/perk/whatever and every guild will organize around obtaining those. This would reinforce “community”, which goes a long way towards player retention… and also engaging new players. Guilds will need fresh blood as well as buy-in from veterans. So… expand to GH25. Create a brand new boon plot unlike the others. Increase exiting boon plots. Do it in a way that players, guilds, and alliances need to work together to grow. This could expand into Kali’s ideas of new dungeons rewarding guild currencies.

    Reply
  • October 10, 2017 at 1:31 pm
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    I have accumulated thousands of hours playing this game, ever since Beta, about 860 on Steam and the rest, the vast majority, on Arc. I have eight Level 70 characters, one from each class. Two of my characters have Item Scores (once known as Gear Scores) that are 4000+, my Great Weapon Fighter, Merek Knightsbridge, and my Scourge Warlock, Tsarra. I have two characters that have Item Scores of 3500+, my Paladin, Buster Hymon, and my Hunter Ranger, Bo Enero, my other four characters are in the high 2000s. So, as you can see, I have put tons of frustration and effort (AND MONEY) into this game.

    The sad, sad thing is that I have invested so much time and energy with very little to show for it, since there is always a new update that makes everything you have accomplished prior, obsolete. And with each consecutive mod release, I have liked and enjoyed it less and less to the point of HATING it, especially after the ridiculously complicated River District (Cloaked Ascendancy) mod, which, by the way, was released WAY too soon after the Sea of Moving Ice, which required hours upon hours of grinding the same dailies over and over and the same stupid skirmish, Svaardborg, over and over, and the same ridiculously long dungeon, Fangbreaker Island, not to mention the constant grinding for lanolin in the four areas in which you can run what is known as BHEs, or Big Heroic Encounters with other players. And when I say grind, folks, I mean GRIND. This has now got to be the very most grindy game I have ever played or ever will play, because, quite simply, nothing is worth wasting hours upon hours of your life to grind and grind and grind and grind and grind just to upgrade a weapon that someone else has already outdone you with by getting some 1 in 1000000 armor or companion-armor drop.

    The very definition of the word “game” includes the word “fun” in it somewhere, right? Fun existed between Levels 1 – 60. And even the outlandishly absurd grind from 60 – 70, while being a boring grind wasn’t half as bad as this game has since become. I will not “play” a “game” that is nothing but a chore any longer.

    People from all over sound like they’re dying when they say with obvious boredom and an almost sado-masochistic tone to their voices, stuff like, “Well, I finally got my dailies done today. I’ll be back to do them all again tomorrow.” Who, in the name of all that is sacred will allow themselves to be subjected to the greedy whims of this game’s devs to be bored out of their minds in doing CHORES to succeed in this game? It seems there are still quite a few who are under the magical evil spell of this game. It brings to mind a vision of a bunch of cattle being led to a slaughter, pocketbooks, wallets, and hours upon hours of precious time in hand.

    Keep in mind that if you have lots of money to throw at the game, many, MANY things become much, MUCH easier, however, the grind remains, at least at some preposterous level.

    Sadly, my best days in Neverwinter are behind me now. I may log in from time to time just to relive a few old memories of good times with fellow friends, guildies, and even my wife. But most days I will play some other game, like an awesome FPS (Doom, Metro, anyone?) or ESO, or just avoid the computer altogether, knowing that I have a $5000 – $10000 account that is utterly worthless to me. My guild still keeps me as a member because we had a LOT of fun together in the past, but many of them cannot believe that I Ieft; they that are still under the aforementioned spell. Note that I am not the only person who chose exodus over grinding for eternity for armor and gear that will be obsolete within a month or so.

    For me, the overly-complicated and NOT-fun River District was the final straw; the end-all of my days in Neverwinter. Goodbye, ol’ friend.

    Reply
  • October 10, 2017 at 9:45 pm
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    Funny. River Diatrict was the reason for me to stay because it definately goes in the right direction.

    Reply
  • October 10, 2017 at 10:07 pm
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    My First move would be to install some Kind of an Player participating tool. I know cryptic has to do what the bosses say but the players are the paying part of the game and should be given an Chance to participate or even take the responsibility of the game along with the devs. Eve online for example. A game where a Player is chosen by the players to work with the devs and have even some veto rights on their decisions. Truely unice System but Sees to work for eve so why not. Many Problems like “toxic community” “uncommented Feedback threads (bonding discussion)” would be avoided by perfekt World and cryptic by doing this step. “You dont like something? Wait a minute. You was involved in developing of it”
    Altho Many things are on my mind, this would be the first thing to do for me.

    Reply
  • October 11, 2017 at 5:26 am
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    The first thing I would do is institute a monthly player poll. Let the players choose one topic/issue/fix each month. That one item would then become the coders’ job for the following month. It would have to be narrow enough to be accomplished in a month (e.g., bring back 1 old dungeon/month vice all old dungeons, reassess Zen store prices/content, work on one class (not a complete overhaul, just address X number of issues), fix a category of bugs, develop a stable for vanity items/clothing, overhaul Stronghold campaign donation categories). Catering to your customer makes for a successful business. Right now, most players feel like they are being told what to like rather than being allowed to choose what they like, which is an odd shift from some of the feel that initially came with River District and Chult. It would also encourage player feedback and participation. If your hot item isn’t picked one month, continue making your case with other players so that it can move to the top of the list. That would relieve some of the stress on developers from having to guess what is important to players and provide some transparency on game development. It would also help spot unintended consequence issues that come when your perspective is too narrow. The weapon enchant overhaul was one of the more successful updates and it had a lot of player feedback and testing.

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  • October 11, 2017 at 8:45 am
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    Make dungeons about mechanics and strategy again. There are tweaks you can do to make existing dungeons fun again without having to create new ones. For example, bring back healing and control as active, relevant skills. Someone on this site, I believe it was J0Shi, already wrote about healing. If you reduce mobs’ control resistance, you all of a sudden introduce a new strategic component that is going to engage players’ brains again. To be honest, Underdark, MSP and it looks like the new skirmish coming up all indicate that is the direction they are moving, so I’m hopeful. 🙂

    Reply
  • October 11, 2017 at 4:46 pm
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    Foundry…

    Foundry should get a new prizes. Like campaign tokens, genie’s gift, special transmutation rarely, maybe gmop and smop for small chance and daily ad prize… Its better than pvp daily ad cuz a lot of people gonna die to pvp for astral diamond.

    Reply
  • October 15, 2017 at 9:18 am
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    The best part of the game is running dungeons in a group. In my opinion this is the most fun thing to do in the game. My change would be to restructure rewards to incent players who have completed dungeon content to run with new players. My goal is to create a way to get new players and veterans together in dungeons. As my first move towards this, I would make endgame currency available in N-2 (i.e. latest module minus two) dungeon content. As an example using current content, I would make Seals of the Brave available in MSP and FBI. The amount of seals received would not be the same is ToNG, which should reward the most and provide the quickest path to advancement. This change would also allow new players to gradually work towards the latest gear by running MSP and FBI, which should help get them better geared for ToNG. If you look at what is perhaps the most played group content of the game, which I think is demo/edemo, you see both veteran and new players coming together over a chance at a substantive reward. The demo/edemo reward is RNG based, which I don’t like, so in my first change the Seals of the Brave would be guaranteed in MSP and FBI and not subject to RNG.

    Reply
  • October 18, 2017 at 2:44 am
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    This game has been put on the back burner.. That’s what allot of people do not understand you have to come to terms with that. It’s just Julia now as the (face) we see that’s it.. and I can assure you Julia hardly even logs on to play at all.. same goes for the mods they are all playing games like ESO and wow, cryptic are putting time and money into making a new IP and Neverwinter will be left on the pile of other games they have developed to rot away.

    Reply
  • December 14, 2017 at 4:50 am
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    I’d ensure that anything available from the in-house lunch vendors will reduce excessive, morbid obesity in my staff.

    And if that cunt on the end is the shit that bound my GBoH to my characters, I’d smash out every tooth in his rancid, retarded head and nail his bollox to a plank of wood.

    Although we might have to use micro-needles.

    Reply

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