Ever since Tyranny of Dragons, the fourth module of Neverwinter, Artifact Weapons are a major part of the refining system and gear progression. Players of the game level up their weapons as they move up, making any set a long-term commitment. So it’s advised to pick your weapon wisely. Otherwise you’ll just waste tons of refining points when switching later on.
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If you’re a regular visitor of our site, you certainly know that we already break down new Artifact Weapon additions individually when they get released. This guide however is aimed at helping you through the Artifact Weapon choices in general. As such, it’s mostly suited for new players that want to have an overview about the options they have. Please note that this is no class specific guide. Your final choice obviously also highly depends on what class and build you plan to run.
Stay Away: Weapon Sets Earlier Than Module 11
The lastest tier of Artifact Weapons started with the Lost City of Omu. This means that older ones are now outdated, albeit still available. They feature much less weapon damage, which is the number one factor in overall DPS. Some sets remain viable however, which is described below. There might still be other little niches, but our general advise is to stay away unless you know what you’re doing. This includes all sets from the Tyranny of Dragons and Elemental Evil campaign, the old Stronghold Masterwork set, Relic Weapons, and Demogorgon’s (Maze Engine).
If you’re unsure, just check the sets below. If you think about acquiring something that’s not listed there, don’t do it!
- Example: Vistani Stiletto
- PRO: Free set for completing the Ravenloft intro story line
- CON: Bad set bonus
Here’s your good news right out of the bat: A set from the very latest tier of Artifact Weapons is handed out for absolutely free! All you have to do is bring a character to level 70, fight through the Barovia introductory story line and get your set. We’ve talked about Ravenloft as a major-catch up module, and this is a prime example. A fresh 70 might struggle a bit in the quests, but you can probably ask a friend or guild-mate to get you through. Vistani weapons outperform many older choices on most builds. So new players can safely grab them. Veterans however find better choices somewhere else.
- Why Is Catching up with Ravenloft Easier Than Ever Before?
- Neverwinter Ravenloft Preview: Artifact Gear and Weapons
- Example: Wootz Kilij
- PRO: Cheap, easy to get, available on the AH
- CON: Weakest of all choices
The other way to obtain a set early in your progression are the Chult Weapons. They belong to the old, now outdated, tier of Artifact Weapons that ranged from Mod 10 to Mod 12. Even when introduced in Neverwinter’s Module 12: Tomb of Annihilation they were weaker than other options. So why would you get them now? Well… they are super easy and cheap to get. You can either claim them off the Auction House for a reasonable price or entirely farm them for yourself by getting into the Chult profession recipes. They are great for the new and casual players that hit 70 and are looking for their very first weapon. Do note however that you’ll replace these sooner or later. So don’t drop too many RPs into them.
- Tomb of Annihilation Console Primer: Gear Additions
- Bag of Tricks Vol. 66: Chultan Recipes Cheat Sheet
- Bag of Tricks Vol. 65: How the Chult Weapons Can Save Cubes of Augmentation
Cloaked Ascendancy Weapons
- Example: Fey Longbow
- PRO: Endgame viable as budget support weapons
- CON: Repetitive farming of the River District
Artifact Weapons are one of the core points of the Cloaked Ascendancy campaign. They are obtainable in the campaign shop, and can be fully farmed. As part of the last tier of Artifact Weapons they are no longer viable however. The one exception is the Fey set, which still offers a budget option for support builds that don’t want to or can’t buy Stronghold Weapons.
Be warned though, the grind is real. You’ll need to do a weekly lair 35 times for some of the required resources and additionally accumulate 105 Arcane Magical Writings from Heroic Encounters. There are more resources you need, but these two are the bottlenecks. You can shortcut a bit by buying Writings off the AH, but that obviously requires ADs. That said, prices have fallen a lot as the demand naturally goes down. So check the AH and decide for yourself whether to buy or to farm.
- Example: Fartouched Orb & Obsidian Miztonhiyo & Bronzewood Huitzauhqui
- PRO: Top choice for support; instantly available on the Auction House
- CON: Can be unreasonably expensive
Speaking of AD, here come the Stronghold sets! With their clearly support oriented set bonus it’s the top choice for all you buffers, healers and tanks. This comes with a price though. The sets are only obtainable through the super expensive Masterwork Professions. This means that you need someone that has unlocked the recipes, which is no small feat. And you additionally need to supply your crafter with the necessary resources.
The builds that don’t utilize power can thankfully settle for older variants. Power sharers like Pallys or DC however only find “bis” in the Module 13 versions. In any case you might want to go with Fey or Pioneer Weapons from the Cloaked Ascendancy campaign for much better value.
- Bag of Tricks Vol. 57: Masterwork Cheat Sheet
- Bag of Tricks Vol. 88: Nyvaril’s Workshop for Masterwork Professions
- Masterwork Recipes & Calc
- Shroud of Souls Console Primer: Masterwork Professions and Lockbox
- Shroud of Souls Masterwork Professions Preview
- Lost City of Omu Masterwork Preview
- Lost City of Omu Masterwork Recipes List
- Example: Pioneer Fanous
- PRO: Obtainable through currency; viable for specific support builds
- CON: Weakest option otherwise; need access to Omu
From the current tier of weapon sets, Pioneer represented the “starter kit”. It’s what Chult Weapons were in Mod 12, a budget option that’s easily obtainable. Pioneer Weapons come from the Omu campaign store and can be farmed in reasonable time. Some support builds, preferably those that share power, also have a budget option to Stronghold Weapons here. The +1,000 power in a full party indeed is a nice feat and at least superior to the Mod 11 SH sets. A user even makes a compelling case for Pioneer as second best DPS option behind Primal in the comments below.
- Example: Bonesnapper
- PRO: Instantly available on Auction House / ZEN Market; viable for endgame DPS
- CON: Expensive compared to what they offer
The Pilgrim Weapons of Module 13 come from the ZEN Market and can instantly be bought. It also makes sense to look up the Auction House as players sell the weapon packages in case they don’t need them themselves. Pilgrim is basically the premium option of the current weapon tier with a very viable set bonus for DPS toons or solo play.
If you not yet have access to Omu and absolutely want to own one of the latest sets, there you go. Please note though that Pilgrim Weapons are overpriced for what they offer. Before you invest the ZEN absolutely make sure you can’t get your hand on another set in a reasonable amount of time.
- Example: Sunset Greataxe
- PRO: “bis” in Barovia content, including Castle Ravenloft
- CON: Situational set that is outperformed by other choices outside Barovia
In Module 14 the devs went an interesting route in terms of the weapon set progression. Since they couldn’t already raise the item level bar, Sunset Weapons offer “situational bis”. It means that the weapons are slightly better than other choices in Barovia content, but get outperformed everywhere else. So it’s up to you whether you want to refine an additional “niche” set to be able to sport the absolute best of the best in every possible situation. As we know now however, Castle Ravenloft will remain the capstone content for quite some time. So it definitely won’t hurt you to get a pair of these. Additionally it’s not like you’re super weak in older dungeons because you bring Sunset.
- Example: Primal Miztonhiyo
- PRO: Easy to farm; most likely very viable to “bis” for your DPS builds
- CON: Not viable for support
Primal Weapons is what you probably see on most DPS builds nowadays. It’s on of the top choices for all those damage dealers. The set bonus is easy to maintain and offers a steady DPS increase. The fact that the set is available for 1,500 Seal of the Brave and hence easily farmable through all group content including the very basic random queues adds to its popularity. If you run a DPS build this is most likely what you want to go for.
- Lost City of Omu Preview: Exalted Weapon Sets
- Tomb of the Nine Gods Strategy Guide
- Cradle of the Death God Strategy Guide: The Atropal
- Example: Hexbringer
- PRO: Best set bonus from current weapon tier
- CON: Hard to farm (Tyrant Hunt); in most cases not worth the effort; long set bonus build-up
Tyrant Weapons offer the best set bonus from the current tier of weapons. It’s in fact the only one that enhances damage, defense, and healing. On the other hand this set needs to build stacks over a certain time to be most effective, whereas Primal is available instantly. Add that most builds do not need damage resistance or healing anyway and you get why it’s questionable to go after this one.
The effort to even get to one Tyrant Hunt, let alone farm it for the set, in most cases is not worth the effort. By the way: We don’t know what the mysterious “Trophy Hunter buff” is that’s mentioned in the Tyrant’s tooltip. Some people say it’s the buff from the Chain of Scales, others proposed the Hunter’s Keffiyeh as possibility. Some even say the set bonus stacks to 20% in case it’s doubled, but there’s simply too much uncertainty to really confirm anything.
- Lost City of Omu Preview: Exalted Weapon Sets
- Module 13 Preview: Hunts of Omu
- Chain of Scales Restoration Guide
I hope you enjoyed our Artifact Weapon guide, currently updated for Module 14! In case you have any questions or remarks, make sure to post them in the comments below or visit the corresponding thread on our message board!
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