Welp guys, this is how promising can go over bad to worse in merely two weeks. Despite their rework of the dungeon loot drawing a large number of negative reactions, the devs are rushing the build onto live today. It’s very disappointing because as I wrote the other day I feel they haven’t tackled the core issues. It’s also hard to believe that the strong and encouraging words from Lead Designer Thomas Foss (“We are going to fix this!”) end up in such a lackluster solution. Community Manager Nitocris83 reiterated they are indeed looking into feedback, but it’s easy to see how players are currently feeling mostly ignored.
Welcome to Lockbox Wonderland
By taking away the ability to peek into chests and not properly compensating for the cost of the invested key, the devs effectively switch to a lockbox system for dungeons. So far players at least could generate additional chests to look into by farming dungeons. With that option gone it only makes sense to run content when you actually have the corresponding keys. It basically means players are going to run dungeons fewer than before. Legendary Dragons are completely dead, because before you gamble on dungeon chest loot, it’s better to grab Lockbox Keys. You’ll most likely lose less.
Aren’t dungeons meant to be farmed?
The devs never said what purpose the system should serve in the game, but looking at the update I think it’s evident that dungeons are simply not meant to be farmed. When it comes to dungeoneering, the game mechanics were already limiting players. The daily ADs only cover two runs and VIP hands out three free dungeons keys. The campaign keys take a day to make and are a major grind commitment. Players additionally have to value them against other options.
To understand why the system frustrates seasoned players, it helps to look into history. Way back in the days, we didn’t have keys, but a Dungeon Delves event occurring every four hours. Each boss would drop equipment you could roll for and finishing a dungeon in the event granted a chest at the end. Gear of course is out of the equation today since the devs already stated that they’d like to attach unbound armor to other systems like professions. But that nonetheless was guaranteed loot for everyone.
And then you had the original Castle Never. Groups would get one reward for one run, and always profit. After that Neverwinter largely switched to RNG based rewards. Simply completing the hardest content is not enough any longer. Instead you need to complete it over and over again to get a shot at something. Dungeons are part of the progression grind and offer no endgame farming capabilities. Ever since Module 6 they carry the gear progression, and most stuff is at least account bound. Any unbound refining points or major rewards you find on the way are merely embellishment.
Loot limits farming
The devs had a chance to fundamentally change their approach with the Dungeon Key Changes. But instead of adding rewards that make dungeons worth farming (and the key), they basically stay true to the system and just give players more chances at something bound. Even with the much higher chance to get the old rare rewards like Artifacts, I have a hard time seeing players farming dungeons or even buying into keys. Don’t get me wrong, players definitely will get more out of the daily runs they do anyway, but Fishing still beats Fangbreaker Island by a mile in terms of profit.
And when the hardest dungeon in the game doesn’t yield the best (unbound) rewards, it might be intentional. Maybe the devs for whatever reason do not want dungeons to be part of farming, at least not on top of the ones you need to run each day for your Astral Diamonds and to burn through your free keys. It’s the only conclusion that makes sense at this point. Why else would you pass on overhauling the system when given the chance? They had two months to go into any direction, yet they they barely moved. It feels like a wasted opportunity.
Explanations for this approach are plenty. Maybe the devs just misjudged the situation. Maybe they thought this is the holy grail everyone was waiting for. Players indeed requested a greater variety of rewards, which they delivered, but the community hoped that said rewards would make dungeons truly farmable. So it’s sort of a yes, but still not quite.
Parts of the community also had crazy high expectations that were bound to get crushed. Some were even looking forward to a significant content update with new dungeons. That’s just unreasonable and foolish. Comparable bigger updates like Alliances were planned and developed in advance. For this change the team pulled extra resources from whatever their are working on right now. Bottom line: Maybe with the time and resources given, more wasn’t in play.
Neverwinter additionally is a casual game with a casual playerbase. Cryptic first and foremost has to design content for an average item level. And when you can’t gate loot behind hardcore challenge, it’s hard to attach major rewards to it. The market is bound to crash on pretty much any item you start to constantly hand out. So you can’t just add rewards, but have to nerf other areas to compensate for it. This balancing act has the potential to really mess with the economy. If the devs like the current situation, they might have a hard time to interfere.
Business vs. Gameplay
Another reason could be business. Even if the devs came to the conclusion that a change makes sense from a gameplay perspective, it might not on the business side of things. There might have been interference from a higher-up, who knows. The final version we’re seeing right now could merely be the part of the original idea that passed through all the necessary tiers of approval.
Whatever it is, it’s hard to believe that after all the rage and opposition players as of right now are still left with a loot system that’s not really rewarding. Maybe we have to accept the fact that farming in Neverwinter will never mean running more than your daily dungeons.
What’s your opinion on the changes? Share it in the comments below or visit the corresponding thread on our message board! We also have a guide up about how to adjust to these changes. Enjoy!
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