The latest Neverwinter module, the Maze Engine, is set to be released tomorrow on the Xbox and brings a new campaign and fundamental changes to the mount and queue system. We get console players prepared with our massive primer!
Baphomet and Vizeran
The Maze Engine storyline extends the Underdark one as yet another demon has emerged and is trying to take possession of a powerful artifact named the Maze Engine. Not going to spoil too much as the story and the quests are really well made, original and fun. The twelve chapters are a story-focused edition like the Salvatore questline in Underdark, but don’t expect too much challenge.
To stretch the campaign to thirty days, the multi-part quest arc is interrupted by sets of repeatable dailies that are easily the most annoying the game has to offer. You need to repel demons in low-level areas along the Sword Coast and travel times are often longer than the trivial fights at the end. Especially players without a fast mount and VIP will feel the frustration.
Overall however the campaign is a quick completion like Icewind Dale, Dread Ring or Underdark and as always the boons are well worth it.
LFM 10/25 Tiamat
The game will get a massive quality of life addition with a new queue system. It finally allows to premade content designed for more than five players, which was a demand ever since they introduced Tiamat in Module 5. It might take a minute or so to get used to the new system, which separates queues from parties, but once you get it, the advantages are obvious and welcomed.
You no longer have to be at the Well of Dragons or Mantol-Derith adventure zones to be able to queue into Tiamat or the normal Demogorgon fight, the common lfg zones for the respective queues will however probably still be located there. You can fully assemble your team and for Tiamat it is advised to start building early, because filling 24 slots can take a few minutes. On PC the new queue completely broke the meta to only try Tiamat at 100% hoard donations. Teams are build at anytime, which should help players get the remaining Favors faster than before.
The only area that really suffers is pugging. You are still able to enter queues solo, but queues hardly pop. I could pug into normal Demogorgon without problems in Underdark, but couldn’t get in on many tries in the Maze Engine. Players also report that dungeons have the same problem. So more players might be forced to premade and can’t casually queue any longer.
Stable and Insignias
The big change to character progression will come in a companion like system for Mounts. Mounts are no longer items but become an unlock that holds the skin, an equip, combat and speed power as well as up to three Insignia slots. The official wiki is currently the best source to browse through all the mounts and their powers. Green ones come with two Insignia Slots, blue with three. Purple add an equip power and legendary ones a combat power.
On your active mount, the one you are riding, you can freely combine any unlocked appearance with the powers. So it’s actually possible to ride an Armored Boar with 140% speed in case you also have unlocked legendary speed on your character. The equip power normally is just a +2,000 or +4,000 stat increase, but can also be utility like the AP gain from the already known Flail Snail.
In addition to your active mount, you own a stable in which you can select up to five of your unlocked mounts and add Insignias to their slots. Universal slots can hold any Insignia, all others only the respective type. The Insignias themselves come with small stat bonuses, but some combinations add up to a Mount Insignia bonus. Each mount can have one bonus, five total. Same bonuses stack, but not linearly. As rule of the thumb, an additional bonus is worth 25% of the original one.
Using our item database search, you can bring up a list of all Insignias that are currently implemented in the game. Not all do however actually drop and two30 has compiled a list of the variants that have been spotted so far. He also coded the very useful Insignia Bonus tool that let’s you look up all bonuses and the corresponding Mounts that meet the slot requirements. Green Insignias drop from world critters (this was a later change on PC though, it might not apply for Xbox right from the start) and profession nodes, blue ones from bosses of all epic skirmishes and dungeons, and purple ones from lockboxes.
There has been a lot of theorycrafting about the bonuses, but aside from a few early broken interactions and bugs, all of them are minor. Most seem to have an ICD so it’s generally advised to go out and test them before you commit ADs. Sharpedge’s CW Guide has a section with Insignia tests in it as well. Five bonuses add up to be a nice enhancement, but they are not game-breaking, at least in PVE. Since the mount system is also active in PVP, they can add quite a lot of survivability and healing and some players already demanded that they should be deactivated.
A revamped Castle Never returns with the Maze Engine as new capstone dungeon. It can be entered with 2,000 item level and its challenge probably is on par with epic Demogorgon. High item levels shouldn’t run into too many problems. You need a potent healer and a tank to survive and in case you want to spoil yourself, we have a guide up that tells you everything you need to know. Part one deals with trash mobs, part two with the first bosses and part three about the end boss Orcus is set to be released this week. So stay tuned! The loot of the dungeon includes Rank 8 enchantments from the end chests, new refining items for Artifact Gear and the old skins of weapons and armor sets that also can be salvaged for 6k AD.
Dread and Shadowclad
There’s not a lot of additions in terms of gear. Shards for a new Shadowclad Enchantment will drop in Castle Never as well as the new Demonic Enchantment. Thanks to a bug that granted permastealth, the Shadowclad had its five minutes of glory, but most PVP players have since gone back to Negation.
For weapon slots though the new Dread Enchantment is an intriguing addition. It combines the best available debuff with a boost of Encounter DPS. Unless you like the utility from Plague Fire or Terror, most classes that used a buffing enchant should be better off switching to Dread. The enchantment however is a cash-shop addition and only available in combination in a package with 20 Enchanted Keys.
We hope this information will help you in the first days of the Maze Engine and in case you have more questions or anything to add, post it in the comments below or to our message board. Have fun!