On February 9th Neverwinter Underdark will be released for the Xbox and to continue the tradition of this site, we are making sure you can start Module 8 off on the right foot with our Primer. We cover all important elements from the added content, the campaign, new items, QoL changes and endgame on
Wednesdays (sorry folks we have a messed up schedule this week because the maze has started its engine) until release. Have fun with it!
In every module new items have an impact on the market and, in case you are well prepared and know what’s being devalued or will have a higher demand, there are some AD to make. Underdark is no different, although there is not THE area from which you can profit.
First of all thanks to Masterwork professions the last tier of basic resources that can be crafted at level 21 will see an upgrade in demand as they are needed for the Masterwork tasks. Of the crafting itself the best items seem to be the double slot rings, from which at least the Rosegold Duelist Ring is considered BIS in PVP. Especially the armor sets are widely ignored because nobody needs them for their price and when comparable item levels are so easy to get. The Armaments for the Stronghold weapons are also listed for quite a lot on PC.
Since no new BIS is introduced in most gear areas, prices on PC largely stayed the same. Jewelcrafting Rings (Click) lost a little traction, but that was more of a continued than sudden process as more players got their hands on superior double enchantment rings through Masterwork and Demogorgon over time. On Xbox however this might happen a tad faster because the version will probably start with +4 Rings having two slots. On PC originally only the legendary ones, which drop very, very rarely, had multiple slots.
Unified Elements are needed to infuse the new Drowcraft Armor, but it only experienced a short spike and then quickly settled to known values. You should however be on the look for the New Life Lockbox as it will raise the rewards in Enchantment, Artifact and Companion Packs and severely devalue former packs and everything that dropped from them.
Players will be pleased about the progression changes. Elemental Evil completely messed and broke the progression in multiple areas. The single player campaign effectively ends at level 67 and the gap from a fresh level 70 to the tier 1 dungeons is too big. Underdark deals with both problems. It introduces more XP through the Dwarven King (spoilers!) quest line and Skirmishes, Demogorgon and the Demonic Heroic Encounter present an additional and easier way to acquire Element and Protector Seals.
That makes the new content suitable for both players that are currently gearing up as well as those that want to acquire the latest stuff and pugs are mixed accordingly. Overall it’s a module that should enable more players to reach item levels of 135+ throughout their gear, especially since you can instantly buy a full set of Dusk gear (Click) with premium currency.
The new Heroic Encounters in Dread Ring, Icewind Dale and the Well of Dragons scale to the number of participants, but overall just add to the daily grind. The skirmishes, although they generally demand more awareness, participation and a learning curve, are even a bit easier than epic Shores of Tuern and Kessell’s Retreat in terms of mob strength. We have a guide up for them.
After players settle into their roles in Demogorgon and learn the mechanics, both the normal and epic versions can be completed at their item level requirement, albeit not at gold rank (see below). But since Demogorgon most likely has a pug component, chances are that some higher geared players are in your group and the overall strength is sufficient to climb the ranks. There are several (video) guides up to give you a comprehensive understanding of the phases and how to beat them. A minor addition to these are that in phase 1 players prefer to close and hunt down only the purple portals to concentrate DPS.
One key aspect of all Underdark content is replayability and tiered success. We have been rightfully critical with the concept of replayability, which initially was announced to fight repeatable content and introduce much more variance, but in the end only featured two variants of the skirmishes. Tiered success (bronze, silver and gold) means the better the result in a fight the better the rewards. Higher ranks are earned by finishing phases of fights in a certain timespan or achieving more in a phase.
It has pro and cons. On one hand it enables undergeared or inexperienced players to still participate in content for less rewards. Since the bests rewards have a better chance to drop from higher successes though players might not be willing to participate if gold is no longer achievable and camp the reminder of a fight. This makes for some pretty good ingame drama. Also the mob strength needed to make the fight reasonable for bronze minimum groups is not enough to still present a challenge for BIS gold groups. That’s why most players were disappointed with the difficulty of the capstone content.
This wraps up our Primer about Underdark and we certainly hope you feel more prepared after reading all three pieces. If you feel stuff is missing or have any further questions leave a comment or post to our forums!