Ravenloft Preview: Astral Diamond Refining Cap Change

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Before we get into into the new content that Neverwinter Ravenloft is going to introduce, we have to talk about some pretty significant changes to old systems first. One of the changes is not less than the hottest topic on the feedback front. And that has a reason, because the devs once again mess with Astral Diamond earn rates. After Mod 12.5 brought random queues, this is the second major change to the AD economy within the last months. And while Swords of Chult more changed how Rough Astral Diamonds could be obtained, Ravenloft swings the nerf bat.

What Will Change?

But first things first. What’s actually going on and how are the devs trying to tackle it? I coincidentally had that ZAX backlog article up last week that pretty much explained the issue: There are simply too many Astral Diamonds in the economy! Currently there are not enough sinks, which devalues the currency and, among other things, inflates the ZEN/AD exchange. In the linked article I also said what you can do about it:

  1. Remove the ZAX exchange limit to let the market regulate itself
  2. Add sufficient AD sinks
  3. Nerf AD generation

Turns out the devs decided to go with 3). With M14 Rough Astral Diamonds will have an account wide refining cap of 100,000 per day. This obviously means that AD generation does no longer linearly scale with your characters and could be a substantial nerf depending on how extensively you farmed for RADs on each and any given day.

Who Is Getting Nerfed the Most?

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The math is fairly easy. The current character refining limit is 36,000. Meaning that if you are able to cap three characters per day, you’ll see a decline in Ravenloft thanks to the new 100,000 account hard cap. As adjustment to the new system random queue rewards will be account gated as well. Only one character can earn those first run bonuses per day. Granted, the bonuses were significantly raised, overall they still won’t contribute as much to progress as before. To reach the daily cap you will have to farm additional Salvage.

I’m not sure that makes farming 100,000 ADs longer than currently, it’s just that a portion of the AD generation was moved away from the random queues. You can do everything on your best main, which for example might add to overall speed depending on how geared the alts are that you currently use for random queue farming. The bigger your account is, the bigger the nerf will be. New or casual players that only operate one character on the other hand might even see an small increase in earnings.

Is Another Hard Cap the Answer?

I’d like to point out that some change to the AD economy was necessary. People feel nerfed, but at the end of the day you couldn’t do a whole lot with your ADs anyway. If this works, the currency will get more valuable. A basic example is once again the ZEN exchange. With fewer ADs in the economy, it should fall again. You might not be able to farm as much ADs on a daily basis any longer, but the same ADs will also net you more ZEN. This is a bit speculative at this point, but just know that fewer Astral Diamonds might not mean less “value” for you.

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That being said, I’m still critical of the path they’ve chosen here. It decreases the relevance of alts and adds another hard cap in a game that already features tons of progression walls. In 2015 I created the chart on the left to visualize how daily progression works in Neverwinter. And guess what, it still applies. If people want to put the time in to farm Astral Diamonds through refining, just let them. There certainly would have been other ways of taking ADs out of the economy without completely shutting down “hardcore farming”. I can’t stress enough how annoying it is that long-term players that build sizable accounts over the years tend to suffer the most from such changes.

Another reason why I don’t like hard caps is because they are not flexible. Now the 100,000 might make sense, but who knows what’s going to happen during Mod 14 and beyond. If suddenly the economy needs more ADs, players are unable to supply them themselves. Right now you could just gear another alt or two if in need, but with a hard account cap you’re actually dependent on the devs to make adjustments. And let’s just say swift reactions is not really something we are blessed with around here.

Let’s Get More Meaningful and Rewarding Ways of Spending ADs

As annoying as this nerf is to some folks, it was probably an inevitable change for now. I do however would like to see more meaningful and rewarding ways of spending ADs instead of simply limiting what players are able to do. The devs hinted that they have future plans there, so that’s encouraging I guess. But overall it nonetheless looks like some of us will have to get along with fewer Astral Diamonds per day than we’re currently used to.


What’s your opinion on the AD refining cap nerf? Is it justified or should the devs have come up with a better solution to deal with the economy issues? Share your thoughts on our social channels, in the comments below, or the corresponding thread on our message board! An overview of our full Ravenloft coverage can be found in this article!

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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.

16 thoughts on “Ravenloft Preview: Astral Diamond Refining Cap Change

  • May 17, 2018 at 8:27 am
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    Some F2P players on the official forum claim to max out Random runs and Salvage on 8 characters, one of each class, for 288,000 AD refined per day. They will be hit as well as older players with many active Alts.

    But why should new, F2P players expect to get VIP completely free within a few weeks?

    Why should Cryptic, or anyone else, care if new players who have not spent (and will not spend) a penny take 21 days to get their Zen orders?

    If they will not buy Zen with cash, let them wait.

    The ZAX will drop during Summer Festival charge promo and 50% Sales, anyway. Like it always does.

    And, really, who needs nasty, green mounts in the WB? Put in Wards and Enchanting stones, even if BtA.

    And return the BtA Wards to the Tarmalune Trade Bar store.

    But who was it who “sold” the Random Queues as a way of getting more AD in the first place? And who was it who told them it was a bad idea?

    x:

    Reply
    • May 19, 2018 at 11:06 am
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      my free 150k zen waiting on 50% sales $$

      Reply
  • May 17, 2018 at 8:38 am
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    LMAO! And yet they wonder why old-timers, like myself, quit, leaving accounts with over 7 mil in raw AD just sitting there.

    Reply
    • May 17, 2018 at 9:51 am
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      Methuselas, in Mod 14, you could now refine that 7 million rAD in 70 days!

      Reply
      • May 17, 2018 at 12:03 pm
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        That’s 70 days of hell. No thanks. I find zero joy in the experience of Neverenter. The forums are crappy, the Community “Mods” are even worse, the grind is atrocious, my guild is dead, the power creep is terrible, etc. I was running with good gear, R9s and 10s (This is before they bumped those), but I also had a lot of junk I invested in that got nerfed. Leadership assets, specialized enchantments that got nerfed, etc.

        Game is not even enjoyable now, as it wasn’t since Underdark in 2015.. I love Uncensored more than I love Neverenter, but I’ve been lacking even on those forums.

        Reply
  • May 17, 2018 at 9:20 am
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    From the perspective of a semi-casual player, I see this as a positive change. I don’t mean to be hating on serious players now, but I’m afraid it’s gonna come out that way, I’m sorry. Maybe I’m wrong, I’d love to hear some different opinions.

    From where I stand, it seems that a lot of these unpleasant things that everyone complains about – insane grinds, changes to the economy – are an attempt to slow down players who are progressing too fast. I see people in my guild make a new character and get them all decked out with all Primal gear and BiS companions within a week or two of reaching level 70. Is that the way this game is supposed to progress? Maybe this change will help close the gap between casual and serious players a bit? I know a lot of people think there should be a gap, and I agree, but I think it’s too wide right now.

    It sounds like I’m blaming serious players for this, but I’m not. Well, maybe a little bit. 🙂 But it’s mostly Cryptic’s inability to find a better solution so far. Maybe they’re doing the best they can, I don’t know. I can’t think of a better solution.

    I agree that perpetually trying to put obstacles in front of people who play more than 3 hours a day is a very poor attempt to fix the situation. I’d love to see a shift toward a “fun-to-play” game rather than a “need-to-grind” game. I think shutting down hardcore farming is not necessarily a bad thing, as long as there is something else replacing it to entertain people who wanna play a lot.

    Let me just repeat here my concern that constantly making old content obsolete by raising the IL every 6 months does not help this situation.

    Reply
  • May 17, 2018 at 10:50 am
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    I’m all for point 1 as its an easy fix and allows the game to self regulate. Let the players decide what AD is worth, anyone who had taken an economics class knows that price controls don’t work they just increase demand and create secondary (black) markets. #2 will require a lot of effort.

    I think the challenge in their solution is, I’m not sure this will do exactly what they think it will do. Part of the AD sinks that actually exist in this game is multi-characters. By removing the AD incentive of having alts you also remove the markets around equipping an alts. Personally I think the first focus would be to decrease the farm-ability of normal queue as an AD generator. Maybe have RED generate an AD bonus per character on first run but make RES and Normal Queue only generate AD on first run. This would create demand for alt farmers to unlock FBI/MSP and up their ilvl.

    Also note that last year Foss said Mod14 was going to introduce a new scaling mechanic for cross lvl content like random queues. Something that would have prevented a naked lvl 70 from running normal PK for the AD bonus. This would also create more AD syncs while limiting AD farming without investment.

    I would focus on areas that generate high AD amounts with minimal investment. People should be able to generate AD but it should come in the forms of investment of both time and resources.

    Overall I don’t think many people will be impacted by this. Sure you can max salvage on 8 characters a day, but how many people really do that every day. I had a friend in game that did that every day until he realized how much more 1 hour of working his real job was worth that farming alts (which had long sense gotten boring and repetitive to him). Many have claimed that the endgamers are mostly impacted by this but the people I would call endgamer that I socialize with do not generate AD by spamming queues/salvage. They generate their AD by selling loot drops or mastercraft. They may generate less AD after this change but their AD is at the end of the AD cycle, meaning their loss in income will happen as AD value rises. People who actually will get hurt from this get their AD from queues/salvage which will be impacted before AD values rise.

    Reply
    • May 18, 2018 at 8:35 am
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      I live with Zimbabwe just north of me and I am heavily against 1, I have seen what hyperinflation does to a country I don’t want a repeat of it in Neverwinter tyvm where my ad is worth nothing.

      Reply
    • j0Shi
      May 18, 2018 at 1:44 pm
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      I don’t agree with your opinion on 1), but I like the point you’re making about how the changes might contradict themselves in terms of alt vs. AD sinks.

      Reply
  • May 17, 2018 at 1:21 pm
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    Why would running completely unchallenging content, like machines, to earn 8M+ AD a month be natural? Without even enjoying doing it, other than for preeeeecious salvage. The only strange thing here is how it’s been working up until next mod. Moneymakers be gone, go out and collect cans or something, at least you will get some fresh air. 🙂

    Reply
  • May 17, 2018 at 1:25 pm
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    I agree with Putz that the changes will remove or limit alts as an AD sink as there is less incentive to use them aside from back-up salvaging. Gearing alts is what a lot of end-gamers spend their time/resources doing. However, salvage runs will still need support toons to speed them up so people may still be stuck playing support, even if they would rather be on their DPS mains. Tanks and Healers will also still be needed for some queues so DPS will likely continue to see delays in queues or see more frequent skirmishes, like Throne and PoM. There will likely be longer queue times for certain queues as there is less incentive to repeat, which lowers the available pool of participants.

    If throttling back production rates is part of their effort, they should also introduce reward scaling. Providing an AD reward for anyone who can queue at the same amount as a level 70 provides an incentive for abuse, particularly by botters who frequently make fresh accounts to cycle through the RQ system, which the new design encourages even more. The formula would be easy:

    Reward Scaling = Reward Value * (Current Level/Maximum Participation Level)

    This wouldn’t remove bots, but would lessen their return on effort and help curb AD production, which may encourage them to move on to other games if their resource use doesn’t generate returns to cover costs. Some people may claim that this would hurt newcomers, but I still remember when I first started playing and AD wasn’t even something on my radar or available until after I hit 70 and actually started to figure out what the game was about. Scaling up the reward return as they level would give newcomers an incentive to level up, instead of just walking naked through a dungeon behind some diehard and collecting the reward at the end.

    Scaling could also be done by % of run spent in combat or in relation to the rest of the group, to help offset the AFK leechers who hang back without contributing to the rest of the run. This may penalize late joiners and slow pokes, but they are already benefiting from cleared content. It would also reward players who stuck through challenging phases trying to progress. It may also hurt new players who just can’t keep up with end-gamers sprinting through dungeons, but you could set a minimum value to off-set, though I’m all in favor of providing no reward if people don’t contribute (I prefer time in combat as opposed to DPS/Healing charts because some people just can’t compete, even if they are trying). The new gear scaling should at least help address this somewhat in the leveling dungeons where people complain the most.

    My personal opinion is that they should hold off on the refining cap change and see the impact of the random queue change first. Introducing too many variable changes makes it hard to determine the impact of any one decision. They may want to also field input from the community for ideas as there are a lot of smart players in this game that can help provide useful ideas. Getting community input would also help lessen the sting of the changes.

    Reply
    • May 17, 2018 at 2:35 pm
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      It’s hard to rack up time in combat when some idiot stampedes ahead. Yesterday, my 11k HR Alt had to ask the GF to slow down in Grey Wolf Den, as he was not even casting ITF on the rest of us, just himself, and he could run much faster anyway due to having rank 4 Steel Grace slotted. GWFs do the same with Bravery. And leveling dungeons seem to give us about +10 to 20% MV anyway. My own SM GF/GWFs can run about as fast as a 110% speed mount, but at least I wait for slower players in dungeons, especially low levels.

      He said he was in a hurry to stampede his other Alts through the Random Queue, but at least he responded to my PM and waited.

      Then my 10.6k OP Alt with Twisted got into TotDG again, with a couple of 6k No-Clues trying to kill the Hulks and ignoring the DC’s advice on pointing the red beam. I got top Paingiver and doubled the 10k CW with all the Primal and Chult stuff, suggesting that I had a working build and some idea what I was doing. We threw away a Gold for Silver in the first phase, due to dead Hulks and badly wounded Hulks smashing their heads into random walls.

      But still no Dwarven Spelunking 🙁

      Best thing,

      1) stop matching level 70s with level 15s

      2) get rid of random queues as the only way to get rAD from a dungeon or skirmish and have some sort of TIL matching

      3) if you have to have a 100k rAD limit, at least keep the bonus on the first run per character and let people run Alts solo through the damned tedium, so they aren’t fucking up new players who actually want to enjoy the dungeons and skirmishes, as and when they reach the level for them and get a quest for them. And also so new players aren’t fucking things up for people who know how to run the encounters.

      What do you mean we said all this before Mod 12b?

      😡

      Reply
  • May 18, 2018 at 2:22 pm
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    I’m confident any reward scaling would get fd up. Just look how they’ve done with HE rewards, etc. Supports always getting the shaft in the calculation methods. I’m not so worried about leveling characters on getting AD because lets be honest, AD isn’t really the issue while leveling. Gold is actually a much more difficult resource while leveling because you need potions, kits, and mount (assuming free2play). At the very least a leveling character shouldn’t really need to max out their RAD each day.

    The bigger problem is reaching lvl 70 and not being able to queue RED to earn AD. Something I hope the restructure will help with. some campaigns like SKT are almost prohibitive to casuals, its such a long hard grind.

    Reply
  • May 20, 2018 at 4:18 am
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    Personally I don’t care about the ZAX. If I need Zen I’ll haul out the credit card and support the game financially. There’s very little worthwhile in the Zen Store anyway other than VIP and Wards. I need my AD to buy my orange mount since the RNG gods clearly hate me regardless of how many 100s of keys I’ve bought over and above the VIP keys. Even at 36k per character per day it’s an almost impossible target for me to reach when AD is needed for better gear, enchantments, masterwork ingredients etc.

    Reply
  • June 2, 2018 at 8:41 am
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    Whats critical here is to not look at just your situation. The economy is a broad entity and affects all. If you have an overabundance of virtual coinage then the value of each is lower. If you are not into spending every day “farming” AD, then the saturation of AD removes any capability for you to function financially. A balance needs to be stuck. And the ideas that ‘the market would regulate itself’ is not realistic with so many who effectively game the system.

    Now, if you couldn’t strait earn the AD and had to manufacture things or perform tasks for other players, then that would allow for a self-regulating market. They way it is now, the developers will need to assess whats wrong system wide and come up with ideas to address that.

    And Methuselas, if the system feeds just your way of approach, how many people will they lose as opposed to your system where they really don’t receive any income anymore in general. If I were to lose one or the other, I’d lose the group who were no longer investing or investing very little because they’ve found ways around it.

    They are, at the end of a day, a business, and if they fail, none of us will be playing.

    Just a thought.

    Reply

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