The Winter Festival in Neverwinter is all about maximizing the rewards from your Starlight Parcels. You want to open as many gifts after hitting the 20 threshold as possible, mainly for a shot at the Forgehammer of Gond. Even a few added rewards at the various vendors haven’t changed that fact. So naturally many players are seeking out the best way to get to the threshold, and will probably realize that it’s not that easy unless you pay for gifts with ZEN. The Festival runs for 14 + 7 (Zenith) days, which means you can get 22 free gifts on each toon. Two over the threshold isn’t that great of a chance to land something meaningful.
By now, everyone probably knows the best approach to solve that riddle. You run gift parties, hope for Star of Fortune and Starlight Bags, and don’t start opening your Starlight Parcels until you’ve hopefully reached the 20 threshold. Starlight Bags return rewards bound to character, which is why it makes more sense to use them to increase the counter. What you can also do is open gifts on one character and receive on a different one. Players that do that usually go first in gift parties and then switch over. I’m personally not a fan since it lengthens the time per group and doesn’t work if two players want to do it. But it’s a way to use your full account to gradually get as many toons to the threshold as possible.
Giving Yourself a Head Start
A third option, and one I’ve been successfully running with over the years, is giving yourself a head start with Stars of Fortune and Gift of Simril from previous years. The approach is really simple, and might even be self-explanatory. What you want to do is save 30-40 gifts/stars per year so you can use them to drive the counter in the following year. That way, you probably never have to prematurely open any Starlight Parcels to get gifts for parties. Instead you feed on what you’ve saved.
The other big advantage in my opinion is that you likely only need to throw gift parties once per toon. You work through your leftovers (and the stars and bags that drop while doing so), and get as close to the threshold as luck allows for. Then all you have to do on that toon is claim your daily gift, open them, and amass 22 gifts + stars for next year. Rince, repeat.
This works great for the most part, but comes with downsides. First and foremost, you have no guarantee that your leftovers will net you 20 Starlight Bags. Admittedly, in most cases you won’t. I’ve had more success on level 70 toons. So maybe the level affects drop rates. I normally land somewhat between 12-15, which means I still get 13+ shots at the Forgehammer per toon. That’s ok in my book, but obviously you’re not opening all your Starlight Parcels over the threshold. If you truly want to maximize gain you would still need to use the “open on one / receive on another”-strategy and only open Parcels on the characters that get over 20.
It also means that new characters likely won’t generate any chances with their gifts in the first year of creation. Because what you will do is just let them claim their daily Starlight Parcel and Star of Fortune and do nothing else. This requires a little bit of patience, and also knowing that you likely will still be around in 12 months.
I can see why others might want to get something more immediate out of their gifts, even if it’s not the best reward tier. But for me it works great, mainly because it’s convenient. I run gift parties on all my toons just once and have much better control of the time I need and how much of the account is already “done” for this year. During the first years, I would go back and forth on characters, looking where I still had gifts, and throwing a lot of inefficient 3/5x gift parties. Since I’ve got my year-to-year rotation down, I can start gifting and processing toons early. The last days of the event no longer get too cluttered with dozens of gift parties I still have to go through.
Especially during busy holidays it’s something I learned to appreciate. Planning long-term has done the trick, and you might want to do, too. Because there’s no better way to prepare for the next Winter Festival than start saving gifts and stars this time around.
Neverwinter UN:Blogged is always looking for writers to contribute to the blog. If you are an active player and search for a way to spread your opinions, analysis, diaries or reviews to more than 75,000 regular visitors, then don’t hesitate and get in touch with us on our contact page or message board! We are currently especially looking for console and PVP content, but that’s not exclusive. There is no frequency requirement, you post how often you want.