It has been years, quite literally years, since I last played Neverwinter. I did enjoy it back in the day, but my health interfered with my playtime. And since I’d never managed to find a guild I connected with, I never felt an impetus to return. With the recent new module Shroud of Souls, I thought I would peek back in and see how the game is doing.
Wow, how different the game is! Within minutes, I was absolutely lost. Drifting. Guilds have strongholds now, where everyone can adventure together regardless of level. The level cap has been raised to 70. All of my skills and feats have been reset. There are new zones, new adventures, new classes and races. I opened my character sheet and saw a new tab for boons, and when I looked at the full UI I saw tabs for collections and campaigns. There are flowcharts to keep track of, and even beyond that, there are flowcharts within the flowcharts! My head was spinning, I felt like trying to figure out all the new stuff on top of my reset abilities was just utterly beyond me.
So I did the only thing I could. New character time!!
There were two new classes, scourge warlock and oathbound paladin. And several new races including the dragonborn. Naturally I, being the edgy and experimental person that I am, went out on a limb and made a character available from launch: a tiefling wizard. Lost and confused, I stumbled my way through the intro tutorial, and this time I managed to find a good guild. They led me through some of the early content, and explained what a lot of the new stuff was.
I was very sad to learn that a lot of the ways to earn astral diamonds, the currency used to trade between players, as well as purchase most of end game items, has been removed. You can no longer earn them from leadership, the foundry daily quest, or invocation. Indeed, when I asked, I was told that it is virtually impossible for players to earn any significant AD before level 70. I tried queuing up to get some piddling ADs via the daily skirmish and dungeon quests, but soon discovered that it is all but impossible – the ageing playerbase now races to level 70 as that is where the game is considered to begin.
I suppose it’s some consolation that I was able to get 1 character to 63, and another to 49 over the course of the weekend, but still, it really depresses me when games destroy low level content and force new players to race to the end in order to participate. At least they level scale on the guild stronghold maps – I was able to join my guildies for several fun stronghold adventures, including dragon hunts, even at level 10.
But that said – wow, there is certainly a ton of things to do. I recall being impressed with everything to do back when the game launched, and now there’s even more! Many zones have dragons to fight, and most of the time there are more than enough players around to get some good dragon blasting (or stabbing, or shooting) in. Many other zones have heroic encounters of varying challenge levels, which are more difficult than standard mini-adventures to complete. Modules provide bonuses and powerful gear as you fulfill them – and I learned that the flowcharts that made my head spin when I first logged in are simply displays of the rewards and adventures you can complete. “Simply” once you comprehend how they work, of course.
You can beat up dragons, dungeon run, solo quest, join guildmates for more private adventures, collect artifacts, companions and pets, work on actually leveling up said artifacts companions and pets, and on top of all of that there are different events that run for a few days at a time. Some are simple passive bonuses like double XP or double enchanting rates, but others are actual mini-adventures with daily quests. I particularly enjoyed the one I caught on the tail end that turned my character into a gaming miniature complete with base, with the background consisting of large people peering down as though I was a miniature in a tabletop D&D game.
And that, folks, is simply what I noticed in the whirlwind that was my return. I’m sure there is plenty more that I overlooked! By the way, a little bird has told me that we’ll be doing some giveaways on our Instance Gratification livestream and via social media, so you’ll want to be sure to follow us all around. And yes, there is a code hidden somewhere in this post!