Neverwinter is making maps look creepy again and strongholds more small-guild friendly

El Creepy.
The bright side for environmental artists working on Neverwinter’s next module is that so much of the content takes place in familiar areas. That means you can reuse old maps without designing everything from the ground up. But how do you take those areas, make them look creepy, and then drop them back into the game? A new post by environment artist Ryan Dao walks through the process of taking existing locales and giving them a coat of evil paint. (Which is paint that looks evil, mind you, not paint which shows up when adjacent clerics use Detect Evil.)

It’s interesting stuff not just for fans of Neverwinter but for anyone interested in the process; Dao talks about putting together environmental objects, then using bits and pieces of those objects to kitbash further pieces of decor to create a unified look while also streamlining the process. You can also see plenty of before-and-after shots for comparison purposes, so it’s definitely a process that works.

That wasn’t the only dev blog to release for the game this week; Utility Content Designer Simon Lucas also has a piece out on guild strongholds, explaining that Shroud of Souls will allow guild hall decorations and new temporary plots, and the good news is that small guilds aren’t screwed.

“Building these new structures allows smaller guilds to turn plentiful resources, such as wood, metal, stone, or food into scarcer ones, such as Influence, Gems, and Gold,” he writes of the temp structures. “Most of the new structures require some combination of the basic resources, which guilds typically have in decent quantities. For larger guilds, the masterwork stores allow them to create more decorations for their Great Hall or for auction, converting Guild Marks into much needed Astral Diamonds.”


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This game has become a confusing bloated mess.

I wish Cryptic could get out from under Perfect World.

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I would agree that it can be quite difficult to get back into after an extended absence, as I’ve had that fight myself a couple of times since open beta. But when you step back and look at it, it’s actually sectioned off and parcelled up into quite neat chunks — a structure that’s only become more transparent since WoTC got into the D&D fusion thing and started really driving the storyline forwards with the ‘module’ updates.

Basically, 1-60 is a homogeneous whole, and 60-70 is represented by about half a dozen ‘modules’. Whilst these do carry the 1-60 story forward in a linear fashion, from the actual gaming point of view you can tackle them in any order, finish them, leave them unfinished, whatever you like. Then, when you get to the cap at 70, there’s the new River District which lets you fill up your XP bar for special prizes and stuff each time it’s full.

What tends to muddy the waters is, imo, the 20 bazillion special campaign currencies and different ways of upgrading your gear, although the revamped Tarmalune and Seals traders make that a little bit easier now too.