MassivelyOP: In recent years, it’s seemed as if PWE and Cryptic were reshaping Neverwinter’s cadence into these multi-patch arcs, not unlike what we see out of a couple of other popular MMOs. Is this an intentional choice that we’ll see into the future, or is it just what happens to work for the content the team is working on lately? Can we expect the same arc plan for Sharandar – will Sharandar’s three episodes span 2021, or will there be additional content coming over the year? Will you continue using the term module, or are you switching to expansion now?
Randy Mosiondz, Lead Designer for Neverwinter: We have definitely moved towards an episodic release structure where we release smaller chunks of content more frequently. The volume of content is roughly the same as our older module release structure, but built as episodes with story break points, and ways in which the world evolves. So our module releases going forward encompass a series of episodic releases.
We are looking at releasing more content later in the year, although we’ll be doing an announcement about this in the future.
Can we expect any tie-ins with other Dungeons and Dragons games or platforms with Sharandar? How about the new D&D movie?
Mosiondz: Anything is possible, although the team is focused on bringing Dungeons & Dragons modules to life in Neverwinter, as well as original content. I definitely think it would be exciting to explore future tie-ins with the D&D movie and other media. For example, having done work with New York Times best-selling author R.A. Salvatore on an original Companions storyline for our Underdark module was great! Doing things like this helps reinforce the setting on multiple fronts, and gives players new ways to enjoy their favorite property.
I wonder if the team could chat about reworks for a sec. In 2020, Neverwinter saw several major revamps of mechanics-centric content, including the mount system and combat system. How did players respond to these changes? Any regrets from the devs or plans to tweak them further?
Jared Sears, Senior Systems Designer for Neverwinter: Players responded very positively to the mount system changes and we think it turned out well. The combat changes had some players nervous at first, but the more players tried out the system along with fixes and tweaks being put on to preview twice each week, a lot of players ended up really enjoying the changes and what it offered for the game.
Building on that – so far, what we know of Sharandar focuses on lore and PvE content like dungeons, pretty typical for these updates. Can we expect any reworks of existing content or systems in any of its episodes? Or is the rework of the adventure zones going to fill that role?
Mosiondz: Yes, with the Sharandar three-episode series, we’re mainly focused on PvE content. As Jared mentioned, we just did a major overhaul of Mounts a short while back, as well as the whole Combat Ratings Rework we’re still iterating on now. We’d like to make sure that’s in a good place before we take on another major systems change, likely sometime after our Sharandar release.
Finally, can you give us a tease about what players might look forward to after Sharandar?
Mosiondz: As well as the aforementioned unspecified systems update, we do have more PvE content planned, including a remastered version of an older queued piece of content. We’re also hard at work on our new class! We’ll have updates on that later this year. And as always, we continue to have exciting conversations with Wizards of the Coast on what’s coming for the D&D brand and things we can incorporate into Neverwinter.