Neverwinter’s new Bard is accompanied by a massive level squish from 80 to 20

    
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Earlier this week, Neverwinter announced that it was working on a brand-new class, its first since 2016: the Bard, described as a “stylish fighter who uses the power of song to enhance their allies and defeat their enemies” and “daring heroes who possess the ability to weave magic into their swords and use music to inspire allies, manipulate minds and even heal wounds,” depending on whether they choose the Songblade or Minstrel path. Perhaps the best news was that players wouldn’t have long to wait for it, as it was expected to hit the test server imminently and then launch with Sharandar’s third episode, The Odious Court, next week.

But what we didn’t know at the time is that the M21 patch next week is doing a lot more than adding a new class and the last leg of an arc plot; it’s also completely rebalancing the way leveling works in what is basically a major leveling squish, with a new max level of 20 (down from 80) and a quicker path to get there.

“Levels in Neverwinter were a big focus when starting out but then when reaching endgame, the focus turns to item level. That was a tough transition for a lot of players which left them feeling lost and confused on how to advance further. On top of that over the years the levels expanded to continue the journey with new progression which pulled the game further from the core of D&D. As we looked to improve the leveling experience, we felt it was a good time to connect better with D&D while also helping players understand what to focus on to improve their character. That brought us to bringing the levels back to 20 and have them be milestones that mark progress in your journey which all ties in better with core D&D gameplay. Those milestones are now a linear journey with new tutorials, changes to gear, and a better experience for new players learning Neverwinter.”

While players needn’t do anything to prep for the changeover, it does sound like some of the old leveling adventure zones have been temporarily retired, presumably until they can be retooled for the new leveling curve. “We’ll be discussing Adventures in more detail in an upcoming blog,” the studio says.

The Odious Court lands June 8th on PC, July 6th for console.

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Darthbawl

Curious how this will impact the crafting system

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Vanquesse V

I have two big issues with that game, and the time to hit max level isn’t one of them.

The class customization looks impressive but is incredibly limited in reality that mostly revolves around picking one of two subclasses and selecting the encounter powers you prefer. You can’t really do much to alter functionality or playstyle.

The other, and much bigger issue is the nightmare that is endgame progression.
Figuring out what content to run and what upgrades you should chase via drops and which you should pick up from the auction house (assuming you’re not buying Zen, converting it to AD and wallet warrioring your way to success) is a nightmare and is the reason I usually bounce in less than an hour if I decide to reinstall the game.

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driveled

They should do everything they can to change the nomenclature and feel of the game to reflect the wildly popular 5th edition. It’s a shame this game is based on what is pretty much universally agreed on as the worst edition of D&D.

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Dug From The Earth

Thats because 4th edition was basically designed with video games in mind. Other editions just dont translate as well, especially not to an mmorpg.

Take Neverwinter Nights, based on 3rd edition (or was it 3.5?). You would remain injured until you rested, and that would fast forward time in the game. You cant do that in an mmorpg.

Nor can you tell a Wizard to go out and farm enemies with only being able to cast magic missile 4 times before they are unable to cast any more.

The gameplay just clashes way too much between pen/paper rules and mmorpg gameplay/concepts.

You can have 1 hour of pen/paper gameplay where all the players do is fight 6 goblins and an orc.

In an mmorpg, players will fight that many enemies in just 60 seconds.

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driveled

It doesn’t have to be a 1 to 1 conversion. They’re using 4th edition class names and what not. When literally no one plays an edition what is the point of referencing it?

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Blake

Because it’s what they licensed. If they were going to modernize it to 5th Ed. they’d have to negotiate a new deal.

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Bruno Brito

And revamp the entire game.

I think there is a way, i like the Cryptic engine ( it’s cheap, it’s relatively stable, it feels good playing it, it doesn’t demand anything, you can play it on a rock ), and i think basically just making Neverwinter be DDO 2.0 would be better than what they have right now.

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Blake

Yep, I agree. I’m not at all a fan of what it is now.

I tried the game for the first time earlier this year, but just as I hit level 25/30 they did their massive combat revamp and it left the game literally unplayable for me for almost two weeks — mobs I rolled through were stomping me.

I have zero fait that this level squish will go smoothly at all.

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Dug From The Earth

The revamp you are talking about sucked for lower level characters. I experienced the same thing.

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Blake

It effectively ended my attempt at playing the game. Once it stabilized I tried to get back into it but I found all my desire to play was drained out of me.

I’m a massive D&D nerd so enjoyed that aspect of the game, but their mechanics kind of turned me off.

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Bruno Brito

The combat revamp was awful. Scaling felt terrible in this game and it was solving a problem that really didn’t exist.

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Dug From The Earth

Honestly, id love a DDO 2, on unreal 4 (or 5!!)

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Dug From The Earth

Because there were lots of people playing 4th edition when Neverwinter first released.

5th edition hadnt been released yet

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Vanquesse V

4th Edition was heavily inspired by video games and I’d argue that it’s basically unplayable without using miniatures. That makes it a bad pen and paper game, but it doesn’t really affect an mmo inspired by that system. It probably makes it slightly easier to convert in a way that feels faithful (not that you can tell by looking at neverwinter).
But not a single issue with NWO would be fixed by swapping the source material. It could probably draw in slightly more people but it would still suffer from poor customization, a general lack of choice, one of the most confusing endgames I’ve seen in an mmo, and dozens of zones, campaigns and systems that don’t really serve a purpose.

I don’t have much experience in 5e, but it looks to have better options for creativity and imagination than 4e, while not being a confusing poorly balanced nightmare like 3e, so I hope we’ll get an mmo using it but I’d be sad if it ended up being Neverwinter.

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Sixuality

It was already a short run to level cap in Neverwinter – less than 3 days /played for me the last time, and I’m not a fast leveller.

It’s a damn shame because up until Undermountain the game was a model of how to keep old content relevant and worth doing, but now they appear to have gone all in on the idea that old content is an obstacle to be overcome rather than part of the journey.

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_a4

I played for like a week or two and only reached level 44, that was in 2020.

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Bhagpuss Bhagpuss

Looks like they’re just about in position for Neverwinter Classic. Sometime next year? Maybe the year after that.

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Bruno Brito

WELL, that’s something.

I’ll test it for sure, but retiring zones don’t sit well with me.