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


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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