Choose My Adventure: The Neverwinter Bard continues to rock even as the challenge level rises


This week in Neverwinter could be best described as broken up into two halves: a half of chicken time and a half of regular gameplay time. In case you missed my stream, I made my first foray into the April Fowls’ Day event of the MMORPG, and then I continued on with normal Tiefling Bard adventures. But it was hard to pull away from the event, I’ll be honest.

Look, I appreciate that I’m often an easy person to please, but the gusto that this April Fools’ Day event took to its whole chicken theme was pretty impressive. And the event stuff was fun, too, once I figured out what I was looking for. Even the 5v5 PvP chicken fight was enjoyable, which is not something I often say about PvP anything.

However, the capstone was definitely the chicken dungeon. Perhaps it’s because this was my first-ever party play experience, but I had a great time being a chicken with a party of other chickens taking out big (to a chicken) threats. Like a baby red dragon named Rover. I was expecting to be mildly amused but not expecting to enjoy myself so thoroughly – or to kind of lean into being the healer role for my flock of friends.

I’ll admit that the rewards waiting at the end are pretty grindy (which seems to be a theme for Cryptic’s MMORPG events), but I was not expecting to love April Fowls’ as hard as I did. I actually don’t mind grinding it out for the rewards. I’d like to get the jewelry sets (even though they’re for level 20 characters), but at least I’d like to snag a goose mount. How else will I be able to commemorate my time fighting the a-bok-alypse?

I suppose instead of a goose mount I could hold on to the memory of the sound of pecking enemies to death. The horrible, uncomfortable, hilarious sound of pecking…

Obviously the April Fools’ event wasn’t the only thing I did. After a while I decided it was probably time to actually continue on down the adventuring path that was being laid out before me, and this time I was entering a spooky forest full of werewolves, regular wolves, and extremely aggressive druidic folks fighting against another druid order. There was a lot of nature stuff going around, is what I’m saying.

This zone was enjoyable enough to me, though none of the quests really leaped out at me like the phylactery quest I mentioned last week. What really started to stand out to me was the challenge level. Things were definitely getting a little more spicy in combat matters, with nearly every combat engagement forcing me to learn how to isolate and prioritize the right targets and react to the tells of big hits. Mostly I was successful, other times I wasn’t, but by and large I began to get a little more used to things.

It would have helped if the follower I was given during some of the lead-up tutorials I had to go through actually did a good tanking job. I assume I got the tank class, but all he does is kind of augment my existing damage while everyone shales on me. I assume there are a few factors at play here, such as my not babysitting commanding him, or because my DPS was too big, or because the free player followers are actively trash to (presumably) force me into buying a follower. Regardless, I was getting past it through sheer force of arms and some valiant chugging of potions.

Which is good because as I went through the druid forest zone, things just kept getting a bit harder.

Once again the boss fights in Neverwinter primarily lean on the very lazy design crutch of having multiple trash mobs spawn randomly to pad the time I was able to put DPS on the boss, but now I was having to pay closer attention to new big attack telegraphs. This was easier said than done in a couple of cases, especially when one fight had me taking on a big dude with an even bigger sword, multiple melee foes, and a few ranged ones who just were peppering arrows into me with impunity. It really would have been nice to have a tank then.

Luckily I’ve unlocked a few new tricks on top, like a new attack that lets me slash up enemies that are surrounding me. Pairing this with a Flourish really dishes out the pain when multiple enemies closed to melee distance – an event that happened with an alarming amount of frequency. I also unlocked a healing song as well as a new passive. Speaking of songs, I figured out how to bind one song to a key press, which is turning out to be more helpful than I envisioned.

The best trick I learned, however, was from a Reddit post and a slash command that let me click to lock onto a target instead of holding the ctrl button to do so. Thank you, random Redditor. My left pinky and the tendons that link to it are in your debt.

Overall, I was still having a good time with the Bard, but the limited hotbar and the skills page seemed to suggest that almost all of the class’ cards were being laid out on the table. However, I did a bit of research and found out that perhaps that isn’t the case yet. I’m nearing my paragon path level, and that appears to be opening up a whole lot of new mechanics (if not skills) to my lute-strumming musician, and while I’m not at that level just yet, I’m close enough that I need to make a decision.

As I understand it, there are two choices: the healing Minstrel and the DPS Songblade. It does appear that the vast majority of players suggest the latter, but I don’t think I’d hate the former too much, particularly since I enjoyed doing the healing role in the chicken dungeon. This is logical thinking, I swear.

Still, I’m undecided, so that means it is time for yet another poll!

Which Paragon Path should my Bard take?

  • Minstrel. Become the healing songstress. (39%, 22 Votes)
  • Songblade. Swing your fencing rapier in fancy style. (61%, 34 Votes)

Total Voters: 56

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As ever, polls will close at 1:00 p.m. EDT on Friday, April 7th. For the time being, I have a few more adventures ahead of me between now and level 11. Also perhaps a few more runs of the chicken dungeon.

Welcome to Choose My Adventure, the column in which you join Chris each week as he journeys through mystical lands on fantastic adventures – and you get to decide his fate. Which is good because he can often be a pretty indecisive person unless he’s ordering a burger.
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