The journey in Neverwinter continues with pure, unadulterated focus on my Bard, as suggested by the voting public. And I promise, I won’t ask the same question a third time. No, seriously. I’m pretty much on-rails at this point, there is no divergence available to me, and I am bereft of choices for polls for this game. So that’s it.
Of course, there are still some levels to gain and things to see between now and the next week or so, and that meant continuing to move through the snowy, troll-infested mountainous region that I left off at last time.
At this point in gameplay, I felt like I had a pretty solid handle on how the Bard class operates in full, but then I got the Song of the Witch ability and yet another layer was added to the Bard experience. This time, I was given another little bit of strategic decision making to consider: whether to use the song and keep it on me for the damage buff, or to burn the song in order to drop a giant bomb of damage on a foe and everyone around it.
At first, I sort of assumed that the play was to earn it and burn it – that is to say ensure that the song was cast and then immediately spent – but there were a couple of holes in that line of thinking. The largest of them was the fact that I couldn’t really engage the song that made my spicy posing better, the Song of the Witch, and have the ability to play another song (like my healing song) one after the other.
Instead, I tended to use the buff situationally, applying it to myself when I could, and releasing its buff for the damage burst when I could spare it. I also managed to make it part of an alpha strike, where I used my Flourish to apply a buffed Dancing Lights, followed by a Witch Song into a spend for a nice meaty chunk of damage against a boss.
That ended up being what I believe to be the final piece of the Bard puzzle, as a later level got me the Song of the Hero, which did pretty much the same thing as Song of the Witch except it deals more damage. To this point, I’ve simply traded out Witch for Hero in my song hotbar and continue to manually play the other songs as the situation demands.
On the subject of playing songs as the situation demands, I also decided to run a little experiment in order to figure out when to use my improved spicy pose skill or when to use the magical rapier skill. Up to this point, I mostly used the posing skill, but I elected to enter a number of engagements primarily with the rapier spell. It seemed like it did slightly more damage, but that didn’t always feel consistent, and of course since it was in a big cone in front of me, it meant that when enemies flanked me they were pretty much getting free shots.
Incidentally, the flanking mechanic in this game really seems to benefit the enemies more than myself. At least in solo play. I tend to try and maneuver in such a way that I’m not being completely surrounded, but there were a few times when that seemed unavoidable. In the end, I sort of assume that these songs are once again situational, so I have mostly relied on the fire AoE skill since I’m flooded by enemies on all sides more often than not.
As for the stories that I’ve experienced along this journey, I can’t even begin to tell you what happened because I have simply stopped caring. The weakest part of this game is by far the story lines. That said, I do have to admit that the areas I’ve trekked to between then and now got a bit more interesting. I was a particular fan of the spooky eldritch horror zone that I can’t remember the name of.
See? I can’t even remember the names of these zones. That’s how far removed I am from what my character is doing beyond combat.
Even with this complaint in mind, I did have some good times in the dungeon romps that I went through, and even kind of perked up when I was directed to the instance where I had to get my first artifact, which felt like a near culmination in my skills as a Bard. I didn’t breeze through the fights, but I also handled what was thrown at me with some pretty significant calm.
So now, I’ve got about three levels left to go to cap, a bird that’s wreathed in angry purple flame as a companion, a new artifact (the one that improves forte, which I assume is the important one for me), and a bunch of insignias on my flail snail that have given me a passive ability. Still, there are new mountains that I feel like I need to climb. For instance, I still don’t know what the heck to do with the enhancement points I’ve been raking in, and I’ve been sitting on reams of adventurer seals currency under the assumption that I’ll need to spend them on level 20 gear.
Speaking of level 20, that’s where I’m headed next. I’m pretty sure if I focus up, I’ll get to max level with the Bard and see just what sorts of things await me at the top of the level count. That, of course, does mean that there’s no poll for this game this week – remember, I said I wasn’t going to ask the same question three times – but that does mean I have a different game to look forward to. And I think I have an idea…
I’m not going to cast final thoughts on to digital paper yet, but I’m finding that Neverwinter seems to be missing a D&D je ne sais quoi that I seem to recall Dungeons and Dragons Online has. But am I making that up in my own head, or is there actually some truth in that assumption? That’s what I plan to find out next month. Assuming, of course, you fine folks are interested in knowing that opinion as well.
Should I play Dungeons and Dragons Online next month?
- Yes. Let's find out if there's something to this idea. (85%, 34 Votes)
- No. Don't try to compare the two. (15%, 6 Votes)
Total Voters: 40
You’ll note that there’s a yes or no answer in there, which means that should the vote tally come to a “no,” then I’ll have to switch gears for something else entirely, hence the following poll. However, if that first poll’s vote ends up in the affirmative, then whatever wins this vote will be the game focus for the following month. Deal? Deal.
What game should we play next? Choose My Quirky Adventure!
- Aion. Spread your wings or something. (19%, 7 Votes)
- Age of Conan. Barbarian time! (53%, 19 Votes)
- Frozen Flame. Let's peer in on this multiplayer RPG. (17%, 6 Votes)
- Champions Online. Strap on them tights! (11%, 4 Votes)
- Phantasy Star Online 2: New Genesis. Maybe try a new class? (0%, 0 Votes)
Total Voters: 36
As always, polling will close at 1:00 p.m. EDT on Friday, April 21st. In the meantime, I’ve got a few levels to burn towards on my Tiefling Songblade.