Chulty Story

Playing through the introduction to Chult was strangely amusing. My pet tank and I kept shouting at each other throughout. To paraphrase just a few things that were said:

"Oh no, I can see where this is going..."
"There's always a guy like that in your party, isn't there?"
"Oh god, we crashed the ship."
"Ship-wrecked in an RPG - typical!"
"I don't think this one's going to live much longer..."

It's funny to me how enjoyable Neverwinter's story can be in that way. The writing isn't particularly exciting, the voice acting is unprofessional, and the graphics with NPCs who are unable to even move their mouths remind me of the sort of cut scenes that might have featured in an RTS fifteen years ago.

But it's also... so earnest and fun! It reminds me a bit of whenever I visit my Mum and sit down to watch one of her soap operas with her, and even though I never watch them unless I'm on one of those visits, I can always immediately tell what's going on and have a good laugh about how clich├ęd it all is (while secretly also wondering just how the current episode's plot arc is going to resolve itself).


Refinement Revamp

It's been quiet on here because I've been off Neverwinter for the last few months. As usual, I always come back though, which in this case started with trying to make sense of the changes that were made to the refinement system with the Swords of Chult module launched in October.

I had actually already read about both the inventory and the refinement point changes beforehand, but seeing them live was still something else. I can't deny that they look good on paper, and also that it's super convenient to be able to identify all the greens in my bag with one button click and then refine the lot of them with another. However, right now I also can't help feeling like I'm missing something. It all seems a bit too easy. Surely there must still be some trick to deciding what to refine and when? It just seems strange after the previous complexity.

What's also interesting is that it seems that the amount of RP you get from green gear drops has been buffed, relatively speaking. It used to be as much as a white pearl per item, now it's as much as a peridot, which is five times as much! Combined with the new ease of turning these drops into refinement points, this has had the funny side effect of my pet tank going from ridiculing me for picking up all the "junk" to actually wanting said junk for himself. I can't quite decide yet whether I'm happy that he's now helping me hoover up all the shinies after every fight or annoyed that he's suddenly competing for the loot.


Log Logic

One change I already love about this latest module is what they did to the quest log. As far as I'm aware Neverwinter has never had a limit on how many quests you can pick up, so it hasn't been uncommon for any of my max-level characters to have dozens of them in their log at any time.

The problem was that they weren't sorted in any way that made sense. Quests from the same area were generally grouped together, but newer quests could be listed before older quests for example, and it was all in a single, long list. Every time I did dailies with any of my guildies, it was a nightmare to figure out who was on which quest and what still needed completing. I eventually pretty much gave up on even trying to consult the quest log at all and mostly tried to rely on the quest-associated map markers.

Finally having things sorted into categories is therefore, while it might seem small overall, a huge QoL improvement for me.



You can tell that the devs were excited about Tomb of Annihilation because they changed the character selection screen again! I do like the different lighting it provides now, even if it isn't very flattering for all of my characters... but at least they don't have to be cold anymore.

Also: I created three new characters in less than a year? Dang.


Nine Slots

Even though I have several alts that have nearly all professions maxed out, I never unlocked all nine profession slots on any character. The reason? Because the 8th and 9th slot cannot be unlocked through normal gameplay and require you to acquire higher quality profession assets which only come from the various random packs from the cash shop. This has always annoyed me and I refused to support it out of principle.

However, other day I decided to finally give in after all, specifically because I felt that I was wasting resources by only ever getting rank 1 results from a specific mission, and the assets I needed were actually going for fairly cheap on the auction house.

Looking at it now, I almost feel a bit silly for handicapping myself for this long when I could have simply bought the things I needed from another player all along. Even better, since they don't bind on use, I can now send them around to all my alts and use them to fully unlock the profession window on all of them.


Loading In, Part 2

I've previously mocked the strange way in which Neverwinter loads its graphics assets on the character selection screen, but lately it's started to affect my in-game experience as well. I'm wondering if I cranked up the graphics settings a bit too high when I got my new PC?

It's at its most annoying when it comes to the user interface, as certain windows will load as transparent initially, making it really hard to find the right icons and buttons until the background loads about a minute later. But it's even more noticeable in my surroundings with things like trees, which will initially appear as bizarre polygonal crystal formations until their actual "tree skin" appears.

If anyone's got any suggestions as for what causes this, I'd be happy to hear them. It's actually gotten a lot better again as of late, so maybe it was a temporary server-side issue more than anything related to my PC or game settings, but I still wanted to get this out there anyway.


Friendly P2W Disappointment

My guild was working on yet another building for our stronghold, this time being held back by adventurer's shards of power, which are also limited per character per day, but unlike influence, they are rewarded for something I like doing anyway, so I was slowly increasing our total day by day.

I enjoyed slowly chipping away at our common goal and feeling like I was contributing to something big. In my head, I kept calculating how many more quests I'd have to complete to hit the target.

Then, one day, the building was suddenly set up already, the coffer nearly emptied of shards. I was baffled and asked where we had suddenly got so many shards in such a short time. Had people from our alliance donated or something?

Pet tank: "No, I just bought some Zen..."
Me: :(


Happy Fourth!

Protector's Jubilee a.k.a. Neverwinter's anniversary has once again come and nearly gone, but I missed most of it this time around because I was away on holiday last week. Bad timining on my part to book a trip during Neverwinter's birthday week, I know!

Still, I just wanted to take a moment to congratulate the game on yet another successful year. People like to moan about the business model used for Cryptic's MMOs (myself included!), but it's clearly working for them - so much so that they recently managed to talk Wizards of the Coast into letting them make a Magic: the Gathering MMO too.

Considering that I'm always happy to keep coming back to my Neverwinter characters - even though I take breaks from the game too - the company is clearly doing something right.


Orcus Down!

I don't have a video or a screenshot showing the UI and achievement of it because my Nvidia share feature decided to act up again, but this past week, my guild cleared Castle Never in a full guild run for the first time! Unfortunately all I got is this screenshot of Orcus quickly disintegrating as Neverwinter mobs and bosses are wont to do.

We had tried Castle Never only once before and made it up to the last boss back then, but he just one-shot our tank at the start of the fight, every time, so that we could not get any further. This time things went much better, apparently due to the boss's damage having received a heavy nerf in the meantime.

I was my usual useless self and died a lot (if I did any buffing, there are no numbers to prove it), but even I managed to survive the final attempt, which was at least something.


6 Down, 2 To Go

My oathbound paladin hit level 70, hurrah! That brings my total of character classes at the level cap up to six. Now I'm only missing a guardian fighter (I have one, but she's only in her forties right now), and a scourge warlock, which I'm planning to create soon!