Let’s start with the boring stuff so bare with me as I believe a lot of context needs to go into this but if you are a long time player go ahead and skip down a few paragraphs. Neverwinter is a free to play MMO on PC, Xbox, and Playstation. It was released back in 2013 developed by Cryptic studios and published by Perfect world entertainment. At the time of this writing we are approaching module 16. This means there has been 15 DLCs since launch for those who aren’t familiar with modules.
Now for the juicy stuff! The road so far…..
I have played since the start of Mod 10. The state of the game at that time was you could grind, a lot, to get to end game status or with this being a free to play you could “swipe” your way there. Since the launch of Mod 14 the economy of the game started to shift.
Changes presented under the veil of “new player friendly improvements” hit end game players the hardest or those who have been long time loyal players. These improvements consisted of in game currency changes which to a few where quality of life changes but for most (especially the grinders), the removal equipment upgrade methods, and a few other minor changes that at most are inconveniences more than nerfs.
These quality of life improvements are code for “cash grab”. I get it, free to plays need to make money; it’s a business after all. To them end game players don’t spend real money anymore. I agree with that, you may get the few that on the two big sales of the year the drop some real world money.
Lets move past these changes to the Mod 14 Ban-gate. A well known broken mechanic in the game that was pointed out 6 months prior tot he console release on PC was never addressed and then went live on console. In a MMO if there is a way to grind, farm or whatever you want to call it more efficiently players are going to do it. That is what a MMO is all about, grind, farm, kill stuff, repeat. After a few weeks of this going live on console Perfect World defined this as a economy breaking glitch and a violation of its terms of service. A mass ban followed across all platforms, ranging from 1 day to permanent. Notable content creators for the game were not excluded from this.
Here is the funny thing I noticed and this is just based on my personal conversations with others and the ban I received as well. Players that have recently spent real world money got a 24 hour ban, players who spent no money on the game and that were end game got permanent bans regardless of the severity of the use of the glitch.
Now there are players that fall in between that, and reports that some got banned that didn’t even use this glitch, needless to say was a mess and an emotional shift for a lot of long time players.
The argument of the content or lack there of has been declining over the last year or so, and then the launch of Mod 15 brought us a leveling campaign. Which for any long time player was a waste and mind numbing at its best. Nothing else note worthy beside the complete change to the crafting system, I call it a nerf since I was a max level crafter, newer crafter opinions vary.
Hood, what the hell about Mod 16?
Ok, ok here it is. With this new mod the player base is getting a complete over-haul of the game. The reason for the first half of this article is I needed to set the stage of what the long time player base has been through.
In this new mod we will see the removal of the skill tree as it is today. We will see the change to our boon tree. We will see the removal of certain stats and the adding of new stats. We will see the removal and replacement on how companions skills apply to our characters. Let’s break down this game changing cash grab.
Removal of skill tree and boon tree:
The entire point of an adult MMO is its complexity, its the reason I play. Experimenting and testing different builds is fun for most, helping put together build guides for guildmates, etc… This is gone in Mod 16, dumb down to its fullest. You basically get 1 of two choices in your feat tree and its obvious choices for dps classes vs support classes.
In the boon tree, it is now a universal boon page and you can rank up the boons you select with points you earn from completing the boons in campaigns. Prior to this if you wanted certain boons first you had to run the corresponding campaign, now just pick the easiest campaign to speed run and prioritize down from there. I believe this will hurt the new players from really experiencing the game in the order it was meant to for those who enjoy the storyline.
Removal and adding of new stats:
The claim here is they want to bring more balance to the game, just as they have thrown that excuse around in the skill tree conversation. My translation “end game builds are too over-powered, certain meta groups can run the content too fast and farm to easily which in turn affects the economy of the game and doesn’t promote the spending of real money.
Recovery GONE! Lifesteal GONE! Crit cap lowered to 50%, 50 fucking % seriously? Welcome aboard awareness, accuracy, crit avoidance.
On the surface this may not seem like a huge issue but this forces every player to rebuild (cash grab attempt), this nerfs every build ( slower harder dungeon runs ). The days of speed runs are gone.
All active bonuses are reworked, they can now only use companion specific gear, and can no longer use normal enchants and only ruin stones. Once again on the surface not a huge change and there are some positives in there.
With these changes and “balancing” on the surface does fit the new player friendly motto they are trying but for anyone who can read between the lines it says:
“Neverwinter no longer cares about its long time players, we want more money, we are going to reset the game and force you to change everything you spent money and or time in the past”. I get it, MMOs change, with new mods new gear, new weapons, etc… come out and its about the chase to be best in slot but the changes in mod 15 and now in mod 16 really shows Cryptic and Perfect world true colors.
I can no longer recommend this game to anyone and when my personal commitment I made to a friend is fulfilled in this game I AM DONE, on to the next one.