This week Arc Games dropped their latest Neverwinter expansion Undermountain. A hefty 6.2GB download that under certain circumstances wouldn’t be that bad, but when you live in a rural area and rely on wireless access for your internet, it can take a bit of time. So I like to jump onto the Xbox as soon as I know the patch is complete so that I can start the download. Nothing more frustrating then waking up at 3:00 am because you can not sleep, and hope to get some game time in, only to discover there’s an hour plus download coming your way.
Having played Neverwinter for the past two years or so and getting very comfortable to two of the character classes, Trickster Rogue and Control Wizard, I waited with bated breath for what this expansion would bring. I had read that things were going to change and sometimes change is not always good. Expansions in the past didn’t change the game as much as this one is expect to so who knows how I’ll take to this one.
Let’s start with the Control Wizard.
Prior to the change, my Control Wizard was a damage dealing machine. I could stand back and blast away with very little fear of death, especially when you’re in a group that aggros the baddies. As I loaded my character I got the dreaded “We’ve reset your character.” notification along with a slew of others related to my companions. As I waited for the notifications to fade away I opened my character panel with dread. Everything was reset back to square one. Sure I was still level 70, but all my powers were reset.
The first thing to do was pick my paragon path. So I took a little time reviewing the powers of each and pick what I thought would be the most badass of the two. One thing to note, the character is now just referred to as a Wizard. Gone is the Control designation. Not that that made much of a difference to me with how I play my characters but it was another subtle change.
So there I sit staring at all my character stats trying to remember what is best for this class. Intelligence as the primary and Wisdom as one of the secondary skills to concentrate on. So I max those out up to my current level 70. Low and behold, the Undermountain expansion raises the level cap to 80. So more leveling to be done.
After resetting my stats I now turned to my Powers. Feats are no longer a part of the characters. It has been replaced with…nothing. There is no additional options when it comes to your character. You only have Powers to worry about now. At-wills, Encounter and Daily powers are now all grouped and laid out in rows. I prefer this as you can now see all the powers without having to scroll up and down to see what is available. Just scroll left and right along each category and pick which ones you want. Some of these options can be changed any time and others require retraining, which costs Astral Diamonds or a retraining token.
Powers no longer show what damage they cause, it has been replaced by magnitude. This can range anywhere from 50 and up. I assume the larger the number the more powerful the spell. So I tried to pick those that offered the greatest damage with the least amount of casting and regenerating time. Not always a good thing to do without trying them out so I’m sure some tweaking will happen along the way.
When it comes to companions, they’ve been touched as well. Gone are each companion having their own equipment and enchantments. Now you have “Shared” equipment and bonding runestones. So no matter which companion you have summoned, they all share. I’m indifferent on this but I guess it does save on having to equip each companion. I also believe there is some bonding between companions so the more companions you have the better their influence on your characters.
Mounts have not changed, so not much to say there. Some changes on the campaign Boons but I haven’t played with them enough to know how it all works. Guild Strongholds and PvP Campaign Boons appear to have been left alone so no need to dwell on them.
Now that I’ve reset everything it’s time to hit some campaigns and try this new build out. Frankly it sucks! What was a rather heavy DPS user now seems to be at the lower end of the damage spectrum. I’m not sure if this is boon related companion related or just what I’ve picked for this toons abilities. I may have to load up another account with fully decked out characters to rebuild using different stats to see what differences I can come up with. There is also the option to hit the interwebz and look at what others are posting, but where’s the fun in that? Maybe if I get too frustrated I’ll do a little research but for now I’ll curse the game as I try to come to grips with the change.
So for me, this expansion has not been all that it could be. Maybe play time will help alleviate some of my angst but only time will tell.
As for my Trickster Rogue.
Gone is the Trickster part of the moniker, they are now just referred to as Rogues. All stats were reset, as per every other character in Neverwinter, but at least with this character I was further along in the game campaigns so I was able to apply some of those boons. Thankfully my Rogue still maintains some of the awesome DPS capabilities of old. As I progress to level 80 it should only get better.
Not much else to say at this point on the Rogue. As I play both characters and work my way towards level 80 I’m sure I’ll have more impressions to add but for now I’m holding my final judgement on this expansion. To truly appreciate it, I should start a new character from scratch and see how the game plays out. Maybe that will be for another day.