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Arc News
Recap of the Q&A with EP Brett Norton - August

Greetings Adventurers,

 

Our Executive Producer answered your questions during the last stream on Twitch.

 

Here is a summary* of the topics covered!

*This summary will also soon be available in German and French.

 

Why did the Tower of the Mad Mage get buffed? It was already hard to get the Master of Undermountain achievement (no-death run) and that’s now impossible. Shouldn’t old content be easier to do? And is it planned to add this trial in the random trial queue?

First of all, the Tower of the Mad Mage became harder alongside a number of other changes to our master trials with Dragonslayer expansion, when we substantially increased the rewards from all the master trials. So it does have an adverse effect on making some achievements harder to get but at the same time, the recurring rewards for master trials were increased and we wanted to ensure that the difficulty was still in line with the valuable rewards and hopefully in line with Zariel Master challenge, Crown of Keldegonn Master, Tiamat Master, etc. If we feel that any of those are particularly out of whack, we can solve that, but data currently don’t show any rampant disparities between the master trials. As far as the RTQ, it would be great if we could have a RTQ version of ToMM but it’s not likely to happen anytime in the immediate future because we are focusing on some other areas of the game. So no, ToMM was not explicitly expected to be added to the RTQ because it’s a much more complex and challenging trial, and it will be difficult for us to do that compared to some of the other trials that we have recently done. So it’s on our wishlist, but not in our short or near term list to get done.

 

Do you have any updates regarding Demogorgon?

We are currently working on it and there are also some play tests to gauge the appropriate difficulty. We obviously want the master version to be fairly challenging but we also want the RTQ version to be something approachable by a random group with a reasonably high success rate. We don’t have an ETA for it, but it might not come out back in the RTQ until early November.

 

Any plans for cross platform in the future?

There are currently no cross platform plans. It’s a very complicated technical request to get done, so as a result of that, it would take a lot of work. We do have the account structure we would need, but for example the Xbox, PlayStation and PC versions are basically run on completely separate shards and have completely separate economies. So there is a lot of both on the technical element ensuring that we could get all the players playing on a single shard and working consistently, but separately too we would have to resolve the issue of what do we do about all the various economies. For example, auction houses and exchanges are per platform. There are a lot of things that happen per platform and smooshing those altogether would change that into a single economy and so there's some things that we would have to do and that we would have to work out. Fundamentally, Cryptic MMOs weren't set up to be cross platform from the get-go and that's a hard feature to bring in after the fact. It's much better when you can do that from the get-go but it's hard to bring in after the fact. So it is not currently on our list. It's something that we would like to look at just because it makes it easier to find players etc., but it's something that is a very non-trivial amount of technical work.

 

Accessibility

Julia: Someone asked in chat about accessibility and colorblind mode and I know that's a topic that has come up internally. Several of us discuss how we can improve that. It's not perfect but we do discuss it as something we do take into consideration.

 

Where are we at with the roadmap?

We are actively working on it! We already have a long-term roadmap for internal purposes and we hope to be able to share one externally in the next couple of months.

 

Any chance that there will be an Abyssal chicken mount? Maybe if we can combine the chicken pets!

It’s a good idea, we will look into that.

 

Do you have any news regarding the issue that prevents tanks from using scrolls after dying?

We’re aware of this issue, but it’s very challenging to reproduce internally and identify what’s causing it.

 

I feel that there is sometimes a difference between visual and gameplay, like a monster begins an attack but the effect already happened. Is it intended?

Unfortunately, it can sometimes happen, we call this “Powers internal address system” and depends on a timing with the specific power. We try to minimize that on the technical back end with how we handle latency but it’s never perfect. If you see something that is very and consistently off, please let us know which creature and if it affects one or all of their powers. We can fix it, but it has to be fixed on an individual basis. However, if it’s inconsistent, like sometimes you see the problem and sometimes not, it could be a server and client latency.

 

Do you have any news regarding the Wizard rework?

I don’t know the details about this because Robert is tackling it, he has done a lot of leg work both in terms of engaging with the community, finding out some of the issues, playing the wizard himself to make sure that he understands how that’s all handled. This rework is not planned to come for a while.

 

How difficult would it be to have a multi-class system implemented into the game?

Multi-classing is a great and awesome part of the tabletop game, but for us it would present a lot of unique challenges both from a technical standpoint but also from a balance standpoint. It’s even more complex than adding a new class, so we’re unfortunately not considering adding this.

 

Are there any plans to remove the weekly limits on old campaigns?

We have looked at the progression rates of the older campaigns. We have some solutions for things that are in the legacy campaign which allow us to speed up through them, but we haven’t looked at the newer campaigns like Sharandar and other non-legacy campaigns. It will come up, we will look at sort of advancing through them, but at the same time, we don’t want to remove all the gates that we have from all of our immediate content. There is a level of progression through those campaigns that we want to ensure that players coming into it progress through, spend the time and kind of learn the ropes as they play their character classes, figure out what to do etc. As you can see, kind of what we have done with legacy campaigns, we have continuously added new ways to progress shortcuts through those but we are not in the mindset that when we put out a new campaign, the campaign prior can be completed in a single day. We are looking at ways to expedite and make those older campaigns faster to get through. It naturally occurs as the game goes on, we look at the older campaigns that we now want to get players through more quickly and we still want to keep a small subset of more recent campaigns. Sharandar is probably the next campaign that we will look at.

 

Do you look at all posts in the forum’s bug section?

Julia: Yes, every Monday morning I put together a large report that we then discuss at a Monday afternoon meeting. That’s when I look at the bug reports that came in from the last week. If for some reason, there was a holiday and I missed a week, then I will go back and include the missed week. So Monday is the big day where I catch up, I look at all the new threads, and all the new posts if older threads have been updated with comments. I just don’t always reply to all of them because it’s a time thing, and throughout the week I will follow up on some of the ones that there was a question I had to reach out to a player or other little issues pop up.

 

Any plans to update the trade bar store?

We’re actually considering that but it will be something for a bit more in the future. Don’t expect that in the short term but we’re going to try to see if we can make some quick updates to it.

 

Some dragons, especially black, have multiple moves that cover mass amounts of the arena and do not render, so we sometimes do not understand why we are dead when we’re not in dangerous areas because they can’t be seen. Please fix this issue.

Yes, we’ve seen some off-screen display issues with a couple of the dragon powers. We don’t have a fix for this yet, but it’s on our list. We know some issues that affect a couple of different areas but it’s positioning specific and a little bit tricky to solve with the size of the dragons.

 

With so many new campaigns coming out, we got new boon points. Do you have plans to allow putting points in a third campaign stat at tier 5 and/or a second campaign stat for master tier?

We are looking at boon updates in general. I’m not going to talk about specific solutions but we recognize that there are some boon updates that we would like to do. We have been discussing what we think we can get done with boons to make them more interesting and useful options for players that collected all of them. It’s going to take more time to get to that, it’s not on our short-term roadmap.

 

Any plans regarding more Stronghold updates?

We’re trying to see what we can do to get more updates into it, but it’s not going to be a huge portion of our next major release. We’re looking to see if we can slant in some updates to the gear and a few other things which would require less work. The Dragonflight was kind of a partial initial update to that and we will try to improve the influence syncs i.e. more uses, more effective endgame uses of Influence as a whole.

 

Any plans to make augment companions viable again?

From a stat balance point, there are certain stat combinations and setups where running an augment is better if you need certain stats, you basically do more damage out. But in other cases, if you are in specific fights where you have a high value active companion, you do get slightly more advantage out of it. I think that saying that augments are either the only way to go or the only way to never go is a little misleading, at least based on the feedback that we have gotten from a lot of our very endgame players. There are certainly a lot of situations where it will be more useful to use an augment companion due to either what the boss does, how it attacks or how the active companion functions, but there are other cases where you will get more damage out of using an active companion. That being said, it’s something that we try to carefully manage. On the balance, we want all companions, whether they’re augments or non-augments, to have a good role. So, if you feel that there are specific fights or a lot of recent content where augments or non-augments companions are punished a lot, let us know.

 

Talk to us about the Band of Air.

Yes, we’re working on a substantial change to its mechanics as well as the Ring of Darkness. It will come in the near future, probably before our next major release. The Band of Air currently does proc off of things that are not expected to be proccing and as a result it procs much more often than it was originally expected. This change will drastically change its proccing behavior and will likely overall substantially reduce its total damage output. Our goal is to ensure that the future version of the Band of Air is still the BiS ring, and that hopefully the Band of Darkness is also more competitive and interesting. The Band of Air will still be the BiS ring for a long time, but not forever. We will never make a proc effect that powerful again, so it will take some time before other rings catch up. Reducing it's damage will affect how endgame players currently approach master trials, so we're looking at changes to master trials to account for that.

There will be a blog with all the details. There will also be changes to the drop rates of Band of Air components in Vault of Stars. It'll be a bit easier and more consistent to get those components, but will still take more than a few dungeons clears for most players.

 

Are you going to decrease the requirements of masterwork?

We will increase the drop rate for the Displacer beast whiskers because it was harder than expected to get those, but masterworks are intended to be fairly steep things that take a decent amount of investment and a lot of effort. If we feel that there are still some things too inaccessible, we will see if we can bring those down a good bit.

 

Any tie-ins for when the D&D movie comes out? And will you bring the Druid?

I will not confirm nor deny anything to do with Druids in Neverwinter. We’re obviously aware of the movie. If you didn’t watch the trailer, check it out because there are a couple of shots of a nice city in the backdrop from a couple of different angles that looks very very much like a city you all may be very very familiar with. There are also maybe some tie-ins but I can’t make any promises because it’s complicated to work with anything involving a movie, there are a lot of middle people.

 

Do you think about adding rewards that aren’t’ just gear?

Yes, certainly, we have talked about a lot. We did revise a lot of non-gear rewards from chests out of dungeons, trials, master trials etc. with Dragonslayer. We are also trying to add things like insignia powder in mount choice packs. There is for example a huge demand for insignia powder and we will look at ways that we can give that like through the upcoming battle passes or other things on the free track.

 

Do you plan to change the Reaper’s Challenge rewards?

It’s on the list, but no ETA. We will look and see what we can do out of adding more unique rewards to it.

 

The armor doesn’t really protect anybody but tanks while fighting dragons. Is it intentional?

If you have substantial trouble surviving various dragon hits, I would recommend considering actually unslotting some of either offensive equipment or offensive companion player bonuses, and add at least one potent defensive one, which will help you. It will slightly reduce your overall offensive output but probably not as much as it will increase your defensive capabilities by even putting in one or two really good slotted items.

 

Could we get more instruments for Bards?

It’s a good request. Equipment has to fit within certain restrictions, so we would have to look at certain playback restrictions in terms of how it appears, how it looks, etc.

 

Can you add more fashion items please?

We try to add several new fashion items with each module. We create new armor sets as well as several exclusive transmute fashions. The demand for fashion items is always higher than what we can provide because a lot of our effort has to go into providing more functional gear and equipment etc. We try to always put some time out to add some unique new fashion items but it’s realistically difficult for us to put a ton of time in since a lot of players go exclusively for the stats. There will be more coming up with the next module. We’re also looking at trying to ensure that older fashion items, especially those that were released early into Neverwinter’s development, which are either unobtainable or difficult to obtain, have avenues for being obtained again.

 

The Loamweave Enchantment cannot be turned into an illusion. Any plans for that one?

We’re looking at more armor and weapon enchantments both from a functional standpoint and from a visual standpoint, but I cannot confirm if Loamweave is one of them.

 

Do you plan to bring back the Knox Boxes again?

Maybe, but only for special occasions.

 

In a more general way, the approach that we have generally taken is that there isn’t anything in Neverwinter that will come out once and then never again, unless we made a specific promise that we will never re-release this ever again. The most part is we have things that we put out that we want to ensure you have a degree of exclusivity. For example, we will try to not rerun anything that has come out as part of a specific promotion with one of our partners that might have come out in the last year or a few years. But in some cases, it will eventually happen that we’re bringing back an item that was exclusive three or four years ago and making it more widely available now. Nothing will be exclusive forever, unless we explicitly promise that.

 

Any plans to bring back old skirmishes, Call to Arms, and Tales of Old?

We’re currently not planning it for the short or middle-term. We do have an occasional rework of older things and it comes up selectively because it’s tied to something thematically that we’re working on, or something gameplay-wise that we’re really interested in updating and it fits naturally into that. Do not expect another campaign conversion showing up in the next module. Regarding the old skirmishes, we look at those but we must have a kind of a need for them because we always need to gauge, if we should be working on a new skirmish, a new adventure zone, a new dungeon, or a new trial, or should we spend that time instead trying to do an update to one of the older ones. We would like to bring back some Call to Arms, but some of them would need a lot more work so we’re unlikely to bring back all of them. Regarding Tales of Old, there are a couple of them that we like and a couple of them are kind of convoluted and have some problems regarding the balancing, that’s why we haven’t brought this event back. We like our events to generally not take an hour plus commitment to do, so players can still do other stuff. If an event takes an hour, it eats up most of your daily playtime, and would players unable to run a dungeon like Vault of Stars that day. We will look at this and try to also bring back old fashion items from Call to Arms.

 

Thanks for reading, and see you in game!

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