Item level is used throughout Neverwinter to gauge the potential of a given character and is used to gate access to different content in order to make sure players are strong enough to survive. However, on live, Item Level was not consistent between sources and has not performed well as a measure of player potential due to item level being different depending on the source it is coming from. Undermountain was our chance to make item level far more consistent and therefore make it a more accurate gauge of player potential.
Standardizing Item Level
On live, a chest armor piece and an undershirt will be the same item level but give very different amount of ratings. Insignias will double the number of stats they give each rank but yet their item level doesn’t double. These are the things we wanted to address to make item level more representative. With the Undermountain expansion, 1 Item Level = 20 rating points.
While this change does address the majority of sources of item level, there are still outliers such as companions, mount powers, and bonding runestones. We believe those to now be a better representation as well, but we will also adjust their values as needed to find the perfect representation for them.
This change will adjust some stats players already have, but it should be an overall gain. For example, chest armor pieces will now give slightly fewer stats, but most of the other equipment slots will have been raised up to give more stats than in the past.
The overall goal of all of these changes is to make it so that if two players are 12,000 Item Level, they are very close in terms of their overall potential.
Scaling players down has traditionally not truly changed a players ability compared to the content they were scaled to. Along with our fixes to item level, we added in item level scaling which should provide a better version of scaling going forward.
Now we will scale a player down to a target item level. This won’t be exact as it will scale different items to different values (Enchantments will have a different scaled item level than equipment due to their different magnitudes) and because of this a player can end up a bit above or a bit below the target value. But overall it should bring the players closer to each other and closer to the content.
This does mean that players who are put in lower difficulty dungeons will find more challenge than in the past, but that challenge will still be less than an endgame dungeon would be.
This system was designed so that it will be easy to tune to make sure that we can end up with ideal scaling moving forward. We look forward to players getting to experience this new scaling, along with the new item level accuracy, we look forward to your feedback as this gets to preview.
Lead Systems Designer