At the core of Neverwinter’s gameplay are our classes. This makes class balance an important part of how fun our game is to play. Neverwinter has evolved and changed over the years through so many updates. All of that change has moved the abilities of each class, relative to each other, up and down to where now some classes have developed clear advantages and others have fallen behind.
While we had been working towards balance with smaller changes in each update, we decided there were enough changes needed that the pace was too slow to get balance where it needed to be and that it would be best to tackle the majority of the changes in one big push.
With this update we are moving away from the 4th Edition D&D pre-defined build classes. Classes will now be known by their core names that are very familiar to anyone who has played D&D.
We will be rolling out blogs over the coming weeks which will give a deeper dive into each specific class. This post will be a look at the overarching changes to the classes as a whole.
While feats are a system which allow flexibility and uniqueness to choose different character builds, how it was implemented and balanced made for a lot of undesireable feats and powers. Often times an entire feat tree wasn’t worth taking.
This was a feature where we examined a lot of options. Ultimately we decided to make some pretty significant changes. The Feats tab on the character sheet is no more and Feat Trees no longer exist.
Instead, each paragon path will have 5 pairs of feats where you get to choose one of the two feats in each pair to customize your play. With this change we can offer more unique choices that have a distinct impact in play instead of sprawling feat trees where the majority of the feats have no real impact on how you play your character.
One of the goals of our class rework was to create more distinction between the paragon paths. We started by splitting more of the powers between the two paths, including the new powers added to accompany the level cap increase which is covered in another blog.
Each paragon path now has:
And as mentioned above, each Paragon has 5 pairs of Feats where you can choose one from each pair to customize your build.
Currently Neverwinter has role based queuing for content based on the class with only one exception: Paladin. We liked the versatility that Paladin has and wanted to extend that option to more classes as well as expand which classes could be a tank or healer.
Barbarian (Great Weapon)
Ranger, Rogue, Wizard all have two DPS paragon paths.
At this point you may be wondering how Power Points will tie into these changes.
Power points will be removed with this update. Ultimately they hinder play, especially while leveling, and put a blocker on players being able to fully experience their characters at end game. Without power points, players will have full access to their powers and feats the moment they unlock them by level and will have them available at their full potency instead of having to upgrade them before they are worth slotting.
Tanking and Healing
We are making significant changes to tanking and healing in Neverwinter. These changes will be covered further in future blogs that discuss changes to underlying mechanics. This will include information on the removal of Life Steal from the majority of sources in the game. More in depth information will be listed in the specific class blogs that have healing and tanking mechanics.
We still wanted to give an overview of the changes and goals as they relate to the overall class changes.
Healing is not much of a factor in the current state of the game. This is because life steal has become so powerful that often times players can self-heal making any minor or moderate amount of damage negligible. In turn this has necessitated boss mechanics that increasingly do more and more damage which often results in either having a full health bar, or being dead.
In order to create enjoyable content, we needed to fix this problem, both to give combat a more dynamic feel where the health bar moves up and down throughout the course of a fight, and to give healing a more prominent role in group play.
Paladin and Cleric now spend their Divinity on powerful healing spells and have new Divinity earning mechanics in their play. Warlock uses their Soul Essence (formerly Soul Shards) and also have new mechanics for earning Soul Essence in combat
Paladin, Fighter, and Barbarian all have a redesigned guard which provides a shield equal to their maximum hit points. Their guard absorbs damage until it is depleted at which point the damage hits the player directly.
For example: a Paladin has 200k hit points. They raise their shield and take a hit for 30,000 damage. Their guard now has 170k hit points left. If they take another hit for 200,000 damage, then their guard is depleted and they take 30,000 damage directly.
Thank you for bearing with me through this long blog post.
Classes are how we all identify with our characters while adventuring in Neverwinter. Our goal with all of these changes is to bring a solid and fun level of balance to the game as well as bring out what makes each of these classes unique while making sure that no matter what class a player ultimately chooses to pick, they have a great experience playing it.
Lead Systems Designer