This thread is a bit long for a feedback thread, I know and I apologize in advance. It addresses many issues that exist within the game (in my opinion), suggests a solution and where possible, lists an example of a similar system that exists within this game (or another) which is done correctly.Section 1: General Game Design.
This section deals with very broad issues, entire systems and not specific to any narrow part of the game.Statistics in Neverwinter:
Since module 6, the game has had no diminishing returns. The reasoning behind this (as I understand it) is to avoid the need for a situation like mod 6 happening again. The issue in mod 5 was, too many statistics were available from gear and boons and so players were hitting very hard diminishing returns on every single rating. As a result of this, pve content that could reasonably be created by the devs, could never be challenging, because if it was challenging, it would not be possible for it to become easier over time as all statistics were already capped, without introducing new statistics that did not exist, or adjusting the formula for each statistic. The net result was that to address the problem, they raised the level cap and changed the stat curves.
The issue with the current system is that many powers, feats and items are made obsolete because they were designed in an era where diminishing returns did exist and the bonus provided could be useful, or in an era were the statistic did something different. For example, the bonus provided by chaotic nexus, before mod 6, was really, really good, even at endgame because you could not possibly reach 100% critical strike chance. Now, unless an overcrit mechanic is added, feats like this just lose purpose once you acquire gear. Alternatively, class features like the hunter class feature battlehoned exist, which provides regeneration in combat, which is a statistic which provides the majority of its non existant bonus outside of combat. The real hidden issue though, is that the underlying problem that existed before mod 6, has not gone away, it is just that those stat "caps" have moved from values which are specifically chosen by the developers to enforce some kind of balance, to absolute values which represent the maximum benefit you can obtain from that statistic. The only statistic which does not have a "hard limit" to usefulness in pve is power and we are already in a situation (and have been for a long time) where you can cap every stat and then just stack power.
I don't really have a good solution to this, but clearly, the current solution is not working and something needs to be done.
Some more specific Statistics Issues:
Buffs and Debuffs:Damage Buffs:
- Defensive and offensive stat distributions. In my opinion, gear should not provide both offensive and defensive stats, but should instead provide 1 or the other. Hitpoints should be removed from all armour pieces (head, chest, gloves, boots) and should be on the same pool of stats as power or defense. The reason for this is quite simply because there should be more of a difference between a tank and a non tank character than whether or not they are wearing a shield. To take this further, the SH offense and defense boon category should be condensed, allowing you to only choose 1 boon out of all of them, and not 1 from both. Furthermore, the ability score constitution only provides additional hp based off of your hp without gear, not your hp with gear on, which is something that should be looked into. Yes, I am aware that mobs currently deal damage based off of the current hp thresholds, but numbers can be adjusted (although I acknowledge it is a lot of work).
- Lifesteal. Healing will never exist so long as this statistic exists in its current form. In my opinion lifesteal should be a heal over time, that heals for up to a max of 10% of your hp per second, over 10 seconds. When you reach full life, the heal over time ends and will need to be reapplied. Dealing additional damage while a lifesteal HoT is active, will add the HoT's together, up to the cap of 10%. Lifesteal chance goes back to 100% (like in mod 5) and the lifesteal stat would increase lifesteal severity, with a base value of 0% and increasing as you increase the stat, you can lifesteal for a larger percentage of your damage, but you would never exceed the 10% of your maximum hp per second. This makes it a useful stat for doing dailies or soloing, whilst limiting its usefulness in harder content and reintroducing the role of a healer.
- Action Point gain. In the earlier modules, this was not an issue. Currently, the issue is how easy it is to spam dailies, to the point they are like a 4th or 5th encounter. Early on in the game (not counting the singularity shield pulse days), daily powers were something which you rarely used, often strategically, to turn the tide in combat. Since then however, many additional sources of AP gain have been added to the game (cloaks, dc sigil, snail, overloads, the list goes on) which leaves us in a situation where dailies can almost be used without any consideration or skill. In my opinion this is a bad thing as it removes an element of player skill, knowing when to use a daily in the fight. I cannot really think of any nice solutions to this, but it is a problem that exists within the game as is.
The issue that currently exists is how much of a major role these play in the game, to the point where the majority of classes picked in a group are picked solely because of how much they buff. This is both a blessing and a curse, a blessing because it encourages picking a varied number of classes and a curse because it locks specific classes into a group, In my opinion, the best way to deal with this is to give a 20% instance wide buff for each different class in a group, to then remove all buffs that currently exist and then to modify 1 capstone for every class that should have a "buffer" role to provide a buff, equal to whatever percentage you think buffs should increase your damage by. For example, if you think a buffer should increase the damage of the party by 30%, you could have say the capstone of a dc make HG buff 20% when active and FF buff 10% when active. Notice I suggest the capstone gives buffs to specific skills and not just passively applied buffs, as it makes for more interesting and defined specializations.Defense Buffs:
Defense buffs are also an issue, simply because of how "big" they are. For example, Astral Shield will buff your damage reduction by 40% and Circle of Power by 25%, with very little effort, if support classes try they can cap everyone's damage reduction, rendering the defense statistic in optimized groups worthless. This is compounded by the fact that some powers that provide defense buffs also provide damage buffs and so the support does not have to "sacrifice" anything in order to buff your defenses. The issue here is simply that dedicated tanks, builds that actively build defensively, are useless because every class can cap defensive stats purely through buffs. Tied in with the fact that every class has roughly the same hitpoints, the only thing that makes a tank different from a dps is either 10 million temporary hitpoints (another design flaw) or a shield which provides an 80% layer of separate mitigation, neither of which prevent you from investing in dps as a tank and the former which actually rewards you for it. There are 2 solutions for this that I can see, either giving monsters excessive amounts of armour penetration, or reducing the values for defense buffs and moving them onto skills that do not buff damage. I find the latter more appealing as it makes for more interesting gameplay.Damage Debuffs and Defense Debuffs:
For the most part, these are ok. With diminishing returns on debuffs, debuffs are not a major concern and and considering how most of the values for damage debuffs are so small, they are not a major issue either.Ratings Buffs:
These fall into 2 categories, the first is the, "increase your allies ratings by a certain percentage", which is almost always completely useless and the second is, "share a percentage of your ratings with an ally" which is actually good. The problem with the second category is that it is difficult to balance. A dps with very poor gear but rank 14 bondings and legendary pets, would receive a massive buff from aura gifts or a dc (provided the dc has a lot of power), but a dps with very good gear on their character and an augment, would get a small buff. Alternatively, no matter how bad or good the gear of the dps is, if the dc or op has low power, they don't buff much at all. I am of 2 minds on this, on the 1 hand, I like these kinds of buffs because it gives supports a goal to aim for, but on the other hand, the difficulty in balancing it makes it something which probably shouldn't exist in Neverwinter as the dev team struggles already.Control as a Mechanic:
Control is inherently flawed currently. The purpose of control is to fill the same role as a tank, whereby a tank "controls" enemies by absorbing damage and a controller deals with them by preventing them from being able to deal damage. Currently, there is nothing in the game that is important that can be controlled and so the role is dead. In order for the role to become meaningful again, some controllable dangerous enemies would have to be added, for example, adds in a boss fight which cannot be damaged and only controlled.