Alright everybody, we have a big topic for you all today as we have put a lot of work into the refinement system for the upcoming update. There is a lot to cover here so I will try to organize it and put it in the best order I can. We will have additional threads to help focus parts of the discussion as one thread could easily get overwhelmed with all of the feedback.
Here we go!
Why the change?
Refinement is a core part of Neverwinter gameplay, but a lot of the time it could feel like it was weighing down on you as a player. The pure number of items that needed to be held on to, the matching bonuses, the different reagents for different artifact types, and yes the hoarding of items until the 2x Refinement Points weekends to maximize the gains. In the end it felt more like a chore that had to be done than a fun part of the game where the player kept making progress.
For new players, the system is overwhelmingly complicated. They don't know what enchantments to use as food, what to hold, what to look for, and we wanted to make that experience far easier for players to figure out. On top of all of that, there hasn't been any major additions to the system in a long time. We took a hard look at all of this and came up with a plan to improve it in multiple ways.
Having to match enchantments, stones, and types of items created a massive amount of inventory to maintain and organize. In the end, this doesn't add to the experience as much as it takes away from it all. So we did just that, took it all away. Now players will use Refinement Points (thought you might like to keep your acronym) which will be a currency. Gemstones, Enchantments, Runestones, Artifacts, Artifact Equipment, Uncommon (Green) Equipment (must be identified), will all break down into Refinement Points which will be a currency on the inventory sheet. All of the refining will use Refinement Points for upgrades, along with reagents of course. This means you no longer have to manage all of those different item types and dread looking at your inventory or bank. You can just break it all down into a simple currency that all items share.
To go along with this we have a new conversion window that has some easy options to input all of the different convertible items that you want to break down into Refinement Points in one simple click. In addition, any item which can be converted, can be by using the drop down menu for that item. The refinement upgrade window will now have a nice clean interface where the player can slide a bar to determine how many Refinement Points they wish to add to the item. This bar will default at either the amount needed for the next level, or the maximum a player can deposit if less than a full level as we felt that is the most common action players would do. On top of that, you can now put in the full amount of RP needed to level up and upgrade all in a single button press. Nice and quick and easy!
And you may have noticed how I mentioned Identified Uncommon Equipment can be turned into RP and thought "Man, identifying all of my green drops will be such a pain!", well we are also adding an Identify All button which will take your ID scrolls and identify all the unidentified items in your inventory with one click.
Now because we switched to a currency and want to try for manageable amounts of currency. We reduced both the value of RP points of the items and the cost to upgrade items by a factor of 10. Example a black opal now awards 1,000 RP, but costs are lowered by the same factor as well. To be very clear, this does not change the cost of refinement at all! This simply reduces the values all around so we can keep the currency lower and have room for players to hold plenty of currency and grow the system in the future. We will give the exact progression charts in the technical details post as well so that you can all see for yourselves how it will be functioning.
Mark of Power, Stability, and Union
Again we felt that having a different mark for the different artifacts wasn't enhancing the system and was just creating more items for players to track. These have been changed into a single item for each tier called an Enchantment Stone. Existing ones will convert over upon login and in the future only the new Enchantment Stones will drop.
Power, Stability, Union, Thaumaturgic, and Resonance Stones
These items will no longer drop when the update goes live, and where they would have dropped gemstones will drop instead. Existing ones will be able to be converted into Refinement Points at their maximum matching value. Example: A Lesser Power Stone will convert into 250 refinement points instead of just 50 (remember everything is reduced by a factor of 10).
Regular enchantments and runestones (ones that aren't part of campaigns or events) will no longer drop in normal play. Instead rank 1s of these items can be bought in Protector's Enclave. Due to not needing the matching bonuses anymore and (as will be mentioned a bit more further down this post) we got rid of the requirement on ranks of requiring a second enchantment/runestone to upgrade, it is more straight forward to just get gemstones, which are purely for RP, in loot vs enchantments and runestones that you are just going to convert into RP anyways.
This also works towards wanting to make the system easier for new players to interact with. Instead of waiting for random drops and trying to figure out which to keep/break down, new players can see all of the regular tier 1s, make their choice, and level it up with the RP they acquire while playing. To go along with this, Tier 1 enchantments have a 100% success rate to become Tier 2, further easing the learning curve of Refinement.
Didn't you say something about matching bonuses?
Yes, because everything is breaking down into Refinement Points there is no longer a matching bonus since the system doesn't work that way anymore. And don't panic, but we are going to stop running the Double Refinement events as well. And here's why:
Double Refinement events were causing players to hold onto all of their refinement items to maximize their gains, and we can't blame you for that. However, that doesn't make the game fun and prevents players from refining items whenever they want to, not to mention if you accidently miss the event after waiting all that time!
We want players to be able to refine whenever they want to be doing it, not have a weekend dedicated to what we like to refer to as "Balancing the checkbook" (a checkbook was something people used before the invention of debit cards for you young ones out there
). To go along with this change, we have cut the Artifact Equipment RP progression in half, and the Artifact RP progression is also half as much but we also put some time into smoothing out that curve a bit more as well.
Enchantments, Armor/Weapon Enhancements and Runestones are also cheaper to make now as well (again we will put out the exact progression tables for people to look at) and in even better news - There is no more takes 2 enchantments to level up tiers anymore. You didn't like the takes 2 enchantments to upgrade and we didn't like it either. We did adjust some of the other reagent requirements to compensate for that going away, but we think you'll find them far better requirements than they used to be.
Double Gems will still run and will now include Gemstones and Enchanting Stones. On top of that, we are exploring another event option which will give the players extra Refinement Points while running as well. We've got you covered!
As some of you may have been thinking by now: How will existing items work out after this change if the progression is being adjusted? All of your enchantments, enhancements, runestones, artifacts and artifact equipment will be versioned over in place to the new progression charts and be the right level/progression as they were before this update.
Enchantments and Runestones now go up to rank 14. Enhancements have received 1 additional tier as well. Some of the curves were adjusted as well to bring the low ends up a bit higher and make a smoother progression in power gains through the ranks. Check out the technical details thread for all of the information.
Runestones have been in an odd place for some time where there was only one that anyone cared about due to the massive power difference between Bonding Runestones and all other runestones. Nobody likes having the power of their items reduced but we did feel with all of our changes trying to bring things into balance, this was necessary at this time. Bondings have had their percentage they give lowered down. Eldritch runestones have a new power curve to boost them and their stat sharing effect will be given to the offensive slot as well. All other stat base runestones have had their stat gains doubled as well. Even with all of these changes we expect players will still find the Bonding Runestones to be the best runestone to use, just not by such a massive margin as they were previously. We know this is a big change and there will be a lot of discussion about this topic so we have created a thread solely for that discussion.
That is all of the big overview. We know there is a lot to digest there and that there will be questions and discussions and we will do our best to answer those questions. Don't forget to check it out on preview as well and share your feedback! Use this thread for general discussion, the technical details thread for the specific number/bonuses discussions and the Bonding Runestone thread for the discussion of the changes with those.