It’s been a challenging few weeks for everyone. I have to say we were very excited about getting a new expansion into your hands- a whole new part of Faerûn to explore, a new hub, 5 zones, and 10 new levels to reach. We updated how classes play, from powers to feats and even some names-as well as many other changes-and we got great pre-launch feedback on them, so we felt although we didn’t hit all the marks, we were on the right track. Expansions are always a challenge. In order to build enough content to provide a great story and flow for the new leveling bar, you never have enough time to provide enough end game content once players hit the new level cap. Leveraging on the Hunts and the repeatable adventure quests from Chult, we created the Expeditions, and of course the end game Dungeon, a real challenge at level 80. Knowing early on that providing enough end game content would be a challenge based with the time we had to create the expansion, we crunched some numbers and saw how many campaigns were not being completed- and came up with the idea of the Challenge Zones; a system where the quests would be a challenge by level scaling, and in return get great rewards, filling in boons as well as getting great gear.
Well, our expectations were wrong. We took too much power and agency away from how you were playing before. Power you worked hard for and invested in.
We also Item level scaled dungeons. Now to be fair we’ve been level scaling dungeons and CTAs and some other events since launch, always with the goals of letting groups play together; having the barbarian with the 20K gear score charging ahead and killing the entire dungeon while the rest of the group tried to catch up is never fun for the rest of the group. But with the new dynamics of how powers work–basically resetting the clock on timing of how many powers you could get off vs the critters/monsters, and how we changed the scaling in the game–we really dropped a couple of balls, making the time in a queued event much longer that we really wanted, or even more importantly what you wanted.
You all gave us feedback and we jumped in and started fixing bugs-this monster was way too hard, this map level was wrong, the timing is off, etc. We actually put out several patches in the first couple of weeks.
During this time we were doing a lot of work and a bit of scrambling. That’s when we had the chance to start digging in deeper. We had numbers coming in showing kill counts in areas, and other factors which helped us treat some bigger issues that were called out on the forums. One big one was finding a huge group of encounter templates (what we use to spawn critters) that were dealing with a race condition- they would spawn at the (Avatars/players/characters) actual level and then level you down. Yay for race conditions!
This was fixing some big bugs, but didn’t hit all the core issues. We took away your ability to show and use your powers as much as before and substantially slowed your rate of gaining rewards. We also damaged your trust in us to deliver the Neverwinter you wanted and were more used to. So, here’s what we are currently doing to address this. Ready?
Below are the changes we currently have in motion. We're testing out some of these changes, and are still in progress implementing some of the others, so as to get them live ASAP. The rest have been implemented and are in stages of regression and testing. Once we are confident in the changes we will be putting them onto the playtest server (Owlbear) to get your feedback, adjust as needed, then to playtest, then to live.
Thanks again for all of your feedback, questions on the stream, and continued patience.
Enemies Change: All enemies–including bosses–are having their health reduced by ~10%. Purpose: Help players regain some of the feeling of power they lost; improve upon some difficulty issues.
Enchantments Change: All Enchantments and Runestones, aside from Bonding Runestones, are having their Item Level and stats doubled. Purpose: Restore the power players have already invested in.
Soloable Content Change: All campaign zones, and soloable instances, will no longer be scaled by item level. Challenge Campaigns are being renamed to Legacy Campaigns. Rewards are not changing. Purpose: Find a better balance of time spent to rewards gained, and allow players to once again wield the power they've gained over the course of the game.
Queued Content Change: Most Dungeons and Trials are having their Item Level requirements and scaling targets increased. Purpose: Give players more power while running this content, while still trying to keep high-level players from one-shotting everything in the process.
Change: Events that used to scale players to level 60 are going to scale players to level 40 instead. Purpose: Find a nicer mid-point to scale players to, so that the content is still casually playable and accessible by lower-level players.
Strongholds Change: We are removing the upward scaling on the Stronghold map, and making enemies consistently spawn at level 80. Purpose: The upward item level scaling incorrectly powered up lower-level players too much, resulting in bad expectations being set for level 80 power in Strongholds. This addresses that.