As far as free to play MMORPGs are concerned, Neverwinter has come quite a long way. First launching in 2013, this Dungeons & Dragons licensed game faced tough competition and challenges in a market dominated by World of Warcraft. It’s survived 6 years so far which by today’s standards is no mean feat. Plenty of more established, fancy and expensive to make MMOs have caved or shut down altogether, but Neverwinter yet remains, free to play and defiant. Part of this resilience is its reinvention of itself. Over the years, the game has had to make major updates to its various systems, akin to hitting the big reset button. This hasn’t always been well received by veteran players, but at their expense new players and casuals are able to get into the game easier which means sustainability is always there. This week, their latest expansion Undermountain has gone live and it’s the most drastic one yet when it comes to changes. If you’re a new or returning player, here’s why you should check it out.
Class and Combat Overhaul
Simply put, Neverwinter had gotten to a point where combat was brain dead easy. Anyone with a max level class with half a sniff of decent gear could one-shot anything including dungeon bosses. The new expansion has overhauled everything. Classes and their abilities and growth should feel a lot more engaging to the player.
Companion System Rework
Active Companion Bonuses have made into a separate piece similar to mount powers, referred to as a player bonus. An additional piece of companions are slottable powers known as pet enhancements – buffs or debuffs that are triggered when the player uses a power. The equipment that companions wear are now universal; companion equipment slots allow the player to equip any piece of companion equipment in them. Upgrading and levelling up multiple companions in storage benefits any summoned companion in the form of a bolster bonus.
Level and Scaling Updates
Undermountain has made item level far more consistent and therefore make it a more accurate gauge of player potential. Along with fixes to item level, the addition of item level scaling should provide a better version of scaling going forward. Now the game will scale a player down to a target item level. This system is often used by plenty of other MMORPGs to good affect, so it’s a good thing that Neverwinter are jumping on the bandwagon here.
With the changes to classes, powers, and balance in Undermountain, the devs also wanted to step back and look at the way stats work. Now, players and enemies have opposing rolls: stats that lower their opponent’s chance to deal a critical strike, lower their combat advantage damage, and more. Certain stats have been removed and converted to one of these new stats.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg for Neverwinter. This might have touched only the major tweaks of how this MMO is reinventing itself. But the new content is worth a look. For the first time, players are venturing to Undermountain beneath Waterdeep. In a series of crawler style content, you’ll get to discover unique biomes and adventures and much much more. And of course, it’s all free so why are you still here?