Last week I hopped back into Neverwinter after an extended hiatus. If you want to get up to speed you can read the column here. Even after expressing my discontent for poorly disguised daily quests I decided to slog through it for a week and take one for the MMORPG.com community. In some ways I was pleasantly surprised. In others, it was worse than I expected.
First up let’s talk about the good. The zones are packed. Each of the three zones I had access to at the beginning of the Tyranny campaign were flooded with people cooperating to defeat the dragons. Spotters would also announce when the dragons were spawning in different instances of the zone to make sure people wouldn’t miss out on the encounters. In addition, groups were constantly forming for an instance quest known as Ghost Stories. I initially thought this was a “solo” instance. As such I went in and slogged my way through it. It was tough and I died a few times but I was able to do it. Turns out you can take a party of 5 in and steamroll it. Lesson learned. I am glad to know I can go it alone but from here on out I’m taking a full group.
Another nice feature added in with Module 4 that I didn’t talk about last week is the expansion of the artifact system. In Module 2 Neverwinter added in artifacts. These were a new slot on the character sheet. Players can level up artifacts by refining them with enchants. The max level on artifacts is 100.
In addition to these artifacts Cryptic has created artifact belts and weapons, there are 3 weapons for each class. Unlike artifacts these are all level 60 items. Instead of using enchants to refine the belt and weapons players use equipment. The equipment players use as fodder must be level 60 and it must be identified. Players can use any equipment though. It doesn’t have to be a weapon for a weapon and a belt for a belt. I was glad to start spending my enchants on something worthwhile like leveling up my artifact. I’m equally as happy to have something to do with all the loot we collect in the game. My bags are overflowing with useless green items. Now I have a good cause to sacrifice them for.
Now for the not so good. I’ve found out the hard way that it takes you at least 180 hours to open up the second “tier” of things to do in the Tyranny of Dragons campaign. The way the map first appeared, I was hoping it would only be 120 hours. For all intents and purposes it will take your average player at least 2 weeks before they can do anything that is level appropriate at level 60. This really has a negative impact on the storytelling and, for me, that is a huge part of this game.
I had hoped to use Tyranny of Dragons boons to finally earn my way into Icewind Dale. I thought wrong. Not only do you have to be level 60 and have a 10,000 gearscore, but you have to be level 60, have a 10,000 gearscore, and have a tier 3 boon. That boon can only come from Sharandar or the Dread Ring. I’ll continue to pray to Selune that Cryptic changes that and counts boons from Tyranny of Dragons or I may never see Icewind Dale.
Now to talk about that third D in the title, Diablo 3 Ultimate Evil Edition that hit consoles last week. I had never really planned on buying it since I already have D3 for the PC and it felt just a little too redundant. After looking at my PSN friends list and seeing that I was probably the only one who didn’t own this new incarnation, I broke down and bought it. It was a pain too because PSN was down the day I decide to buy it due to a DDoS and the first store I went to was actually sold out. I persevered, however, and I was able to secure my own copy for the PS4. Blizzard has done a fantastic job of porting D3 to console. Being able to play D3 offline, and to have local cooperative play alone is worth the price of admission. Add in the nemesis system if you do decide to play online along with the slick new UI and you have a new experience that feels right at home in your living room. I have to agree with the title of Bill’s impression piece last week, the ultimate evil edition is the ultimate edition.
While online multiplayer is great, it is hard to surpass the fun that can be had getting a group of people together and piling up in a living room smashing some demon face. I know what I’ll be doing Friday night, my crusader has some demons to stomp.
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