The devs’ ongoing struggle to contain botters in the game continued yesterday with the announcement that skill nodes will be nerfed and no longer dropping any refining points. It’s been a vital point in the last months to erase botted Astral Diamonds and Refining Points from the economy through several Leadership changes and the removal of skill nodes. Unfortunately botters found new places where they could farm every time and in the end Cryptic does what they’ve always done: Pull the plug.
Nerfing everything to the ground the bots touch is a testament to helplessness. The devs obviously can’t attach any resources to hunting bots, so they must rely on ingame changes to solve the situation. But this always comes at the expense of the legit players, an issue discussed on this site before. Granted, skill nodes were already capped in a way that you would only get Junk loot if you farmed too many in a certain time interval, but players instantly lose an asset anyway. Raising the drop chance of Insignias and open world drops of Enchantments and Runestones look good on paper though. Players that were actually farming nodes might not lose any efficiency if they are going for mobs in their Stronghold for example. Time will tell.
I’m not sure why they didn’t simply made RPs from skill nodes bound though. Sure, bound RPs would still be an issue in terms of player bots, but I think in the first place you want to limit the professionals, which a change of the bind status would have achieved perfectly. In the end they simply decided to take the fastest and cheapest route once again instead of introducing true anti-botting measures. They ignored viable alternatives to nerfs in the past, like a gateway captcha. Apparently even one of their own games offers a solution for skill nodes, because Star Trek Online has implemented some mini-game to protect against botters. This should work on Neverwinter as well, right? Overall the change at least hits botters more than the players and it’s possible additional RPs will be infused in other areas when the impact of the change to the economy will be known.
The market reacted heavily to the expected lower supply yesterday. Stacks of Rank 5 Enchantments and Runestones doubled almost instantly and tripled over the course of the evening. The overall effect on the prices however is highly uncertain and depends on a few variables that are hard to foresee. So far bots have been able to live through all nerfs the devs have thrown their way, and they will adopt once again. Skill nodes have received significant changes already to no avail, so removing them as source might not have as big of an impact. Open world farming is not only still possible, but now even comes with enhanced drop rates of RPs. It’s safe to assume that the output of each bot will likely be lower, but maybe not as low as the current heavy market reaction makes us believe.
With RPs from skill nodes gone, the ones from Leadership become more important, which could lead to bots and players switching to the profession again and upping the supply there. It’s probably best to wait and see, especially of you have not heavily relied on bought Rank 5s for your personal progression so far.
It is however unlikely that the prices will come back to the level they have been since yesterday. Our market tools give a pretty decent impression of what to expect, because you can manually adjust the cost of RPs. Enchantments do not suffer as much, because refining points are a comparably small part of their pricing. At worst you should expect a 25% increase across the board even if the price of RPs is going to multiply.
It’s another story for Artifacts, which feature a massive amount of RPs and could make a serious jump in pricing. At a certain point feeding becomes more viable even outside double weekend, but overall we might see the prices at least double for Mythic Artifacts. I would hold onto any Artifacts you might have and sell them at a later point. They are probable to gain value as items or feeders.
I doubt the change will instantly erase bots from the equation, but it’s very likely the cheapest days of Enchantments and Artifacts have passed. It’s not as big of a change as making drops from utility enchants bound however, which catapulted costs of RPs to up to ten times their pre-nerf value in Mod 5. I don’t think you will notice the change as much with your Enchantments and Runestones, because the bottleneck of those are the Marks of Potencys, but Mythic Artifacts could come close to what a piece of Legendary Artifact Equipment currently costs.
It’s not the worst thing in the world, but anything that adds to the refining grind has to be considered a net minus for the game, even if the target are bots. I certainly hope that the devs will monitor the availability of RPs and make more adjustments down the road.
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