Fixing the Neverwinter Dungeons: Prophecy of Madness

After suggesting tweaks to the campaigns in January and February, my next project is looking at some of the dungeons and skirmishes. The two premier goals are:

  1. Make them more challenging and interesting.
  2. Don’t exclude too many players with a generally higher item level requirement.

One of the misconceptions I quite frequently read is that more challenge would only benefit a low percentage of the population. But if you make mechanics skill and not gear dependent, you can include everyone.

Although Prophecy of Madness (PoM) is not technically a dungeon, it needs some fixing as well. The first endgame content we were looking at, Malabog’s Castle, needed a little bit of added challenge at the upper tier item levels. PoM meanwhile is way too hard for lowbies.

Demonic Tear
Demonic Tear

The intention of the devs while designing Underdark group content was to make the skirmishes available to anyone. The reward tiers meanwhile make sure higher geared players have something to strive for as well. Unfortunately it’s only worth completing the skirmishes in the gold bracket. Otherwise they are not the best options to get salvage, campaign currency or seals. If you can’t get gold, it’s better to zerg down Demonic Heroic Encounters in the Well of Dragons instead.

Everyone under 2.5k can hardly contribute. And that’s not even considering that generally it’s a bit too hard to get gold in the first phases. For a skirmish without requirements, which is naturally the first playing field for anyone that just hit 70, it’s far from ideal. Add that group play is not encouraged and DPS more important than utility and you have a less than stellar skirmish.

Changes Protect the Prophecy:

  • In phase one change the score system to be based off the total Madness stacks currently on the group. Fewer Madness grants more points.
    • Score is calculated every second.
    • More than 15 Madness stacks on a player always count as 15 stacks.
    • A dead, down or player outside the fight zone counts as 15 stacks towards the score.
    • Madness from damage is only applied when a player is actually hit for at least one damage.
    • If a players enters a safe zone it disappears within two seconds. Additionally one of the four tears spawns mobs that instantly attack the group.
  • Tokens randomly spawn all over the map in phase two.
    • Each player can only hold one token.
    • Madness rules from phase one.
    • Players can only interact with the Wards while the safe zone is active, but can do so simultaneously.
    • Whenever a player interacts with a Ward, the safe zone disappears within two seconds.  Additionally one of the four tears spawns mobs that instantly attack the group.
  • In phase three the timer of the reward tiers is extended based on how the group performed in the first two phases. Gold extends by 50%, Silver by 25% and bronze by 10%.
  • Slightly increase the mobs that spawn from tears.
  • Only one safe zone can be active at any time. Cooldown of a new one is two seconds.

Changes Demonic Incursion:

  • In phase one and two five tears appear at random locations.
    • In phase one four green and one blue tear appear.
    • In phase two four blue and one purple tear appear.
    • After a cooldown of ten seconds tears start to spawn mobs every 10 seconds. Tears cannot spawn more than three times.
    • A two-second interaction closes the tears. Damage cannot cancel the interaction, but CC still does.
    • Score is based on tears closed.
    • New tears only open when all mobs are killed.
    • Slightly increase the mobs that spawn from tears.
  • In phase 3 the timer of the reward tiers is extended based on how the group performed in the first two phases. Gold extends by 25% and Silver by 10%.

These changes shift the focus from DPS to awareness and team play. In the Prophecy variant groups need to move and interact together to not lose score. Avoiding damage means avoiding madness, so powers that prevent damage or control mobs gain much more relevance in phase one. Additionally performing well in the first two phases makes the third one easier.

In the Incursion variant not actually killing mobs but closing tears becomes the decisive factor. Groups need to monitor and split up properly to close all tears within ten seconds. Otherwise they need to deal with mobs and lose time.

In both variants item level is a less significant factor. Skilled lowbies can still contribute a lot to the team by moving accurately and performing the needed tasks. DPS and item level only adds to the convenience in certain situations, or in case the group messes up. This way the skirmish becomes a skill check, which players can master at all levels.

In case you’re interested in reading my proposals for Malabog’s Castle, click here. Also make sure to add your comments and suggestions below and visit the corresponding thread on our forum.


j0Shi plays the Neverwinter MMORPG since the open BETA in 2013 and is a regular contributor to the blog and the whole UN:Project. Originally a Guardian Fighter, he has built up ALTs of all classes and plays on BIS/near-BIS level.

One thought on “Fixing the Neverwinter Dungeons: Prophecy of Madness

  • July 14, 2016 at 8:41 am

    I fear how public que would turn this into. So many players still land blacks on Epic Demogorgon.

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