Why is Grinding so Unrewarding: The Solution Part 1

In my former articles (Part 1 Part 2) we talked about why grinding in Neverwinter feels so unrewarding and more than this playing Neverwinter feels unrewarding as well. Now we will look at a possible solution of our problem.

As said earlier we earn Astral Diamonds to buy nice stuff instead of getting drops directly from the content (or very rarely getting anything of greater value). This system causes several problems. At first the rewards in the playable content is simply piss poor. To get the items you need to improve your character you must go to the auction house or the ZAX.

Here is a simplified graphic to show how the economy of Neverwinter basically looks like.

Economy Chart MinMax

As you can see the ZEN Market holds almost any valuable item. Of course a lot of items bind on equip and can be sold on the auction house. This way they transfer to the Astral Diamond Market, but their origin is still the ZEN Market. To get these items somebody must have spent money. As the ZAX rises it also devalues our earned Astral Diamonds: A really crappy system!

A last example of the current system and how broken it is and then we will move on to a solution. Coalescent Wards are only obtainable in the ZEN Market. You can get them as a reward from invocation, but the drop rate is less than 3% and it takes 6 to 11+ days for a chance. To upgrade Weapon and Armor Enchantments to Transcendent we need 34 Coalescent Wards, which would currently cost 34,000 ZEN or 320$ or 17,000,000 AD at the current ZAX. This translates into 473 days of refining ADs without a break and without spending your ADs for other items. Only the Coalescent Wards. Crazy!

Neverwinter’s loot system and economical system needs to be restructured and I’ve set up one possibility how you could do it: Delete ADs from the game and also delete any possible source to create it and implement this system:

New System MinMax

Okay that looks more complicated as it is, so let me explain. Basically it is what a lot of player want from the game. You earn your Gear (Armor, Weapon, Rings, Neck/Capes, Belts, etc.) through playing the content. Then you can decide either to use it for yourself by finalizing the parts through the profession system, which also binds the gear, or sell it to the auction house. I would recommend to make Tier 1 account bound, Tier 2-4 character bound and Tier 5 account bound again, because Masterwork Professions takes a lot of time.

“But we have no ADs because you idiot deleted them, how can people buy stuff from the AH if we don’t have them anymore?”

With Zen! The only currency that can enter the system is ZEN from players that spend money. It is not exploitable, because nothing is generated out of thin air.

Money Flow MinMax

If you want something from the ZEN market you can either spend money and buy it or you have the option to play the game. Get some nice loot and sell it for profit in the AH. Now you have the ZEN to purchase items from the ZEN market. Of course it is very important that there are offers in the AH that are considered as desirable for a player or this system won’t work.

That is also the reason for the rework of the loot system. There must be a guaranteed drop from the boss at the end of the dungeon. As seen in the picture, dungeons are dropping parts. This is similar to Module 2 where Malabog could drop epic weapon parts. You needed the three different ones to produce a full (and BIS) weapon with your Weaponsmithing or Artificing profession. My system does exactly the same. You need the matching parts to produce weapons, gloves, shoes, belts, etc. Since you now have multiple sets of weapon, armor, etc. there are a lot of parts that can drop. So it is kinda important to sort out which sets drop in which dungeon and skirmish.

That’s it for today folks! Let me know what you think of the system in the comments or the forum. In the next part we are going to deal with a few more in-depth questions and the “Mysterious Merchant”!


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2 thoughts on “Why is Grinding so Unrewarding: The Solution Part 1

  • June 16, 2016 at 10:57 am

    The unrewarding grind and the solution posted is a bit of a pipe dream IMO, and here’s why.

    AD is the way the Company controls the value of Zen. On Xbox, their constant infusion of AD has allowed them to inflate, i.e. devalue AD. In doing so, the (perceived) value of Zen rises. It is supply and demand economics, purposefully manipulated by the Company in order to maximize their profits.

    No Martha, those numbers are not arbitrary.

    Anyone playing from Mod5 on has witnessed this. When the ZAX was trading in the hundreds, it was relatively easy to buy Zen by playing the game – the unrewarding grind wasn’t so unrewarding! The Company does not want that. They want you to spend real money and play less game! So they introduced changes in the economy resulting in more, albeit of a lesser value, AD. The bulk of this change came by increasing the amount of rough AD each character could refine daily, and by the Company’s carefully calculated AD rewards and salvageable item drops from daily skirmishes, dungeons, and weeklies. Sprinkle in a few carefully timed 2x AD weekends and now the amount of AD required for the same amount of Zen has increased considerably.

    With the ZAX trading in the high three hundreds, even getting into the four hundreds a few weeks back, it now takes 3-4x longer to refine enough AD to buy the same amount of Zen.

    AD-Diction is a powerful thing. Many gamers would rather spend money for the quick fix than grind endlessly day after day saving their AD pennies along the way. And they do spend money – lots of money, making the Company very happy.

    The real problem is that those same gamers often go to third party websites and buy massive amounts of AD which they pour in to the market illegitimately, causing even more inflation. The solution to this real problem is to make Zen market prices flexible so that players don’t have incentive to buy AD from a third party. This flexibility in Zen market prices could be tied to the number of hours required to refine enough AD in order to buy that epic mount. Or that blood ruby pack. Or that C ward…

    Pessimistically speaking, since those third parties are in all likelihood owned by the Company (Three day ban?? Ban the character permanently and no one would do it!), any positive change for the players is highly unlikely. The fact is, the Company by it’s very nature is greedy, and any change that would negatively impact their profits extremely unlikely.

    The economy is working exactly how the Company wants it to. For those of us who don’t spend money on the game, character development is a much longer process than it use to be. That is why the grind seems so unrewarding now.

    • June 16, 2016 at 11:44 am

      The thing is: The current system does not work.
      You are right, less player are playing the game, but they also never return to it. The numbers showing this. Also i can’t imagine they will earn that much money. Not after several news about employees leaving the company or a Community Manager position completely closed a few weeks after the new Community Manager was doing his Job. Also the income of PWE is steadily decreasing, so i can’t imagine by all means this current system works and websites like Neverwinter: Uncensored are simple proof of it because here meets a lot of players that are partially done with the game. Also there are a lot of rumors about Wales (players spending tons of money on the game) that withdraw all their transactions related to Neverwinter.
      Parts of the game are abadoned. PvP has less than 5% active players meassured on the overall minimum of current active players. The Foundry is also abadoned. Sorry, a system that is abused by the company to shift the market for their quarterly or half yearly reports is a fucked up system and not a sign of a healthy game.

      Of course i don’t know the numbers, i have no insight in it, but the current income for Cryptic/PWE should come from XBox and then after PS4 because both console platforms are desperate to play something and after they got burned by this system there is basically no real income source.

      Also with the next part explain how Cryptic/PWE can use the system to their favor.

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