Have Stronghold Boons Failed as System?

[blog_subscription_form]Last week we reported a post by Scarabman about the state of Stronghold Boons, in which the developer admitted that the system is “overtuned”. Although no immediate changes are on the horizon to adjust the system, I’d like to talk a litte bit about the bigger picture in this article. Scarabman admitted that the devs currently have some issues to balance content. The discrepancy between the haves and have-nots caused by the Stronghold Boons simply is too significant in some cases. This obviously raises the question if the system has failed and whether or not should be extended in the same manner whenever the next Stronghold expansion rolls around.

An Issue of Difficulty

The issue of difficulty in content is no minor one for Neverwinter. Scarabman mentioned that they don’t think it’s gamebreaking, which is probably true. The fact that endgame players feel like there’s a lack of challenge while casuals often claim they have no shot at beating the hardest content however shows that you shouldn’t take this lightly. Because trying to serve all tiers of players equally, you risk creating content that fits nobody.

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We know that with the resources Neverwinter has, you simply can’t design multiple dungeons per module for multiple tiers of players. So the one content addition you deliver has to please everyone. Scarabman basically confirmed that this currently isn’t the case and that they instead have to think about workarounds or artificial catch-up mechanics. The necessity to build systems around flaws of other ones is a pretty decent hint that something isn’t right.

So Get Rid of It?

This might sound like I would simply get rid of it, or nerf boons, but actually it’s not that simple. I grew into a supporter of giving guilds value and meaning other than social aspects alone. Also don’t forget that the boons are part of the much larger Stronghold system that includes Masterwork Professions, gear progression, and daily tasks. Messing with one aspect means that the other stuff could get affected as well.

That’s why I agree with the devs that you can’t solve the issue in the current Stronghold cycle. I would however definitely avoid just extending the system at some point. You would pretty much run into the same issues over time and widen the gap between different types of players. So overall I don’t think that the system has entirely failed, but you definitely have to find other ways of giving Stronghold progression significance without forcing everyone into guilds. In case the devs plan to add more boons or ranks in the future, they definitely will have to come up with a solution for this issue.

What’s your take on the system? Is it causing too much trouble and should just be nerfed? Or do you agree that you can’t just get rid of it, but have to avoid the same issues in the future? Share your thoughts in the comments below, on our social channels, or visit the corresponding thread on our message board!

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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.

9 thoughts on “Have Stronghold Boons Failed as System?

  • April 26, 2018 at 7:28 am

    “The fact that endgame players feel like there’s a lack of challenge while casuals often claim they have no shot at beating the hardest content ”

    This all too often comes down to having decent builds and a group that is stacking buffs rather than 8k power boon etc…

  • April 26, 2018 at 8:05 am

    Not sure guild boons are really that big of an issue. If you know how to play your class and run with others who know how to play their classes the 8k power, 8k defense/lifesteal or 32k HP won’t make much of a difference. Knowing your rotation, spotting when certain spells go off, timing artifact usage and using beneficial enchants will do far more than those SH boon stats ever will.

    Sometimes you just need to take a few minutes to explain to some players the benefits of a well timed rotation, why certain powers are better than others and why a debuff enchant on a support toon is more beneficial to the group than a support running a dps enchant.

    • April 26, 2018 at 10:48 am

      Ye. I’m not entirely sure what the dev meant when he said they have trouble balancing between those that have boons and those that don’t. I could see that being an issue in the 10-12k item level ranges. A full group with GH20 boons definitely has a distinct advantage over a group that doesn’t. On the other hand, on endgame levels, it’s not as much of a difference. However, 8k power / 32k HP is not nothing and even for a “bis” toon contributes a lot to overall stats. Don’t forget it’s also base stats that can fully be shared etc.

  • April 26, 2018 at 10:26 am

    just an excuse, also they should look at the cost of boons vs what they provide. When you consider the cost of guild boons they seem very reasonable when considering the risk of loosing your guild/etc without controls in place.

    Also as usual this overpowerment argument only points to the major module 6 f up of not including diminishing returns. With diminishing returns stats become irrelevant because the gap between the haves and have not’s get narrowed. Every nerf and mechanic change introduced as a workaround is just them kicking same ball of effort farther down the pipe instead of fixing the real problem.

    • April 26, 2018 at 10:59 am

      The dev specifically touched on cost vs. benefit. He said that it was reasonable back in the day. But nowadays that most players no longer have to go through the grind and just join a GH20, the ratio is no longer there. It seems like they have trouble setting a baseline for content difficulty, because while most have access to some kind of boons, they don’t want to actually force anyone into a guild.

      But yes, Mod 6… Sigh… I have no evidence for that, but you could actually theorize that they never wanted this progression cycle to last as long, but devpower / resources / knowledge / whatever forced them to. We’re long at a point where all relevant areas are capped and it’s all into Power and HP again. Pretty much what happened in Mod 5 leading to the level cap raise.

  • April 26, 2018 at 2:01 pm

    Its been my experience that so called casuals that cant beat basic t1 dungeons, are that way because they are clueless about the game and have no desire to learn. Spend some time in the random q and you will meet players and bots that dont know the most basic mechanics to the dungeon they are in and have no desire to learn or follow instructions in dungeons. Inspect them and you will discover open enchant slots and < lvl 70 gear and of course our old friend the catalogue being run as their primary artifact.

  • April 26, 2018 at 6:17 pm

    Only thing Strongholds has done is separate players and guilds. A good amount of players want to flock to whatever guild they might think is top. And pretty much the same goes for some guilds that want to flock to whatever alliance they think is top. Rather than level 20 guilds helping smaller guilds it has been just the opposite as them level 20 guilds want other level 20 guilds in there alliance. The same can be said for the members that join them guilds as they tend to only want other members that are end game builds. Seems to be more about prestige and elitism than anything else for many.

  • April 27, 2018 at 1:12 am

    Yes. Stronghold boons are strong and the hasty introduction leads us to problems. But we shouldn’t get rid of it. It was 2 years for an average guild to level GH20. And it was a very hard work w/o having wallet warriors in our guilds…

    It leads us big differences among guilds and to power creep. And it synergizes with the already too strong OP/DC power sharing..
    But we CAN do one thing.
    I think we shouldn’t at least raise Stronghold level because it leads us to more problems and power creep. And average players/casuals doesn’t really see how big commitment this is so please fellow palyer and guild leaders/offeicers could you please

    Thank you…

  • April 29, 2018 at 7:46 pm

    Yes, some adjustments associated with access to guild boons for beginners should be made. But I don’t think that guild boon system is broken and I don’t want to see some changes in it at all.

    In the past everything was fine for a long time. And in my opinion everithing still is fine.

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