Mod 6 Preview & Analysis – New Artifact Gear And Refining Progression

This topic drew quite some attention, so it’s time to bust some myths surrounding the addition of a full new line of level 70 Artifact Gear.

First the facts: Originally the devs planned to raise the level cap on Artifact Gear similar to what they did with the normal Artifacts. Looks like there was a late change of plans, because one or two patches ago you suddenly could acquire new Elemental Off-Hands and Greater Artifact Cloaks as well as a new Elemental Main-Hand. In the last few days players could also confirm that there will be Greater versions of Artifact Belts as well that still drop from the Dragon Heralds. Elemental Evil will additionally feature at least three new Artifact Sets involving the Artifacts that drop from Valindra, Lostmouth and Tiamat and brand new corresponding Artifact Belts.
So the gear is being replaced with new stuff that has to be fully refined (4.7M RP), which led to many players assuming their current gear will be made obsolete although promised otherwise. It’s not wrong, but it’s also not right, so let’s dig in on some of the uninformed assumptions.

New gear is worse than a level cap increase?
You only have to look to the new Enchantment and Artifact level increase to know this isn’t true. So far you need slightly over 700k RP to get an Enchantment/Runestone to level 10, Mod 6 adds 1.6M RP on top of that. That’s a 225% increase. Artifacts need 3.7MRP to level 100 and 6.6M from 101-140, a 170% increase of RP needed to get to BiS again.
Artifact gear though does not get an increase in needed RP. You will need that 4.8M again and considering you can drop your old gear into it for 1.85M RP, you actually need less. Even absolute numbers suggest Artifact Gear is contributing the least to the RP war in Mod 6. You need over 19M for your four new pieces, but over 30M for one more Artifact and the level increase and over 38M for the Enchantment/Runestone level increase.
Before you bitch about Artifact gear, that the other refinement related grind is way worse.

You need the new gear to compete?

Side by Side comparison from ironzerg79

We know Cryptic/PWE always says you don’t need to be best of the best to complete all their content. They have a casual approach and so the content most likely will stay moderate. Of course that doesn’t apply to PVP and those that strive for the best anyway. BiS is BiS and your character is not officially “finished” until you get there. Plus the devs certainly don’t set goals that can’t be realistically achieved only because you don’t necessarily need it. That would not be very motivating.
What’s true though is that the Greater Belt and Neck piece offer little stat gain over their brothers under the new stat curves. It’s +400 Power and +250ish secondary stats, which transfers to +1% damage and +0.5% of whatever other stat they feature. Numbers are numbers, but such a little gain does not warrant an upgrade, you should be working towards other stuff first.
It’s not as easy with the new Main and Off-Hand. The Main gives a ton of extra damage, which is indeed the primary source of the damage you are doing and therefore mandatory. Although data miners have revealed hints that there will be other Artifact Elemental Weapons (Earth, Water, Air), probably with a variation on stats, in the future, you have to get the new Main-Hand. It’s a bad design decision, but the upgrade is simply too significant. The Off-Hand gives the same upgrade as the Greater Neck and Belt piece, but equipping the new Elemental Weapon also results in losing the set bonus, making the Off-Hand more valuable than Neck and Belt.

The new weapon is better than the old weapon because it has more damage?
This is the other extreme, because some players were saying that refining your old Artifact Main into the new one already results in higher damage and therefore a free upgrade. The simple answer is: No, because you are trading BiS for non-BiS and legendary for purple. The complex answer, that already has been posted on the forum, is: No, because the content gets harder as well and relative to the new enemies the new weapon you get will be worse than the old weapon is relative to the current content. And you are always losing at least 20% of your invested RP and no matter how you spin it, that is a loss and a loss only.

So what should you do? First you should get the new Main-Hand and refine it to Legendary as well as bringing your Armor and Weapon Enchant to Transcendent status. The upgrade in Utility and Damage from these is worth more than stats can provide from other sources.
Then you should refine your Enchantments and Runestones to level 12 and your Artifacts to level 140. Both are relatively close in terms of stats you get for your RP, so you can just work on them together. Just make sure you bring one piece to BiS after another, it’s slightly more efficient than leveling simultaneously.
After you’ve done all that (and it’s a bunch), you can work on the Artifact Off-Hand and the Belt and Neck piece. That’s right: These three contribute so little that you should wait with them until you pretty much maxed out everything else.


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 “Mod 6 Preview & Analysis – New Artifact Gear And Refining Progression

  • March 28, 2015 at 2:22 pm

    THe 20% loss might have gone to 15% with the dev blog saying the old gear is wrth 75% of its RP value but 15% of a million is still a lot total loss there with the future artifact equip this will always be a race. Cryptic is clever that way little knew content engage players in RP war.

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