Welcome to the start of our massive preview series of Neverwinter’s upcoming module “The Heart of Fire”! In this first article we’re looking at the upcoming story and campaign. What does Omin, Jim, and Walnut have in store for the players? Let’s find out!
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The “Acquisitions Incorporated” campaign is clearly aimed at new players. We’ve already mentioned “Tyranny of Dragon” as comparison in an earlier article and looks like we were spot on. Because just like Module 4, players are going through the campaign as they level up. They are able to participate in the first quests as early as level 15 and after that you get new assignments every ten levels. It’s obvious the devs want players to be able to jump into the new content right away. It makes sense, because many joining in Mod 15 probably will do so because of Acq Inc and you can’t let them wait forever to meet Omin and company.
The structure of the campaign in the meantime is quite familiar. “The Heart of Fire” uses the known “Weekly Haul” progression. It allows players to freely earn currency over the course of a week until they reach a hard cap. The system was introduced to move away from the necessity to log in daily or lose progression in earlier modules. In the Weekly Haul structure, you can usually do the full weekly load in one session and then do something else the rest of the week. It’s very casual and I personally still like it. It comes with the disadvantage though that active players tend to run out of things to do very quickly.
Just like Module 14, the campaign progression is linear and all tasks cost 100 Acorns, the new campaign currency. Boons are 175. The campaign quests give 5-15 Acorns each and progression quests turn into weekly repeatables after their initial completion. So you’re unfortunately running the same set of quests every week to fill your Weekly Haul. It’s not ideal, but Jim and Omin’s jokes might be able to help you through the grind a bit.
Talking about jokes, the story is great as expected! If you like Acquisitions Incorporated, you’re in for a treat anyway. But also “outsiders” will find joy in the dialogues and characters of Jim Darkmagic, Omin Dran, and Walnut Dankgrass. The story is flavored with the humor of the folks at Penny Arcade and has some surprises in store, like rubbing a giant’s back (kind of) and a Pirates of the Caribbean reference! We didn’t expect less!
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The story however is also… short. All progression quests are ten minutes tops and since level 70s are getting scaled to lower levels it’s merely a walk-through. This is of course an issue of endgame item levels not being the target audience for the campaign, but would have been nice to get more out of the story than the two hours it took on preview. Trying to become a member of Acquisitions Incorporated and help them to obtain the “Heart of Fire” is nonetheless one of the better stories the game has to offer.
The K-Team Challenge
What is appealing to the endgame playerbase however is the new “K-Team Challenge” (or Gallant Dungeons). Once all progression quests are done, players are tasked to run a rotating weekly dungeon in a so-called “hardcore mode”. In that mode, teams only get one life and have to get through the dungeon without dying. Actually, it’s not even “dying”, but avoiding to be reduced to 0% HP. Even procs of the Soulforged Enchantment end runs. In such a case, the team is kicked out of the instance and has to start over.
What makes the K-Team challenge appealing other than a harder challenge? Well, dungeon chests drop more loot (RADs, etc.) and the weekly quest gives currency for which you can buy a brand-new item level
550 600 armor set. Foss also mentioned a new Off/Def Enchantment in his Q&A with Nova and we did find assets in the game files that indicate such a thing. There are three different new keys in the campaign store for special chests that might contain the enchantment, but right now I’m not sure where this is coming from. So if you’ve already figured that out, post it in the comments below!
thanks to phoenira on our Discord for posting the K-Team pics!
I’ve already mentioned that the Acquisitions Incorporated campaign uses the same template as Ravenloft, and the boons are no exception. The repeatable task for them is 175 Acorns each and let’s players choose between ten different boons. Three points can freely be allocated across six tier 1 boons and one of the tier 2 boon can be selected as well. Tier 1 offers a choice between Defense, Critical Strike, Increased Damage vs. Cultists, Increased Damage Resistance vs. Cultist, Power, and Gold Bonus. The tier 2 boons add 3% Recovery, Critical Severity, Life Steal, or Movement.
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Overall that’s a selection from which all classes and loadouts should be able to profit. Don’t discount Gold Bonus either, because the Profession / Workshop system requires a lot of it in Module 15.
The Acquisitions Incorporated campaign doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but offers great story for casuals and an endgame challenge for veterans. Paired with a nice set of boons the devs seem to have created one of the better campaigns in recent memory with a little help of the folks at Penny Arcade.
Although I like the approach, it doesn’t come without concerns. In case you don’t like campaigns as format, Mod 15 won’t feature much to convince you. It’s “more of the same” and while the story is hilarious and humorous, the quests themselves are not really diversified. We’re talking about classic kill and fetch. The fact that the devs reused old maps and adventure zones also takes away appeal for seasoned players. This just in: New objectives doesn’t make running through the Mithral Mine for the 1000th time a great experience! Additionally the story could have been a little longer. What you get is about two hours of content, which, even cleverly spread out over multiple weeks thanks to the Weekly Haul system, is not a ton.
That’s why the long-term viability of the campaign depends on the K-Team challenge. If that’s something the players like to do (either because of the rewards or because of the challenge), then this could turn into a great piece of content. But even if not the Acquisitions Incorporated campaign overall is solid, and most players should be able to enjoy it.
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