Neverwinter Ravenloft Preview: Class Balance Changes, Meta & PVP Implications


In today’s preview article about Neveriwinter Module 14, Ravenloft, we quickly go over the (lack of) class balance changes, meta implications and PVP outlook. And “quick” is an overly accurate label here, because actually there’s not a lot to report. There’s no giant shift in the meta to expect, but I nonetheless want to touch on some minor things and the current status quo.

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Change to Piercing Damage

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The only notable change of Module 14 is the one to the functionality of piercing damage. Both Hunter Ranger’s “Piercing Blades” as well as Trickster Rogue’s “Shadow of Demise” now deal damage based on post-mitigation damage. So far both powers were dealing damage based on values before mitigation. The funny thing is, we’ve pretty much gone full circle now, because that’s exactly how the powers used to work (at least TR). The devs tried a few things, but apparently eventually decided to reverse everything. The reason is pretty simple as Rogues were too powerful in PVP. Since Shadow of Demise was calculated before any mitigation (and even ignoring whether or not opponents actually dodged a hit), there was little to no way to avoid massive SoD procs. Now players’ Defense and Deflect (and other mitigation sources) once again affect piercing powers, and as compensation SoD deals 25% more damage.

For Hunter Rangers little should change in PVE in the meantime, but for Rogues this is effectively a buff as mitigation is completely negated by Armor Penetration and the additional damage directly translates. As result some players observed nice SoD procs on preview. TRs should move up the DPS chain by a little.

Other Changes

There are pretty much no other notable changes. Guardian Fighters can no longer prone opponents with “Bull’s Charge”, which is obviously a nerf and should help prevent certain stun/lock, chain/kill scenarios. Also worth mentioning is the fact that the new “Prominence” Weapon Enchantment that drops from Castle Ravenloft benefits the GWF class, solidifying its place at the top of the DPS meta tier. That doesn’t mean by the way that “Prominence” will outperform any existing “bis” choices. But if it does, GWFs should profit the most.

Resistance Ignored Cap Will Be Raised Too 100%

PVE builds in the meantime will need more Armor Penetration for the new capstone Castle Ravenloft dungeon. The bosses feature 100% Damage Resistance, so builds need to feature an equal amount of Resistance Ignored to match that. That minor stat rebalance won’t change the meta drastically however. We still fully expect endgame groups to feature four support builds and one DPS. It’s going to be interesting however how the community chooses to deal with one particular mechanic in the Strahd fight of Castle Ravenloft. The group can get separated and you need a potent second DPS to free the first one. Toons that can switch between support and DPS (GF/CW) fit that role nicely, but you could obviously simply switch characters before the last boss as well.

But since that only affects that one dungeon, the meta tiers we defined for Module 13 are still accurate and intact. In case something changes, we’ll update the article!

What are your thoughts about balance and meta talk going into Module 14? Share your thoughts and experience on our social channels, in the comments below, or visit the corresponding thread on our message board!

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6 thoughts on “Neverwinter Ravenloft Preview: Class Balance Changes, Meta & PVP Implications

  • June 21, 2018 at 11:11 am

    “…was calculated before any mitigation (and even ignoring whether or not opponents actually dodged a hit)”

    Do they have any idea what they are doing?

    “Piercing damage” pierces armour, and some armour is more resistant to piercing damage. It does not make the enemy less agile, dextrous or acrobatic and unable to Deflect or DODGE the attack so that it partially or fully misses and therefore does not contact their armour fully or even at all.

    We should club together and buy them a set of D&D4 and D&D5 rules.

    I forget which one, but there is/was a CW power that could not be dodged and followed you round corners in PvP, even when you moved out of range..

    “Now players’ Defense and Deflect (and other mitigation sources) once again affect piercing powers”

    But that is not what Piercing Damage is. Feats and so on that proc from piecing damage should be based on the damage actually done, not full, unmitigated damage. But a Piercing attack should be able to Pierce armour when the Piercing Attack connects with it (but maybe not by 100% negation of AC). But Deflection and Dodge should apply.

    “…and as compensation xyz deals 25% more damage.”


    What am i missing here?

    • June 21, 2018 at 12:39 pm

      Exactly, they made piercing, not pierce lol So sad. It will impact the HR in PvE, as the dmg will now calc post resist. If armor was the only PvE buff we could say having 100% DI would make this negligible, however in this case it will nerf HRs even more while GWF get even more buffs. *Shakes head*

      • June 23, 2018 at 1:02 pm

        It will not nerf HR in PvE. In an end-game party with good debuffs this will be an overall buff, because piercing blade damage will be calculated after the enemies have been debuffed. Running solo however, you can expect piercing blade to do less damage than before.

        • June 23, 2018 at 11:21 pm

          Well, regardless of how Cryptic rearrange the code and order of processing for calculating damage, damage resistance, buff and debuff and so on, my point is that in D&D, AD&D, D&D3, 4E and 5E, Armour Piercing is a specific thing that does not completely negate all Defence and all AC in all circumstances.

          Generally, when a weapon type does Armour Piercing damage, it is resisted differently by the armour (and maybe feats and features) of the target.

          EG, the cloth robes of a CW would have no Piercing resistance and might have a penalty.
          The Leather of a TR would resist better than cloth, but not as well as the Studded Leather of an HR or SW.
          The Chain of a DC and GWF might have better Piercing Resistance to Leather/Studded Leather.
          Full Plate of GF and OP might have the best Piercing Resistance of all.

          As a side project, I’m going to check out all the Core Rules on Armour Piercing, as I’d like to be sure and this is from memory off the top of my head. One factor that happens in D&D that doesn’t happen in MMOs is that in D&D/AD&D you have to make a roll to actually score a damaging hit at all, and then you calculate damage when you score a damaging hit. Your chance to hit can be modified by whether your weapon does slashing, blunt or piercing damage against the target’s armour, which has it’s own bonuses and penalties to those damage types.

          And then in NW we all have Armour Penetration, which does not affect our chance to hit (as that does not seem to exist) but does affect how much armour you penetrate, IE how much Defence you Ignore when calculating the Target’s Damage Resistance. (but does it Ignore any AC contribution to damage resistance?)

          But considering all the cock ups with over-stacked ArPen giving people massive bonuses in PvP and Mod 6 trash mobs one-shotting people, I suspect their code is FUBAR’d, but they don’t know why. Hence all these tweaks and twiddles to see what happens.

  • June 22, 2018 at 11:19 am

    1 DPS + 4 Support will not work for Castle Ravenloft. You need at least 2 DPS for the final fight.

    • June 22, 2018 at 11:34 am

      Why is that, chemjeff? I’d be interested in that.

      I wonder if they will ever be able to circumvent clever BIS players ever finding a “meta” party build?

      I suppose even if they made multiple buff/debuff from the same Paragon not stack, that would not stop AC DC and DO DC using different encounters and class features, nor an OP power sharing as well as the AC, nor the MoF buff/debuff or Temptation SW’s capstone Curse.

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