As part of our extensive preview of Neverwinter’s Module 14: Ravenloft, I’m going over the new Hunts of Barovia in this article. Yes guys, the Hunts feature is back! But before you close the page because you’ve seen enough of the system’s RNG craziness in Mods 12 and 13, just know that Hunts in Ravenloft received some substantial changes that, depending what you didn’t like, might make it a little bit more appealing to you. First things first though. This article builds on what we already know about Hunts in earlier mods. If you’re a new player, you want to look up our previews for Tombs of Annihilation and Lost City of Omu. Otherwise some stuff might be hard to understand.
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Hunts Again, but Not Really
Like I said, don’t let yourself discourage by the term “Hunts”, because the system did receive some favorable changes in key areas. One thing that didn’t chance though is that you still have to farm the first set of lures from mobs in the zone. Mod 14 lures are called “Wanted Posters” and drop from all “stronger” mobs in the Barovia adventure zone. Stronger mobs are those that have six health bars (Witches, Berserkers, Vampires, etc.). Posters might also drop from other mobs, but if they do, it’s a tiny chance only. One minor upgrade to earlier Hunts already is that the posters are an auto-pickup. So you can’t really miss them. While you’re slaying mobs and doing your dailies, you’ll automatically get a few over time. I haven’t fully tested by the way whether certain mobs only drop certain posters. But right now I’d say it’s fully random, because I definitely got a “Bolgera” (Scarecrow Hunt) poster from a Druid mob the other day.
Which brings us to the first major change, because the Wanted Posters are fully sellable on the Auction House. This was a request of the community and while the devs emphasized that they liked the restrictions of certain Hunt items so that players had to interact socially to trade them, they’ve reversed course for Mod 14. So if you don’t feel like farming yourself, you will be able to buy the posters you want with Astral Diamonds. It obviously also means that you can go out, farm posters, and turn them into profit much easier.
2-Star and 3-Star posters just like in Chult can only be obtained from 1-Star Hunts, but there is no longer a pyramid to climb. Hunts just drop random posters of the next tier and there are actually multiple 3-Star targets this time.
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Madame Eva and Her Cards
The actual process of hunting also changed by a lot. Everything now takes place in private instances and you can choose to add challenge to Hunts for additional rewards. All starts in Madame Eva’s tent in the Vistani camp. Any player that owns a Wanted Poster can enter and start a Hunt. Additional challenge and rewards can be added by playing up to three cards from your Tarokka Deck Box. If you’re in a group only the leader can do that. We’ll go over all cards and effects in a different article in the future by the way. For now just know that you can earn extra Astral Diamonds, gear pieces, refining points, or campaign currency. It’s really cool because that way you can do less Hunts, but make them count. We’ve long called for such a system for dungeons and it’s at least encouraging that the devs now test it on a lower stage.
Depending on the quality of the card the Hunt however can become quite challenging. So you might want to bring a group, making this much more of a social and group feature than Hunts in M12/13. After picking your target and Tarokka cards, you zone into a private instance that looks exactly like Barovia. The target will appear on three out of thirteen possible locations. Madame Eva gives the players some hints, but you have to figure out the locations yourself. It’s a nice puzzle, but most of the time the description is fairly telling. We do however have a map for all you lazy folks that links all the tips to the corresponding locations. Then you basically just have to hunt your target down and kill it gradually. You have 20 minutes to complete a Hunt, but usually shouldn’t run into any trouble.
One more thing about the hunt map: It’s fully populated with standard mobs. Usually you can avoid them while tracking your target, but some Tarokka cards extend their aggro range and add HP and damage. So those can actually become a factor in the Hunt. Dying does not fail or reset the Hunt. As long as you stay within the 20 minutes it’s all good.
Let’s talk about rewards next and about another major improvement of the feature. It makes much more sense to go with a full group in M14. All members of a group get individual rewards from the Hunt and all Tarokka cards. So ideally you should team up with four other players and rotate the lead role so that all players can initiate a Hunt and play the Tarokka cards they want. That way, everyone just brings one Wanted Poster, but gets five rewards. It also means that it’s very likely that someone, maybe even everyone, will get another Wanted Poster out of the Hunt and the group can start over again.
All Hunts grant Seal of the Brave, campaign currency, and a chance at one of the rare item level 540 Hunt items, a Wanted Poster of the next tier, or refining points. I’ve attached all gear below, but will only go over a few ones in this preview. Some items feature a 3% DPS boost for selected powers once again and, since it’s different slots, complement the M13 pieces nicely. Eyestalk Wrappers for example gives 3% to ranged powers as arms piece. Hag’s Rags in M14 features the same bonus as armor. The other thing the devs try is giving pieces a big boost in one area at the cost of decreasing another. The “Rusted Rider Greaves” for example give a massive amount of defense, but slow the bearer by 15%. The “Decaying Habit” features a different kind of trade-off. It adds up to +2,100 Power, but in fights longer than a minute gradually takes away Power again up to a total loss of 3,000.
The other bonuses look pretty standard, but there is a noticeable amount of control abilities. Some bonuses also utilize the new day and night cycle on the Barovia map, which is kind of cool, but obviously has limited usefulness. In the end as always probably only a few items will make it into player’s loadouts, but there’s definitely some potential here.
Hunts in Barovia is much more of a system in which grouping is rewarded. Additionally Tarokka cards enable players to add rewards and make the most out of the Hunts they do. This all should lead to fewer overall grind and sets the focus on the hunting process itself and not the farming, like it was the case in Chult.
If there’s a con then it’s probably the attached gear. Most items feel a little too random and it might be hard to find a place for them. Having more options on the other hand can’t hurt, especially since the piece are item level 540. I’m not sure Hunts will ever grow into a fan-favorite, but the M14 version should definitely be a little bit more appealing even to those players that hated them in M12/13.
Did you try out the new Hunts on the preview server? Do you like them? Share your thoughts on our social channels, in the comments below, or the corresponding thread on our message board!
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