The latest dev blog shared some gameplay tidbits about the new Underdark Heroic Encounters so there’s new stuff to talk about.
It’s the sixth consecutive Module that will feature HEs, so the devs seem to like the concept. My personal opinion about Heroic Encounters in Neverwinter is really a mixed bag though. The idea looks great on paper: You do the stuff you normally do in a zone and out of a sudden a mini-event starts, players gather, strategize and beat the Heroic Encounter. If I hear them adding new HEs, I’d like to think about new super-cool zone-specific events that pop up every now and then, need coordination and skill of a large group of players and are rewarding.
But unfortunately that’s not what it is. Already back in Icewind Dale when they first introduced HEs, the system lacked variety. Until today Encounters are mono-themed DPS-races. True mechanics are rare, you just do some random stuff in between fighting. Additionally Heroic Encounters never felt like special events, because they always have been closely tied to the module/campaign grind and offered little challenge and rewards.
I can accept that my definition of ‘heroic’ does not meet the design in Neverwinter, but all in all HEs simply lack a certain pep, punch and uniqueness. Sadly they are not changing the approach and are simply adding more of the same. Dread Ring sticks out from the mentioned areas, because it does not already feature Heroic Encounters.
The tweaks are OK. I don’t really get why HEs can’t stay on the map until finished or failed, at least the smaller ones, but a grace period is a vast improvement nonetheless. It’ll help completing them in off-peak times or low-populated zones. The scaling feature makes sense as well, but also is an indirect nerf to hardcore players, who will have to group up for the best rewards even if they theoretically would be strong enough to solo an encounter.
Overall these are baby steps for HEs, who get some minor upgrades but keep their tedious nature.